EVO Payments International Review
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- Date Established
- Melville, NY
- Full range of products and services
- Available in Canada and many other countries
- Wide support for international payments
- Robust developer tools
- No pricing disclosures
- Long-term contract with expensive early termination fee
- Deceptive sales tactics among ISOs
- Reputation for poor customer service
- High complaint volume relative to its size
EVO Payments International is a merchant services provider headquartered in Melville, New York. Founded by Ray Sidhom in 1989, the company (then called Merchant Services, Inc.) began as a small provider of merchant accounts and POS terminals for US-based merchants. It grew steadily over the next twenty years, becoming EVO Merchant Services in 2003, and eventually amassing a large sales force of independent offices and agents. In 2012, Sidhom stepped down as CEO, giving the position to Jim Kelly, former Chief Operating Officer of the processing giant Global Payments.
Today, the company has rebranded itself as EVO Payments International, offering merchant services in 50 locations worldwide. EVO maintains partnerships, divisions, and subsidiaries in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe (Germany, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic), and other locations. The company processes over $10 billion in transactions annually, accepting payments in over 150 currencies.
As EVO expands — i.e., the more acquisitions and partnerships it adds — the vaguer its list of product offerings becomes. Correspondingly, direct-to-customer marketing has also shuffled down the priority list. The “Merchants” section of the US website is a glorified place-holder at this point, with little detail beyond a perfunctory list of generic features. If anything, the US division has shifted focus toward developers who build software applications for merchants and would like to integrate payment processing capability into these systems. You can check out the dedicated EVO Snap* website for more on this (and note that the asterisk on Snap* is part of its name, not an indication of a footnote!).
On the one hand, it’s quite common for large processors to favor flexibility over standardization. EVO’s partners and resellers benefit from a wide array of features to offer merchants. On the other hand, this means merchants have mixed experiences with EVO. Sales tactics, pricing structures, contract terms, and even product offerings all vary widely. Further, individual countries are quite independent of each other in terms of promoted features and overall marketing approach.
Unfortunately, EVO’s approach to sales and marketing, as well as its opaque pricing structure, make it a poor fit for small businesses. The company discloses no information whatsoever on its website about its processing rates, account fees, or contract terms. Instead, it relies on a quote-based system that requires you to contact EVO’s sales department to obtain a pricing quote that’s based on the size and history of your business. EVO’s standard contract includes an initial term of three years and an early termination fee (ETF) of up to $500 if you close your account before your contract ends. While these terms are common in the merchant services industry, they’re not something that you should accept. Although you might be able to negotiate better contract terms if your business is large enough and you know to ask for a better deal, you’ll usually be better off if you go with a better provider.
At this time, EVO Payments International only scores a mediocre 3 out of 5 stars. While the company might be a decent choice for a larger business or one that needs support for international sales, we cannot recommend it to small business owners. We do, however, recommend that you check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart for an overview of our top-rated providers for small businesses. All of these companies offer fair, transparent pricing with no long-term commitment.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
To understand EVO’s products and services, your best bet is to visit the website specific to your country or region. These separate sites are currently accessed under the “Find EVO In Your Region” portion of the company’s main website (which by itself is vague and not very useful).
Content, specificity, and overall approach vary a great deal between country pages. The features you’re offered also depends on which independent sales organization (ISO), agent, or partner you happen to encounter. Overall, EVO is compatible with merchants who process in-store, online, and in-app transactions. I’ll mainly highlight the features promoted at the US and Canadian websites below, along with a few other details I’ve pieced together:
- Merchant Accounts: EVO Payments International is a direct processor, meaning that EVO will handle your actual payment processing. The company works in collaboration with Deutsche Bank and numerous other international financial institutions.
- International Processing: As mentioned above, the company accepts payments in 50 markets and over 150 currencies.
- Integrated Payments Platform: A popular trend among larger merchant services providers today is to develop an integrated payments platform that offers the features of a payment gateway and integrates traditional payment terminals and point of sale (POS) systems into a single, cloud-based system for accepting payments and tracking business analytical data. Due to a poor marketing decision, EVO has decided to call its proprietary platform EVO Snap* — with an asterisk that doesn’t refer to anything deliberately included as part of the brand name. Despite its confusing name, EVO Snap* appears to be a solid product, complete with its own website and a host of customization options available to developers. EVO Snap* provides a single integration for card-present and card-not-present transactions through its payments processing API — a convenient feature for retailers that have had to quickly switch to online sales due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This feature is marketed primarily to developers of software platforms, apps, and online marketplaces as well as integrated software vendors — not necessarily merchants. These are folks who are building and selling software and hardware for merchant use and want payment acceptance capability and merchant on-boarding built into their products. Developers can check out the EVO Snap* FAQ for a quick overview.
- Payment Gateway: EVO also has a proprietary gateway called EVO EPay. The Canada site currently contains more details on the gateway’s features, including recurring billing, fraud protection, electronic invoicing, and integration with shopping carts. EVO accounts are compatible with the most popular third-party gateways as well.
- Terminals & POS Solutions: The US page simply states that EVO works with the leading countertop, tablet-based, and mobile POS solutions. The Canada site has more hardware information, naming the specific terminals that support Evo’s services. Meanwhile, the EVO Snap* site references hardware partners Verifone, Dejavoo, Handpoint, Ingenico, and Poynt. Note that EVO Canada mentions leasing equipment, which we don’t recommend under any circumstances. Canada does have stricter regulations about transferring hardware between providers. Still, you should run a careful cost comparison and understand all contract terms when comparing lease, rental, and purchase options.
- Mobile Payments: There’s very little detail on this topic, probably because EVO now focuses on getting developers to integrate their apps with EVO payments instead of promoting its own mobile payment app. I only find vague references to an EVO mobile app. The Canada site briefly mentions the iProcess app for mobile payments. You’ll want to get more information about hardware options from the company’s sales department if you need this capability. We highly recommend selecting a mobile card reader that accepts both EMV and NFC-based payment methods and connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth (rather than through a headphone jack).
- Additional Services: Several other features are briefly listed on the US, Canadian, and global sites. These include marketing solutions, gift/loyalty cards, ACH/check acceptance, and merchant funding. Be sure to inquire about extra fees for any of these features.
Fees & Rates
As we’ve mentioned earlier, EVO Payments International doesn’t offer any pricing disclosures on its main corporate website or its US or Canadian sites. Pricing is quote-based, meaning that you’ll have to contact the company yourself and submit enough information about your business for the sales team to build a quote that’s based on the size and history of your business. Unfortunately, this lack of transparency is prevalent among large providers; their pricing structures are too complex to allow them to offer any concrete guarantees about rates or fees. At the same time, it also allows them to offer you a quote that’s substantially more expensive than what you can obtain if you negotiate for a lower overall price. If you receive a quote from the company, we highly encourage you not to blindly accept it as written. Ask for a better deal, and be prepared to walk away if your sales agent isn’t willing to offer some reasonable concessions.
Based on merchant feedback, it appears that EVO Payments International offers a combination of both tiered and interchange-plus pricing plans. Special flat-rate pricing might also be available to some small business clients. We should warn you that if you obtain a quote from EVO, it’s very likely to include tiered pricing, as this pricing model is generally more expensive and generates higher profits for the company. Don’t accept this! Unless you’re running a very small business and can benefit from flat-rate pricing, insist on an interchange-plus plan.
We’d also caution you that, like many other traditional merchant account providers, EVO has received numerous complaints from merchants about their rates and fees going up significantly after they’ve been with the company for a while. Rate increases usually start after the end of the first year of your contract, but before your initial three-year term has ended. This will put you in the unenviable position of having to choose between either paying the higher costs or closing your account early (and possibly being hit with an expensive penalty).
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
EVO’s standard US merchant agreement includes an initial term of three years. This agreement also includes an automatic renewal clause that will extend the contract for one-year periods after that. Closing your account without penalty requires that you provide at least 60 days’ prior written notice before the end of either the initial or one of the renewal periods. While the standard agreement does not specify an early termination fee (ETF), reports from merchants indicate that this penalty can be as high as $500.
While these provisions are bad enough, the company’s independent sales agents have a notorious reputation for failing to disclose these terms as part of the sales process. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to read your entire merchant agreement thoroughly before you sign up.
Today, many of EVO’s competitors offer month-to-month contracts with no long-term commitment and no expensive penalty if you decide to close your account. EVO is well aware of this, so you should be able to negotiate a waiver of the early termination fee. However, you’ll want to be sure that you get any such waiver in writing. Also, keep a copy of the waiver for your records, in case the company later ‘accidentally’ tries to charge you an ETF when you close your account.
You should also note that, under our rating criteria, long-term contracts and early termination fees weigh very heavily against a company in determining their overall score. Why? Because more and more providers today are offering agreements that don’t include these unpopular features at all, including all of our top-rated processors. Put simply, there’s no reason to settle for a long-term contract or an early termination penalty anymore.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
EVO Payments International doesn’t have a lot of advertising out there. The pluses and minuses of this setup basically cancel each other out: The company doesn’t advertise rates or fees, but it also doesn’t have any sales gimmicks.
The bigger problem is the sales experience out in the field. Like most merchant account providers that rely on independent agents, ISOs, and integrated partners for the majority of their sales, EVO suffers from a lack of consistency in customer experience. Merchants who sign on through an EVO ISO may find that the sales agent they contacted was not forthcoming about the real costs of using the service. A large portion of complaints about EVO highlight undisclosed contract terms and fees. This is the definition of poor sales transparency.
Customer Service & Technical Support
EVO offers 24/7 technical support, while general customer service hours vary by country. As far as having a good primary point of contact goes, that depends on which sales organization and rep signs you up.
The US site doesn’t clearly outline support hours, but here’s what I gathered by calling EVO directly:
- 24/7 technical support, available by phone
EVO Canada outlines support hours in more detail:
- Primary support office in Montréal, Québec
- Customer service is available Monday-Friday 8 AM-9 PM EST and on weekends from 9 AM-9 PM EST
- For the remaining hours, calls automatically roll to a 24/7 point of sale and technical support help desk
- Repair services are available, including terminal components, firmware, and memory
Canadian support pages are sparse with a handful of FAQs, troubleshooting tips, and hardware guides posted. We couldn’t find any support materials at all on the US site.
You will, however, find a developer support page at EVO Snap*, along with some PDFs that elaborate on features and technical specifications of the platform. The EVO Snap* news section is less helpful; the latest article was published in 2016.
Social media is often a good place to check on the company’s current focus or to try to make the first contact. EVO Payments US regularly posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The EVO Snap* platform has its own YouTube channel, but it’s very outdated. There’s only one video posted, and it’s five years old.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
EVO Payments International has been accredited by the BBB since 2017 and currently has an A rating. Companies that pay for a BBB accreditation typically receive an A+ rating regardless of the number of complaints filed against them. In this case, it appears that EVO’s high complaint volume and a low percentage in resolving those complaints to the satisfaction of the customer weighed against it heavily enough to lower the company’s overall rating. The company does score a few points for honesty, though, as it includes a dynamically updated badge from the BBB on its website. You’ll always know if EVO’s rating has changed with this feature.
At the time of this review update, the company has a total of 204 complaints filed within the last three years, 85 of which were filed within the previous twelve months. There are also 74 reviews from customers, with an average rating of only 1 star out of a possible 5. Unfortunately, only the most recent of these reviews are currently available for you to read.
A large, direct processor such as EVO is inevitably going to receive a significant number of complaints, even under the best of circumstances. Nonetheless, EVO’s complaint volume is pretty high in comparison to other processors of a similar size. More concerning is the content of those complaints, which reveal a company that consistently fails to provide adequate customer service and support to its merchants, most of whom are locked into a long-term contract that they cannot easily get out of when they become dissatisfied.
With so many complaints filed against it, it’s fairly easy to spot certain trends that you should be aware of before you consider signing up with this company. Here are the problems that came up most frequently:
- Undisclosed Contract Terms: This includes a variety of fees (including an early termination fee), the automatic renewal clause, and the contract length as well as conditions for possible reserve accounts or held funds. Unfortunately, we live in a world where you can’t just believe anything a salesperson tells you. If you let your guard down and don’t get agreements in writing, you often end up paying for it — literally.
- Difficulty Closing Accounts: This goes beyond the early termination fee and auto-renewal clause. Some merchants have had their termination requests “lost” by EVO, and many others have closed their accounts only to continue to incur charges for months after. This is bad news, but would you believe it’s not an atypical complaint about this kind of processor? (You should.) The only advice we can give you with this issue is to review the requirements for closing your account very carefully and follow them to the letter. This includes submitting written notice of your intent to close your account — you cannot do this over the telephone.
- Poor Customer Service: In addition to laments about incompetence or unresponsiveness, merchants complain that sales and customer service reps were rude or hung up. “Rude” is subjective, but there are enough of these remarks that it looks like a pattern. In fact, when I called EVO the first time to ask about pricing, the representative I reached hung up on me. When I tried calling back, I was put on hold for thirty minutes before I gave up on the call. I did eventually get ahold of a few EVO representatives who were kind and helpful, but that first interaction left a bad taste in my mouth. Inadequate customer service was, far and away, the most common complaint we found, indicating that the company doesn’t devote adequate resources to this aspect of its business.
- Frozen Accounts & Held Funds: Many merchants complain that EVO has held their funds for months at a time or frozen accounts without notice. While this is an all too common complaint about large providers, a direct processor such as EVO should be able to do better at resolving this kind of problem when it occurs. Please read our article on preventing account holds, freezes, and terminations for some techniques to help stop these issues from happening in the first place.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
In terms of positive reviews, I was only able to find one positive review at the BBB and a few positive comments scattered here and there on third-party review sites. EVO has a handful of client testimonials on its B2B site, although they are all B2B specific. Here’s what the few positive comments I’ve seen mention:
- Good Representatives Make For Good Service: Customers report that when they partner with experienced resellers, they have a positive experience. These fortunate merchants report that they’ve used EVO Payments for years. Also, merchants from the UK expressed gratitude for one particular EVO representative named Darren.
Unfortunately, EVO’s US website doesn’t include any positive testimonials from satisfied merchants.
In EVO Payments, we have a giant company with countless partners, ISOs, and independent agents — and now on an international scale. As such, your experience with EVO depends entirely on which branch of the sprawling tree you encounter. Merchants end up suffering because of a lack of transparency in pricing and inconsistent experiences in sales practices.
Since so many different entities resell EVO’s products and services, it’s nearly impossible to provide an accurate overall assessment. I have a hard time recommending EVO when I have no idea what type of account package will come across your plate, nor the quality of the sales experience you’ll face. I’ve also seen too many long-term contracts and early termination fees as well as evidence of less than forthright sales practices. While this is likely not the case with every ISO, I’ve seen so many complaints that I have reservations about EVO ISOs in general.
Let’s set aside independent sales organizations for the moment and look at EVO itself. There are steps EVO could take at its main site and country home pages to make us more confident in the sales process. Outlining pricing models, posting merchant terms and conditions on all the sites, and unifying the overall online approach would be welcome improvements. The point is, there are ways to offer some consistency and transparency while also providing decent flexibility.
EVO Snap* appears to be a promising product, although we wouldn’t recommend signing up with EVO Payments International just to access this one product. Integrated payment platforms are becoming very common in the payments processing industry, and just about any provider can offer you a platform with similar capabilities.
Overall, EVO Payments International only receives a score of 3 out of 5 stars. Given the number of serious issues we’ve found with the company, this might seem like a higher score than you might expect. However, it merely indicates an average provider in an industry where the “average” isn’t very good for small businesses. Large companies with an international presence might be able to negotiate a better deal from a company such as EVO, with rock-bottom interchange-plus processing rates making up for the company’s other shortcomings. For the average small business owner, however, we cannot recommend a company that’s going to lock you into a long-term contract, charge you high rates and fees, and provide a minimal amount of customer service after you’ve signed up.
Fortunately, you do have better options. There are merchant services providers on the market today that have geared their services and pricing to serve the needs of small business owners better. You’ll enjoy transparent pricing with no long-term commitment, and your costs will likely be much lower overall. Check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart for an overview of the best providers we’ve found for both large and small businesses.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.