Element Payment Services
Last Updated: February 7, 2014
Element Payment Services Overview
Element Payment Services (elementps.com) is a merchant account provider based on Phoenix, Arizona, that entered the credit card processing industry in 2001. Element announced that it had been acquired by Vantiv in July 2013, but the acquisition has not been finalized as of this update. Element Payment Services primarily focuses on providing payment solutions to large enterprises and software makers that need PCI DSS-compliant payment applications. Despite this focus, it appears that the company will serve merchants of just about any size. Element also has its own branded payment gateway called the “Element Express Processing Platform.” Element Payment Services is a registered ISO/MSP of First National Bank of Omaha and is located at 500 North Juniper Drive, Suite 100, Chandler, Arizona.
Element Sales & Marketing Tactics | A-
Element Payment Services appears to rely on telemarketing, strategic partnerships, and an in-house sales team to market its services. There is no indication at this time that the company employs independent sales agents, and we are currently able to locate only one Element Payment Services review that describes unethical behavior by the company’s sales staff. The merchant in this case was led to believe over the phone that she would not be signing a contract, only to later learn that she had in fact agreed to three years of service. Despite the merchant’s confusion, Element Payment Services enforced the terms of the contract in full.
At the time of our last update, we did find some evidence that the company promotes Interchange Pass-through rate pricing, but this may have changed since the company was acquired by Vantiv. Element Payment Services does not appear to engage in deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials.
Element Costs & Contract Terms | D
The standard Element Payment Services contract (available above) is a three-year agreement through Vantiv with automatic renewal for two-year terms, a Liquidated Damages early termination fee, and either Interchange-plus or tiered pricing. At this time, we cannot confirm specifics regarding other fees, such as PCI Compliance fees, monthly minimum fees, or rate structures.
The Liquidated Damages clause found in this contract is uncommonly complex, and it charges two different amounts upon termination depending on whether the merchant is on an Interchange-plus or tiered pricing plan. For Interchange-plus merchants, the company takes the average monthly fees assessed during the merchant’s three most expensive months of service and multiplies that amount by the number of remaining months in the merchant’s contract. For merchants who are on a tiered pricing schedule, the company takes the same three-month average, subtracts 2% of the merchant’s average monthly sales dollar volume, and then multiplies that amount by the number of remaining months in the merchant’s contract.
In light of the company’s complicated termination penalty and long-term agreement, we have scored Element’s contract terms a “D.”
Element Complaints & Service | A+
We are currently unable to locate any Element Payment Services negative reviews that refer to the company as a ripoff or a scam. It is possible that some Element complaints are posted on the online profiles of the company’s processor, Vantiv, but the total absence of complaints seems to indicate that most Element merchants are satisfied with their service. The Element Payment Services website provides dedicated phone and email support contact information.
Element BBB Report | A (CPO Adjusted)
Element Payment Services is showing Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation since 2005 and currently boasts an “A+” BBB Rating. The company has had only four complaints filed in the last three years. Three were related to billing and collection, while one was related to problems with the product or service. All of these complaints were resolved with BBB assistance. Since it is our philosophy that “A+” ratings should be reserved for companies with zero complaints, we have slightly adjusted the BBB’s grade to an “A.”
Element Payment Services rates as a reliable merchant services provider according to our rating system. The company is showing zero complaints outside of the BBB and a low complaint total with the BBB. Element’s recent acquisition by Vantiv appears to have changed some of its policies and contract terms going forward, so merchants are advised to read their contracts carefully and ensure that they understand all rates and fees.
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