HSBC Global Iris – the online death knell for Merchant Services?


About four or five months ago I had a call from HSBC Merchant Services with whom I have the payment gateway for newroomsonline.

I love HSBC and have seldom had cause to complain about them or their service.

They were calling to ask if I had managed to read through the new Global Iris merchant information that would be replacing my existing service.

As it happened I hadn’t given it a second thought pushing aside until it was absolutely necessary….that day had arrived.

The smashingly helpful Brian said he would walk me through the process.

We set about the task only to find that HSBC’s new software wasn’t a default gateway on the Shopcreator system to which I subscribe, so the process ground to a halt until I could have a chat with them.

“It’s ironic, “I said to Brian,”when so few customers elect to pay using the bank backed gateway anyway, I battle inwardly with whether it’s even worth my having it any more. Probably 99% choose PayPal to the degree that I know it no longer pays for itself. It’s just a tool that adds credibility!”

Brian kept a professional silence!

Evidently all that needed to be done was to point my checkout to a different address. Shopcreator made no bones about saying how banks were very quick to tell customers it was a five minute job when, in fact, it cost them a substantial amount of money to effect the changes. Bottom line, they would do it, but it would cost me £500.

So I refused.

I got back to HSBC and said that in all fairness why should I, or Shopcreator, for that matter, have to foot a bill for a change which was none of my doing?

And since then nothing has happened until this week.

Shopcreator and HSBC have arrived at an agreement where I have not had to pay but they have carried out the software migration nonetheless.

So this morning I had my mini tutorial on the new software which seems far more straight forward and intuitive than the last but is not without its anomalies.

They advise we use Internet Explorer as it just seems to do better on IE……but I use Chrome for everything! It will work on other browsers apparently but functions best of all on IE.

Which begs the question for me – why?

Why launch a software that doesn’t work equally across all browsers? (or is that my naivety?) When I am constantly being told that Chrome is a safer place to do business why would a bank elect to use any other out of preference?

Secondly, and perhaps more irritating is the fraudshield aspect.

The old software was linked to the ordering system, flagging up automatically any transaction that it queried as potentially fraudulent. This is commonly where a customer might have completed the invoicing address incorrectly, a mistyped postcode or, more often than not, where a house has a name and a number and the customer has not put them on the order form in the precise way the bank sees the address on their system. On the other hand it identifies fraudsters.

So when an order was marked FRAUDSHIELD REVIEW, I was instantly aware that the transaction had not been processed and had to log on to the merchant’s system to either OK or refuse the transaction based on the reason for its being flagged up.

The new software, however, does not do this. Consequently all transactions have to be gone through manually each evening to ensure that nothing has been flagged up as dodgy.

This might be OK if you’re a huge business and can dedicate a member of staff to the task, or if you are so small and have so few transactions that it’s not an all consuming task.

All I could think, however, was, thank God everyone IS choosing PayPal or this would sound the death knell for me and the HSBC gateway.

But it begs the question, if something were to go wrong with PayPal and I had to rely on HSBC I’d have to change all my terms and conditions regarding shipping times because I can easily see that I could not promise shipping within 2-3 days……as I’d have  my nose stuck to a spreadsheet all day. It’s not a good day for the SME working in online retail I have concluded.

I am fascinated to hear of any teething issues which have arisen for other vendors who might have been using Global Iris since its inception. Anyone?



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3 Responses to “HSBC Global Iris – the online death knell for Merchant Services?”

  1. steve Says:

    We had our first ever charge back in 15 yes – defended ( if that is what you can call it) by Global Iris by somebody in the Philippines – I won’t bother telling you the outcome …. you already know! the most appalling system I have ever had.

  2. Jane Wilson Says:

    Our experience with global iris has been awful. We were about to pay a several hundred quid to get it integrated into Prestashop, when just the day before we discovered that a module had just been developped which was compatible with Prestashop. You would have thought they would have known about that a few months in advance!
    Six months later we are still having problems. The worst thing is that you can only store a customer’s card detials for a month, whereas with the HSBC global payments it was six months. Can anybody receommend a good payment system where you can debit a card up to six months’s later? (without asking the customer to store his details) and that is compatible with prestashop?

  3. sallyedmundson Says:

    We have since moved the website to a new host and in so doing just gave up our HSBC gateway altogether. It wasn’t down to the issues raised within my post, here, but simply a matter of economics. It was no longer financially viable. About 99% of our customers opted to pay by PayPal, the gateway wasn’t even paying for itself!

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