Element Payment Services Review

Overview

UPDATE 12/8/2016: Element Payment Services has been combined with Mercury Payment Systems to create Vantiv Integrated Payments. The Element brand appears to have been retired as of this time, and Element no longer appears to sell products as an independent organization. See our Vantiv review for up-to-date information about this company.

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. 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. Sean Kramer is listed as the president and CEO of Element Payment Services.

Element Payment Services Products and Services

Industries

  • Retail
  • E-commerce
  • Mobile
  • MOTO
  • B2B
a

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

Employs Independent Resellers No
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

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. To the company’s credit, Element Payment Services does not appear to engage in deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials.

Element Payment Services Marketing Example

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Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee Liquidated Damages
PCI Compliance Fee Variable
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

The standard Element Payment Services contract (available below) 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. However, some merchants have reported that the company added a $199 annual fee in August of 2014.

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.” See the Element Payment Services Terms and Conditions.

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Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A

We are currently able to locate five Element Payment Services negative reviews, although none of these refer to the company as a ripoff or a scam. Nearly all of the complaints report billing errors, unexpected fees, poor customer service, and difficulty cancelling service. Element’s decision to add an annual fee of $199 for all merchants in August 2014 also seems to have resulted in a moderate uptick in complaints since our last review. The Element Payment Services website provides dedicated phone and email support contact information, but these channels may be partially serviced by Vantiv.

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BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 4
Billing & Collection Complaints 10
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

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.

Element Payment Services is showing Better Business Bureau accreditation since 2005 and currently boasts an “A+BBB rating. The company has had 14 complaints filed in the last 36 months. Ten were related to billing and collection, while four were related to problems with the product or service. All of these complaints were resolved with BBB assistance. Element has also received one negative review and one neutral review, although it should be noted that these reviews are not subject to verification by the BBB. 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 a “B+.”

Element Payment Services Logo

Element Payment Services Bottom Line

Element Payment Services rates as an above average merchant services provider according to our rating system. The company is showing only a few complaints outside of the BBB but has seen an increase in complaints filed 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.

Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.

Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

9 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. SO TERRIBLY DISAPPOINTED! I have been with Elements for over 5 years and always had great customer service. Something has changed with the company. I think that they have been purchased or merged with another company and service and technical support has been TERRIBLE! I have had an error show up every time we try to use a debit card and give cash back. This has been going on for 20 days. I have called several times. On hold each time for approximately 20 minutes only to be told they still don’t know what the issue is and they have “expedited it” Trying to fix it. Every time I have to run a card through as a credit card and not a debit my company pays a higher processing fee. How convenient for them!! The manager was too bust to talk to me today so I am taking this in my own hands and shopping for a new processing company. Any one know of one that cares about their customers??


    Are you with Element Payment Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  2. I am also trying to get Element to refund my $199.00 fees. I am not having good service from the contact person. I found out about this fee because they wanted me to purchase a new card reader for $250.00. They said I need this to be EMV compliant. The card reader I currently use is the one they sold me for $350. It is capable of reading chip cards and it is less than 2 years old. They say software is not being developed for this reader yet. I believe that if I was told to purchase the reader that I have, odds are, so was everyone else. So why then do they develop software for another machine? In all likely hood they simply want to make another $250.00 per account. Had I not gone through that I never would have known they charged me two $199. fees because there was never any notification of the sudden decision to charge this fee. I should have been given the option to get out of the contract before being charged this fee. I believe that this is breach of contract. I am giving Element more than ample time to make this right. Looks like I will also have to resort to BBB.


    Are you with Element? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  3. BEWARE! Our company was pursued heavily by Element and was promised a low merchant discount rate but rarely saw the discount rate quoted. When we asked about the discount rate we were told that was dependent upon the credit card we take. Very few cards had the discount rate promised. Most were much higher. Poor training on how to process charges, credits and returns which resulted in our company being charged higher rates and unnecessary fees. I just learned I am being charged a $20 non-compliance fee although I had completed their yearly compliance process. As of last year Element added a $150 service & maintenance fee which we never agreed to. When we called about fees the company was only willing to reduce fees if we signed a 36 month contract. When we said we were going to cancel we were told there would be a $400 early termination fee. I will no longer be using elements services but have to pay their fees until I can cancel my contract in March. Very frustrating. We went to the Square! https://squareup.com/! Low, flat fee on all cards, no processing fees, no compliance reports…simple and so far has been working great for our business.

  4. For the past 19 months they have been charging and renewing an account I tried to close in January 2014. They are trying to blame me for not jumping through all of there cancellation hoops and will not refund the payments despite zero account activity. I call that stealing.

  5. This company has horrible service !!! I did a trail service with a software company that said I had to use Elements merchant service. I did not choose to use the software, so I returned the unopened machine on September 17 , 2014! It’s now November 17, and i have not gotten my money returned to me! Elements give you the run around! There now telling me after 2 months of my money will be returned at the end of the month, now to I will have to fill out a W9! I’m done I’m calling bbb and my attorney! Do yourself a favor if you don’t want to stress yourself out!!!!!STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY!

  6. We have been processing credit cards through Element Payment Services since 2008. On or about September 13th, we received our August 2014 statement from Element with a note on the last page stating “Also, beginning with your September 2014 billing statement you will be assessed an annual service and maintenance fee of $199. If you have any questions, please call the number located at the top of your statement.” We have never been charged an annual fee – and certainly not one of $199! I assumed the fee is for the upcoming year, since we were just informed. I contacted our credit card processor, Capital Processing Network on Monday, September 15th to cancel our account due to the ridiculous and bogus annual fee. I stated that we should not be charged the fee starting September as we were only informed of the fee on the August statement which we didn’t receive until September. I completed the cancelation form and sent back that same day. She stated she would check with a supervisor but because we hadn’t been actually charged the fee yet, there
    wasn’t much she could do. I explained I was trying to prevent that fee deduction from happening. On or about Oct. 7, I noticed our bank account had been debited for the $199. fee, along with all the other fees. I contacted Capital Processing Network to attempt to get a refund. The person I spoke with said the refund was up to Element and that they would send an email to them with the request and that I should hear from them within a couple days. I was told I could not contact them directly – that the request had to go through Capital Processing. 10-20-14 Did not hear from Element so contacted Capital again. She saw my prior request and didn’t know why we haven’t heard anything yet. She said it’s up to Element on the fee reimbursement. She said I could contact them directly and gave me a number, and said she would also send a follow-up email. She then connected me with Element – I spoke with Patrick who said no one was available to help then and that someone would call
    me back that day. No one called. 10-22-14 I contacted Element again – spoke with Patrick who transferred me to Dominic. Dominic stated the $199. annual fee charged was for last year!! I told him that was a rip-off and had we known we were going to be charged that fee for the prior year, we could have canceled when that was disclosed. He said there is nothing we can do about it, the only mediation is talking to him, and there is no one else to talk to about it. I pressed for details to dispute this / if we could have a mediation process and anything else I can do to get the refund, including talking to someone else. He said no – they are allowed to charge any fees they want at any time – and they had to do it to “re-coup”, – whatever it was didn’t make any sense. It likely really amounts to increasing their profit. The annual fee we are disputing was never disclosed until after they decided to implement it and then charged it for the prior year. This is not only unfair and wrong, it’s unethical. We are a Small Business (Verified Service Disabled Veteran-owned) and would not stay in business if we
    did that to our customers. In fact, I know of no other service company who gets away with charging AFTER the service for fees that were not disclosed up front. Dominic from Element says utility companies do it – but in reality at least even they are regulated and the rate is known PRIOR to the charge and usage. Being a small business, we cannot understand how a large corporation can get away with charging fees like this without disclosure and leave absolutely no recourse. We want our $199. back. It’s that simple and the only thing acceptable, reasonable and honest to do. I wrote this to the Better Business Bureau – they contacted me after a week or so to see if Element had contacted me yet to “discuss a resolution” which they told her they would do but I told her (BBB) no one has called. And they still haven’t, which is the method of operation thus far. Definitely a horrible experience and it feels like we were literally robbed – and even though the culprit is known, they are getting away with it. This is a clear case of white collar crime. There must be thousands of businesses out there that this has happened to – Element gets hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions in non-disclosed fees.

    1. Hi Nancy, I stumbled upon your commentary while googling this outrageous practice. I too am in an identical situation with Element/Capital and am hopeful you can share good news of a resolution/credit/refund or something to give me hope for my situation! Best Wishes and Good Luck!!!!

      1. Maureen,
        I did finally receive a response from Element after 2 follow ups from the BBB. Element agreed to refund the bogus / non-disclosed $199 annual fee. And a couple weeks or so after the agreement to refund we did get it! I sincerely don’t think they would have done anything without the intervention of the BBB. So keep trying and don’t give up. Good luck to you to.

  7. Absolutely horrible processing. They charge your account whenever they want to and for weird amounts. Even if your business goes out of business they WILL NOT LET YOU OUT OF YOUR CONTRACT!!!!!! DO not sign up with this company and their ridiculous contracts. So many other companies that don’t have this!

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