Best PayPal Alternatives

PayPal alternatives for merchants

Thanks to its long-standing relationship with eBay, PayPal has become one of the most recognizable names in payments. And with over 165 million users, it’s got consumer trust. You don’t have to be an eBay seller to accept payments through PayPal — you can set up your own online store, open up a brick-and-mortar location, and even take payments on the go.

But should you? There are several advantage to PayPal, including the ease of setup and its accessibility. Unfortunately, it’s also known for placing holds on accounts if it gets even the slightest suspicion that not everything is hunky-dory. And its rates, while competitive among similar services, are not the lowest in the industry.

Are you a small merchant looking to get started quickly? Are you tired of your current processor and looking to switch to one that has fewer hoops to jump through?

Whether this is your first foray into merchant payments or you’re shopping around for PayPal alternatives, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at how PayPal stacks up against some of our other top-rated payment options, including other pay-as-you-go processors and some traditional merchant accounts, and see which one is best for you.

Don’t forget to check out the full reviews for each of these PayPal alternatives. Need help choosing a payments provider? We can help! Contact us here.

PayPal

Paypal-Logo-2015In our 2015 review of PayPal, we gave it 4 stars. We like PayPal. It’s convenient, trusted, and easy to use. However, we have a hard time endorsing PayPal as anyone’s standalone, sole payment option.

Pricing

There are no monthly charges or hidden fees with PayPal — you pay just 2.9% + $0.30 per swipe. Since there are no contracts, there’s no early termination fees. You also don’t pay any PCI compliance fees. If you use the PayPal Here mobile processor, you pay just 2.7% per swipe (excluding keyed/scanned transactions).

You can get volume discounts, too: At $3,000 per month, rates drop to 2.5% + $0.30; at $10,000 it falls to 2.2% + $0.30. If you process more than $100,000, you get to call 1-855-787-1012 and ask for special pricing.

If you need features beyond credit card processing (such as a virtual terminal to accept mail and fax orders), you can upgrade to a Pro account for $30 a month. However, those orders will process for a higher (and undisclosed) fee.

We like this setup — a lot. However, the flat fee still isn’t as transparent as an interchange-plus setup, nor as low.

Without a doubt, one of the most attractive features of PayPal is how quickly you have access to your money — it’s almost instantaneous. And if you have the PayPal debit card, you can spend that money anywhere you can swipe a card.

Customer Support: Fair

When it comes to any sort of payment processing, you need to know that there’s someone standing by who can help you when trouble arises. PayPal’s customer service can be spotty, but overall, we’d rate it fair.

The problem is in PayPal’s phone support. Sometimes your representative is competent, sometimes…not so much. The good news is that in a lot of cases, PayPal’s other resources, including its Quick Questions, Community Help Forum, and @AskPayPal Twitter account, can get you the answers you need, so you may not ever need to pick up the phone.

Reliability: Fair

PayPal lets just about anyone open up a merchant account and get approval very quickly. That makes it great for new businesses. It’s also a great solution when you don’t have the sort of volume that merits a traditional account. However, this “we welcome anyone” approach results in greater risk, and therefore a very active risk department dedicated to finding and stomping out fraud.

Paypal’s tendency to put holds on accounts or even terminate them isn’t as bad as some of the other pay-as-you-go processors (we’re looking at you, Stripe and Square), but it’s enough to earn just a “Fair” rating in the reliability department.

That said, PayPal is a spectacular backup, especially if you want to take payments on the go and your merchant account’s offering is a bit lacking. No monthly fees mean you aren’t losing money on a service you only use sporadically.

Integration & Implementation Options

With the basic PayPal account, you get your standard payment buttons and a variety of shopping cart integrations, including an in-house solution. However, your site will redirect your visitors to PayPal to complete the transaction. You can upgrade to the Pro account to get a hosted payment page on your own site along with PayPal’s virtual terminal for orders by mail, fax, and phone.

PayPal also offers one-touch checkout for in-app and web purchases.

We like that you can set up secondary accounts and set permissions. PayPal also equips you for recurring billing and handles customer information storage for you.

There’s also a substantial list of partners and integrations for you to choose from. You can check out the full list of PayPal partners here.

Other Features

We’ve already mentioned PayPal’s mobile reader, PayPal Here. You pay just 2.7% per swipe (or 3.5% for keyed-in transactions). The reader is free if you order it from PayPal; you can also buy it at a store and PayPal will reimburse you. We’re still waiting on details about PayPal’s EMV reader, but we’ll keep you updated before the big liability shift on October 1, 2015. We do know it’ll accept chip-and-pin cards as well as contactless payments (such as Apple Pay and Android Pay).

You can send invoices from PayPal — and you don’t pay until you get paid. Invoices run you 2.9% + $0.30. You can even send invoices from within the mobile app.

PayPal also offers special nonprofit pricing, at 2.2% + $0.30 per swipe and no monthly fee.

Payline Data

payline-data-logoPayline Data earned a perfect 5-star rating from us for its fair pricing on merchant accounts, and great  customer service — but on top of all that, we love its commitment to charitable giving. Payline donates 10% of its profits from your account to a nonprofit partner of your choosing.

Pricing

Payline Data uses an interchange-plus format on top of monthly fees. For small-volume processors, there’s the Simple plan; for higher volumes, the Pro plan.

Simple (Under $5,000 per month)

  • $5 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.50%
  • $0.10 per transaction

Pro (Over $5,000 per month)

  • $20 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.20%
  • $0.10 per transaction

The nice thing is, the $5,000 mark is the break-even point for both plans, so you’d pay exactly the same. If you come in under that $5k mark more often than not, go with the simple plan. If you go beyond the $5k regularly, go with the Pro plan.

We like that Payline makes your funds accessible within 24 hours. Next-day funding is the fastest you’re going to get apart from PayPal, so you really can’t do better if you need a merchant account.

Customer Support: Excellent

You can reach the Payline team by phone and email, but there’s also a substantial knowledge base if you’re more prone to solving the problem yourself. Overall, the team has really great reviews, as befitting a 5-star processor.

Reliability: Excellent

The complaints against Payline Data are virtually nonexistent, which is great to see. We have full confidence in the company’s ability to handle your business fairly, with minimal risk for a potential hold or freeze. (We hope you understand, no processor is immune to risk — and no merchant immune to a hold. However, traditional merchant accounts are less susceptible to risk than pay-as-you-go providers.)

Integration & Implementation Options

Payline makes it very easy for you to set up recurring billing for your clients. We also really like Payline Shop Professional ($79/month), which includes your merchant account, as well as a shopping cart, gateway, web hosting, a domain name and SSL security. As far as comprehensive eCommerce solutions go, this is spot-on. Comparable services through shopping carts will run you the same, or higher, and may not include everything that Payline does.

On its own, the Payline gateway is $10 per month. It supports a customer information vault as well as invoicing. There’s a virtual terminal, too. The virtual terminal allows you to use a USB swiper, although no USB chip card reader is currently available.

In addition, you’ll find payment buttons, tools for recurring billing, customer info storage, and fairly good support for third-party shopping cards as well as Payline’s in-house option. The one thing that’s lacking is a hosted payment page.

Other Features

If you need mobile processing, Payline again has two solutions. If you process less than $5,000 per month on the app, you get a Flint account. Flint uses your device’s camera to scan credit cards rather than swiping — there’s no reader required. Debit rates are just 1.95%; credit cards 2.95%. Above that $5k threshold, you should use the ROAMpay X Mobile app with Payline, which will support EMV when the switchover happens in October.

For retail shops, there’s an iPad POS through Vantiv Mobile Checkout as well, and that will run you $69 per month. You can accept Apple Pay transactions in store with a future-proof terminal (supporting EMV and NFC) and also integrate Apple Pay for in-app payments.

Payline stands out from the rest of the options in this list in part because it also offers high-risk processing. Merchants who operate in an industry that’s deemed high risk (such as antiques, how-to programs, and even selling on eBay), typically make merchant account providers — and pay-as-you-go solutions — skittish. A high-risk account means you pay more, but you’re far less likely to encounter those dreaded holds and freezes…or worse, an account termination.

In addition to allowing merchants to donate to a charitable partner, nonprofit organizations can set up accounts with Payline and get discounted rates. There’s also a Payline Commercial Co-Venture program: In essence, you refer clients to Payline, Payline will create a solution for them, and you get recurring donations to your organization.

CDGCommerce

cdgcommerce-logoWe like CDGCommerce, a traditional merchant account provider, quite a lot — enough to give it a perfect 5-star rating. However, the service is only available in the U.S., for merchants who sell primarily in the U.S.

Pricing

Head to the CDG site and you’ll find an advertised rate of 1.7% + $0.25 for payment processing (1.95% + $0.30 for online processing). However, if you visit the site through this link, you’ll also find a special rate offer for our readers: interchange plus 0.30% + $0.15. There’s no monthly minimum processing, and no ETF. (If you do ever want to cancel, you’ll have to follow the steps to provide proper notice of cancellation).

Beyond that, the only other fee you must pay is the $10 statement fee. There’s no PCI compliance, and the CDGcommerce gateway is free to use.  You can get volume discounts, but they’re not advertised. You’ll have to negotiate with CDG directly if you think you qualify.

Merchants will typically have funds deposited in their account within two days. That’s not as fast as PayPal, and slower than some other merchant account providers, as well.

Customer Support: Excellent

On top of the spectacular rates, CDGcommerce excels in the customer service department. You can get live chat, email, and phone support 24/7. The volume of BBB complaints against CDG is incredibly low, but what really sets this company apart is the fact that the CEO has actually responded to user complaints found on the Internet. The level of dedication to customers is outstanding.

Reliability: Excellent

As we’ve said, complaints against CDG are incredibly low. Every processor will occasionally face a situation where it must put a hold on a company’s account. However, everything we’ve seen indicates that CDG is careful to minimize these instances.

Integration & Implementation Options

CDG offers its customers a USB-based card reader. That means you don’t need a traditional credit card terminal, which is actually quite convenient. The USB readers do not support EMV, but we were told that the upgrade, when available, will be optional. (Go here to learn about EMV and your liability for processing cards when the new rules take effect October 1, 2015.)

And while we have repeatedly and vocally spoken out against terminal leases, here we have probably the best rental terms you can get: just pay $79 annually for insurance and return the device when you no longer need it. The terminal is EMV-ready and compatible with NFC payments, so unless you have a really good reason for sticking with USB, you should consider upgrading.

You can also have the company reprogram your existing terminals…for free.

CDGcommerce offers extensive reporting options, which we like to see. There’s also an optional  security service for $15 monthly, which includes $100,000 of data breach insurance —  a worthwhile investment.

With this provider you also get a virtual terminal to use with the Quantum gateway. There’s no payment buttons or in-house shopping cart. What’s interesting is that Quantum has a feature that lets it emulate an Authorize.net gateway, which ultimately increases your options for third-party shopping carts.

Other Features

For mobile processing, you get a free reader, which runs on CDG’s ProcessNow mobile app (available for Apple devices running iOS 7.0 and higher and Android devices running OS 4.0 and higher). Swipe rates for mobile are 1.70% + $0.25 per transaction (2.9% + $0.30 for keyed and other nonqualified transactions).

There’s no nonprofit pricing here. If you want to accept Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods, you’ll need the future-proof terminal.

We like that CDGcommerce helps merchant reduce the headaches that  come with dealing with chargebacks thanks to its Chargeback Defender, which lets you know about chargebacks pending — even before the fees are debited from your account. The platform also helps you rebut it and has a built-in tool to detect previously issued refunds, so that the funds aren’t deducted twice. It’s not something we see so openly advertised, and it’s a very useful tool.

PayJunction

PayJunction-logo-squarePayJunction is a 5-star processor for its customer service and reliability, but we also really like that it makes it easy for merchants to go paperless. It’s not just environmentally friendly; it’s easier for merchants to securely manage their records.

Pricing

We really like that PayJunction is another month-to-month service provider with interchange plus. There’s no ETF, no PCI compliance fees, and no charges for the gateway. However, if you process under $10,000 monthly, you can expect a $35 monthly fee. The gateway also includes check (ACH) processing at 0.75%.

For new processors, PayJunction offers interchange plus 0.75% — but established merchants may be able to get lower rates, as the company offers match or beat your existing rates. This isn’t uncommon in the industry, but most processors don’t meet our high standards for quality of service, too.

Admittedly, the 0.75% markup is high — but there’s no per-transaction fee, which could be a major benefit to small-ticket merchants.

Something else we definitely like: next-day deposits.

Customer Support: Excellent

You don’t get to be a 5-star processor without great service. PayJunction’s support options include its knowledge base, phone, and email. Something we haven’t seen here before is the option for remote support. Basically, it means that someone at PayJunction will remotely access your computer to either walk you through a process and show you what to do, or handle it for you. It’s actually a really useful tool.

Reliability: Excellent

Complaints about PayJunction are few and far between — and the ones you will find have been thoroughly addressed by a company representative. We like that. We can’t say that you won’t ever have an issue with PayJunction, but if you do, you can expect it to be handled quickly, fairly, and in-house.

Integration & Implementation Options

Among the many features available, PayJunction provides a hosted shopping cart for free, and it has good third-party integrations as well. We’ve already mentioned the free payment gateway/virtual terminal. You can also expect features for recurring billing info storage. Combined with the paperless feature and you really do have everything you need in a single browser-based interface. All that’s missing are payment buttons and a hosted payment page.

Other Features

A couple of noteworthy additional features: PayJunction’s customer management system, which serves as a directory for your clients and their information. It also lets you create groups of clients and account numbers.

PayJunction will also set you up with digital signature collection — by providing a signature capture device, the company really does allow you to go paperless. No reason to bother with signed receipts, ever again. For eCommerce and other card-not-present transactions, there’s email signature capture, where customers sign using their computer cursors.

PayJunction also lets merchants create teams and set permissions, which is always a handy feature to have.

If you need mobile processing, you can opt for PayJunction’s partner company, iPay. You’ll have to set up your gateway, and the app is only available for iOS devices — but it’s better than nothing. The mobile reader doesn’t support EMV.

You can get free equipment if you provide two months of billing statements — so in other words, this offer applies only to established merchants.

For EMV, you’ll need a traditional credit card terminal, but PayJunction stresses that for low-risk merchants, this upgrade is optional. The site actually has a very detailed explanation of EMV and how it affects merchants, which you can find here.

There’s no additional nonprofit pricing, but there is a feature you can set up on your site to accept donations.

Braintree

Braintree-payments-logoBraintree is actually a wholly owned subsidy of PayPal, picked up in 2013. For that reason, you’ll see a couple of similarities, as well as some noteworthy differences. While PayPal hovers at a 4-star rating, we wholeheartedly endorse Braintree with a perfect 5-star rating. This is another option that’s very developer-friendly, with a comprehensive suite of tools that make it easy to get started.

Pricing

This should come as no surprise (it’s a PayPal company), but Braintree’s fees are just 2.9% + $0.30. There are no fees, no contracts, nothing. If you process over $80K per month, you will likely qualify for a discounted rate. While not advertised, Braintree also offers interchange-plus pricing for some high-volume merchants.

Interesting to note, Braintree has an offer of $50k in free payment processing. There’s no contract, no deadlines, no monthly minimums. Seriously. Learn more here.

It bears mentioning that Braintree deposits take 2-4 business days (2 days for most cards; 4 days for American Express). That’s a bit longer than most of the other options here..

Customer Support: Great

Whereas PayPal’s customer service can be spotty, especially over the phone, Braintree has an outstanding reputation. The low volume of complaints against Braintree is astounding considering its size and its parent company. There’s a good knowledge base, but also solid phone support — and even a 24/7 emergency line. However, you won’t get as much personalized attention as the merchant account providers in this list.

Reliability: Excellent

The number of incidents we found of Braintree freezing accounts was exactly zero. The company also has a list of noteworthy clients and some pretty amazing customer case studies.

Integration & Implementation Options

Braintree offers an impressive array of features at no extra cost, including a marketplace solution, and a simple checkout option (PayPal actually built its One Touch feature on Braintree’s original offering).

Something else we really like is the fact that you can take your customer data with you if you ever decide to leave Braintree, which means your recurring billing won’t be interrupted.

What you won’t find are a virtual terminal, an in-house shopping cart, a hosted payment page, or payment buttons. However, Braintree does offer an impressive list of integrations for a variety of services, including shopping carts.

Other Features

Braintree’s v.zero SDK (software development kit) has Bitcoin and Apple Pay integration, both of which we like. You can also incorporate native in-app payments as well as a “check out with PayPal” option. However, Braintree doesn’t offer nonprofit pricing right now.

You’ll also have to look elsewhere for mobile processing — if you’d like to keep all the transactions in a single account, Inner Fence is your best option. Just provide a code to Inner Fence to link it with your Braintree account.

We gave Inner Fence 3.5 stars on our last review, mostly because we felt it under-delivered in some areas while over-delivering in others, creating an interesting dichotomy, to say the least. We also took issue with the pricing model. In addition to the fees you pay to Braintree, Inner Fence charges you a percentage of each transaction plus a monthly fee. A “Professional” account will run you $79 a month with a 0.9% transaction fee. That includes support for up to 10 terminals…but you get only one free card reader. With Braintree’s free $50k in processing we can almost say the cost might be worth it for low-volume merchants, but not really.

If you’re willing to forgo the convenience of all your funds going to the same account for the sake of better rates, here’s a great opportunity to try Braintree’s parent company offering, PayPal Here — or our top-rated mobile processor, Flint.

Stripe

Stripe-logoWe had high hopes for Stripe in our 2015 review update. However, what we found was enough to downgrade Stripe’s rating to 3.5 stars, so please bear that in mind. Whereas PayPal is a good option for anyone, Stripe is particularly suited to developers, with easy implementation for all sorts of eCommerce and Internet operations.

Pricing

Stripe’s pricing is on par with PayPal, at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. There’s no monthly fees, there’s no ETF, no PCI compliance. The suite of tools Stripe offers — at no additional charge — is actually a huge value, especially for low-volume merchants.

You can get volume discounts (undisclosed rates) but to do so you need to process at least $80,000 per month.

As far as payment schedules are concerned, Stripe takes two days to deposit your funds in your account for US-based merchants. Canadian and Australian merchants have to wait four to seven days, and all other countries will be on a seven-day delay. Still, this is a major improvement over Stripe’s former deposit schedule, which was seven days across the board.

Customer Support: Poor

One of the sources of Stripe’s review score was its poor customer support. There were numerous complaints on our site and elsewhere from customers about their awful experiences. Stripe doesn’t offer any sort of phone support, just a knowledge base and a Freenode-based chat support (#Stripe).

Reliability: Poor

The other reason we downgraded Stripe’s rating was the reliability factor. The number of complaints about held funds (something we admit is common with this type of payment processor) rose dramatically. Access to your money is critical to a business, and nothing to mess around with.

Integration & Implementation Options

Stripe’s poor support is such a letdown because of how many other great features it offers — which we’ve said before are actually a solid value for the cost. Stripe gives you a hosted payment page through Stripe Checkout, as well as payment buttons, in-app payments, the ability to set teams and permissions, and even marketplace solutions. Checkout, as far as industry offerings go, is actually one of the best payment flow options out there.

There’s no virtual terminal, in-house shopping cart or payment buttons, but the third-party shopping cart integrations are great. Get the full list of integrations here.

Other Features

Stripe supports in-app Apple Pay integration, as well as BitCoin, both of which we like. There’s no nonprofit pricing right now, and no mobile processing.

If you want mobile processing, however, you’ll have to look at Inner Fence, and link your Stripe account. If you want to incorporate mobile payments and don’t want to deal with Inner Fence, allow us to point you at Flint, our 5-star rated option for mobile. You can also consider some of our other mobile options.

Quick Comparison

Paypal PaylineData CDGCommerce PayJunction Braintree Stripe
Monthly Fee $0 $20 $10 $0 $0 $0
Pricing 2.9% + $0.30 0.20% + $0.10 + interchange 0.30% + $0.15 + interchange 0.75% + interchange 2.9% + $0.30 2.9% + $0.30
Customer Service Fair Excellent Excellent Excellent Great Poor
Reliability Fair Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Poor
Gateway Payflow Payline Data Quantum PayJunction Braintree Stripe
Features
Virtual Terminal X X X X
Included Shopping Cart X X X
Hosted Payment Pages X X X X
Payment Buttons X X
Recurring Billing X X X X X X
Info Storage X X X X X X
Shopping Cart Compatibility Excellent Good Good Good Excellent Excellent
Availability
US X X X X X X
Canada X X X X
Mexico X X X
UK X X X
Europe X X X
Other X X X

Want More PayPal Alternatives?

PayPal has such great recognition and a solid suite of tools for newbie merchants that in some cases, it seems the obvious choice. However, if you’re like most merchants, you will eventually reach a point where you experience some major growing pains — or you might encounter the dreaded account hold. At that point, it’s time to start looking for a provider that can deliver what you want, and more importantly, what you need.

The list of PayPal alternatives doesn’t end with those mentioned in this blog post, of course. Even if they aren’t direct PayPal competitors, there are plenty of merchant account providers to choose from when your business is ready to graduate from a third-party payment processor like PayPal. Check out this handy chart of top-rated merchant account providers. Don’t forget to also look at our mobile processing options!

Need help deciding? Want to get the lowest rates? Contact us and we’ll help you sort out your options!

The post Best PayPal Alternatives appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Everything You Need to Know About Alternative Payment Methods

Alternative Payment MethodsBeing able to accept credit and debit cards is the lifeblood of any business. For brick-and-mortar locations, it’s worth knowing this: About half of all Americans carry just $20 in cash with them on a daily basis, and about 80% of Americans carry less than $50 daily. This means if you don’t accept credit cards, you could be missing out on sales.

If you sell online, you have to have a way to accept credit and debit cards, period. And it’s crucial that you have a professional system that shoppers will trust with their payment details. For most people that means a merchant account with an established payment gateway.

But are cards and cash — and all the traditional ways of doing business — the only options?

Of course not. There’s no shortage of companies devoted to changing the way we think about paying for things. New technology is bringing concepts like using phones to make payments into the mainstream. Having multiple ways for customers to pay is a good thing, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of convenience to you — or higher fees!

Let’s take a look at some alternative payment methods that you can integrate into your business now, what it’ll take to do so, how secure they are, and how popular they are.

1. Apple Pay

apple-pay-logoApple Pay was not the first company to offer contactless mobile payments, but it was the first to make them popular. Apple Pay uses NFC (learn more about this technology here) and the TouchID fingerprint reader to enable contactless in-store payments, as well as in-app purchases. With iOS 9, it also supports loyalty cards and rewards programs.

Compatible devices:

  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and later models
  • Apple Watch (with iPhone 5 and later models)
  • iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3

Apple claims to support credit and debit cards from most major banks in the U.S. and the U.K. (A press release from Apple says that with support for Discover added this fall, the app supports 98% of credit card purchase volume.) That’s good news. The launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is also good, because it means consumers with older iPhones will likely start upgrading their older devices, expanding the potential user base.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t actually publish usage statistics. A survey done in June 2015 found that 13 percent of users with an Apple Pay-capable phone had used the feature; another 11 percent had plans to do so. We know that Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year (the first quarter Apple Pay was available) — but not all of those were necessarily the 6 or 6 Plus. Still, it’s safe to say there are likely several million Apple Pay users across the country, even if some studies suggest that Apple Pay adoption rates are decreasing.

You’re still going to have to have a way to process credit cards to accept Apple Pay, so you’ll need a merchant account, a functioning POS, and an NFC-enabled terminal. The good news is Apple doesn’t charge any fees for Apple Pay transactions, so you only pay the standard credit and debit card processing fees.

Mobile payments like this have several measures for security. First, merchants never actually handle buyers’ credit card numbers. Instead, Apple Pay generates a single-use code (this is called tokenization). Even if a hacker gets the information, it’s useless because the number is good for one time only. Second, when consumers tap their phones to the terminal, they have to confirm the purchase with the TouchID fingerprint sensor.

Finally, the phone itself provides some security. The card numbers aren’t stored on the device — they’re kept in the cloud and the device can be locked remotely if it’s ever stolen. The CPU never handles the processing of the NFC transaction, either. A secure element or a separate chip bypass the rest of the system to communicate directly with the NFC-capable unit.

2. Samsung Pay

samsung-pay-logo-2015Samsung Pay is (you guessed it!) the Korean company’s response to Apply Pay. It is also an NFC-powered contactless payments app. It works on a handful of Samsung Galaxy devices:

  • Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and later models.
  • Galaxy Note 5 and later models.

Samsung Pay just launched in September of 2015, which means it’s quite new. We’ll update you with usage numbers when we have something reliable and representative to report. But we do know that Samsung had sold an estimated 45 million Galaxy S6 phones (including the Edge and Edge+ variants), plus the Note 5 (for which sales numbers aren’t available right now). The potential user base is very large, but we’ll see how it pans out.

At this point it’s worth noting that the app requires consumers to be on one of five networks (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular) and have a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express card issued by Bank of America, U.S. Bank, or Citi. The app also accepts merchant credit cards issued by Synchrony Financial. You still earn any rewards or points linked to those cards, but specific loyalty cards and coupons aren’t supported. There’s no in-app payments feature either, though Samsung hasn’t ruled it out.

Again, you need an established way to process credit cards and a compatible POS, and you won’t pay any additional fees for Samsung Pay transactions. But your existing credit card terminal might already accept this particular type of payment. That’s because Samsung Pay uses both NFC and something called magnetic secure transmission (MST). Basically, it allows the phone to emulate a traditional card with a magnetic stripe. That means you don’t need an NFC-capable terminal — but if you don’t have NFC, you can’t accept Apple Pay or Android Pay (next on this list), which limits your options.

Most EMV terminals are also equipped for NFC, so the machine you just got as a result of the liability shift most likely supports these contactless payments. But if your terminal isn’t EMV capable, that’s another issue entirely.

Samsung Pay relies on a fingerprint scanner as well. Users need to launch the app, swipe their fingerprint, and then pass their devices close to the terminal. That’s not quite as intuitive as Apple Pay from a user-friendliness standpoint, but apps evolve and change. At this point it’s just too early to say anything definitively.

3. Android Pay / Google Wallet

android-pay-logoAndroid Pay, like Samsung Pay, is very new, launching in September 2015. At the same time, it’s much older than that: Android Pay is the successor to Google Wallet, Google’s contactless payment solution/mobile wallet, which launched in 2011.

Android Pay works on any Android smartphone (Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola, just to name a few) running the KitKat OS (Android 4.4) or higher. It’s NFC-powered, with support for debit and credit cards as well as loyalty/rewards programs. An in-app payments feature is set to launch later.

These days, Google Wallet has become a P2P payments app — an easy way to send money to friends and family for free.

The wallet supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards from a handful of banks, including Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Citi, PNC, Wells Fargo, and USAA (check out the full list here; more banks will be added as time goes on).

By now, you should have a good idea of what to expect as a merchant: You need a way to process credit cards, a compatible POS, and of course, an NFC-capable terminal. Payments are kept secure with tokenization. Users also need to enable the lock screens on their phones — which can then be unlocked using fingerprint readers, PINs, swipe patterns, and more.

4. LevelUp

LevelUp-logoThe alternative mobile payments technique to NFC is the QR code. QR codes work a lot like traditional barcodes, but they can hold a lot more information — like payment data. The biggest difference is that instead of an NFC-enabled terminal, you need a barcode reader.

LevelUp is the leader in QR code-based mobile payments with its app, but it also builds custom white-label apps for businesses. In addition to the QR codes, LevelUp works with NFC and iBeacon. The LevelUp app works for both iOS and Android. In addition to phone-based payments, LevelUp also supports loyalty programs. You can even link any loyalty programs you have set up through Apple Pay into LevelUp (there’s also support for one-touch signups using TouchID).

Despite having been around for a while (it launched in 2011), LevelUp is admittedly a small player. It has some 14,000 partner businesses, including some major names. The app has over 100,000 downloads in Google Play, which isn’t much compared to a lot of other apps. But the company does have white-label solutions, so it’s difficult to accurately gauge numbers.

LevelUp is a little bit vague on pricing, but if you dig around, you’ll find that payments are processed for a flat 2% fee. That’s good, considering Square charges 2.75% and PayPal 2.7% per swipe. It’s not necessarily as low as you’ll get with merchant accounts, but rates vary a lot based on the type of business you run and what kind of cards you process. A flat 2% should be convenient for most people. LevelUp will also charge a 25% cut of any incentives you offer through its campaigns feature.

To accept payments, you need a compatible POS and LevelUp’s proprietary scanner ($50 each). If your POS isn’t compatible, you can get the LevelUp tablet for $100 according to the pricing page on the website.

As far as security goes, LevelUp offers PCI compliance and encryption, as well as tokenization. In fact, LevelUp uses a triple token system: the token your phone generates goes to a token on the LevelUp servers, which in turn routes to a token on the Braintree servers, which is the payments service LevelUp uses to store credit card data.

5. CurrentC

CurrentCCurrentC_App is another QR code-based payments method. It’s developed by the Consumer Merchant Exchange, led by Walmart and some other heavy-hitters in the retail business. Unlike LevelUp, users can pay using either their bank accounts, store cards, or gift cards. For merchants, that means significantly lower fees. (It’s not well advertised, but you can also add merchant credit and debit cards.) CurrentC also links up with loyalty cards and lets you redeem coupons and discounts in the app.

CurrentC is still in test mode, but the website promises it’ll be ready to roll out across the country soon. One advantage for CurrentC is that it’s widely available for consumers — whereas Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are only available for the most recent smartphone models, and Android Pay requires a recent version of Android (which not all smartphones get), CurrentC should be available for download even on budget smartphones.

In terms of user experience, CurrentC is a bit clunky. Depending on the location, users have to scan a QR code generated by the register, or the cashier has to scan one generated by the user’s phone. If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have to enter a code. With some retailers, you can use Bluetooth Beacons instead of QR codes.

As far as security goes, CurrentC requires you to put in a PIN every time you open the app or switch between apps. You can also lock the device remotely if it ever goes missing. Like the other services we’ve discussed here, the app uses tokenization — it generates a random one-time use transaction ID and doesn’t pass personal data onto the merchants.

CurrentC is odd in that it also collects some personal health information — it’s disclosed in the privacy policy, which you can read here. While it seems fairly innocuous, I highly recommend that you understand what data is collected and how it’s used.

As far as requirements to accept CurrentC go, you’re really just going to need a POS and barcode scanner capable of reading QR codes. CurrentC also has a way to allow gas stations to accept payments at the pump by inputting a code. Restaurants can use the app too, with a feature that enables consumers to leave a tip.

I’m hoping when CurrentC gets a broader release that the MCX will be a bit more forthcoming about information. There’s no disclosure of processing fees, for example. The support website, which is hidden from the main site, has much more information about how the app works, which I find a bit frustrating because it took some digging to uncover it.

6. PayPal

Paypal-Logo-2015As a retailer, accepting PayPal has a huge advantage for you. It’s widely recognized by consumers, so they feel secure paying with it. In fact, PayPal has more than 170 million users worldwide, and it’s the payment method of choice on eBay. PayPal lets users link credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts to make their payments. There’s also a free P2P payments tool, so consumers can send money to friends and family for free.

Merchants can use PayPal to accept payments on a website and through a smartphone or tablet when they’re on the go or in stores.

For retailers, PayPal doesn’t offer a full POS in its own right — it has a decent set of features, but if you need more capabilities, you can always turn to one of PayPal’s partner POS systems, which you can learn more about here. You can build a register out of a tablet, a cash drawer, and a receipt printer, if you want one. You’ll pay just 2.7% per swipe.

For online retail, PayPal integrates with a lot of shopping carts. For most online transactions, the company charges 2.9% + $0.30. That’s higher than you’ll pay with a solid deal from a merchant account provider in most circumstances, but it comes with a super easy setup. (Just beware that you’re at a higher risk of potential holds or freezes on your account given the nature of PayPal’s business — no contracts, available to everyone, pay as you go.

You can also build a “Pay with PayPal” feature into apps, with PayPal’s One Touch Feature included so that users don’t have to re-enter their usernames and passwords, which adds to the convenience of using PayPal.

However, if you want a hosted payment page, you’re going to have to shell out $30 a month for the PayPal Payments Pro plan. You’ll also get a virtual terminal for that cost. If you have the standard PayPal plan (which has no monthly fees), your customers will be directed to the PayPal page to complete the payment, then back to your site.

If you’re using PayPal Here, the company’s mobile solution, you should know that PayPal does offer an EMV reader that also supports NFC payments. It’s $150, but you can get $100 in rebates when you process $3,000 in 3 months. That’s not the best deal — Square is able to offer an EMV capable reader for $30, or an EMV/NFC-capable reader for $49, with a rebate available for select retailers. Even if you don’t qualify for Square’s rebates, Square’s EMV/NFC reader at full price is the same as PayPal’s reader when it’s discounted.

Like PayPal, Square lets merchants accept credit card payments on the go and in stores. You can also accept Square online, provided you use either the Square marketplace or build a site using one of Square’s 2 (yup, that’s right, 2) partners. Square’s rates are comparable to PayPal — just a flat 2.75%, no per-transaction fees.

7. Pay with Amazon

Pay with AmazonLike PayPal, Pay with Amazon (also known as the bulkier “Login and Pay with Amazon”) lets users pay on your site using their login credentials for another site — in this case, Amazon. They can use whatever payment methods they have stored on their Amazon accounts.

While PayPal is universally known, Pay with Amazon seems to be less common — but that doesn’t mean you should discount it. Amazon had 244 million active users in 2014. That’s roughly 70 million MORE users than PayPal. You won’t be limiting your audience if you choose Pay with Amazon over PayPal.

Pay with Amazon charges you 2.9% + $0.30 per online transaction. That’s identical to PayPal’s rates for online transactions. You can even do recurring billing for subscription packages. Plus, Pay with Amazon is entirely pay-as-you-go: no contract, no early termination fee, no monthly fees.

However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s no mobile support, so if you also sell in person, either at events or in a store, you’re going to have to look elsewhere for a solution. To accept Login and Pay with Amazon, you just need a compatible shopping cart. Fortunately, you have several great options: You can choose from Xcart, Magento, and Shopify, among others. Check out the full list here.

There are some other advantages here. First, Amazon offers a growth guarantee: If you sign up for the service, and you don’t see an increase in sales over the course of 30 days, the company will refund your processing fees up to $100,000. That’s a nice option if you’re really not sure about switching.

Plus, the Login and Pay with Amazon feature gives you a hosted payment page for free. More good news: You get the same fraud protection used by the Amazon.com site, so you’re not liable for any fraud-related chargebacks. (However, that’s not to say you’re protected against everything; you can still expect a $20 fee for any service-related chargebacks.)

One downside is the time it takes to get your money, which has been a pain point for a long time for sellers on the Amazon marketplace. First, there’s an initial 2-week holding period. After that, Amazon will settle your account daily — but it still takes 3-5 days to transfer funds from your account to your bank. With PayPal, your money is available pretty much immediately…and if you have the PayPal debit card, you can spend it anywhere at any time, not just online.

8. Bitcoin

bitcoinOut of all the alternative payments here, Bitcoin is most definitely the most “alternative” option. Unlike cash or credit, Bitcoins don’t have any physical form. No coins, no paper money. Bitcoin exists solely on the web. Unlike other currencies,which are centralized and controlled by governments, it is entirely self regulated. A network of computers handles the processing and records the transactions in a public register (more on that in a moment).

There’s a lot of info available about what Bitcoin is and how it works. You can start here to learn more. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know to accept Bitcoin.

First, not accepting Bitcoin certainly won’t cost you any business. The estimated userbase is 5-10 million people worldwide, with an estimated 110,000 daily Bitcoin transactions as of June 2015 (nearly double the approximate 60,600 daily transactions in June of 2014). However, if your target demographic is young and hip to the digital scene, that’s certainly a reason for you to consider accepting Bitcoin.

One nice advantage to accepting Bitcoin is that generally speaking, the fees are incredibly low, especially compared to PayPal or credit card processing rates. Some processors can even take Bitcoin and convert it into US dollars and deposit it in your bank account. However, the fees also vary, and the value of Bitcoin fluctuates. From October 2014 to October 2015, the value of 1 Bitcoin has hit as low as $177.28 USD and spiked as high as $427.24.

Security works much differently with Bitcoin, too. Every transaction is kept as part of a public ledger, but the users’ personal details are anonymous, which makes it harder to steal someone’s identity. No PCI compliance is required. There’s no opportunity for chargebacks, but at the same time merchants can’t alter charges, either. And you can encrypt and secure your Bitcoin wallet in other ways as well.

To accept Bitcoin, you just need to find a processor. Good news is, there are a lot of them. Even PayPal has a way to accept Bitcoin, through the PayPal Payments Hub. Braintree, a PayPal-owned company, also accepts Bitcoin via a partnership with Coinbase.

9. E-Check/ACH

Cash, debit, and credit are the most popular kids on the block when it comes to payments. Checks lag far behind other options — an April 2014 report by the Fed found that just 3% of people prefer to pay primarily with check, compared to 43% of people who favor debit cards.

That’s not to say checks are totally irrelevant. Some people don’t have debit cards. Or sometimes your debit card gets cancelled and you’re stuck waiting for the new one to arrive, but you need to make a purchase. And you can (sort of) use checks to pay online, thanks to e-checks. Those type of transactions are also called ACH transactions because they’re routed through the Automated Clearing House, which is an electronic network of banks that also handles direct deposit and electronic bill payments. You don’t have an explicit check number with e-checks, but you still have to provide your routing and account numbers, much like the old-fashioned bit of paper.

The numbers on the popularity of ACH are a bit sketchy. In 2014, the ACH handled more than 23 billion electronic payments totaling more than $40 trillion. The problem with that number is that it includes all those direct deposits and bill payments — mortgages and utilities, especially. It’s not a completely accurate depiction of the eCommerce scene.

One of the big advantages to this payment method is how much more affordable it is compared to standard credit card processing rates. ACH fees, depending on who processes them, might be a percentage of 0.5% or 1%, or a flat fee, which is typically in the range of $0.25 to $0.75. That’s not bad at all, especially if you get the flat fee. Assuming a 1.85% rate on credit card processing fees for a $250 transaction, that’s $4.63 in fees compared to a maximum of $2.50 with a 1% rate for ACH.

There are a lot of ways to accept ACH. For one, both Amazon and PayPal allow customers to link and pay with their bank accounts, though you, as the merchant, will end up paying the standard 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (for a $250 transaction, that means $7.55).

If you have a virtual terminal, you should be able to enable this feature, but fees will vary based on your provider. Some of the services that we’ve reviewed that support ACH/e-checks include:

  • PayJunction
  • PaySimple
  • Forte Payment Systems

Another merchant account provider that supports e-checks is PayStand. We haven’t reviewed PayStand in depth (partly because it just launched publicly in 2014), but right off the bat we’re impressed by the level of transparency on the site and the depth of information available. We’re less impressed by the claim that its credit card rates — 2.49% + $0.30 — are wholesale, especially given the additional $99 monthly fee for the basic plan. However, PayStand also gives you very low-cost ACH transactions and free Bitcoin processing, as well as mobile processing. The service is promising and some merchants are sure to find value in Paystand’s offerings.

You also don’t need to sell exclusively online to accept ACH. If you have a retail setup, you can get a scanner to convert checks into e-checks. That means transactions will be a bit easier — there’s no forwarding checks to banks and waiting to find out if they clear.

ACH is definitely a great backup option to have, but probably not the best choice for a sole payment option. There are a couple of reasons not everyone will want to use ACH payments:

  • One, ACH takes a bit longer to process than debit or credit. So it takes longer for you to get your money and consumers have to wait longer for the transaction to process.
  • Two, it’s not the most secure for consumers, because they have to provide both their account numbers and routing numbers. While the rate of fraudulent transactions is low — just 3 of every 10,000 ACH transactions are rejected for being unauthorized — online payments are the least secure form of ACH transfers (compared with direct deposits, P2P transfers, and online bill pay).

And frankly it’s easier for a lot of people to plug in a card number and a 3-digit security code than it is to root around for your checkbook to get the account and routing numbers.

10. Dwolla

dwolla-accepted-here-logoDwolla is technically a third-party ACH service, but it’s a standout in the field for a few reasons. One, Dwolla’s basic features are entirely free to use. That means ACH payments, recurring payments, and the ability to distribute large numbers of payments (e.g., employee paychecks). And there’s an option of sending money to family or friends, as well, so there’s definitely a consumer base.

Two, with the tiered service plans (starting at $25/month and going up to $1500/month) you get a range of extra features that make Dwolla even more attractive. That includes next-day transfers (a big plus) and the option for white-label payments. That means, basically, you’ll get a hosted payment page. Customers don’t leave your site and don’t get any indication that they’re using Dwolla.

Paying $1,500 per month for the service sounds outrageous, until you consider that you’re not paying any transaction fees. If you’re doing substantial business with ACH payments, you could easily wind up saving money in the long run. And having a hosted payment page is nothing to sneeze at — or the next-day transfers, the higher limits, payment profiles, etc. (There’s also a $250/month option that gives you more than the basic package but not quite as many perks. That’s good if your business isn’t quite enterprise-scale.)

Now, if you don’t want to shell out $250 or $1,500 monthly for all the fancy tools, or don’t care about a hosted payment page, the basic $25/month plan still gives you next-day transfers. If you want to keep your fees even lower, you can forgo the next-day payments all together.

Customers have the option to create a full-fledged Dwolla account or use the simpler Dwolla Direct. The Direct account is a lot less involved compared to Dwolla’s original setup. Customers can get themselves set up in under a minute and they can link their online banking credentials to pay instead of linking their accounts directly.

As far as security goes, Dwolla uses tokenization and TLS 128-bit encryption. There’s also two-factor authentication — and you’ll have to enter your PIN whenever you move money or make a change to an account.

Adding Dwolla to your options for online payments is easy with the custom API, and creating an account is free, so you can give it a try and get a feel for it before you even set up Dwolla for your business.

Alternative Payment Methods: So Where to Now?

If you are looking for alternatives to credit cards and traditional merchant accounts, there’s no better time to get started. Technology is changing the way we think about payments and how we handle money in general: everything from mobile wallets that replace credit cards to decentralized digital currency. There are alternative payment methods to appeal to every market segment, and options to appeal to every sort of business. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you and your customers.

Have questions about your options for payment processing? Leave a comment and let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you! We can also help you lower your processing fees or even choose a processor.

The post Everything You Need to Know About Alternative Payment Methods appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Revel Versus Lightspeed

revel-vs-lightspeed

If you’re a completely independent business proprietor utilizing a traditional reason for purchase system, you may choose to save lots of money by varying your POS towards the cloud. You’ll also bring your business towards the twenty-first century should you embrace cloud POS technologies like mobile payments and real-time inventory syncing. There are plenty of cloud-based POS systems available, however a couple you may consider for the local retail or food business include Revel Systems and Lightspeed POS.

Thousands of retailers all over the world use Revel or Lightspeed, that are both iPad POS systems. All of them are very well-considered services, however they vary from one another in certain important ways. Continue reading to learn which POS we believe is much better, and why.

Note: Lightspeed offers two cloud-based POS systems, Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Restaurant, plus an eCommerce product along with a desktop product (Onsite). Within this breakdown, we’ll concentrate on the two cloud POS products, Retail and Restaurant, and just how they rival Revel.

Web-Located or Licensed:

Hybrid (both).

Both Revel and Lightspeed are web-located, and can still function with no Web connection. This kind of POS runs in your area from your iPad application and syncs data to the cloud if you have a web connection. However, you’ll need internet to be able to authorize charge card payments.

Like the majority of other web-based POS’s, Revel and Lightspeed sell their professional services monthly so there’s no commitment with no fee for ending your contract if you’re unhappy using the service. (Lightspeed has a choice of annual billing in a slightly lower cost point.)

Software and hardware Needs:

Both Revel and Lightspeed will operate on any recent-gen iPad (iPad, iPad Small, iPad Air, etc.). Lightspeed Restaurant may also operate on an apple iphone or ipod device Touch, whereas you can run Lightspeed Retail on any computer (using a internet browser). You can buy peripheral equipment just like an iPad stand, cash drawer, hands scanner, and receipt printer through Revel or Lightspeed or source this equipment yourself.

Specific Type and size of economic:

With multi-location support and the opportunity to house up to 500,000 SKUs, Revel is an extremely effective POS appropriate for mid-sized to large companies. Both restaurant and retail companies use Revel, (particularly including big names like Cinnabon and Goodwill). For any small mother-and-pop store, though, Revel would most likely be overkill, because you wouldn’t finish up using many of the advanced features.

Lightspeed is much better suited to promising small to medium companies, operating within the 1-7 register range. Her capacity to aid limitless registers, however this choice is not broadly marketed.

When it comes to kind of companies offered by each POS, Revel is particularly aimed toward restaurants and quick service, although it also functions as well for retail companies and salons. Lightspeed Restaurant works together with almost any food-related business, from bakeries, to food trucks, to fine dining while Lightspeed Retail serves any kind of brick-and-mortal store, single- or multi-location.

Prices:

Champion: Lightspeed

Regardless of whether you have only one register or you’re a bigger business with multiple registers, Lightspeed will probably set you back less dollars monthly than Revel will. For small restaurant companies, Lightspeed Restaurant is particularly cost-efficient, charging 1-register companies only $69/month or $59/month if billed yearly.

Despite costing more overall, Revel’s prices structure now is easier than Lightspeed’s—Lightspeed charges extra for such things as extra users, printers, and “advanced reporting” (includes widgets showing various store metrics in your desktop—quite frankly, these aren’t everything helpful), whereas Revel’s cost tag is-inclusive. 

Find more prices information of these two POS’s below.

Revel:

Note: Revel&#8217s prices is susceptible to change on the per-situation basis and could be customized for your specific needs. Below is really a rough estimate.

  • first terminal: $119 monthly
  • second terminal: $79 monthly
  • Each additional terminal: $50 monthly

Lightspeed Restaurant:

Small:

  • $69/mo ($59/mo if billed yearly)
  • 1 register
  • 2 printers

Medium:

  • $119/mo ($102/mo if billed yearly)
  • 3 registers
  • 4 printers
  • API access

Large:

  • $239/mo ($205/mo if billed yearly)
  • 7 registers
  • Limitless printers
  • API access

(Request an estimate in excess of 7 registers.)

Lightspeed Retail:

Small

  • $89/mo ($76/mo if billed yearly)
  • 1 register
  • 5 employees

Medium

  • $149/mo ($128/mo if billed yearly)
  • 2 register
  • 10 employees

Large

  • $259/mo ($222/mo if billed yearly)
  • 4 register
  • 20 employees

Simplicity of use:

Champion: Lightspeed

Both programs are relatively simple to use after initial setup. You are able to train employees on fundamental functions of either system in under each day, although the more complicated back-finish functions will take some longer to understand. It goes for Lightspeed and Revel. However, overall, Revel includes a steeper learning curve and takes longer to setup when compared with Lightspeed.

Revel and Lightspeed both have a fluid, intuitive interface. Despite the fact that Lightspeed’s interface is visually simpler, when you are to understand each system, we believe Revel’s POS is nearly as simple to use as Lightspeed’s.

Product Features:

Champion: Revel

This can be a difficult area to choose a obvious champion because both POS systems are full of many features that stretch the systems’ functionality beyond those of pure point-of-purchase, which makes them both true business management solutions. Both systems offer features like restaurant table management, advanced inventory management, gift certificate functionality, as well as in-depth reports. But overall, Revel is really a better quality POS, offering more functions when compared with Lightspeed (which isn’t really everything surprising thinking about its heftier cost tag).

Instead of listing the exhaustive quantity of features for every POS, I’ll lead you to the net pages for Revel features, Lightspeed Restaurant features, and Lightspeed Retail features. Generally, Lightspeed Retail has more features than Lightspeed Restaurant, but nonetheless less features than Revel.

Here’s a brief listing of features Revel has that Lightspeed doesn’t (neither LS Restaurant nor LS Retail have these functions):

  • Appointment scheduling (essential for service-based companies)
  • Digital menu boards
  • Kitchen display system
  • Self-service kiosks

Integrations:

Champion: Revel

Revel presently provides more integrations than Lightspeed, though they don&#8217t differ tremendously in this region. Both integrate with QuickBooks and Xero, but LS Restaurant lacks integration with e-mail marketing programs, whereas Revel integrates with MailChimp (Observe that LS retail does support MailSync for e-mail marketing integration).

Some notable integrations Revel doesn’t tell Lightspeed include PayPal and Bitcoin as payment options.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team:

Champion: Lightspeed

Both POS’s offer many forms of support incorporated within their monthly subscription packages. Including phone support, live chat, email support, an internet-based understanding bases. Previously, Lightspeed support continues to be rated as increasing numbers of responsive and consistent in comparison to Revel’s. But Revel has lately walked up its customer support and it is now reporting a 93% client satisfaction rating (though some Revel users still complain about slow support for complex issues).

Neither company includes a+ support while Lightspeed’s technical support has become good reviews, even individuals who discuss how great the standard continues to be report more than usual wait occasions. Overall, Lightspeed continues to have better support ratings (per reading user reviews), however this might change soon as increasing numbers of customers experience Revel&#8217s recent upgrades.

Reviews and Complaints:

Champion: Tie

Reviews of these reason for purchase systems vary wildly from godawful to glowing—look no beyond your comments ought to on the Revel and Lightspeed reviews many people think these items are the most useful POS systems ever, yet others do a comparison towards the brainchildren of Satan themself. Overall, though, both products have pretty comparable reviews, with a lot of high quality ones, plenty of bad ones, and plenty among, leading to a typical user rating of approximately a &#8220B&#8221 for systems (should you&#8217re in to the whole letter grade factor).

Obviously, Lightspeed offers multiple products, that makes it hard to compare Revel versus. Lightspeed in this region. To help complicate the problem, we rate Revel Systems at 4.5 stars, Lightspeed Retail at 4 stars, and Lightspeed Restaurant at 4.5 stars. It&#8217s worth noting that users of both Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Restaurant praise the amount of customer support, that is perhaps the most crucial aspect to the software service. LS Restaurant is really a newer product than Retail and therefore doesn’t have as numerous reading user reviews yet, however if you simply take a look within the iTunes store, you can observe the comments are generally favorable.

Among Revel users, poor customer support has previously been a major complaint. However, as pointed out, they have recently walked up their customer service so that almost all customers now appear to become having a positive support experience.

Final Verdict:

Champion: Draw

Yes, it&#8217s type of anticlimactic, however i just can&#8217t pick a complete champion as it pertains to these two systems. Revel has more features—including kiosk mode, appointment scheduling, kitchen view, and QuickBooks integration—while Lightspeed has a less expensive cost point and somewhat superior customer care.

Really, the selection will mainly rely on your particular situation, budget, and small business. For any small mother-and-pop restaurant or store, Lightspeed is most likely the greater approach to take. For bigger, multi-register/location stores and restaurants, too as service-based companies, Revel may well be a better fit.

All joking aside, don’t simply take my word for it—register for any free trial offer of Lightspeed Retail, and/or Lightspeed Restaurant, or plan a Revel live demo prior to committing either to POS.

The publish Revel Versus Lightspeed made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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ShopKeep Versus Revel

shopkeep-vs-revel

ShopKeep and Revel Systems are a few very recognizable names in iPad point-of-purchase (POS) systems. Previously many years, numerous retailers have switched out their traditional POS in support of one of these simple cutting-edge, web-based POS’s. However, despite the fact that they’re both iPad POS’s, ShopKeep and Revel are really not the same as each other. If you’re searching into switching for an iPad reason for purchase and wish to compare Shopkeep versus Revel, I’ve done the majority of the homework for you personally. Why, you’re welcome! 

If you’re tight on time and trust our judgment at Merchant Maverick, then It is best to check out our best reason for purchase providers. All of them offer very fair and competitive rates and don’t charge any bogus charges. If you like to uncover these items yourself, then continue reading to discover the benefits and drawbacks of every point-of-purchase service, and which I believe is the foremost iPad POS.

 Web-Located or Licensed:

ShopKeep and Revel are generally web-located, and can still function if you’re offline. So, while they are cloud-based, you might give them a call “hybrid” POS systems. This kind of POS runs in your area from your iPad application, and syncs data to the cloud if you have a web connection. You are able to take charge card payments once the internet is lower, but will need to hold back until you’re online again to really process the instalments (it goes for ShopKeep and Revel).

Revel and ShopKeep are generally SaaS (software like a service) systems and charge retailers monthly, so there’s no contract or fee should you convince you a couple of several weeks in.

Software and hardware Needs:

Revel and ShopKeep both operate on newer-gen iPads (iPad Air 2, iPad Small 2 and three, ipad4, etc.) running iOS 8. You can buy peripheral equipment kits which include products just like an iPad enclosure/stand, cash drawer, hands scanner, and receipt printer through Revel or ShopKeep. Or, purchase these products from your outdoors vendor.

Revel distinguishes itself from ShopKeep within the hardware department by providing a wired ethernet connection (Revel Ethernet Connect™) that plugs directly into your iPad. This method supplies a faster and much more secure connection than Wireless, and may also behave as a failover connection in case your Wireless goes lower.

For any fundamental setup, the hardware costs of every system are comparable (about $1,000 for just one register).

Specific Type and size of economic:

Here’s where we have seen the 2 companies begin to diverge considerably. Inside a couple of words, Revel is perfect for large companies, and ShopKeep is perfect for small companies. If you’re somewhere in the centre, you are able to most likely pull off using either system, based on your particular feature needs.

Revel, on a single hands, is an extremely effective POS appropriate for mid-sized and enormous companies. Retail, food, and hospitality/service companies use Revel, including some major quick-service franchises, like Dairy Queen and Little Caesar’s, in addition to Fortune 500 electronics store Belkin.

ShopKeep can also be appropriate for restaurants, quick-serve, and retail companies, and like Revel, it is useful for multi-location stores. However, ShopKeep is much more targeted at small- to medium-sized companies. ShopKeep are only able to handle as much as 10,000 SKUs (and 270 item buttons around the register the remainder you’ll need to scan or lookup by hand), whereas Revel supports as much as 500,000 SKUs. ShopKeep is much more effective than the usual very fundamental mobile POS like Square (see our Shopkeep versus Square comparison for additional with that), however if you simply possess a large inventory you may need a better quality POS, for example Revel.

Prices:

Champion: ShopKeep

Using its less expensive of entry, ShopKeep is much more affordable than Revel for small companies. As you can tell below, ShopKeep is considerably cheaper for 1-2 registers, though to include on additional registers then it costs $50/month/sign up for either system (well, $49 for ShopKeep). With this stated, companies big enough to make use of greater than a handful or registers may not be using ShopKeep anyway.

Revel

  • first terminal: $119 monthly
  • second terminal: $79 monthly
  • Each additional terminal: $50 monthly

Note: Revel&#8217s prices is flexible and could be tailored for your specific situation. The cost list above is really a rough approximation of methods much you may be having to pay for every terminal.

ShopKeep

  • $49/terminal/month (flat cost doesn’t matter the number of terminals you’ve).

Simplicity of use:

Champion: ShopKeep

ShopKeep is terrifically simple to use. The leading-finish register interface is intuitive and user-friendly, even enjoyable to utilize. The machine can also be easy to setup and personalize for the business’s particular POS needs. While register functions are around the iPad application, you have access to managing functions for example reports and inventory receiving around the back-finish using any internet browser. ShopKeep also offers an apple iphone application (“ShopKeep Pocket”), which doesn’t process sales but will highlight some important real-time stats for the store.

Revel’s front-finish can also be relatively simple to use, speculate the rear-finish provides more advanced features, it features a steeper learning curve than ShopKeep’s back-finish. Revel also takes longer to setup initially. But when you get used to Revel, it’s very little harder to make use of than ShopKeep, so ShopKeep wins that one just by a little margin.

Product Features:

Champion: Revel

Both Revel Systems and ShopKeep offer some impressively advanced register features for any “mobile” point-of-purchase, enabling you to accept almost any type of payment from cash and gift certificates, to nick cards to Apple Pay. These iPad registers also allows cashiers to complete such things as void transactions and issue returns, as well as for waitstaff to consider table side orders and send them straight to your kitchen.

However, whenever you proceed to the rear-finish of those POS’s, you’ll discover that Revel provides more advanced reporting and business management features, including better quality inventory management. Revel also provides functions like appointment scheduling and table layouts for restaurant management. Take a look:

Features both ShopKeep and Revel have:

  • Nick card acceptance (EMV-compliance)
  • Customer management
  • Gift certificates
  • Loyalty program
  • Tableside ordering
  • Worker time tracking
  • Mobile payments (Apple Pay)
  • Email receipts
  • Split checks
  • Onscreen tipping
  • Easy returns, refunds
  • Multiple tax rates (lately put into ShopKeep)
  • E-mail marketing and accounting software integration
  • Fundamental inventory and raw component management

Some features Revel has that ShopKeep doesn’t:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Table layout
  • Digital menu boards
  • Kitchen display system
  • Self-service kiosks
  • Ethernet connection
  • Online ordering
  • Delivery management
  • Advanced inventory management
  • Advanced reporting
  • Worker scheduling and payroll

Please be aware that a number of Revel’s advanced features aren’t incorporated within the fundamental cost — digital menu board, kitchen display system, and kiosk POS are considered add-ons that carry yet another monthly charge. Begin to see the complete lists of Revel features and ShopKeep features for a closer inspection in the features provided by each POS.

Integrations:

Champion: Revel

Just like the feature sets, you’ll observe that ShopKeep offers some important integrations, although not as much as Revel.

For instance: ShopKeep integrates with QuickBooks, MailChimp, and Apple Pay. But additionally to individuals options, Revel also integrates with Xero (a QuickBooks accounting software alternative), and PayPal and Bitcoin to supplement mobile payment options. Also unlike ShopKeep, Revel also integrates with eCommerce services Shopify and Magento, plus some online ordering apps.

Both POS’s integrate with numerous payment processors, for example Mercury Payment Systems and Moneris Solutions, and ShopKeep also provides its very own highly regarded ShopKeep Payments.

Begin to see the complete lists of ShopKeep integrations and Revel integrations.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team:

Champion: ShopKeep

ShopKeep and Revel each offer multiple channels for customer support and technical support, from phone and email support to reside chat an internet-based educational sources. But ShopKeep is famous because of its high-quality support, whereas Revel has (a minimum of in the past) fielded lots of complaints about its support.

Revel has lately made significant support upgrades, as noted within our Revel Systems review, and today has a client satisfaction rate well over 93%. However, basically we can tell that Revel has “good” customer care, ShopKeep’s support is actually unbeatable within the cloud POS world.

Reviews and Complaints:

Champion: ShopKeep

Testimonials of these POS’s are by-and-large positive. ShopKeep is really a BBB-accredited business by having an A+ rating, and thus is Revel. Both apps come with an average rating of approximately 4 stars within the iTunes store (See ShopKeep on iTunes Revel POS Quick-Service and Restaurant and Revel POS Retail on iTunes. But searching at customer ratings over the web, you’ll observe that users give ShopKeep a greater average “star” rating in comparison with Revel.

Like I pointed out in the last section, users rave about ShopKeep’s customer care, and Revel has already established some difficulties with el born area previously. System bugs from time to time upset users of both systems, however with a far more complex, costly system like Revel, system glitches and fewer-than-stellar tech support team could be especially irritating. However, as increasing numbers of users experience Revel’s recent support enhancements, we might see Revel’s reading user reviews start looking a lot more like ShopKeep’s.

Final Verdict:

Champion: It&#8217s a Draw

Even though many food and retail companies are evaluating iPad POS’s like ShopKeep and Revel, the fact is that these POS systems were created to serve different needs. ShopKeep is much better for small companies, and many bigger companies will require a far more advanced system like Revel.

ShopKeep includes a marginally better consumer experience along with a less expensive. However, if you want advanced inventory tracking (for instance, the opportunity to track inventory by modifiers), or eCommerce support, or self-service kiosks, only Revel can meet these needs. Overall, we actually like both systems, and discover neither to become woefully missing in almost any key area.

So, to place it within the most fundamental of terms, for many companies ShopKeep is much better, as well as for others Revel is much better. To judge ShopKeep versus Revel yourself, request a totally free trial from ShopKeep or plan a Revel live demo. Or, let’s assist you to choose which cloud POS might be best for the business. (That’s type of our factor.)

The publish ShopKeep Versus Revel made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Windscribe Virtual private network Review: Pros & Cons of utilizing Windscribe Virtual private network

Windscribe VPN Review

Windscribe Virtual private network is really a virtual private network and security company located in Ontario, Canada. Windscribe launched in 2016. Therefore, it’s some making up ground to complete when it comes to brand recognition and marketing.

However, it’s generated solid press inside a crowded space with a few innovative features and shown concentrate on with internet privacy.

After many years of foolishly running my internet business via public Wireless, I decided to employ a Virtual private network to secure my communications (and access a little bit of from market sporting occasions on a trip).

But I discovered that &#8211 much like website hosting &#8211 there’s no such factor like a &#8220best Virtual private network provider&#8221. Actually, it&#8217s just like a an entire world of confusing information because even reliable details are near-useless because it&#8217s so complex. This Windscribe VPN review is my notes from giving them a shot in my own purposes like a security-aware, traveling, US-based businessperson who needs good usability and good prices. I’m not a political activist or somebody that regularly travels to firewalled countries.

Regardless if you are searching for any Virtual private network for privacy, for website access, for staying away from geotargeting, for safeguarding communications or all of the above, hopefully, this Windscribe VPN review is going to be helpful. You may also skip to next steps here.

See Windscribe Virtual private network&#8217s Plans here&#8230

Here’s my Windscribe VPN review – structured with pros &amp cons according to my experience like a customer.

Disclosure – I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All opinions and knowledge derive from my experience like a having to pay customer performing independent research.

Windscribe VPN Pros / Advantages

I know full well that Windscribe is extremely-rated among websites and customers alike. They have ample testimonials and clever feature overviews on their own homepage. They position themselves because the tool to help you to &#8220browse the net independently because it was intended to be&#8221.

Windscribe Pitch

It&#8217s a good, straightforward pitch. However it&#8217s also much like other popular Virtual private network providers. Here&#8217s things i found Windscribe does well.

Small , Friendly Interface

The Windscribe application interface is small , clean. You have access to exactly the thing you need instantly, such as the server list, connect/disconnect button, current Ip and the quantity of bandwidth remaining.

Windscribe Connection

For any new user that may have reservations concerning the complicated nature of VPNs &#8211 their interface and signup are sleek and functional. You&#8217re protected using the mouse click.

If you wish to make use of the free service, you can just add some browser extension and switch it on for doing things. There’s you don’t need to visit extreme limits just to connect with the Virtual private network. However, you will have to enter your login information any time you sign in to your Windscribe account (if you don&#8217t always have to even offer an email).

Windscribe SIgnup Flow

Windscribe Email

You are able to minimize your window while you’re online to ensure that Windscribe isn’t obtrusive. The application will inform you using a message within the lower right-hands corner with usage information. Pull-up the primary application and click on the ability button or exit to disconnect.

The browser extension window looks nearly the same as the one which you utilize around the desktop client. Both of them are straightforward, and there’s continuity for users.

Several VPNs which i&#8217ve checked out have a problem with &#8220onboarding&#8221 &#8211 ie, Avast and AirVPN. But Windscribe is certainly within the tier of highly functional VPNs like ExpressVPN, PureVPN and VyprVPN.

Prices / Free Plan Options

While Windscribe provides a return guarantee, additionally they offer something better still &#8211 a totally free plan option on a single network his or her premium plan.

Windscribe VPN Pricing

The Disposable option only enables just one device having a limited choice of servers. But &#8211 it&#8217s free for approximately 10GB monthly. That&#8217s not really a ton if you’re streaming video, however it&#8217s plenty for securing your connections while browsing the net in public places.

Because you can apply it free is unbeatable &#8211 along with a appealing factor when compared with other premium VPNs.

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Method of Privacy &amp Security

For optimum security and privacy, Windscribe recommends that you simply use a browser proxy extension additionally to presenting the Virtual private network service. The proxy browser extensions are for sale to Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

Windscribe Options

Windscribe really claims that it’s produced for that “privacy-obsessed” customer. The organization states that it’s silly to not make use of the desktop Virtual private network application combined with the browser extension since it doesn’t are more expensive to make use of both.

What’s the main difference? The browser extension is recognized as a “lite” form of the Virtual private network application. If you are browsing the web, it ought to safeguard you. However, if other apps (ie, a chat client) on your pc are being able to access the web, they’ll use your personal Ip unless of course you’re also while using desktop Virtual private network.

The browser extension also protects you against ads and trackers that show up on those sites that you simply visit. This will be significant since your privacy could be compromised from all of these beacons even when you’re already utilizing a Virtual private network.

**Caveat &#8211 Observe that no Virtual private network is 100% secure. Your visitors are still routing via a company. Any organization can close shop or go rogue. If you’re attempting to avoid your American ISP &#8211 then you’re simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter using the trust of the Virtual private network. If you’re a political activist where trust is really a existence or dying situation, you have to be using something similar to Tor. This highlights this section of Windscribe Virtual private network&#8217s improvements, however the point remains using a Virtual private network doesn’t instantly create security/privacy. That’s something do via aligning company incentives (ie, having to pay for businesses who maintain security) &amp being positive. Thankfully &#8211 this really is something which Windscribe owns as much as. Within their pitch video, they discuss the way a Virtual private network can help you achieve better security instead of as being a silver bullet solution.

Windscribe Privacy

You may be impressed by the amount of social widgets that track your web activity. Some have trackers that relate your activity with other corporations. The browser extension scrambles your web activity to ensure that it’s virtually impossible to trace.

Lots of people believe that they’re safe on the web when they simply employ a Virtual private network. However, governments and crooks have labored difficult to match we’ve got the technology which comes out. A browser extension improves your odds of remaining secure on the web.

In either case &#8211 Windscribe&#8217s careful method of security is within itself a reassurance that they’re a business worth dealing with. While they come in Canada, although they log bandwidth usage on their own free organize of necessity &#8211 they get solid marks for privacy &amp security.

Anonymous Payment Options

If you are searching for any Virtual private network, then chances are you wish to remain anonymous. Some VPNs don’t have any method of keeping the payment information unknown. Windscribe Virtual private network enables you to use Bitcoin, an anonymous payment platform.

It’s not necessary to go in your current email address to enroll in the service. However, you might like to make use of your current email address if you wish to recover passwords at any time lower the street.

You may also pay using a charge card, PayPal or Paymentwall.

Additional Security Measures

Windscribe provides a several innovative features which come bundled having a subscription. Compared to other VPNs, they are truly &#8220bonus&#8221 features as opposed to a critical service being withheld.

First &#8211 Windscribe Virtual private network describes a firewall that blocks internet activity should you lose link with the server. This prevents you safe even though you lose Wireless connection and have to restart your pc. Some VPNs refer to this as a killswitch. Windscribe claims the better term with this is firewall.

Within the default mode, the firewall is placed to automatic. It will likely be switched on whenever you connect with the Virtual private network. It’ll remain on should you all of a sudden lose connection so your Ip isn’t uncovered. However, it’s inactivated should you disconnect from the server.

You may choose to show the firewall on / off when needed. You may also choose to get it switched on continuously. This only enables you to have access to the internet when you are linked to Windscribe.

Second &#8211 the Secure.link generator enables you to determine the safety associated with a website that you’re on. You may create an encrypted link that may need a password to spread out if you wish to send a hyperlink safely to another person.

Some websites depend on trackers to function normally. Should you have confidence in them, you are able to whitelist them so you keep your security but could access them without obstacles.

Third &#8211 you may also select an add-on for the browser that blocks ads. There is also ad-blocking software from various kinds of internet security software software, which means this isn’t probably the most ground-breaking feature. However, it’s nice to possess, particularly if you aren’t already utilizing an ad blocker.

Windscribe Extensions

If you use this add-on, you need to experience faster browsing speeds. This enables you to cope with your projects quicker than should you weren’t utilizing a Virtual private network by having an ad-blocking add-on.

Various Connection Modes

A number of connection modes allow you to connect to the servers using different protocols and ports. Sometimes, network operators do penetrating inspections to try and track Virtual private network usage. Of course this is happening, you may still connect through certainly one of Windscribe’s connection modes.

Windscribe Connection Settings

The automated feature will choose the appropriate way of you. The choices are:

  • UDP – This is actually the default mode. It’s normally the fastest, and it is the very first one which is attempted.
  • TCP – Should you can’t connect via UDP, you will be used in this mode. It’s better quality when confronted with a poor connection, however, you could experience slower speeds.
  • Stealth – This can be a TCP protocol that’s a final resort. This can be the best choice to make use of in countries with strict internet limitations, for example China.

You may even switch off automatic selection and by hand select your connection mode. If you are ever experiencing trouble connecting, just alter the connection mode.

Every Virtual private network strikes an account balance between hiding advanced settings and &#8220doing everything&#8221 for novices while allowing advanced users to personalize settings. Windscribe does well punching the right balance.

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Windscribe Virtual private network Cons / Disadvanatages

Obviously, no Virtual private network provider is ideal. You will find natural tradeoffs to almost everything. Windscribe Virtual private network isn’t any exception towards the rule, as it features a couple of negatives to think about that could affect your choice.

Here are the disadvantages which i found with Windscribe.

Server Diversity &amp Locations

If you are attempting to connect from Africa or South Usa, you’re at a complete loss. Despite the fact that Windscribe Virtual private network has servers throughout Europe, The United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, it doesn’t include Africa and South Usa.

Because Windscribe is really youthful, the organization doesn’t offer the plethora of server locations where a number of other VPNs do. However, the organization has tried to spread the servers out around the world. It’s difficult to target the exact quantity of servers available.

Furthermore, even their existing network appears to stay in flux. I&#8217m located in Atlanta, GA. Despite the fact that I’ve got a selection of servers located near me, they all are consistently unavailable or full forcing me to make use of West Coast servers.

That stated &#8211 they cover most civilized world. As well as their ex-US servers are simple enough to utilize.

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Prices on Value

Windscribe VPN’s prices model is easy. You may either pick the free plan or the one which costs $9 per month. Why did we include this within the options that come with Windscribe that we’d prefer to change?

I wouldn’t mind visiting a middle-of-the-road option. The disposable option limits you to definitely 10 GB of information monthly. There isn’t any limit around the Pro version.

However, the professional version is among the priciest around the markets &#8211 should you take a look at cost per server or cost per speed (although the cost per system is solid). You will find others available with increased benefits and features for the similar (or perhaps a lower) cost (ie, PureVPN).

Another distinction between the disposable and Pro versions would be that the free version limits your use of certain servers. One benefit of utilizing a Virtual private network is you can switch servers when needed or connect with a web server that’s nearer to your present location. Should you can’t access all of the available servers, you aren’t obtaining a real test from the service.

Should you not wish to put money into the Virtual private network, you may choose the disposable version. However, this only provides you with 10 GB of information monthly. Although this is acceptable for light users, it will not be sufficient for corporations or heavy torrenting.

Windscribe Freemium

Obviously, in the event that services are free, then you definitely can’t really complain, though.

That’s the only real distinction between the disposable and Pro plans. You can aquire a discount around the Pro plan if you buy it yearly rather of having to pay every month.

Customer Care Options

The only method to get support around the Windscribe web site is by opening a ticket. There isn’t any customer care team to speak with personally via chat or phone.

Windscribe Customer Support

Exactly why the organization doesn’t use live chat is a great one. Live chats use third-party APIs, which compromise visitors’ privacy. The support team offers personalized advice within an joyful manner. If you have an issue, you won’t be required to wait lengthy for that solution.

Windscribe also avoids using extensive member forums to reply to the questions you have. If you need to look for solutions, the organization believes that it is not doing its job to offer you a person-friendly, straightforward service. This will make it a perfect Virtual private network for brand-new users.

That stated &#8211 all of these are stuff that competitors do whilst supplying phone &amp chat support for users that do want individuals options. ExpressVPN even provides support using a .onion site that’s only accessible via Tor.

Windscribe doesn&#8217t will need to go that far, however a chat system could be helpful.

Below-Average Speeds

Most testing has determined Windscribe’s speed to become slower than average. However, performance varies according to a lot of factors including geography as well as your current connection&#8217s ISP. It’s hard to create a blanket statement about speed. It truly depends upon where you’re located, the servers that you’re connecting and the kind of data you’re being able to access.

That stated &#8211 I actually do possess a foreseeable and reliable place to test speeds for a number of VPNs.

Here&#8217s my office&#8217s default speeds via Comcast.

No VPN Bandwidth Test

This is actually the best test which i might get with Windscribe despite switching servers and re-testing at various occasions within the day.

Windscribe Speed

Thinking about the truth that I&#8217ve had the ability to get speeds hitting 80%to 90% of my non-Virtual private network speeds with competitors like ExpressVPN or PureVPN or VyprVPN &#8211 Windscribe&#8217s 17% of non-Virtual private network speeds doesn&#8217t look great whatsoever.

Conclusion

Windscribe claims to become a company that serves those who have no training with VPNs. It’s solid features and messaging (and free options) for anybody who’s privacy concerned&#8230but also daunted by VPNs. If you feel you’ll need a Virtual private network but they are totally not really acquainted with the intricacies and technical jargon, Windscribe could be the Virtual private network for you personally.

See Windscribe&#8217s plans &amp prices here.

If you’re searching for any Virtual private network with better performance &amp features without an excessive amount of expense, take a look at ExpressVPN here. Read my ExpressVPN review here.

Otherwise, you can browse a number of my related Virtual private network posts below!

Windscribe

Windscribe is really a Canada based Virtual private network that launched in Virtual private network having a concentrate on privacy concerned beginners.
Windscribe
Date Printed: 06/29/2017
Excellent usability, privacy and prices structure is undercut a little with poor speeds and insufficient server locations.
3 / 5 stars

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The publish Windscribe Virtual private network Review: Pros &#038 Cons of utilizing Windscribe Virtual private network made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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The Very Best Options to Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS alternatives

Lightspeed is among several effective, cloud reason for purchase (POS) systems to emerge recently. This web-based POS technology enables promising small to medium companies within the retail and restaurant industries to simply accept payments in their brick-and-mortar stores with only a couple of lightweight items, along with a similarly light monthly subscription cost.

Montreal-based Lightspeed released its first POS product, the in your area installed POS Onsite, in 2005. In This summer 2013, LS branched into cloud POS using the discharge of Lightspeed Retail, a browser-based POS that retailers can run from the Mac, PC, or iPad. Lightspeed Restaurant arrived on the scene annually later you are able to operate this cloud POS with an iPad, iPhone, or ipod device Touch.

Using more than 34,000 Lightspeed installations being used, this solution is famous part since it is a “middle-of-the-road” product—it doesn’t have as numerous functions like a more costly iPad POS for example Revel, but it offers much more functionality than the usual very fundamental mobile POS like Square. LS Retail, with packages beginning at $76/month if billed yearly, includes multi-tender support, work order and buy order management, inventory management, CRM, and multi-store functionality LS Restaurant, which starts at $59/month (should you commit for any year), adds menu management along with a floor planner.

Lightspeed is really a good POS, but it’s wrong for each business. Some retailers may want a less expensive POS, a treadmill that gives more features. For instance, Restaurant doesn’t possess a reservation management tool or e-mail marketing integration. Other retailers may need a POS with increased payment processing options (Retail users in america are restricted to Mercury and Cayan for payment processing Restaurant users may also use Bridgepay). Lightspeed also doesn’t possess the best status within the regions of reliability and customer care they had some server outages this past year for any period lasting several several weeks, and customers report longer-than-average wait occasions for support.

So, if for reasons uknown Lightspeed doesn’t meet your business’s needs, here are a few worthy POS competitors. Like Lightspeed, many of these POS’s are modern, tablet-based software services that are simple to start selling with.

Revel Systems

Revel, a Lightspeed POS alternative

Revel Systems is really a powerhouse of the iPad POS system, ideal for medium to large companies. Est. 2010 in Bay Area, Revel is continuing to grow to get probably the most popular and powerful iPad POS’s in a couple of short years. A couple of key figures for you personally: Revel supports accumulated to 500,000 SKUs, has greater than 20,000 active terminals presently being used, and it has received greater than $115 million in investment capital funding.

Revel is much more pricey than Lightspeed on the per-register basis (Revel starts around $119 monthly), but Revel’s cost tag is-inclusive, while Lightspeed charges extra for further users and printers, and advanced reporting.

How’s Revel much better than Lightspeed?

  • Supports large, chain companies, whereas Lightspeed is much better suited to companies within the 1-7 register range.
  • More extensive set of features allows for use by almost any kind of business. For instance, Revel includes appointment scheduling, that is essential for service-based companies.
  • More hardware integrations—including digital menu boards, kitchen display systems, self-service kiosks, and proprietary ethernet connections for iPads.
  • More customizable than Lightspeed.
  • More third-party integrations—including QuickBooks, Xero, MailChimp, PayPal, and BitCoin.

ShopKeep

ShopKeep, a Lightspeed POS competitor

ShopKeep is really a favorite iPad POS among small companies within the quick-service food and retail boutique groups. Established this year, Shopkeep is reasonable for small companies and offers great customer support. This POS doesn’t include each and every POS feature imaginable, however if you simply don’t need advanced features like purchase order management or table layouts, ShopKeep might be a less expensive choice than Lightspeed, and perhaps a more reliable choice too, because of Shopkeep’s top-notch customer care as well as in-house payment processing.

Besides fundamental POS functionality, Shopkeep offers some helpful back-finish features, including fundamental inventory and raw component management, tableside ordering, gift certificates, loyalty program integration, customer management, mobile payments, worker management, and much more.

How’s Shopkeep much better than Lightspeed?

  • Less expensive for small stores. ShopKeep charges $59/month/sign up for all features versus. $89/mo ($76/mo if billed yearly) for LS Retail ShopKeep charges same cost for 1 register as LS restaurant if LS is billed yearly, but when compared with LS’s month-to-month prices, Shopkeep cost less ($59/month versus $69/month).
  • Provides some important integrations LS Restaurant doesn&#8217t have (QuickBooks and MailChimp).
  • In-house payment processing simplifies support issues. Additionally to integrating with lots of outdoors payment processors, including Mercury Payment Systems and Moneris Solutions, ShopKeep also provides its very own highly-rated ShopKeep Payments.
  • Provides better customer care, overall.
  • BBB-accredited business by having an A+ rating (Lightspeed isn’t listed using the BBB).

Clover Station

Clover Station, an alternative to Lightspeed POS

Clover Station is really a unique, all-in-one POS, among the newest systems available, and probably the most great looking, too, using its sleek, minimalistic hardware setup. This three-year-old cloud POS operates within different business design than Lightspeed or another POS’s about this list Clover uses its very own proprietary hardware (i.e., no iPad or Android tablet) and it is always offered plus a credit card merchant account. Just like Lightspeed, Clover isn’t for everybody, however, many companies appreciate its application-based customizability, and the simplicity obtaining a complete POS package and credit card merchant account from one source.

How’s Clover much better than Lightspeed?

  • Proprietary hardware makes Clover invulnerable to inconvenient and often destabilizing iOS updates.
  • Bigger touchscreen register interface.
  • All-in-one system—even has a credit card merchant account.
  • Adapts to almost any industry, including service-based.
  • Provides more integrations and greater functionality through its application store—including customer management and e-mail marketing.
  • No monthly fee (apart from payment processing charges).

Bindo POS

Bindo, a Lightspeed POS alternative

Launched in 2013, Bindo is definitely an iPad POS that caters particularly to small, mother-and-pop stores, helping them contend with large online stores. Bindo POS enables store proprietors to concurrently manage their offline and online inventory, which makes it an excellent POS option for companies who manage a brick-and-mortar store but should also sell online. Besides POS, eCommerce, and advanced inventory management functionality, there is also CRM, invoicing, purchase order management, worker management together with your Bindo subscription.

Bindo prices is mainly in line with the quantity of SKU figures you anticipate to need—low-finish retailers with 50 SKUs or fewer might pay $59-80/month, while bigger stores might pay $150/month.

How’s Bindo much better than Lightspeed?

  • Free/incorporated eCommerce integration. Note that you could setup a built-in online shop with Lightspeed, but do it yourself another $75 to $100/month.
  • Lower prices than Lightspeed Retail for smaller sized companies.
  • More complex inventory management (including online inventory).
  • More payment processing options than Lightspeed. Begin to see the extended listing of compatible payment processors within our Bindo review.

TouchBistro

TouchBistro, a competitor to Lightspeed Restaurant

This 5-year-old restaurant POS is exclusive in that it’s in your area installed, meaning your computer data is stored on your iPad or computer, instead of the cloud. Branded because the “The #1 iPad Reason for Purchase (POS) for Restaurants,” TouchBistro can also be utilized by bars, cafes, and other kinds of single-location eateries. Additionally to POS functions, TouchBistro handles such things as seating and table assignments, menu management, wireless change in orders towards the kitchen, tableside payments, and daily sales reports.

For that Standard (single register) TouchBistro subscription, you manage your whole restaurant directly from one iPad. For those who have several iPad registers, you have to run the professional Server Application on the Mac Small, that will behave as a nearby server. Prices starts at $69/month.

How’s TouchBistro much better than Lightspeed?

  • In your area installed POS system. Ensures secure, personal information storage and doesn’t require Wireless or Internet to function POS and access data.
  • Choice of emailing receipts.
  • Reservation management feature.
  • Suitable for more payment processors than LS: Mercury, Moneris, Cayan, Premier Payments, Smooth Pay, PayPal. Bear in mind that although TouchBistro POS doesn&#8217t require Internet connectivity, you’ll still Internet for that payment gateway.

Shopify POS

Shopify POS

Shopify’s eCommerce services have been in existence for more than ten years, but Shopify POS is really a newer offering (introduced in 2013), produced particularly for promising small to medium retail companies. This is a great iPad POS to make use of should you already sell online with Shopify, since Shopify POS syncs seamlessly together with your Shopify online shop.

Shopify POS is among the least expensive, scaleable, and simple to use POS’s, and it’s not missing features, either. Utilize it to simply manage in-store an internet-based inventory, export reports, create gift certificates, manage customers, and much more. Furthermore, the Shopify mobile application makes it simple to market at occasions like fairs, markets, and pop-ups.

How’s Shopify POS much better than Lightspeed?

  • Limitless devices/registers, even for the most part fundamental plan.
  • Less expensive&#8211packages start at just $9/month.
  • Free card readers whenever you open your bank account.
  • In-house payment processing with Shopify Payments (charge card rates rely on which plan you select).
  • Shopify Mobile application enables you to sell on the run together with your iPhone or Android phone. Observe that Lightspeed comes with an apple iphone application (Lightspeed Dashboard) however, you are only able to view store data, not sell by using it.
  • Seamless integration together with your Shopify online shop. Get both POS an internet-based store beginning at $29/month.
  • Showcase then sell your product or service in your Facebook page (despite $9/month plan).

Which Lightspeed Alternative to select?

Here’s a fast and dirty review of the greatest options to Lightspeed POS:

  • Revel – Customizable iPad POS for medium and enormous companies in almost any industry.
  • Clover – All-in-one cloud POS for SMB in almost any industry offered with credit card merchant account.
  • ShopKeep – Affordable iPad POS for small companies in retail and quick service.
  • Bindo – Retail-centric iPad POS with integrated online shop, advanced inventory management.
  • TouchBistro – In your area-installed iPad POS for single-location restaurants.
  • Shopify POS – Scaleable retail-centric iPad POS with eCommerce and mobile sales.

I really hope this lengthy roundup provided you with a decent concept of what POS choices are available if you wish to use tablet-based reason for purchase software but aren&#8217t interested in Lightspeed POS. Again, Lightspeed POS is way from a &#8220P.O.S.&#8221 (ha ha) but because not one software system can meet the requirements of each and every business, it’s good to have options. Many of these Lightspeed alternatives offer free trials through their official websites (I believe Clover may be the only exception), so make certain you attempt out a couple of POS systems before you decide to choose one. All you actually need is definitely an iPad!

The publish The Very Best Options to Lightspeed POS 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!

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IPVanish Virtual private network Review: Pros & Cons of utilizing IPVanish Virtual private network

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish VPN is a well known Virtual private network service located in the U . s . States with more than 750 server located throughout 60 countries.

IPVanish frequently pops up in online discussions around Virtual private network services because of their consistency, strict no-log policies with no bandwidth caps.

After many years of foolishly running my internet business via public Wireless, I decided to employ a Virtual private network to secure my communications (and access a little bit of from market sporting occasions on a trip).

But I discovered that &#8211 much like website hosting &#8211 there’s no such factor like a &#8220best Virtual private network provider&#8221. Actually, it&#8217s just like a an entire world of confusing information where even reliable details are near-useless because it&#8217s so complex. This IPVanish VPN review is my notes from giving them a shot in my own purposes like a security-aware, traveling, US-based businessperson who needs good usability and good prices. I’m not a political activist or somebody that regularly travels to firewalled countries.

Regardless if you are searching for any Virtual private network for privacy, for website access, for staying away from geotargeting, for safeguarding communications or all of the above, hopefully, this IPVanish VPN review is going to be helpful. You may also skip to next steps here.

See IPVanish Virtual private network&#8217s Plans here&#8230

Here’s my IPVanish VPN review – structured with pros &amp cons according to my experience like a customer.

Disclosure – I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All opinions and knowledge derive from my experience like a having to pay customer performing independent research.

IPVanish Virtual private network Pros / Advantages

I know full well that IPVanish is extremely-rated among websites and customers alike. They have ample testimonials and clever feature overviews on their own homepage. They position themselves as &#8221 your simple means to fix Internet privacy.&#8221

IPVanish Pitch

It&#8217s a good, straightforward pitch. However it&#8217s also much like other popular Virtual private network providers. Here&#8217s things i found IPVanish does well.

Prices &amp Payment Options

IPVanish Virtual private network uses probably the most attractive prices structures for Virtual private network providers: 1-month, 3-month, and 12-month subscription options. It&#8217s $10 monthly, $26.99 billed for 3 several weeks ($8.99/month), or $77.99 billed yearly ($6.49/month).

IPVanish Pricing

As you have seen, you’ll save $42 with an annual subscription more than a monthly subscription. Should you frequently traverse the entire year and fasten to public Wi-Fi in addition, the annual subscription is what you want. They aren’t the least expensive Virtual private network available, they also aren’t probably the most costly. Like a lot of their features, they appear to become targeting a contented sweet place of good value.

Compared to other other VPNs that need you to pay more to get into all of the VPN’s features, IPVanish Virtual private network provides you with everything with any plan. Which means you’ll have five synchronised connections, full security measures, and then any selection of a web server you want. There aren’t any mix-sells or upsells.

The web site also provides periodic coupons for brand new subscribers that can help you save as much as 20% off the first billing cycle. So, when you purchase a yearly plan, you’re saving 20%, or near to $16, from the twelve month.

IPVanish Virtual private network provides a 7-day money-back guarantee. Should you request reimbursement within a week once you subscribe and aren&#8217t pleased with the service, you&#8217ll get all a refund within ten working days, no questions requested. That&#8217s okay, however it&#8217s not just like the disposable trial that other providers like NordVPN carry or even the thirty day refund that ExpressVPN carries.

That stated, IP Vanish Virtual private network offers a lot of payment options that may keep the information anonymous, like Bitcoin. Additionally they offer a variety of worldwide payment options. You will not need to bother about your identifying information transferring to the organization by your payment method.

With any Virtual private network &#8211 you typically get that which you purchase. Whilst not perfect, IPVanish&#8217s prices and payment choices are a powerful reason for their service.

File encryption &amp Security

IPVanish Virtual private network provides you with a choice of three different protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPsec Virtual private network. They&#8217re all excellent selections for security, but OpenVPN is probably the top protocols to keep you protected. That one offers 256-bit file encryption of the data, that is what banks use to maintain your information safe on their own websites.

There’s also over 40,000 shared IP addresses to select from to cover your real Ip. You are able to connect to another one an limitless quantity of occasions if you want. Ip switches can further assist you to keep the identity and internet actions unknown to anybody who may be searching.

On top of that, IPVanish Virtual private network doesn&#8217t keep logs of the traffic. The organization doesn&#8217t keep an eye on in which you go, or that which you do, online, so even when it&#8217s offered having a warrant to research something, there&#8217s no information for IPVanish Virtual private network to provide. This can be a tough feature to drag off without having to sacrifice network stability. Some the likes of ExpressVPN and VyprVPN attempt to strike an account balance where they merely log some good info for support &amp network stability, whereas some, like NordVPN or AirVPN possess a no-log policies that appears to affect their performance. IPVanish &#8211 once we&#8217ll see within the Performance section, appears to drag this balance off.

**Caveat &#8211 Observe that no Virtual private network is 100% secure. Your visitors are still routing via a company. Any organization can close shop or go rogue. If you’re attempting to avoid your American ISP &#8211 then you’re simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter using the trust of the Virtual private network. If you’re a political activist where trust is really a existence or dying situation, you have to be using something similar to Tor. This highlights this section of IPVanish Virtual private network&#8217s improvements, however the point remains using a Virtual private network doesn’t instantly create security/privacy. That’s something do via aligning company incentives (ie, having to pay for businesses who maintain security) &amp being positive.

IPVanish Virtual private network strikes a great balance with advanced security measures which are understandable for that lay user. Many VPNs remove advanced controls with regard to usability and convenience, but IPVanish&#8217s advanced settings are helpful. Here’s what their Preferences screen appears like within their application.

IPVanish Advanced Settings

IPVanish Advanced Settings

Overall, IPVanish deservedly will get praise online forums and publications for his or her user-friendly privacy practices with no-log practices.

Usability &amp Onboarding

IPVanish Virtual private network will a good job moving new clients to active customers (ie, &#8220onboarding&#8221). Their signup process is easy. Their apps are seamless and self-explanatory.

After registering and verifying your current email address, you’re redirected towards the Get Began screen where one can download apps for the particular devices.

 IPVanish Get Started

When you initially get on the customer, you are able to walk-through a tutorial that shows key features. After setup, you may choose a web server and have it instantly connect with a web server for you personally according to your best server location and current location. You may also search a complete listing of servers using filters, like protocol and current speeds.

IPVanish Tutorial

IP Vanish Quick Connect

IP Vanish Server List

The customer offers both fundamental and advanced features to meet the requirements of almost any user. Would like to get connected as rapidly as you possibly can? You don&#8217t have to change anything since the client sets essential security measures for you personally. If you wish to tweak anything based on your choice, there&#8217s always that option.

Within the advanced section, you may choose your protocol, Ip settings, activate the Kill Switch and leak protections, and much more, using the click of the couple of buttons.

Whilst not as pretty as another Virtual private network clients, IPVanish is straightforward and simple and highly functional.

Speed, Performance &amp Consistency

Like all other Virtual private network, IPVanish Virtual private network calls itself the &#8220world&#8217s fastest Virtual private network.&#8221 However, according to my testing, they are able to really tell you they are among the fastest VPNs available.

There’s a great deal which goes right into a Internet speeds using a Virtual private network. It is extremely literally an intermediary. So there’s likely to be a speed dropoff when compared with non-Virtual private network speeds, particularly if your server is geographically distant out of your location. That stated, there’s a great deal that the good Virtual private network can perform for Internet speeds. Amongst other things, they may have a geographically diverse group of servers that match both customer location as well as in-demand content. They are able to provide capacity far above demand. And &#8211 they are able to use server settings based on connection types and kinds of content.

I live and operate in Atlanta, Georgia, U . s . States, so my tests have the ability to a powerful American bias. But, IPVanish Virtual private network is remarkably consistent across its servers, in the U . s . States and individuals far away, with speed and gratifaction. And, several speed tests conclude this Virtual private network appears to achieve the most similar speeds to online connections with no Virtual private network for installing and uploading.

Here’s my baseline, non-Virtual private network internet speed.

No VPN Bandwidth Test

This is actually the typical result with IPVanish.

IPVanish Speed Test

That’s 90% of my non-Virtual private network speeds. That’s spectacular.

I had been also able to connect with the United kingdom and stream BBC One with zero lag or choppiness.

IPVanish BBC Live

Furthermore, this Virtual private network stays associated with little possibility of lagging and dropped connections. So, you likely won’t notice a lot of a modification of your connection once you go surfing towards the Virtual private network.

Overall, IPVanish scores very well around the speed / performance area.

IPVanish Virtual private network Cons / Disadvantages

Obviously, no Virtual private network provider is ideal. You will find natural tradeoffs to almost everything. IPVanish Virtual private network isn’t any exception towards the rule, as it features a couple of negatives to think about that could affect your choice.

Here are the disadvantages which i found with IPVanish.

Company Transparency

The main one factor you ought to be somewhat worried about is the possible lack of transparency with regards to details about the organization. Its website should clearly condition an area, contact details, and a few web sites the organization.

As noted within the Security / File encryption section, trust may be the core element of any Virtual private network. Any organization can tell you they are secure, however it&#8217s another factor entirely to consistently implement security policies consistently constantly, regardless of what.

IPVanish Virtual private network is extremely transparent using its server status, although not its mission, people, values or purpose.

IP Vanish Transparency

Despite the possible lack of an about page, some sniffing around lead me to discover that IPVanish is really a subsidiary of Highwinds, that is a subsidiary of cybersecurity giant StackPath.

IPVanish CTO

Highwinds also operates several Virtual private network brands &#8211 an IPVanish is one. Their primary clients are content delivery systems, which is the reason a Virtual private network will be a good complementary business on their behalf. Around the switch side, additionally, it makes me question precisely how big of the priority IPVanish is really.

There are plenty of reasons to utilize a big company. They’ve sources and connections that businesses simply don&#8217t have. However, if your subsidiary is just a number on the balance-sheet, it may be simple to make choices which are harmful to many users, even when it seems sensible for the organization.

Should you trust big companies, then the truth that IPVanish is only a brand inside a big company&#8217s portfolio is okay &#8211 even good factor. Should you trust smaller sized, independent companies, then this may be a serious disadvantage.

Located in the U . s . States

Again, this isn&#8217t something crucial, however the U . s . States isn&#8217t probably the most well-noted for internet privacy. The U.S. government is extremely able to restricting the web and rapidly locating the information it really wants to find.

Since IPVanish Virtual private network is really a U . s . States-based company, you follow the U.S. internet policies and rules. When the government decides it really wants to monitor your online activity, it may always obtain a warrant to do this through IPVanish Virtual private network.

However, since IPVanish Virtual private network doesn’t keep logs, the likelihood of anybody discovering you’re behind among the VPN’s IP addresses is extremely unlikely. Still, if the privacy issue enables you to the smallest bit squeamish, then IPVanish Virtual private network might not be the best choice.

Furthermore, if you are considering making use of your Virtual private network to violate the DMCA, then remember that if you’re caught having a breach, your account is susceptible to termination.

Aside &#8211 you will find, this fact sounds counter-intuitive for their &#8220no logging&#8221 claim that they can me too. Either they are doing log some traffic or they never terminate accounts or they filter specific connections (ie, Torrents). In either case, I&#8217ll just mention the purpose of trust again.

Customer Care Options

Although IPVanish Virtual private network states on its site that its support is &#8220on duty 24/7&#8221, it doesn&#8217t mean you&#8217ll obtain a quick response. Some customers have pointed out waiting hrs prior to them getting an answer from the team member with the ticketing system concerning&#8217s no live chat support.

So, even when they’re working 24/7 via email, there might not be an adequate amount of them for everyone for the questions they get requested. Insufficient quick support may cause some serious issues when you are baffled having a technical problem.

There are several useful guides online that may help you complete a variety of tasks by yourself, from fundamental to more complex, however they still won’t assist with most intricacies.

IPVanish Support

IP Vanish Support Email

Whenever you follow the link towards the support center, you will see an email that states:

IPVanish Support

“BEFORE Clicking: Please be aware that our support representatives are backlogged by in regards to a day-and-a-half. Make Certain that you simply aren&#8217t waiting needlessly which the solution isn&#8217t already within our support center.”

Each day . 5 won’t help if you are on the quick business travel and want to connect with hotel Wi-Fi together with your Virtual private network. You’ll be home before getting your condition resolved.

Furthermore &#8211 other product chat or phone support.

Can’t Always Access Geo-Restricted Content

You might not stress about getting use of geo-restricted content, like Netflix or YouTube videos that some countries ban. Otherwise, you’ll be able to disregard this problem. For many, being able to access geo-restricted content is a crucial feature of the Virtual private network.

IPVanish Virtual private network claims to get into the information rapidly, however, many customers have discovered it hit-or-miss, particularly with Netflix. But, to become fair, as increasing numbers of services become popular to VPNs accessing their content, several VPNs are in possession of similar issues.

After I was attempting to access geo-restricted content, I stored getting to leap through hoops, such as this one from Google &#8211

IPVanish Check

It&#8217s not really a deal killer, but was something which was out being an inconvenience when compared with other VPNs.

IPVanish Virtual private network Next Steps

IPVanish ticks many of the boxes of the good Virtual private network for many, but additionally has some shortcomings which will rule it for many.

If you’re mainly worried about speed, performance with no-logging, then IPVanish is a good fit for you personally. Go register here.

See IPVanish&#8217s plans &amp prices here.

If you’re searching for any Virtual private network with better prices &amp transparency without having to sacrifice performance, take a look at ExpressVPN here. Read my ExpressVPN review here.

Otherwise, you can browse a number of my related Virtual private network posts below!

IPVanish Virtual private network

IPVanish is a well-liked Virtual private network service located in the U . s . States.
IPVanish Virtual private network
Date Printed: 05/30/2017
IPVanish has excellent prices, performance and usefulness. When they don&#039t log information, they are doing fall lower on customer care and transparency.
3.5 / 5 stars

The publish IPVanish Virtual private network Review: Pros &#038 Cons of utilizing IPVanish Virtual private network made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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NordVPN versus. AirVPN: Virtual private network Provider Comparison

NordVPN vs AirVPN

After many years of foolishly running my internet business via public Wireless, I decided to employ a Virtual private network to secure my communications (and access a little bit of from market sporting occasions on a trip).

But I discovered that choosing the best Virtual private network to match me would be a bit complicated. There&#8217s no such factor like a general &#8220best&#8221 Virtual private network &#8211 rather, every one has to create tradeoffs that suit many although not all needs. NordVPN and AirVPN were two which i checked out carefully.

I reviewed NordVPN here and reviewed AirVPN here. I combined my notes from individuals posts write this NordVPN versus. AirVPN publish around the most typical Virtual private network factors. You are able to skip to my conclusion here.

However, here&#8217s a little bit of background.

AirVPN relies Italia and operated “by activists and hacktivists in defense of internet neutrality, privacy and against censorship.” These were founded this year like a free service.

See AirVPN&#8217s plans here.

NordVPN is a ten years old Virtual private network provider located in Panama. They’re possess a quickly growing subscriber base. They tell you they are the &#8220world&#8217s innovative Virtual private network&#8221 having a concentrate on privacy.

See NordVPN&#8217s plans here.

Both of them have advantages &amp disadvantages in my opinion. This NordVPN versus. AirVPN comparison will appear each and every according to &#8211 prices, features, performance, usability, customer support, and market focus.

Disclosure – I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All opinions and knowledge derive from my experience like a having to pay customer performing independent research.

Prices

Initially glance, it appears like there&#8217s a substantial cost disparity between NordVPN and AirVPN.

Take particular notice, and also the prices is rather comparable given features compensated for more than span of annually. Any shorter, and AirVPN is hands lower cheaper.

Like some Virtual private network providers, NordVPN provides a reduced rate per month should you purchase multiple several weeks (a couple of years) in advance.

NordVPN Pricing

AirVPN provides a fairly flat rate service for support and improved access (this structure goes back for their founding like a free service for activists).

AirVPN Pricing

The monthly cost to have an annual subscription to NordVPN is comparable to the monthly cost to have an annual subscription to AirVPN.

Subscription NordVPN AirVPN
1-month $11.95 $7.84
6-several weeks n/a $5.60
12-several weeks $5.75 $5.04
24-several weeks $4.00 n/a

* Observe that prices within the table are per monthly prices.

As you can tell in the table above, a complete year plan from AirVPN continues to be slightly less expensive than an identical twelve month plan from NordVPN.

Both Virtual private network providers provide a free 3-day trial of the services.

The disposable trial for AirVPN can also be slightly harder to obtain. NordVPN enables you to enroll in their free trial offer online. AirVPN, however, needs a written request before they grant a totally free trial.

Both NordVPN and AirVPN accept a number of payment options. Included in this are credit/bank card, PayPal, as well as Bitcoin. AirVPN includes a slight edge using their selection of worldwide payment processors and/or even the gift voucher option.

Features and Personalization

Both NordVPN and AirVPN include pretty much every feature you anticipate from the quality Virtual private network service. NordVPN positions themselves because the &#8220world&#8217s most effective Virtual private network&#8221 while AirVPN&#8217s website plainly pushes their feature-heavy Internet security software credentials &amp overall mission.

NordVPN Claims

AirVPN&#8217s feature page emphasizes security measures &#8211

AirVPN Security

Now. Before I am going any more I wish to highlight two caveats.

First Caveat &#8211 Observe that no Virtual private network is 100% secure. Your visitors are still routing via a company. Any organization can close shop or go rogue. If you’re attempting to avoid your American ISP &#8211 then you’re simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter using the trust of the Virtual private network. If you’re a political activist where trust is really a existence or dying situation, you have to be using something similar to Tor. This can be a segue to NordVPN&#8217s / AirVPN&#8217s improvements, however the point remains using a Virtual private network doesn’t instantly create security/privacy. That’s something do via aligning company incentives (ie, having to pay for businesses who maintain security) &amp being positive.

Second Caveat &#8211 There’s an natural tradeoff between convenience and control. The greater convenience /ease that you simply provide having a Virtual private network, then less control the finish user has. The greater control you allow the finish user, the less ease / convenience / simplicity you provide. Neither approach is nice. Neither isn’t good. It&#8217s just a tradeoff. You&#8217ll begin to see the same tradeoff with privacy and network performance. Every Virtual private network attempts to strike an account balance backward and forward. Both NordVPN and AirVPN lean towards control. But AirVPN leans way in to the control field. If you wish to turn every knob and protocol variable, then AirVPN is perfect for you. You are able to go on and skip. If you would like simplicity and convenience, make sure to keep studying towards the usability section.

In either case &#8211 additionally to strong security and file encryption features, both NordVPN and AirVPN have an intuitive interface, customizable choices for advanced users, and synchronised connection support.

Listed here are a couple of from the top features that both Virtual private network providers share:

  • AES 256-Bit File encryption
  • DNS Leak Protection
  • Internet Kill Switch
  • P2P Discussing and Torrenting
  • Access Geo-Restricted Content
  • Synchronised Device Support
  • Mobile Phone Compatibility

Despite their similarities, NordVPN and AirVPN also share lots of variations &#8211 as noted within the second caveat. A few of these are relatively minor while some should considerably affect your general decision.

One particualr minor difference is P2P filesharing. While both providers take, NordVPN clearly claims that it’s only permitted on certain servers, in countries in which the practice is legal.

Another minor difference is within how the two services start security. Neither keeps any logs on user data, providing you with confidence that the information is safe*. This time will pop-up w/ speed &amp performance.

Both services also utilize OpenVPN, AES 256-Bit File encryption, and excellent Password Forwarding, in addition to DNS leak protection as well as an Internet kill switch.

The Right Password Forwarding for every is performed having a 4096-Bit Diffie-Hellman key.

The main difference here’s largely in Virtual private network protocol options. AirVPN only enables you to employ OpenVPN protocol (claiming other medication is too insecure) while NordVPN enables you to select from IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec in addition to OpenVPN.

&nbsp

NordVPN Advanced Settings

However, a significant difference in the manner NordVPN and AirVPN conduct business is the actual company location.

NordVPN is resides in Panama while AirVPN is resides in Italia. This small fact by itself is a big plus for NordVPN along with a damaging knock on AirVPN so far as privacy is worried.

The main reason? Panama has great online privacy laws and regulations while Italia&#8217s are very invasive. Actually, Italia is part of 14 Eyes, a spying alliance that mixes the web surveillance efforts from the NSA and GCHQ.

AirVPN Privacy Caveat

Panama, however, has completely uncensored Internet. It’s no mandatory data retention laws and regulations or online government surveillance. The nation is outdoors the direct grasp from the NSA and GCHQ, unlike Italia.

With this stated, AirVPN has been doing a great job maintaining the privacy and security of the users, despite their Italian headquarters. If you wish to base your security / trust with different company&#8217s founding story &amp general values, I’m able to&#8217t argue against AirVPN. They were founded like a community-supported Virtual private network for activists. Security &amp privacy are made to their DNA as well as their fan-base.

The truth that it normally won’t keep data logs of any sort implies that they’re not able to provide any user information for an outdoors agency, like the government, even when motivated.

Also, worth note may be the Tor options supplied by both companies. NordVPN offers Tor over Virtual private network while AirVPN offers Virtual private network through Tor.

The Virtual private network through Tor choice is unique for the reason that it first connects you to definitely a Tor network before connecting to AirVPN. Combine this with Bitcoin payment for true anonymity.

Tor over Virtual private network, regrettably, is less impressive. With this particular setup, you connect first to NordVPN then to some Tor browser. Connecting by hand to some Tor browser first (or with AirVPN) is an infinitely more secure approach to being able to access the net.

Another feature important to note is NordVPN&#8217s &#8220double Virtual private network.&#8221 The organization appears to savor speaking up this excellent offering, but we&#8217re not too convinced about this. To put it simply, a dual Virtual private network chains together multiple VPNs right into a string. Data goes through two VPNs (rather of a single) on a trip from the web for your computer.

Obviously, a dual Virtual private network comes with security benefits – however these are minimal. Along with a double Virtual private network produces a potential loss of speed.

Though a dual Virtual private network is advantageous for a small % of users, losing in speed should steer many people away (that will segue in to the next section).

Both NordVPN and AirVPN can be found on Home windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. NordVPN enables for six synchronised connections while AirVPN enables for 3.

Performance and Speed

A Virtual private network goes to inherently slow lower your non-Virtual private network connection as you are literally adding a middle-man located a large number of miles away. But a great Virtual private network can minimize your speed loss with well-enhanced servers, a properly-balanced network and getting servers situated in geographically ideal locations.

You will find two quick caveats before I discuss general speeds.

First, these two providers possess a heavy presence in Europe. I live (and conduct my tests) from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I attempt to check comparable servers (ie, make use of the same server locations for) but have a larger geographic lag compared to other VPNs.

Second, these two VPNs convey a big focus on zero logging. They don&#8217t even log bandwidth or time stamps. That&#8217s good from the privacy perspective, but it is also harmful to network stability given that they don&#8217t have just as much insight on server spikes &amp usage. Both of them provide real-time user tools to obtain users to self-select high-performing servers. But &#8211 it&#8217s not at all something they are able to control or perhaps nudge. Here&#8217s AirVPN&#8217s speed board.

AirVPN Speed Transparency

In either case &#8211 both AirVPN and NordVPN may take a hit with sporadic speeds. Here&#8217s my baseline non-Virtual private network speeds &#8211

No VPN Bandwidth Test

Here&#8217s NordVPN&#8217s best speeds &#8211 no more than 52% of non-Virtual private network bandwidth regardless of the low latency &#8211

NordVPN Speed Test

Here&#8217s AirVPN&#8217s typical first test connection &#8211

AirVPN Speed Test

Yeah&#8230not so great. So let&#8217s reconnect!

AirVPN Test

Better &#8211 but nonetheless not great &#8211 especially when compared with other providers like PureVPN, VyprVPN or ExpressVPN.

Performance &amp me is also impacted by the geographic spread of servers across countries. If you’re attempting to access geo-restricted content within the United kingdom&#8230and there’s no server within the United kingdom, then you’re at a complete loss.

Furthermore, if you’re mainly on the other hand around the globe because the nearest Virtual private network server, your speeds will always be going to possess a built-in lag.

These two providers possess a weakness in this region (to compare, see my ExpressVPN versus. NordVPN or ExpressVPN versus. AirVPN reviews). But they’re different in how weak they’re in every.

NordVPN has servers situated in over 58 countries. They likewise have a higher raw quantity of servers to select from if your are lagging. With somewhat switching around you’ll locate one having a fast connection&#8230if you’re near where their servers are clustered.

That&#8217s because NordVPN&#8217s servers mostly are clustered in Europe instead of spread around the world.

NordVPN App Map

So &#8211 NordVPN includes a decent country count&#8230with a caveat.

That stated &#8211 AirVPN presently has servers in just 15 counties. Many of these have been in Europe along with a couple of servers within the U . s . States, Canada, and Hong Kong. Note the distribution on their own charts &#8211

AirVPN Speed Transparency

Usability

Like I pointed out within the Features section caveat &#8211 there’s a tradeoff between convenience and control. If you want so that you can turn every knob and each setting. Many people simply want their software to operate work. Some desire a balance.

Overall, NordVPN tries to match some personalization whilst getting the easy setup of other VPNs.

Registering requires only their email. Produce a disposable email for more privacy.

After register, you’re sent an activation link. The next thing is to download the customer, produce a name and password, and you’re all set. It’s that simple and painless.

NordVPN Signup Flow

The NordVPN client is very straightforward, regardless of platform. It’s produced with utmost simplicity in your mind to higher attract beginners.

The AirVPN client is a lot more complex. It&#8217s fully free design not just leads to elevated customizability but additionally provides you with the opportunity to do an independent audit.

If you’re expecting an easy register&#8230you have been in for any frustrating experience. I covered it within my full AirVPN review, but here&#8217s a few snapshots of my signup process.

AirVPN Purchase Sequence

AirVPN Setup

AirVPN Installer Second Screen

AirVPN Technical VPN

AirVPN Installer

AirVPN Connection

AirVPN’s interface is among the most fully featured VPNs available on the market&#8230it&#8217s also a discomfort for that average user.

It’s a better option for advanced users while NordVPN is unquestionably a better option for novices.

Customer Support

There is a big divide between both of these Virtual private network providers with regards to customer care.

NordVPN offers 24/7 support via support tickets &amp knowledgebase. They go ahead and take traditional company approach of top lower customer care.

NordVPN Customer Support

AirVPN has much slower response occasions. With simply an e-mail system in position, responses frequently take several hrs.

AirVPN Support

That stated &#8211 AirVPN&#8217s &#8220thing&#8221 isn’t typical top lower company customer support. They’ve *very* active forum full of active, dedicated customers ready to assist fellow customers out. AirVPN has much more of a residential area feel than the usual company support feel.

With that, NordVPN&#8217s support has most of the issues &amp non-problems with typical company support. You will find horror tales going swimming online &#8211 some anecdotal, some apparently legit. I haven&#8217t had any issues, they also don&#8217t appear to place a lot of investment to their support channels either.

AirVPN isn’t affected by these issues. The internet consensus is the fact that while their professional support is frequently slow, it’s only friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Furthermore, the city is generally useful and they’ve customers annotating their FAQ section frequently.

An array of sources can be found on company’s websites. Both maintain message boards, although AirVPN’s leans heavily for the technical side (and has the jargon).

If you’re a DIYer &amp confident with community support, then you definitely&#8217ll likely find AirVPN to become a fit. If you’re more familiar with typical customer care, then NordVPN is a better fit.

Market Focus

The prospective audience of NordVPN and AirVPN is surprisingly different.

NordVPN caters a lot more for the casual, everyday Virtual private network user&#8230who also prizes privacy-focused features. The whole services are simple, straightforward, and it has privacy features that a minimum of sounds good &#8211 such as the no-log policy and double-file encryption setup.

AirVPN requires a more complicated, fully-featured route. Their services are targeted at a far more experienced Virtual private network user that wishes greater customizability and control.

With this stated, both NordVPN and AirVPN can be used as exactly the same applications, for example remaining secure on public Wi-Fi, P2P file discussing and torrenting, and being able to access streaming entertainment content like Netflix in geo-restricted areas.

Lastly, NordVPN and AirVPN possess a tilt toward Europe / Asia within the Americas in server locations.

Conclusion: NordVPN or AirVPN?

Though they’re fairly different services, are all good at what it really does. Both Virtual private network providers will also get consistently higher rankings coming from all their users.

Should you &#8211 such as the ethos &amp mission of AirVPN you prize complete control &amp personalization or else you simply don&#8217t mind DIY / community support, then you need to go join AirVPN here.

See AirVPN&#8217s plans here.

Should you &#8211 just like a cleaner, simpler setup you prize greater performance or want dedicated customer care, then you need to join NordVPN here.

See NordVPN&#8217s plans here.

If you’re searching for any Virtual private network with increased simplicity of use &amp better performance within the Americas, take a look at ExpressVPN (review here comparison versus. NordVPN here and versus. AirVPN here.

Kudos on securing your digital existence &#8211 make sure to consistently go to whichever Virtual private network you join 🙂

The publish NordVPN versus. AirVPN: Virtual private network Provider Comparison made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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ExpressVPN versus. VyprVPN: Virtual private network Provider Comparison

expressvpn vs vypervpn

After many years of foolishly running my internet business via public Wireless, I decided to employ a Virtual private network to secure my communications (and access a little bit of from market sporting occasions on a trip).

But I discovered that choosing the best Virtual private network to match me would be a bit complicated. There&#8217s no such factor like a general &#8220best&#8221 Virtual private network &#8211 rather, every one has to create tradeoffs that suit many although not all needs. ExpressVPN and VyprVPN were two which i checked out carefully.

I reviewed ExpressVPN here and reviewed VyprVPN here. I combined my notes from individuals posts write this ExpressVPN versus. PureVPN publish around the most typical Virtual private network factors. You are able to skip to my conclusion here.

However, here&#8217s a little bit of background.

ExpressVPN is possibly among the best known VPN providers. The organization has been available since 2009 and it has grown considerably since. It presently boasts 145 server locations spread across 94 countries, with more than 1,000 servers as a whole. They’re located in the British Virgin Islands.

See ExpressVPN&#8217s plans here.

VyprVPN was founded this year underneath the umbrella company Golden Frog. It’s located in Europe, a nation that has beneficial privacy laws and regulations for online users. It offers an international server network, robust file encryption practices, proprietary software, and excellent customer service.

See VyprVPN&#8217s plans here.

Both of them have advantages &amp disadvantages in my opinion. This ExpressVPN versus. VyprVPN comparison will appear each and every according to &#8211 prices, features, performance, usability, customer support, and market focus.

Disclosure – I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All opinions and knowledge derive from my experience like a having to pay customer performing independent research.

Prices

Evaluating VyprVPN and ExpressVPN is tricky because of the way they structure their plans.

With ExpressVPN, you choose an agenda period of time, and also you obtain access to their full-featured set in one bundle.

ExpressVPN Pricing

Around the switch side, VyprVPN includes a &#8220Pro&#8221 along with a &#8220Premium&#8221 level. Using the &#8220Premium&#8221 plan, you receive yet another 2 connections and use of an exclusive protocol which makes it more prone to access major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. With this comparison, I&#8217ll consider the &#8220Pro&#8221 level, because it&#8217s nearly similar to ExpressVPN&#8217s plans.

VyperVPN Pricing

Keep in mind that having to pay for six several weeks or perhaps a year in advance more often than not nets a lower monthly cost than having to pay for any single month at any given time with regards to VPNs.

Subscription ExpressVPN VyprVPN Pro VyprVPN Premium
1-month $12.95 $9.95 $12.95
6-several weeks $9.99 n/a n/a
12-several weeks $8.32 $5.00 $6.67

* Observe that the costs within the table are per monthly prices whenever you join the whole subscription period.

As you can tell above, even VyprVPN’s Premium plan’s less expensive than ExpressVPN’s single plan.

The yearly cost for VyprVPN Fees are roughly $80.00 when compared with roughly $100.00 for that ExpressVPN plan.

VyprVPN Pro runs for roughly $60.00 / year.

Both providers accept major credit/an atm card in addition to PayPal for payment. However, only ExpressVPN offers a variety of payment options including BitCoin and worldwide payment processors.

VyprVPN provides a 3-day free trial offer. While ExpressVPN doesn’t provide a free trial offer, they are doing provide a 30-day money-back guarantee for his or her plan.

For prices, VyprVPN cost less and it has a totally free trial. Unless of course you’re searching to pay for anonymously with BitCoin, they’ve the advantage on prices.

Features and Personalization

Both ExpressVPN and VyprVPN provide an impressive variety of features that balance the control needs of advanced users using the convenience requirements of beginners.

These functions include everything you’d expect from two top-level Virtual private network providers, including strong security and personalization features.

Listed here are a couple of from the features that both Virtual private network providers share:

  • AES 256-Bit File encryption
  • Internet kill switch
  • DNS leak protection
  • Capability to access geo-blocked content
  • Synchronised device support
  • Mobile phone compatibility

One factor backward and forward providers is the fact that ExpressVPN enables P2P filesharing (on some servers) while VyprVPN doesn&#8217t.

Actually, VyprVPN is clearly against discussing and torrenting (apart from legal content). You need to scratch this method immediately if that’s your intended utilization of a Virtual private network.

Another negative of VyprVPN is within user logs. Though it isn’t exactly uncommon among Virtual private network providers, VyprVPN keeps user connection logs for approximately thirty days.

However, the organization does condition there is a strict no usage logs policy. Regardless of the situation, VyprVPN may not be the very best bet for privacy fanatics (although average users ought to be okay).

ExpressVPN also logs some user information. Their logs are extremely minimal (time stamps and bandwidth levels) and therefore are aggregated for those users which are more in privacy. They log that aggregated meta data to balance their network whilst supplying greater amounts of privacy than other providers.

In ExpressVPN&#8217s words:

“We never keep traffic logs, so we also don’t keep any logs that may enable anyone to match an IP and timestamp to a person. Make certain entirely based on shared IPs, and therefore just one IP doesn’t track to a person user.”

Caveat &#8211 Observe that no Virtual private network is 100% secure. Your visitors are still routing via a company. Any organization can close shop or go rogue. If you’re attempting to avoid your American ISP &#8211 then you’re simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter using the trust of the Virtual private network. If you’re a political activist where trust is really a existence or dying situation, you have to be using something similar to Tor. This can be a segue to ExpressVPN&#8217s / VyprVPN&#8217s improvements, however the point remains using a Virtual private network doesn’t instantly create security/privacy. That’s something do via aligning company incentives (ie, having to pay for businesses who maintain security) &amp being positive.

Just how do ExpressVPN and VyprVPN rank so far as security goes overall?

Both bring your safety, security, and privacy seriously. Their top-tier security and file encryption standards verify this.

VyprVPN is resides in Europe. The nation is renowned for its relatively relaxed online privacy laws and regulations.

Actually, the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act and Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance helps make the country a secure zone from Europe’s otherwise strict data retention laws and regulations.

Something to be aware of is the fact that Golden Frog, VyprVPN’s parent company, is partly centered within the U . s . States.

Which means that Golden Frog is potentially susceptible to strict US online privacy laws and regulations, such as the troubling Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Patriot Act.

Yet another VyprVPN security feature are their protocol options (OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and Chameleon.

OpenVPN is usually a good (err, mostly necessary) protocol choice for average users. Chameleon, produced by VyprVPN, is yet another excellent choice because it eliminates deep packet inspection helping mask traffic.

ExpressVPN, however, is resides in the British Virgin Islands.

Although the British Virgin Islands do not have data retention laws and regulations, they’re still an english overseas territory.

The danger is most likely minimal, however the Uk could, theoretically, pressure companies within the British Virgin Islands to give data records.

ExpressVPN features OpenVPN protocol with 256-Bit file encryption having a RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication.

Another awesome security facet of ExpressVPN is its. onion Tor website. Key in http://expressobutiolem.onion/ for your Tor browser to register and download the service, even when VPNs are restricted in your town.

Finally, both Virtual private network providers offer synchronised connections. ExpressVPN provides you with as much as three synchronised connections while VyprVPN Pro provides you with three too and VyprVPN Premium provides to 5.

They provide some personalization options inside their particular apps without overwhelming complexity. Here&#8217s ExpressVPN&#8217s options screen &#8211

Express VPN Settings

Here&#8217s VyprVPN&#8217s options screen &#8211

VyperVPN Advanced Settings

No features discussed above do or die their service. You should think about all of them according to your own personal needs and preferences, especially relating to your preferred security.

Performance and Speed

A Virtual private network will inherently limit some Internet speeds because it works as a literal Internet middle-man. However, a great Virtual private network will minimize this speed loss having a wide server selection spread across geographic locations where are generally near the connecting user or situated in target connection country (to gain access to geo-restricted content).

Both ExpressVPN and VyprVPN prosper with server locations and server diversity. Here&#8217s VyprVPN&#8217s server map.

And ExpressVPN&#8217s location list.

ExpressVPN Choose Location

ExpressVPN includes a slight edge in servers with 145 metropolitan areas in 94 countries, which makes it probably the most extensive Virtual private network systems around.

But both prosper on performance. Here&#8217s my baseline Internet speeds in Atlanta, Georgia, USA &#8211

No VPN Bandwidth Test

Here&#8217s VyprVPN&#8217s speed test &#8211

VyprVPN Speed Test

And here&#8217s ExpressVPN&#8217s test &#8211

ExpressVPN On Bandwidth

The speeds are most likely less than quick enough to satisfy either company&#8217s declare that they&#8217re the quickest Virtual private network on the planet. But you may also see that they’re extremely fast with a minimum of 80% of non-Virtual private network bandwidth.

One slight difference backward and forward is the fact that ExpressVPN encourages you to definitely allow them to instantly connect with the very best connection via &#8220smart location&#8221.

Express VPN App

VyprVPN takes the transparency route with showing real-time speeds for those connections inside their application.

VyperVPN Connections

Overall, if you’re searching for that fastest performance, then VyprVPN will probably win. If you’re searching for additional raw quantity of countries, then ExpressVPN will probably win (though both of them are adding more every single day).

Usability

Both ExpressVPN and VyprVPN end up with kudos within the usability department. Each company puts lots of focus on making the whole process of utilizing their services as straightforward and simple as you possibly can.

Fast and simple sign-up, an intuitive interface, and ideal customer care imply that either provider is a great choice for Virtual private network beginners. Here&#8217s ExpressVPN&#8217s signup screen &#8211

Express VPN Setup

And VyprVPN&#8217s signup screen &#8211

VyperVPN App Setup Flow

Registering for either service requires only their email. When you register and pay, you are able to download the Virtual private network client for the preferred device. Both services are suitable for Home windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux.

The consumer interface for every services are slightly different but equally intuitive. Things are organized nicely so that you can select and fasten to servers effortlessly.

Also of note is the fact that both Virtual private network websites are neat and streamlined. It’s simple to find the important information in addition to download the person clients.

It’s honestly difficult to choose a obvious champion so far as usability goes, so we’re likely to declare that one a tie.

Customer Support

Customer care is among individuals factors that&#8217s difficult to rank, regardless of the organization or industry. Everybody may have different encounters when contacting a Virtual private network provider. What we should can tell without a doubt is the fact that both companies prioritize customer support.

ExpressVPN is an especially customer-focused Virtual private network provider. Their 24/7 live customer care is only the beginning for which they provide. Though it normally won’t offer live phone support, their live chat support is great. All representatives are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. And when a front-line representative can’t answer your question – they’ll point you towards an employee that may. They can have service diagnostics included in their application.

ExpressVPN Support Diagnostics

Additionally to 24/7 live chat support, ExpressVPN also provides a ticketed email support line in addition to numerous sources online. Take a look at their FAQ or help section before contacting an agent – you’ll most likely find the solution to your question there.

The client give you support receive from VyprVPN is similarly solid. They provide 24/7 live chat support in addition to email support. An alternative choice would be to refer to them as through their online contact page. Or through their form of the in-application help form.

VyperVPN Support App

Like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN offers an extensive FAQ, troubleshooting guide, and instructions. Odds are you’ll discover the info you require from these sources.

Whichever of the Virtual private network providers you finish up selecting, you&#8217ll be set with support.

Market Focus

The prospective audience of ExpressVPN and VyprVPN are extremely similar.

It’s obvious both providers intend to supply a customer-friendly service that beginners may use effortlessly. Simultaneously, both services pack in a number of more complicated features for additional advanced Virtual private network users.

It&#8217s also obvious that both services usually are meant to be utilized for many different applications, rather of a single. Either provider is a superb option for individuals that are looking to remain secure inside a public Wi-Fi, access geo-blocked content, or stream entertainment content like Netflix or Hulu. Both of them value an account balance between performance and security with VyprVPN biased a little more toward performance and ExpressVPN biased a little more to privacy.

We pointed out it above, but it’s worth mentioning again – VyprVPN doesn’t allow P2P discussing unless of course it’s of legal content.

Individuals intending to file share or torrent tend to be best choosing ExpressVPN.

Other Things to consider

ExpressVPN and VyprVPN honestly do not have lots of variations.

Though situations are setup differently, it makes sense very similar. Both provide stellar security, usability, and efficiency.

So, which in the event you opt for? Listed here are a couple of additional factors to consider while deciding:

  • ExpressVPN has more servers (situated in more countries), permitting more consistent high speeds (despite the fact that they’re and not the fastest of).
  • ExpressVPN keeps more minimal connection logs, although their whereabouts within the British Virgin Islands is reason for minor concern.
  • VyperVPN has nearly perfect file encryption. It’s Chameleon Technology scrambles packet metadata to provide you with use of restrictive systems while keeping the most security.

Conclusion: ExpressVPN versus VyprVPN

ExpressVPN or VyprVPN are solid selections for a handy, balanced Virtual private network for everyday use.

If you’re &#8211 wanting more payment options wanting torrenting options wanting more country server options and/or want less saved logs go join ExpressVPN here.

See ExpressVPN&#8217s plans here.

If you’re &#8211 wanting maximum performance more file encryption options and/or better annual prices go join VyprVPN here.

See VyprVPN&#8217s plans here.

In either case &#8211 kudos on securing your digital existence and make certain to positively and consistently make use of your Virtual private network 🙂

The publish ExpressVPN versus. VyprVPN: Virtual private network Provider Comparison made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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