Intuit Merchant Services and PCI Compliance Fees

Intuit Merchant Services and PCI Compliance Fees

Recently small business owners and ProAdvisors who use Intuit Merchant Services had $35 – $100 withdrawn from their bank account for Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance Fees (as explained below).  This caused  complaints, confusion and frustration.  Intuit sent an an email notification however many people report that they did not receive the email and were surprised when the charge was deducted from their account.  Read on for more details, possible alternatives and information for QuickBooks ProAdvisors. 

Details from Intuit

PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (also referred to as PCI). PCI DSS is a standard created by the payment card companies (AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa) to help ensure the safe handling of cardholder data throughout the payments chain.

All organizations, regardless of size or number of transactions, that process, store, or transmit cardholder data must comply with the PCI DSS.

Securing Cardholder Information

Credit card companies require that parties accepting card payments meet minimum data security standards to protect customer card information. These standards are commonly referred to as PCI requirements. We have partnered with a leading PCI service provider to help you meet these requirements. Our program includes breach protection coverage in an amount up to $50,000 ($0 deductible, $0 co-pay) to pay for audits, fines or other expenses associated with a breach.

We are instituting a fee for the mandatory services and associated breach coverage, ranging from $35 to $100 for a twelve month period. This is a standard industry practice for which other merchant acquirers often charge hundreds of dollars a year. The fees will be reflected on your April statement in an amount determined based on the number of card transactions you processed in the last 12 months. The services will be available to you beginning in April via the Merchant Service Center.

For more information, read the posting and comments on the Intuit Community Forum “Fees Explained – What is PCI compliance and why do I need it?”  Please email your questions to IPS_carecenter@intuit.com and be sure to include your business name and merchant account number so that we can respond to you within 24-48 hours.

Intuit PaymentNetwork or Other Alternatives

Some people indicate they are going to look for a different merchant service provider or cancel their Intuit account.  If you investigate other merchant service companies, keep in mind they probably charge PCI fees too.  Also, consider how you will record the data in QuickBooks.  You may have to enter all deposits and transaction fees manually and reconciling can be very difficult.  For providers who say they integrate with QuickBooks, test it yourself or read reviews and comments from other people.  Intuit Merchant Services integrates with QuickBooks — saving you time and making it much easier to reconcile.

For businesses with a low volume of credit card payments received, you may want to encourage clients or customers to pay via Intuit PaymentNetwork.  The payment is from their bank account to your bank account and only $.50 (right 50 cents) per transaction, regardless of the amount.  The fee is usually less than the credit card transaction fees.  Here’s a quick video demo of Intuit PaymentNetwork.  You can email the invoice with a link allowing online payment with Intuit PaymentNetwork – quick and easy!

Another alternative is to utilize PayPal.  PayPal allows you to receive credit card payments without any contracts or monthly charges.  However, he transaction fees are a little higher.

Members of QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program

ProAdvisors using Intuit Merchant Services were charged the PCI fee and some are complaining about it too.  Members of the ProAdvisor Program receive many benefits.  One benefit is the Intuit Payment Solutions Bundle which includes (Intuit Merchant Services) as shown below:

The details for Intuit Merchant Services for QuickBooks specifically states that there are no PCI fees as shown here:

However, ProAdvisors were charged this fee (including me).  I’ve recommended ProAdvisors utilize this  benefit to accept credit cards from clients.  I assured them it was free except for transaction fees. To now charge us the PCI fee (which will be an annual charge) does not seem right.  I guess this falls under ‘terms subject to change’?

I think Intuit should automatically issue a refund to ProAdvisor members.  Why should we have to call or email to request a refund of something Intuit should not have taken from our account?   Nevertheless, here is the response from an Intuit Employee on the Community forum:

At this time, we are asking anyone including ProAdvisors to call in (either the ProAdvisor support number or Intuit Payment Solutions at 800-558-9558). The information is sensitive and pertains to accounts individually. I know the hold times are long, yet at this time, you will need to call in.

As an alternative, you can use our e-mail support system. This will get you in contact with agents without the long hold times. Log-in to the Merchant Service Center. From the home page, on the right hand side, you’ll see the contact information box. In this box, click the E-mail support link to e-mail our team. If you’d like a direct e-mail, you can e-mail at IPS_carecenter@intuit.com  Please be advised that due to the high-volume of e-mails the 24 hour turn-around time may be longer.

 

 

21 thoughts on “Intuit Merchant Services and PCI Compliance Fees

  1. Keith Gormezano, Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Quicken Expert in Seattle

    Just an update on this issue. I was able to get my PCI Compliance Fee refunded.

    I did it by showing that I was signed up with SquareUp http://www.squareup.com.

    I attached a PDF copy of my SquareUp login page and an e-mail from them stating that they are PCI Compliant.

    I also pointed out to Intuit that SquareUP is on the official list of PCI Compliant providers. See http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/cisp-list-of-pcidss-compliant-service-providers.pdf

    Then I had to do a four part self assessment questionaire about how secure my computer and practices are. Since I follow pretty standard safe security and computing practices including deleting my customers credit card numbers in the payment info tab in their customer record, I wasn’t worried. Then they scanned my computer to see if someone could break into it. Of course, I passed.

    A lot of hassle but it felt good to win.

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      I think Intuit did not do a good job of communicating and informing ProAdvisors about the change in our benefits regarding PCI fees. As far as I can see, we were not informed until after they charged us PCI fees. Yes they sent an email about the PCI fees but many ProAdvisors didn’t pay attention to it since we were told it was free with NO PCI fees.

      The latest email I received included this:

      • “Our agreement with you is the Merchant Agreement and it states that we can modify the terms of service and fees at any time.
      • Our marketing materials had a statement about no PCI fees being applicable. That statement was not removed from the ProAdvisor site when all other materials were changed. That was an error.”

      It seems to me Intuit also has an agreement with ProAdvisors about membership benefits.

      If Intuit would’ve notified us of the change prior to charging us the fee, it would allowed some of us to make an informed decision about what to do. Personally, I signed up for Merchant Services since it was free and I wanted a better understanding of how it works. I had very few transactions. I don’t want to deal with PCI compliance (or fees). So, I cancelled merchant services. I can still accept credit cards via GoPayment or PayPal when needed.

  2. Keith Gormezano

    One thing their intitial reply to me said was that if you were using another PCI Compliant provider, they would waive the fee.

    Unfortunately, that is not the case. I use SquareUp http://www.squareup.com the white square card reader and provided proof of it via a picture of my login page and e-mail from SquareUP to IPS.

    I still haven’t gotten my fee refunded.

    I guess I will be recommending Square Up which only charges a reasonable 2.75% fee and 23 cents a transaction to my Greater Seattle customers.

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      I cancelled Merchant Services and will just use GoPayment (which doesn’t require PCI compliance/fees). I finally received a refund of the fee yesterday (May 30).

      I agree — Square Up or even PayPal would be alternatives too.

      P.S. I see you’re in Seattle? Are you going to the Sync it Up workshop next week? I’ll be there! Make sure to say hi if you’re there! http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=6kyiyciab&oeidk=a07e5wo7oegeb2c971b

  3. Tina

    I replied to your post on the Intuit Community forum. I didn’t know that you replied here also.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Seattle in June!

  4. Tina

    I went back to the ProAdvisor website. They changed the fees to include PCI fees. They removed the part where they said that ProAdvisors would not have to pay PCI fees.

    Seems to me that they want to keep the PCI fees that they took at the time the website said we ProAdvisors would not be charged the PCI fees.

    It seems deceiving to me that Intuit advertises to all ProAdvisors that we could get merchant services without monthly or annual fees, not cancellation and no PCI fees. Then after a flood of ProAdvisors sign up for merchant services, they change their pricing and automatically deduct these PCI fees from our bank accounts, knowing that most ProAdvisors won’t go through the hassle of disputing it. Intuit has lost a significant portion of my trust. Because of this, I would definitely steer a client away from Intuit Merchant Services. I am going back to PayPal.

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      @Tina — I think Intuit could have done a better job of communicating with ProAdvisors about the change in PCI fees for us. I signed up for merchant services to help understand how it works to answer questions about it for clients and other people. I had very little activity. I have cancelled my merchant services account and requested a refund of the PCI fee. I will keep my free GoPayment account (which doesn’t require PCI fees or compliance) if needed. I can also accept credit cards via Intuit Payment Network or PayPal if and when needed.

  5. Keith Gormezano

    I disputed the fee by e-mail on 5/9/12. This was the response I received today (a week later). It doesn’t appear that Intuit is backing down.

    “Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding PCI.

    We have expressly included ProAdvisors in the scope of PCI services for offerings just as we do with other customers.

    Let me share why PCI Compliance Service is a value to you.

    Compliance with data security standards can bring major benefits to you, while failure to comply can have serious and long term negative consequences.

    Compliance with the PCI DSS means that your systems are secure, and customers can trust you with their sensitive payment card information.

    Compliance improves your reputation with others.

    Compliance is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. It helps prevent security breaches and theft of payment card data, not just today, but in the future.

    If you are not compliant, it could be devastating:

    Compromised data negatively affects consumers, merchants, and financial institutions. Possible negative consequences include:

    Forensics audit costs – $8,000-$20,000

    Card replacement costs – $3-$10 per card

    Compliance fines – $5,000-$250,000

    Cancelled accounts

    Brand damage – cannot be quantified but may be the most damaging consequence

    I hope that this information was helpful in explaining the PCI cost and benefits.

    Thank you

    Rasheed Mensah
    Service & Support Mgr 1
    Payments Solutions Division , Intuit Inc.
    800 397- 0707 x 68948 “

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      @Keith — sorry for the delay in posting & my reply (it went into the spam comments). That is the same email response I received. I understand the importance of PCI compliance, etc. What I didn’t like is they specifically said ProAdvisors wouldn’t have PCI fees and then they charged us. They didn’t tell us ProAdvisors would now be subject to PCI fees. Personally, I only signed up for merchant services to get a better understanding of how it works to help answer questions about it. I will be cancelling it.

  6. Cathi Aiello

    I just talked to Intuit and the $35 or $100 PCI Compliance Fee is NOT the same thing as the PCI Fees that ProAdvisors are exempt from. The PCI Compliance fee is basically an annual insurance policy against fraud and PCI coverage from somewhere else is likely to be higher. Also if you are found out by Visa or Mastercard to be operating without PCI coverage, you will be banned forever from accepting credit cards.

    I told them to keep the $100 and to keep my coverage in place.

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      Thanks for the update Cathi. I was just talking with someone at Intuit. She said an email went out to ProAdvisors in March or April about the changes but the website was not updated to reflect it. I’ll be writing an update blog post (hopefully to be posted tomorrow).

  7. Laura Fischer

    Thank you for this information, Michelle. My company was charged the $35 fee without notification. I contacted my bank trying to find out what the charge was for but they were unable to tell me. I emailed the IPS carecenter with the link you provided. Thanks, again!
    Laura

  8. William Murphy

    I certainly have had more Merchant Service account holders complain about this, then not; and only 1 out of every 12 got any notice, nor did I for either my own account or as a ProAdvisor. I found out when I called in after noticing the fee in my own charges for the month and since I have had at least 2 episodes of being charged monthly fees over the last year since they almost have no sense of communication about ProAdvisor benefits excluding service fees at IMS, I thought there they go again….only to find out this was a special annual charge to cover something ‘they’ as a MS provider are required by law to do. Obviously ‘profits’ are not high enough for the Intuit “Bank” (since that really is what an MS is all about anyway) so just tack on another fee.

    Hum seems like there was a ‘revolt’ of account holders when the Nation’s largest bank tried to implement another fee last fall…..the result, that bank withdrew their ‘new fee’.

    But I won’t use your forum to spawn revolutionaries…….

    Murph

  9. Fred Stein, CPA

    Michelle, love your blog and the information you put out there. Do you know if Intuit will be backing down? We use their GoPayment service to take credit cards. Nothing through QBs although we did decide to get back into the ProAdvisor program.

    Keep on them.

  10. Kenneth Hoffman

    “Standard industry practice”, statement is a cop-out in my opinion.

    I am using Paysimple, just went through a PCI compliance audit and I was not charged.

    We as customers need to vote with our dollars. Perhaps then, Intuit will get the message. There are far to many alternatives out there.

    Kenneth Hoffman

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