Element Payment Services Review

5 Replies

Credit Card Processors
Element Payment Services Logo
Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated A minus
Costs & Contract rated D
Complaints & Service rated A minus
BBB Rating rated B plus

Overall Rating

B- Credit Card Processor Rating


Overview

Element Payment Services Logo

Element Payment Services Logo

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 Products and Services Industries Served
  • Retail
  • E-commerce
  • Mobile
  • MOTO
  • B2B

Related: Find The Best Processor For Your Business Type

Sales & Marketing | A-

Key Points – Sales & Marketing
Uses independent resellers? No
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? 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 | D

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: Liquidated damages
PCI compliance fee: Variable
Equipment lease: 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.

Related: Best Processors For Quickbooks Integration

Complaints & Service | A-

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total 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 Report | B+*

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 4
Billing/collection: 10
Advertising/sales: 0
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 0

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+.”

* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score

Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce

Bottom Line


Element Payment Services Review

Rated 3.2 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-04-29

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.

This review was originally published on 6/23/11 and was last updated on 4/29/15.

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5 comments

  1. Antoinette Bracey

    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!

  2. Nancy Scott-Walker

    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. Maureen Gardiner

      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. Nancy

        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.

  3. DeAnn Grasinger

    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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