Host Merchant Services vs. Bank of America Merchant Services

Bank of America Merchant Services, also called BAMS, has developed a reputation as one of the most prominent banks in the country. The Charlotte-based bank provides merchant services for retailers, but that service comes with many flaws. Host Merchant Services provides a better approach to your credit processing needs, as this comparison between the two parties shows. Host Merchant Services is a more affordable solution, plus it gives a simple approach to handling your merchant services needs.

Service Prices

HMS provides many free POS solutions with no hidden fees. HMS does not charge non-PCI compliance fees, nor does it charge closure or pin debit fees. HMS’ fees are transparent and easy to afford, including a $14.99 monthly fee and a $24 annual 1099 reporting fee.

Bank of America Merchant Services requires you to spend extra on the POS solutions you require. You must agree to a binding lease agreement for any pieces of equipment you wish to utilize. You won’t be able to use the equipment as long as you desire, as you might have to return the materials necessary for work. Also, Bank of America Merchant Services charges a $95 non-PCI compliance fee for people who cannot handle certain accounts.

HMS lets you use its equipment for free so long as you process your payments through its system. The lack of a binding lease agreement with Host Merchant Services ensures you’ll have an easier time using its system without spending more money than what you can afford.

Sensible Rates

HMS provides some of the best rates for processing transactions. The interchange fee for a transaction is passed through at cost. The fee varies by retailer, with restaurants spending the interchange fee and 0.20% plus $0.09 per transaction. Ecommerce retailers spend the interchange fee and 0.35% plus $0.10 per transaction. This all comes with a $14.99 monthly fee.

Bank of America Merchant Services charges more for its merchant services. A swiped transaction goes for 2.50% and $0.20 per transaction, meaning you could end up wasting more money on the deal if the customer buys more items. The keyed-in rate is higher, at 3.50% and $0.15.  It also charged non-qualified transaction surcharges, making your rates potentially much higher for business and reward cards.

BOA Merchant Services does provide lower swipe rates to people who handle more sales in a month. People who manage $25,000 or more a month will get a 1.89% fee alongside $0.20 for each swipe. The effective rate is still significantly higher than what Host Merchant Services provides when factoring in hidden costs and non-qualified surcharges.

HMS provides a more affordable service, but you’d have to review the interchange fee you utilize.

Contract Requirements

HMS never locks its customers into long-term contracts. You can spend the $14.99 monthly fee for services as necessary, plus you’ll still have access to the HMS equipment if you have an agreement with the team.

BOA Merchant Services demands long contract terms. You have to enter a three-year contract when you sign up, and you’ll have to pay a $500 termination fee if you wish to leave. That fee may be waived if you’re late in the contract, but Bank of America Merchant Services does not guarantee this point.

Customer Help

HMS also holds a strong advantage on the customer service front. HMS provides a live chat service during regular business hours on weekdays. The group passes all queries to a third party outside hours, but you can contact HMS at any point. Host Merchant Services will also follow-up on your queries when you can’t directly get in touch with them. HMS also has a comprehensive help section on its website that provides reports on all the things people might need surrounding their work.

BOA Merchant Services also provides phone support, including on Saturdays. But you will not get in direct touch with Bank of America Merchant Services in most cases. You will have to contact Fiserv or another party BAMS serves through a partnership. The BOA website does not provide many details on how the system works.

Software and Hardware

HMS can support various payment terminals. You can use the software and hardware that HMS provides, or you can use your existing materials. Host Merchant Services can reprogram any terminals you have for free.

Bank of America Merchant Services strongly pushes you to use the Clover point of sale system if you need point of sale. You’d have to spend significantly more per month for each device to use the Clover software through BAMS. While Clover does offer cloud-based reporting support and can produce detailed reports, many other programs that you might already utilize already do these things. You’d also have to spend extra to utilize the hardware Clover provides. You don’t have as much freedom in choosing whatever hardware you want to incorporate. BOA charges extra for this

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