Press Release

Small Business Satisfaction with Merchant Services Providers Declines amid COVID-Related Struggles, J.D. Power Finds

Square Ranks Highest in Small Business Customer Satisfaction

With more than half (51%) of U.S. small businesses acknowledging significant sales revenue declines as a result of COVID-19, overall satisfaction with the merchant services providers that enable small businesses to process card and mobile wallet payments has declined from 2020. According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Merchant Services Satisfaction Study,SM released today, challenges with customer service, cost of service, and underwriting and onboarding have been more pronounced among businesses experiencing significant sales declines during the past year.

“In recent years, merchant services providers have introduced technology innovations that make it easier than ever for small businesses to accept card and digital wallet payments,” said Paul McAdam, senior director of banking and payments intelligence at J.D. Power. “This past year demonstrates that the technology is consistently meeting market needs, but achieving real, lasting customer satisfaction is as much about service levels as it is about technology. Payment processors should anticipate that many of the challenges and financial pressures small businesses faced in 2020 will continue to be a factor for the foreseeable future and tailor their customer-facing strategies to address those needs.”

Following are key findings of the 2021 study:

  • Overall satisfaction declines: Overall small business customer satisfaction with merchant services providers is 836 (on a 1,000-point scale), down slightly from 2020. Among businesses that cite significant revenue declines due to COVID-19, the average satisfaction score is 827. Satisfaction among businesses that have experienced COVID-19-related disruptions are also significantly lower with contact center representatives; automated voice response (IVR) services; underwriting and onboarding; and cost of service.
  • Tech performs well, while service suffers: While scores for service-related experiences such as interactions with the contact center and underwriting and onboarding have declined in this year’s study, overall small business customer satisfaction with technology functionality, reliability and ease of use are among the highest-scoring factors in the study.
  • Satisfaction highest among e-commerce merchants: Among all sales channels evaluated, overall satisfaction with their merchant services providers is highest among E-commerce small businesses (851). This group also has the highest level of understanding of pricing and fees, as well as higher satisfaction with the options and tools available to manage chargebacks. However, satisfaction increases most among small businesses that accept card and digital wallet payments in physical (card present) environments. This year, satisfaction is higher among these businesses in the areas of timeliness of resolving service requests and clarity of pricing and fees.

Study Ranking

Square ranks highest in merchant services satisfaction with a score of 857. PayPal (852) ranks second. Bank of America Merchant Services (849) and PNC Merchant Services (849) rank third in a tie.

In the months prior to study fielding, many small businesses experienced unprecedented levels of disruption and change. Along with the effects of the pandemic, some small businesses were introduced to new payment processor brand names resulting from merger integrations at FIS, Fiserv and Global Payments. Some customers of Bank of America Merchant Services experienced the dissolution of the joint venture between Fiserv and Bank of America. Two of the banks in the study, PNC Merchant Services and Wells Fargo Merchant Services, utilize Fiserv to provide merchant services to their small business clients. Fiserv (shown in the rank chart as First Data is now Fiserv) also manages direct, standalone merchant services businesses that are distinct from these bank relationships.

The J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Merchant Services Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 3,253 small business customers of merchant services providers. The study was fielded from September through November 2020.

For more information about the U.S. Merchant Services Satisfaction Study, visit

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world's leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies.

J.D. Power is headquartered in Troy, Mich., and has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. To learn more about the company’s business offerings, visit The J.D. Power auto shopping tool can be found at

Media Relations Contacts
Geno Effler, J.D. Power; West Coast; 714-621-6224; [email protected]
John Roderick; East Coast; 631-584-2200; [email protected]

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2021 U.S. Merchant Services Satisfaction Study
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