Ironwood Payments Review

Overview

Founded in 2015, Ironwood Payments (iwpmts.com) is a merchant account provider that was created via the acquisition of ElitePay Global‘s merchant portfolio. The owners of Ironwood Financial (Ironwood Payments’s parent company) did not realize at the time of purchase that there were severe issues with the structure, culture, and business practices of ElitePay Global. As a result, Ironwood Payments received a high number of complaints over approximately one year that were similar to the complaints filed against ElitePay Global. Our rating for Ironwood Payments was very low during this period due to the company’s prior dealings with ElitePay Global, documented proof that many of Ironwood’s employees were former ElitePay Global employees, and many complaints that described exorbitant leasing fees and deceptive sales tactics.

Eventually, Ironwood hired a third party to conduct a full review of the company’s practices and suggest necessary changes. Ironwood also began to reach out directly to dissatisfied merchants and attempt to resolve their issues. Ironwood has contacted CPO to offer a significant amount of background information about the company and insight into its practices, and CPO has separately verified as much of this information as possible. CPO is now satisfied that Ironwood Payments has severed all ties with ElitePay Global and is committed to a total reform of its business practices. In fact, Ironwood Payments has taken proactive steps (documented in this review) to become a highly transparent and dependable merchant account provider.

However, it is worth noting that in December 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against Ironwood Financial in Illinois Northern District Court. This complaint accuses Ironwood of secretly recording phone calls in which merchants disclosed sensitive financial information, and it also names Andy Bentley, Brian Bentley, Adam Bentley, Fifth Third Bank, First Data, Vantiv, Wells Fargo, and International Payment Services as defendants. The plaintiffs are seeking $5,000 per violation plus attorney fees. The lawsuit’s case number is 1:16-cv-11223, and it can also be found under searches for “Wang et al v. Wells Fargo, NA et al.” Ironwood believes that it will successfully defend the suit. This suit appears to be a remnant of the company’s holdover business practices from ElitePay Global and does not appear to be reflective of Ironwood’s current conduct.

Ironwood Financial, LLC, is headquartered in at 2718 West Oxford Loop, Suite 185, Oxford, Mississippi 38655. Ironwood also maintains two office locations in the State of Utah located at 50 West Broadway, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 and 2150 South 1300 East, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106. Ironwood has contracted with Incorp Services, Inc. to provide registered agent services within the State of Utah. Ironwood Payments is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio. John Lewis and Dee Lovelace are the owners of Ironwood Payments.

Key Points

  • Sales & Marketing: Ironwood Payments does not hire independently contracted agents and has received a few complaints about its sales team.
  • Costs & Contract: Ironwood Payments offers a multi-year contract through Vantiv with no early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: Ironwood Payments has received approximately 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Ironwood Payments has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 49 complaints since September 2015.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Ironwood Payments

Ironwood Payments Products and Services

  • Countertop terminals
  • Point-of-sale systems
  • Mobile payments
  • E-commerce solutions
  • Tablets and tablet-based POS systems

Industries

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • Restaurant
  • Healthcare
  • High-risk

Response from Ironwood Payments

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a

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

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

Ironwood Payments employs an in-house sales team and no longer relies on telemarketing or independent sales agents to sell its products. The company promotes interchange-plus pricing but will offer tiered pricing if merchants request it. Ironwood also clearly displays the cost of each piece of processing hardware, which can be purchased outright, purchased in installments, or rented for a fixed monthly cost. Ironwood has done away with long-term equipment leases and does not plan to partner with equipment leasing companies such as Northern Leasing Systems in the future.

Ironwood Payments does not list specific per-transaction pricing on its website, but its W2-employed sales representatives are trained to disclose all rates and fees. These practices constitute a dramatic turnaround for the company’s sales approach and have resulted in an equally striking decrease in complaints. We will assign Ironwood an “A” in this section because the processes it has implemented are worthy of an “A” rating, but we will continue to monitor its performance very closely.

Response from Ironwood Payments

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Ironwood Payments Marketing Example

b

Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee $10 Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms None

Ironwood Payments offers a multi-year contract through Vantiv with no early termination fee, a monthly PCI compliance fee of $10, and interchange-plus pricing by default. The company does not lease equipment and will allow merchants to keep purchased equipment, sell the equipment back to Ironwood, or terminate their rental agreements with no further cost. These terms offer merchants a great deal of flexibility and do not expose merchants to exorbitant cancellation fees.

We are currently able to locate a handful of merchant complaints about Ironwood’s contract terms, but all of these complaints are related to the contract terms that the company offered prior to its restructuring. By all accounts, these terms were not competitive within the industry, and it is likely that some merchants are still stuck in long-term equipment leases they signed during that period. We will assign Ironwood a “B” rating in this section to reflect the fact that its contract terms are highly transparent and flexible, but that this was not true as recently as one year ago.

Response from Ironwood Payments

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b

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints 10+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Equipment Lease

We are currently able to locate approximately 10 negative Ironwood Payments reviews across all consumer protection websites. This number was much higher at the time of our last review, but the company has made a serious effort to improve its online reputation by contacting complainants and resolving their issues directly. The reviews that are currently available are generally more than four months old and can only be found by looking through several merchant and employee review websites. Some of them describe exorbitant fees and long-term leases that would negatively impact any company’s score. However, the total absence of complaints in recent months indicates that Ironwood’s efforts at reformation have paid off. Ironwood receives a “B” rating in this section to reflect its dramatic improvement in its complaint rate, and this grade will improve to an “A” if the company continues along its current trajectory.

Response from Ironwood Payments

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b

BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 36
Billing & Collection Complaints 9
Advertising & Sales Complaints 2
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 2
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.

Ironwood Payments currently has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 49 complaints since the company’s profile was opened in September 2015. Thirty-six complaints have been filed in relation to product or service issues, nine have to do with billing or collection disputes, two are related to an advertising or sales problem, and two have to do with a guarantee or warranty issue. Ironwood Payments has successfully resolved 14 of the total complaints, while the remaining 35 either were resolved to the merchant’s dissatisfaction or did not receive a final response from the merchant. Given Ironwood’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB‘s rating to a “B.”

Response from Ironwood Payments

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Ironwood Payments Logo

Ironwood Payments Bottom Line

We have assigned Ironwood Payments a “B” rating at this time due to its sharply reduced complaint total. The company still has some complaints trickling in from its early days, and it will need to continue to offer excellent service in its current form in order to raise its overall rating. However, Ironwood appears to be making a sincere, substantive effort to correct its mistakes and offer a quality experience for all of its merchants.

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

7 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. I would like to take this opportunity to express my thankfulness and gratitude towards the entire Ironwood staff for being so supportive and friendly. Working with the salesman guidance was indeed a great experience . I finally feel lucky to have such a professional credit card processor. Changing my processing was a team effort and it couldn’t have been done without the support of the entire Ironwood team. I look forward to expanding my business processing with Ironwood in the future.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

      1. PRICE RITE TRANSMISSION AND AUTO
        1395 LAKELAND AVE BOHEMIA NY 11716
        I would like to take this opportunity to express my thankfulness and gratitude towards the entire Ironwood staff for being so supportive and friendly. Working with the salesman guidance was indeed a great experience . I finally feel lucky to have such a professional credit card processor. Changing my processing was a team effort and it couldn’t have been done without the support of the entire Ironwood team. I look forward to expanding my business processing with Ironwood in the future.

  2. I signed up with Ironwood and they did nothing good. After several failed attempts to get adequate customer service and managers involved I called my attorney. Ironwood took me only for $800 and a $1200 attorney fee along with hours on the phone and frustration. DON’T use them they are unethical and liars!
    I will research more before I ever make a move from my current processor.

    Ironwood Payments Response:
    “Thank you for your feedback. We would like to be of assistance to you and help you resolve your issue. We would encourage you to call the Ironwood Customer Service Department at 844-449-7687 and ask to speak with a manager. We look forward to helping you.”


    Ironwood attempted to resolve the complaint above but the merchant declined to participate.

    1. Hi Andy,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  3. Ironwood attempted to resolve this complaint via our mediation program but the merchant declined to participate. Ironwood has issued the following response:

    Ms. Rooney, thank you for your feedback. We would like to be of assistance to you and help you resolve your issue. We would encourage you to call the Ironwood Customer Service Department at 844-449-7687 and ask to speak with a manager. We look forward to helping you.


    My father and I both switched over from a company we were very happy with, all to save $ every month. We were completely swindled. The customer support is horrible, they do not care that we are unhappy. They have no way of getting in touch with the sales rep that fed us a bunch of lies. We are now locked in for 5 years, with major cancellation fees if we walk. Thinking about getting in touch with a lawyer to fight this company. But also want to do whatever I can to prevent people from making the mistakes we made. I am exhausted from calling the company, complaining, asking why we are paying more money every month than less.
    DO NOT TRUST IRONWOOD.

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