Ironwood Payments Review

Overview

UPDATE 4/5/2017: Ironwood has undergone an ownership change and is working toward resolving past grievances and repairing its reputation. We are placing the company in a “Score Pending” state until further information surfaces regarding this process.

Ironwood Payments (iwpmts.com) is a recently created merchant account provider that appears to be a new entity created by, or at least closely connected to, the founders of ElitePay Global and the executive team behind One For Merchants. We have obtained irrefutable evidence that Ironwood Payments and ElitePay Global are essentially operating as one and the same. Regardless of whether or not they may have established themselves as separate legal entities, they appear to share employees, facilities, and marketing materials. We are withholding some of the evidence that we have obtained at this time due to pending litigation.

Given the fact that ElitePay Global’s website is now inactive, it is possible that ElitePay Global’s executive ownership may be looking to transition to a new brand name. In our view, Ironwood’s existing ties to ElitePay Global make it a strong candidate for this transition. Ironwood may also operate under the name of “Ironwood Financial.” The limited information that is currently available about Ironwood Payments suggests that it primarily sells its products via telephone calls and preset appointments for independent sales agents.

The relationship between ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments is supported by at least the following information:

  • As of this review’s previous update, ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments both displayed the following identical copy on the “About Us” pages on their websites:

    (Company Name) is a very forward minded company which is and always will be ahead of the curve in innovation and technology.

    Customer service is one of our highest priorities. We would not be able to continue to be so successful without our loyal customers. We take pride in the fact that we have been able to assist so many businesses in reducing their overall costs of doing business and allow them to be more successful as well.

  • A number of LinkedIn profiles list both ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments as a recent or current employer, including profiles for Clarissa Snyder (“Company Website” links to ElitePay Global’s website), Jennifer Markin, and Rob Camarata. Jarrod Boshell’s Indeed resume lists him as a national sales manager at ElitePay Global, but his LinkedIn profile lists him as a national sales manager at Ironwood Payments.
  • In August and September of 2015, a large number of job listings went up on ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn for sales positions at Ironwood Payments. These job listings either displayed branding from both Ironwood Payments and ElitePay Global, or they mentioned both ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments as though they were interchangeable. An example from ZipRecruiter can be seen here, and an example from Indeed can be seen here.
  • On October 14, 2016, International Payment Services (the parent company of ElitePay Global) filed a complaint against Ironwood Payments in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The complaint states that, following the sale of substantially all of International Payment Services’s assets to Ironwood in July 2015, Ironwood was to pay International Payment Services an initial closing payment followed by two later payments contingent upon the continued successful operation of the business. According to the complaint, Ironwood refused to make the second contingent payment of approximately $4 million in September 2016. More pertinent to this review, however, is the fact that the complaint also states that “until recently the parties enjoyed a positive and cooperative working relationship. For example, Ironwood retained two of IPS’s principals as employees and consultants following the [purchase agreement]. Although it limited their operational role, until early 2016 it regularly provided them with updates and sought their input on various issues, and the parties worked well together.” The complaint goes on to say that “In March 2016, around the time it ceased regularly communicating with IPS, Ironwood abruptly stopped providing customer service on the entire portfolio of accounts it had agreed to service until May 2016, including its own accounts.” In our opinion, the information contained in this complaint confirms ongoing collaboration between the principals of ElitePay Global and the owners of Ironwood until at least early 2016 and indicates that a financial relationship persisted between the two companies after the initial sale of assets in July 2015. It also reveals that Ironwood simply stopped providing customer service to a portion of its portfolio in March 2016, which is now reflected in its overall rating in this review.

In July 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed in the state of Illinois on behalf of California business owners against Ironwood Financial and Vantiv. The lawsuit claims that Ironwood sales representatives recorded sales calls regarding sensitive financial information without merchants’ permission. According to the October action brought against Ironwood by International Payment Services, this complaint was voluntarily dismissed in early September and not refiled.

However, in December 2016, another class action lawsuit was filed against Ironwood Financial in Illinois Northern District Court. Like the previous lawsuit, 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 Financial, LLC, is registered in Illinois and in Mississippi, with its active name in Illinois listed as Ironwood Payments. The principal office listed for Ironwood Financial in the Illinois business registry is located at 525 West 465 North, #130, Providence, Utah 84332, which appears to be the address of the ElitePay Global office mentioned in this recent news article. Ironwood Financial’s registering agent, Incorp Services Inc., appears to be headquartered at 2360 Corporate Circle, Suite 400, Henderson, Nevada 89074-7739, while ElitePay Global is headquartered at 2850 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Ste 200, Henderson, Nevada 89052-4395. The Ironwood Payments website states that the company is headquartered at 2150 South 1300 East, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106.

Where to File Complaints

If you believe that you have been a victim of “bait-and-switch” rate quotes, nondisclosure of fees, unlawful contract alteration, unauthorized debits, or predatory sales tactics at the hands of Ironwood Payments or one of its business partners, you may be able to obtain some relief by engaging in the following actions:

  • Leave a detailed comment describing your experience in the comment section below this review. Be specific, provide as much factual information as you can, and, if possible, publicly authenticate your comment by including a link to your business’s website. This review and its comment section will contain the most current information regarding Ironwood Payments’ sales practices and merchant complaint record.
  • File a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General, Mississippi Attorney General, and the Utah Attorney General.
  • File a complaint with your state’s attorney general (directory available here).
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • If you believe your agent knowingly defrauded you, consider filing a police report and a lawsuit against him/her in small claims court for your losses.
  • File a complaint with Ironwood Payments’ Processor:
  • File a complaint with the District Attorney of your county.
  • File a complaint with Ironwood Payments’ acquiring bank, which will be named in your contract..

For other solutions, see our article on How to Report Bad Credit Card Processors.

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
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Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

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

Like ElitePay Global, Ironwood Payments appears to employ a large team of independently contracted sales agents and telephone appointment setters. We have found numerous Ironwood Payments complaints from merchants who describe misrepresentation of rates and nondisclosure of leasing terms through Northern Leasing Systems. One former sales representative of the company posted the following in the comment section below:

Their training of new hires was decent and they did hammer to be ethical and up front with merchants the first day of training. However, by day two, trainees were being told to merely gloss over contracts with potential customers, don’t get into contract details with the client and never contact the client after the sale. This put up a few flags for me, but I decided to press on.

[…]

The final straw was when a general manager told a collection of sales people come out of a sales pitch with a deal or come out in hand cuffs!!

[…]

When potential customers raise questions about Ironwood vs. Elite, sales reps are encouraged to either deflect the issue or say hey, we may have over 100 complaints, but we have thousands of satisfied customers. Of course, when asked for references to back that claim up, we’re left staring at the floor.

Ironwood Payments appears to be teaching its sales agents to use the same sales pitch that ElitePay Global was known for, in which a sales agent promises merchants that they will pay 0% on PIN debit transactions, 1% on qualified credit card transactions, and 2.99% on non-qualified credit card transactions. However, most merchants report that very few (if any) transactions actually qualify for 0% or 1% fees, and that the 2.99% non-qualified fee is actually a downgrade fee that is added to a 1% mid-qualified fee and the original qualified fee for a total of 4.99% on most transactions. As a condition of receiving this rate structure, agents often require that merchants sign a long-term equipment lease, which means that merchants are trapped in a four-year agreement with rates much higher than they were anticipating. These factors warrant an “F” rating in our opinion.

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Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate 1% (Credit) / 0% (PIN Debit)
Keyed-in Rate 2.99%
Early Termination Fee Variable
PCI Compliance Fee Variable
Equipment Lease Terms 48 Months, Non-Cancellable

The standard Ironwood Payments contract appears to be nearly identical to the standard ElitePay Global contract, which is a three-year agreement through either First Data or Vantiv with automatic renewal, tiered pricing, and variable monthly minimum fees, PCI compliance fees, and early termination fees. As mentioned above, it is very common for merchants to report that they were also signed into four-year equipment through Northern Leasing by Ironwood sales agents. Given the reports of higher-than-expected rates, expensive monthly and cancellation fees, and long-term equipment leases, we have assigned Ironwood Payments the same “F” grade that ElitePay Global received. If you have any specific knowledge of the standard Ironwood Payments contract, please share that information in the comment section below this review.

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Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints 45+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Equipment Lease

We are currently able to locate over 45 negative Ironwood Payments reviews, many of which also mention ElitePay Global and its employees. Merchants cite expensive contract terms, misrepresentation of rates, long-term equipment leases, and nonexistent customer support as their main issues, while current and former employees describe an unprofessional work environment that improperly trains its agents and does not pay what it originally claims. Multiple sales agents have stated that sales agents are encouraged to cut off all contact with merchants after making the sale and leave all customer support to the support department. We can see no reason for this policy except to isolate agents from trying to assist their dissatisfied merchants. The company’s complaint total is very high for the amount of time that Ironwood Payments has been in business, and the content of the complaints has lowered the company’s score to an “F.”

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BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 23
Billing & Collection Complaints 5
Advertising & Sales Complaints 1
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 1
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 30 complaints since the company’s profile was opened in September 2015. Twenty-three complaints have been filed in relation to product or service issues, five have to do with billing or collection disputes, one is related to an advertising or sales problem, and one has to do with a guarantee or warranty issue. Ironwood Payments has successfully resolved nine of the total complaints, while the remaining 21 either were resolved to the merchant’s dissatisfaction or did not receive a final response from the merchant. Given Ironwood’s affiliation with ElitePay Global and the fact that the company has amassed 30 complaints in under a year, we have adjusted the BBB‘s rating to a “D.”

Ironwood Payments Logo

Ironwood Payments Bottom Line

We have assigned Ironwood Payments an “F” rating at this time due to its close ties to ElitePay Global, which appear to include shared employees, assets, and facilities.

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

11 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.

  3. I was misled by sales representative of Ironwood Payments, name Courtney Fightmaster. I was misrepresentation of rates and nondisclosure of leasing terms through Northern Leasing Systems. She promised me that I could save money on credit card processing fees by switching to her merchant service company, Ironwood payment. She compared the number of processing fees and the cost of the leasing equipment combined will less than I usually paid about $200-300 a month. She promised me that they offered the “whole sale rate for a small business owner like me which I will pay 0% on PIN debit transactions, 1% on credit card transactions. The Ironwood Payments also will pay for buyout my old equipment since I still under the contract with my old processing company.
    I informed her that I want to retire soon by planning to sell my business or just quit after 17 years in business. I asked her about the cancellation option because I do not want to be bound with another leasing equipment contract. She said that I can terminate their services and leasing agreement anytime without any early cancellation fees and we do not bind to the contracts.
    Courtney Fightmaster promised me that she will handle the cancellation process which my previous processing company which was Bank of America but she has not done anything. Once I give the letter to show how much I owe from my previous Data processing company about early termination fee and amount to pay off for leasing equipment. Ironwood Payments will pay for early termination fees and pay off the leasing equipment. Ironwood Payments will provide free gift cards to use in our business which it has never happened.
    There are only 3 reasons that make me decided to switch to Ironwood Payments based on Courtney Fightmaster’s offered which included saving money, no binding to any contracts either the leasing equipment or credit card processing company and be able to use the new update equipments(EMV). Courtney Fightmaster asked me to sign electronically on her iPad and promised to give me a hard copy of the detailed contract but she never did. I got both the credit card and Pinpad (debit card) machines two days later. I set up the equipments myself. The customer support did not give me much instruction at all just told me that “Just plugged it in”. I got the credit card machine to work, but not with the Pinpad machine. I did get the replacement Pinpad machine and the same problem happened again without any help from customer support, the Pinpad machine was still not working. We were not satisfied with the way they talked to us, with the rudeness and unwilling to help us. So I decided to remove and cancell the Debit card (Pinpad) service and returned them both Pinpad machines.
    I have never gotten any copy of detailed contract from Ironwood Payments company, except the leasing contract from Northern leasing company, that have copy of my signature agreed with 4 years contract , non cancelation, with “personal guarantee”. There are 3 pages of detailed contract which I never have any chance to read them through before I signed. Courtney told me that the total cost of leasing equipment rental will be $180.00 a month which it actually costs $200 a month.
    The last fine print section on the lease equipment contract said, “You may negotiate certain terms and conditions of this lease with us, you are not required to accept the terms and conditions as they currently appear in this lease. If you wish to exercise this option, you must notify us in writing via certified mail within 7 days of the date you sign this lease.” However, this is impossible for me to have any chance to exercise this option, because I signed electronically contract on her iPad on 5/3/16, received the equipment on the 5/5/16, and started to use the machine on Saturday, 5/7/16. The leasing contract letter was sent out from their company on 5/10/16 so it came to me sometimes after 5/10/16. I also mentioned to Courtney that my family had already planned to close the business for 17 days for family’s vacation from 5/10-5/27/16.
    Right after I came back from my vacation, I have tried to contact her multiple times via phone calls, text messages and emails. The Ironwood Payments still not pay for the buyout of my previous leased equipment which costs $463.16. I send her a copy of the letter, and she eventually responded back and said that, she got it and will take care of it. She never did. She texted me back and said that she got into a very bad accident and she will forward my case to her boss, and he will call me and take care everything, gave me his name, phone number, and email. Still nothing happened his name is Chris Ligan, he never call me, never pick up phones or respond any messages. Later she told me that he had just left the company, and now she is with the new boss. Until now they have not paid the buyout amount, and never respond anything back to me. I do not save any money and end up paid the fees even at higher rate, plus I have to pay about $200 more each month for leasing equipment. I experienced very bad customer supports or services. I did not get any free gift cards from them as she promised. I have never received any credit card processing statements that itemized breakdown their fees for both months.

  4. I was approached by Coutney Fightmaster on March 17, 2016 at my restaurant business. I always been approached by different companies offering their services but I listened to her sales pitch. She was offering a terminal that you can go up to tables and have customers sign on the spot and that were supporting the chip integration. Then she proceeded to tell me how they have flat rates for the credit card processing fees and proceeded to compare my current credit card processor and her prices. Her claim after she did calculations was that I would be paying about $1000 less that my current processor. I thought it would be a good deal since a lot of my transactions are credit cards so I went ahead and gave her my information and I asked her if I wasn’t happy with it after a month I could cancel and she said yes. She made a mistake in the application since she used my middle name instead of my first name so she had me sign another contract which I thought was the same. A couple of days later I received the equipment and then I received a letter on the mail saying that my contract was non-cancellable. My heart sank and I immediately thought I had made a HUGE mistake. I immediately called her and got no response, I called customer service and they told me I was basically stuck because I should have read the contract since it clearly said it was non cancelable. I then thought about the second contract she sent me that I thought it was to correct my name issue. The lady over the phone was super rude to me and told that there is no way out of this. Then I proceeded to sent Courtney some texts asking her what was going on and how come no one had told me or called me on what to do next. I got no response from her so I called customer service again. They told me that everything was fine but by that time I had already gotten two charges for the rentals of two terminals which are chip integrated but are hard to use. I told them I needed to integrate them to my POS to which they responded they had been trying to get in contact with. After I called Squirrel Systems which is the company that runs my POS they told me that they hadn’t gotten a call from them. So they have me bouncing around from person to person, and Courtney finally calls back and says she’s been out sick. I tell her that I want out and she tells me she is going to make it work and get everything fixed, that my POS is the one not cooperating. After several email and calls and texts, and six weeks after they change my POS system but the chip machines are still not compatible with it so it means that I got them for nothing. There is no way that I can reconcile my payments with the POS and the card machine so i’m basically stuck with two useless machines. Even the people that work at Squirrel systems say it can’t be done. My POS has their credit card that cost me over $300 a month. My POS is integrated with their software but are still not chip compliant. I wait to see how much my charge is going to be and to my surprise it is over $5000. which is $2000 over what I was paying before. I am extremely unhappy with their customer service and the way they have handled the whole process. I feel like a complete idiot for even giving them the time of day to hear their sales pitch. I believe they are taking advantage of small businesses and they should not be allowed to do business. I have tried to talk to Chris Ligan a supervisor, but he never responds to my voicemails or emails. They are a horrible company and I have constant anxiety for getting suckered into anything with them.

  5. I’m approached by an ironwood representative offering a very low rate, which is hard to believe. The rate they offered, if it’s true, is hard to refuse. Even if it’s in your case when emv debit were converted to credit, the rate is still good. My concerns are whether they actually charge as the way they promised, how they can do business with charges lower than interchange plus that of course is the most transparent way, and will the rate change later on. The complaints here strengthened my concerns.

  6. Been in business for 19 years and this is by far the worst Processing company out there. Not just did they get me to sign up with them and promise me that they would save me an average of 1800.00 per month they use a leasing company called Northern leasing for the Verifone stand a lone terminal. So now I’m fighting 2 company’s, one to break the lease agreement and the other to break the 4 year agreement. What a bunch of B.S, Both of these companies should be out of business. If anyone is experiencing these same types of issues and know a good Attorney please let me know, Thanks

    1. Hi Andy,

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

  7. 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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