The Cut-throat Business of Chargebacks: Protection, Prevention, and Prevailing!

Shocked business woman with laptop in office.

Not one other phrase instills fear and anger in to the hearts of retailers such as the word, &#8220chargeback.&#8221

Although a discomfort within the ass, chargebacks are a crucial part associated with a modern-day business that accepts charge cards.

Long ago when, the chargeback system was produced by creditors to safeguard consumers from fraudulent charges, in addition to keep retailers honest and accountable. But, should you&#8217ve have you been around the receiving finish of the chargeback claim, it feels a lot more like an individual vendetta. The bottom line is to stay calm, and never go personally.

Exactly what is a Chargeback?

In a nutshell, a chargeback is really a turnaround of funds transferred.

Unlike coming back, that involves someone directly approaching a merchant and requesting reimbursement, a chargeback refunds the customer through the card issuing bank and also the merchant&#8217s bank.

Whenever a customer notices the things they suspect to become the wrong charge on their own charge card statement, they might inform their issuing bank to turn back charge. The issuing bank then reverses the amount of money using their cardholder&#8217s account, providing them with a credit. Simultaneously the issuing bank debits the merchant&#8217s bank, who consequently debits the merchant&#8217s account.

Since chargebacks were initially set up to safeguard the customer, in the realm of chargebacks, the merchant is recognized as guilty until he proves themself innocent. Quite simply, if chargebacks were an online casino blackjack game, the customer offers house odds.

A lot of chargebacks, whether effectively repealed or otherwise, may damage a merchant&#8217s status, create a freeze of the credit card merchant account, an entire termination of the account altogether, or perhaps analysis and criminal charges. As well as chargebacks include their very own slew of chargeback charges and penalties, which if proven valid, are debited in the merchant&#8217s account.

Clearly the very best factor a merchant can perform regarding chargebacks, is prevent them by any means!

Causes of Chargebacks

You will find numerous reasons chargebacks are issued. A number of them are technical errors, like getting an expired authorization or perhaps a simple bank error. Other medication is clerical, as an accidental duplicate billing, incorrect amount of money billed, or perhaps a refund which was simply never issued.

Frequently, it’s dependent on the customer&#8217s perception around the product/service quality, that they are dissatisfied using their purchase and would really like reimbursement.

Finally, some chargebacks are legitimate installments of fraud, where a consumer’s card information was stolen and also the purchase is made without their consent.

Stopping Chargebacks

Below are great tips for staying away from chargebacks:

Talk to the merchant.

Many chargebacks can be simply prevented, or perhaps fixed, if there’s open communication between your consumer and also the merchant.

Clearly describe your products or services.

Like a merchant, make certain you allow obvious descriptions of the goods and service policies to ensure that liabilities hit the customer when it comes to dissatisfied purchases.

Come with an easy refund guarantee.

If your consumer is really unhappy using their purchase, come with an easy refund policy therefore the consumer doesn’t want to initiate a chargeback using their provider.

Look into the expiration date.

Never accept expired cards.

Obtain a signature.

ALWAYS make certain the customer signs the sales receipt in card-present transactions. Like a further precaution, check to make certain the signature is comparable to the main one on the rear of the credit card. Never accept an unsigned card.

Provide your organization contact details.

Card processing errors may be easily fixed by supplying consumers together with your contact details, whether around the receipt or in your website, to allow them to contact you directly and also have the error fixed without initiating a chargeback.

Optimize your billing descriptor.

Frequently occasions chargebacks could be a few a misunderstanding, particularly since the consumer is undecided about the transaction details that show up on their charge card statement. Make sure to allow the consumer understand what company name can look on their own statement. When they cannot recognize the your company due to a DBA, the customer can start the chargeback process.

Maintain records.

Obviously you will find individuals bad individuals filing fraudulent chargebacks hoping getting freebies. Each year retailers lose vast amounts of dollars to lost merchandise on the top of transaction reversals and chargeback charges, all brought on by criminal consumers who purchase products after which claim they never did. More often than not these cases are lost through the merchant for insufficient supplying easy and clean records.

Furthermore, make certain profits receipts are complete and legible, to enable them to be clearly understood through the consumer, in addition to a valid bit of proof throughout a chargeback dispute. A clear receipt ought to be the initial step in eliminating a chargeback.

Save receipts.

The time limit for issuing chargebacks change from provider to provider, however it may be between 180 days to three years carrying out a transaction. Thus it’s suggested retailers retain their receipts and records within an organized fashion, so they could thriftily and precisely provide information upon request.

Set shipping expectations.

Frequently someone will issue a chargeback once they purchase a product but haven’t yet receive it. Like a merchant, make certain all merchandise has shipped before depositing a sales receipt. If your customer doesn’t come with an item but sees it on their own charge card statement, they might want to issue a chargeback.

On a single note, inform them about expected shipping some time and delays in delivery. A chargeback for &#8220services not givenOrproducts not received&#8221 can easily be remedied with shipping details, carrier confirmation, and proof of delivery like a signed delivery receipt (frequently known as POD, or &#8220proof of delivery&#8221). Or, when the shipping time period hasn’t yet surpassed, and you’ve got clearly mentioned in your website or check out &#8220please allow X quantity of days for shipping,&#8221 presenting that information towards the investigating bank can steer clear of the chargeback.

Exactly the same could be stated inside a reverse situation, where the consumer claims they came back the products but never received a credit. Within this situation, enable your merchant bank realize that you haven’t received the came back merchandise, or even the services haven’t been cancelled through the cardholder.

Follow protocol.

Other chargebacks could be avoided by using fundamental yet strict charge card processing protocols. If your card is swiped and authorization is denied, don’t try to re-swipe or pressure a posting. Re-swiping multiple occasions in order to authorize a transaction, by hand entering an entry, or with credit approval are things that may result in a chargeback.

  • If your card won’t swipe and you’re made to by hand go into the figures, make an imprint from the embossed card figures on the rear of the receipt. A chargeback done on the manual entry could be lost if there’s no imprint around the receipt.
  • If with authorization, make certain to record the authorization code, date, time, credit representative’s name, and transaction amount of money approved.
  • Never estimate transaction amounts, an issue more prevalent with tip inclusion within the restaurant industry.
  • In order to avoid duplicate transactions, make certain transactions are just joined once, after which completely voided if they’re incorrect, just before reprocessing.
  • Be cautious when submitting sales receipts for your bank that just one copy is posted, or that you simply don’t send a duplicate to 2 different banks. Multiple copies of sales receipts can lead to duplicate billing and clearly a chargeback.
  • Inside a related matter, make certain your charge card transaction receipts are deposited on time, to ensure that consumers begin to see the debit on their own account within an understandable period of time, and never several weeks later.
  • Make use of the Address Verification System (AVS).
  • Collect CVC2 and CVV2 verification figures also known as the three-digit the three.

Stop wasting time to reply.

Responding rapidly to chargebacks is really a merchant’s finest tool, as there’s a particular time period limit in every step from the chargeback cycle, along with a delayed reaction can lead to a chargeback loss. In this manner, consumer misunderstandings may be easily resolved too therefore if a person states they never received a credit for any return, because the merchant you are able to rapidly provide evidence of the particular day the loan was issued and puppy nip the problem within the bud before it manifests into a full-scale chargeback war.

Pick your battles.

Like a merchant it’s important too to understand when you should pick your battles. It might be cheaper and simpler to allow certain chargebacks go knowing you can’t win them, saving yourself the useless time and money of fighting.

Conclusion

Lastly, knowing you&#8217ve designed a mistake, admit into it and accept the chargeback. Many of us are human and individuals get some things wrong. If you have a chargeback for any non-matching account number and also you know you keyed the amount in incorrectly, or authored it lower wrong on the telephone order, accept the chargeback. Same could be stated to have an incorrect amount of money. Like a merchant you need to maintain a respectable status, which might involve acknowledging whenever you&#8217re wrong and tossing within the towel. Within the finish, contemplate it a lesson learned, thus assisting you be careful and meticulous later on transactions.

The publish The Cut-throat Business of Chargebacks: Protection, Prevention, and Prevailing! made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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In The Event You Open a free account Together With Your Bank?

opening a merchant bank account

As an entrepreneur, you’ll need your funds fast, and also you need them readily accessible everywhere. Juggling multiple accounts and cards is really a discomfort. Which&#8217s most likely why lots of retailers decide to open merchant services with banks where they previously conduct business. It&#8217s convenient and when you have confidence in them to deal with your individual finances, you will be able to have confidence in them together with your business and charge card processing&#8230right?

Well&#8230 maybe. We consider a large amount of merchant providers here, and never our top-rated providers also does financial. Frankly, the primary draw of companies for example Wells Fargo and Bank of the usa is they promise next-day funding and cost-added services for example payday loans and loans. There&#8217s even the ease of getting all of your accounts centralized in one location.

Regrettably, convenience usually comes in a greater cost. It frequently seems like banks that provide a merchant account (three we&#8217re particularly thinking about are Wells Fargo, Bank of the usa, and Chase Paymentech) enter into the sport exclusively to help keep customers and acquire much more of their business. Which doesn&#8217t always equal industry-leading practices or even the best prices for retailers.

There’s a couple of major options that come with a free account that any company owner needs to check out. How quickly your hard earned money can be obtained is clearly the top concern. But it’s also wise to take a look at who&#8217s really doing the processing. Then, there&#8217s the supply and actual worth of supposed &#8220value-added&#8221 services that banks can provide.

How Quickly Are You Able To Access Your Funds?

A large draw for banks that provide merchant services is next-day funding&#8230. should you open a financial institution account together. Both Wells Fargo and Bank of the usa offer this selection. Strangely enough, Chase Paymentech (which is definitely the biggest and finest-rated from the three) doesn&#8217t offer this. Most money is available within 2 working days, that is industry standard.

That&#8217s not saying you are able to&#8217t get next-day processing elsewhere. For instance, Vantiv offers same-day and then-day funding (though you are very likely to pay for a little more). Which&#8217s only some of the company that does. Our top-rated processors, including Dharma A Merchant Account, FattMerchant, Payment Depot, and Helcim, all present an choice for next-day funding. Note: This method isn&#8217t the default, but when qualify (just like Dharma or FattMerchant) or are prepared to pay a bit more ($5/monthly for Helcim), you will get this perk.

So don&#8217t be fooled: You will get next-day funding even though you process cards via a company apart from your bank.

Nobody Processes Your Transactions?

Here&#8217s the offer: While Chase processes payments directly because of its clients because the obtaining bank, both Bank of the usa and Wells Fargo really process through First Data.

That&#8217s not inherently a poor factor. Actually, this really is pretty common within the payment industry. Helcim uses Elavon. Payline Data uses Vantiv. Must be merchant company works through another, bigger company, doesn&#8217t mean you are able to&#8217t get great service. You just need to make certain that whomever you select would like to go all the way. Helcim&#8217s interchange-plus program, for instance, looks nothing beats Elavon&#8217s prices or car loan terms, nor does Payline&#8217s seem like Vantiv&#8217s.

That&#8217s and not the situation with Bank of the usa, for instance, that provides First Data&#8217s Clover POS and other alike car loan terms. Should you open a free account with Bank of the usa, it&#8217s pretty apparent that you’ll only obtain access to what services First Data provides to B of the, that we don&#8217t like.

To earn a place at the very top in payment processing, you will need to exceed. You have to innovate and invest in new choices regularly. Otherwise you find yourself having a bad status and unhappy retailers.

Finally, this will be significant because when a merchant, you will should be aware who&#8217s pulling the strings behind your contract. Read your car loan terms and know them. Which includes knowing whenever your contract expires and the way to cancel. In case your sales repetition promises you no early termination charges, make certain anything states that, or you’ve got a waiver form towards the same effect signed and mounted on your contract. Need assistance together with your contract? Achieve to we and us&#8217ll gladly help.

How Valuable are Value-Added Services?

You&#8217ll frequently see banks offering value-added services for credit card merchant account holders. This appears like an enormous feature, second simply to the benefit of centralized accounts. These facilities frequently include:

Dispute managers: Tools that will help you fight chargebacks. The majority are just document organizers, though, and also you won&#8217t have any real support out of your company.

24&#2157 support: Customer support and tech support team are essential. 24/7 service is a great factor&#8230as lengthy because it&#8217s good service. Bigger companies have a tendency to fail in connection with this.

Payroll and scheduling services: Great for managing employees and inspiring start up business.

Gift certificatesOrdevotion programs: These may be invaluable tools for companies.

POS systems: A financial institution that provides merchant services along with a default POS could be a good factor&#8230or it may be very, horrible. A POS isn’t any small consideration, and also you need one which works for all your small business. Chase really has partnerships using more than 400 software companies, while Bank of the usa is actually pushing First Data&#8217s Clover platform. Make certain you receive the thing you need and also you aren&#8217t pressed to enroll in something simply because it&#8217s convenient.

E-Commerce support and payment gateways: Brick-and-mortar retail an internet-based shops have become more integrated, so if you wish to sell on the internet and personally, or else you already sell mainly online, settled as to the choices you receive: hosting, a website, a ready-to-go payment gateway?

Virtual terminal: Turn your pc right into a register to consider payments over the telephone, via mail, or perhaps personally utilizing a virtual terminal. Just make certain you’ll need this particular service and also you aren&#8217t having to pay for this should you don&#8217t require it.

Mobile processing: Banks and lots of traditional merchant providers now provide mobile processing. Take Capital One&#8217s Spark Pay, for instance. Bank of the usa has got the Clover Go (but still supports Bank of the usa Mobile Purchase existing customers). Some merchant providers have these, but admittedly not every do. But there are many standalone services that people think get the job done very well: Square, Intuit GoPayment, (that will really open a person credit card merchant account for you personally), not to mention, PayPal Here.

Loans and credit lines: I can easily see why many people might trust a financial institution over every other company offering these types of services. It frequently appears like there are plenty of shady companies promising financial services. However that&#8217s not always true and when you qualify, you are able to frequently obtain the best deals from nontraditional lenders. Take a look at our articles, All you need to Learn about Obtaining a Merchant Cash Loan and Tips to get a Great Deal on a money advance Loan, to learn more.

But here&#8217s the factor: None of useful bank-exclusives. You can aquire a couple of value-added services from the decent charge card processor. So don&#8217t allow yourself to get suckered in.

Your final note: In certain cases, it may be worth having to pay greater rates for charge card processing to obtain these types of services free of charge or for a cheap price. You may simply add-on a regular monthly fee on their behalf. However, you should absolutely compare the expense of standalone services as to the your merchant company offers and find out in which the better deal lies. Don&#8217t be seduced by supposed worth of free websites should you don&#8217t need them, either. It&#8217s your hard earned money. Don&#8217t dispose of it!

Final Verdict: In The Event You Process Charge Cards Using Your Bank?

Please, don&#8217t fall under the trap of thinking a free account using your bank is easily the most convenient or smartest choice. It&#8217s not.

All of your money will reach your money within the finish, and lots of processors who aren&#8217t your bank offer next-day funding. You will get the same services &#8212 or even more &#8212 that exist from the bank. Which includes a wide variety of POS systems. And in case your payment processor is trustworthy and prepared to go all the way, you will get better customer care and prices, too.

I’m able to&#8217t stress enough how important it’s for you personally, because the business proprietor, to learn concerning the payments industry. You possess an astounding variety of options, and much more are popping up constantly. Then when your bank teller foretells you in regards to a business account and charge card processing, I encourage you hear them out&#8230 go seek information. Evaluate which you’ll need. Speak with other retailers. Consider the alternatives. Take a look at our top-rated processors if you would like the best offer and consistently spectacular customer support. If you’re able to&#8217t decide, we’re always here to assist. Don&#8217t hesitate to make contact with us.

Best of luck!

The publish In The Event You Open a free account Together With Your Bank? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Analysis: Is Square the Least expensive Charge Card Processor For The Business?

accept mobile credit card payments

We’re generally requested whether Square may be the least expensive charge card processor for confirmed business. Sometimes the reply is obvious, other occasions it&#8217s more difficult. For those who have a greater-volume business (say, $10K monthly or even more in card payments), you’ll be able to probably look for a better prices plan than Square offers. What should you&#8217re a minimal-volume business searching for any mobile processing option. Is Square always the very best bet?

Good sense states that interchange-plus prices is the greatest value you will get. It&#8217s even the most transparent plan. Because of the confusion and frustration that emerges from tiered prices, it&#8217s no real surprise interchange-plus caught in route it did. That stated, very few mPOS processors offer it. Those that do frequently provide it included in a bigger monthly subscription package, which makes it hard to separate out the various costs (like a shopping cart software, virtual terminal, etc.). But there’s one option that provides you with interchange-plus prices without any fancy add-ons: Payline Mobile.

At .5% + $.20 markup over interchange for that base plan, Payline Mobile is among the least costly credit card merchant account-based mobile processing options. And all that you should do a account is process enough card-based transactions to create $25 monthly in processing charges. Should you be less than perfect, Payline will undoubtedly bill the difference rather of charging yet another fee. That&#8217s pretty spectacular, to tell the truth.

Just how much must you process with Payline Mobile to satisfy that $25 monthly minimum? So how exactly does that rival that which you&#8217d pay with Square? I sitting lower and crunched much more figures than I’d normally like simply to find out whether this interchange-plus plan is indeed a better deal.

Crunching the Figures: How to locate Your Break-Even Point

To begin, calculating the break-even point for percentage based transactions is fairly easy. The formula is simply your processing volume multiplied through the percentage. However, because we be aware of break-even point, $25, we have to shuffle the formula around a little.

  • Breakeven = processing volume (y) * processing rate (%)
  • $25 = y * %
  • y = $25 / %
  • y = ?

Here’s where things get tricky. Dealing with firms that charge only a percentage (like Square) is simple.

To calculate actual charges by having an interchange-plus plan, you’ll need three information: (1) your average interchange rate, (2) your average ticket size and (3) quantity of transactions OR monthly volume. (As long as you’ve your ticket size and one of these simple information, you are able to calculate another.)

We’re presuming a typical interchange of just one.54% + $.12. That’s fairly usual for most retailers, however if you simply process lots of American Express or business and rewards cards, you are very likely a greater rate. Based on which processor you select, by hand entering transactions (rather of swiping or dipping) will affect your costs.

We&#8217re going to check out two average ticket sizes, $20 and $45, and have fun with a couple of different monthly volumes so that you can begin to see the variations.

The final little bit of information we have to run the figures is processing rates. Square&#8217s rates are 2.75% for swiped transactions. Payline Mobile offers two plans, Spark and Surge.

Spark Plan Rates

  • Processing rate: Interchange + .5%
  • Per-transaction fee: $.20
  • Fee every month: None

Surge Plan Rates

  • Processing rate: Interchange + .3%
  • Per-transaction fee: $.20
  • Fee every month: $9.95

That&#8217s all we have to get began. To inform you the mathematics, we&#8217ll begin with the Spark Plan, since it doesn’t have fee every month. Your actual processing costs could be 2.04% + $.32 when you add some markup to the expected interchange rate.

So to work out how much you&#8217d have to tactic to generate $25 in charges, your math need to look such as this to begin:

  • BE = y * .0204
  • y = BE / .0204
  • y = $25 / .0204
  • y = 1,225.49

Our break-even point at 2.04%, is $1,225 to create $25 in charges. But we&#8217re dirty yet because we’ve that $.32 per-transaction fee to think about.

By having an average ticket size $20, that’s 61.25 transactions (1225 / 20), but let’s round lower to 61 transactions.

The next thing is to multiply the amount of transactions through the per-transaction fee:

  • 61 transactions * $.32 = $19.52.

That’s another almost $20 in charges just because of per-transaction costs, for any grand total of $44.52 in processing charges on $1,225/month in card transactions.

Hold on! Now we&#8217ve overshot our mark!

Regrettably, there&#8217s no precise method to calculate what it might decide to try create $25 in processing charges. All we can perform is have fun with the figures and find out what we should get. We all know the break-even amount is going to be under $1,225, however i don&#8217t think it&#8217ll be an excessive amount of less than that, and so i&#8217ll start at $950 and work my long ago after that if required.

I cautioned you in the beginning: I did much more math than I&#8217d normally like. 

Locating the Least expensive Charge Card Processor: In-Depth Analysis

It&#8217s here we are at some learning from mistakes. Now you know how you can perform the math, I&#8217m not likely to do it again &#8212 rather, I will place it all inside a table for you personally. I&#8217ve rounded the typical quantity of transactions to whole figures (up or lower according to standard rounding conventions).

Scenario 1:

Spark Plan,

$20 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 2:

Surge Plan,

$20 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 3:

Spark Plan,

$20/avg ticket

$700/month volume

Scenario 4:

Surge Plan,

$20/avg ticket

$700/month volume

Percentage Charges $19.38 $17.48 $14.28 $12.88
Per-Transaction Charges $15.36 $15.36 $11.20 $11.20
Fee Every Month None $9.95 None $9.95
Total Monthly

Processing Charges

$34.74 $42.79 $25.48 $34.03

Considering all this, you can observe by using a $20 average ticket, the break-even cost approximately $700 (just a little above by using the Surge) &#8212 and also at this rate, it&#8217s clearly cheaper to stay using the Spark plan.

To compare&#8217s sake, Square&#8217s fees are the following:

  • Square charges at $950/month: $26.13
  • Square charges at $700/month: $19.25

So yes &#8212 during these situations, Square is the foremost value. That&#8217s mostly because of the per-transaction charges being excessive.

Let’s change it out up though. If you have a greater average ticket size. Let’s go $45 per ticket.

Scenario 5:

Spark Plan,

$45 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 6:

Surge Plan,

$45 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 7:

Spark Plan,

45/avg ticket

$700/month volume

Scenario 8:

Surge Plan,

$45/avg ticket

$700/month volume

Percentage Charges $19.38 $17.48 $14.28 $12.88
Per-Transaction Charges $6.72 $6.72 $11.20 $11.20
Fee Every Month None $9.95 None $9.95
Total Monthly

Processing Charges

$26.10 $34.15 $25.48 $34.03

First, observe that one of these simple scenarios ends up being functionally just like Square: Scenario 5, which generates $26.10 in charges versus Square&#8217s $26.13. Therefore we have proof that interchange-plus prices Could be as good as Square at low volumes.

However, it’s also wise to spot the break-even point for Payline Mobile&#8217s $25 fee has elevated. Using the bigger transaction size, you’d need a bit more than $950 per month to interrupt even on plans — I ran the figures again and also at $1000, the charges were $25.44 + $9.95 (as many as $35.39). And again, you don&#8217t save much using the Surge plan only at that lower volume &#8212 insufficient to pay for the fee every month.

Calculating Break-Even Suggests Compare Rates

Calculating just how much you have to tactic to justify a regular monthly fee isn&#8217t very different compared to standard break-even point formula. Your break-even amount may be the fee every month, and also the percentage may be the difference backward and forward processing rates. For Payline&#8217s Spark and Surge plans, that difference is .2% (.5-.3), and also the break-even point it’s $9.95.

  • BE = y * .2%
  • $9.95 = y * .002
  • y = 9.95 / .002
  • y = 4,975

To pay for the main difference between Payline&#8217s Spark and Surge plans, you should process $4,975 monthly to warrant the fee every month.

What exactly does that appear to be like, fee wise? And just how does that appear to be when compared with Square? Let&#8217s round to $5,000/month and run the figures with $20 and $45 tickets.

Scenario 9:

Spark Plan,

$20 avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Scenario 10:

Surge Plan,

$20 avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Scenario 11:

Spark Plan,

$45/avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Scenario 12:

Surge Plan,

$45 avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Percentage Charges $102.00 $92.00 $102.00 $92.00
Per-Transaction Charges $80.00 $80.00 $56.96 $56.96
Fee Every Month None $9.95 None $9.95
Total Monthly

Processing Charges

$182.00 $181.95 $158.96 $158.91

Observe that you&#8217re really having to pay less in charges with the Surge plan since we hit the break-even point. That&#8217s good. But compare that to Square fees at $5,000/month: $137.50. You&#8217re still having to pay greater than you have to with Payline.

Let&#8217s move beyond that break-even point though. Let’s run the figures again having a monthly amount of $8,000.

Scenario 13:

Spark Plan,

$20 average ticket

$8,000/month volume

Scenario 14:

Surge Plan,

$20 average ticket

$8000/month volume

Scenario 15:

Spark Plan,

$45/avg ticket

$8,000/month volume

Scenario 16:

Surge Plan,

$45avg ticket

$8,000/month volume

Percentage Charges $163.20 $147.20 $163.20 $147.20
Per-Transaction Charges $128.00 $128.00 $56.96 $56.96
Fee Every Month None $9.95 None $9.95
Total Monthly

Processing Charges

$291.20 $285.15 $220.16 $214.11

The large takeaway here: You&#8217re having to pay considerably less in charges having a $45 average ticket over a $20 average ticket. About $70 worth, actually.

It’s also wise to compare that to Square&#8217s fees at $8,000/month: $220. Which means you begin to see low savings with Payline Data.

That lines track of things i stated earlier &#8212 that at $10,000/month, you are able to certainly improve prices than Square offers.

Altering the Variables in Charge Card Processing: Enter Spark Pay

Right now I think you’ll have a minimum of an idea of methods theoretical figures can result in very real costs. We&#8217ve proven you pretty clearly how Square ends up to be the better deal for several low-volume, low-ticket retailers.

Ultimately, It’s that per-transaction fee that actually hurts, especially at low volumes of small transactions. The greater transactions you’ve, the greater money it’s likely to drain away.  Larger ticket sizes ALWAYS obtain the advantage as it pertains lower to per-transaction charges. So locating the least expensive charge card processor isn&#8217t only a matter of searching for that cheapest percentage rate.

That’s really why PayPal’s micropayments plan saves plenty of retailers money when they process under $10 per transaction. You have to pay a greater percentage, however, you save money on the per-transaction charges.

But, I’ll freely admit that Payline Mobile&#8217s per-transaction fee is high &#8212 greater than I&#8217d like.

So let&#8217s check out a processor having a similar prices structure, however with a significantly lower per-transaction fee: Spark Pay.

Like Payline Mobile, Spark Pay offers 2 prices plans:

Spark Pay Go Plan

  • Processing rate (Visa/MasterCard/Uncover): 2.65%
  • Per-transaction fee: $.05
  • Fee every month: None

Spark Pay Pro Plan

  • Processing rate (Visa/MasterCard/Uncover): 1.99%
  • Per-transaction fee: $.05
  • Fee every month: $19

Clearly the caveat here’s that Spark Pay charges a greater rate for American Express.3.7% or 2.8% based on your plan. Making this an imperfect equation &#8212 but fairly realistic in case your American stock exchange volume is low.

Let&#8217s run one further group of figures and find out how that comes even close to Square and Payline Mobile. We&#8217ll work with similar variables &#8212 $20 and $45 average tickets, and let&#8217s say a regular monthly amount of $5,000.

Scenario 17:

Spark Pay Go,

$20 average ticket

$5,000/month

Scenario 18:

Spark Pay Go,

$45 average ticket

$5,000/month

Scenario 19:

Spark Pay Pro

$20/avg ticket

$5,000/month

Scenario 20:

Spark Pay Pro,

$45/avg ticket

$5,000/month

Percentage Charges $132.50 $132.50 $99.50 $99.50
Per-Transaction Charges $12.50 $5.56 $12.50 $5.56
Fee Every Month None None $19.00 $19.00
Total Monthly

Processing Charges

$145.00 $138.06 $131.00 $124.06

In conclusion, Square and Payline Mobile charges at $5,000/month are listed below:

  • Square: $137.50
  • Payline Mobile Spark ($20/avg ticket): $182.00
  • Payline Mobile Spark ($45/avg ticket): $158.96
  • Payline Mobile Surge ($20/avg ticket, $9.95 fee every month): $181.95
  • Payline Mobile Surge ($45/avg ticket, $9.95 fee every month): $159.91

That&#8217s a fairly factor. Why is Spark Pay&#8217s prices so diverse from Payline&#8217s once the percentage charges are fairly similar? The majority of it requires that per-transaction fee. Spark Pay&#8217s is simply $.05, that is 1/sixth the price of Payline&#8217s. And since the proportion minute rates are less than Square&#8217s, Spark Pay really ends up beating Square, too.

How you can Place Least expensive Charge Card Processor: Final Takeaways

Theoretical figures &#8212 the rates you&#8217re quoted in writing &#8212 don&#8217t tell the entire story. And extremely, they tell another story to each merchant, based on processing volume, transaction size, and the kind of cards processed.

Square along with other mPOS processors simplify the mathematics because to determine your rates, all that you should do is multiply your volume from your percentage rate. Generally, the only real value that changes the equation is by hand entering transactions.

With interchange-plus prices, there&#8217s much more to think about. Also it&#8217s hard to check out the percent signs and money involved and understand just how your rates will be different.

That&#8217s what it’s essential for you personally so that you can run the figures yourself to find out if you&#8217ve really found the least expensive charge card processor. Should you&#8217ve been processing for some time already, it is simple to get all of the figures you’ll need by searching back at the records.

Should you&#8217re a new comer to charge card processing and also you&#8217re only thinking about a mobile solution, you&#8217re most likely safest beginning by helping cover their Square or any other mPOS solution having a straight percentage-based fee. Stick to it for any couple of several weeks, then review your processing history. You will be able to run the figures and find out whether another solution might provide you with better charges.

And lastly, you should think about the general worth of the mPOS service you select. Cost is a major consideration, but make certain you think about the benefits of the various features open to you. It may be worth having to pay a little more for any feature that could save you effort and time.

But when all that is simply too much, here&#8217s a couple of simple rules to stay with:

  • The smaller sized your average transaction, the greater your per-transaction costs is going to be.
  • The bigger your average transaction, the low your per-transaction costs is going to be.
  • The low the per-transaction fee, the greater.
  • The low the percentage rate, the greater.
  • If you need to select one, you&#8217ll most likely spend less by choosing a lesser per-transaction fee. This is also true when the improvement in percentage rates is under .3%.

Best of luck in your quest to obtain the cheapest credit card processor!

Got questions regarding mPOS processing rates? Check our comment guidelines and then leave us your ideas!

The publish Analysis: Is Square the Least expensive Charge Card Processor For The Business? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Why Retailers Still Aren’t Accepting EMV (And Why EMV continues to be Problematic)

EMV merchants

We spent considerable time speaking concerning the October 2015 EMV liability shift, even lengthy before it also happened. We did our very best to inspire retailers to teach themselves and then suggest the transition. So we&#8217re still speaking about this.

To all of us, there&#8217s no doubt that adopting EMV may be the right factor. It&#8217s an important tool to assist prevent charge card fraud, particularly cloned or counterfeit charge cards.

Visa learned that among retailers who’ve implemented nick cards, fraud has decreased. Searching in the rates of 25 retailers who’d the greatest rates of fraud in Q4 of 2014, five of these that implemented EMV saw fraud rates visit an astonishing 18.3% in the finish of 2015. That&#8217s what’s promising.

Unhealthy news isn’t that applying EMV correlates with greater fraud. Five companies in the list that chose to not implement EMV experienced greater fraud rates — towards the tune of 11.4%. That&#8217s a substantial rise.

It&#8217s not EMV itself that&#8217s resulting in the increase. Shady clients are just exploiting a perceived weakness within the system before it&#8217s eliminated altogether. Fraud rates continuously drop overall as increasing numbers of retailers result in the transition, because they have far away which have adopted the EMV standard.

However is just like time just like any to speak about the way forward for EMV, why you need to switch, and the way to get EMV should you don&#8217t get it already. (Plus, what&#8217s holding EMV adoption back?)

Tracking the Progress of EMV

October 1, 2015 may have appeared just like a rather finite deadline — &#8220accept EMV otherwise!&#8221 — however it really was more the start of a period. The only real factor that actually altered was that all of a sudden retailers were responsible for costs suffered by processing fraudulent cards (observe that EMV doesn&#8217t affect card-not-present transactions or lost/stolen cards). The U.S. is within a condition of transition, making up ground with other international locations (particularly individuals in Europe) where nick cards have lengthy been standard, where charge card fraud (a minimum of from card-present transactions) has declined.

Market research in The month of january through the Strawhecker Group discovered that EMV adoption what food was in 37%. Exactly the same survey estimates that people&#8217ll have 50% saturation by June 2016, but we won&#8217t see 90% adoption until 2017, at least a year following the initial deadline, and it may be many years before we have seen complete adoption.

But allowing for retailers to simply accept EMV is just area of the fight. Not everybody comes with an EMV nick card at this time. Market research by CreditCards.com discovered that 70% of shoppers have been issued nick cards by April 2016 (admittedly, that survey took it’s origin from responses from 932 credit cardholders, without any margin of error given). Visa claims it&#8217s now issued 265 million nick cards, making the U.S. an innovator in circulation by overall volume, however that&#8217s still merely a part of cards in circulation, and it’ll take some time before standard magstripe cards are eliminated entirely.

Large retailers are more inclined to have started the EMV transition than small companies, partly simply because they have greater sources to devote (but a few of the largest retailers only have partly transitioned to EMV). What plays a role in a business&#8217s decision to apply EMV, and just what&#8217s slowing lower the procedure?

What&#8217s Holding EMV Back?

In some instances, the main reason why stores still aren&#8217t accepting nick cards happens because business proprietors just don&#8217t know about EMV or what it really entails. Charge card processors happen to be trying to educate retailers and obtain them ready for that liability shift, however that&#8217s just one part of a giant picture. Other factors lead towards the difficulty in switching to EMV over the entire country, including:

&#8220That Couldn&#8217t Occur to Me&#8221 Mentality

Even when retailers can say for certain about EMV, they might begin to see the possible effects like a small risk, especially when compared with a problem like a hacked POS. Compounding this problem may be the buzz all around the EMV shift, which might seem to be something similar to Y2K for merchant. (Actually, the TSG survey discovered that attention might have were built with a negative impact on merchant opinions about EMV.) However, this may be an extremely pricey assumption for retailers left footing the balance following a fraudulent card transaction.

Cost to Upgrade

Then, there&#8217s the price (and perceived cost) of applying EMV. Estimates prior to the liability shift put the price of EMV at $1,000 to apply, that was much greater compared to $450 as reported by retailers within the TSG survey. Time scared away small companies, especially individuals who only process a small amount of debit or credit transactions.

Not just that, but terminals will have a comparatively lengthy lifespan so far as technologies are concerned (something like many years), and companies that lately bought terminals which were not EMV-capable might not be prepared to upgrade just quite yet.

To be certain, &#8220future-proof&#8221 terminals (the word frequently accustomed to describe EMV-capable devices) tend to be more costly than your standard magstripe terminals. Most terminals with EMV include NFC outfitted too, to ensure that retailers can accept contactless payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay). But similar to their predecessors, they’ll last many years and with the help of NFC, happen to be outfitted for potential alterations in the instalments industry.

For many retailers, there might be additional fees connected using the change to EMV, for example staff training, or applying a brand new POS system&#8230 which raises the following point:

The Terminals are prepared, however the Software Isn&#8217t

Compounding this problem is always that many retailers have EMV-capable terminals….that haven&#8217t been activated yet. It is because coding EMV into POS systems along with other software is a lot more complicated compared to previous magstripe technology. After the code is presented, still it must be certified, which is yet another time-consuming process.

Terminals and software require level 1 or level 2 certification. The certification process (handled by EMVco) includes security tests in addition to compatibility tests (because each card brand uses slightly different standards).

If you’re a small merchant having a easy setup, all that you should be worried about is your software or hardware is EMV certified. You won&#8217t want to get EMV certification in many situations.

For those who have a sizable, custom setup, you&#8217re searching in a possible level 3 certification, which might require you, because the business proprietor, to become more on the job along the way. Level 3 is really a complete, finish-to-finish procedure that tests every possible transaction type, that could add up to hundreds of tests run before getting your application.

Software developers, terminal manufacturers, and other people active in the payments space must get certification before they are able to deploy their goods to retailers. And did we mention there&#8217s a backlog of certification demands? Best estimates at this time for that time that it requires to obtain certification are three to six months…. But it may be longer.

A lot of retailers who wish to accept EMV, who’ve committed to the terminals, are actually just awaiting their POS system to obtain the necessary upgrades, that they can&#8217t do until they&#8217re certified. Meanwhile, retailers remain footing the balance for just about any potential fraud.

Slower Checkout Occasions

A typical complaint by many people consumers who’re now utilizing their nick cards it’s time it requires to dip their card versus swiping it. Transactions take several seconds more than they are doing to simply swipe (or make use of a contactless payment application for example Apple Pay), which could endure lines and frustrate customers. There&#8217s even the issue of getting to depart your card placed as the transaction qualifies, which results in possible of failing to remember your card within the readers. For a lot of companies and consumers, that&#8217s headaches they simply don&#8217t want.

Visa and MasterCard will work about this issue. Visa announced it&#8217s focusing on an answer known as QuickPay, that could reduce transaction occasions to two seconds or fewer. It intentions of causeing this to be open to everybody (including other card associations). It&#8217s not a bit of technology, some software, which can make simple to use (and affordable) to unveil. MasterCard has its own M/Nick Fast equivalent, so it states is &#8220designed for select environments where fast transaction occasions, additionally to security, are confined,&#8221 based on the official pr release.

Finally, there&#8217s a learning curve that is included with applying EMV. Consumers should try to learn working their new nick cards, and thus do cashiers. It may frequently fall around the cashiers to show for purchasers how EMV works, which could once more endure a line. This really is likely the reasons companies chose to not implement EMV throughout the 2015 holidays, and rather are simply now making board using the technology. They&#8217d rather let another person handle the customer education and didn&#8217t wish to lose potential sales by looking into making customers wait or forcing these to adopt a brand new technology they don&#8217t understand how to use.

An Answer that Doesn&#8217t Go Far Enough?

Finally, one problem is that lots of charge card issuers are opting to make use of nick-and-signature cards, instead of nick and PIN. While any kind of nick card is definitely an improvement over magstripe technology, nick-and-PIN transactions tend to be safer than nick-and-signature cards, because signatures could be forged and therefore are rarely checked.

However, they’re also more costly, and much more difficult to utilize. PINs should be assigned prior to the card is disseminated, and consumers need to go to a bank branch to reset them. Not just that, although not all EMV terminals are outfitted for entering PINs, however they do support signature capture, either around the terminal or around the receipt.

Actually, on May 11, news broke that Wal-Mart has filed a suit against Visa because of its option to implement nick-and-signature cards rather of nick-and-pin cards. Partly, Wal-Mart claims that PIN-based transactions could be more efficient to lessen fraud (a well known fact documented elsewhere), and that Visa charges more for individuals signature-based transactions.

Can There Be an alternative choice to EMV? Well… Maybe.

EMV is clearly not without its issues, for retailers and consumers. While retailers don’t have any choice but either to adopt EMV or swallow the higher risk and potentially devastating costs connected with charge card fraud, consumers have one method to opt out: mobile wallets.

apple-pay-logoandroid-pay-logosamsung-pay-logo-2015

For tech-savvy, security-minded consumers, this appears such as the apparent solution. It’s simple enough to include a card to some mobile wallet for example Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay. These tap-to-pay apps use tokenization to process transactions, and therefore rather of transmitting your card number the way in which swiped transactions do, they cook a 1-time use card number (the token). When the token can be used, it may&#8217t be re-used, so even when a terminal or POS were compromised, your card would be safe. While you should use tokenization with EMV, EMV typically depends on file encryption, which functions differently.

Tap-to-pay is presently quicker than EMV (though with Visa&#8217s Quick Pay, they might finish on more equal footing). No dipping is needed there&#8217s absolutely no way of failing to remember a card (or, you realize, phone). And Samsung Pay uses magnetic secure transmission, or MST, which enables it to emulate a magstripe transaction, therefore it works together with fundamental terminals which are only setup for magstripes, in addition to individuals with NFC.

The issue remains, will NFC payments become preferred over EMV? Can be. Contactless payments and mobile wallets are seeing elevated use, however their overall market shares continue to be quite small. However, their potential userbase is big, given the number of smartphone proprietors are available. Apple, Samsung, and Android&#8217s particular apps are for sale to an enormous subscriber base, with PayPal poised to begin applying NFC payments in the own application, that subscriber base will simply grow. The secret is going to be convincing individuals to switch — not to mention getting retailers outfitted to consider mobile payments.

The Quickest Road to EMV, should you Don&#8217t Get It

Should you&#8217ve already switched to accepting EMV, have a pat around the back. Should you haven&#8217t yet, I’ve two very wise words for you personally, thanks to Douglas Adams: Don&#8217t panic.

With respect to the nature of the business, the chance of landing yourself responsible for charge card fraud might be slim. Just keep in mind that applying EMV might be a one-time expense that’s much less pricey than the usual fraudulent charge card transaction. It&#8217s similar to an insurance plan: you might not need to have it, but when something ever happens, you&#8217re likely to be very glad you need to do.

For those who have no choice but to hold back to change your system for an EMV-compliant solution, you are able to mitigate your risk by checking IDs for just about any magstripe or keyed transactions and becoming the client&#8217s signature.

How do we start accepting EMV should you don&#8217t already? There’s a couple of options, based on your circumstances.

Credit Card Merchant Account Holders

The simplest way would be to speak to your credit card merchant account provider and get about applying EMV, should you haven&#8217t already. They&#8217ll let you know what software and hardware you’ll need and just how much it’ll cost you.

In case your payment processor doesn&#8217t have any kind of EMV solution yet, it&#8217s time for you to look elsewhere. As well as when they do, we encourage you to definitely take this chance to look around a little, particularly if you therefore are far unhappy together with your credit card merchant account. Acquire some quotes using their company merchant providers (have you ever examined our top-rated processors?) and find out regardless of whether you can decrease your processing rates in addition to applying EMV.

For those who have EMV terminals however your current POS isn&#8217t compatible, take a look at the most popular EMV-ready POS systems here and don&#8217t forget to look at our reviews! Keep in mind that the semi-integrated solution may be cheaper and quicker than a completely integrated one.

You might like to check whether your potential new terminal is outfitted with NFC too. Most &#8220future-proof&#8221 terminals which are on offer have this selection, but a few of the entry-level EMV terminals don&#8217t. They&#8217re less expensive, however, you could unintentionally drive away customers preferring tap-to-pay transactions over EMV, and finish up having to pay more to upgrade a terminal again lower the road. In case your primary subscriber base is youthful and tech-savvy, you&#8217re best spending the additional cash in advance to obtain NFC in addition to EMV.

Should you also require a mobile-ready EMV solution, you need to ask your provider if their mPOS application posseses an EMV readers. Whether it doesn&#8217t, it&#8217s time to check out another options (unless of course your processor is since the risk until it may deploy its EMV readers).

Mobile (mPOS) Users

Using the certification backlog, mPOS providers — including Square, PayPal Here, Intuit, and Spark Pay, have experienced more trouble moving out their solutions, much more than the others. The good thing is, the large names have got their readers to consumers.

Square provides an EMV readers for $29, as well as an EMV/NFC-outfitted readers for $50. They are nick-and-signature readers.

PayPal Here, however, comes with an EMV/NFC readers with PIN pad, for $150. Observe that additionally, it accepts nick-and-signature transactions, too.

Intuit GoPayment&#8216s EMV readers can be obtained to pre-order for $30 (again, nick-and-signature only). Spark Pay doesn&#8217t yet come with an EMV-enabled mobile readers, however it has EMV charge card terminals for iPad setups.

Conclusion

The road to EMV is nowhere near its finish, so we&#8217re certain to encounter a couple of more bumps within the road prior to getting there. Nick cards are in no way perfect, and nor could they be made to eliminate all sorts of fraud. But there&#8217s no doubt that retailers need to find away out to apply EMV for his or her companies, and at some point. It&#8217s important that you should become knowledgeable, after which take action that meets your requirements.

Got questions regarding EMV retailers? Need assistance selecting something? We’re always here to assist. Just achieve out — we’re always pleased to know what you think!

The publish Why Retailers Still Aren&#8217t Accepting EMV (And Why EMV continues to be Problematic) made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Buying and selling Ease For Transparency With Interchange-Plus

man-cleaning window

Accepting charge cards in your company is something of the two-edged sword. On a single hands, they’re very convenient for the customers, which usually means more sales. Simultaneously, processing a charge card transaction is expensive, and also the charges connected with maintaining a free account cost much more money. These expenses eat to your profits while increasing your general price of conducting business. Nevertheless, as customers more and more turn from having to pay with cash and employ debit or credit cards whenever you can, most companies will have to simply accept charge cards to be able to remain competitive.

Figuring out ahead of time just how much a free account will set you back with any amount of certainty is really a extremely difficult task. You will find many competing processors available, each charging different charges and rates. Processing rates themselves are influenced by a bewildering quantity of variables, such as the prices model provided by your credit card merchant account provider.

The total cost of the credit card merchant account will probably be a mix of the rates you spend your processor for every credit/bank card transaction and also the charges that you might also need to pay for, usually on the monthly or yearly basis. While we’re going to pay attention to processing rates with this article, be familiar with this: Charges are usually exactly the same for any given credit card merchant account provider, whatever the size your company. In case your provider charges $99 annually for PCI compliance, you’ll pay that fee regardless of whether you have $100,000 in annual sales, or $a million. So, for small or micro-sized companies (or new companies just beginning up), charges are most likely the greatest expense you incur by getting a free account. For bigger companies with greater sales volumes, processing rates will often become your greatest expense.

What kinds of Prices Models Exist?

Clearly, you’ll would like to get the cheapest processing rates you will get, right? Theoretically, lower processing rates should result in a smaller amount of the cash out of your sales visiting your processor and much more from it remaining along with you. In actual practice, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Let’s begin by searching in the general kinds of prices models for setting processing rates. You will find four of these: 1) tiered prices, 2) interchange-plus prices, 3) subscription/membership prices, and 4) blended prices.

Tiered prices is, regrettably, still the most typical prices model available, and also the one most processors offer for their retailers. We don’t enjoy it. Tiered prices simplifies a large number of processing rates into three fundamental tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Which tier a specific transaction will fall under depends upon numerous criteria, that are set through the processor. These criteria include items like card-present versus card-not-present transactions, if the transaction was processed on the day that it happened, and which of a number of possible groups the products purchased fall under. Tiered prices may appear tempting, since it simplifies lots of variables into just three tiers, making your monthly statement much simpler to decipher. Regrettably, as the figures might be simpler to know, they’ll frequently be considered a lot greater than you had been expecting. Tiered prices models allow it to be impossible to inform the amount of a processing charge will the issuing bank, the charge card associations (i.e., Visa, MasterCard, etc.), and just how much will your credit card merchant account provider. Tiered prices also results in a very deceitful marketing gimmick: the company will advertise the cheapest possible (i.e., qualified) rate, but many transactions won’t really be qualified, and can process in a much greater rate.

Interchange-plus prices, however, breaks lower the costs visiting the issuing bank and charge card associations, enabling you to begin to see the markup they’re charging you for processing your transaction. This can be a a lot more transparent prices model, it makes your statements harder to see. Generally, that’ll be a little cost to pay for, as interchange-plus prices minute rates are usually lower overall than tiered rates.

Subscription/membership prices is a touch different. You’ll still spend the money for interchange rates that visit the issuing banks and charge card associations, but rather of having to pay a portion markup for your processor, you’ll pay a regular monthly membership fee along with a fixed per-transaction charge. With respect to the nature and size your company, this prices model could possibly lead to even lower immediate and ongoing expenses than interchange-plus prices. However, very couple of processors presently offer it. For a good example of subscription prices, see our overview of Payment Depot.

Flat/blended prices is comparable to tiered prices, however the three tiers are blended into just one predetermined fee for those transactions. This rates are, naturally, a great deal greater than you’d pay within tiered plan. However, the possible lack of a regular monthly fee makes it less expensive overall for small or periodic companies. Square and PayPal use blended prices.

For any more thorough discussion of those prices models, please visit our Complete Help guide to Charge Card Processing Rates and Charges.

What’s Interchange-Plus Prices?

As the actual figures could possibly get pretty complex, at its core interchange-plus prices is very simple. The prices model includes two elements: an “interchange” along with a “plus.” The interchange may be the number of the transaction that must definitely be compensated to both issuing bank and also the charge card association. Since your processor needs to pay this charge, they’ll give it to you. The plus may be the amount in addition to the interchange costs that you’ll also need to pay for your processor. It’s their markup for processing your transaction, and it’s made to cover their costs to do business – also to produce a profit.

Interchange-plus prices may also be known by alternate names, for example interchange go through prices or cost-plus prices. These different terms all make reference to exactly the same factor. Helcim, our favorite processors, uses the word cost-plus prices. Additionally they give a very handy explainer of methods their prices plan works online.

Interchange-plus prices minute rates are usually expressed because the interchange rate along with a markup, which may be a portion, a set, per-transaction fee, or both. Helcim, for instance, presently charges interchange + .18% + $.08 per transaction for any retail transaction.

So, just how much will the interchange set you back? These charges are positioned directly through the charge card associations, plus they could possibly get pretty complicated. There are various rates for debit and charge cards, for instance, in addition to different rates for various kinds of charge cards. Card-present and card-not-present transactions also provide different rates, because they reflect the amount of risk the issuing bank takes in extending credit for any given transaction. Fortunately, Helcim supplies a handy review of Visa and MasterCard interchange rates online. In case you really wish to dig much deeper in to the subject, official rate information from Visa and MasterCard can also be available on the web.

Here’s a good example of how all of this works used:

You have a store and also have a credit card merchant account with Helcim. A person is available in and purchases a product for $100.00 (including tax). He pays having a MasterCard Consumer charge card. The interchange price is 1.580% + $.10, or $1.68. Helcim passes this cost for you, and so they charge a markup of .18% + $.08, or $.26. Your overall cost to take the charge card is $1.94, or 1.94%.

How Can Interchange-Plus Prices Save Me Money?

The essential flaw using the traditional tiered-prices model is it hides the interchange costs and enables processing companies to charge much more of a markup. By consolidating a multitude of rates right into a smaller sized quantity of tiers, processors can basically “round up” towards the greatest rate in every tier. Although this could make your monthly statement a great deal simpler to see, additionally, it means you’ll be having to pay greater rates for several transactions – and also you most likely won’t have the ability to tell which transactions are now being billed abnormally high rates.

By demonstrating the particular interchange costs, interchange-plus prices enables you to definitely easier see exactly what the markup is. Therefore encourages processors to create more modest markups. The charge card processing market is highly competitive, and processors realize that many retailers will join the organization that provides them the cheapest rates. This transparency in separating out interchange and markup costs generally leads to lower overall rates, and many interchange-plus prices plans can cost you less cash than the usual tiered-prices plan. However, you should know that there’s nothing stopping a processor from charging an unreasonably high markup. The main difference is it will always be simpler to place, particularly if you look around.

How About American Express?

American Express differs! Unlike Visa and MasterCard, American Express charge cards are issued directly by American Express – an economic services company. Thus, American Express can serve as both issuing bank and also the charge card association. This will result in lower rates, right? Wrong! Keep in mind that American Express requires its cardholders to repay their balance entirely each month. Although this is a seem financial practice for consumers, additionally, it deprives American stock exchange from the chance to charge interest around the delinquent charge card balances. They compensate for this by charging considerably greater processing rates than Mastercard or visa.

Until very lately, accepting American Express cards would be a real hassle, requiring retailers to register directly with American Express. In 2014, however, American Express introduced their OptBlue Prices plan, which enables retailers to simply accept American stock exchange cards through your regular credit card merchant account provider. Processing minute rates are still greater than Mastercard or visa, but it’s an absolute improvement within the older arrangement. Whilst not all credit card merchant account providers support OptBlue Prices, the majority of our preferred providers include it in their accounts.

Final Ideas

Generally, we really like interchange-plus prices. It can help you save lots of money, and it’s certainly a lot more transparent than traditional tiered-prices plans. The majority of our preferred providers offer it. Actually, most of the best and many innovative processors in the market (for example Dharma and Helcim) offer it solely.

Regrettably, that’s not necessarily the situation. Until fairly lately, interchange-plus prices was just open to bigger, more-established companies. Processors felt they could make amends for offering lower rates by only which makes it open to retailers who’d a really high monthly product sales. Traditional small companies were tied to tiered prices plans, and compelled to pay for reasonably limited for being small companies.

Today, getting interchange-plus prices is simpler than it’s have you been. However, it’s not really a guaranteed factor. Some processors still don’t offer it whatsoever. A number of other processors offer both tiered and interchange prices, plus they usually don’t disclose this fact within their advertising. Many of these processors also depend on independent sales people, who’ll – naturally – attempt to sign you track of a far more costly tiered prices plan. If you would like interchange-plus prices, you’ll have to inquire about it.

It’s also important to note that interchange-plus prices is not one hundredPercent guarantee of lower rates. Processors continue to be capable of making money at the expense by charging above-industry-average markups in their prices plan. The main difference is the fact that it’s much simpler to determine that they’re doing the work, a minimum of should you look around before joining a processor.

You should also consider the total cost of the credit card merchant account, particularly if you’re a smaller sized business. As we’ve noted above, your rate plan is just one part of the process. While it may be the biggest a part of that equation, you should also look carefully at monthly and annual charges before joining any processor. The supply of interchange-plus prices is not an assurance that you’ll receive the very best overall deal.

Our very best advice would be to look around before buying a specific provider. If you wish to save considerable time and aggravation by doing this, take a look at exactly what the best providers in the market have to give you first.

The publish Buying and selling Ease For Transparency With Interchange-Plus made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Shopify vs Square

shopify-vs-square
Square is probably the most comprehensive free mPOS app out there. It was really the first company to make card processing widely available to everyone using just a free card reader and a smartphone.

Shopify launched in 2006 as e-commerce software. Like Square and mobile payments, Shopify has made selling online much easier for merchants, especially those who are just starting out with their business.

Not only that, both companies have since branched out considerably. Square now offers a comprehensive suite of business products for merchants who want to sell in store, online, and on-the-go. And Shopify has branched out from e-commerce with a powerful POS system and its own payments service, so merchants don’t need to have a merchant account.

The result is that two services that started off catering to very different audiences now have very similar offerings. Square and Shopify both have powerful POS apps targeted for iPads, a mobile solution, and multiple e-commerce options. Both give you tools you need to run a brick-and-mortar shop beyond just a POS app. 

Their card processing rates are also identical, with a couple of important caveats. The first of these is that Square and its POS app, Square Register, are completely free, while Shopify will charge you a baseline monthly fee, plus the credit card fees, plus additional fees for add-ons. The second of these caveats is that if you opt for higher-priced packages, you can also get lower processing rates.

Square is still the better option for merchants who only process credit card payments sporadically (such as artists who vend at conventions and art shows), because there’s no monthly fee. If your e-commerce site only gets a little traffic and your sales are infrequent, you’re better off using Square as well. But if your online sales are good enough to justify the added cost, Shopify has some very nice features and stunning themes for your store.

So what if you sell online and in-store, or on the go? The answer isn’t quite as clear-cut.

As a merchant, which one should you choose? Which service is the better value? Which has the best features? That depends largely on your own particular situation. Read on for a detailed comparison and find out which service comes out on top in the Shopify vs. Square debate.

Products and Services:

Winner: Shopify

Bear with me, but there’s a LOT to discuss here. Let’s look at each of the core offerings — POS app, payment processing, and e-Commerce, and see how they stack up individually.

POS App

Shopify’s POS used to be strictly for iOS, but as of January 2016, the app is now available for Android smartphones and tablets, too. Square, too, supports your choice of Android and iOS devices. However, to make the best use of either app, you need an iPad, as many of the best features are only available there. You’ll also find that you can use the app on any number of devices without needing to pay for additional license fees (but you won’t be able to differentiate among employees without paying for that feature).

Shopify POS Features:

  • Accept all forms of payment: Credit card, debit card, cash, check, and other customized payment methods — even Bitcoin.*
  • Split tender: This is useful and you can actually accept more than just 2 payment forms on a transaction.
  • Discounts: Apply discounts on individual items or on the whole order, by percentage or dollar amount.
  • Store credit: The only fault with the store credit option is that there’s really no accountability in it. You can simply mark a payment as paid via store credit, with no need for proof of it at all. Still, this is a useful feature.
  • Reporting: Track sales, compare how products are selling, monitor traffic to your store, customer data, and more. With the higher-tiered plans you can even built custom reports. Data can be exported to CSV, as well.
  • Item limits: The limit on the number of items you can include in Shopify POS depends on which device you’re running the app from. Also note that you can choose to hide or delete items depending on what you need. However, your Shopify store can have unlimited items and you don’t need to sync them all with your POS unless you want to. (It’s worth noting that you can’t actually make updates to items in Shopify POS, only through the browser interface.)
  • Item variants: Set different colors/styles/pricing for your various items.
  • Syncing: Shopify automatically syncs inventory and product information across all your sales channels.
  • Email/print receipts: Send digital receipts, or if you have an iPad and Shopify’s retail package, print them out.
  • Inventory: Shopify’s inventory features are pretty impressive. In addition to tracking your stock levels across every channel where you sell, you can print barcodes, manage products you order from suppliers and automatically update inventory counts, and more. You won’t get low-stock alerts without an add-on, though.
  • Employee accounts: In a retail setup, knowing who is ringing up sales is especially important. With Shopify’s retail package, you can assign individual staff PINs, track register shifts and sales, and more.
  • Invoicing: Shopify actually has a simple form you can fill out to auto-generate an invoice. You can email it to customers, save it, or print it out.
  • Full/partial refunds: Issue a refund or issue store credit.
  • Gift cards (iPad only): You can only get gift cards if you opt for the Standard plan or higher. However, you can sell physical and digital gift cards.
  • Offline capabilities: You can’t log in during an outage, but if you are already logged in you can still accept payments other than credit cards. This is very limited functionality, but it could get you through an outage mostly fine.
  • Auth-capture: You can pre-authorize a transaction for 7 days in Shopify, which isn’t the longest period of time we’ve seen, but absolutely workable if you need this feature.
  • Tax rate calculation: Shopify will auto-detect your tax rate based on your store’s location (if using the POS), or based on your shipping zones for eCommerce. Shopify doesn’t calculate tax for international orders. However, Shopify does generate tax reports for you if you have Shopify Standard or higher. You can also set up tax overrides for entire collections of products or individual products (or product variants, such as digital books vs print editions). Just remember to confirm that Shopify’s tax rate is correct when you get started.
  • Loyalty programs: This is not a native feature to Shopify. If you want a loyalty program, you’ll have to start looking at apps in the Shopify ecosystem and find one that works for you. There’s at least 1 free program, but the more advanced systems will cost you more.

*Shopify POS lets you connect external terminals and third-party payment providers, which may cost you more. 

Square Register Features: 

  • Accept credit card payments: You can also log cash and check transactions, but this feature isn’t nearly as robust as Shopify’s.
  • Split Tender: Accept cash and card, or cash and check, or check and card.
  • Discounts: Apply discounts on individual items or on the whole order, by percentage or dollar amount.
  • Reporting: Square’s reporting features are pretty solid, but they’re not quite on the same level as Shopify’s. Still, Square’s reporting will cover all the basics and does have some advanced filters so you can customize the data.
  • Item variants: Set different colors/styles/pricing for your various items.Square prefers to call these “price points” and you can track them in inventory. You can also add item modifiers, which are add-ons that don’t affect your inventory counts, though restaurants are far more likely to use this feature than retail shops.
  • Syncing: Square’s inventory feature will automatically sync across your online store and Square Register, and you can view it in the online dashboard.
  • Low-stock alerts: Square will send you daily email alerts for low- or out-of-stock products. Being able to get a daily alert is very useful for busy merchants, especially because Square lets you set the threshold for low-stock alerts.
  • Email/SMS/print receipts: Send digital receipts via email or SMS, or if you have an iPad, print them.
  • Inventory: Square has a solid free inventory management system, but you can also integrate with Stitch Labs and other inventory services.
  • Employee accounts:You can use Square on any number of devices, but if you want employee accounts, multiple permissions, and timekeeping, you’ll need to sign up for Square’s employee management ($5 per employee per month)
  • Invoicing: Send invoices from within Square Register or online.
  • Full/partial refunds: Pretty self explanatory here.
  • Gift cards: No subscription required, no redemption fees. Just pay the cost of the cards themselves, and load them up on demand. Note these are physical cards only, but you can use them online.
  • Offline capabilities: Square’s Offline Mode is actually one of the most powerful I’ve seen. You can still process credit cards during an outage, and they’ll go through so long as you connect to the Internet within 72 hours. The caveat, of course, is that you’re assuming responsibility for any transactions that don’t go through.
  • Tax features: You can disable or enable tax collection with Square, and set price to include tax, or have it added on separately. As with Shopify, you can enable or disable tax on specific items. However, there’s no auto-detect feature, so you need to manually look up your applicable tax rates.
  • Loyalty programs: For $25/month you can add a punch-based customer loyalty program. All consumers have to do is opt for a digital receipt. You can set the purchase requirements to earn a reward (Which could be a free item or a discount). It’s not the most advanced system, but it’s still pretty flexible.

Square also has a host of features/subscription services targeting restaurants and other service-based companies, none of which you’ll find in Shopify. This includes kitchen ticket printing, adding tip (by percentage or dollar amount), appointment booking, delivery services, and much more.

All in all, though, the two POS systems are about evenly matched. Shopify is more robust in most areas, such as its support for many payment methods and store credit, whereas Square shines with the simple things, like supporting SMS receipts as well as email, low-stock alerts, and its offline mode.

Card Processing

Shopify and Square are both aggregators — that means, when you sign up to process payments through either of them, you don’t get your own merchant account; your transactions are simply lumped in with everyone else’s. Shopify actually processes through Stripe Payments.

Aggregating is what has lead to the common complaints you get about Square holding funds or terminating accounts at random. Shopify generally appears to be more stable, which is good given that Stripe also has a reputation for funding holds and account terminations. However, I was still able to find a few complaints about account holds — I wouldn’t say Shopify is immune, but it does a lot better on the stability front. Most of those holds happen when merchants suddenly fall within Shopify’s requirements for 1099-K reporting.

We’ll look at specific processing rates later on, but for now, here’s what you need to know:

Shopify will let you use its Payments service at no extra charge beyond your swipe fees and monthly service charges. If you choose to use a third-party gateway (PayPal, Braintree, your own merchant account, etc.), you’ll be charged an extra 0.5-2% transaction fee. Note that you get a choice of more than 70 gateways, which is quite impressive. There’s no charge at all for accepting cash, check, or alternative payment methods (such as Bitcoin) using the POS app.

Square will lock you into using its service for payments. You’ll pay standard rates for credit card processing, and nothing for accepting cash and check. However, you can’t set up any other alternative payment methods and log them using Square (unless you want to mark them as cash/check).

Shopify has the advantage in terms of sheer versatility. I like that you can process through a third party and even connect terminals and PIN pads (allowing you to get interchange rates for debit, if your processor offers them), but a 2% transaction fee is high, especially for a small merchant. However, if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, Square is a solid option for payments. You’re covered for all the basics and you know exactly what you’re going to pay for each transaction, every time.

Both Shopify and Square now have APIs that allow you to build payment processing into your own apps as well.

eCommerce

Shopify started as an eCommerce product, and it’s stayed true to that idea with robust shopping cart software and an easy-to-use design that even newbies to selling online can handle. Features include:

  • Hosted site: Shopify provides hosting for your site with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited products.
  • Domains: Use your shopify hosted domain only, purchase a domain through Shopify and set up a redirect, use an existing domain with a redirect, or buy your own domain and set up the redirect. There are a lot of options.
  • Buy buttons: Even if you don’t have shopping cart software set up on a site, you can use Shopify’s buy buttons to enable purchases on the web, or in an app, or via email with the Buy Button feature.
  • Sell on social media: With Shopify you can set up a store directly on Facebook, and also sell on Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Abandoned cart recovery: Millennials are especially guilty of cart abandonment but with this feature, you can win them back. Only available for Shopify Standard and up.
  • Store migration: Making a switch? Use one of Shopify’s third-party add-ons to migrate your store from eBay, Amazon, and Magento without having to manually upload all of your products.
  • Import/export via CSV: Add your products to your store using Shopify’s CSV template.
  • Automatic data sync: Inventory is automatically updated and synced across all your sales channels, including your POS and social media.
  • Reporting: We’ve mentioned this already, but it bears repeating that you get some solid reporting features and can separate data by sales channel.
  • Order management: Shopify has some comprehensive order management tools that work in the app as well as through the dashboard. You can also get integrations to help with it.
  • Third-party integrations: There are a LOT of integrations out there for Shopify (just check out the app store). Some are free, some will cost you. But in addition to your standard accounting, inventory, and order management integrations, you can opt for a Fulfillment by Amazon integration and recurring billing/layaway services.
  • Discounted postage rates: Postage can be one of the biggest expenses for online shop owners, but if you print your postage through Shopify, you can get a discount. The higher-tiered packages give bigger discounts.
  • Many themes: Design-wise, Shopify gives you a huge selection of store themes and you can even customize them further if you have programming knowledge.

Square’s eCommerce support initially felt more like an after-thought. It was very limited, but lately the company has really expanded its offerings, which makes me happy.

  • Hosted site: Square will give you a webstore on its own domain. This feature is pretty limited, but it’s a great starter site and there’s no monthly cost.
  • Domains: You can also integrate your store with Weebly, Bigcommerce, or Ecwid. 
  • Import/export via CSV: Get your online store loaded up quickly, or update your inventory counts en masse. Also helpful for migrating stores.
  • Automatic data sync: Inventory is automatically updated and synced across your online store and the Register POS.
  • Reporting: All of your data is available and can be downloaded from the Square dashboard.
  • Third-party integrations: Square’s list of integrations includes some robust inventory and order management tools. There’s a custom API you can use to create your own.
  • Order management: You can manage your orders through Square’s online dashboard, but not in the app. Integrations can extend the functionality.

Shopify offers far more eCommerce features, but it’ll be interesting to see what Square does in the future. It’s also worth mentioning that if you opt to integrate your existing site with Square, you’re going to get the benefits of whatever shopping cart software you choose, so even if Square lacks a feature you need, you might be able to get it another way.

Compatible Hardware:

Winner: Shopify

Both Square and Shopify offer a range of hardware options, from free credit card readers to full-fledged retail kits with everything you need for a conventional register setup.

At the very least, you’re going to need a card reader to use with your smartphone or tablet. You have a couple different options there:

Shopify Card Reader Options:

  • Magstripe reader: Free
  • EMV/NFC reader: $129 (retail: $149)
  • Lightning magstripe reader: $99 (includes charging capabilities)
  • Third party terminals and PIN pads: $199 and up

Square Card Reader Options: 

  • Magstripe reader: Free
  • EMV/Magstripe reader: $29
  • EMV/NFC reader: $49 (includes free magstripe reader)
  • EMV/NFC reader with PIN pad: $129 (iOS only)

That’s just for the basic setup for smartphones or tablet. If you happen to have an iPad, you can take advantage of both services’ more advanced features (such as receipt printing), but you’ll need more hardware. Both provide ready-to-go retail bundles that you can use to set up your register.

Shopify Retail Kit

A bundled, ready-to-go retail kit from (excluding your tablet) costs $779. That includes:

  • iPad stand (retail price $129)
  • Bluetooth receipt printer ($399)
  • 16-inch cash drawer ($139)
  • EMV/NFC card reader ($139).

You can also purchase each piece of hard hardware separately, but buying the bundle will save you about $25. Other available hardware includes:

  • Barcode reader ($229/$399)
  • Barcode dock ($79)
  • Barcode printer ($119)
  • EMV/NFC reader dock ($39)
  • Cash drawers ($139-$349)

Square Retail Kit 

Square offers a few options for retail kits that range from $486 to $659, depending on your tablet (it even offers kits for select Android tablets. The iPad Air kit, which is $659, includes the following:

  • Square stand ($99)
  • USB receipt printer ($299)
  • Bundle of receipt paper ($49)
  • 16-inch cash drawer ($229).

Note that doesn’t include an EMV-compliant card reader (the Square Stand has a basic built-in magstripe reader), which will add $29 to $129 to the cost, depending on which EMV reader you want. You can add an iPad Air for $399, as well.

Something worth noting is that Square does not officially support bar code printers, whereas Shopify does. Some Square users have had luck with a Dymo printer, but there’s absolutely no guarantee.

Other available hardware includes:

  • Barcode scanner ($199)
  • EMV/NFC reader dock ($29)

Square actually offers a selection of both wireless and Ethernet-based receipt printers, as well as a kitchen receipt printer, and multiple cash drawers. With Shopify, there’s only one receipt printer but you do get multiple cash drawers.

It really comes down to your person needs. I like that Shopify’s kit includes an EMV card reader by default, because it is very important for businesses to transition over to accepting the new chip cards. It’s a nice thought that Square includes receipt paper, but I think an EMV reader is a lot more important.

Fees and Rates:

Winner: Square

At first glance, Shopify and Square appear to have identical pricing: 2.7% for swiped transactions and 2.9% + $0.15 for online transactions. Simple, right?

However, that doesn’t account for Shopify’s monthly fee or its retail add-on package, or the transaction fees if you choose another payment processor. Depending on which features you need, the cost of Shopify can really start to add up over time, especially with add-ons. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you should look closely at your budget and projected sales to see if you can justify the expense.

Square Fees

Square will charge you $0 in monthly fees, PCI compliance, etc. You will pay nothing beyond the credit card transaction fees unless you opt for one of the add-on services (appointment booking, email marketing, employee time management/payroll). It really, really is that simple.

  • Credit card fees: 2.7% swiped, 3.5% + $0.15?? keyed, 2.9% + $0.30 eCommerce.

Shopify Fees

There are four Shopify plans. As you can expect, with higher-tiered plans, you get a greater number of features. Check out the Shopify pricing page for a full breakdown of features:

Shopify Lite ($9/month) 

  • Facebook store
  • Buy buttons
  • Shopify POS
  • Invoicing
  • 24/7 support
  • Credit card rates: 2..7% swiped, 2.9% + $0.30 eCommerce

Shopify Basic ($29/month)

  • 2 staff accounts
  • 24/7 support
  • Online store + blog
  • Discount codes
  • Fraud analysis
  • Sell on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest
  • Credit card rates: 2..7% swiped, 2.9% + $0.30 eCommerce

Shopify Standard ($79/month)

  • Everything in Shopify Basic
  • 5 staff accounts
  • Professional reports
  • Gift cards
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Credit card rates: 2.6% + $0.30 per online and 2.4% for swiped transactions,

Shopify Advanced: $299/month

  • Everything in Shopify Standard
  • 15 staff accounts
  • Advanced report builder
  • Real-time carrier shipping
  • Credit card rates: 2.4% + $0.30 for online/2.2% swiped.

The plan I really want to draw your attention to is Shopify Lite. If you are just starting out, this is the most affordable option, and you can still sell online via Facebook or your own site (or even Tumblr). If you find that Shopify is right for you, you can upgrade to the Basic or Standard plans. If that’s still too much of an expense, or you want a hosted eCommerce site without paying for it, you’re better off with Square.

For large businesses, there’s Shopify Plus, which is the company’s enterprise solution with custom pricing based on your volume and features.

Shopify Retail Package 

If you want to track staff shifts and run a proper register setup with receipt printers and other hardware on your Shopify POS, it won’t come cheap. You need the Retail Package, which will give you individual PINs for your staffers and allow you to use hardware and integrations for $40/month.

This is where it’s worth doing the math. Square doesn’t charge you for using add-on hardware. But it will charge you for employee management (timekeeping and staff IDs). That’s $5/employee monthly, so if you have more than 8 employees, Shopify winds up being the better value, if we’re just counting the retail package, not the monthly fee.

Shopify Transaction Fees

We’ve already covered what you’ll pay if you use Shopify payments to process credit cards. (Note: there’s no fee at all for cash, check, or alternative payment methods). But what if you already have a credit card processor and just need an eCommerce solution and mobile processing? Shopify will let you do that!

It’ll just cost you.

Let’s say you’ve got a great interchange-plus plan where you’re actually getting the very low debit interchange rates. You’ve got a PIN pad so your customers can process cards as debit.

First of all, you need to have the Retail package — so that’s $40 plus whatever Shopify plan you have. You’ll pay your credit card processor whatever they normally charge, and then an additional percentage to Shopify.

  • Shopify Basic: 2%
  • Shopify Standard: 1%
  • Shopify Advanced: 0.5%

So that’s a lot to consider. I highly encourage you to do the math and figure out where the best deal lies for you!

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Winner: Tie

Square has no contracts what so ever. Everything is pay-as-you-go, with all of its add-ons on a monthly subscription. You can even try each service out for 30 days, no charge.

Shopify is a monthly service. You can pay for an annual package and save some money per-month, but otherwise there are no contracts or obligations. You can get a 14-day trial, no credit card required.

Either way, there’s no long-term commitment, which is a serious advantage.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Winner: Tie

Overall, Square and Shopify are both very transparent as far as their sales and advertising go. There’s no hidden fees, no contracts, no sneaky auto-renewal clauses. I like the resources that both companies put out — blog posts on topics that merchants should be aware of, and tips for helping their businesses thrive. This is important, especially when serving small businesses. We live in the information age, and yes, content is king. You should absolutely expect this out of any service you use — especially in the payments space. Educated merchants make for better customers.

Both are doing very well on the social media front as well, with active Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages, as well as dedicated Twitter support channels (@SqSupport and @ShopifySupport, respectively).

This is exactly what we like to see. You know exactly what you’re paying for, you know all of the terms, and you know what you’re getting. Best of all, you can move on whenever you’re ready.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Winner: Shopify

Shopify is the clear winner in this category. No matter what Shopify plan you have, you get 24/7 access to the support team, which is astounding. Not only that, but the support team’s overall reputation is quite good, with timely responses and helpful answers. I also like that Shopify’s knowledge base is incredibly detailed. You should be able to get answers to a lot of the questions you’ll have without having to get anyone on the line. You can also get email, live chat, and phone support. There’s a community forum, and Shopify will even help pair you with experts who will help you complete your project. This is a convenient way to get up and running if you have more capital but not a lot of time or know-how — expect to pay for these experts’ time and insights.

Square…well, if you check out our Square review, you’ll see what others have said. While the company has made major strides to improve, it’s far from perfect. That said, Square’s knowledgebase is astounding. As with Shopify, unless you’re dealing with a complex, account-specific problem, you’ll be able to find an answer without having to contact one. You can get phone support, but you’ll have to get a code first. Otherwise, it’s email only to contact Square directly. It’s also interesting to note that Square just added a user forum where merchants can connect. I expect to see this feature take off soon.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Winner: Shopify

Square’s complaints fall into two categories, mostly: account holds/terminations and bad customer support. The issues are related, too: merchants find out their accounts have been shut down or funds are being held until additional verification is required, and run into a brick wall when it comes to support and getting the matter resolved. We’ve seen an overall improvement on this front, but these are no minor concerns. (Another concern we’ve seen a lot of recently is faulty EMV hardware, but Square is generally good about replacing it.)

The complaints about Shopify are far different. One of the biggest complaints is that you can’t get a hosted payment page — any time customers complete a purchase they’re directed to checkout.shopify.com, which may drive off some potential buyers, who are understandably wary. Another common complaint is the difficulty of learning Shopify’s programming language, Liquid. If you want to make code-level tweaks to your site you are much better off hiring a Shopify expert. Something else that comes up quite often is that many of the apps and integrations available through Shopify aren’t free. This isn’t surprising, but it can be understandably frustrating for merchants, especially those who are just starting out.

We have found a few complaints about Shopify holding merchants funds, but nowhere near on the scale of Square or even Stripe, through which Shopify processes payments.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Winner: Shopify

Most of the positive chatter you will find about Square comes from the Reviews page, or big news publications (linked to on said page). From general user chatter, merchants love how easy it is to get started, the fact that all of the core features are free, and the overall ease of use. The fact that it offers an EMV reader for just $29 is amazing when most hardware runs upward of $100 is nice, especially for merchants who are just starting out, and the offline mode can be very useful.

With Shopify, people also rave about the ease of use. The fact that you have so many gorgeous themes to choose from with your online store is a major advantage. The rates are competitive (especially if you use Shopify Payments), and with the higher-tiered plans you get some really great features especially. But even the basic plans have everything you need.

Final Verdict:

Winner: Shopify

It’s difficult to say unequivocally that Shopify or Square is better than the other. Shopify does have many more advantages than Square — more robust POS app and eCommerce features, round-the-clock customer service, and less of a reputation for holds. But that doesn’t mean that Square isn’t a good choice for some merchants. Especially for new merchants, Square makes a LOT of sense.

Let’s look at a few key factors that will influence your decision:

Cost: Square is by far the less expensive service, especially if you are just starting out. If your online sales or in-person credit card payments are infrequent, Square’s pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly fee is ideal. As your cash flow improves, and business steadies, it makes more sense to invest the cash in tools that will make managing your business easier (and less time-consuming!).

Features: Square Register is easily the most robust free mPOS app out there. But that’s among free apps. Shopify isn’t free, and when you look at the feature sets, it’s pretty clear why. You’ll get more features suited to growing eCommerce and retail businesses than you would with Square. If you are doing steady business, you should absolutely consider upgrading if the features work for you.

Add-Ons and Integrations: How do you run your business? Do you print barcodes for every product? If not, the fact that Shopify supports barcode printers and scanners is probably irrelevant to you. But what other services do you use for your business? Both Shopify and Square offer a custom API that you can use to integrate if you have the technical know-how, but if you don’t, which one has a greater selection of ready-to-go integrations that suit your business? Keep in mind that Shopify’s app store is full of a huge selection of free and paid integrations that can do everything from help you migrate your inventory from eBay to Shopify to setting up layaway plans.

Level of Support: Hands-down, you will get better customer support from Shopify than Square. You can contact them 24/7 by email, phone, and live chat, whereas Square only offers email and phone (during limited hours and only with a code). Both have community forums and pretty respectable knowledge bases, so most of the basic technical questions may not ever require contacting a support person. It also bears mentioning that Shopify allows you to connect with experts who can get you set up, or take your business to the next level. If having someone you can reach at any time with questions is of the utmost importance to you, then Shopify is the obvious solution. If you’re the go-it-alone type, Square should do you just fine.

I hope this has helped you understand some of the big differences between Shopify and Square! They look quite similar at first glance, but when you scratch beneath the surface you’ll find they both have so much to offer. You absolutely need to consider costs when making the choice, but keep in mind your long-term goals and the features you are most interested in pursuing.

Have experience with either or both of these services? We’d love to hear from you, too! Leave a comment! And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

The post Shopify vs Square appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Square VS Vend

Square-vs-Vend
Finding a robust POS app that is also affordable is basically like ordering a really delicious cupcake with just the right amount of icing. Finding one that has mobile support and an integrated eCommerce store? Well, that’s akin to the holy grail for new and small business owners.

Vend is something a bit unconventional in the POS space. Its POS app is entirely browser-based, powered by HTML. That means you can run it on both Windows and Mac computers — as well as iPads! Everything is stored in the cloud, meaning you can access your information everywhere. There’s also an integrated eCommerce store, and integrated payments.

Square is best known for its mobile payments app, which lets anyone accept credit card payments with just a smartphone and card reader. But the real advantage to Square is a powerful, completely free POS app — and an entire ecosystem of business products that can help entrepreneurs exceed. Everything is stored in the cloud, as well. And did we mention you can sell on Square’s marketplace or through pretty much any other shopping cart software, too?

All of this sounds great, right? Good.

Vend will charge you a monthly fee for its POS. There are multiple subscriptions depending on what features you need. You have a limited selection of payment processors (at least for retail setups) with no transaction fees, and a simple, but functional, eCommerce setup (if you opt for the mid-tier plan).

Square is entirely pay-as-you-go. The POS is free — you pay only the processing fees, plus a monthly fee for whatever a la carte services you choose to add on. eCommerce support is entirely free beyond processing fees — you can use Square’s hosted solution or integrate with something else.

Both services have all three core offerings: a retail setup with a solid POS, mobile capabilities, and eCommerce setups. But as you’ll see, both have different core strengths. I highly encourage you to think about where most of your business comes from and evaluate which features are most important. Then crunch the numbers and look for the most cost-effective strategy.

Read on to see how Square and Vend match up on core features, extra services, cost, support, and more!

Products and Services:

Winner: Tie

Square and Vend are both omni-channel commerce solutions. They’re integrated so well that you can sell pretty much anywhere and keep all of your sales data and inventory in one centralized dashboard. Let’s take a look at how each of the 3 sides of Square’s products (the POS app, payments, and eCommerce solutions) match up. We’ll also take a look at the integrations and extra services available.

POS App

Sometimes I am genuinely shocked that Square doesn’t charge at all for its POS app (and a bit disappointed that it won’t let you use the app with a different payment gateway). It is without question the most robust free mobile POS (mPOS) out there. While it’s definitely friendly to both iPhones and Android devices, you get the most functionality out of an iPad. This is especially important in a retail setup.

Vend’s core offering is its POS — it’s taken the easy path toward integrating payments and eCommerce as well. So its app really is the biggest draw. Here’s the thing, though: I have a hard time really calling Vend “mobile friendly.” Since the POS is primarily browser-based, it runs on Windows and Mac computers. There is also an iPad-exclusive POS app — no Android, not even iPhone. That said, you can absolutely make do with an iPad as your mobile solution for pop-up shops or booths at events. I just don’t think Vend is really designed with mobile as a priority.

Square POS App Features:

  • Unlimited registers and up to 75 locations: Note: if you want to track individual employees, you’ll need to add the employee management subscription. But if you don’t need that individual data, this feature is free.
  • User permissions: This is fully customizable — you determine the role and what features they can use. But you have to be using Square’s Employee Management system. Otherwise, it’s all default.
  • Credit card payments: Accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express at 1 flat rate.
  • Transaction records: Record cash and check as well as accepting cards. This still allows you to take advantage of the customer database and loyalty program features.
  • Split tender: Accept cash and card in one transaction.
  • Inventory: Square’s inventory feature is basic, but it does allow you to keep track of stock levels in-store and online. Square will send you low-stock alerts and let you set your own threshold for them. Square also integrates with Stitch Labs for more comprehensive inventory support.
  • Import/Export via CSV: Populate your online and retail stores with products in one go.
  • Product Variants and Add-Ons: Technically, Square calls variants “price points” — but the point is the app supports them. You can also add item modifiers, which are essentially add-ons.
  • Email/SMS/print receipts: Your choice (and your customers’, too).
  • Full and partial refunds: Self-explanatory.
  • Gift cards: Order your own custom designs. There’s no redemption fees or activation fees. You only pay processing fees if the gift card is purchased on a card.
  • Offline mode: Square’s offline mode is pretty unique. Most “offline” functions for POS apps allow you to accept cash only — no cards. But with Square you can swipe a card as normal, and as long as you reconnect to the net within 72 hours, the transaction will go through. The caveat is that you eat the cost of any declined transactions.
  • Sales tax and tip: Square’s sales tax feature is basic, but very functional. Toggle sales tax collection on or off and set multiple rates as necessary, if you are selling in multiple locations or move around. You can also enable tips, which is something Vend does not support.
  • Loyalty program: Square’s loyalty program (add-on for $25/month per location) works by giving either free items or percentage discounts. The system is tied to the customer’s mobile number.
  • Reporting: Square won’t give you the advanced reporting of a full-scale POS but it does pretty well in this category.
  • Customer-facing display: This is a beta feature, but one that puts Square closer to full-fledged POS systems.
  • Customer database: Square’s customer database isn’t quite as advanced as you’ll find with more expensive CRM software, but it’s definitely worth looking into, and it’s improving all the time. In addition to the loyalty program, there’s a feedback feature and custom segmentation, and it links directly with Square’s email marketing service (starts at $15/month).
  • Special Offers: Send automated email campaigns linked from your customer database if you use Square’s email marketing.

Vend POS App Features:

  • Sell through one or multiple outlets: While multi-outlet support will cost you more (a point we’ll come back to), you can get a boatload of features that will make managing each location easier.
  • User Permissions: You can choose from pre-set roles with limited customization, but this is an entirely free service.
  • Accept Credit Card Payments: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express through one of Vend’s partners. You can also use non-integrated solutions through another payment processor if you choose.
  • Record cash payments: No check support, though.
  • Split tender: Accept cash and card.
  • Inventory: Vend has options to help you manage your stock orders in the dashboard as well.
  • Import/Export via CSV: Vend allows barcode printing, too.
  • Product variants: The POS technically supports 3 types of products: Standard, Variant, and Composite. Standard products are individual items with no other versions. Variants are products such as clothing, which come in different colors and sizes. Vend’s system allows you to create 3 modifiers per item. Composite products are those assembled from your inventory into a grouping — such as gift baskets. You cannot have separate inventory for composite products; it’s based on inventory for your other products.
  • Parked sales: This lets you save ticket in the POS and pull it up later, which is useful.
  • Price Books: You can create different price books for different stores, or for promotions, or for loyalty customers, or for whatever other reason you want. In Square, the best way to accomplish this is by setting individual item modifiers, so Vend is definitely far more functional.
  • Full and partial refunds: Self-explanatory. You can also do exchanges, a feature not available with Square.
  • Email or customizable print receipts: Your choice.
  • Store credit: This is a new feature, still in beta, but I would expect to see it roll out to everyone soon. Unlike Shopify, which lets you issue store credit but doesn’t have a proper way to track it, Vend’s store credit feature lets you keep track of it in your customer database. Currently this feature integrates with Xero, but not QuickBooks Online.
  • Gift cards: Gift cards work in store and online, but you can’t order them from Vend the way you can with many others (including Square).
  • Offline mode: Vend has an offline feature — but like Shopify and many other POS systems, it really only lets you accept cash payments and record sales. No credit card sales. In addition, you have to be signed in before the outage, and in offline mode has limited features. That said, it will get you through an outage mostly OK if you can survive on cash alone.
  • Sales tax: There’s no tip feature in Vend at all. However, its sales tax features are pretty advanced. You can set a single tax rate for everything, or create groups of tax rates. You can also set tax by location. The one flaw I see in the system is that creating tax rates doesn’t apply them to any existing products in your store. If you’ve already loaded products into your store, you’ll need to open up those products and modify the tax settings.
  • Loyalty program: Vend’s loyalty program is very simple, based on a dollars-for-dollars system. Spend so much and earn so many dollars to spend.
  • Reporting: Vend has some pretty advanced reporting — you can generate pre-populated reports or create your own custom ones.
  • Layaway program: This is included at no charge, with no integration required.
  • Customer-facing screen: A useful feature available at no-extra charge. You can only have one register linked to a display, but you can link multiple displays to one register.
  • Customer database: Obviously the database is good for having a loyalty program, With Vend, it’s possible to segment databases by groups and even create different price books for them (such as rewarding particularly loyal customers with special offers). Vend’s API can link it to another CRM if you want. Note that Vend doesn’t have its own email marketing service; you have to integrate with another.

While Square’s app is incredibly robust for an mPOS, it’s still not quite quite on par with a full-fledged POS like Vend. You’ll get an incredible array of features, but if you are looking for some highly advanced, retail-specific capabilities — like store credit and layaway, you should look more toward Vend. Of course, Square also supports more service-based companies with many of its features, notably restaurants. And you get a lot of integrated services in a single place (email marketing, loyalty program, even timekeeping and payroll). They’ll cost you more than just the processing fees, obviously, but the convenience of everything being consolidated in one place, with a single log-in and no need to bother with importing/exporting data, certainly can’t be overlooked.

eCommerce

As my fellow writer, Jordan, noted in her review, Vend’s eCommerce offering is basic. It was something added later, and so it’s not as refined as the POS system. You get everything you need to run a web store in tandem with your retail setup, but it’s not feature rich by any stretch. Here’s what you get:

  • Free hosting
  • Free domain (or bring your own)
  • Multiple responsive themes to choose from
  • HTML and CSS support
  • Integrate with Shopify’s eCommerce store for greater functionality (and higher cost)
  • Inventory sync across retail and online stores
  • Customer accounts (can be linked to customer profiles in database)
  • Sales and promotions through Vend price books
  • Social media integrations
  • Integrated reporting features
  • Flexible shipping
  • Customizable tax settings
  • Pay Later (to support ACH or in-store cash payments)

There are some drawbacks, however. The eCommerce system isn’t particularly friendly to dropshipping, and there’s no integrated blogging system or email marketing (but you can get email CRM with an integration). You can’t support individual promo codes, either. Inventory is based on a single outlet, and you can’t change the outlet later. The system also doesn’t support partial payments using gift cards — the entire balance must be paid using the gift card.

But honestly? Square’s eCommerce feature isn’t amazingly complex, either. Unless you choose to integrate another shopping cart), you sell through Square’s marketplace (which gives you a hosted domain and URL, and not much else). The store designs you can choose from are responsive but there isn’t a lot of customizability. Square’s features include:

  • Free hosting
  • Free domain (or bring your own)
  • Multiple responsive themes to choose from
  • Choice of responsive templates
  • Support for digital and physical products (this is one of the biggest differentiators from Square)
  • In-store pickup available
  • Integrated reporting
  • Customizable tax settings

If you want more advanced features, or even just your own domain, you can integrate with Weebly, BigCommerce, or Ecwid or play around with Square’s API for a custom solution — but that’s only if you’re comfortable playing around with such things. Again, there’s no blog at all, and shipping options are somewhat limited — but you can enhance the options using an add-on such as ShipStation.

I think it’s important to remember that unlike a service such as Shopify, which was always meant to help people sell online, both Vend and Square started off serving different markets — Vend is a POS system for retailers, while Square’s core feature has always been mobile payments. It’s not surprising that both of these are lacking in eCommerce options. However, I look forward to seeing what both of these services introduce next as omni-channel commerce becomes more important.

Payments

I appreciate the simplicity of Square’s payments system. But no matter what kind of volume you do, you pay the same flat rate — 2.75% for swiped cards, 2.9% + $0.30 for eCommerce. There’s no reduction in fees until you hit a very high volume — much higher than would qualify most merchants for a solid interchange-plus plan. The good news is you don’t have to deal with any sort of tiered pricing or qualified cards, all of which can be frustrating for merchants. You even process American Express at 2.75%. You can’t use any other payment processor with the app. But at the same time, it’s worth noting that you don’t pay for the POS at all — and you don’t have to pay for a more advanced eCommerce option unless you want to.

Vend decided, rather than try to implement its own branded solution like Shopify or ShopKeep, to simply partner with some other payments providers. Vend is an international product, and so there are other solutions available in other countries, but in the U.S., if you want an integrated processing solution in-store, your options are PayPal and Vantiv Integrated Payments (formerly Mercury).

The biggest problem with this is that PayPal is about the same price as Square (2.7% per swipe, 2.9% + $0.30 for eCommerce), on top of Vend’s monthly fee. And Mercury/Vantiv Integrated, while not the worst company out there, has a record of spotty customer service and hidden fees and expensive contracts, and Vantiv tends to have a liquidated damages provision in its contracts.

However, there is a silver lining,of sorts. You can choose a non-integrated processing solution and use whatever merchant service provider you want. The one draw back to this is you’ll have to enter the transaction amount in your terminal and process it, then complete the transaction in Vend separately. It adds an extra step that not everyone wants to deal with. However, that said, it could easily be worth the trouble if you opt for a processor like Helcim, which will give you interchange-plus AND debit card rates for processing.

You can also choose from a variety of gateways (including Authorize.net) and connect your account to process eCommerce transactions. It’s a bit sad that Vend has disabled Authorize.net as a gateway option for the POS, but you can at least use it online so you can use virtually any payment processor.

None of these options is a terrible choice. When you want mobile processing, Square’s rates are absolutely competitive — as I’ve said, PayPal is very similar, and so are many other mobile options. I like that Vend will also give you special discounts once you clear $10,000 a month with PayPal. I also like that Vend doesn’t charge you any sort of transaction fees for using a non-integrated solution. Plus, with PayPal will let you start processing almost right away.

All I can say is, run the numbers. If you’re leaning toward Vend, talk to some of our top-rated processors and request a quote from Mercury. Don’t overlook PayPal, either. It might not be interchange plus, but there are some benefits: an affordable EMV reader, instant access to funds, and even a truly mobile option (PayPal Here) if you absolutely need to be able to use smartphones to process cards, not tablets. Plus, with the PayPal debit card, you can access your funds anywhere without needing to transfer them to your bank.

If you’re leaning toward Square, you have an advantage in that you pay no monthly fees, just card processing rates, That is, unless you opt for a monthly add-on service (like Employee Management). You can also get set up pretty much right away.

Compatible Hardware:

Winner: Tie

If you’re going to process credit cards, you need some sort of register setup, right? I like that both Vend and Square give you some flexibility in that department.

Vend Hardware

With Vend, you have a few choices for what platform to run your POS on:

  • Windows Computer: Requires Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or Microsoft Surface Pro and Google Chrome.
  • Mac Computer: Requires Mac OSX Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, or El Capitan and Google Chrome
  • iPad: Requires iOS 8 or later. Download the app from the iTunes store.

All the hardware is sold via POSportal.com, which doesn’t offer any laptops but does have iPads available.

Vend’s hardware kit consists of the bare bones: a cash drawer and a USB receipt printer, plus a cable. If you opt for the tablet package, you also get a tablet stand and an upgrade to an Ethernet receipt printer.

The upside to this is that Vend’s hardware kits are fairly affordable (starting at just over $300 for Mac or PC, for $500 for the tablet version). You can also pick and choose your own hardware and build a custom package that includes a thermal label printer, a barcode reader and dock, and more. In all, that’s not too bad.

You’re probably noticing there’s one big thing missing: card readers. That’s because it entirely depends on who you choose for processing. PayPal has just a single EMV-compatible reader (chip and PIN) available for $149, that also supports NFC. Mercury offers a choice of EMV-compatible wired and wireless terminals, as will any non-integrated processing service you choose. Costs will vary, so be sure to shop around.

And if you already have some hardware, it might be compatible with Vend, no new purchase required! You can check whether your hardware is compatible here.

Square Hardware 

Square is far more flexible as far as hardware is concerned. While it can’t run from desktops or laptops at all, you do have a large range of mobile devices and tablets to choose from:

  • Android: Works with tablets and phones. System requirements vary, check the list of devices with known issues.
  • iOS: Works with iPad, iPhone, iPod. Requires iOS 8 or later, but some hardware may not be compatible with iOS 9, only 9.1.

It’s worth mentioning again that a handful of Square’s features are iPad-only. You can also check the compatibility between your device and specific hardware here.

Square also offers an assortment of hardware bundles, all of which fall in the $500 to $700 range. These include a tablet stand, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer, as well as receipt paper and a free magstripe reader.

That means the EMV-compatible card readers are sold separately. However,you do have a few options:

  • EMV and magstripe reader: $29
  • EMV/NFC (chip and sig): $49 (includes a free magstripe reader)
  • EMV/NFC (chip and PIN): $129 (Note: This isn’t a branded Square reader, but a Miura m010, which supports iOS only).

The Square Stand ($99 or included in some kits) also has a free magstripe reader built in. You can get a dock for your EMV/NFC readers, as well as a bar code scanner. Square doesn’t officially support a label printer, but it says many customers have used a Dymo printer in their setup.

Both Vend and Square give you some very flexible options as far as hardware goes. You have multiple cash drawers and receipt printers, and even card readers. It really depends on what you need. Frankly, though, the low cost of Square’s EMV readers is a big draw — they are the the lowest prices I’ve seen anywhere.

Fees and Rates:

Winner: Square

It’s absolutely essential that your business find a POS and payment solution that fits your budget. There’s no sense in paying for more than you need, or letting yourself be conned into paying much higher credit card processing rates than you have to.

In that sense, Square has the advantage. You don’t pay for the POS, just card transactions. Here’s the basic transaction fees:

  • Swiped transactions: 2.75%
  • Invoice transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
  • eCommerce transactions: 2.9% + $0.30

If you want some of the additional services, here’s what you’ll pay:

  • Gift cards: Per-card cost (starting at $2 per card and dropping as you order more)
  • Appointments: $30 for one person, $50 for 2-5 staff, $90 for unlimited staff.
  • Payroll: $20 monthly subscription + $5 per employee paid (available in limited states)
  • Employee management: $5 per employee
  • Email marketing: $15 per month and up, depending on package

With Vend, you can choose from multiple packages:

Free Plan ($0/month)

  • 10 active products
  • Customers: 1,000
  • Users: 1
  • Community forum support only

Starter Plan ($59/month on yearly plan, $69 billed monthly)

  • Single-outlet support
  • Active products: 500
  • Customers: Unlimited
  • Users: Unlimited
  • Live chat and email support

Advanced ($85/month on yearly plan, $99 billed monthly)

  • Single-outlet support
  • Active products: Unlimited
  • Customers: Unlimited
  • Users: Unlimited
  • eCommerce store
  • Live chat and email support

Multi-Outlet ($169/month on yearly plan, $199 billed monthly)

  • Multiple-outlet support
  • Active products: Unlimited
  • Customers: Unlimited
  • Users: Unlimited
  • eCommerce store
  • Live chat and email support
  • 24/7 phone support

Remember that this is on top of any processing fees you pay. On the one hand, $60-$70/month sounds expensive because Square is free, and Shopify’s basic plan is $29. If you want an eCommerce store, that costs even more.

But that kind of thinking overlooks the fact that Vend gives you unlimited users and hardware integration for free. Shopify will charge you $40/month for those capabilities, and Square will charge you $5 per employee per month.

I like that Vend won’t charge you any transaction fees if you choose a non-integrated solution. If you use Shopify, you can wind up paying an additional 2% per transaction on top of your processor’s fees. And Square won’t let you use anyone else for payment processing at all.

If you use a different eCommerce gateway with Vend, you could wind up paying an additional charge for that. And if you choose an add-on (such as Shopify’s eCommerce integration), you’ll pay more for that, too. The same applies if you choose to integrate Square with another eCommerce provider, like BigCommerce.

This is really a matter of what you can afford vs. what you need. Since Square is entirely pay-as-you-go, it’s a good starting place if this is your first foray into retail. If you definitely need Vend’s capabilities, be sure to shop around and find the most affordable and convenient solution for card processing. Remember that you can use the import/export features both Vend and Square provide to move your data over if you ever decide to switch providers.

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Winner: Square

With Square, there’s no contracts, no monthly fees. You can stop using Square whenever you want with absolutely no penalty. That is a significant advantage. You can also try the add-on services for 30 days completely free.

Vend gives you the option to save some money by paying for a full year in advance. Otherwise, you can go month-to-month and pay more for each package. That’s pretty common for most SaaS (Software as a Service) providers. I recommend starting with the month-to-month plan and see how it works before you invest in Vend for a whole year. There’s a 30-day trial where you can decide if Vend is right for you. You can also try the free plan, although it has very limited offerings.

The other thing you need to consider, though, is who you choose as a processor with Vend. PayPal is entirely pay-as-you-go, so if you stop using Vend, you can stop using PayPal, too, with zero penalties.

The problem is if you choose Vantiv Integrated/Mercury. While if you look at the Vend site, it says that Vantiv offers no-term contracts, that’s not the case across the board. The company does lock some of its vendors into multi-year contracts with ETFs. So even if you can stop using Vend whenever you want, you may still be stuck with a Mercury contract that could be potentially difficult to get out of.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Winner: Tie

Square has always been well known for its transparency. Clear, flat-rate processing, not hidden fees. There’s no pushy sales people, shady gimmicks or to-good-to-be-true promises. There’s a detailed knowledge base you can search without even needing an account, plus a solid blog with helpful resources for businesses, and social media (Twitter: @Square or @SqSupport, Facebook, LinkedIn).

I like what Square is doing in this department — though there is one niggling issue: account holds and freezes. Square isn’t exactly forthcoming about what causes them, and plenty of merchants are understandably upset. We’ll come back to this point in just a bit, though.

I also like how transparent Vend is. You know exactly what you’re getting and what the fees are. Again, there’s nothing that stinks of too-good-to-be-true. There is a sales force — you can request a consultation and Vend will send someone out to meet with you. However, I can’t find any evidence of Vend’s sales team using sketchy practices or hard selling techniques, which is good news indeed.

You can search Vend’s knowledge base before you sign up, and the blog is also full of great resource for merchants. Vend has a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as a YouTube and even a Pinterest.

The problem of course, is that payments aren’t integrated. PayPal is generally fair and transparent — flat-rate pricing, no shady gimmicks for businesses. You’ll see, if you dig into PayPal user reviews, that it still has an issue with holds and account terminations, but I can’t find any evidence that Vend users are affected by this.

The only “gimmick” I can find that Vend offers is a deal with PayPal that will give you a 50% discount on Vend when you sign up for both. The half-off deal lasts for three months. And if you process more than $10,000 monthly, you also get discounted PayPal rates.

Vantiv Integrated also has its own flaws with transparency (namely disclosure of that ETF). Quite a few complaints about Vantiv, especially recently, focus on merchants being overcharged for processing, which is understandably upsetting.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Winner: Vend

Square and Vend have both managed to keep their prices down by looking for cost-effective support…which meant neither company offered phone support at all initially. Fortunately, that’s changed, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say either company is completely rocking it in terms of customer service.

Check out any user reviews of Square, and the lack of customer service — especially decent phone support — is one of the most common issues. Square’s knowledge base is extremely detailed so you can solve most problems yourself. There’s also email support, and a new community forum. But to get on the phone, you need a customer code, which some users have had trouble getting (and something people with frozen or terminated accounts can’t get at all). There’s also a dedicated Twitter customer service channel, @SqSupport, and you can reach Square on Facebook as well.

Vend’s free plan doesn’t give you customer support at all — just access to the community forum. For the Basic and Advanced plans, you get access to a very detailed knowledge base, as well as email and live chat support — which is good. I like to see live chat as an option because honestly, waiting on hold and dealing with automated systems really sucks. However, if you really do prefer to talk to an actual person, Vend’s 24/7 phone support is only included in the multi-outlet plan. If you have one of the other paid plans, you can add phone support for $20/month. I don’t like merchants having to pay for customer support at all, but at least you get email and live chat at no added cost.

I do like that both companies have a service that will let you know whether the system is fully operational or whether it has issues. You can check out Vend’s status here, and Square’s here.

Something else worth mentioning is that if you need it, Vend has a lot of other resources to help. There’s Vend U, which is included at no charge with any paid subscription, and gives you a wealth of lessons and resources. If you’d rather pay an expert for their time, you can find Vend’s official list of partners here and look for someone in your area.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Winner: Vend

There are two very consistent complaints with Square:

  1. Its tendency to hold or terminate accounts with no warning and very little room for appeal
  2. Dubious customer support, especially after having your account frozen or terminated.

As far as holds and freezes go, that’s an unfortunate side effect of Square’s business model: it aggregates payments rather than opening individual merchant accounts for every single user. On the one hand, this means you can start processing much sooner, but on the other it means you may find yourself shut down with no warning. Square seems to be doing much better at mitigating the risk over all, and it’s definitely taking strides to improve its customer service, as well. However, if you are in a high-risk industry, I highly encourage you to avoid both Square and PayPal as your processors.

Vend’s complaints are a bit less focused. Some of the issues that come up most often include lack of various features, including limited cash management, or glitches in accounting integrations. Vend is constantly adding new features and rolling out improvements, though. There are also a handful of complaints about the quality of customer support — but these are very, very few and far between.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Winner: Tie

It shouldn’t be so surprising that Vend and Square have a lot over overlap in the “Good Things” categories — namely, customers like how easy-to-use and intuitive both POS systems are. They are easy to set up and get running. Because everything is stored in the cloud you can access your data everywhere. Just grab your iPad and open up the app to run your reports and check on sales. Beyond that, here’s what else what people like about each:

Square

  • Easy to set up: You can start processing through Square pretty much right away.
  • Truly mobile: Unlike Vend, Square is truly mobile friendly. While the iPad gives you the most functionality, you can still run the system from a smartphone and have all your data in one place.
  • Offline mode: Square’s offline mode is the best one out there. It’s the only one that I know that will still let you process credit cards during an outage. Yes, you accept the risk yourself, but depending on your business it could be a nonissue.
  • Inexpensive: With a free website/shopping cart, a free POS, flat-rate processing and everything else, it’s hard to argue with the value that Square offers. When you throw in all the affordable monthly add-ons… it might not be the most advanced system, but Square has everything most businesses need at a very attractive cost.

Vend

  • Customer Service: You will see the few odd complaints about Vend’s customer service but overall, users really seem to appreciate it. You can get phone support if you want, but otherwise, live chat, email, and the knowledge base should see you through just fine.
  • Affordability: Vend sounds more expensive than Square, but compared to many other cloud solutions or full-fledged POS systems it is very affordable.
  • Feature set: Vend doesn’t have everything everyone could ever want — but it certainly has everything you need, and then some. Even better, the company is always introducing new, more advanced features. Overall many people are happy with everything Vend offers.

Final Verdict:

Winner: Tie 

In this case, it is honestly difficult to point out a clear winner. While Square and Vend have similar offerings, comparing them isn’t a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. Vend is a cloud POS that happens to work on an iPad; Square is a mobile payments app that happens to have a very effective POS that also works on an iPad.

As always, the issue ultimately boils down to what features you need and what you can afford. Vend is a great option for retail environments, but it requires a monthly or yearly subscription, plus you pay processing rates. Square is an excellent mobile solution, and it has everything you need to run a retail register setup as well. You pay only processing rates and the monthly subscription fee for any add-on services you want.

You get comparable options for hardware. Square gives you an online store at no additional cost, while Vend offers one in its mid-tier subscription plan. Both also give you inventory management and a choice of add-ons and integrations to expand the functionality.

If you’re unsure of your budget, you don’t need as many advanced features, or mobile is a genuine concern, Square is a viable option. You only pay per transaction, which is great if you’re just starting out. Just know that Square’s aggregating model isn’t quite as stable as a traditional merchant account.

If you can afford Vend and need the more advanced features it offers (exchanges, store credit, etc.), by all means go for it. You’ll certainly get better customer support, but for the most part everything is so intuitive you should not need much guidance. Make sure you shop around for the best processing option, and consider a non-integrated solution from one of our top-rated merchant account providers if you want the lowest rates and best service. .

I hope this helps you make a decision! Be sure to check out our other iPad POS options as well as our mobile processors.

The post Square VS Vend appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Business News along with other Tales for May 2017

A part of our work at Merchant Maverick is remaining on the top of recent developments and trends within the industries that people cover. We learn so much from this news article, blogs, and message boards we frequent. A lot, actually, that you want to share our understanding along with you inside a more direct fashion.

Here’s phone most fascinating, thoughtful, and newsworthy articles, forum posts, and websites the Merchant Maverick team continues to be studying for that month of May.

General Business

Way forward for Payments? Phone Sets a dark tone Mobile Payments Today
Studies have shown that cell phone usage will have critical role in shaping the sorts of payment and finance technologies consumers adopt.

Marketing

The Key To Some Good Referral Campaign Forbes
Searching to produce a referral campaign (or wondering why yours isn’t obtaining the results you had been after?) How you present the sale for your current customers could make a big difference.
Why You Need To Craft an engaging Content Technique for Your Online Business Entrepreneur
An excellent content strategy could possibly be the missing piece that can help you get the company and brand loyalty of recent customers.

Merchant Services

First Data to purchase CardConnect for $750M PYMNTS
The payment processing behemoth purchases its first company since going public in 2015.
Verifone to include MasterCard faster EMV tech to POS terminals Mobile Payments Today
Retailers using Verifone hardware will quickly see faster speeds for MasterCard nick card transactions as the organization rolls out M/Nick Fast tech in the devices.
US retailers compensated $88.39 billion in card charges in 2016 Payments Cards &amp Mobile
Nilson Report states cards issued in america in 2016 generated $5.936 trillion in payments this past year.

eCommerce

PayPal Launches a little Biz Toolset, ‘Business inside a Box’ with WooCommerce &amp Xero  TechCrunch
At the outset of the month, PayPal launched their all-in-one selling solution for novices. The program features a shopping cart software, accounting software, as well as an integration with PayPal. We’ll be keeping track of that one. Read our reviews of WooCommerce and Xero.
For Retailers, ‘Less-limited Aisle’ Beats ‘Endless Aisle’ Practical Ecommerce
If you’re drop-shipping, it could appear prefer idea to include as numerous products for your shop as it can certainly hold. This short article states otherwise. Read why listing less products will work better for the online shop.
Search engine optimization: Your Faceted Navigation Might Be Better Practical Ecommerce
Learn how to best make use of your fancy faceted navigation features to enhance your store’s internet search engine rankings.
Mobile Fraud a Blind Place for Ecommerce Retailers Entrepreneur
Retailers might be focusing an excessive amount of on creating mobile friendly designs and never enough on monitoring mobile transactions. Discover a couple of things you can do to lessen mobile fraud.

Reason for Purchase &amp mPOS

Five Explanations Why ‘The Retail Apocalypse’ Is really a False Scare Story Forbes
Simply because individuals are speaking concerning the Retail Apocalypse doesn’t always mean that it’s true.
Grubhub Partners with Reason for Purchase Leaders to produce Streamlined Restaurant Management Systems PR Newswire
Grubhub, a leading takeout marketplace that, just announced integrations with Breadcrumb POS by Upserve and Toast.

Accounting

Correcting Mistakes and Submitting Amended Returns Tax Pro Center
Should you thought taxes were behind you but recognized that you simply designed a mistake in your forms, don’t worry about it. This is a help guide to amending individuals crucial tax forms.
5 Trends Redefining Accounting in 2017  AccountingWEB
“Accounting practices have continued to be exactly the same for a century approximately,” however this is not the situation. This short article presents five trends which are reshaping the way in which small company proprietors do their accounting.

Loans &amp Finance

3 Proven Means of Women Entrepreneurs to beat Funding Gaps Bplans
If you’re a lady entrepreneur who’s getting trouble acquiring funding, this short article might be able to point you within the right direction.
Seed Fundraiser&#8212VCs versus. Seed Funds versus. Angels Hacker Noon
Unclear about the main difference between Vc’s, Seed Funds, and Private Investors? This short article explains that you simply should select for the business.

Highlights in the Merchant Maverick Blog

Wave versus. QuickBooks Online
Attempting to decide between Wave and QuickBooks Online? See which software arrives on the top according to features, prices, security, customer care, and much more.
Lending by Wave: Everything Small Companies Have to know
Wave has announced a brand new partnership using the business loan provider OnDeck. These financing options might be fast, but they are they worthwhile? This short article shares all you need to know.
Double Dipping: The Hidden Costs of the Merchant Cash Loan
You might be taking a loss in case your merchant cash loan or short term personal loan provider participates in double dipping.
5 Stuff You Didn’t Know You Could Do This by having an mPOS
mPOS apps aren’t nearly card swipers. Many mobile phone applications possess some surprising abilities hidden within their settings, should you just know to appear.
Some Greatest Hurdles to Selling on Amazon . com (And the way to Overcome Them)
Listen to other retailers concerning the challenges of adding Amazon . com for your online shop. Learn how these retailers have overcome or lessened individuals challenges.

Have you read any interesting articles this month? Share your ideas within the comments!

The publish Business News along with other Tales for May 2017 made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Beyond Mobile: How Square Will Help You Sell Online

Square-sell-online-ecommerce

It&#8217s fair to state, at this time, that Square continues to be instrumental in democratizing the instalments space. Virtually anybody can open a free account and begin accepting payments anywhere, whenever. Nowadays it&#8217s by taking your same attitude and putting it on to some whole selection of business services, creating an ecosystem that enables a business owner to handle almost every facet of the operation — from sales and marketing to worker time keeping — having a single login.

Which includes online retailers. The truth that Square enables you to setup a web-based store for simply the price of payment processing is constantly on the baffle me. Even marketplaces that don&#8217t need you to purchase a domain or hosting still ask you for transaction charges on the top of the payment processing costs.

A part of this is because Square&#8217s Online Shop is very fundamental. That&#8217s not saying it&#8217s not functional, or attractive — it is completely each of individuals things. However the entire Online Shop feature continues to be made with simplicity in your mind. You don&#8217t require the smallest little bit of website design, coding, or software experience to produce your shop. However, you won&#8217t discover the more complicated features that some shopping cart software software providers offer, for example related products and keyword tags.

I believe lots of people know that Square is just for particular categories of retailers: coffee houses and take-out restaurants, or artists and crafters, to begin with. However that&#8217s not necessarily true. Square&#8217s set of features is really expansive, and there are plenty of integrations available, that you could easily run a restaurant, a café or cafe, just a little artist booth, a retail popup store, or even a full-fledged physical retail operation — plus your web store. Which doesn&#8217t include service companies (hair and nail salons, for instance) or nonprofits and occasions.

Which begs the issue&#8230.just what else could you sell through Square&#8217s online shop? Could it be the best option for you personally? Precisely how flexible may be the site builder? Let&#8217s have a look.

What Else Could You Sell Through Square&#8217s Online Shop?

Square is definitely expanding, also it&#8217s focused a lot of that effort on building up its eCommerce set of features. Retailers sell the following:

  • Physical goods
  • Digital goods (music, e-books, pattern files, etc.)
  • Restaurant carryout orders (you may also add delivery through another Square service known as Caviar)
  • Event tickets

You may also collect donations in amounts from $1 as much as $1,000.

Not just that, but Square supports variations of merchandise at different cost points. You may also create modifiers and add-on products for the listings.

Square comes with a summary of prohibited products and companies, and I suggest you make sure that out. But aside from that list, marketing virtually anything you like.

What Features Does Square Offer?

Running your web shop through Square means that you&#8217ll possess a couple of limitations, but overall it is a fantastic way to sell online and keep your costs lower. The setup is friendly to a lot of types of companies, too. You receive the following, at no cost past the payment processing fee for every purchase:

  • Free, limitless hosting.
  • Free URL (may also make use of an existing domain or get one through Google Domains).
  • Responsive web site design.
  • Inventory tracking and management.
  • Supplier management.
  • Integrated, advanced reporting.
  • Seamless integration with Square Register.
  • Support for in-store pickup.

Take a look at full Square Review for a far more in-depth take a look at Square in general. Continue reading for that information on Square&#8217s Online Shop platform and just how it can benefit you receive in to the eCommerce game!

Establishing Your Square Store

This process is only going to get you a couple of minutes to create your site. Probably the most time you&#8217ll spend is going to be on sorting your inventory (that is usually the case with any eCommerce shop).

Whenever you sign in to your Square dashboard, you&#8217ll visit a menu around the left hands side of options. Visit Online Shop, and also you&#8217ll visit a welcome page such as this:

Square Online Store in Dashboard

Click &#8220Get began,&#8221 and Square will begin the entire process of building your website. First of all, Square will request you to select a Store theme. There are just four, so that as you&#8217ll discover later, you don&#8217t have personalization choices for design past the images and text themselves. However, you are able to improve your theme anytime by entering the shop Editor and clicking &#8220Change Theme&#8221 at the very top.

square-online-store-change-theme

&nbsp

Something important to note is the fact that each design should be responsive — it’ll instantly adjust its display according to which device your clients are utilizing. Quite simply, you receive a mobile-friendly website without getting to complete anything.

Next, Square will need you to definitely improve your information. Here’s your opportunity to set your store&#8217s name, add contact details for the people to achieve out, increase your brick-and-mortar hrs (for those who have them).

The 3rd step is establishing your store, the most technical step. And what i mean is Square insists upon choose your URL or incorperate your own domain. This can be probably the most complicated facet of building your website because you have to configure your domain&#8217s DNS settings. You may also set your shipping rates (we&#8217ll return to that), and condition your refund guarantee.

Other Setup Options

Square has invested a great deal in supplying more flexible solutions and providing the features which are most important for any business without emptying your wallet. It&#8217s even expanded its search engine optimization, enabling you to use Square as the payments processor along with other shopping cart software software.

All that you should do is integrate Square with BigCommerce, Weebly, or Ecwid to produce your web shop. If you be a little more tech-savvy (or you’ve got a web programmer within the company, a treadmill you are able to hire to complete work), you should use Square&#8217s eCommerce API to produce a custom payment form in your site.

Adding and Managing Products with Square&#8217s Online Store

Right from the start, among the greatest benefits of running your retail and eCommerce setups through Square may be the automatic inventory synchronization. Whenever you ring something in Register or sell online, Square adjusts your inventory counts for you personally. By doing this you won’t ever finish up selling that which you don&#8217t dress in hands. Obviously, it is really an optional feature — if you need to utilize it, you&#8217ll need to enable inventory management.

Whenever you setup your web Store the very first time, Square pushes you to definitely start adding products immediately. However, now is a great time for you to sit lower and determine what you ought to charge for florida sales tax, how you need to classify products , and just what modifiers you need to offer.

  • Florida Sales Tax: You may create multiple tax settings in Square. This really is helpful should you visit occasions, or run multiple stores, or from time to time have pop-up stores round the area. Make sure to label each tax setting clearly which means you know when it ought to be applied.
  • Modifiers: Modifiers are essentially add-ons. This is an excellent method to have an choice for expedited shipping or upsale products (let’s say you sell tech products, you could include on spare cables for cosmetics, makeup brushes).
  • Groups: Groups can be quite helpful for reporting purposes. Let’s say you sell various sorts of products (clothing versus. accessories, tea versus. tea-making supplies), this might prove useful for seeing what sells better.

Should you don&#8217t take proper care of these first, you&#8217re likely to by hand adjust the items&#8217s settings afterward. Florida sales tax, modifiers, and groups are controlled with the Square Dashboard, and not the Store Editor feature. Sign in to your bank account after which select &#8220Items&#8221 to check out the tabs at the very top right from the screen.

Square Dashboard - Item modifier tabs

 

Once that&#8217s done, it’s insanely easy to add products for your Online Shop. The Shop Editor enables you to create sections with products — you are able to place them all-in-one section or break them lower into multiples. Under each section, click &#8220Add Item&#8221 and also you&#8217ll visit a new box appear. (Note: these sections do not have anything related to anything groups you may have setup).

Square Online Store: Add Item form

Complete the information you have. Give a name, a photograph (or multiple photos), along with a description. This is where one can add variants (for example multiple colors or sizes) and choose a category for the product (note: groups won’t be the same as sections in your website).

Scroll lower around the box a little and also you&#8217ll see more of Square&#8217s advanced options — such as modifiers. You may also disable or enable a person item&#8217s visibility within the store, should you&#8217re less than prepared to launch a specific item.

Importing and Managing Inventory in Square

Should you&#8217ve recently been selling with Square, simply not online, you can include your whole item library in the Register application towards the Online Shop with only a couple of clicks. Visit &#8220Add Item&#8221 and select to import from library.

Had a large inventory?  You most likely want to benefit from Square&#8217s import from CSV feature. See your Square Dashboard after which select &#8220Items,&#8221 not &#8220Online Store. At the very top right from the page you&#8217ll visit a button for &#8220Import/Export.&#8221 Choose &#8220Import products,&#8221 select whether you need to develop your overall item library or change it, after which download the shape.

square-online-store-import-exportSquare Online Store: Import Items

Just load your data in to the template, then upload the file in to the Square Dashboard.

If you are considering tracking inventory levels, you’ve two options: 1. update inventory counts and hang tracking by hand for every item (visit the Square dashboard after which to &#8220Items&#8221 and choose each one of these individually), or 2 make use of a CSV file (choose &#8220Import Inventory&#8221 in the &#8220Import/Export&#8221 menu).

You&#8217ll wish to upload all your products first before you decide to perform the inventory level CSV.

When you&#8217ve enabled this selection, you may also set the reduced-stock alerts, meaning Square will instantly generate emails to show you when stock levels drop below a particular point. You may also check inventory levels using your dashboard.

Quick note: Products offered via invoice or perhaps in-store pickup don&#8217t use inventory management, which means you&#8217ll need to adjust the counts by hand. Should you process returns, you&#8217ll also need to adjust your inventory.

Setting Item Shipping Rates in Square

Square&#8217s shipping features may be frustrating for many retailers. Throughout the initial setup process, the website insists upon choose free delivery or set a set shipping rate for every item inside your store. There aren’t any shipping options according to weight or size.

That&#8217s not saying it&#8217s entirely unworkable. You are able to offer free delivery for those products (just make certain to regulate the cost of the products to pay for the elevated cost), that might attract your buyers, mainly in the chronilogical age of Amazon . com Prime.

Square also enables you to add yet another transportation charge for products. Regrettably, it displays such as this:

Square Online Store: shipping costs display

I recieve that this can be a transparency issue, however i want to just hammers home the concept that you&#8217re having to pay MORE for shipping. I question the number of customers which has driven away, since i would bet it&#8217s a good couple of. It&#8217d be nice if Square just totaled the 2 shipping costs together and presented just one number.

Another factor you&#8217ll see can there be&#8217s no choice for offering multiple shipping speeds/courier options. The best choice is to produce a group of modifiers for just about any other shipping options you would like — such as United states postal service priority or overnight, or UPS ground.

Finishing Orders in Square

Go to your store&#8217s dashboard and also the first factor you&#8217ll see is the listing of pending orders.

Square online store: pending orders

Clearly, our store is empty. Yours shouldn&#8217t be!

You have to mark each order as satisfied by hand to get payment for this. For now, Square supports the funds plus they&#8217ll show up on your statements as &#8220Deferrals Held.&#8221 When you complete an order, they reveal as &#8220Deferrals Released.&#8221

Automatically, Square sets the processing here we are at orders to seven days. You are able to change this yourself by entering your shipping settings. Should you don&#8217t complete an order through the deadline, Square instantly refunds your clients.

Whenever you complete an order, you can add tracking information. However, you are able to&#8217t do that when the order is finished — you&#8217ll need to examine your orders by hand to locate it after which contact the client to supply shipping information. This is a little a disadvantage — but not really a deal breaker. You may also integrate Square with ShipStation to deal with your shipping and order tracking.

With electronic orders, Square instantly generates a confirmation email. Let’s say you sell tickets, that email doubles as a ticket. However, if you sell digital downloads, you&#8217ll need to handle orders fulfillment yourself. That would mean that you give a connect to Dropbox or any other hosting space where individuals can download the files whenever you mark orders as complete.

It&#8217s not really a perfect solution, undoubtedly — it could be great to determine Square give a hosting choice for individuals files. However, I’ll explain that BigCommerce, Ecwid, and Weebly have the ability to greater support for digital downloads.

For in-store pickup products, you can auto-accept all orders, or by hand accept them. That&#8217s entirely your decision, but if you need to by hand accept orders, you must do so inside an hour from it being placed. Square also recommends you receive evidence of ID for choosing at any height-value orders ($250 or even more) along with a signed invoice for orders over $500. That&#8217s a fairly solid practice that may safeguard you against chargebacks.

How you can Increase Your Online Shop

When you begin to market online, don&#8217t forget to benefit from all of the great secondary features Square offers. For instance, Square&#8217s reporting is a terrific way to monitor profits (evaluating online to in-person sales, monitoring which products are most widely used, etc). You may also create custom reports tailored to your demands.

Not just that, but you might like to take a look at all of the integrations Square offers. In case your inventory needs tend to be more complex than Square can hold, take a look at Stitch Labs. You can observe the entire listing of apps here, but don’t forget by using the APIs you may create custom solutions, too.

You are able to&#8217t sell gift certificates online, but marketing them personally and employ them inside your online shop, that is a terrific way to encourage repeat customers. The only real pricing is them themselves and then any processing charges if a person purchases the present card having a charge card.

Square also enables you to setup discounts. You are able to apply these reduced prices for in-person sales only, or create codes for the people to use online, too. That&#8217s helpful if you wish to run holiday sales and have special promotions every so often.

The customer database Square offers (at no additional charge) ties into Square&#8217s e-mail marketing seamlessly. Square&#8217s e-mail marketing service starts at $15/month however it&#8217s a great way to connect with your most loyal customers and achieve to lapsed customers, and you may bring customers out of your emails to your website. If only Square&#8217s loyalty program (also associated with the database and available for the next monthly charge) labored with website purchases too, but provide a little time. That&#8217s something I am certain Square will address eventually.

Lastly, don&#8217t neglect a great social networking strategy. A good presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or perhaps Pinterest will go a lengthy way toward funneling customers to your website, especially coupled with coupons.

Verdict: Is Square Best For You?

If you’re just beginning by helping cover their a web-based store, Square is a superb starter because requires hardly any technical understanding. simple drag interface, you don’t need to ever wreck havoc on code. simple to perform a bulk upload to populate inventory

If you want advanced features, you should use Square to process payments and employ another shopping cart software software and obtain all individuals features. eCommerce rates on componen with many other processors. Really the only method to get substantially lower rates is to buy a free account — but you don&#8217t get free hosting, a totally free URL reely shopping cart software software, not to mention the other value-added goodies Square has packed into its choices (such as the free customer database that integrates seamlessly, or feedback programs, etc.)

To actually get the most from your Square Online Shop, you need to really plan several things out ahead — your shipping options, especially, but additionally your current organization plan and issues for example florida sales tax. Map many of these out before you begin building your store and also you&#8217ll save a lot time and effort. Don&#8217t your investment ease of the majority upload feature, either. It&#8217s only a matter of spreading the word and driving people aimed at your website!

Got questions? Have personal expertise with Square&#8217s Online Shop? Leave your comments below and let’s read your comments!

The publish Beyond Mobile: How Square Will Help You Sell Online made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Five Best Small Company Charge Card Processing Companies

Paying with credit card

Unless of course your online business includes managing a lemonade get up on a corner of your street, eventually you&#8217re gonna need to accept debit and credit cards as payment to be able to compete in today&#8217s marketplace. Clients are more and more counting on their &#8220plastic&#8221 to create purchases, and therefore transporting less money. eCommerce – something which barely existed two decades ago – has become a significant competitor to physical stores. The greater recent creation of smartphones, and also the mobile payment features which are being put into them, promise to consider this evolution even more by permitting customers to leave both their plastic and their funds in your own home.

Basically we&#8217re still a lengthy way from a really cashless society, the variety of processing debit and credit card payments have elevated dramatically in only yesteryear couple of years, and also the set-up costs came lower to the stage that the tiniest business are able to afford to provide this method. While accepting charge cards has typically needed a substantial purchase of card-studying terminals and costly point-of purchase (POS) systems, today&#8217s options leverage smartphone technology and cloud-based data storage to supply exactly the same abilities inside a lighter, less expensive, and much more mobile package.

In ’09, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey introduced Square, the very first service that permitted retailers to simply accept charge card payments utilizing their smartphones. Square incorporated a card readers which, when mounted on a smartphone, could browse the magnetic strip info on a person&#8217s debit or credit card. The Square application provided an interface between your card readers and also the merchant&#8217s take into account tracking transactions. While Square remains the leading player in the area of mobile payments today, additionally, it offers quite a bit more competition. Today&#8217s small business operator has quite a number of providers to select from. While all provide the same core function (i.e., debit and credit card processing), each provider also provides improvements and options that differentiate it from the&#8217 competitors.

So, which fits your needs? The reply is likely to rely on the character and size your company. Would you operate from a conventional brick-and-mortar establishment? Would you sell online, either solely or along with an actual business location? Is the business a complete-time occupation having a large amount of sales, or perhaps is it simply a component-time side gig? Below, we&#8217ve put together our top chioces one of the current crop of card-processing services, and summarized what we should like (and don&#8217t like) about all of them. Regardless of whether you&#8217re managing a large store or simply selling fresh produce from the back of the truck in the local famer&#8217s market, there&#8217s a card-processing service that&#8217s best for you.

Dharma A Merchant Account

Dharma A Merchant Account got its name in the term dharma, which can be found in several Eastern religions. Although it often means a variety of things and there’s no direct translation, it roughly alludes to some &#8220right lifestyle.&#8221 Individuals at Dharma take this seriously, supplying a full spectrum of charge card processing services for any fair and reasonable cost. Their fee structures are transparent – interchange-plus prices can be used solely and you will find no annual charges. Additionally they don&#8217t charge account setup charges, early termination charges, or PCI compliance charges. Dharma is exclusive in the realm of charge card processing companies for the reason that they donate an astonishing 50% of the profits to charitable organization, living as much as their motto &#8220Commerce with Empathy.&#8221

Additionally to merchant services, Dharma offers a number of wireless and wired countertop terminals for in-store use. Their terminals are EMV-compliant as well as support Apple Pay. Dharma supports mobile swiping through Authorize.internet, as well as uses ShopKeep, our favorite iPad-based POS systems. Authorize.internet may also support on the internet and mobile payments, and integrates with QuickBooks.

Dharma easily provides the fairest and many transparent fee structure in the market. Additionally to some flat $10.00 monthly fee for store and eCommerce accounts, transactions are billed based on an interchange-plus cost model. In-person transactions are billed .25% above cost, plus $.10 per transaction, while eCommerce transactions are billed .35% above cost, plus $.10 per transaction. More complex charges (for example Address Verification Charges) are clearly typed on Dharma&#8217s website.

While there’s no minimum monthly volume requirement, Dharma freely acknowledges their full-service merchant services don’t make sense financially for low-volume companies processing under $10,000 monthly in transactions. In case your business falls into that category, they recommend either PayPal or Square.

PROS:

  • Full-range of services and equipment for storefront and eCommerce companies
  • Great customer care
  • Transparent prices without any additional charges
  • Discounted rates for non-profits

CONS:

  • A bad fit for low-volume (under $10,000 monthly) accounts

To learn more about Dharma, see our complete review here.

CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

Another our favorite providers, CDGcommerce has been available since 1998 – lengthy enough to possess determined what must be done to operate a effective processing company and keep customers happy. CDG stands out of the crowd by not charging you the nickel-and-cent hidden charges that many others in the market are well known for. Their merchant services include no account setup charges, no PCI compliance charges, no monthly minimums, and month-to-month billing without any early termination charges.

A fundamental credit card merchant account with CDGcommerce costs only $10.00 monthly, and includes free utilization of their proprietary Quantum payment gateway/virtual terminal (a totally free Authorize.Internet gateway can also be available as a substitute). Based on your requirements, you can include capabilities similar to their cdg360 security package, which supplies $100,000 in data breach/thievery protection, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts, and many other features – all for $15.00 monthly.

Basically we normally recommend buying your charge card terminals outright rather of leasing them, we’ve made the best for CDG. Instead of lock you into an costly, four-year lease, CDG only charges $79 each year for terminal insurance. Wireless terminals may also need a $20.00 monthly data plan as well as an additional $.05 per transaction processing fee. This can be a far better deal than the usual standard terminal lease, which could finish up costing your 1000s of dollars within the full term from the lease.

CDG also provides very competitive processing rates. All their prices is interchange-plus and disclosed online. Listed here are their current rates:

  • Online: interchange + .30% + $.15 per transaction
  • Retail: interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction
  • Mobile: interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction
  • Non-profit: interchange + .20% + $.10 per transaction

With features such as this, CDGcommerce hasn’t generated a lot of complaints from dissatisfied customers through the years. They’re, however, the only company we’ve seen in which the Chief executive officer has personally walked directly into address the couple of complaints which have from time to time tricked in. Because of CDG’s things to look for and support, however, he hasn’t had to get this done very frequently.

PROS:

  • Interchange-plus prices
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Free virtual terminal/payment gateway
  • Things to look for

CONS:

  • Only accessible to all of us-based retailers

For any more in depth take a look at CDGcommerce, make sure to take a look at our full review.

Helcim

&#8220Trust, transparency, and fair prices&#8221 is Helcim&#8217s motto, plus they meet it by supplying probably the most up-front, clearly-described prices structure of the charge card processing companies we&#8217ve reviewed here. A Canadian company, they likewise have a workplace in San antonio and supply full support to all of us-based retailers.

Helcim provides a full gamut of services and equipment for storefront an internet-based companies. The website features a number of EMV-compliant charge card terminals, beginning at $199. Terminals with NFC capacity for Apple Pay support start at $329. Unlike a lot of their competitors, they encourage US people to buy their terminals outright, instead of renting or leasing. Helcim will reprogram your present equipment free of charge whether it&#8217s up-to-date. Regrettably, Canadian EMV-compliant terminals are not shipped to become transferred or sold again, so Canadian customers will need to make use of the rental option or purchase a new machine. Renting on the month-to-month basis (that is totally different from leasing) is often the smartest choice for Canadian retailers.

Helcim supports eCommerce through their Helcim Virtual Terminal, one hundredPercent web-based solution that processes both on the internet and manual payments on your pc, generating receipts that may be emailed or printed. Including an internet-based virtual terminal, payment gateway with API, support for recurring billing, billing information vault storage, e-invoicing, shopping cart software integration, and located payment pages. No additional software or hardware is needed. On top of that, you receive all of these features for any flat $25.00 monthly fee.

Mobile payments are supported with the VirtualMerchant Mobile application for android and ios. This has a free universal card readers that connects to your smartphone&#8217s audio jack (additional visitors $45 each). There&#8217s additionally a flat $30.00 fee every month to have an limitless quantity of users.

Helcim utilizes a Cost+ prices model, with a monthly subscription fee and interchange-plus prices for every transaction. Retail users pay $12.00 monthly, while eCommerce users pay $25.00 monthly for that Helcim Virtual Terminal service. Support for mobile payments needs a $30.00 monthly subscription. Additionally towards the per-transaction interchange rate billed through the issuing charge card company, Helcim charges .18% + $.08 per transaction within the interchange rate for retail and mobile payments. Online transactions are billed .36% + $.25 per transaction, as well as the relevant interchange rate. Helcim doesn&#8217t charge charges for account setup or termination, and PCI compliance is incorporated within the monthly subscription fee. Helcim&#8217s website features a detailed explanation of the charges, and several truly eye-opening disclosures about how exactly their bank-owned competition is ripping you served by hidden charges and lengthy-term contracts.

PROS:

  • Very transparent fee structure
  • Excellent customer care
  • Very competitive rates for companies processing over $2,500 monthly

CONS:

  • Not suited to really small companies processing under $2,500 monthly
  • eCommerce minute rates are greater for Canadian customers

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Payline Data

Payline Data covers all of the bases for small company transactions, from mobile an internet-based payments to in-store sales. They provide easy-to-understand prices plans which are very economical, specifically for low-volume sellers. However, the organization&#8217s website fully explains all the additional features as well as their connected costs, which means you know in advance that which you&#8217ll need to pay. Payline also stands out of the crowd for his or her corporate philosophy of charitable giving and support for non-profits through discounted prices as well as their &#8220Commercial Co-Venture&#8221 program.

For traditional, in-store charge card transactions, Payline offers a number of EMV-compliant charge card terminals. Additionally they provide a virtual terminal, plus a USB-connected device that enables you to definitely process charge card transactions from the Internet-connected computer. Payline Gateway ties your physical hardware for your internet account, allowing online transactions and instantly generating detailed analytical reports. Payline also provides NFC-capable terminals that support Apple Pay (at no additional cost).

Payline’s standard merchant services cost you a flat $15.00 monthly and have interchange-plus prices. Billing is month-to-month, without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges. Retail prices is interchange % + .2% + $.10 per transaction. Online prices is interchange % + .35% + $.10 per transaction. In case your business processes greater than $80,000 monthly, enterprise prices with lower rates can be obtained.

For eCommerce retailers, Payline also provides a number of bundled prices plans which include features you’ll have to setup and run an internet business. Options incorporate a Standard plan featuring predetermined fee prices for small companies and startups, and Professional and Enterprise plans for bigger, competent companies. The second two plans feature interchange-plus prices and various features that aren’t incorporated within the Standard plan, for example website hosting and website setup.

Payline’s Standard plan costs $29.00 monthly and expenses a set 2.9% +$.30 per transaction processing rate. The program features a secure payment gateway and virtual terminal for manual order entry, in addition to online shopping cart software integration. You’ll need to provide your personal website hosting and PCI security scans are just like a choice. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent economical option for a little online business, particularly if you’re just getting began.

The Professional plan costs $79 monthly featuring interchange-plus prices, with rates beginning as little as .49% per purchase. You’ll would like to get an estimate prior to signing up, as the actual processing rates will often be greater compared to marketed “as low as” rate. Additionally to each of the features from the Standard plan, the Professional plan includes website hosting, website setup and personalization, and PCI security checking. It’s a great option for a recognised business, regardless of whether you sell only online or along with an actual retail presence.

With regard to added large companies, the Enterprise Plan includes all the same features because the Standard Plan, plus website name registration. Interchange-plus processing rates start as little as .29% per purchase. The Enterprise Plan costs $159 monthly. It’s only cost-effective for any large, established business.

Payline also provides additional optional features, just like an iPad-based POS system and support for mobile payments via smartphones. While these functions cost extra, prices is extremely competitive. See Payline&#8217s website for details.

PROS:

  • Fair prices with easy-to-understand contracts with no hidden charges.
  • Great customer support, including phone and email support.
  • Integrates with Apple Pay along with other mobile wallet services.
  • Month-to-month contracts without any early termination charges

CONS:

  • Presently only accessible in the united states and Canada.

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Square

Finally, there’s Square, the earliest and perhaps best-known company within the mobile payments industry. It’s worth noting that although Square will help you to process charge card transactions and run an eCommerce website, it doesn’t give a full-service credit card merchant account. Due to this, you won’t obtain a unique Merchant ID number or the type of 24/7 customer support that normally includes one. While it’s still a great option for startups and smaller sized companies, it’s a tad too limited for bigger, competent retailers.

Square was the very first company to provide smartphone-based mobile payments if this launched in 2009. Today, it’s lots of competitors, nevertheless its insufficient a regular monthly fee, reasonable transaction charges, and powerful features still turn it into a great choice, specifically for low-volume sellers. Square replaces the standard charge card terminal having a simple dongle that attaches for your smartphone or tablet and works along with Square&#8217s mobile application to swipe debit or credit cards. Square supports retail locations, eCommerce, and (naturally) mobile payments.

The center of Square&#8217s product is its group of charge card readers. Square’s original card readers was free, however it could only read magstripe cards. While it’s still available, most users may wish to obtain the new, EMV-compliant readers. Such as the original readers, it connects to the headphone jack of the smartphone and works with the Square application. At just $29.00, it’s one of the most affordable EMV card readers available. Square also provides a better card readers that reads EMV-enabled cards and supports uses NFC technology to aid contactless payments for example Apple Pay, Android Pay, yet others. The Square contactless readers communicates together with your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth, and charges $49.00.

Square customers may also connect to the Square Dashboard, available on the web or through the Square Dashboard mobile application. This free service features a number of effective features to handle your company, including inventory management, invoicing, and detailed analytical data.

Square&#8217s simple prices structure is among its most engaging features. Every debit or credit card swipe incurs a couple.75% fee. When the transaction needs to be joined by hand, the charge increases to three.5%, plus $.15 per transaction. Money is deposited in to the user&#8217s account within 1-2 working days, unless of course fraud is suspected.

Regrettably, among the disadvantages in using Square is the fact that fraud frequently is suspected, for a price that&#8217s well over the industry average. This frequently leads to sudden, inexplicable account terminations and account holds as high as 180 days. You will find multiple causes of this, only one major factor is the fact that Square accounts are aggregated together, instead of each account getting its very own unique Merchant ID number. In addition, Square&#8217s customer support hasn&#8217t been the very best. Initially missing any type of phone support, Square has progressively improved as a result of user complaints, and today offers both email and make contact with support. Their online understanding base for self-assistance is also excellent.

To make use of Square, you&#8217ll need to setup a totally free Square account, obtain a compatible card readers, and install the Square Readers application. The Square Readers mobile application requires either an apple iphone, iPad or ipod device touch running iOS 8. or greater, or perhaps an Android phone or tablet running Android 4..

PROS:

  • No monthly account charges.
  • Free and occasional-cost card readers available.
  • Free use of effective business management and analytical tools through the web or smartphone application.
  • No lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges.

CONS:

  • No unique Merchant ID number for merchant services.
  • Frequent account holds and account terminations.

To learn more, see our complete review here.

CONCLUSION

Regardless of whether you&#8217re attempting to juggle multiple retail locations or simply selling products online, among the five services we&#8217ve highlighted here ought to be a &#8220best match&#8221 for the business. While each service features its own standout features, all of them offer competitive rates, transparent prices, and a simple, low-cost setup. Square is really a solid contender for really small, low volume companies, while Payline, Helcim, and CDGcommerce be more effective for bigger stores. Should you&#8217re managing a non-profit, Dharma might actually be your very best choice. The point is, many of these services will, generally, supply you with a better, less expensive service than you&#8217re prone to get with the traditional, bank-owned charge card processing companies. You may also compare our top processors (aside from Square) mind-to-mind using our Credit Card Merchant Account Comparison Chart.

The publish The Five Best Small Company Charge Card Processing Companies made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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