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My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com

By Andrew Pollack on 10/20/2015 at 04:01 PM EDT

Here’s a cautionary story, with my personal suggestion that you stay away from any service offered by “PayAnywhere.com” or “North American Bankcard” or “PhoneSwipe.com”.

I’m documenting this, as I told them I would, so that when other people search for information about them, they can be a bit more informed. This is my story of interacting them. I’m sure other people have had other experiences.

Over the summer, I decided to drop my previous credit card processing service and try a company called “PayAnywhere.com”. They have what seemed like a much better deal for me, because rather than a monthly fee plus transaction fees, they offer a simple pay as you go plan entirely based on the transactions you process. Since I process very few transactions, this sounded ideal.

I signed up on-line and they sent me a mag stripe reader for my phone. Fast forward a few months when a client tried to pay in invoice of just under $2500 by credit card. That’s where the trouble started.

Everything seemed fine at first. I processed the card, received an “Approved” response and an approval code, issued a receipt and thought I was done. I even got an email saying "Congratulations on completing your first sales transaction with PayAnywhere!"

I was wrong. Two days later I received an email from “North American Bankcard” asking for a copy of the invoice, three months of bank statements, and a complete description of my business model. They indicated that “A 100% funding hold has been placed on the account”.

Essentially, even though they had authorized the transaction, there were not willing to transfer the funds. I spent a few days jumping through their hoops and providing information and ultimately was told the only way they would fund this transaction was if they first held it for 90 days. They did not, of course, offer to pay me credit card level interest rates during that time. My only other option was to process a refund on that transaction and bill the customer another way.

I asked the person on the phone, “What if this was a retail transaction and a customer off the street had bought a laptop or something? How would I expect to go and find that person and either take back the purchase or bill them another way?” They had no answer. I said, “So you approved the transaction, issued the approval code, and then decided not to pay it?” Again, no real answer to that other than “I understand your frustration.”

What I decided to do was refund the transaction to the customer – who fortunately is someone I know personally – and switch back to a more reliable, trusted processor. I’ll re-submit the transaction once I’ve finished switching and also have verified that the customer received the refund.

I’ve had other credit card processers in the past, I have a near perfect credit rating, and I have more than enough funds in my accounts to cover any theoretical refunds. There is simply no acceptable reason for this.

The only thing the people at this company have to say in their defense is that they claim to have sent an email at the start when I signed up indicating that initially they set a very low maximum transaction amount on the account until you go through their audit process. An email. Seriously? I never saw any such email. If they sent it, it went to spam folders. That’s possible, since they seem to be such a mix of names. I never know if I’m communicating with “PayAnywhere.com” or “nabankcard.com” or “AccountAwareness.com” or “phoneswipe.com”. I had never heard of any of those until running into this nonsense. Regardless, email is not a professional way to communicate things like this at all – and certainly not email domains unrelated to the company you signed up for.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 10/21/2015 at 03:28 AM EDT
Thanks for the warning!
re: My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By Dan Frederiksen on 10/25/2015 at 04:04 PM EDT
Stripe.com is awesome... great API integration options. Fee is flat 2.9% 30
per successful charge (refunds are free)... way less than the brick/mortar
banks has been charging over the years.
re: My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By Dan Frederiksen on 10/25/2015 at 04:07 PM EDT
EDIT: Fee is flat 2.9% 30 cents per successful charge
re: My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By Dan Frederiksen on 10/25/2015 at 04:09 PM EDT
EDIT: why do you strip out cent and plus sign characters from your comments?
re: My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By Andrew Pollack on 10/25/2015 at 10:47 PM EDT
There's some pretty basic code that uses a big hammer to strip anything that
could be used to start a string of script or embedded code or any kind. It's
to protect you, the reader, from cross site scripting without me, the code
owner, from having to constantly embed new protections for different kinds of
attack.
re: My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By gaeila on 09/29/2017 at 12:54 AM EDT
This is a very nice site, and thanks for the warning!
Stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com By John D on 11/05/2015 at 02:05 AM EST
Slightly different from, but similar to various frauds I read about regularly
on KrebsOnSecurity(dot)com. I think it would be worthwhile to contact Brian
Krebs about your experience... not for any particular resolution, but to share
the knowledge with another security professional.


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