Two Concourse Parkway, Suite 800
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Elavon is one of the largest payment processors, serving more than a million customers across multiple industries, but also has a bit of a negative reputation. While that's not necessarily uncommon in the processing world, and while you may have a good experience, it's worth taking a longer look at this Elavon review and profile, notably the "CardFellow's experience" section. If you’re trying to decide if they're right for you, read on for information on Elavon’s rates and fees, security, reviews, and more.
- The basics
- What does Elavon offer?
- What cards can I take with Elavon?
- How much does Elavon cost?
- Am I locked into a contract?
- Security and fraud tools
- What do other people think of Elavon?
- Lawsuits and legal issues
- CardFellow's experience with Elavon
Formerly called NOVA, Elavon was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1991. Elavon processes in multiple countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Services are available to businesses of any size, ranging from small local business to multinational corporations, and customer service is available in multiple languages. Elavon is the processor for well-known brands like Cabela’s and Hard Rock Café. The company is also the #1 processor for airlines.
In autumn 2016, Elavon announced compatibility with the Poynt credit card terminal.
Elavon offers credit and debit card processing services, payment acceptance for new technologies such as Apple Pay, and gift and loyalty card programs. Elavon’s services are available in three categories: Small Business, Enterprise, and Market Payment Solutions.
Elavon for small businesses
With Elavon for small business, you can accept credit and debit cards through traditional credit card terminals, point-of-sale systems, your current computer, or with a tablet or smartphone.
For processing in-person transactions, Elavon offers processing equipment for sale. If you already have equipment, Elavon may be able to reprogram your existing machine.
Elavon’s VirtualMerchant Mobile option works with tablets and smartphones to let you accept cards either by hand-keying or using a card reader.
For accepting payments online, by mail order, or by phone, Elavon offers a service called Converge. Converge includes a hosted payment option, meaning your customers can enter payment information directly into a secure payment form.
Elavon for enterprise
For larger businesses, Elavon’s enterprise offerings include the same options for credit and debit card processing for both card-present and card-not-present transactions. Additionally, Elavon for enterprise provides electronic check services, multi-currency services, and interchange advisories.
Elavon has a local presence in countries around the world, reducing the need for multiple processors. The website claims that Elavon can be a one-stop solution by handling all aspects of transactions in house, including processing, chargeback management, reporting, and customer service. The interchange advisory service is available to review your specific needs for international processing.
Elavon market solutions
Elavon offers market solutions, described as “precise, industry-specific” solutions for businesses. The solutions are designed to address the needs of businesses in different industries, providing tools that work with your business. The follow industries are specified as market-solution ready:
Elavon claims that airlines can reduce the cost of accepting cards using global processing and taking advantage of risk management and fraud technologies.
Elavon touts the flexibility of their retail solutions designed to meet your business’s needs. A variety of point-of-sale options are available for accepting payments in-store.
Hospitality, travel, and entertainment
Elavon’s website specifies that their payment gateways work with leading property management systems while providing a high level of encryption security. The hospitality, travel, and entertainment solution lets you consolidate payments across your business, from reservations to services.
Elavon also offers a solution for healthcare providers, claiming to simplify point-of-sale and allow healthcare businesses easy payment acceptance.
Elavon states that its restaurant solution offers secure point-of-sale and gateway solutions for table service, takeout, and concession-stand food service establishments. Electronic check services and gift card acceptance are also possible with the restaurant solution.
Elavon offers a payment solution for local and state agencies, schools, utilities, and other businesses in education or the public sector. Elavon works with businesses dealing with fixed budgets to help with payment acceptance.
Elavon lets you accept the following cards:
- American Express
- Diners Club
- Local debit brands
- Foreign cards
- Gift cards
Elavon offers online reporting with their service MerchantConnect so that you can monitor your account, analyze sales and payments, manage chargebacks, and more without having to install software.
There are two available levels of reporting: Merchant Connect Basic and Merchant Connect Premium.
Merchant Connect Basic provides a single log-in and allows you to access transaction history for up to 6 months. MerchantConnect Basic is suggested if you only have one location or branch.
MerchantConnect Premium provides multiple log-ins and allows access to transaction history for 12 months. MerchantConnect Premium is suggested if you have multiple locations or branches.
Online Case Management (OCM) is optionally available with MerchantConnect Premium. OCM lets you receive, respond, and manage chargebacks.
Elavon only lists pricing for small business processing. For small businesses, Elavon has separate fixed rates for terminal-based and mobile device processing. Both options have a $10 monthly fee plus the following:
- Swiped card: 2.65% + $0.19 per transaction
- Keyed card: 3.5% + $0.19 per transaction
- Suggested equipment (Ingenico iCT250) cost: $499
- Swiped card: 2.65% + $0.19 per transaction
- Keyed card: 3.5% + $.019 per transaction
- Suggested equipment (Magtek aDynamo Mobile Card Reader) cost: $24.99
Additional fees, such as PCI compliance fees, may also apply.
Remember that published rates are subject to change and may be different than the rates your business actually gets. In the case of Elavon, the difference may be drastic. We've detailed some of the ways in which pricing can be expensive in the section CardFellow's experience with Elavon. The most accurate way to understand what you’ll pay for processing with Elavon is to request a quote from Elavon directly through CardFellow by completing our quick sign up form. It’s free, and we keep your contact info private.
Elavon’s website boasts no cancellation or early termination fees, meaning that you would effectively have a month to month contract with Elavon. However, because contract terms can change, always read any agreements and contracts thoroughly before signing.
Elavon offers fraud resources on their website and a PCI compliance program to help you protect your business and your customers. The company promises dedication to helping you protect data not just during a transaction, but after as well, by removing card data and taking other steps to ensure safety.
You can also take advantage of SAFE-T Suite through Elavon, which features advanced encryption and tokenization technology. Encryption and tokenization are important technologies that can help protect your customer’s card data from potential thieves.
The SAFE-T Suit program has its own site, located at www.safetsuite.com.
Elavon has a lot of reviews online, primarily negative.
Profile and reviews with the Better Business Bureau
Elavon has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2009, and has an A+ rating. The high rating may be partially due to Elavon responding to complaints and attempting to resolve them. As of autumn 2015, Elavon has had 165 complaints lodged with the BBB in the past 3 years, with 48 in the past year. Most of the complaints are split almost evenly between the “Billing/Collection Issues” category (80 complaints) and the “Problems with Product/Service” category (74 complaints.) The remaining complaints are in the categories “Advertising/Sales Issues” (10 complaints) and “Delivery Issues” (1 complaint.)
The majority of complaints reference issues with billing or pricing, including lack of transparency and unexpected fees. Some of these complaints (more than one year old) indicate problems with fees that have since been changed, such as early termination fees.
There is only one customer review for Elavon on the BBB website. The review is marked as negative and listed as “would not recommend” Elavon in response to the BBB’s question of whether the reviewer would recommend the company to others. The review complains of working satisfactorily with Elavon for years until a fraud issue occurred, at which point Elavon was unhelpful and stopped communicating with the business.
Reviews at Ripoff Report and Yelp
Additional complaints can be found on Ripoff Report, with some customers stating that Elavon abruptly cancelled service, or took funds from the customer’s account unauthorized.
Elavon also racks up two negative reviews on Yelp, both complaining about the fees and advising businesses to stay away from Elavon’s services.
In November 2015, Tennessee's Attorney General announced a settlement with Elavon for allegedly violating consumer protection laws in the state. Among other things, the settlement means that Elavon is now required to clearly disclose information such as contract length, cancellation policies, and monthly payments and to process refunds or credits for returned goods or cancellation of services. Also of note is a provision that states that if Elavon receives a complaint from a customer about equipment not being compatible/usable within 15 days of the customer receiving that equipment, they will have 21 days to resolve the issue. If Elavon doesn't resolve the problem in that time, the business can terminate the lease with no penalty and be entitled to a full refund.
Note that these stipulations may only apply to certain businesses or in the state of Tennessee. Be sure to read all contracts and agreements carefully before you sign anything.
Elavon is a larger processor that has a significant network of independent sales organizations that resell its services. It also sells direct, through banks, and through other sales channels, such as Costco.
We’ve run into Elavon quite a bit over the years and have reviewed hundreds of Elavon statements, applications, and even rate reviews and quotes it has offered, which will be included.
This overview is in reference to our experience with and tactics we’ve seen used by Elavon’s in-house sales channels. It is not a reflection on the tactics used by independent sales organizations that resell Elavon’s processing services.
Our experience with Elavon over the years has not been particularly positive. Elavon favors bundled pricing, is responsible for some of the highest effective rates (most expensive pricing) we’ve ever seen, and doesn’t return interchange credits on refunds.
Elavon rates, fees, and pricing
Like many processors, Elavon’s pricing model of choice is bundled/tiered pricing. Unlike most processors, we see Elavon engaging in what we consider very abusive pricing on a fairly regular basis by charging rates that exceed 8% on interchange categories that cost it less than 2%. Yes, you read that correctly.
For example, the Elavon statement below was sent to CardFellow by a technical services company that used our free service to lower its processing costs substantially. As shown in the statement snippet, Elavon used a bundled pricing model with a qualified rate of 2.52%. This means that gross volume was charged at a rate of 2.52%.
Then, Elavon applied a surcharge to transactions that by its own criteria did not “qualify” for the 2.52% rate. The surcharge is in addition to the 2.52% already charged. As you can see below, the surcharge applied to Visa’s Rewards 2 interchange category is $47.96 plus $0.44, which is $48.40. The sales volume surcharged was $798, which makes the percentage of the charge 6.07%. Elavon charged this business 8.59% for transaction volume for which it paid 1.95%!
CardFellow has several statements on file dating back years that show Elavon engaging in the practice of charging excessive rates via a bundled pricing model, the most recent of which we reviewed just this week.
The first type is what we’ve shown in the example above where Elavon charges a single qualified rate and then applies a surcharge based on interchange. This method of bundled surcharging can result in many different surcharge categories. Essentially, the number of surcharge categories is limited only by the number of interchange categories.
The next type of bundled pricing we see used by Elavon quite often is more compact than the first. Elavon assigns a qualified, partially qualified, or non-qualified rate to transaction categories, such as reward or commercial.
The Elavon statement snippet below shows an example of this type of pricing at work. As you can see, it’s no more competitive than the first type of pricing, and it’s even more opaque because it provides no interchange detail whatsoever.
If you are currently using Elavon as a processor for your business, take a look at your processing statements. If your statement looks like any of those shown in the example above, you should learn about CardFellow and then use our free service to quickly and easily obtain a truly competitive credit card processing company.
Interchange plus pricing
As we’ve explained in our article about credit card processor reviews, processors set pricing and terms on a per-case basis. So while Elavon is responsible for some of the worst pricing we’ve ever seen, it can and does offer competitive pricing via an interchange plus pricing model.
With that said, I should note that I waded through quite a few Elavon statements in CardFellow’s records before I was able to find a statement using interchange plus.
We have found that Elavon is reluctant to offer the more competitive interchange pricing and does so when dealing with a business educated enough to ask about it, or when attempting to match a competitive quote, such as those offered by processors through CardFellow.
Elavon structures its interchange plus statements in a pretty standard format by listing interchange categories, sales volume and charges in one section, and then listing its markup in another. The statement snippet below shows an example of the interchange categories and charges.
And the snippet below is taken from the same statement and show’s Elavon’s markup.
No credit on refunds
One of the biggest issues we have with Elavon is that it does not pass interchange refunds back to businesses. When a business issues a refund to a customer, the business’s processor receives a portion of the interchange fee that was paid on the original transaction back. Elavon does not return that money to businesses. It simply keeps it.
For example, the statement snippet below is one where the business is billed via interchange plus. This makes it very easy and possible for Elavon to return interchange credits to the business since base costs are separate from Elavon’s markup. However, you can clearly see that the refund rate and transaction fee are both zero.
The loss of interchange refunds can be a substantial hidden expense. Any business that is currently using Elavon’s processing services should pay close attention to its volume of refunds, and keep in mind that money is lost to Elavon every time a refund is issued.
If you use Elavon and want to see if you’re being overcharged, sign up for a free CardFellow account to see competitive quotes and then send us your statement.
Have you used Elavon for credit card processing? Leave a review!
11/12/2015 - Added section for information on lawsuits.
12/15/2015 - Added extensive section of CardFellow's experience, with statement snippets.
Unlike general web reviews, verified reviews are posted by businesses that have chosen the processor's quote through CardFellow's marketplace and CardFellow has confirmed with the processor that the business is using its service. Businesses can update verified reviews at any time to ensure the review accurately reflects the processor's performance over time.
Unlike verified reviews which are validated by CardFellow, web reviews can be submitted by anyone viewing this profile. While we validate these reviews as best we can, CardFellow does not verify that a reviewer is using or has used a processor's service.
Elavon Web Reviews
Posted By: Dave on 11/17/17
Horrible. Bad customer service and slow. Made a huge mistake that affect our business and is taking forever to fix it.
Posted By: Callie on 07/19/17
Worst customer service ever! Nobody returns your emails or calls.
Worst company I dealt with
Posted By: Rishi on 02/27/17
The worst merchant company I dealt with. Canadian companies should never use their services. We are fully Licensed company and was using Elavon for more than a year. Everything was ok but after getting IATA, our volume increased and we applied for increase in monthly volume. They not only held aroung CAD 175K amount but tried to steal CAD 75k from our Trust account. I approached my bank and they reversed the transaction. Later they will tell you that they were not aware about trust account guidelines.
In more than a year of volume we only got 4 charge backs and they are holding CAD 120K amount. We are so frustrated by their logic of holding more than $100,000 dollars based on less than $4000 chargebacks in more than a year transactions.
I recommend all to stay away from them as they will take money from your account and will later apologize that they did not know about Trust A/c guidelines.
Posted By: Paul on 09/29/16
We\’d been with Elavon\’s Internet Secure for 3 years. No issues. They informed us recently that they were retiring the IS service and we had to switch to Converge. Fine. We applied to Converge and were approved. We integrated the new service with our shopping cart and directly with our own products. The Converge back end sucks – their form can be hacked with the developer tools in any modern browser, the back end was unusable, their support and integration docs over 400 pages. But whatever, we soldiered through. Then, after a non-descript call from a converge rep named Maryanna (I returned her call, but when she didn\’t get back to me I forgot all about it) credit card processing began failing. After confirming there was no issue with our end, 20 minutes with a Converge rep confirmed our account had been suspended.
I was instructed to call MaryAnna.
Mary Anna informed me she had performed an audit of my web site and business, and thought it was high risk (it\’s not on a any list of any high risk business ventures, nor did Internet Secure have any issue with it over the previous 3 years). She told me we weren\’t processing a lot of card volume. That\’s true (a lot of clients buy annual subscriptions and we bill them annually), but not a surprise – our 3 year history with Internet Secure – which they\’d reviewed – confirmed this.
She then told me to take my merchant processing needs elsewhere.
No apology for the inconvenience. Nothing. She was unapologetic, harsh, and unfriendly.
I was furious and explained that we had been approved for Converge. She explained that these security audits happen afterwards. I asked why on earth an audit that could reverse an approval process would take place afterward a merchant had gone through all the effort of integrating with their service.
No apology for that either. Take your business elsewhere. Get lost.
That\’s my story, folks. If you want to be treated like crap by Mary Anna and Converge, then by all means sign up with them. There are all sorts of other companies out there who will value your business and they\’re not hard to find – I\’ve already found one. I recommend you do the same. Converge sucks, their service sucks, their process sucks, their back end sucks, and they treat their customers like crap. We invested hours integrating with their service only to have the rug pulled out from under us. Go somewhere – anywhere – else.
Posted By: Anonymous on 07/20/16
I would give them a negative star if I could. This has been the biggest headache of our small business, and we are not “new” at the credit card game. Customer service stinks, the “converge” data application stinks, merchant help when your terminal goes down or you need to fix an incorrect transaction stinks, reps keep changing, we don’t even get a statement that is understandable……absolutely hate everything there is about this company which has changed names now several times just in the 2.5 years we have used them. Merchant help wait times are insane, reps are clueless, and upper management is unhelpful when you actually try to “go to the top” for help or answers. I can’t believe my bank recommended this, now we are stuck with them and believe me, it is a freaking nightmare. Now they are going to charge us a monthly “no EMV chip” fee, is that even legal? Just try to get them on the phone for help. Getting away from them as fast as we can.
Elavon Will Steal Your Money! Beware!
Posted By: Alicia on 04/15/16
Elavon stole nearly $2,000 from us! Worst company ever! Merchants Beware! Trust that you will be ripped off if you chose Elavon aka Costco Payment Processing!
Posted By: Tai on 10/28/15
I have been using Elavon for at least 8 years. I cancelled via a phone conversation with a representatives back in May/June 2015, and as of today Elavon is still withdrawing $28 every single month from my bank account. I have also been trying to call Elavon for over 3 days now and can not get to anyone.