So, I’m going to tell you a little story about PowerPay, First Data, and Stripe. Call it my Saga. I am publishing this in hopes that you read it and never, ever do business with PowerPay.

Let’s go back to square one.

PowerPay is a credit card processing company. They are recommended and pushed by Infusionsoft for some unknown reason – probably somebody is friends with somebody. In many ways it is too bad, because I love Infusionsoft, and I wish they had never introduced me to this friend.

To be fair, I’ve processed credit cards with PowerPay for years. It all started when I decided to get official and set up a corporation. To do that I needed a new merchant processing account. So I called my processor – PowerPay – and asked them if I could set up a second account. I explained in detail my situation. I explained I needed to keep processing on the old account until the new one was up. I explained I didn’t even have a bank account for the new business yet as it wasn’t starting until January 1st, and this was early December.

They assured me it was all fine. They then proceeded to create havoc. They created the new account. They shut down the old account. They started processing all transactions that should have been going into the old account through the new one, but they weren’t depositing them anywhere, because, as I had told them, that bank account wasn’t set up yet. So then, even though they told me it was impossible, they started depositing the new corporations funds into the old corporations bank account.

This is an accounting nightmare.

I called to explain to them that this was all wrong, and this is where it gets good. The guy on the other end yelled at me. I calmly told him exactly what had happened, and he yelled ‘You’re Wrong!’. I said ‘Really, I’m wrong? I don’t think so. I’m just telling you exactly what happened to my accounts. It is all trackable.’ and he yelled ‘You’re Wrong!’. This happened something like four times in a row (in a minute). I couldn’t really believe it.

Here I thought I was their customer. I’d been processing over $150,000 a year for years through their company. I had NEVER had a single chargeback – I’ve only had one chargeback in 15 years of business, and that was before I was with their company.

To cut a long story short, they also had been holding 10% of my funds as a ‘high risk’ business (with a history of zero chargebacks), and were supposed to be releasing it on a rolling 6 month basis, but weren’t. They were holding $14,000 of my funds when we talked. I asked how to get that – well, I had to cancel the account, and then they’d ‘review my file’ and let me know when I could have the money that was mine.

To sweeten the deal, it cost me $250 per account to cancel – so $500 down the tubes – half of it on a new account that I was never able to use because of their idiocy, and half of it on an account they cancelled when I asked them not to.

The saga continues.

I decided to move on with my life. My bank recommends First Data, and I called them to set up a merchant account. The sales process was smooth, the guy was really nice. I explained in detail my situation. I told him I process one high ticket item a month, and the rest is mostly $20 to $100 transactions. I explained I needed to be able to process the one high ticket item – he said no problem, the account was set up in two days, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then I processed the high ticket item – and it came through! And then two days later, after I’d paid people and moved money around – they pulled it back out! Awesome – so I called their security department, who then told me they had to cancel my account because I violated their terms. I have a contract with a high amount over the high ticket I processed. WTF? Not question – account cancelled.

Now, I asked what I thought was a reasonable question – you took money from my client, put it in my account, took it back out of my account- now what? Are you going to refund the client? Or are you going to settle it back into my acccount?

‘All I can tell you sir is you should call your bank and reject the withdraws we made’ says Colleen Lewis (oh yes, at this point I started taking names.

I said, but is that going to put me into a compromised situation? I want do do this above board – how can we handle that?

I can’t even begin to get into this – I tried to ask this simple question 8 times, really wanting an answer (any answer), but all I got was:

‘All I can tell you sir is you should call your bank and reject the withdraws we made’

Yep – eight times in a row, and then she hung up on me.

Next day, she calls me (I’d left a voicemail with her the previous day). Doesn’t really remember who I am. I say ‘remember me? we talked in some length yesterday.’ I’m almost crying. I say ‘Please don’t hang up on me, I have one question I really need answered. You took money from my client. I rejected the charges like you said. Are you going to refund my client, and have me owe you money, or are you going to settle this one charge?’

This is the same question I asked the day before. She says – we are going to settle that charge. I didn’t ask why she didn’t tell me that yesterday.

So now I’ve had three accounts closed by rude idiots in two weeks.

Enter Stripe. I had set up a stripe account and run a $4,000 transaction in the middle of this as a test. It went through without a hitch, and showed up in my bank account exactly when they said it would. Since then I’ve pushed several more through – no problem.

On the down side, there is no ‘built in’ integration with Infusionsoft, so I have to do a bit of manual labor to move into this system, which is why I didn’t in the first place. And I’m paying StripeyFuse $300 / year for their integration, which isn’t perfect, but is good enough.

But hey – this is a program you can sign up for in 2 minutes, their customer support answers your questions, and it works, and no one yells at you! Yaay Stripe.

May I recommend everyone go out, migrate to stripe, and close your traditional merchant account. I don’t know what makes these companies believe that they can act the way they do, but in my opinion, it is completely unacceptable. I am the customer. They are making thousands of dollars a year off of me. They should be treating me well. When they no longer believe that, they should be put out of business.

Sorry for the rant. If you want to move to Stripe and find it confusing, post a comment and I’ll help you.