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Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
Best Payment Providers

What We Like

Santander honestly promotes its merchant service partnerships with Elavon and iZettle.

What We Didn't Like

There is no incentive or cost savings to sign up for merchant services through Santander. It appears as though businesses would do better to seek merchant accounts directly from its partners Elavon and iZettle.

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Based in Boston, Santander is a large multinational bank and a member of the Spanish Santander Group. It mainly operates as a retail and commercial bank. Instead of operating as an acquiring bank, it routes all merchant services through partners in every country. In the US, Santander has its own online payment gateway solutions and security and partners with First Data for merchant services.

In the UK, it operates differently because it is a separate company. Based in London, the UK company was founded in 2010 after the Santander Group acquired Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley, and Alliance and Leicester banks.

Though one of the larger banks in the UK, it does not provide any merchant services. Instead, these services are offered through its partners, Elavon and iZettle.


Santander openly and honestly promotes its banking services, and uses social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to promote company news and offerings. Though it has a presence, it could be more active.

Satander also clearly markets Elavon and iZettle as its merchant services partners. When it comes to Elavon, it does not use any deceptive advertising or rate quoting tactics on its website. The same is true for iZettle, its marketing efforts are straightforward and clear.


We didn’t find anything on Santander’s site or promotional materials that appeared dishonest. The same seems true for iZettle. iZettle does not approve accounts for high-risk businesses, and it clearly states that on its site. We also could not find any complaints about dishonest marketing strategies. Unfortunately, the same is not true for Elavon. There are plenty of complaints about hidden fees, false information, and aggressive sales tactics.


Santander has no input in merchant services , and it does not get a commission for connecting a customer to Elavon or iZettle. Therefore, the sales practices of its partners are much more important.

Elavon gains sales and markets its products and services through resellers, independent sales agents, and partnerships. These agents and resellers have negatively impacted the business in the sense that it has a large of complaints related undisclosed fees and the terms and conditions of the third-party leasing business it strongly promotes.

iZettle uses traditional sales tactics and classic referrals to build its customer base and to market its services. Additionally, it does not employ any independent sales agents.


Before moving forward, you need to ask yourself if is it really beneficial to move forward with Santander since it doesn’t provide any merchant services. Instead, the bank just connects merchants to the providers, iZettle and Elavon. If you go this route, your contract would be with Elavon or iZettle, which means also that you deal with their customer support.

iZettle and Elavon can be reached by phone and email. Depending on the monthly plan chosen, iZettle’s technical support is offered every day of the week, mostly during regular business hours. The better the plan, the more technical support that is available.

On the other handle, Elavon offers phone and email support in the UK 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Staff Responsiveness

The team at Santander was easy to reach. We received an email almost immediately, telling us to contact iZettle and Elavon for further information about merchant services. When we called to get clarification on its role in merchant account services, we waited only a few minutes before we reached a person. Considering its stature as a major bank and a fair amount of customers, we were very pleased with its responsiveness.

However, when it comes to iZettle, the experience is much different. It is notoriously difficult to reach via phone or email. Elavon is not very responsive when it comes to customer complaints, either. Both should be remembered before you sign a contract with Elavon or iZettle.

Staff Education

Again, we had a positive experience with Santander’s team, which was professional, knowledgeable, and quick with accurate information. We never experienced a confused team member or any inconsistencies.

iZettle has a reputation of retaining knowledgeable people, who understand processing and can speak intelligently about products and services. The staff at Elavon also is very knowledgeable of its offerings, which is impressive considering its many products, services, and features.

Staff Interaction

As previously mentioned, the brief interactions we had with Santander were pleasant and professional. The same is not completely true for iZettle and Elavon. Prior to sale, both Elavon and iZettle are attentive, engaging, and enthusiastic. After the sale is complete, reviewers have complained that their levels of customer service plummet.


Santander does not list any pricing on its site because all of its merchant services in the UK are handled through Elavon and iZettle.

iZettle’s average prices are as follows:

  • Transaction rates: between 1.7% and 2.7%
  • Monthly fees: up to £20
  • Set-up fees: £0

Elavon’s average prices are as follows:

  • Transaction rates: between 2.55% and 3.5% plus 19p per transaction
  • Monthly fees: Starting at £10 per service
  • Set-up fees: Starting at £25
  • Minimum merchant service charge: £20
  • Minimum monthly processing fee: up to £25
  • Monthly statement fee: £4.95
  • Chargeback fee: Starting at £15

It is important to note that iZettle does run credit checks on new users, which is something many other aggregators do not do. This step is taken to verify the individual’s identity and to ensure it is operating within all laws and regulations. Also, merchants are only permitted to connect to a bank account that is located in the same country where the merchant signed up for the account.

Hardware Costs

In the UK, all merchant account services, as well any hardware rentals, are through its partners, Elavon and iZettle.

Elavon leases card readers through a third-party company, Ladco Leasing. It offers Ingenico and Verifone portable, mobile, and desktop card machines.

Merchants that sign a contract with Elavon’s Ladco can expect to pay a £99 upfront fee or £10 per month for desktop or portable card readers and a £199 upfront fee or £17.50 per month for a mobile card reader.

Merchants that sign up for iZettle’s services are charged a one-time fee of £59 and store kit of £39 per month.

Early Termination Fees

As previously noted, no contract is signed with Santander. iZettle offers a month-to-month agreement and does not charge an early termination fee. Elavon, which for years slammed customers with early termination fees in upwards of £295, no longer charges an early termination fee if the agreement is cancelled before the end of the term. Elavon offers 12- to 36-month contracts.

However, the leasing agreement with Elavon’s partner, Ladco Leasing, is a non-cancellable, 48-month contract. Merchants must pay out the rest of their contracts, and there are many complaints in the digital space about the terms in the agreement. Additionally, buying equipment is about 10 times cheaper than leasing through Ladco.

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