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Elavon, a payment platform, offers a broad array of ways to accept and process payments for all types of businesses. Through partnerships, it also offers card readers, a tablet point-of-sale option and virtual terminals.
But the company's lack of transparency makes it difficult to compare with other payment processors, and consumer reviews note issues with surprise fees, holds on merchant funds and unexpected account closures.
Varies. Pricing is quote-based.
Varies. You have to call for pricing information.
Payment processing cost
Varies. You have to call for pricing information.
Yes. Phone support is available 24/7 and some customers can have dedicated account managers.
Elavon uses a quote-based pricing structure. Quotes are most likely based on a business’s industry, transaction volume and other factors that will affect how it uses the company’s services. To receive a quote, contact a representative through the website and provide information about your business.
Elavon works with independent sales organizations. These are businesses that sell the company's products but aren't actually employed by the company. The organizations typically work on commission and may charge more or have different or confusing terms.
Elavon offers users a dedicated merchant account and payment processor, as well as mobile processing via app integrations. You'll be able to accept all major credit cards, as well as swipe, chip and contactless payment methods.
In-person transactions are a cinch with Elavon’s hardware options, including Poynt smart terminals and Ingenico credit card readers, which also work for contactless payment.
Mobile processing via app integrations is also available.
Elavon also offers free PCI compliance, including encryption and tokenization, and access to PCI professionals.
Elavon provides two options for payment gateways: Fusebox, an in-house product, and Converge, a third-party product. Fusebox allows businesses to connect to third-party payment platforms with batch management for consolidated payments and reporting options to keep you up to date on payments. The Converge payment gateway is compatible with several e-commerce platforms, allows you to add buy buttons and automatically updates Visa or Mastercard information to avoid declined payments for cards on file.
Be mindful that these payment gateway services might charge fees in addition to any Elavon fees for additional merchant services.
Elavon doesn’t offer POS software directly, but you can get software via its hardware partners. Through a partnership with Poynt, users can access reports, manage inventory, and track SKUs; however, features vary by specific terminals.
The platform also works with talech, a POS system. Businesses can choose between talech for retail, restaurants and service industries with features specific to their needs.
Elavon offers users extra features to streamline their businesses, including reporting, chargeback management with alerts and a customizable loyalty program.
Lack of transparency
Elavon doesn’t make its fees public, which means it's difficult to evaluate the financial impact for your business before talking with a representative. This ties into the fact that Elavon works with ISOs, which often adjusts pricing on a client-by-client basis.
Users also say they've been charged unexpected monthly fees that add up to much more than what they expect to pay, according to their contracts.
Multiple consumer reviews have pointed to an issue with Elavon holding onto a business's funds and refusing to make them available. Reasons users are given for why funds are withheld vary, but some business owners have found themselves without access to big chunks of their profit, in some cases without understanding why.
Closing user accounts
Multiple user reviews say that Elavon has closed accounts without warning. In many cases, users say they're given no opportunity to discuss the matter before their accounts were shut off and they were left without a way to process payments.
Regarding user complaints, an Elavon spokesperson said in an email, "We are a trusted partner for more than a million businesses across North America and Europe, providing high levels of customer service with clearly articulated terms in our customer agreements. If customers have questions or issues, we encourage them to use our in-house, multi-lingual support team available 24/7."
Trustpilot: 1.2 stars out of 5.
Better Business Bureau: 1.12 stars out of 5/A+ rating.
Alternatives to Elavon
PayPal doesn’t offer the range of options Elavon does. However, PayPal's pricing is upfront, and it can work for most small businesses just starting out. New merchants can set up an account with PayPal and get their Zettle credit card reader for $29 (additional readers are $79). However, there are no monthly costs, and processing fees are 2.29% plus 9 cents on in-person transactions. As with most processors, rates vary by transaction method.
If you were attracted to Elavon because of the range of solutions it offers small-business owners, consider Square POS. Square POS offers completely free software with credit card processing fees starting at 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions, and there are no long-term contracts or monthly fees. Plus, Square offers a retail and restaurant version of its POS, and there are a variety of hardware options to choose from.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.