If it's any consolation you are not the only one who is frustrated with merchant services. Majority of small business owners work with merchant service providers because they have no other choice. Having said that you might want to look at couple of options - if you are a member of Sam's Club or Costco check out their services to see if you can get better rates. Also, look into using newer providers such as Paypal and Square. They have better rates and good analytics to help you reduce the cost.
I also suggest reading an article I wrote on reducing merchant processing fees. It has nice tips and suggestions you might be able to leverage - 5 Proven Ways to Reduce Credit Card Processing Fees | Small Biz Viewpoints
I am sorry to hear about your PNC merchant issues. Sadly, this is not uncommon for PNC and I have heard from many of the same stories.
There are ways out of the situations. First, consider using an inside track to get yourself out of the jam. In the past, my clients approached me and requested my help in getting them out of these sort of contracts (PNC being one of them). Because the PNC Regional President was part of the same chamber of commerce I was at -- I was able to make a simple request and he waived it for them as a sign of good faith.
So consider speaking with your chamber of commerce or your accountant to see if they have an inside track for you to work on. The other thing is possibly approaching another merchant vendor (preferably a good one) and ask if they are interested in buying your contract if you sign on with them.
Many of these smaller merchants are privately owned and are willing to work with you -- and $300 is a small investment on their part to gain a happy client.
I hope this all works out for you!
One of the biggest misconceptions merchants make is thinking that their local banker is the best place to go for their merchant services, that their rates will be the lowest, and so forth. Actually, just the opposite is true, your local banker is undoubtedly the WORST and most expensive place to seek merchant services. That's because your local banker's expertise is commercial banking, they know zero about merchant services which is a totally unrelated industry, so what they do is 'outsource' the processing services to a processing company, in return for an ongoing monthly referral fee. So basically, all the unsuspecting merchant has done is actually INcrease their processing costs by adding another unnecessary mouth to feed in the pricing structure. It would have been far smarter, and cheaper, for the merchant to just have gone to the processor directly instead of via their local bank. As far as the issue of having to deal with the early termination fees imposed by your bank, there are solutions to this. I'd be happy to point you in the right direction if you'd like reach out to me. Thanks, good luck.
I am terribly unhappy with the PNC Merchant Services as a provider for my small online business. They have 3 year contracts, high processing fees and very poor customer service. They want to charge me an extra $240 on top of the $300 in extra fees to buy out my contract. Can anyone give me any advice?