Elavon Overall Rating
Review Updated: 9/17/2013
Elavon (elavon.com) is a large merchant account provider and credit card processor that also supplies e-commerce solutions, hosted gateways, gift & pre-paid card services, electronic check services, and PCI compliance programs. The company was formed from a merger of NOVA Information Systems and euroConex and is part of U.S. Bank’s (U.S. Bancorp’s) payment services division. Elavon is based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and has been in the credit card processing industry since 1991. The company claims to serve over one million merchants worldwide with a primary focus is in North America and Europe. Elavon also has its own online payment gateway called InternetSecure and can integrate with other gateways such as Authorize.net. For international businesses, the company offers settlement in 16 currencies and a platform that can provide authorization in 85+ currencies and can convert international credit card purchases into the cardholder’s home currency in 48 different currencies.
Elavon Sales & Marketing Tactics | C
Elavon relies heavily upon resellers, sub-ISOs, independent agents, and partnerships to market and sell its credit card processing services. This marketing strategy is common among large merchant account providers and can often prove harmful to a company’s reputation, as it appears to have done for Elavon. One of the company’s most notable resellers is the grocer and retailer, Costco. In fact, Costco Merchant Services is often mistaken as its own credit card processing company when, in fact, Costco is simply acting as a sales agent of Elavon.
Elavon itself does not appear to use any deceptive advertising or rate quoting tactics. However, most of this processor’s accounts are established by resellers who use their own sales and marketing strategies. In a few cases, it is apparent that some of Elavon’s resellers are using misleading tactics based on reports from merchants. It appears that Elavon often enforces the terms of the agreement even when merchants claim that they were deceived by an agent.
Elavon Costs & Contract Terms | C
Elavon’s pricing and contracts terms may vary by merchant based upon processing volumes, business types and risk variables. Not only that, but some Elavon resellers have the flexibility to adjust contract terms, rates, and fees within specific guidelines as set by the company. Prior to February 2013, the company’s standard merchant account contract included a three-year service agreement with a $295 early termination fee if cancelled within the first year, or $195 if cancelled within the second or third year. Since February 2013, it appears that Elavon has ceased to include an early termination fee in its standard contract. It is unknown whether this policy change affects contracts signed or renewed under the former terms. Merchants should also keep in mind that resellers may be able to adjust the service agreement to up to five years and add cancellation fees if they desire. Elavon also charges PCI Compliance fees that appear to vary from $59 to $29 per month; however, the fee may be assessed on an annual basis too.
Elavon Complaints & Service | C
It is important to keep in mind that Elavon is a huge processor and that the bigger a merchant service company becomes, the more complaints it will have. With that said, Elavon has an average amount of complaints compared to other processors of its size, and many of these complaints accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Merchants primarily report problems with sudden holds and freezes, unexpected fees, billing disputes, equipment lease problems, and poor customer service. The common theme appears to be that the smaller a merchant’s business, the harder it is to get problems resolved. You can read actual merchant complaints in the comment section at the end of this review.
Elavon BBB Report | C- (CPO Adjusted)
As of this update, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is awarding Elavon an “A+” rating despite having 283 complaints filed in the last 36 months. In fact, Elavon’s BBB complaint count is up by 116 complaints since the first publishing of this review. Of the total complaints, 139 are due to billing and collection issues, 114 with problems regarding products and services, 26 with advertising and sales issues, three related to delivery problems, and one due to a warranty issue. The BBB report states that 205 complaints were resolved but that 78 left the merchant dissatisfied with Elavon’s response. We have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C-” for the purposes of this review based on how our criteria would have scored it. You can learn more about why we adjust BBB ratings in our rating criteria.
Elavon is one of the largest credit card processors in the world. Due to this fact, this processor seems to be a better fit for businesses with high processing volumes ($100,000+ per month) and/or ones that need international payment acceptance. Although the company has numerous complaints, it serves over one million merchants globally and is bound to have a few unhappy customers. Due to this processor’s large size, we have set Elavon’s rating to a “C” since most businesses processing less than $100k per month would be better served by smaller providers that are able to supply better customer service to these types of merchants. Elavon can improve its score by enacting more favorable contract and pricing policies and resolving complaints before they become public.
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