At first glance it would appear that Bank of Ireland has no merchant services division, the information on their own site being fairly scant. The reason would appear to be that they have been happy to provide a merchant account and outsource the bulk of the card payment services to Elavon, rather than brand the full service internally as part of the bank.
Elavon break down their offering into 3 categories; small business, enterprise and market solutions. The first 2 are fairly self-explanatory but the market specific services side is more bespoke. They offer streamlined packages for operators in different sectors, such as aviation, hospitality, restaurants, retail and public sector.
They proudly boast that they are the number 1 provider for airlines and in the top 5 for the other industries mentioned. Their offering is fairly complex and focused on ways of saving money through a partnership with them. They are highly committed to guiding customers to the correct solution and providing a more three dimensional partnership than other suppliers.
Bank of Ireland is one of Ireland’s ‘Big Four’ banks that can trace their own personal history back to 1783, making them the longest serving bank in continual operation in the country. However, despite a history of growth, acquisition and prosperity, they were bailed out in 2009 by the Irish Government due to having more than 6 billion Euros of bad debts.
Then, in 2010, they were ordered by the European Commission to dispose of Bank of Ireland Asset Management, New Ireland Assurance, ICS Building Society, their US Foreign Exchange business and stakes held in the Irish Credit Union. In this, they are no different to other similarly chastened large banks and if anything, are now viewed as more trustworthy following increased protective legislation being enforced by Europe.
As Bank of Ireland seem to handle the merchant account only and their partner Elavon manages the bulk of the card payment services, it is probably wise to look at their background as well.
Backed by US Bank, Elavon have been in business for more than 20 years. They can now boast over 1 million worldwide customers and a wealth of payment services offered to all levels of business. They have been voted in the top 5 payment providers and have won awards for their services. They have 10 bases of operations globally with 3600 employees and do business in 29 different countries.
What’s on Offer?
Elavon offer solutions for all sizes of business, all of which are PCI compliant. They even offer a powerful reporting tool, iMerchantConnect, to review statements and activity on your merchant account.
For larger businesses they have design services to help with expert advice on building your solution and even global outsourcing to help cut your costs. The good news for small businesses is that Elavon offer a free reporting tool to allow management of their account, without an additional expense.
Again for smaller concerns, the company offer a one-off mobile payment solution with a 15 minute application and online acceptance decision. The price quoted online £99 + VAT for the Bluetooth card reader, minimum £25 joining fee and the following percentages on transactions:
- 2.75% on any credit card transactions (Visa and MasterCard)
- 2.75% on any debit card transactions (Visa, MasterCard and Maestro)
- 3.75% on manually entered transactions
As well as these features, there is an end-to-end service covering card reader hardware, which includes mobile, portable and static terminals along with smartphone card readers and virtual terminal services.
Their support is telephone based and available 24-7/365 but it is not clear if it is UK based. Larger accounts enjoy a dedicated client services team helping them with account management and reporting. They offer dynamic currency conversion and gift card services into the bargain.
There are various cost-cutting and streamlining solutions offered by Elavon, these include fraud and charge-back monitoring tools, interchange advisory and optimisation solutions and, of course, their proprietary online reporting tools.
Other than the mobile solution, there is no pricing displayed. Given the fact that they have an offering large enough to accommodate solutions designed for large enterprise, it is understandable that pricing is generally bespoke and catered according to need upon consultation.
Although this is flagged as a Bank of Ireland solution, it would seem that their part extends to the provision of a merchant account. Terms and rates are based on assessment of the individual but as with large banks that survived the recession, they are likely to be competitive.
Their partner Elavon offers an extremely robust proposition. They are smaller than some of the giants like WorldPay, but they have an excellent presence on the global market and yet still offer dedicated small business solutions.
This speaks of a company who has not forgotten a very lucrative segment of the market. They have solid roots in US banking and seem to have gone out of their way to be helpful to potential customers, with a well informed website and pre/post sales telephone help.
They even offer a referral service as a way of widening their customer base and rewarding customers who bring on new members. This is an increasingly popular method of marketing for modern businesses, especially those trading online.
It would seem that Elavon is an offering not to be ignored for any size of business, however a merchant account is of course required and this may be where Bank of Ireland comes in. Ultimately though, by whatever means you check them out, it would be wise to look into Elavon as a potential supplier.