Costco Merchant Services Reviews & Complaints

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Pros & Cons
Pros: Cons:
Strong security Limited international options
Competitive pricing Requires Costco membership
Reliable customer support Limited customization
Easy integration Contractual commitments
Membership rewards Fee structure complexity

Overview

In this article, we provide an insightful overview of Costco Merchant Services, a division reselling Elavon contracts for payment processing solutions. We'll examine their offerings, including credit and debit card processing, POS systems, and the Talech Terminal, alongside a critical evaluation of their rates, fees, and contract terms. This article also addresses common customer complaints, industry ratings, and the pros and cons of using Costco's services, highlighting issues like competitive pricing and customer service experiences.

We'll discuss the impact of recent lawsuits and delve into customer feedback trends to offer a well-rounded view of the company's reputation and performance. Our aim is to present an unbiased perspective, aiding businesses in making informed decisions about using Costco Merchant Services for their payment processing needs.

About Costco Merchant Services

Costco Merchant Services is the merchant services division of Costco, a well-known wholesale retailer. Costco Merchant Services is actually a reseller of Elavon contracts, and this relationship was indicated clearly on the department's website. Elavon is part of U.S. Bank’s (U.S. Bancorp’s) payment services division. This means that businesses that sign up for a merchant account through Costco will receive the processing services of Elavon.

Costco Merchant Services Payment Processing

Costco Merchant Services processes all major debit and credit cards for most business types. Their services include POS systems, EMV card readers and swipers, mobile processing, and online processing solutions. Again, this is actually Elavon doing the processing.

Talech Terminal and POS Solutions

The service provides the Talech Terminal, a smart terminal with a built-in card reader and printer, designed for mobile payments without the use of a cell phone. It features an intuitive user interface, inventory and customer tracking, and is Wi-Fi and 4G enabled. Talech also offers POS solutions tailored for retail, restaurants, and service industries, with capabilities such as inventory management, table management, and online booking.

Business Management and Security

Costco Merchant Services emphasizes improved cash flow with options for receiving funds within hours of batch submission or the next day. They offer business management tools, including employee and inventory management, invoicing, and security technologies to protect sensitive data.

Costco Merchant Services payment processing
Costco Merchant Services offers payment processing through the massive Costco brand

Costco Merchant Services Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Customer Reviews Summary
Total Online Complaints 10+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Hidden Fees
Recent Lawsuits No

Overview of Costco Merchant Services Reviews

Our exploration reveals a modest volume of Costco Merchant Services reviews across consumer protection platforms, with approximately 10 detailed complaints. Historical issues highlight unfavorable rates, service cancellation hurdles, and non-disclosed early termination fees. More recent criticisms shift focus to problems with fund holds, costly equipment leases, and challenges in replacing stolen equipment. It’s noteworthy that many of these grievances are documented under Elavon reviews, indicating potential confusion due to the intertwined operations of Costco and Elavon.

Legal and Regulatory Insights

No evidence of class-action lawsuits or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaints directly targeting Costco Merchant Services has been found. Clients seeking resolutions without litigation are encouraged to report their issues to appropriate regulatory organizations.

Costco Merchant Services Support Quality

Evaluating customer support quality for Costco Merchant Services is challenging, considering Elavon’s varied performance in addressing complaints and Costco’s extensive reach. Nonetheless, there are no widespread allegations of fraudulent practices or grave misconduct. Customer support, managed by Elavon, is accessible 24/7, catering to the diverse needs of businesses.

Contact Information for Customer Support

  • (877) 807-6239 – Toll-Free Customer Support
  • (844) 730-2781 – Sales Support

Customer Feedback Analysis

Positive Costco Merchant Services reviews often praise the service for its competitive fees and pricing clarity, emphasizing the lack of hidden charges and extra fees as major advantages. Notably, these benefits are generally contingent on holding a Costco membership, considered by some as a valuable investment for the associated savings.

Negative feedback primarily addresses customer service challenges, especially the complexities of liaising between Costco and Elavon, leading to protracted issue resolution and dissatisfaction. Concerns also extend to contractual aspects, like the rigidity and cost of equipment leases and the policies around early termination, which some find to be unexpectedly stringent or costly.

While many users find value in Costco Merchant Services’ cost efficiency and transparency, improvement areas such as streamlined customer support and more favorable contractual terms could significantly elevate the customer experience.

Summary of Customer Sentiment

Customer sentiment towards Costco Merchant Services is divided, with some appreciating the competitive rates and transparency afforded by Costco’s brand, while others voice frustrations over service experiences and the nuances of engaging with a reseller model. This mixed reception highlights the necessity of aligning merchant services with specific business requirements and preferences for customer support, urging prospective clients to weigh these considerations carefully.

Costco Merchant Services Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

No Profile

The Better Business Bureau does not have a page devoted specifically to Costco Merchant Services, and Costco itself has had its complaints distributed across multiple profiles for its individual locations. In addition, it’s possible that some Costco Merchant Services complaints could be redirected to Elavon’s BBB profile. It would therefore be unhelpful to consult the BBB for information about Costco’s Merchant Services, and we will not factor the BBB into this review.

Costco Merchant Services Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Cost & Fees Summary
Cancellation Penalties No
Monthly & Annual Fees Yes
Processing Rates Variable
Equipment Leasing Yes

Three-Year Agreement

As previously mentioned, Costco resells Elavon contracts, indicating that the terms of the Costco Merchant Services contract are likely similar to those of the standard Elavon contract. While Costco advertises rates starting at 1.10% plus $0.12, customer reviews have reported fees reaching as high as 3.35% plus $0.29. These terms typically entail a three-year commitment with tiered pricing, along with a $25 application fee, a monthly minimum fee of $20, and a monthly statement fee of $4.95. Notably, Costco does not impose any early termination fees or PCI compliance fees. Executive members also benefit from waived application and statement fees.

Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing

Apart from its in-store payment processing services, Costco promotes its virtual terminal and payment gateway services on its website. The disclosed keyed-in rate for online transactions is 1.90% plus $0.25. However, additional fees, such as gateway fees, technical support fees, or batch fees, may apply to these e-commerce services.

Consider Purchasing Equipment Instead of Leasing

While processing equipment is available for upfront purchase, Costco also offers equipment leasing through Ladco Leasing, a leasing provider with low ratings on CardPaymentOptions.com. Overall, Costco’s involvement seems to align with the standard services offered by Elavon. Consequently, we rate Costco with a “B” in this category. However, it’s advisable for business owners to compare Costco’s pricing with that of the most cost-effective merchant account providers. Additionally, we recommend exploring our list of the top merchant accounts.

Costco Merchant Services Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Jobs & Marketing Summary
Uses Independent Resellers No
Telemarketing No
Misleading Marketing Yes
Discloses All Important Terms No

Direct Advertising to Shoppers

Costco appears to market its merchant services using the same channels that it uses to market its other products, including in-mail, online, and in-store promotions. The company’s large membership base allows it to advertise directly to its regular shoppers, sparing it the need to employ independent sales agents like its processor, Elavon. This means there are very few negative Costco Merchant Services reviews and compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.

Slightly Deceptive Rate Quoting

The Costco Merchant Services website prominently quotes two rates of 1.10% plus $0.12 and 1.90% plus $0.25 per transaction. These rates are the “Qualified” rates for swiped and keyed transactions. The fine print beneath these quotes notes that these are the rates for Qualified transactions, but does not state that rewards cards (which receive “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates) will process at a higher rate, nor does it list these higher rates. We consider this type of rate quoting to be somewhat deceptive since clients who overlook or misunderstand the fine print could have an unrealistic expectation of the rates they will pay. We have not lowered Costco’s rating too severely, however, because the fine print does explain that it is only showing the Qualified Costco Merchant Services rates. If you suspect that you are being charged undisclosed Costco Merchant Services fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to eliminate hidden costs.

Our Costco Merchant Services Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

Costco Merchant Services emerges as an above-average credit card processing provider. Operating as a reseller of Elavon contracts, Costco exhibits a complaint rate that is notably lower than that of Elavon itself, and it provides some additional benefits that are not offered directly by its processor. However, the overall rating of Costco Merchant Services is somewhat impacted by the fact that Elavon does not hold an exceptional status within our evaluations. Moreover, distinguishing the specific complaints directed at Costco Merchant Services from those aimed at Elavon can be challenging, which complicates the assessment of Costco’s direct customer satisfaction levels.

Clients considering Costco for their credit card processing needs should diligently read and understand their contracts. Given the potential for variability in contract terms and the indirect relationship with Elavon, it is crucial for businesses to thoroughly compare the pricing and terms offered by Costco against those from top-rated merchant account providers. Doing so will ensure that businesses secure the most advantageous deal, effectively aligning with their financial and operational objectives.

Location & Ownership

Founded in 1976, Costco’s headquarters are located at 999 Lake Dr. Ste 200, Issaquah, Washington 98027-8982. W. Craig Jelinek is the president and CEO of Costco.

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Which is Most Important for You?

If you had to pick one, which quality would you say will be the most important with your next credit card processor? Tap or click your selection to register your vote:

  1. Low Transaction Fees
  2. No Monthly Fees
  3. No Contract
  4. Reliable Customer Support
  5. Quick Signup

Testimonials & Complaints

How Did Costco Merchant Services Treat You?

11 User Reviews

  • Carla Brugge

    I am a member of Costco and went thru Elavon for my credit card purchases for my business. I have found Elavon to be rude, condescending, and unable to assist me when they shut my account down and refuse to assist me or answer my questions as to when the account will be reopened. It has been 3 days short of a month since the closing and no answer as to when it will reopen. Trying to talk to Assumption Agreement department is impossible. They don’t answer the phone and state that they will respond within 72 hours and then don’t. I am a customer of Elavon and sit here with no answers and can’t process credit card charges for my business thru the holidays thru Elavon. Unbelievably terrible company!!

  • Rudy

    pacific auto electric

    m a costco executive member and they told me to get elavon credit card processing for my small businesses but they got me good over charge me
    and back charges with out any nonitification at all
    and a high percentage on credit cards at 4.1%
    i dont recomend this company find other one
    also they refuse to take any responsibility horrible busness practice .

  • Georgette

    Sly Mongoose

    We had to create a new account, we could not use the old owners Costco membership. The Elavon sales person is fantastic. I was told that I would be renting the unit, I asked why and was never offered to purchase the unit outright. Everything was going well. The system is easy enough to operate. The employees took to the updated unit favorably. It was smooth sailing until the charger stopped working. I called for weeks to get a new one. No one could help me, I was bounced everywhere for weeks. I was told once we were underway, that I had to deal with the support end of the business. That is a very poor label for that back end. The unit is portable, very large and bulky, I feared it would be dropped and it did happen, so now I had to replace the whole unit, as it has a hairline crack across the screen. I ramped up by calls. A month in, and a few heated conversations later, I had nothing. I was advised, by the ‘other end’ – who could not figure out why I could not get a replacement charger for my rental or buy a new unit – I was told along the line that I would have to pay $500+ for a it, I said fine, sign me up. Nothing. Others advised me to elude that it wasn’t dropped so I wouldn’t have to pay. I stated many times that I did not care about paying. Nothing. I was told, “Well, you dropped it, it isn’t covered.” Fine, charge me. I was told I would have to open a new account or something like that. Okay! let’s do it. The majority of the time that I called, the rep could not find my account, said they didn’t have my info that matched. Yes, well that is because you are looking at the previous owners account – as you do not allow for transfers. I have an account number, they never start with with simple, vital tidbit. It has been a couple of months, I have threatened that I was in search of a new credit card processing company. Our bar is 90-95% electronic payment based. I am not so concerned anymore with the lowest fees. I am more interested in decent customer service and getting a replacement, especially when I state that I will pay! I found another company, i don’t know how the rates and fees will stack up. I have been assured that if I have any issues, I can call this person, the initial sales person I spoke to and get my needs satisfied. There is no contract. They sold me the unit outright – which I prefer, I never get insurance – I have no desire to jump through hoops for replacements, finagle the truth to fall within the coverage parameters, etc. I am shocked that Costco does business with Elavon, as far as their customer service level is concerned. Otherwise, the processing and web based reporting is and has been fantastic, no complaints there. I tried to find a review section on the Costco website, there is none, although they do post a few highly rated customer one-line or so reviews. This is the only forum I could find to share my experience on.

  • Leslie chin

    Poor quality machines, poor customer service. Took 3 days to resolve a sim card issue. receipt print tiny, machine battery don’t last a day. We had 4 of them, all such bad build and all stop working due to sim card. Took 3 days of getting transferred around to get new sim cards.

  • Rosa Carretero Fung

    HORRIBLE Service with Elavon! I’m disappointed COSTCO has a partnership with them! I have a ingenico iCT250 I purchased through Costco some years back. Im a small business & only use their merchant services and was in need of software upgrade. So I call technical support for assistance, after 1 hr 45 min support was unable to further assist me and told me to take my devise home to try to do the download at home. So I do that set up at home call leave a message to call me back, they call me back after 30 min, I get transferred they hang up on me, don’t bother to return my call. I attempted to call again (3rd time) leave message elavon call me back in 30 min, I beg the tech support lady pls don’t not transfer me and not call me back. Gave her my number just in case this happened again. She was unable to help me, she “warm”transferred to support I wait for 40 min on the warm transfer. Finally a get help I beg them not to hang up and gave him my cell to call if I get dropped on the support call. On the phone with him gives me hope after he trouble shoots my software (1 hr) then YES he DROPS my call! Doesn’t bother calling me back! Nobody I’m did at this point! What the hell are they doing all day over there. What a dam waste of my off day (I’m a small business trying to get back on my feet) grand total of my wasted day with Elavon Support 4 fricking hours and they did NOTHING and didn’t fix my issue!!!! Costco wake up pls this company is so poorly managed! What a waste of my day! Moving on to a different system. No to cancel all of my account with this merchant!

  • Sheiva Pousti

    Elevon has completey defauded our account as well. We are executive members with Costco and are appalled how Costco is able to refer their members to this dishonest company. DO not use their services. I have been on a call for over 4 hours and their employees even refuse to disclose their names. They have fraudulent chargebacks without any letters or client names attached to it and they refuse to give us back our money. They are a scam. Do not use them. WE will be filing a lawsuit against them.

  • John Mahlmann

    I was defrauded of a great deal of money as a result of processing credit card transactions online. My manager had Elevon confirm the first transaction was valid and continued processing based on confirmation the transaction didn’t raise any flags. Now that the chargebacks have started to pile up, I’m required to pay hundreds of dollars in fees. Additionally, Elevon is withholding money from my account I will not owe for 90 days after the last chargeback. Getting call-backs and names of supervisors has proven exceeding difficult. This is not what one expect from a company that receives $25,000 a year in fees. I strongly recommend exploring alternative options.

  • William Cline

    BEWARE!!! Elavon does absolutely nothing to represent or stand behind their merchants, so even if they offer slightly lower fees it just isn’t worth it as just one unjustified chargeback more than offsets any savings. We had a cardholder claim they returned an item back in February 2017 – it is now May 2017 – which they did not, and in their chargeback claim provided no documentation whatsoever of any such return. And yet, all Elavon did was route form letters to us ignoring all of the evidence we provided as to the charge, matches on address and security code, and authorization to process the charge. I don’t think they even took the time to read anything, instead just reflexively rolling over to allow this cardholder to commit overt fraud. Complete and total FRAUD. So do business with Elavon at your own risk, especially if you’re a small or medium size business that they take for granted. Of course maybe they take everyone for granted and are just running their own scam pocketing all the savings from their non-existent customer service and pathetically inadequate and incompetent transaction authorizations bordering on outright negligence.

  • Jon Acord

    Horrible, stay away! I am AMAZED costco went thru them, I had talked to someone about perhaps going thru Costco payment processing. The person took some info, was going to call me back to fill me in with what they could offer, they charged my credit card $150, I have called them and repeatedly told them I dont want this, they have been charging my credit card every month, they will call me to say they want to help set it up, and I repeatedly tell them I did not want this, please stop charging my credit card. STAY AWAY!

  • SD

    Elavon is a rip-off….

    Everything looks good in the beginning with the low rates but look out !!! I had a terminal stolen, and Elavon wants $1226 to replace it !! How you ask… Elavon is asking me to buy out the full term of my contract as well as pay for the terminal to rectify this, and them start over with a new contract right away. They will not just sell me a new terminal to replace the old (3months) terminal and allow me to carry on business as usual. And they think this is alright and I will be happy to just go right back to them. They are smoking something down there.

    Stay awayfrom them.

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