Our rating(3.2/5)
As a well-known bank and acquirer, AIBMS has payment products for any size businesses.
Irish merchants can get card machines and online payment tools from AIB Merchant Services. Although Clover smart terminals are recommended, there are other mobile and in-store card machines.
  • Pros: Good card machines. Tailored solutions. Merchant account included.

  • Cons: Not transparent about pricing and contract. Lock-in required. Poor or limited reviews.

  • Choose if: You’re an established business with a stable turnover, and looking for a tailored card machine package.

What does AIB Merchant Services offer?

Allied Irish Bank Merchant Services (AIBMS) is the largest provider of payment acceptance in Ireland, offering card payment solutions to businesses of all sizes.

AIB Merchant Services is actually a joint venture between AIB and First Data Corporation, a global acquirer processing payments and providing merchant accounts. Because First Data created the Clover brand of card terminals, AIBMS tends to recommend these products for in-person payments, but other card terminals are available too.

Accepted cards

VisaMastercardMaestroDiners ClubDiscoverUnion PayAmerican ExpressContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

Apart from card machines, AIBMS offers an online payment gateway for ecommerce, virtual terminal for over-the-phone payments and online merchant portal for sales reports.

To sign up, businesses are required to have a merchant account with First Data and sign one or more long-term contracts. Details about this are provided at the phone-in stage where you negotiate fees and your requirements. Like other traditional banks, costs are not communicated until you’ve given details about your business.

You’ll need a business bank account to receive payouts – AIB will probably encourage you to sign up for theirs if you haven’t got one already. As a downside, we’ve seen that AIBMS can have payout times as slow as a week, but faster processing is also possible.

For a fair rating, we assessed the most important aspects of AIB card machines: the products, costs, transparency and sign-up, value-added features like remote payments, reviews and service, and contract terms and lock-in.

The rating categories each get a score, producing a final star rating reflecting its overall value for a small business. See our breakdown of AIB card machine ratings in the verdict of this review.

The ‘product’ score is primarily for AIBMS’s face-to-face payment products, with less of an emphasis on the wider payment services.

Card machines

AIB Merchant Services offers different card machines for stationary, portable and mobile use.

Mobile card machines are wireless models that work anywhere with a 3G network connection or WiFi. These are the mobile terminals offered by AIBMS:

Clover Flex: White, glossy handheld touchscreen terminal with various apps and functions that can be added to make it a self-sufficient checkout.

This can also be used as a portable card machine within a WiFi base on your premises. All Clover devices can integrate so you, for example, have a desktop setup with a Clover Mini tablet, supplemented with a portable Clover Terminal for table service.

Photo: AIBMS

Clover Flex on stone table

Clover Flex is one of the more popular choices of AIBMS.

Verifone V240m: Modern card machine with multiple connectivity options, a touchscreen and physical PIN pad below the 3.5” colour touchscreen.

The V240m model has a rear camera which can be activated to scan barcodes and coupons, but this function may require certain software to work.

Photo: AIBMS

Verifone V240m card machine

Another mobile card machine offered by AIBMS is Verifone V240m.

Ingenico Move/3500: Popular with merchants on a budget, this terminal has a fast processor and improved NFC reader for fast contactless payments.

The Move 35000 has an 8-hour battery life and 3.2″ colour screen with an ergonomic push-button PIN pad below.

Photo: AIBMS

Ingenico Move 3500 card machine

The Ingenico Move 3500 is a cheaper, mobile model to rent.

Of the stationary card machines, you can choose between the compact tablet register Clover Mini, larger touchscreen register setup Clover Station Pro, Verifone V200C or Ingenico Desk/3500 (pictured below).

A stationary terminal is plugged into a power socket and possibly a broadband cable at all times to function, so it is only suitable for a fixed till system.

Photo: AIBMS

Ingenico Desk 3500 card machine

Ingenico Desk/3500 is a stationary terminal.

These can be mixed and matched, and each terminal may have add-ons like mobile connectivity with a SIM card (usually costs extra), software upgrades and integrations with POS systems.

With an AIB card payment machine, you can offer Tax Free forms and Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) enabling you to accept GBP, USD, CAD, AUD and other international currencies at the till point. These features are not available for SumUp or Square users, and therefore part of what makes AIBMS a ‘premium’ solution.

Past transactions can be accessed and printed on each terminal, but additional sales reports are available in the free web-based merchant portal called AIBMS Insight. This shows transaction data, settlement status, your charges and statements.

Fees and pricing

AIB Merchant Services tailors their charges for each business – to an extent. Some costs are the same for everyone, while others depend on your card turnover, type of business and payment requirements. It is also certain that a contract lock-in is required, spanning anywhere between 1 and 4 years.

You won’t find a public pricing list from AIBMS, so their cost transparency is quite poor. We have nevertheless seen the following fees mentioned for AIB merchants.

AIB card machine fees
Contractual commitment 1-4 years
Setup fee €0-€200
Card machine rental Depends on terminal model, e.g. €25-€45*
Software fee Monthly fees apply for Clover’s POS software
Merchant account fee €4/mo
Transaction fees** Typically 1%-3% + fixed fee + 2¢ (autorisation fee)
Minimum monthly charge Varies, usually €30/mo
PCI-DSS compliance €15*/mo
25*/mo non-compliance fee if not compliant
Chargebacks €20 each
Insight reporting access Free
Paper statement fee applies
Early termination fee Fee equivalent to cost of months left of contract

*Excluding VAT. **Transaction fees are usually based on interchange++ rates set by the card schemes (Visa, Mastercard etc.).

AIBMS – or First Data, to be precise – will give you an interchange++ fee structure where transaction fees depend on the brand and type of debit or credit card. Usually, this is a percentage rate (e.g. 1%-3%) plus a fixed fee in some cases (e.g. €0.01-€0.15) with a fixed authorisation charge added on top (e.g. €0.02). Domestic consumer debit cards by Visa and Mastercard tend to have the lowest rates, whereas foreign, premium credit cards have the highest fees.

You may be offered a simpler pricing structure if the monthly card turnover is relatively small, but this usually means a higher fixed rate per transaction. Accepting American Express requires an extra contract with separate transaction fees.

In any case, there’s a monthly minimum service charge (e.g. €30) which is the minimum amount that First Data requires in transaction costs on a monthly basis. If, for example, you only owe €10 in card processing fees one month, you will still pay €30 to cover that €10 plus the service charge to make a total of €30 for card processing.

Various monthly charges apply as well, mainly for card machine rental, software features (for Clover in particular), PCI compliance and the merchant account. If you’re using a mobile terminal, you may also pay for SIM card usage.

There are also fixed costs for things like chargebacks and setting up. You can expect to pay extra if a terminal needs a replacement or repairs.

If you decide to leave the contract early, an early termination fee applies which could amount to hundreds of euros if there are several months/years left on the contract.

We strongly recommend close-reading any new contract with AIB Merchant Services, Clover and/or First Data as they all have rules about notice periods, termination fees and responsibilities around PCI compliance and terminal leases. It’s normal for merchants to be surprised about hidden fees after signing a payment contract.

The ‘Insight’ web portal for viewing transactions and reports is free to use, but we’ve seen a €7 monthly charge for the luxury of getting paper statements.

Remote and online payments

AIB merchant card services do not only include card machines, but also online payments through AIB’s Authipay software. It’s meant to be easy to set up, but it does have additional fees to the card machine costs mentioned earlier.

One of the Authipay tools is a browser-based virtual terminal, which is a web page where the merchant enters the cardholder’s payment details to complete a transaction online on behalf of the customer. This is used for telephone and mail order payments, where the customer is not physically present.

Authipay also includes an online payment gateway to integrate in your online store. This is basically an online checkout where card processing is handled by First Data/AIBMS.

Service and AIBMS reviews

If merchants run into trouble with their card machine, they can ring the terminal supplier which may be Clover rather than AIBMS. You get a phone number and email address to correspond with any day of the week, as there’s meant to be an account manager associated with each business.

That being said, we’ve seen many complaints about the lack of responses or availability when trying to phone support. High monthly fees and poor handling of disputes have been mentioned, but there are also positive reviews talking about efficient resolutions to problems – so it’s a mixed bag.

If you’re getting a Clover terminal, you’re not only dealing with AIB Merchant Services, but also Clover directly when needing their help. This has complicated communications in some cases, when merchants have been passed between one and another customer service representative from different parties.

Our verdict

An AIB card terminal comes with many fees and (most likely) years of contract lock-in. Despite this, it remains one of Ireland’s leading merchant card services for SMEs and large businesses alike.

The lack of pricing transparency is bad for small businesses comparing payment products, but AIBMS does offer tailored solutions that make sense to discuss on a phone call with them. You should ask for a list of all the fees and contract terms to read before signing anything, to avoid surprise fees down the line.

AIBMS criteria Rating Conclusion
Product 4.2 Good
Costs and fees 3.5 Passable/Good
Transparency and sign-up 1.8 Bad
Value-added services 3.5 Passable/Good
Service and reviews 2.5 Bad/Passable
Contract 2.5 Bad/Passable

Customer reviews show that many users have had a bad experience of the service, but there’s an equal amount of positive ratings too. It’s good that support options are offered every day of the week, but hospitality businesses should check whether there’s a number for technical support during busy hours at night.

AIBMS offers many types of card machines, so finding one with the right features and POS integrations won’t be a problem. But the various monthly fees can get quite expensive if you’re not reaching a certain sales volume every month.

So we suggest you determine your card turnover for the next few years, get an ABIMS quote and compare it with other card machines on the market before you decide on an AIBMS contract.