ElitePay Global Review
Note: ElitePay Global has discontinued service. It now operates as Ironwood Payments. This review has been archived and will no longer be updated. Instead, check out our Ironwood Payments review for more information.
As a reseller of First Data’s payment processing services, you can’t really understand what you’ll get from ElitePay Global until you do some research into First Data. Lucky for you, we’ve got an in-depth review on First Data for your reading pleasure! Make sure to check it out before you make any decisions about ElitePay (or Elite Pay, if you prefer).
ElitePay Global, also known as International Payment Services, and previously known as PrimePay Global, provides pretty basic merchant services. They don’t do anything to set themselves apart from the pack, and they don’t seem to provide an exceptional service or sales experience. Since they’re selling First Data’s processing, it’s up to ElitePay to figure out ways to improve the product’s value. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look to me like they’ve done this.
If you’ve read a few of my reviews, you probably know that flashy, gimmicky websites annoy and frighten me. No word rouses more fear in my heart than “FREE,” and images of high-denomination bills spilling across the screen make me queasy. So in some ways, the simple web design you’ll find at ElitePay comes as a relief to me. They tell you in large lettering on the homepage that they are “powered by First Data,” and they provide a link to their standard contract right below that disclosure. That’s a good start in the sales transparency department.
Unfortunately, that’s where my appreciation for ElitePay begins and ends. They’ve been around since 2005 with headquarters in Henderson, Nevada, but they’re skulking through the industry building almost no reputation – good or bad – and making very few impressions. They don’t disclose the names of any executives on their website, but list Brian Bentley as the manager on their BBB page. (The ElitePay website is also registered to a Brian Bentley.) Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to turn up any information on him. The whole company feels pretty ghostly.
I’m also unimpressed by a previous LinkedIn job posting for ElitePay sales agents, where “overcoming objections” is a necessary trait. Furthermore:
We are ONLY looking for top tier Inside Sales Agents that won’t take “NO” for an answer!
Doesn’t that sound like the person you’d love to talk to about payment processing? Me neither.
But now here’s the real kicker. In 2014 I heard from many merchants, some of whom posted in our comments section, complaining of deceptive sales tactics from Elite Pay Global, as well as horrendously expensive credit card machine leases. Apparently some agents are selling credit processing services at 1% over cost, and telling merchants that they will only pay 1%. This is not a new trick, and it’s one of my least favorite tactics to see.
Based on everything I’ve seen from them recently, I can only offer 2 out of 5 stars for ElitePay, and I have no reason to recommend them to you. Read my complete review for more details, or go ahead and check out some of our favorite processors here!
Table of Contents
Products and Services:
They offer pretty barebones products and services at ElitePay, with very few value-added options. They don’t provide much specific information about their offerings, but you can read a little about it here. ElitePay’s products and services include:
- Merchant accounts
- Check processing
- POS software: They don’t disclose who they partner with for POS software.
- Terminal leases/sales: Offered through First Data Leasing and Northern Leasing, neither of which have a good reputation. You’ll get set up with a 48-month non-cancellable lease totaling over $1,000 per credit card machine. Do yourself a favor and read this article before you think about leasing.
- Online reporting: Offered through ClientLine, which is FirstData’s reporting service. You can demo it here.
- Mobile processing
- Terminal supplies
Fees and Rates:
ElitePay makes no disclosures of rates or fees on their website. Since they use First Data for the actual processing, you can expect similar rates and fees as you’d see with First Data.
Let me just quote my First Data review, since the same applies here:
First Data does not disclose any rates or fees on their website. I can tell you, though, that they could set you up with any number of billing option including tiered, interchange-plus, flat rate or enhanced billback – to name a few. I would encourage almost all merchants to pursue interchange-plus pricing, although First Data might hit you with high monthly minimums and mark up rates if you’re a small business. If you need help figuring out what the fair rate for you is, get in touch with us.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
ElitePay has a standard three-year contract which does not seem to auto renew, based on the merchant agreement I read. This is a pleasant surprise, since almost all standard agreements contain an auto-renewal clause. You should be careful, though, because your contract may differ from the one provided for reference.
The standard early termination fee with ElitePay Global adds up to $395. If you’ve leased your credit card machine, then you’ll have to buy out your lease for a substantial amount of cash (upwards of $2,000 in many cases).
I recommend, of course, that you get the early termination fee waived altogether. If you’re already stuck in a contract with ElitePay and you’re looking for a way to cancel without paying the termination fee, this information might help you:
We may modify any provision of this Agreement by providing written notice to you. You may choose not to accept the requirement of any such change by termination the Agreement within twenty (20) days of receiving notice. If you choose to do so, notify us that you are terminating for this reason so that we may waive any early termination fee that might otherwise apply.
I like to see clauses like this. Many processors have a clause that basically says, “We can change this contract any time without notifying you, and any changes will be treated as though they were part of the original contract.” So I’m glad that ElitePay has taken the high road here. If they make a change to your contract that you don’t like, then you are free to cancel without having to pay a termination fee. Good deal!
Still – get the termination fee waived and you won’t have to worry about this. Don’t forget that you’ll need the waiver in writing, signed and attached to the contract.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
Right off the bat, ElitePay goes the extra mile to provide you with useful information on the homepage for their website. In a bold orange box, you’ll find a link to their “Merchant Program Guides,” which is just another word for “contract.” (Merchant Agreement and Terms & Conditions are also euphemisms to this end.) They also tell you in large lettering on the homepage that they are “powered by First Data.” These are two incredibly important disclosures, and I’m glad to see them front and center.
You won’t find any wacky sales gimmicks or big promises on the ElitePay website. Really, you won’t find much of anything there. They offer very little information about their business to the general public. Aside from the barebones, low-budget website, they have absolutely no social media presence – no facebook, no Twitter, no blog, no LinkedIn, no nothing. ElitePay is like ghost.
So while I’m glad that ElitePay isn’t overtly misleading customers on its website, I’d really like to see some more proactive effort in this department.
Unfortunately, the sales agents selling for Elite Pay seem to be using some dirty tricks. One common thing I’ve heard lately is that ElitePay Global reps will quote merchants 1% for credit cards, 0% for PIN debit. Unfortunately this is not what the merchants see in practice. Instead, they end up paying 1% over cost for standard credit cards (essentially a horrible interchange-plus deal), and then expensive surcharges for “non-qualified” cards. I find this sort of sales tactic completely unacceptable, and highly deceptive.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
I haven’t seen many reviews of the support offered by ElitePay, so I can’t really say how it works in practice. I can say, though, that they don’t offer any contact numbers on their website, and they make absolutely no claims about the quality or scope of their customer service. In my experience, this usually means bad news. If a company has invested the time and money to build a high-quality customer service system, usually they’ll be bragging about it on their website and making sure prospective customers know about it. For ElitePay, it seems customer service information is swept under the rug.
On a side note, I found their “Customer Training” page quite underwhelming compared to the industry leaders.
As a reviewer, it’s difficult for me to ascertain the quality of customer service when it comes to complex, account-specific issues. But that’s where you come in! Have you worked with Electronic Payment Systems? Have a complaint, rip off report, or even a positive testimonial? Please leave us your review! Don’t forget to read the user review and comment policy.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
2014 was a very bad year for ElitePay Global. Last time we updated this they had an A- rating at the BBB, with 29 complaints in the past three years, but right now their BBB profile is under review so no stats are available. That’s pretty low, but it’s not great when you consider that many mid-sized service providers have absolutely no complaints (Dharma Merchant Services, for instance), and some of the largest providers out there still manage to keep low numbers (Chase Paymentech does $500 billion in transactions annually, but has under 100 complaints with the BBB). We also have to consider that First Data may be absorbing some of the complaints from ElitePay, since they are doing the actual processing.
A number of new complaints on Ripoff Reports have been posted in the last 24 months, mostly complaining of expensive contracts, expensive leases, and poorly disclosed contract terms. I searched for Elite Pay, ElitePay, PrimePay, Prime Pay, and International Payment Services to make sure that complaints and scam warnings weren’t being filtered to other DBAs (doing business as).
Two years ago this company had a much cleaner reputation. But now, it seems clear that at least some agents at Elite Pay are playing dirty.
Of the complaints I read, these were the most common:
- Bad leasing agreements: Sales reps do a great job at selling merchants on terminal leasing agreements. They’ll tell you that you can write it off on your taxes, that it lowers your start up cost, that you won’t have to worry about becoming obsolete. This is all garbage. Leasing terminals almost never makes financial sense. You get locked into a four-year agreement costing thousands of dollars for a machine that sells for a few hundred dollars brand new. Read this article, please!
- Deceptive sales tactics/non-disclosure of contract terms: These kinds of complaints come up with all processors that use independent sales agents. These often poorly trained and poorly regulated agents sometimes don’t even realize that they are lying to you, because they were never properly trained in the first place. Others are desperate to close a sale to meet quotas, leading them to neglect to mention potential deal-breakers. They aren’t bad people necessarily; just frantic to make the money they need to survive. Early termination fees, rate and fee structures, non-cancellable leasing agreements, and overall headache are some details agents neglect to disclose to merchants when it becomes inconvenient to do so. The only way to protect yourself is to read and understand the entirety of your merchant agreement. If this isn’t a task you are up to, we can help.
- Poor customer service: In particular, I read a few different complaints stating that merchants cannot contact their sales agent after the contract is closed. These remarks come from former sales agents and current customers alike. I believe that maintaining a relationship with the agent who signed you up is a vital asset, so I’m disappointed to see this.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any positive reviews or testimonials for ElitePay on their site or anywhere else on the web. When it comes to small ISOs like this, I really like to see at least a few satisfied customers offering some kind words. Since they have a relatively small complaint volume, I have to imagine that ElitePay Global has a considerable number of satisfied customers out there. Not enough to make an impact on the web, though.
If you have experience with ElitePay Global, please leave your review below! Good or bad, we’d love to hear your experience.
ElitePay Global isn’t at the bottom of the barrel in the grand scheme of merchant accounts and payment processing services, but they’re getting there. I can’t recommend ElitePay to you. In an industry as competitive as payment processing, even small mistakes make me hesitant to recommend. But with all of the reports I’ve heard of deceptive rte quotes, pushing bad leasing contracts and glossing over undesirable contract terms have left a really sour taste in my mouth.
For now, I’m giving ElitePay 2 out of 5 stars. To improve their score, ElitePay should consider removing their early termination fee, improving their public presence via their website and social media, controlling their sales experience, removing bad sales reps, and overall putting in more effort to prove to potential customers that ElitePay truly is elite.
If you’re looking for the best of the best in the industry, check out our comparison chart to see our favorite providers or find one that best fits your needs. Don’t forget to comment below!
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I’m free from Elite Pay Global at last! When I signed up with them I was assured that their cancellation fee was only $225, and in fact the contract was made to read that way. However, in the tiny fine print it was “$225 plus this, and that, and this, plus whatever is left on your contract, cancellation fee not to be under $995.00.” MY cancellation fee was $1800 per shop… so no other company would buy out the fee. I finally found a company willing to pay that $1800 per account. I gleefully called Elite Pay to cancel, and discovered that they’ve lowered their cancellation fee to only $335 per account! I’m in process of getting away from this wretched, dishonest company forever. I’m still expecting nasty surprises from them, but at least I have a change to get out. I’ll post if anything goes wrong, lol.
Cannot give them any stars… terrible company, really bad decision to go with them. I am 3 years into a 4 year contract and hoping I get out of it without having to pay all the penalties. If a class action lawsuit ever gets started, I would like to join. Tom, will you reply if you have any info regarding such a suit?
Awful company. I canceled my contract and took Elite Pay to court. They owe me $5000 for their bullshit lies and contract.
I feel bad for any small business owner who has fallen victim to their scam. The owners of this business deserve a sentence, maybe more…….
Did you win your lawsuit against Elite Pay Global? How? What did you do? They seem to be experts at lying verbally, but having an iron-clad contract with all the surprises hidden in the fine print. Once a person’s signature is on that contract though…
I cancelled my contract within 3 days and the law states, in New Hampshire that I have 3 business days to back out of a business contract. I brought Elite Pay global to court immediately and won my case for $5000, which they have not payed a dime of. I now have to summon them to court to answer. Northern Leasing now thinks it’s fun to call me and harass me, but they’ve received notice from my lawyer not to contact me. If they keep contacting me they will have a federal case on their hands.
They tried to tell me that NY law states I can’t cancel, but any intelligent person knows that the contract holds true to the state in which it was signed in!!!!
This company is founded by scam artists and frauds. They already have ponzi schemes and class action lawsuits under their belts. I’m appalled a company like this can exist with everything we know about them.
Email me back as many times as you would like about these FRAUDS.
I’m also curious if you actually won your case against them? And whether you sued privately or via class action.
I brought them to small claims court and explained what they had done. I also had email proof that I wanted my contract cancelled within the time constants of my States Laws, which was 3 days. Simple as that.