A Major U.S. Credit Card Processor
Elavon (elavon.com) is one of the largest merchant account providers in the United States. 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 active in the credit card processing industry since 1991. Simon Haslam is the CEO of Elavon.
Active Across the World
Elavon claims to serve over one million merchants worldwide, with a primary focus in North America and Europe. The company’s equipment lease subsidiary, Ladco Leasing, is a major supplier of credit card terminals and other payment processing equipment. 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 multi-currency merchant services such as settlement in 16 currencies, authorization in 85+ currencies, and conversion into the cardholder’s home currency in 48 different currencies.
- Sales & Marketing: Elavon hires independent sales agents and has received a low-to-moderate number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Elavon offers a multi-year contract with no early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: Elavon has received more than 400 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Elavon has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 176 complaints in the past three years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Elavon
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Uses Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Promotes Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Provisions||No|
An Army of Resellers
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. Specifically, the company has received a large number of complaints related to undisclosed fees and leasing terms.
Partnered With Costco
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 it is simply acting as a sales agent of Elavon. Merchants who use Costco Merchant Services often complain that they expected to receive the usual wholesale costs that Costco is known for, and that they were surprised when they encountered Elavon’s industry-standard pricing. In fact, the best low-budget merchant accounts do not include Costco or Sam’s Club.
No Dirty Tricks
Elavon itself does not appear to use any deceptive advertising or rate quoting tactics on its website. The company has recently added a pricing page that lists specific rate quotes, promising 2.65% plus $0.19 on swiped transactions and 3.5% plus $0.19 on keyed-in payments. These rates seem to apply to both credit card terminals and mobile processing. The company also lists a $10 monthly fee on this page. These rates and fees do not appear to be misleadingly quoted at this time.
The Agent Makes the Difference
Most of Elavon’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. The company and its resellers are also notorious for signing merchants up for expensive, non-cancellable equipment leases through Ladco Leasing as part of their merchant services packages. Elavon usually enforces the terms of the lease agreement even when merchants claim that they were deceived by an agent.
Elavon Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Advertised Swipe Rate||2.65% + $0.19|
|Advertised Keyed-In Rate||3.5% + $0.19|
|Early Termination Fee||None / Up To $295|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$29 to $59 Per Month|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Months / Non-cancellable|
Contract Terms Will Vary
Elavon’s pricing and contracts terms may vary from merchant to 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. Elavon also appears to have made a number of changes to its contract terms in the past five years, so merchants are reporting many different rates and fees at this time.
Elavon’s Former Pricing
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.
Elavon’s Current Pricing
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 company’s 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 formerly charged PCI Compliance fees that varied from $59 to $29 per month; however, the company’s recent promises of no more “hidden fees” would seem to indicate that it has abandoned this practice. Elavon’s current monthly fee is listed as $10.
Long-Term Equipment Leases From Ladco
Although Elavon appears to be rebranding itself as a more transparent processor, the company continues to own and operate the equipment lease provider Ladco Leasing, which has a very poor reputation among merchants. The standard Ladco Leasing agreement is an expensive, non-cancellable 48-month equipment lease that often costs up to ten times the actual price of the equipment. Elavon seems to go to great lengths to conceal the relationship between Ladco and Elavon, probably due to the fact that there are very few positive reviews of Ladco to be found online. However, it is Elavon’s insistence on leasing equipment through Ladco that keeps it from being a top-rated merchant account provider.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||400+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Poor Customer Service|
Hundreds of Complaints
It is important to keep in mind that Elavon is a huge processor and should therefore be expected to have more Elavon complaints than a small provider. With that said, Elavon has over 400 complaints in the comment section of this review and over 50 on other sites, with many more filed against Ladco Leasing. This is an average amount of complaints compared to other processors of its size. Merchants primarily report problems with poor customer support, sudden holds and freezes, unexpected fees, billing disputes, and equipment lease problems.
Problems Serving Smaller Businesses
The common theme to Elavon’s complaints appears to be that the smaller a merchant’s business is, the harder it is to get problems resolved through Elavon. This means that Elavon may perform better as an enterprise-level merchant account provider. To its credit, Elavon does offer 24/7 customer support to all of its users. You can read actual merchant complaints in the comment section at the end of this review.
Key Points - BBB
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
Over 150 Complaints
As of this update, the Better Business Bureau is awarding Elavon an “A+” rating despite the fact that the company has received 176 complaints in the last 36 months. Of the total complaints, 56 are due to billing and collection issues, 99 to problems regarding products and services, 19 to advertising and sales issues, and two are related to delivery problems. The BBB report states that 50 complaints were successfully resolved but that 126 left the merchant dissatisfied or did not receive a final evaluation from the merchant.
What Merchants Say
Elavon has also received six informal reviews, all of which are negative in tone. Here’s the most recent review, from a merchant complaining of poor customer service:
We process close to $200,000 a month with Elavon. I have called my account manager 35 times, left him 5 voicemails and I can’t get a call back. This is spanning close to 6 weeks. The customer service at this company is complete joke. I’ve gotten calls back faster from my water heater rental company.
Given the fact that they process $200,000 per month, this merchant may benefit from switching to a high-volume merchant account specialist.
A “B” Performance Overall
We have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “B” for the purposes of this review based on how our criteria would have scored Elavon.
About Phillip Parker
Phillip Parker is a former merchant services sales agent who believes the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal from hard working business owners. He created this website to help you avoid the bad players, save money on fees, and to get peace of mind with your merchant account. If you would like to help support his work, learn more about our cost reduction service. We can evaluate your statement, tell you exactly how much you're overpaying, and then help you dramatically reduce your fees with your current credit card processor. Looking to switch instead? See our list of the best merchant account providers.Schedule a Consultation with Phillip