Did you get a call from sekurecostreview.com for a merchant statement analysis? Read my research, which points out why I recommend merchants never give this company merchants statements or any other business information.
The company web site is here: http://www.sekurecostreview.com, but they have more web sites with the same physical address.
Who is Sekure Cost Review?
sekurecostreview.com affiliated web sites:
Sekure Card Services – sekurecardservices.com
Sekure Merchant Solutions sekuremerchants.com
- Sekure Careers sekurecareers.com – they hire telemarketers
The address is 1501 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY. The address is not a traditional office, but one where anyone can ‘rent space’ so that they have a ‘prestigious office address’. From www.newofficeamerica.com, “This modern, professional business center offers companies a prestigious corporate address right at the heart of Times Square on bustling Broadway, your clients won’t help to be impressed.”
US Business Affiliation?: There’s no business registered in NYS with any of the business names in the domains above. Further, past employees report that the company is actually based in Montreal Canada, even though they called exclusively on US based businesses. “When I can’t find a business registered with the state their supposedly affiliated with, I won’t do business with them,” says Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant Services.
The Sekure Cost Review sales pitch:
The caller said that she was providing a free cost review “funded by major banks, processors” and others in the industry. That perked my ears. Who was paying for it? I wasn’t able to get a straight answer other than the big banks etc and they may change from time to time. “Are you a processor or ISO?” “No, we’re a broker. We save you…” . I asked it they were a lead generation company for processors? “No.” From my research and industry knowledge, in my opinion, they’re conducting lead generation which they then send to ISO’s, or independent sales organizations, and then they get paid for deals. That’s pretty common.
The pitch is that by providing merchant statements they’ll give a side by side comparison so that I could see if I was getting gouged. No obligation.
Statement reviews are a good idea. Sekurecostreview.com and affiliated web sites highlight four items about their business:
- BBB reputation: USA media has proven there’s little value in a BBB reputation since companies can BUY their reputation, and there’s no verification. (See 20/20 report among others.) All sites link to Sekure Merchant Solutions, a company potentially not even legally registered in NYS. Additionally, there are 32 complaints, and while nearly all were resolved, this number is much higher than companies in the same industry that are bigger by volume processed and number of merchants served.
- Low cost rates: The web cites $30M/mth and the phone called cited $40M/mth in transaction volume as the reason for their great rates. In my opinion, while it’s not insignificant, companies with $100M/mth or more are far more likely to have better options.
- POS: Reprogram or Free terminal. Free terminals are nearly always bad because the money has to be made up somewhere. That means possibly older but PCI compliant equipment, but more likely higher fees to cover the initial outlay, or long term contracts with heavy contract dissolution fees to get out of them. All merchant agreements include future fee increase clause so at some point you’ll pay a lot more for free equipment.
- Sample Review: Looks like a pretty typical side by side review that takes the same transactions at the same interchange qualification and applies a different discount rate. Rate comparisons can be a terrible way to make merchant process choices.
- Interchange management can reduce fees from .10% to over 1%. That’s above and beyond any discount fee negotiation. There’s a bottom to discount fee negotiation- then what will you do to reduce fees?
- Improved productivity can increase EBITDA significantly
- Reduced PCI compliance burden increases productivity in other areas of business
Bottom line: As processor profits are narrowed, the bigger merchant savings comes from better interchange rate qualification in addition to efficiency improvements and reduced PCI Compliance burden.
Allied Memberships: What does ‘allied’ mean? It does not mean an endorsement. For example, the NRF offers Retail, Service Provider, and University memberships. The only membership sekurecostreview.com qualifies for is Service Provider. I didn’t find their company in any of the online buying guides. That doesn’t mean they’re not a member, just not in any area I searched online.
Is sekurecostreview.com a scam or legit?
They may or may not provide a valuable service to some merchants, but the negatives far outweigh the positives. Sharing highly confidential information in a world of escalating identity theft is just not worth the risk.
What’s the alternative? Just about anyone can provide a statement review. Find someone that knows about your industry and asks questions about your business without sharing merchant statements. It takes more time and expertise to get through these steps, but it’s a lot safer. Avoid choosing any vendor that has a web site without identifying an owner or single person by name. Look up the salesperson on linkedin.