How You Can Accept Bitcoin

bitcoinBitcoin is quickly becoming a brand new payment way of both on the internet and brick-and-mortar stores. Although it features a lengthy approach to take, the resilience from the cryptocurrency proves that it could be not going anywhere soon. There are many firms that offer the opportunity to accept Bitcoin payments, although not all are trustworthy. Transpire with this information is to provide a fast background about Bitcoin, discuss why you should start accepting it, and provide a brief listing of vendors that provide Bitcoin acceptance.

Table of Contents

What’s Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is really a person-to-person virtual currency. Outdoors source payment network enables users to switch bitcoins online by deducting a delegated amount in one digital wallet and adding exactly the same add up to another. Since it is a worldwide network and isn’t associated with anyone economy or banking institution, bitcoins can be bought or exchanged for dollars, euro, yen, or any other currency.

How do you use it?

Bitcoins are sent in one wallet to a different, bypassing any organizations like banks, as simply as you transmits an e-mail. Miners secure the network by verifying each transaction and posting these questions public ledger.

Do you know the advantages of choosing Bitcoin?

Is cheaper to make use of
With no overhead of the bank, you will find virtually no processing charges with Bitcoin. Charge card companies charge between three and 5 % of every purchase only to make use of the service. It is much more to wire money in one country to a different.

Faster for big purchases
Because banks aren’t involved, there’s no freeze on funds or perhaps a wait here we are at large payments to slow transactions. Bitcoin miners frequently verify transactions in a few minutes.

Global currency
Bypass the lines and need for exchanging one currency for an additional by utilizing Bitcoin all over the world.

Market exposure
Since Bitcoin continues to be relatively recent, individuals inside the network take presctiption the quest for places to invest their bitcoins. Accepting Bitcoin provides exposure to a different market of consumers.

Accounting transparency
Once transactions are verified, they’re logged onto a web-based ledger that’s visible towards the public. For companies or non-profits with concerned parties, Bitcoin makes spending practices simple to audit.

Just how much will it cost?

Bitcoin is free of charge for individual users and may potentially be free for businesses to make use of, for the way it’s recognized (having a processor or without). However, because the need for a person bitcoin varies when transformed into another currency (similar to the worth of an american dollar against a Euro varies), some costs or extra earnings might occur every day.

How you can Accept Bitcoin

You are able to accept Bitcoin payment in any kind of 3 ways.

Peer-to-peer
Using cell phones or perhaps a tablet, you are able to accept payment from one Bitcoin wallet to a different.

QR code
Some companies opt to put a QR code at checkout for purchasers to scan and send payment.

POS hardware terminal
Merchant providers use companies to simply accept Bitcoin payment, convert it, and deposit it into designated accounts.

Trustworthy Bitcoin Processors

For individuals individuals opting to make use of the purpose of purchase hardware, I suggest the next Bitcoin processors:

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What PayPal’s Bitcoin Integration Method for Online Retailers

Bitcoin1

There’s quite a bit happening around the PayPal front right now (take a look at our lately updated PayPal review here) — it’s not only getting ready to spin removed from its longtime parent company, eBay, but PayPal now enables its retailers to simply accept Bitcoin payments.

For individuals who have no idea about Bitcoin, it’s an online currency, sometimes also known as a cryptocurrency. Bitcoins aren’t printed or minted. Actually, they merely ever exist as records of transactions, collected inside a virtual wallet. They’re processed more than a network, and also the entire platform is open-source, meaning it’s very easy for anybody to get involved with the procedure and begin earning Bitcoins. Take a look at our help guide to accepting Bitcoin to learn more.

PayPal initially announced support for Bitcoin in September of 2014 using a partnership with Braintree, confirmed within the SEC filing from April 2015. (Also worth mentioning: eBay initially purchased Braintree in 2013. Using the approaching split, Braintree will come under a brand new entity known as PayPal Holdings, that will oversee eBay’s payments segment from the business.) Furthermore, PayPal has partnered with three major Bitcoin processors: Coinbase, BitPay and GoCoin.

What Bitcoin Acceptance Method for Retailers

The takeaway is the fact that PayPal, clearly among the greatest names in online payments, clearly thinks that Bitcoin may be the coming trend. Let’s take particular notice at what it really method for retailers, whether you possess an online shop, a brick-and-mortar location, or both.

Who Controls Bitcoins

Banks don’t control Bitcoins like they are doing other currency. Actually, Bitcoins are unregulated, that is a benefit: Not one institution controls the woking platform, and thus unlike national currencies, a financial institution simply can’t print more (resulting in devaluation and perhaps inflation).

Bitcoin can also be semi-anonymous. Every transaction is distributed to some Bitcoin address and put into an open register (known as the blockchain), but the master of that address isn’t known. You are able to setup multiple Bitcoin addresses, further obscuring your data. This is actually the Internet we’re coping with, which means you should absolutely learn on how to safely handle Bitcoin payments and safeguard yourself.

However, though, additionally, it means there isn’t any way of recovering Bitcoins in fraudulent transactions. It’s like cash in this way (except, obviously, that Bitcoins don’t really possess a physical form). And Bitcoins aren’t safe from cost fluctuations, either. By penning this, just one Bitcoin is equivalent to $236.61 U.S. dollars, but prices spiked greater than $600 within the summer time of 2014, have arrived at $1,100 formerly.

Payment Charges

Among the key benefits of Bitcoin is always that the payment processing charges tend to be, reduced than individuals assessed by banks along with other institutions. In some instances, there aren’t any transaction charges whatsoever.

However, that’s a specific item if you use the Bitcoin network, no intermediary like PayPal or Braintree. In September, Coinbase announced on its blog that retailers using Coinbase via Braintree to simply accept Bitcoins would pay a set 1% fee — which continues to be a great deal under the two.9% + $.30 normally assessed by PayPal and Braintree.

If the transaction charges are going to remain low (or nonexistent) as Bitcoin gets to be more popular remains seen, however if you simply have knowledge about Bitcoin and transaction charges, we’d like to learn about it! Drop us a line within the comments.

Time for you to Process Transactions

Because Bitcoins aren’t controlled like other currency, time to process transactions is shorter — nearly immediate in some instances. You are able to send money in one continent to a different within ten minutes, for much under a wire service with no worries about frozen funds. PayPal works nearly immediately too, causeing this to be an excellent fit for retailers who would like their cash immediately.

Mobile Payments and Bitcoin

An advantage of Bitcoin being digital is the fact that it’s perfectly suitable for mobile apps. For those who have a Bitcoin wallet application installed, you are able to send money or make payments utilizing a QR code or NFC. Which means retailers whose systems are established to handle both Bitcoin and mobile payments can readily accept payments at brick-and-mortar locations plus online stores.

The way forward for Bitcoin

In the realm of retail, PayPal’s Bitcoin integration means merchants convey more payment options with almost no try to do on their own part. However, PayPal (by extension, its subsidiary Braintree) is way from the only method to accept Bitcoin. Actually, Stripe, Shopify and Square all offer Bitcoin integration. Menufy, a web-based ordering system for restaurants, also enables restaurants to simply accept Bitcoin.

Like a number of other technologies, like mobile wallets, NFC, and beacons, Bitcoin continues to be hovering around close to digital scene for quite some time. There are many proponents who choose what Bitcoin means — namely freedom by means of a really digital, mobile presently. It certainly has the ability to alter the way we consider spending cash on the internet and e-commerce generally. But at this time, it isn’t prevalent.

That certainly looks going to change. Much like Apple finally backing NFC payments with Apple Pay has resulted in an uptick in mobile payments, PayPal offering Bitcoin integration may be the catalyst that pushes Bitcoin in the forefront on the web stage.

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Manley is definitely an independent author and editor who loves e-commerce, internet marketing, technology, and social networking. Not so long ago, she earned a journalism degree, but she continued to uncover that they could work at home, researching, editing, and covering the items she found most fascinating. When she’s not associated with her laptop, Melissa usually can be based in the kitchen, studying a magazine, or doing something from the nerdy persuasion.

Melissa Johnson

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The Top 5 Payment Gateways for Online Credit Card Processing

Online payment gateway

Setting up an eCommerce business involves making a lot of choices, but one important decision you might have overlooked is choosing the best payment gateway to allow your customers to actually make purchases on your site. Pick a good gateway, and you’ll be able to accept just about any payment method imaginable, interface with the online shopping cart of your choice, and, perhaps most importantly, easily be able to migrate your customer payment data to a different system if you later decide to change gateway providers. If you pick a not-so-great gateway, you may someday find yourself with a product that no longer meets the needs of your business – and no easy way to switch to a better one.

If you’re new to eCommerce, your first question might be “Just what the heck is a payment gateway, anyway?” Admittedly, payment gateways are something of a nebulous subject. Merchants are often unsure about what they do, and why they might need one in the first place. They’re also often confused with merchant accounts, which is a related (but separate) merchant service that you’ll also need to accept credit cards and other forms of payment.

We’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. A payment gateway is a software application that establishes a communication link between your eCommerce website and your merchant account provider’s payment processing system. Much like your computer’s BIOS and other operating system functions, payment gateways run in the background, and your customers won’t have to interface with them directly. The primary purpose of a payment gateway is to allow your customers to make purchases on your site using the payment method of their choice. While almost every gateway will support credit card purchases, the better ones will also allow customers to pay using eChecks, debit cards, their PayPal account, and even contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay. Most gateways also maintain a secure database of your customers’ payment method data, shipping and billing addresses, and other information. With this database, returning customers won’t have to re-enter their payment method information every time they make a purchase. This feature naturally translates to increased sales due to the convenience it offers your customers. For more details about payment gateways and how they work, see our article The Complete Guide to Online Credit Card Processing With a Payment Gateway.

Merchant accounts, on the other hand, process payment transactions and disburse the funds to you after a customer makes a purchase. Both retail and eCommerce businesses need a merchant account to accept credit card payments, although today payment service providers (PSPs) such as Square and Stripe can offer basic credit card processing without the need for a full-service merchant account. If your business is strictly retail and you don’t make any sales online, you can stop reading now. You won’t need a payment gateway. eCommerce merchants, on the other hand, will usually need both a payment gateway and a merchant account. This is because their transactions will all be in a card-not-present environment where they won’t be able to verify their customer’s identity or have access to the magstripe or EMV-chip data that helps to prevent fraud in the traditional card-present environment of a retail location.

With so many different choices of merchant account and payment gateway providers on the market, you might wonder what the best way is to set your business up with both of these services. There are two methods you can use: an integrated approach, or a non-integrated approach. Under the integrated approach, you’ll use the same provider for both services. For example, an account with a payment service provider (PSP) like Stripe includes both payment gateway functions and transaction processing services. The non-integrated approach, on the other hand, requires you to sign up for each service separately. The easiest way to do this is to use the payment gateway offered by your merchant account provider. Often this will be a proprietary product, such as the Quantum Gateway provided by CDGcommerce. While most providers will charge you additional fees for a payment gateway, CDGcommerce will let you use their gateway for free. Many providers also offer access to third-party gateways, which may be a better option if you need more advanced features than what the proprietary gateways have to offer or simply want to have more flexibility to change your merchant account provider at some point in the future. The majority of merchant account providers (including CDGcommerce) offer Authorize.Net as one of their payment gateway options. Signing up for the Authorize.Net gateway through your merchant account provider is often less expensive than going with the company directly, as providers can negotiate discounted rates and fees for their customers.

Another way to take the non-integrated approach is to sign up for your merchant account and payment gateway separately. For example, let’s say you’ve found a great merchant account provider that offers significantly lower processing rates than you’ve been able to find elsewhere. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a gateway that includes all the features you need for your business. You can always sign up for a third-party gateway and integrate it into your merchant account. While this may be the best option for some merchants, be aware that there are two disadvantages to this approach. For one thing, you’ll have to make absolutely sure that the two services are fully compatible with each other before you sign up. Also, you will almost always end up paying more money with this approach. Watch out for gateway setup fees and additional per-transaction charges for using a third-party gateway.

So, which approach is right for your business? There’s simply no clear-cut answer to this question, unfortunately. As a general rule, however, smaller businesses will usually save money by signing up with a payment service provider (PSP) that doesn’t charge monthly fees for either transaction processing or the use of their payment gateway. The trade-off, of course, is that you will pay higher per-transaction processing costs, as most PSPs only offer flat-rate pricing. Upgrading to a full-service merchant account and adding in a payment gateway will cost you more in monthly fees, but you’ll usually save money on processing charges – at least if your provider offers interchange-plus pricing. Larger businesses that have a higher monthly processing volume can more easily afford the extra fees and will save money overall because of the lower processing rates available from full-service merchant account providers. Because of the number of variables involved, there is no easy way to determine what your processing volume needs to be for a full-service merchant account plus a gateway to be more cost-effective than simply going with a PSP. We recommend that you take a close look at the total percentage of your transactions each month that goes to paying for merchant services and compare this to what you would pay under a different provider.

How We Chose:

While all payment gateways offer the basic function of processing transactions over the internet, there’s a lot of variability beyond that. The best gateways on the market offer a combination of fair pricing and a robust feature set that will meet the needs of most eCommerce merchants. In evaluating how well each gateway stood up against the competition, we used the following criteria:

  • Pricing: While everyone wants to save money, we firmly believe that pricing should be evaluated in terms of overall value rather than simply trying to find the cheapest option available. Trying to save a few dollars can easily result in being stuck with a product that doesn’t fully meet your needs. Nonetheless, there are some things to look out for. Many gateway providers, for example, charge a gateway setup fee when you first open your account. While this is a one-time charge, it’s mostly a junk fee that you should avoid paying. You’re more likely to get hit with a setup fee if you sign up directly with a gateway provider. Merchant account providers often waive this fee if you get your gateway through them. Monthly gateway fees (usually around $15.00 – $25.00 per month), on the other hand, are very hard to avoid. Unless you sign up with a company like CDGcommerce, which doesn’t charge a monthly fee for their gateway, you can expect to pay this on top of whatever monthly fee you have to pay for your merchant account. Gateway processing charges (typically $0.05 per transaction) are another thing to look out for. Some companies will charge you separately for this, while others will include it in their processing rates. You might also have to pay PCI compliance fees, particularly if you’ve signed up directly with a gateway provider. Usually, however, these fees are included in your merchant account pricing.
  • Contracts: Most payment gateway providers will bill you on a month-to-month basis, with no long-term contract and no early termination fee (ETF) if you close your account. However, your merchant account provider might include both of these provisions, so read all your contract documents very carefully before signing up. It won’t do you much good to be able to drop your payment gateway whenever you want if you’re stuck in a three-year contract for your merchant account.
  • Features: Obviously, you’ll want a gateway that includes the features you’ll need to run your business. Confirming that a gateway will meet your needs, however, isn’t always as easy as it should be. Companies naturally tend to play up the unique features of their services, but in most cases, they won’t disclose the limitations or shortcomings of those services. For starters, you’ll want to confirm that the gateway supports all the payment methods your customers use. For example, almost every gateway on the market will support Visa and MasterCard credit card purchases. Support for less-common cards isn’t as easy to find. If your customers use Diners Club (as unusual as that may be), you’ll want a gateway that supports it. Support for multiple currencies is also important for some merchants, and you’ll obviously need a gateway that supports the specific currencies your customers use. If you prefer a particular online shopping cart for your site, you’ll need a gateway that is certified to integrate with it. If you need to customize the integration between your site and your gateway, access to an API that allows you to do that will be essential. Finally, we recommend that you choose a gateway that allows for easy and convenient data portability in case you need to switch to a different gateway.
  • Security: No eCommerce merchant ever wants to have their site hacked and their customer’s sensitive payment data exposed in a data breach. Your gateway provider doesn’t want this to happen, either, which is why every gateway on the market comes with a number of security and encryption features to keep your account safe. Some of these features, however, are more effective than others. Look for point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and a gateway that meets Level 1 PCI compliance standards. Other features, such as data breach insurance, are also useful to have.
  • Customer support: Like any other software product, payment gateways are prone to occasional hiccups and glitches – often at the most inconvenient times. The eCommerce world runs around the clock and isn’t limited to just regular business hours. For this reason, you’ll want a gateway that’s backed up by 24/7 customer support. While options like email and online chat are nice to have, you really should be able to talk to a customer service representative via telephone when a problem arises.

Before we dive into our specific recommendations, let’s be clear about one thing: there really isn’t a perfect gateway out there that will meet the needs of every merchant. Even the best gateways fall short of perfection in one aspect or another. Nonetheless, there are several gateways that provide a significantly better combination of features and services than others. Here are our recommendations:

Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net logo

Originally founded in 1996, Authorize.Net is one of the oldest and most experienced payment gateway providers in the industry. Thanks to partnerships with a host of merchant account providers, they’ve also cornered the lion’s share of the market for payment gateways. There’s a good chance that your merchant account provider offers Authorize.Net as their payment gateway.

But, does being the biggest gateway provider also make them the best? Well, maybe. With over twenty years in business to perfect their product, they’ve definitely managed to add a lot of bells and whistles to their core product. Their gateway can accept all major credit cards (yes, even Diner’s Club), debit cards, eCheck payments, and even digital payment methods such as PayPal and Apple Pay. They can accept international transactions from just about any country in the world, although your business must be based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, or Australia. Their Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS) can protect your site from card-not-present fraud – a common issue with eCommerce. Best of all, their gateway seamlessly integrates with a huge number of third-party eCommerce platforms.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, there are a few things to watch out for. Pricing can be on the high side if you sign up directly with Authorize.Net, with a $49.00 gateway setup fee, a $25.00 monthly gateway fee, and a $25.00 fee for chargebacks. If you already have a merchant account, you’ll still pay an additional $0.10 per transaction for the use of their gateway. International transactions also pay an additional 1.5% for processing. If you don’t have a merchant account, Authorize.Net will set you up with one, but it uses a flat-rate pricing plan of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. While this is the same as what you’d pay for PayPal or most other payment service providers (PSPs), you can get lower rates by signing up with a merchant account provider that offers interchange-plus pricing.

The good news is that you can usually get a better deal on the Authorize.Net gateway by signing up with a partner merchant account provider. Most providers will waive the setup fee, and they’ll often charge a lower monthly gateway fee and per-transaction processing fee (typically $0.05 per transaction). However, Authorize.Net does have one major weakness: data portability. Or, rather, the lack of it. Their Customer Information Manager (CIM) is a powerful feature that allows you to store customer data, including credit card numbers, securely. Unfortunately, it’s difficult and very expensive to download that data and take it with you if you ever decide to switch to a competing payment gateway. This is a serious limitation, especially considering that other providers (such as Braintree) offer you the freedom to take your customer data with you if you want to. You’ll want to very carefully evaluate whether Authorize.Net will be able to meet the long-term needs of your business before you sign up.

PROS:

  • Broad support for multiple payment methods and currencies
  • Strong security and fraud prevention features
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

CONS:

  • Pricing is expensive for merchants who sign up with the company directly
  • High flat-rate pricing for optional merchant account
  • Data portability is unusually difficult and expensive

For a more in-depth look at Authorize.Net, check out our full review.

Braintree Payment Solutions:

Braintree Payment Solutions logo

Founded in 2010, Braintree Payments Solutions is now a PayPal company. They offer an integrated approach to eCommerce, with each account including both a payment gateway and a full-service merchant account. It’s available in 44 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe. Payments can be accepted in over 130 currencies, including Bitcoin if you’re particularly adventurous.

Standard accounts at Braintree follow a pay-as-you-go pricing model, with no account setup fees, monthly fees, or even gateway fees. All transactions are processed at a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Billing is on a month-to-month basis, with no long-term contracts or early termination fees. While the flat-rate pricing is not particularly cost-effective for larger businesses, the lack of monthly fees makes it a great deal for smaller companies. Braintree addresses this limitation by offering enterprise pricing for larger businesses (presumably with interchange-plus rates), but you’ll have to process over $80,000 per month to qualify for it.

Braintree’s gateway includes some excellent standard features, including its Drop-In UI for customer checkouts and support for recurring billing. It’s also compatible with a huge variety of third-party integrations, including shopping carts, accounting software, and analytics. Developers can further customize the gateway using Braintree’s client and server SDKs. Perhaps the best feature Braintree has to offer is that they provide complete data portability for free. If your needs change and you want to switch to a different provider, you’re free to take your customer data with you.

While Braintree offers an excellent service at a fair price, it’s not for everyone. If you already have a separate merchant account (particularly if you’re stuck in a long-term contract), their gateway-only option is quite expensive at $49.00 per month and $0.10 per transaction processed over the gateway. There’s also almost no support for card-present (i.e., retail) transactions, although they do support a handful of third-party mPOS solutions.

PROS:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing with no monthly fees
  • Simple flat-rate pricing for standard accounts
  • Free, unrestricted data portability

CONS:

  • No support for eCheck (ACH) payments
  • Gateway-only option is expensive

Check out our full review of Braintree for more information.

PayPal:

PayPal Logo

You might not think of PayPal as a payment gateway provider, but their Payflow Payment Gateway is actually a very capable product. In fact, PayPal offers a host of merchant services for eCommerce businesses, and you can integrate most of them with the merchant account, shopping cart, or another service you’re already using.

Offering PayPal as an additional payment method is the simplest option, as it’s free to set up and there are no monthly fees or long-term contracts. Pricing is pay-as-you-go and based on a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (4.4% + $0.30 per transaction for international transactions). While this is certainly the least expensive option, realize that as a payment service provider (PSP), PayPal is not giving you a full merchant account. Instead, your account is aggregated with those of other sellers so that you won’t have a unique merchant ID number for your business. The downsides to this arrangement, of course, are that your account won’t be nearly as stable as a merchant account, plus account freezes and holds on your funds are more common. PayPal is rather notorious for withholding seller’s funds at the slightest suspicion of fraud, so it’s better to use them as a backup payment method rather than relying on them entirely for your transaction processing needs.

If you already have a merchant account through a different provider, the Payflow Payment Gateway is designed to integrate with it and expand your payment options. There are two pricing plans for the Payflow gateway: Payflow Link and Payflow Pro. Payflow Link (the best choice for most merchants) is practically free. There are no gateway setup or monthly fees. You pay an extra $0.10 per transaction, and that’s it. You can use a PayPal-hosted payment page or a template embedded on your website. Payflow Pro, on the other hand, offers full customization and additional PCI compliance features. However, it’s rather expensive, with a $99.00 setup fee and a $25.00 monthly fee after that. You’ll also still pay $0.10 per transaction with this option.

PROS:

  • No setup or monthly fees (for Payflow Link)
  • Simple, transparent flat-rate pricing with no hidden fees
  • Easy to setup and begin accepting payments

CONS:

  • Flat-rate processing charges are higher than most merchant accounts offer
  • Elevated risk of account holds, freezes, and terminations
  • Inconsistent quality of customer support

For more detailed information about PayPal, see our complete review here.

PayTrace:

PayTrace logo

While they’re not nearly as well-known as the other heavy hitters in the payment gateway industry, PayTrace offers a solid product with lots of specialized features, particularly for merchants in the B2B sphere. Unlike other merchant services providers who offer a broad range of products and services, PayTrace is a payment gateway provider first and foremost. They don’t offer merchant accounts or any hardware, so you’ll have to go with a third-party provider for these items. Although the PayTrace gateway is their primary product, the company also offers a virtual terminal and a mobile payments app.

PayTrace offers both Basic and Pro pricing plans, with the former being suitable for small eCommerce businesses and the latter offering specialized options for larger B2B merchants. The Basic plan has no setup fee and costs only $15.00 per month after that. You’ll also pay $0.30 per transaction processed over the gateway, which is in addition to any processing charge you pay to your merchant account provider. The Pro plan requires a $75.00 setup fee, and $20.00 per month after that. However, your gateway processing fee drops to $0.10 per transaction. You’ll also be able to process Level II and Level III credit card data, which will save you up to 1.0% in processing charges due to the lower interchange rates for these transactions. Processing Level III data requires some additional data input on your part and is mostly useful for B2B transactions, but if you process a lot of these types of transactions, the savings could be significant.

The PayTrace gateway also supports additional features such as eCheck (ACH) processing and recurring billing. However, these are optional features requiring additional fees, and are only available under the Pro plan. PayTrace bills on a month-to-month basis only, so there’s no long-term contract and no early termination fee to worry about. Be aware, however, that your merchant account provider might not be so generous. As always, we highly recommend that you read all contract documents thoroughly before signing up for a merchant account. The same advice goes for payment gateways, even though gateway providers are generally much more flexible about contract terms.

Like most gateway providers, PayTrace also offers a customer information database so returning customers don’t have to re-enter their payment method data every time they make a purchase. Unfortunately, it’s only available under the Pro pricing plan. Data portability is supported, although PayTrace notes on its website that “only truncated payment information is available for export from the system.”

PROS:

  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • Integrates with most merchant account providers and shopping carts
  • Supports Level II and Level III credit card data for B2B merchants

CONS:

  • High per-transaction processing charge under Basic pricing plan

To learn more about PayTrace, check out our full review.

Stripe Payments:

Stripe logo

Much like Braintree, Stripe Payments is a tech-focused merchant services provider that specializes in serving the eCommerce community. Those services are tightly integrated into their payments system, so the company doesn’t offer a discrete Stripe-branded payment gateway. Instead, it’s built into their overall payments platform and comes with every Stripe account. For small businesses, this is a very affordable approach, as there’s no separate account setup fee, no monthly gateway fees, and no additional per-transaction processing fee. You also don’t have to worry about trying to integrate two or more third-party services into your website. Another advantage is that Stripe includes several additional features for free that most gateway providers charge extra for, including eCheck (ACH) processing and recurring billing.

Stripe’s pay-as-you-go pricing couldn’t be simpler. Credit card transactions are processed at a single flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. eChecks are 0.8%, up to a maximum of $5.00. Stripe also supports digital payment methods such as Bitcoin and Apple Pay. Qualified nonprofit corporations get a discount on these rates, and enterprise users (i.e., those processing over $80,000 per month) can also negotiate volume discounts on their processing rates. Like most of its direct competitors, Stripe bills month-to-month only and doesn’t impose long-term contracts or early termination fees.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? If you think that there must be a catch – of course there is. Stripe is a payment service provider (PSP), and so they don’t provide true full-service merchant accounts. Like other PSPs (i.e., Square or PayPal), funding holds and account freezes or terminations are distressingly common. Customer service is another weak point, with almost all communications between Stripe and its merchants being conducted via email.

The best thing about Stripe is that it’s designed specifically for eCommerce merchants. Most providers are more focused on the retail sector, and their support for eCommerce always comes at a higher cost in the form of gateway fees and additional per-transaction charges. With Stripe, new eCommerce merchants get everything they need to start accepting payments as soon as their account is approved. While a Stripe account covers all the basics, you can also add or customize features through their huge API library or supported third-party integrations. Stripe also supports data portability, so you can easily take your customer information with you if you decide to change providers later.

PROS:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing with no setup or monthly fees
  • Simple, transparent flat-rate pricing structure
  • No long-term contracts or early termination fees
  • Huge API library for developers

CONS:

  • Flat-rate pricing is more expensive than interchange-plus for high-volume merchants
  • Frequent account holds and terminations
  • No telephone customer support

For more information, see our complete review of Stripe Payments here.

Final Thoughts:

If you’ve been reading this far, you’ve probably concluded that selecting a payment gateway provider can be a very complicated decision. While that’s sometimes true, it doesn’t have to be all that difficult. Gateway providers offer a dizzying array of options, customizations, and add-ons, but in most cases, you won’t need all of them. Take a close look at what your business needs are today, and consider how those needs might expand over time as your business grows. For example, if you don’t need recurring billing, there’s no reason to pay extra for it. If your needs change later, you can always add it to your service. Level II and III credit card data processing is another feature that a sales agent might try to upsell you on. Yes, the rates are lower, but you still pay extra to access them, and if you don’t take many B2B transactions, you’ll wind up paying extra for something you don’t use.

You’ll also want to put some thought into whether the integrated or non-integrated approach will work best for you. Payment service providers (PSPs) like PayPal or Stripe are an excellent way to add credit card processing to your business without spending any money up front. However, once your business grows large enough, the high flat-rate pricing will end up costing you more money than you’d pay with a traditional merchant account offering interchange-plus pricing. Since there’s no long-term contract to worry about, it’s relatively easy to make the switch once this happens. However, you’ll probably have to find a merchant account provider and a new gateway.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, we recommend providers such as PayPal or Stripe for new, low-volume eCommerce businesses. Braintree is also a good option, especially if you’d like to get all your merchant services from the same company. When you’re ready to step up to a full-service merchant account, Authorize.Net is a good option. However, we recommend getting their gateway through a third-party provider rather than the company itself due to the generally lower costs. PayTrace is also an excellent choice if you already have a merchant account, especially if you run a lot of B2B transactions.

Much like merchant account providers, there is no single “best” gateway provider. Even the companies we’ve profiled here have their shortcomings. Every business has different needs, and it’s up to you to decide what features your business needs the most. Fortunately, most payment gateway providers offer a similar set of standard features that cover the most common requirements of a majority of businesses. They also provide a very high degree of customization to make their service work with your business, although in many cases you’ll have to have developer skills (or hire one) to implement them. If you’ve had any experience with the providers profiled in this article or you want to highlight a gateway provider we haven’t mentioned, please feel free to tell us about it in the Comments section below.

The post The Top 5 Payment Gateways for Online Credit Card Processing appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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PayPal Versus Stripe

Paypal-vs-Stripe

PayPal and Stripe are tools to deal with online payment processing, but they’re also a lot more. Using its slew of interconnected products varying from mobile payments to financing services, I believe it’s reliable advice that PayPal is really a household name. And Stripe, while much more of a “behind the scenes” processor whose name customers don’t always recognize, includes a lengthy listing of extremely popular clients and partners. So within the PayPal versus. Stripe debate, that has the benefit?

First, let me explain that neither PayPal nor Stripe provides the least expensive payment processing rates around. For any fundamental payment processor with lower rates, you’d need to be obtaining a regular credit card merchant account. You&#8217ll acquire some fundamental eCommerce support, which can be recommended that you&#8217re centered on cost and never so much on features.

However if you simply&#8217re searching for features and versatility, you&#8217re in the best place. PayPal and Stripe’s strengths lie within their myriad eCommerce features, including support for digital goods, subscriptions, as well as mobile application payments. However, even though these two services do essentially exactly the same factor, they are doing do it diversely.

If you’re unsure which of those online payment processors suits your company, or simply want a little more context for prior to deciding, continue reading in my comparison of both companies&#8217 selling points: features, prices, customer support, and much more. For those who have something to include or perhaps your experience is different from my conclusions, you can leave me a comment!

Services and products

Champion: Stripe

PayPal&#8217s core offering happens to be its payment processing: allowing anybody to create a payment to some merchant utilizing their own PayPal balance or perhaps a debit or credit card.  But nowadays, retailers using PayPal obtain access to a number of supplemental services where you can exceed selling on eBay.

You will find three service plans for PayPal:

  • Express Checkout: Add PayPal like a supplemental checkout option additionally for your standard payment processor for normal PayPal rates.
  • Payments Standard: Get online payment processing and invoicing for normal rates.
  • Payments Pro: Get the standard PayPal features Along with a Virtual Terminal and located checkout page for any fee every month plus processing fee.

You will discover much more about these different plans here.

PayPal’s other services include:

  • PayPal Here: PayPal’s mPOS application
  • POS software integrations
  • Located payment page (with PayPal Pro subscription)
  • PCI compliance
  • PayFlow Payment Gateway
  • Online &amp in-application invoicing
  • Virtual terminal
  • Digital goods
  • Subscriptions
  • Donation collection tools
  • Buy now buttons
  • Mass payout
  • PayPal Credit: Provide no-interest financing to customers

Plus, PayPal offers SDKs along with other developer tools so that you can create custom integrations &#8212 as well as power your personal mobile payments application with support for Android Pay and Apple Pay.

Like PayPal, Stripe&#8217s primary function is online payments. The organization offers retailers a boatload of features to enhance its core offering, but unlike PayPal, they&#8217re much more of supplements than capabilities beyond payment processing. Listed here are Stripe’s primary features:

  • Payment processing
  • Located payment page
  • PCI compliance
  • Customizable checkout
  • Subscriptions
  • Marketplace tools
  • Platform-building tools
  • Coupons and free trials
  • Customizable reporting tools
  • Buy buttons in mobile phone applications

It bears mentioning that Stripe states convey more than 100 features &#8212 and that i&#8217m inclined to think it. It&#8217s a really robust platform that may focus on almost any type of internet companies. Plus, past the general features, you&#8217ll also find Stripe&#8217s Atlas suite of tools, made to help worldwide entrepreneurs begin a business in america. Stripe also offers a strong API for simple integration with a number of other applications. You may also integrate stripe with mPOS apps &#8212 if you&#8217ll be having to pay exactly the same rate, that is considerably greater than most mPOS apps. However, the integrations do support Android and Apple Pay too.

PayPal versus. Stripe: Featuring Do You Want?

Since we&#8217ve covered the fundamentals, it&#8217s time for you to consider what&#8217s essential for your company.

Sigma is Stripe&#8217s reporting tool, and I wish to call focus on it since it&#8217s easily probably the most robust and different reporting tool I&#8217ve seen. PayPal will generate reports for you personally &#8212 but nobody besides Stripe enables you to definitely make your own custom SQL queries to create reports. This isn&#8217t just selecting from the pre-generated listing of options &#8212 if you’re able to ask it using SQL, you can aquire a report. Should you&#8217re after a little serious business data, it&#8217s difficult to ignore it. PayPal&#8217s reports are fairly advanced (also it&#8217s a lengthy list), but they’re not customizable. A minimum of nothing like Stripe&#8217s.

I continue being surprised by Stripe&#8217s insufficient an online terminal. You are able to by hand enter transactions with the dashboard, but the organization positively discourages by using this feature greater than from time to time. Additionally, it leaves you responsible for PCI compliance. PayPal&#8217s virtual terminal comes at a price &#8212 along with a greater processing rate &#8212 but based on your company, it may be an excellent tool. Most omnichannel platforms provide a virtual terminal nowadays. On the other hand, Stripe is mainly for online commerce.

An associated note: Stripe generally handles PCI compliance for you personally, meaning no charges or additional work. If you possess the PayPal Standard plan, you&#8217re instantly PCI compliant too. However, around the PayPal Pro plan you aren&#8217t. Rather, PayPal provides you with transparent redirects to assist, and also you much complete a yearly self-assessment in addition to quarterly scans and much more. It won&#8217t set you back more past the monthly plan you&#8217ll have to put more work in it.

Something which Stripe recommends to obtain around PCI compliance concerns for manual transactions is applying an invoicing service. You&#8217ll need to find an add-on service that integrates with Stripe &#8212 for instance, Zoho Invoice, or Flint. This will be significant because Stripe doesn’t have native invoicing support. PayPal enables you to send invoices out of your computer or from inside the PayPal Here application.

However, there&#8217s without doubt that Stripe has probably the most capable tools for designing checkout processes and managing subscriptions. PayPal has some solid management tools for subscriptions and recurring billing, however, you do not have control of the checkout process around the Standard plan,  and the professional Plan&#8217s checkout tools just don&#8217t appear to stack facing Stripe&#8217s.

While PayPal and Stripe offer methods to exactly the same problem (online payments), they do it in Completely different ways. PayPal may be the entry-level solution &#8212 something which anybody (or at best, almost anybody) with a fundamental knowledge of eCommerce or technology can use. However, there is also much more tools to consider your company beyond only the Internet: an mPOS, invoicing, POS integrations, and much more. Unless of course you&#8217re searching at something completely custom, the majority of PayPal&#8217s features don&#8217t require specialized understanding.

To obtain the most from Stripe, you&#8217re have to a developer, because it wasn’t created for the layperson. It&#8217s intended for companies that require a very customizable and tech-based solution for payment processing. If you want a plentiful variety of features, Stripe may be the obvious champion as well as your emphasis is particularly online payments. If your priorities lie elsewhere (simplicity of use, or omnichannel commerce), you may be very likely to think about PayPal.

Charges and Rates

Champion: PayPal

Both PayPal and Stripe charge merchants the same per-transaction processing fee: 2.9% + $..30. Additionally, Stripe will also support both ACH and Bitcoin, charging .8% per transaction, limited to $5 maximum.

Stripe charges nothing extra for accepting worldwide cards, because of its subscription services, or its located payments page. This really is certainly a perk. However, if you are planning to make use of Connect, Stripe&#8217s platform-building suite, you&#8217ll encounter additional charges.

PayPal&#8217s base subscription bills you nothing monthly &#8212 however, you don&#8217t obtain a located payment page. To achieve that, you have to change your intend to PayPal Payments Pro. There is also PayPal&#8217s virtual terminal (which has a different prices plan for transactions). However, if you would like recurring billing/subscriptions, there&#8217s yet another fee.

  • PayPal Payments Pro + Virtual Terminal: $30/month
  • Virtual terminal prices: 3.1% + $.30
  • American Express prices for Pro and Virtual Terminal: 3.5%
  • Recurring billing: $10/month

Forty dollars per month for located payment page and recurring billing appears just like a lot. However, you need to do will also get the virtual terminal &#8212 an element Stripe doesn&#8217t support. Plus, should you&#8217re once subscription management, you don&#8217t must have PayPal Payments Pro. A $10/month add-on is much more reasonable, otherwise ideal.

It&#8217s also worth mentioning that PayPal is really less expensive in other situations. Particularly, PayPal provides a non-profit discount for 501(c)(3) organizations, in which you&#8217ll pay 2.2% + $.30 for transactions. And let’s say you sell low-value digital goods (under $10 typically), PayPal really provides a micro payments plan that can save you money within the typical rates. You&#8217ll pay 5% + $.05 per transaction &#8212 and since the transaction fee is gloomier, you find yourself saving cash although the percentage fee is greater. There&#8217s additionally a Mass Payout option, where one can s finish a bulk wave of payments for just twoPercent, limited to $1 per transaction.

If you want an mPOS, PayPal Here’s also less expensive than dealing with Stripe &#8212 2.7% per swipe, instead of 2.9% + $.30. Again, based on your average ticket size, this might mean substantial savings. (However, if you are using Shopify Payments, that is operated by Stripe, you will get 2.7% on swiped transactions. However that means building on Shopify&#8217s platform, not Stripe&#8217s.)

You’ll find a lot of PayPal’s prices here, or take a look at Stripe&#8217s prices.

I truly dislike PayPal&#8217s cost because of its located payment page, virtual terminal, and recurring billing, considering that other available choices available &#8212 not only Stripe &#8212 with lower prices. However I like that exist nonprofit prices, there&#8217s a micropayments choice for retailers who sell digital goods, and you obtain a flat percentage rate for mPOS transactions. Which makes PayPal much more flexible on prices compared with Stripe.

Simplicity of use

Champion: PayPal

Both Stripe and PayPal allow customers to pay retailers. But because a merchant, your experience is going to be a great deal different. While PayPal has tools for developers, it&#8217s created for almost anybody so that you can setup and begin taking payments. For those who have no training with code, establishing Stripe will probably be much more complicated. You might be able to setup the fundamentals yourself (we&#8217ve seen reading user reviews affirming this). However, if you want something more complicated than the usual fundamental eCommerce site, you probably wish to just bite the bullet and employ a developer. Otherwise, you&#8217ll be fairly limited in you skill.

Here’s a good example: You’ve most likely seen PayPal’s ubiquitous “Buy it now” button, which enables you to definitely order and purchase products on numerous sites. To be able to integrate a “Buy it now” button to your site, all that you should do is copy the related code from PayPal’s website and paste it to your website. Stripe includes a similar “Pay with card” option, however it requires you because the merchant/developer to create the necessary coding framework.

Now, if you’re a developer, there&#8217s no doubt that Stripe is the foremost choice. You can perform a lot with PayPal nowadays. But that can be done a lot more with Stripe. Again, Stripe was created first of all for developers&#8230so this will make lots of sense. However if you simply&#8217re not tech savvy and also you don&#8217t have quick access to a person using the requisite skills, PayPal will probably be the smarter option.

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee

Champion: Tie

Neither PayPal nor Stripe needs a contract (both services are pay-as-you-go), which means no early termination fee for either service either. Yay!

Sales and Advertising Transparency

Champion: Tie

Both PayPal and Strike are extremely upfront regarding their charges and services. Neither company employs any schemes or gimmicks which will catch you unexpectedly if you notice your bill. As pointed out, PayPal’s charges could be a little trickier to wrap the mind around due to their complexities. Still, they all are clearly organized around the firm’s website which means you certainly couldn’t give them a call “hidden charges.” Both services will also be pretty much known, so that they don’t have to junk e-mail the web with annoying advertising, and also you&#8217re not getting salespeople pounding at the door (or perhaps your email inbox).

Customer Support and Tech Support Team

Champion: PayPal

PayPal offers a number of ways to achieve an assistance repetition. Included in this are:

  • Self-Help Center
  • Online Community
  • Email support
  • Developer Center: PayPal&#8217s dev documentation most likely isn&#8217t as thorough as Stripe&#8217s, however it exists.
  • Phone support (available Mon–Fri 5 a.m.–10 p.m. PST): Word in the pub (see “Negative Reviews and Complaints”) would be that the quality of PayPal’s phone support is sporadic.
  • Twitter – The @AskPayPal account fields service and support questions Mon–Fri 9 AM – 5 PM CST
  • Facebook: You are able to&#8217t publish towards the page, however, you can discuss posts and message PayPal directly for those who have questions.

Stripe, however, provides more limited support:

  • Understanding base
  • Email support
  • Developer Docs: Stripe&#8217s documentation is frequently a good option to understand more about what particular features can perform, even though you aren&#8217t a developer. This a part of Stripe&#8217s support is much more comprehensive compared to knowledgebase, which&#8230really isn&#8217t everything surprising. Again, this can be a developer-focused option, and Stripe&#8217s invested its sources accordingly.
  • Freenode-based chat support (#stripe)
  • Facebook: No posting towards the page permitted, however, you can message Stripe.
  • Twitter: There&#8217s no dedicated support account, however, you can tweet @Stripe or check @StripeStatus for outage notices and updates.

Stripe’s support is decent, sure, but PayPal provides you with a choice to obtain on the telephone about actual payment-related issues. Whether or not the quality isn’t terrific, the significance of getting live phone support can’t be understated.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Champion: Tie

Both services are usually loved, but it is easy to locate complaints online. Here are the primary complaints about PayPal:

  • Withheld funds, freezing of accounts, and termination of accounts
  • High transaction charges (when compared with traditional payment processors)
  • Sporadic phone support
  • Limited seller protection

You&#8217re likely to visit a similar thread of complaints about Stripe. Listed here are the most typical issues retailers encounter:

  • Ended accounts, frequently with funds inside
  • Unresponsive customer support
  • Frequent chargebacks

Both PayPal and Stripe possess a pretty careful approach with regards to accepting online payments, which could cause account freezes and chargebacks for many retailers. It is because they&#8217re both third-party processors &#8212 they aggregate accounts into one large account. Around the one hands, it&#8217s simple enough to on line. Alternatively, the minimal underwriting means that you&#8217re in a and the higher chances of the sudden hold or termination. Regrettably, that&#8217s something&#8217ll suffer from when you purchase ANY third-party processor. It may sound frightening, but people build effective companies being worn by these types of services constantly. If you believe you may be a higher-risk merchant, or else you know your profession is on either company&#8217s listing of prohibited companies, you should most likely consider using a traditional credit card merchant account or perhaps a high-risk processor for example Durango A Merchant Account (DMS) rather.

You may also check our guide: How to prevent merchant holds, freezes, and terminations.

Positive Testimonials and reviews

Champion: Tie

It may sound frightening, but people build effective companies being worn by these types of services constantly, even with the connected risk. Finding reviews that are positive associated with a service is commonly tougher than finding complaints because individuals are more inclined to speak up if they’re unhappy with something, but you’ll be able to locate them.

Stripe&#8217s list of high-profile users, for example Reddit, Mashable, Foursquare, Squarespace, and Shopify speaks by itself. Clearly, it’s the darling of tech-savvy companies. But dig just a little much deeper and also you&#8217ll find more feedback using their company users. Here’s what individuals like about Stripe:

  • Fast and simple signup
  • No “fine print” charges
  • Nice API to utilize
  • Great documentation
  • All services incorporated in a single cost point

You&#8217ll have some similar praises for PayPal, particularly about its payment processing and prices. I&#8217m not very surprised at the possible lack of praise because of its API or even more advanced features &#8212 though they did show up over a couple of reviews. Listed here are the highlights:

  • Easy setup
  • Broadly recognized/reliable payment form
  • Offers multiple products/services besides payment processing
  • Transparent prices

Final Verdict

Champion: Tie

Within the finish, I don&#8217t think it&#8217s simple to draw a obvious champion within the PayPal versus. Stripe debate.

Ultimately, the selection depends upon your requirements. For those who have developing experience (or someone in your payroll using the requisite skills) and wish to develop a customized online storefront or perhaps a complex platform for any SaaS subscription product, Stripe is the foremost choice. If you’re not really a developer, don&#8217t possess the way to hire one, or don&#8217t have very complex needs, PayPal is probably more appropriate. If you don&#8217t obtain a located payment page with no $30/month subscription, PayPal does have a superior amount of consumer trust, therefore it&#8217s a lesser concern if PayPal redirects your clients to the site to accomplish the transaction.

Bear in mind that you simply aren&#8217t just searching for the way to consider payments online. Almost any service available can perform that. Concentrate on the features you’ll need, not only now but later on. An mPOS, invoicing, flexible checkouts, subscriptions &#8212 whatever can help you run your company easier.

However, either service requires you to definitely sign an agreement, and that means you can check out one of these simple services (or both services) without getting to commit. Need to see which runs better? It could take some work, however, you can totally test them out both out as lengthy while you&#8217d like.

Which, my pal, is fairly awesome.

What exactly are your ideas on Stripe versus. PayPal? Have you ever attempted both services? Which did you go searching for? We like to listen to readers, so please leave us your comments!

The publish PayPal Versus Stripe made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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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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