Mobile Payment Processing 101

how do mobile payments work

Should you focus on Internet buzz whatsoever, you&#8217ve most likely heard the term &#8220mobile&#8221 tossed out a great deal. Almost everything&#8217s gone mobile — gaming, marketing, shopping, you will find, even payments.

Using the rise of apps like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, more shoppers have found it easy to ditch the credit card altogether and merely depend on their own phones for payments. And much more phones support we’ve got the technology needed, too.

Just how will it all work? How can you even start establishing your company to simply accept mobile payments? And really should you?

Today we&#8217ll cover the fundamentals of methods mobile payments work, what you ought to enable them for the business, and regardless of whether you really have to accept mobile payments at this time.

What Exactly Are Mobile Payments?

Mobile payments aren&#8217t by any means new. Individuals have been toying with the thought of having to pay with mobile phones because the 1990s, although it&#8217s only lately removed as a possible option for consumers AND retailers.

However the term &#8220mobile payments&#8221 is really a broad one. Generally, it refers to 1 of four things:

  1. In-store mobile payments: Also known as contactless payments, or sometimes mPOS payments. This requires utilizing a phone (or smartwatch) to pay for rather of swiping a charge card or having to pay with cash.
  2. Mobile eCommerce: Sometimes known as mCommerce. This requires making use of your phone to create purchases online, for example with the Amazon . com application, in addition to online bill pay using your phone.
  3. Mobile peer-to-peer: Also referred to as P2P. Including services for example PayPal, SnapCash, Square Cash, and Google Wallet, which allow you to send money to buddies and family totally free.
  4. Mobile Charge Card Swiping: This is alternative way the word &#8220mobile payments&#8221 is most generally used, also it describes retailers using their phones (or a tablets) to simply accept cards, as opposed to a traditional POS terminal. You may hear this more precisely known as mobile processing.

Ideas&#8217re mostly worried about in-store payments, but we&#8217ll discuss a few of the others.

How Popular Is Mobile Payment Processing?

So what would be the adoption rates like? The Given, in the 2015 survey, discovered that 28 percent of smartphone users and 22 percent of cell phone users had designed a mobile payment previously year. That, obviously, includes all sorts of payments sent via a phone, not only to-store payments.

Not just that, however the industry appears majorly poised for growth, with payments likely to hit $37 billion in 2015 — and jump to some massive $808 billion by 2019, based on estimates by Business Insider. Individuals figures are really slightly less than BI&#8217s original projections due to how late around Samsung Pay and Android Pay launched.

Want more statistics and compelling good reasons to consider going mobile yourself? Take a look at our Ultimate Help guide to Mobile Payments. Should you&#8217re thinking about taking payments in your phone, make sure to take a look at our comprehensive guide.

How Can Mobile Payments Work?

Nowadays, most mobile payment processing methods depend on NFC — that’s, near-field communication. NFC works nearly the same as RFID technology. When two NFC-enabled products are in range, they are able to transfer data (for example payment information) from together. Within this situation, we&#8217re speaking a good NFC-enabled charge card terminal (we&#8217ll return to that in just a minute) and also the consumer&#8217s smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.

You can aquire a more in depth explanation of NFC within our article here.

The less-common alternative is using QR codes. They&#8217re similar to traditional barcodes, except they are able to hold a lot more information. The mobile phone opens an application that generates the QR code and also the merchant&#8217s POS system scans the bar code. At this time, LevelUp is among the few mobile payment options that utilizes QR codes. It supports NFC, as well as an less-common technology known as iBeacons.

The great factor about LevelUp is the fact that the organization works with companies to build up white-colored-label mobile payment apps. That means they&#8217ll produce a custom, branded application only for you. Consumers can download the application and employ that to create payments inside your stores (or restaurants).

The Customer Merchant Exchange, helmed by Walmart along with a couple of other institutions, have attempted to push CurrentC, a QR code-based choice for greater acceptance, however it&#8217s simply not removing the way in which NFC-based payments did when Apple Pay broke to the scene.

How Secure are Mobile Payments?

It&#8217s becoming more and more harder to help keep consumer data secure. Take, as an example the great Target Hack of 2013. As well as on a far more personal level, how many occasions have you ever received a brand new bank card just because a merchant&#8217s data was compromised?

Swiping a charge card just isn&#8217t a really secure type of payment because charge card figures are now being stored and transmitted more than a network.

Mobile payments — particularly, NFC-based ones — offer greater peace of mind because many of them depend on tokenization. Each time a shopper uses their mobile device to create a payment, the unit generates just one-use charge card number it transmits towards the merchant. Consequently, you, the shop owner, will never be really coping with the client&#8217s sensitive information.

Not just that, however the mobile phone&#8217s CPU rarely, when, handles the transaction and also the card details aren&#8217t really stored around the device. Rather, a safe and secure element or smart nick, outside of the CPU, generates the amount and transmits it towards the merchant&#8217s system. Card information is kept in the cloud and may usually be easily wiped remotely if your device gets lost.

Additionally, most devices that support mPOS payments require consumer to ensure their identity in some manner before finishing the transaction. For Apple Pay, it&#8217s the TouchID fingerprint scanner. For Android Pay, it&#8217s the action of unlocking the telephone (meaning consumers need to enable the lock screen to start with).

None of the is completely invulnerable, but the truth is, no payment technique is. However, you don&#8217t need to bother about mobile payments being less secure than other methods.

What Must you Accept Mobile Payments?

The good thing is that you simply don&#8217t have to significantly overhaul your whole system if you wish to accept mobile payments. All you actually need is definitely an NFC-capable charge card terminal. Since NFC is exactly what drives Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, you are able to accept the 3 payment methods (in addition to whatever other apps might emerge later) with similar bit of hardware.

Yes, upgrading terminals sounds somewhat costly proposition, particularly if you have multiple registers and locations. The good thing is by using the EMV liability shift on October first, 2015, lots of credit card merchant account providers and pay-as-you-go services (Square and PayPal, for instance) happen to be offering new, &#8220future proof&#8221 terminals to retailers. Most of those terminals will also be already outfitted with NFC. If you just got such a terminal, you may curently have what you ought to accept mobile payments. Should you&#8217re still searching at obtaining a new terminal and you need to accept mobile payments, search for one with NFC. And when you upgrade in the standard magstripe readers that Square and PayPal offer, you will get an NFC-enabled device.

Now, should you&#8217re searching at LevelUp, you&#8217re gonna need to purchase the QR code scanners (should you don&#8217t have), which run $50 each. And when your POS isn&#8217t suitable for LevelUp, you’ll need a tablet or more, or three ($100 each through the organization).

In The Event You Result in the Change to Accept NFC?

At this time, mobile payments and NFC are extremely small players within the bigger payments industry. Yes, the adoption minute rates are rising, but you’re most unlikely at this time from the game to really lose sales because of not accepting mobile payments. (Not accepting charge cards whatsoever is yet another matter entirely.)

However, having the ability to process NFC payments will help you stay around the leading edge of the profession. In case your audience is youthful and tech savvy, it&#8217s more worth purchasing we’ve got the technology to simply accept mobile payments than if, for instance, most of your audience is seniors.

Have questions regarding mobile payments? Leave us a remark! And when you&#8217re not setup with charge card processing, we will help you choose a payment processor and obtain a low-cost machine with nick card and NFC abilities.

The publish Mobile Payment Processing 101 made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Very Best Multipurpose POS Systems Currently Available

If you’re opening a brand new business, whether you’re selling artisanal vegan beignets or focusing on novelty key rings featuring lesser-known Family Ties figures, there’s an item of purchase system that is ideal for you. Should you&#8217re, for many amazing reason, doing each of individuals things, you&#8217re have to a POS that suits track of your versatility and creativeness. Individuals individuals who’re managing a restaurant, bar, gift shop, cafe or any other business that sells both edible and non-edible products (like mugs, shirts, or commemorative koozies) may benefit most out of a method that matches not only a distinct segment industry. With the amount of features modern POS software offers and also the ability, in some instances, to personalize your personal system, you really can afford to become picky. We undoubtedly are at Merchant Maverick and we’ve tabulated a summary of a lot of our favorite multi-use POS systems available on the market (in no particular order). Read on for more information!

Don&#8217t have enough time to see an entire article? Read this comparison from the top POS systems currently available.

Shopkeep:

  • Hybrid system
  • iPad, iPad Small, iOS 8.2 or greater
  • $69 monthlyOrsign-up
  • Promising small to mid-sized companies of all
  • Comprehensive register
  • Inventory functionality
  • Limitless 24/7 support
  • Reporting suite

Shopkeep, a brand new You are able to-based POS company founded this year is, basically, among the best and many accessible programs in the market. A contemporary and simple-to-navigate interface is along with extensive features to match nearly any company owner. Shopkeep comes with an affordable and straightforward placing plan, beginning at $69 per month (without any termination fee).

This POS includes a solid register function that’s simple to setup and needs limited training. Around the back finish, Shopkeep is really impressive, specifically for its cost point. The POS provides a matrix inventory feature, to be able to track raw products individually. There’s also simple mechanisms to handle worker hrs and record transactions. Shopkeep makes a place lately of promoting straight to restaurant and food service companies nevertheless its design featuring allow it to be greater than able to handle nearly any retail establishment. The reporting suite and up to date tax rates update also have improved with an already strong product. Shopkeep integrates with MailChimp, Quickbooks, along with other programs and contains won multiple awards because of its exemplary customer support.

Don’t forget to look at our complete overview of Shopkeep if you would like additional information.

SalesVu:

  • Cloud based
  • Customizable hardware package offered through mPOS Gear
  • Monthly prices varying from $25 to $125 monthly
  • Number of retail companies
  • Invoicing
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Customer Database

You’d be challenged to locate a a lot more versatile POS system than SalesVu. Founded in Austin this year, the program has features that may suit nearly any company from retail to restaurants to spas. Both front finish and back finish features are very well made with an identical look which makes them simple for new employees to understand. The POS offers comprehensive features for splitting checks and keeping orders open. Its inventory tracking features are fantastic, allowing inventory to become submitted via CSV files.

SalesVu also offers among the finest appointment tracking features in the market. Companies can schedule efficiently without booking overlaps and personalize such things as commissions for workers, causeing this to be a perfect solution for various companies. Its customer management abilities will also be impressive, storing customer information and offering loyalty rewards which are readily available.

A more detailed overview of SalesVu can be obtained on our website.

iConnect:

iconnect-logo

  • Cloud based
  • iConnect register and tablet incorporated (apple iphone 4 and above, apple ipad 2 and above)
  • $75 monthly per terminal, per location
  • Enterprise available
  • Small or multi-location companies
  • Comprehensive booking
  • Customer tracking
  • Reporting options
  • Useful integrations

Whether you’ve got a single store or multiple franchises, iConnect has got the functionality to satisfy almost all of your requirements. The organization, which began this year, provides an interface that is easy to get for novice employees (or POS reviewers who’ve been granted a totally free trial). iConnect has packages of their own hardware which may be purchased, but it may be operate on the majority of the recent iPads or Android devices. Among the product&#8217s greatest features is its complex booking mechanism. Appointments are simple to create, find, and modify (if required) and may also be tracked instantly.

iConnect also enables for various cost suggests be set rapidly, a helpful feature in spas or salons. Furthermore, its strong inventory management system could be useful to individuals either in restaurant or retail environments. Customer tracking is another huge plus for this POS each client is assigned a person code. iConnect integrates with QuickBooks, MailChimp, Magento and dozens more apps, and it has friendly 24/7 customer support.

Listed here are our extended ideas on iConnect for more information.

talech:

talech POS logo

  • Cloud based
  • Most iPad models
  • $69/month for normal (slight discount billed yearly) $99/month for Premium ($89 if billed yearly)
  • Enterprise available
  • Any sized business
  • Customizable customer management
  • Robust inventory management
  • Purchase an internet-based ordering

talech review

The greatest fault to locate with talech, a family member newcomer around the POS scene, is your word processor will constantly attempt to capitalize its product name. The machine includes a modern and functional interface. The leading finish offers everything you realized from among the finest POS systems available on the market, but talech has additionally put lots of its time and effort in to the back finish. Customer information may be easily transferred from another tool and mailing lists could be produced and customised rapidly for marketing.

The inventory management feature is among talech&#8217s big standouts, emphasizing extensive product history options and raw material tracking that will help manage restaurant ingredients or root out popular selling retail products. The opportunity to create purchase orders is another unique function inventory can also be purchased instantly when products achieve a particular threshold. The internet ordering feature, a comparatively new accessory for talech, can also be another impressive feature.

Read up more about what talech provides the following.

NCR Silver:

NCR Silver POS review

  • Hybrid model
  • NCR Android register or any iPad running iOS 8. or later.
  • $99 per month for Fundamental ($79 billed yearly) $169 for Pro ($149 billed yearly)
  • Promising small to mid-sized companies
  • Vendor and price tracking
  • Worker tracking
  • Cash management
  • Number of loyalty programs

NCR Silver iPad bundle

An kind of among the greatest electronics corporations on the planet, NCR Silver does almost everything well. Its interface was created with functionality in your mind, restricting the amount of buttons and screens that must be sifted through to be able to maximize efficiency. For anybody remotely acquainted with POS systems, limited training is going to be necessary. The inventory management features are professional and may track vendors and charges, combined with the total worth of your inventory at a point. Workers are given a handy pin, which enables these to easily clock out and in.

Cash drawers could be customized and also the POS’s reporting suite gives managers fast and easily digestible overviews of sales, taxes, and discounts etc… NCR offers some helpful marketing tools, particularly with being able to entirely manage email promotions. Considering the variety of experience NCR has in the realm of electronics and retail, it&#8217s easy to understand the way it has produced a flexible product you can use by a multitude of clients. Plus a standard quantity of integrations, NCR also provides 24/7 customer care, including live chat.

Need to know more? You will get the entire story on NCR Silver the following.

Bindo:

  • Cloud based
  • iPad running iOS 8. or later
  • Custom prices from $59 to $150 per month
  • Most-sized retail companies
  • Data importing
  • Inventory management
  • Purchase ordering
  • Easy worker management
  • Custom gift certificates
  • Bindo Marketplace

A youthful and fast-growing POS system, Bindo&#8217s goal would be to help companies stay afloat when dealing with the overwhelming presence online of larger corporations. Bindo has numerous features made to save employees time. Plus a sleek design, Bindo easily uploads and stores data. There’s a really helpful function which creates shortcuts which are more utilized inventory products and organizes them. The simplicity of Bindo’s purchase ordering can also be impressive, allowing managers to rapidly view current or canceled orders and become alerted when goods are running low.

Just like many current POS systems, Bindo provides a PIN system to simply manage worker hrs and track their registers. Adding Bindo Companies are possibly the POS’s most original feature. This provides companies the opportunity to easily meet the requirements of other retailers within their area by letting them easily see and buy items that may then be delivered rapidly and simply. Regardless of whether you sell clothing, offer services, or possess a restaurant, this is a great method to let other nearby companies proprietors know you might be a more sensible choice compared to online behemoths. Bindo’s customer support and tech support team will also be well excellent, featuring 24/7 access and live chatting.

If you’re thinking about Bindo, make sure to read our full review.

Quid POS:

quid pos

  • Cloud based
  • Most Android or Apple devices
  • Free option, $12 per month for Premium ($9 billed yearly)
  • Enterprise available ($39 per month)
  • Smaller sized companies
  • Multi-functioning POS
  • Complex inventory management
  • Versatile register

quid pos

Quid POS was created with small, independent retailers in your mind, nevertheless its founders did this type of good job within their product’s merchandise that mid-sized companies will probably find everything they require within the least expensive options available on the market. The interface is very easy to understand and navigate. Quid POS enables for straightforward reservation taking and scheduling, and employees could be managed by assigning them each different roles which, consequently, provides them use of features.

Quid POS is especially helpful for companies with clients all across the globe and, as a result, it may handle virtually every kind of store using its versatility. The unit are designed for 165 different currencies and 6 different languages and may even accept silver and gold as currency if, for instance, a person has lately deciphered a pirate’s treasure map. The POS’s support team is small but very knowledgeable and responsive.

Our full overview of Quid POS can be obtained should you&#8217re wondering more.

Instore:

  • Hybrid system
  • iPad Air 2
  • $39 per month plus $99 launch cost (for Terminal)
  • $59 per month plus $199 launch cost (for Pro)
  • Promising small to mid-sized retail companies
  • Strong worker management
  • Modern integrations
  • Gift certificate and loyalty program

Instore is definitely an extremely simple to use POS that enables business proprietors to decide on the right degree of services they require. Certainly one of Instore’s greatest sells is the fact that its interface is seamless, allowing users to simply take and modify orders whilst applying discounts. Another unique feature is when well the merchandise integrates with social networking platforms, allowing users to gain access to Twitter and facebook from the unit to rapidly inform supporters of recent products or specials&#8212or to alert the planet if your celebrity walks with the door to purchase a latte or browse your boutique (#theyrejustlikeus).

Instore includes a quite strong reporting function, allowing proprietors to rapidly assess their costs and monitor worker hrs while showing forecasted sales instantly. Gift certificates could be offered with the system and Instore also provides a custom-made loyalty program. Customer support by telephone or live chat is just offered on weekdays.

Read our full review to determine what else we must say about Instore.

Clover Station:

  • Cloud based
  • No specific software needs
  • Custom cost points
  • Promising small to mid-sized companies
  • Plug and play set-up
  • Personalized apps
  • Ease worker management
  • Open API
  • Custom order taking

Clover Station hardware setup

Clover Station is definitely an appealing product for companies that don’t want to bother with considerable time or energy wasted on set-up or training. The machine comes available virtually away from the box coupled with a distinctive look that’s easy and intuitive. Most likely the greatest draw for Clover is it offers its very own application market. Almost all of the apps have the freedom and there are many options&#8212from discount programs to close tabs&#8212making mtss is a strong choice for any kind of business just getting off the floor.

The interface makes it simple to change orders and apply discounts. Workers are managed via a pin system and could be assigned different roles. Clover also offers a wide open API, allowing for knowledgeable business proprietors to produce their very own tools. Clover includes a under stellar status because of its customer support but is comparatively simple to make contact with when needs arise.

Read about Clover Station on our website or take a look at similar reviews for Clover Mobile and Clover Small.

Korona.pos Cloud:

  • Cloud based
  • Mac or pc computer
  • $49 monthly per terminal with a lot more add-ons available
  • Promising small to mid-sized companies
  • Extensive free trial offer
  • Customizable interface
  • Built-in reports
  • Security permissions

If you’re searching for any POS system that you could easily personalize to suit your business’s needs, Korona.pos is definitely an intriguing option. It enables you to select and purchase just the features that you’ll use also it offers essentially an limitless free trial offer to obtain your ft wet. The interface could be altered easily and graphic elements are really simple to install. Trying to find products can also be easy and accessible in the webpage, allowing managers to create a couple of keystrokes to rapidly look for a specific shirt or possibly a rarely-purchased food selection.

Reports are made in to the system and all sorts of transactions are archived daily. Worker management can also be simple managers be capable of give workers certain amounts of access. So far as support goes, Korona.pos supplies a instructions and assistance could be requested through email.

Here’s our full overview of Korona.pos Cloud should you&#8217d like for more information.

Final Ideas

There are plenty of new ways to market nowadays odds are, even though you&#8217re mainly within the food industry, you&#8217re also selling other products to assist market your brand. Likewise, should you manage a health spa or small gym, you might offer some small food products or perhaps manage a small coffee shop to attract your clients. Within this situation, a POS that may handle a multitude of companies may be in your sweet zone. And, should you choose your research and look around, you will be able to find something that provides most that which you&#8217re searching for.

Selecting a POS may appear just like a relatively irrelevant decision within the grand plan of products but, in the realm of reason for purchase systems, you won&#8217t be disappointed by looking around to make certain you’re completely satisfied.

The publish The Very Best Multipurpose POS Systems Currently Available made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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

accept mobile credit card payments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spark Plan Rates

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

Surge Plan Rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 61 transactions * $.32 = $19.52.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scenario 1:

Spark Plan,

$20 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 2:

Surge Plan,

$20 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 3:

Spark Plan,

$20/avg ticket

$700/month volume

Scenario 4:

Surge Plan,

$20/avg ticket

$700/month volume

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

Processing Charges

$34.74 $42.79 $25.48 $34.03

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

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

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

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

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

Scenario 5:

Spark Plan,

$45 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 6:

Surge Plan,

$45 average ticket

$950/month volume

Scenario 7:

Spark Plan,

45/avg ticket

$700/month volume

Scenario 8:

Surge Plan,

$45/avg ticket

$700/month volume

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

Processing Charges

$26.10 $34.15 $25.48 $34.03

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

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

Calculating Break-Even Suggests Compare Rates

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

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

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

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

Scenario 9:

Spark Plan,

$20 avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Scenario 10:

Surge Plan,

$20 avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Scenario 11:

Spark Plan,

$45/avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

Scenario 12:

Surge Plan,

$45 avg ticket

$5,000/month volume

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

Processing Charges

$182.00 $181.95 $158.96 $158.91

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

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

Scenario 13:

Spark Plan,

$20 average ticket

$8,000/month volume

Scenario 14:

Surge Plan,

$20 average ticket

$8000/month volume

Scenario 15:

Spark Plan,

$45/avg ticket

$8,000/month volume

Scenario 16:

Surge Plan,

$45avg ticket

$8,000/month volume

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

Processing Charges

$291.20 $285.15 $220.16 $214.11

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

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

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

Altering the Variables in Charge Card Processing: Enter Spark Pay

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

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

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

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

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

Like Payline Mobile, Spark Pay offers 2 prices plans:

Spark Pay Go Plan

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

Spark Pay Pro Plan

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

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

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

Scenario 17:

Spark Pay Go,

$20 average ticket

$5,000/month

Scenario 18:

Spark Pay Go,

$45 average ticket

$5,000/month

Scenario 19:

Spark Pay Pro

$20/avg ticket

$5,000/month

Scenario 20:

Spark Pay Pro,

$45/avg ticket

$5,000/month

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

Processing Charges

$145.00 $138.06 $131.00 $124.06

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMV merchants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracking the Progress of EMV

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

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

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

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

What&#8217s Holding EMV Back?

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

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

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

Cost to Upgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slower Checkout Occasions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit Card Merchant Account Holders

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile (mPOS) Users

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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Shopify vs Square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Products and Services:

Winner: Shopify

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

POS App

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

Shopify POS Features:

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

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

Square Register Features: 

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

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

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

Card Processing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eCommerce

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

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

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

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

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

Compatible Hardware:

Winner: Shopify

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

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

Shopify Card Reader Options:

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

Square Card Reader Options: 

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

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

Shopify Retail Kit

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

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

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

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

Square Retail Kit 

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

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

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

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

Other available hardware includes:

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

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

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

Fees and Rates:

Winner: Square

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

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

Square Fees

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

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

Shopify Fees

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

Shopify Lite ($9/month) 

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

Shopify Basic ($29/month)

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

Shopify Standard ($79/month)

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

Shopify Advanced: $299/month

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

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

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

Shopify Retail Package 

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

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

Shopify Transaction Fees

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

It’ll just cost you.

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

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

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

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

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Winner: Tie

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

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

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

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Winner: Tie

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

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

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

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Winner: Shopify

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

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

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Winner: Shopify

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

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

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

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Winner: Shopify

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

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

Final Verdict:

Winner: Shopify

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Shopify vs Square appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Square VS Vend

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

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

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

All of this sounds great, right? Good.

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

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

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

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

Products and Services:

Winner: Tie

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

POS App

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

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

Square POS App Features:

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

Vend POS App Features:

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

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

eCommerce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Payments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compatible Hardware:

Winner: Tie

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

Vend Hardware

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Square Hardware 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fees and Rates:

Winner: Square

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

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

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

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

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

With Vend, you can choose from multiple packages:

Free Plan ($0/month)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Winner: Square

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

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

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

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

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Winner: Tie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Winner: Vend

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

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

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

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

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

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Winner: Vend

There are two very consistent complaints with Square:

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

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

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

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Winner: Tie

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

Square

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

Vend

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

Final Verdict:

Winner: Tie 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Square VS Vend appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Business News along with other Tales for May 2017

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

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

General Business

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

Marketing

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

Merchant Services

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

eCommerce

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

Reason for Purchase &amp mPOS

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

Accounting

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

Loans &amp Finance

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

Highlights in the Merchant Maverick Blog

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

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

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

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Square vs. Etsy: Which is Best for Artists and Crafters?

Square-vs-Etsy

Artists and crafters are a unique subsection of merchants, in my experience. And I say this as someone who has worked an artist table at conventions and other events for a few years. Running a business of this type deserves a special sort of consideration: if you are an artist or a crafter, you handle not just the sales, marketing, accounting, and other day-to-day tasks (like order fulfillment), but also the manufacturing! Some artists work on their business full time, while for others, it’s a second (or even third) job, but it is always 100% a labor of love.

But even a labor of love needs the right tools! While artists and crafters are essentially running retail businesses, many of the crucial components of a retail business — a solid POS, affordable retail hardware like receipt printers, and advanced inventory software — don’t always apply. Instead, mobility, flexibility, and affordability are most important. Omni-channel commerce, the ability to sell seamlessly in person and online, is often the best solution, because many people sell online as well as traveling around to events. And if you make your own products (2-D art, 3-D art, knitting/crochet, paper crafts, jewelry, for starters), there are two standouts in this category: Square and Etsy.

Background

SquareSquare review is well known in the arts community because it made accepting credit card payments via a smartphone feasible for the masses, allowing almost anyone to run a business anywhere you could get cell signal or Wi-Fi. More than 2 million merchants of all sizes use Square.

Etsy logoEtsy is the first marketplace that’s truly friendly to artists and other creators. It’s hugely popular with consumers, too, who know they can find tons of vintage and one-of-a-kind creations (not to mention their craft supplies) all in one place. Etsy boasts 1.6 million sellers.

Nowadays, both offer that oh-so-important omni-channel experience — though with a very different feel to each. Square’s biggest draw is the sheer abundance of features it offers, but not all of them are something artisans can or will use, at least not until their business grows a bit. Etsy’s biggest draw is its visibility — the guaranteed traffic to your online shop. It also offers other tools and partnerships to help merchants grow their business.

If you’re just getting started with your art or crafts business, or you’re looking to take it to the next level, Etsy and Square should be at the top of your list for ways to do so. But which is the better option? That depends on a lot of factors.

1. Do you sell (or plan to sell) mostly online and only occasionally in person? Mostly in person and occasionally online? Both? Do you want to change that ratio at all? Some artists and craftspeople sell very well online, while others have much more success at events. Selling online can provide extra money in between events.

2. How much freedom do you want in selling online? If you want to be able to build an entirely custom website, Etsy is likely not a good fit for you. Square has its limitations as well, but they are far fewer. As far as websites go, convenience (and a built-in audience) will always cost you more.

3. How large are your average purchases? If you have a large average ticket size, you might want to consider investing in an EMV reader. EMV is the official name for the chip cards that have been cropping up more often of late. Rather than relying on the magnetic strip (magstripe) on the back of cards, EMV readers encrypts information from the tiny computer chips embedded on the front of the cards. It’s a more secure method of data transmission and also makes it more difficult to counterfeit cards.

That’s important because in October 2015, there was a massive liability shift in terms of who’s responsible for processing any fraudulent cards. Now, any merchant who swipes a chip card that turns out to be fraudulent is responsible for the cost of the transaction. There are a couple of caveats: this doesn’t directly affect eCommerce, and it doesn’t apply to cards that don’t have the EMV chip.

NFC, or near-field communication, is what powers contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. While it’s not necessary to accept NFC payments (they’re still very much a new thing), if your audience tends to be younger and tech-savvy, it’s not a bad idea to be ahead of the adoption curve (if you have the funds for it).

Generally speaking, artists are at a lower risk for fraud than other retail businesses, especially those who have a lower ticket volume. That doesn’t mean you should assume you’re immune to fraud, but it shouldn’t haunt your thoughts if you don’t have the cash for an EMV-friendly reader right away. (It’s worth noting that Etsy doesn’t offer an EMV reader at all.)

Both Square and Etsy have shortcomings, as well as serious advantages. One issue is that both use aggregate payment processing, which translates to greater account instability. But the same, the convenience of automatic inventory counts and minimal work to create an online shop should not be overlooked.

Let’s take a look at the key elements of Square and Etsy — the mobile apps, the online stores, and the costs — to see how they stack up against each other.

Square vs. Etsy: Mobile Apps

Etsy started as an online sales platform only. Eventually it introduced its own mobile app, called Sell on Etsy. It is partly a dashboard for managing your online sales, and partly an app for taking payments in person.

Square’s app is called Square Register, and it’s honestly the most robust mobile POS (mPOS) app out there right now. It is available for both Android and iOS. However, unlike Etsy, the Register app is almost exclusively for in-person sales. eCommerce sales are mostly controlled through the browser-based dashboard.

Square Register App Features:

square-register-tablet

You may not ever need all of the features Square has to offer, but it has some great ones:

  • Custom Sales Tax: While I wish Square would get around to an auto-detect feature that can pick up sales tax rates based on GPS location, it is still nice that you can toggle sales tax on and off and save multiple tax profiles in the app. You can also set or disable tax for specific items as needed.
  • Item variants and add-ons: Great especially if you have several color options for the same basic item.
  • Record cash and check transactions: Keep all your transactions in one place, which is helpful especially if you are using Square’s inventory option. No fee for either of these options.
  • Inventory sync: if you sell online and have inventory management enabled, the system will automatically adjust your inventory count when you sell an item. So if you sell out at an event, no one can purchase that item from your online store. That’s a useful feature if you only have a limited run of products, or maybe even just a single item. Most mPOS providers allow you to create items and run sales reports for what sold, but they don’t keep track of your inventory like Square does, which can be a very big deal.
  • Invoicing: Do you take custom orders and commissions? Square lets you send invoices directly from within the Register app (or through the online dashboard). The invoice is free to send, and there’s no charge beyond the transaction fee, which is deducted from the total invoice once it’s paid.
  • Apply Discounts: You can apply a percentage discount to one or all items, or apply a dollar-amount discount to the entire purchase. This applies to orders before tax is applied.
  • Email/SMS receipts: Send digital receipts at your customer’s request.
  • Custom purchase amounts: If you don’t use Square’s inventory feature or item listings, you can still just ring up individual purchases by just the amount.
  • Full and partial refunds: Send full or partial refunds from within the app or the online dashboard.
  • Offline mode: Process credit cards even when you can’t get Wi-Fi or cellular signal. Of course, you eat the cost for any transactions that are declined, so use this feature at your own risk. Still, it’s very useful, especially if you’re at a venue where it’s difficult to get signal.
  • Item and category creation: You can create and manage your items in the app using both Android and iOS devices.

Some of Square’s more advanced features (such as the ability to scan item bar codes) are only available in the app if you’re using an iPad. However, most of these are more focused on retail stores, so you likely don’t need them as an artist. Also, you have full control over everything if you log into your Square account in a web browser and head to the dashboard.

Overall, though, the Register app is simple to use and very intuitive. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding your way around it even if the technology is entirely new to you. Remember that you don’t have control over eCommerce sales from within the app. You need the dashboard for that.

Something else I like is that Square keeps a comprehensive list of devices with known issues. This is very helpful because Square offers multiple credit card readers, and not all of them work with every device.

Speaking of hardware: the basic magstripe reader is still free from Square if you order online (or you can get a credit for purchasing it in-store). You can get an EMV/magstripe reader for $29, and the EMV/NFC readers start at $49. Check out our unboxing of the Square chip reader here.

Sell on Etsy App Features:

While Square Register is largely for processing payments and most eCommerce matters must be handled through a web browser, the Sell on Etsy app is much more comprehensive. Available for Android and iOS, It allows you to run your online store and sell in person without having to log into the online dashboard.

Etsy-in-person-payments-1

Here’s a breakdown of features:

  • Alerts: Get a notification when someone makes a purchase or favorites your shop on Etsy.
  • Conversations: Communicate with your customers through the app.
  • Shop stats: Check your reviews and other Etsy shop details
  • Order management: Mark online orders as ship and add tracking details, process refunds (full refunds only), add notes to transactions, and more.
  • Create listings: You can add items to your online store via the mobile app.
  • Inventory sync: You can sell items from your online store and Etsy will automatically adjust your inventory counts.
  • Email Receipts: No SMS option, but if the email is linked to an Etsy user ID, the transaction will appear in their purchase history.
  • Record cash transactions: No fee for this, obviously.
  • Quick Sale: If you don’t want to bother with items and keeping track of your Etsy inventory, or you have items for sale that aren’t in your Etsy shop, you can use the quick sale feature to enter an item name and amount. The nice thing is this won’t incur any listing fees (we’ll come back to this in a bit).
  • Discounts: Apply a percentage or dollar amount off the entire purchase. The percentage deduction is taken off the total purchase, including taxes.
  • Sales tax: Again, an auto-detect for sales tax would be great here. You can set multiple tax profiles and modify taxes on individual items.

It’s worth noting that to use the in-person sales feature, you must have Etsy’s Direct Checkout enabled. There’s also no dedicated iPad app. Etsy recommends, if you’re using an iPad, to enable the 2x zoom so the app takes of the entirety of the screen.

Talking with other artists, their experience is that the Etsy app is a bit clunkier for in-person sales. This may be because the in-person sales feature is buried within the menu, not the first thing you see. At the same time, the mobile app is for more than just processing payments — it is a genuine tool for managing your business on the go. I think it’s safe to assume Etsy thinks you’ll sell more online than in person.

Something I do want to point out is that while Etsy’s card reader is free, it’s just a basic magstripe device. It doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments, and Etsy says it has no plans to introduce an EMV reader at this time. This isn’t quite as terrible as it seems because Etsy is the one accepting the liability for processing any transactions, not you. But it’s still a bit disappointing to see that Etsy isn’t interested in keeping pace with the rest of the payments industry.

Overall, it’s fair to say both of these are pretty robust apps that will serve you well. What you’re looking for in an online store is likely going to be the deciding factor.

Square vs. Etsy: Online Stores

Square really has come a long ways as far as eCommerce is concerned. Its online store is completely free to use, though it can seem a bit limited compared to some of the more comprehensive options out there. You can also integrate Square’s payment processing with some other eCommerce providers (BigCommerce, Weebly and Ecwid). If you can navigate code or have a programmer friend handy, you can even use Square’s API to integrate the payment processing into another eCommerce solution.

Etsy, on the other hand, is a marketplace like eBay and Amazon. That means many sellers on Etsy will have their listings appear next to one another when users search for a product. This is both good and bad, really: One the one hand, marketplaces draw far more traffic than an individual site that’s just starting out. On the other, it puts you at the mercy of the marketplace, which means you could find your shop closed down with little to no warning or recourse.

Let’s see how these two companies compare as far as eCommerce goes:

Square Online Store Features:

square-online-store-screenshot

If you use Square’s store, here’s what you need to know. You get all of the following:

  • Free hosting
  • Free domain (the default is squareup.com/store/your-store-name, but you can edit the URL)
  • The option to purchase a new domain or use an existing one
  • Alternative payment/pickup options (including in-store pickup).
  • Invoicing support from Square dashboard
  • Inventory management: If you enable inventory management you can keep track of what is sold through online and in person. There are also some more comprehensive inventory features such as supplier management.
  • The option to integrate with BigCommerce, Weebly and Ecwid, or use Square’s API to integrate with another shopping cart.

One thing to note is that there’s no real custom order option or integrated communications channel with Square’s stores. You can handle custom orders through product variants or add-ons, or just use Square’s integrated invoicing system. For communication, consider investing in a business email (Google can give you an email to match your domain for $5/month).

Square’s online store option is somewhat limited as far as design options go, but they are at least mobile-friendly, responsive templates. You can create different sections to organize your products by relevant categories, as well. In some ways, the simplicity is an advantage because you have less to worry about.

The only costs you pay are per each transaction, much as with the mPOS app. If you opt for another shopping cart instead of Square’s story, you’ll have to pay whatever fees they charge, too. if you have something already set up, you can just switch to Square for payment processing by integrating the API.

Square will also let you control the status for your shop in two ways: you can set the store as visible or offline, and indicate whether you are accepting orders or not. (Think of it as a “Vacation” mode.)

Etsy Shop Features:

Etsy shop home page

You don’t have much in the way of customization for your Etsy shop, and that’s because as a marketplace Etsy has to create a consistent look. But that means you don’t have to spend a lot of time tweaking things.

Here’s what you get with Etsy:

  • Free hosting
  • Free custom Etsy URL
  • Custom orders option
  • Invoicing through PayPal
  • Mail and “other” payment methods supported.
  • Discounted shipping rates when purchased through Etsy
  • Advertising through promoted listings (for an additional cost)

Etsy has an easy-to-use feature for accepting custom orders. With a couple clicks, you can enable this option for your customers. “Conversations” is Etsy’s equivalent of a messaging system, where customers can reach out to you about your products and their orders.

Something relatively new to Etsy’s suite of services is Pattern, which allows you to sell on your own custom website while all of your inventory is linked to your Etsy shop. Management of both is centralized through Etsy and you pay the same costs as you would on Etsy — plus an additional $15/month.

etsy-pattern-site-screenshot

Like Square, Pattern gives you a limited selection of responsive themes to choose from. However, you can modify color palette, font, and other small aspects of your site. which gives you some creative control that you don’t get with Square.

Honestly, the fact that Etsy felt the need to branch out into payments processing and give sellers an option to run eCommerce stores on their own domains is a pretty powerful indicator of where the entire industry is going (hint: it’s heading toward omni-channel).

I need to stress this: Your own site should definitely be a long-term goal. It will give you much more freedom and stability, and generally costs less than selling through a marketplace, especially as your sales volume picks up. But Etsy will definitely help you get started and make some online sales, and possibly draw in people who otherwise wouldn’t even know where to find you. And there’s certainly no reason you can’t run your own online shop (through Pattern, Square or another service) and sell on Etsy at the same time.

Square vs. Etsy: Costs

Card-processing costs can make or break a business, and here at MerchantMaverick we firmly believe no merchant should pay more for processing than they have to. I’m happy to say that Square and Etsy are both very transparent about their pricing, and their actual card processing rates are competitive among aggregate processors. But, there’s one niggling matter…which is Etsy’s transaction fees.

Square Rates:

Square made a name for itself with its simple, flat-rate processing. There are no monthly subscription fees for using Square itself — just pay a small fee per every transaction. The Square Register app is totally free as well. This is what your rates will look like:

  • Swiped transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
  • eCommerce transactions: 2.9% + $0.30
  • Invoicing: 2.9% + $0.30 (or 3.5% + $0.15 for cards kept on file)

You can add on monthly subscriptions for addition services, but apart from email marketing, most are targeted pretty heavily at retail stores (loyalty program, timekeeping and payroll, etc).

I like Square’s payment scheme. Its rates are pretty competitive for an aggregate processor (the only way to get lower rates with a comparable value is to get a merchant account). I’m genuinely shocked that Square doesn’t charge more for its POS app, because it easily could.

Etsy Rates:

Etsy offers you several payment methods, which can be a bit complicated. There are two main options:

Direct Checkout allows you to accept credit and debit cards, PayPal, Etsy gift cards and Apple Pay. You pay Etsy’s rates and all of your funds (even PayPal transactions) go into your Etsy account, which will then deposit them into your bank account.

It’s worth noting that some sellers are unhappy about the integrated PayPal option, mostly because it takes longer to get your money.

PayPal allows you to accept credit and debit cards as well as payments from a bank account…so long as your customer has a PayPal account. The funds go into your personal/business PayPal account. Etsy doesn’t allow sellers to enable payments through both Direct Checkout and your personal PayPal.

If you need to, you can set your business up to take orders by mail. You can also set up custom orders and invoicing via PayPal, though the invoicing feature isn’t seamlessly integrated with Etsy.

Fees are as follows:

  • Swiped transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed transactions: 3% + $0.25
  • eCommerce (Direct Checkout): 3% + $0.25
  • eCommerce (PayPal): 2.9% + $0.30
  • Online transaction fee: 3.5%* 
  • Item listing fee: $0.20**

*All items sold on your Etsy shop or through Pattern are subject to a transaction fee, but in-person sales are exempt.

**Listings are active for 4 months. If you have multiple quantities of an item, you’ll pay the initial $0.20, plus an additional $0.20 for every item after the first that sells. When you sell an item in your shop in person, you’re also charged the listing fee — but not for quick sale items, which aren’t listed in your online shop.

Time to Receive Funds: 

Square deposits funds in your bank account on a rolling basis, typically within 1-2 business days. You can check out more about Square’s deposit schedule here. You can also initiate an instant deposit for 1% of the transaction value and have your money within minutes.

Etsy takes a bit longer to get your money, at least if you use Direct Checkout. For the first 90 days, transactions take 3 business days before they are available in your account (after that point they are available the next day). Funds are automatically disbursed on Mondays, but you can can initiate a transfer to your bank account Tuesdays-Fridays. After that, it takes an average of 3-5 days for the funds to appear in your bank account.

There’s no question that Square is the more affordable option. You’ll pay double on Etsy thanks to that transaction fee (which is still less than what you could end up paying on Handmade at Amazon or even eBay). You’ll also get your funds more quickly, unless you choose to only accept PayPal on Etsy — in which case you will have your money in your PayPal account almost instantly, and can spend it anywhere so long as you have a PayPal debit card.

Square vs. Etsy: Other Concerns

There are other considerations beyond just cost. We’ve already talked about the features and services available, but what about the other stuff, the intangibles that neither company really spells out? What about value-added tools and services that don’t fit neatly into another category?

Visibility: Etsy is a known marketplace, with thousands of visitors daily. Unless you’re a marketing genius with an established name, having your own website just isn’t going to bring you that kind of traffic. Of course, you have to deal with the competition from other sellers, whose products will appear next to your own in the search results. With Square, you don’t have that competition, but you’re also not going to get that kind of traffic. However, since you don’t have to pay for hosting or anything beyond the actual transactions, you can spend some time (and maybe even money) building your reputation and putting your website out where anyone can find it.

Stability: Square does have a reputation for holding funds. There’s no way around that. However, artists and crafters generally seem less affected by Square’s trigger-happy risk department. I’d guess it’s because most transactions are relatively low-volume, but there’s no official word on that. Still, the most likely thing to trigger an account hold or termination is processing an unusually large transaction.

Etsy is a marketplace, and you are subject to its rules. If you break them, or if Etsy thinks you’ve broken them, it will shut your store down the same way Square implements holds. Do a bit of Googling (try “Etsy shop shut down”) and you’ll see this happens, if not regularly, at least with enough frequency to note. If you create fan-art based on popular media, know that some very large companies regularly search Etsy and other marketplaces to issue cease-and-desists. Copyright infringement (even in a nebulous area such as fanart) is just one of the reasons your shop could be shut down.

However, it’s difficult to draw apples-to-apples comparisons between the two because while Etsy is exclusively for artists, crafters, and other small niche retailers, Square serves merchants in a huge variety of industries. This is the risk you run with aggregate payment processors and marketplaces. A merchant account will give you more stability, but is generally not suitable for small, low-volume businesses. Don’t let it keep you up at night, but do have a backup plan.

Customer Support: Things happen. Sometimes you’re going to have questions. Sometimes customers file chargebacks and disputes. That’s why customer service is there.

Square’s support system is based primarily on a very detailed knowledge base and a user forum. You should find most of the answers to your questions there. For more complex issues, there’s phone support. But first you need to obtain a passcode to be able to call in at all. There’s also a dispute management system in case a customer files a chargeback. Square will request documentation. In a handful of circumstances you may be eligible for chargeback protection — which means you won’t pay for the chargeback even if the case isn’t resolved in your favor.

Etsy has a similar setup. There’s both a community forum and teams where like-minded sellers can collaborate and community. There’s also a phone support option, but you submit a request and receive a callback (Etsy says within 30 minutes). There’s also a dispute resolution system for conflicts between buyers and sellers.

The question is whether the support offered is of any use. And that’s not an easy answer. A bit more Google searching and you will find no shortage of complaints against Square and Etsy, and their customer service (or lack thereof, as the case may be). Some are from disgruntled sellers. Some are from disgruntled customers. In short, your experience may vary. Some people have no problem at all; some have lots of trouble.

Marketing Tools: I’ve mentioned before that Square offers several marketing and business tools. Artists and craftspeople likely won’t get much benefit out of them, except the email marketing tool, which starts at $15/month.

Etsy has taken a different approach. There are no email marketing tools (though it allows you to post an email signup link on your shop). Instead, consumers can use Etsy Local to find events featuring Etsy sellers. It also offers an option for you to sell your goods wholesale through Etsy, and to pair with large manufacturers to scale your business.

Mass production on Etsy is a contentious matter — as you might expect on a platform started for independent craftspeople. But if you find these options worthwhile for your business, you should pursue them. If not, there are many, many other platforms and tools out there for you to grow your business.

Final Verdict: Should You Use Square or Etsy?

The right payment processor and online store provider is really a matter of personal preference.

With Etsy, you get access to a huge marketplace with people who are actively searching for products each day, but you pay for the convenience, literally. You’ll pay more than double what you would with Etsy. You can even run your own website with a custom URL…for an additional monthly cost on top of your fees. Still, for business that is just starting out, being visible to customers is a serious concern, and Etsy definitely delivers in that category. The Sell on Etsy app lets you manage every aspect of your business on the go instead of dealing with a browser interface, and you can take payments from within the app.

On the other hand, if you sell primarily in person (at conventions, craft fairs, pop-up sales, etc.) square is in your favor. Square Register is a powerful POS app that even has an offline mode so you can accept credit cards literally anywhere, any time. If you use Square’s online store, you’ll pay less in processing fees per transaction than you would on Etsy, and worry less about competition.

Both have their risks, because they aggregate payments and Etsy is also a marketplace that makes its own rules about what is acceptable for sellers. You aren’t guaranteed stability, but both services are generally friendly to artists and craftspeople. You pay only as you make sales unless you opt for any additional expenses, which means there’s no upfront investment beyond the costs to make your products.

And honestly? There’s nothing that says you can’t use both Etsy and Square! If you prefer Square’s mobile app to Etsy’s but want the traffic that Etsy provides, go for it. If you want to sell on Etsy and Square, that’s absolutely possible! What matters most is that you weigh all the benefits and disadvantages and find a solution that will help you manage and grow your business.

Got questions? Have an opinion about the Etsy vs. Square debate? Leave us a comment and let us know — we love to hear from you!

The post Square vs. Etsy: Which is Best for Artists and Crafters? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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So How Exactly Does Square’s Instant Deposit Work?

transaction fees and rates

Honestly, each time I change Square features something totally new. (When I&#8217m the one who maintains our Square review, you can observe why I would find this only a tad frustrating.) On the main one hands, it’s absolutely amazing that Square is really dedicated to moving out additional features for retailers. Alternatively, just trying to maintain what Square offers makes me wish to tear my hair out a little! When I discovered Square features a brand new Instant Deposit feature, I had been excited along with a bit skeptical. There&#8217s usually some kind of trade-off to get your hard earned money rapidly.

Just how does Square&#8217s Instant Deposit work? So how exactly does Square&#8217s payment schedule rival other mobile payment services? Is the trade-off for immediate use of your funds worthwhile?

So How Exactly Does Square&#8217s Deposit Schedule Work Normally?

Honestly, even without Instant Deposit, Square does pretty much at timely deposits. Your hard earned money will typically achieve your money within 1-2 working days, based on once the transaction is processed.

Should you swipe the transaction before 5 p.m. Off-shore time (8 p.m. Eastern), your funds is going to be transferred to your money the following working day. Should you swipe a transaction next cut-off time, you&#8217ll have your funds by 50 percent working days.

Square may even allow you to change that cutoff time in case your business runs using a later schedule. Sign in to your dashboard, go to Sales &gt Deposits and choose &#8220Adjust Close of Day.&#8221

What’s Instant Deposit?

With Instant Deposit, you are able to move funds out of your Square account for your debit card in a few minutes.

There’s a few requirements:

  • The sum should be a minimum of $50
  • The most is $2,500 (however, you can setup multiple instant deposits)
  • New sellers are restricted to 1 Instant Deposit each day for approximately $500 this limit increases over time

The greatest factor you should know relating to this feature is that Square charges you 1% from the deposit amount (so 1% from the sum after Square&#8217s charges are removed). That&#8217s a great deal in the realm of payment processing, although not a wild fee whenever you consider the actual cost in dollars. For companies looking for funds As soon as possible, the rewards could easily over-shadow the price.

Let&#8217s say you process $575 in Square transactions per day. After Square&#8217s charges (presuming every transaction is swiped, not keyed in), you’d have $559.47. Subtract 1% ($5.59) and you can transfer $553.88 to your money your evening.

If you are planning to utilize this selection regularly, you don&#8217t really will need to go in daily and ask for your funds. You are able to setup Scheduled Deposits in Square which will instantly transfer the funds for you personally when you choose.

So How Exactly Does Instant Deposit Rival Other Payment Processing Services?

So far there&#8217s only been one processor that offered you use of funds almost immediately: PayPal. As well as then, you can only put money into websites that accept PayPal unless of course additionally you had the PayPal bank card. Should you wanted your PayPal funds used in your money, it&#8217s free, but it might take as much as 3-4 days based on your bank.

Just how lengthy could it be before getting your funds using other mobile payment systems? Let&#8217s have a look:

  • Square: 1-2 working days standard instant available
  • Paypal Here: Instant availability in PayPal bank transfers 3-4 days
  • Spark Pay: 2-3 working days
  • Intuit GoPayment: 2-3 working days
  • Clover Go: Varies by reseller/bank PNC and Bank of the usa offer next-day funding in certain conditions
  • PayAnywhere: 1 business day
  • Helcim mobile solution (Converge): 2 working days
  • Shopify: 3 working days
  • Etsy: 1 working day funds transferred instantly once weekly but manual transfers available

Conclusion: Is Square Instant Deposit Worthwhile?

Same with having to pay an additional 1% for Square&#8217s instant deposit really useful? That&#8217s entirely your decision. Should you&#8217re ready where waiting one to two working days is perfectly OK, it&#8217s nothing like make use of Instant Deposit. But when you are inside a pinch and all of a sudden requiring an additional little bit of cash, it&#8217s certainly a pleasant feature to possess available. And Square&#8217s even put a little bit of thought in to the option, enabling you to schedule recurring instant deposits to ensure that in case you really do insist upon getting your hard earned money immediately, it&#8217s yours.

Exactly what do you consider Instant Deposit? Would you enjoy it? Are there more mPOS solutions that will get you your funds as quickly? Tell us within the comments!

The publish So How Exactly Does Square&#8217s Instant Deposit Work? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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How Can Square’s Card Readers Rival Competitors?

square-register-tablet

With regards to mPOS card readers, functionality and reliability play a large role in selecting quality hardware. Cost, features, and overall design may also influence a choice which mobile payments choices to choose. Square has some of the least expensive hardware, and also the greatest variety, hands lower.

Square began with only a simple magstripe readers &#8212 so it offered free of charge. Other mPOS solutions adopted suit. Today, magstripe visitors still as broadly like ever, but EMV-compliant hardware (card readers that may accept nick cards) are eventually likely to dominate most, if not completely, from the market.

You don&#8217t have to upgrade for an EMV readers yet, however if you simply&#8217re concerned about processing a dishonest card and becoming tied to the balance, it&#8217s something which should most likely perform your radar. Only at that most, most mPOS solutions also provide an EMV option additionally towards the free magstripe readers. Some (like Square) have several option.

Where is the greatest value in mPOS hardware? Let&#8217s check out how Square stacks facing probably the most popular card processing options when it comes to its hardware. Out there would be the following companies:

  • Square
  • PayPal Here
  • Clover Go
  • Clover Mobile
  • Spark Pay
  • Shopify
  • PayAnywhere

Continue reading for the assessments of every company&#8217s hardware, and make certain to look at our full review for every!

Square Hardware

Square has got the most choices for card readers from any mobile processor — five of them, actually. It’d a handle on EMV card readers prior to other companies did, an undeniable fact that I commend Square for. The organization was clearly on your ball if this found developing and becoming its hardware certified (not always easy thinking about there&#8217s been a backlog of certification demands for some time).

Something I actually do want to indicate is the fact that some Square merchants have had difficulties with the organization&#8217s EMV readers — either they arrive DOA or they lose their charging capacity inside a couple of days. For the time being Square has been very good about replacing faulty hardware, and that i expect this problem goes away as Square calculates the kinks in the hardware.

Fundamental Magstripe Readers (Free)

square magstripe reader

Square continues to be providing free magstripe readers like chocolate whenever you open a free account. If you find yourself requiring more, they&#8217re readily available for $15 each.

Square&#8217s fundamental magstripe readers is really a white-colored square (obviously) with the organization emblem that connects to your headphone jack. Compared to other other readers, it’s absolutely nothing to secure it to the phone while swiping, however the readers is sufficiently small this really isn&#8217t a problem, either. I&#8217ve rarely heard about anybody getting trouble using this readers past the periodic equipment fails.

EMV/Magstripe Readers ($29) 

Square EMV Reader

One step up in the magstripe readers, the EMV/magstripe readers looks&#8230pretty much the same as its predecessor, that is a good factor. The greatest difference is the fact that rather of 1 slot for swiping cards, there&#8217s two slots — one for that nick cards, one for magstripe transactions. Many people could find it a little frustrating remembering which is which, however i think overall it&#8217s a brief learning curve.

Using the added EMV technology, this specific readers requires charging (handled via microUSB port). However the battery should really last at least a complete day’s heavy use, so recharging mid-purchase won&#8217t matter.

I like the cost about this readers: $29 is fairly cheap — for low-volume retailers who may be unwilling to upgrade to more costly technology. For bigger companies, $30 is certainly not when compared to price of a terminal.

The main one (minor) issue is this fact readers processes EMV transactions as nick-and-signature, not nick-and-PIN, that is safer overall. However, you can solve that issue typically by checking IDs if you’re that concerned about it. Furthermore, the majority of the EMV cards issued in america so far are simply nick-and-signature anyway — not every one of them support nick-and-PIN.

Square&#8217s site states this readers is presently backordered. So it could take some time with this readers to get at you.

Contactless + Chip Reader ($49)

Square contactless + chip reader

One step up from Square&#8217s EMV/magstripe option would be its EMV/NFC readers, which enables you to definitely accept nick cards and contactless/tap-to-pay options for example Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. At $49, that&#8217s also pretty affordable thinking about the price of most NFC-ready terminals as well as a few of the other NFC-capable mobile card readers.

These units really are a bit diverse from other card readers. For just one, it doesn&#8217t have any kind of magstripe capacity. (Square includes certainly one of its free magstripe readers within the box, which means you&#8217re still covered.) Like the majority of terminals, you insert the whole card in to the slot for EMV transactions. For NFC, it&#8217s simply tap-and go.

Again, this readers uses nick-and-signature, not nick-and-PIN technology.

You should use the readers like a handheld device, since it links for your phone via Bluetooth, not your headphone jack. Many people have experienced difficulties with the Bluetooth pairing, but so has virtually everybody who&#8217s ever used some kind of Bluetooth device. There&#8217s additionally a pier available for the next $29, which works as a base for that readers as well as a charging station.

Square is causeing this to be hardware option less expensive by providing a finance option — only a dollar per week for 60 days. Granted, which means you&#8217re having to pay an $11 finance fee on the $49 purchase, however if you simply are actually low on cash and wish the readers, $ 1 per week isn&#8217t bad whatsoever.

Square Stand ($99)

square-stand-screenshot

The Square Stand is really a clever little register/tablet are a symbol of retailers. It&#8217s compact, it spins, it&#8217s very sleek searching. If you’re running Square in your iPad, it&#8217s certainly worth thinking about obtaining the Stand for a register, specifically for $99. (Most tablet stands can cost you A Minimum Of much.)

There&#8217s only one problem: It’s merely a magstripe readers. Now, that&#8217s and not the worst factor on the planet. You will get the EMV/magstripe readers, or choose the EMV/NFC readers, which could sit within the pier and fasten towards the Square Stand via USB.

I&#8217ll be wondering whether Square upgrades the are in position to a minimum of support EMV, otherwise contactless payments, at some stage in the long run, and just how much which will modify the cost. Until then, the Stand is a great choice for a register, and delay pills work with the remainder of Square&#8217s equipment.

EMV/NFC Readers &#8211 Nick-and-PIN ($129)

Square Miura M010 Card Reader

If you would like the utmost data security available, or else you want NFC and magstripe abilities in one device, Square has the last little bit of hardware available: the Miura M010 readers. It&#8217s the only person of Square&#8217s solutions that isn&#8217t produced by Square and when the name doesn&#8217t provide away, you&#8217ll have the ability to tell as soon as your perception.

Miura doesn&#8217t really offer its very own payment processing application. It licenses its products with other companies to re-sell. The M010 is really one of the organization&#8217s products.

That stated, I like this little device, even when it really works with iOS devices and also the Square Stand only. However, it pairs together with your phone via Bluetooth and it has a magstripe readers integrated with EMV and NFC support. The M010 includes a PIN pad for nick-and-pin transactions, but you may also use nick-and-signature. They fit nicely in the users hand of the hands without getting to balance a telephone and steady a readers — however, you&#8217re likely to want to maintain your phone handy to accomplish the transaction and capture signatures. There&#8217s a pier readily available for the readers.

The only real factor I don&#8217t like may be the cost: $129 is much more than double the price of Square&#8217s branded EMV/NFC readers, but I recieve precisely why it is a lot. It supports three payment methods and it has a PIN pad. And when you&#8217re a little cautious about Square&#8217s hardware reliability issues, this is an excellent option since it&#8217s not provided by Square, but Miura, that is licensing the very same readers to 2 others right now. Which, incidentally, brings me to another company within our comparison&#8230

PayPal Here Hardware:

PayPal anxiously waited a couple of years before it made the decision to get involved with the mPOS game using the PayPal Here application. Despite the fact that, it&#8217s still up there with Square like a best choice. Until lately It seemed like PayPal really had the benefit over Square when it comes to elegance, but recently Square&#8217s been moving out some interesting features making it much more competitive.

So far as card visitors concerned, PayPal offers just two options: the disposable magstripe readers and it is EMV/NFC/Magstripe readers.

Magstripe Readers (Free) 

paypal-here-magstripe-reader-screenshot

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PayPal has recently redesigned it&#8217s free magstripe readers. Initially it had been a 2-toned blue triangular by having an arm that slid lower and locked the readers in position. Nowadays it&#8217s only a solid black triangular. It&#8217s roughly exactly the same size — and merely as simple to use, without handy little stabilizing arm. It retails for $15 if you find yourself purchasing it through Staples or any other store (you&#8217ll obtain a credit inside your PayPal account).

EMV/NFC/Magstripe Readers ($149) 

PayPal EMV Reader

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If PayPal&#8217s EMV/NFC/Magstripe card readers looks awfully familiar at this time, you&#8217re not crazy — PayPal is definitely utilizing a branded form of the Miura M010. It simply happens to match with PayPal&#8217s color plan and hardware rather nicely. However, unlike Square&#8217s version, that one works together with Android in addition to iOS.

I&#8217ve already stated that I like the Miura. It’s very simple to use, comfortable to carry, and contains probably the most advanced, secure payments technologies all obsessed with one device.

You&#8217ll observe that PayPal&#8217s edition from the M010 is $20 greater than what Square is charging. However, PayPal is providing a rebate of $100, that can bring the ultimate cost to $49 &#8211 should you satisfy the terms for that rebate, that is $3,000 processed in 3 several weeks.

For many mid-sized and larger retailers, that&#8217s not really an issue. It&#8217ll be tougher for low-volume retailers and individuals who just use the application sporadically. And in contrast to Square, there&#8217s believe it or not-costly EMV option available.

Regrettably PayPal doesn&#8217t sell the pier for that Miura readers. However, you could just order it from POSportal in case you really need it.

Clover Go Hardware

clover-go-mobile-reader

Clover Go is among these products which exist included in the Clover ecosystem. Go may be the mobile card readers you can use with tablets and smartphones.

Although it can accept EMV and swiped transactions, the readers is somewhat clunky. It&#8217s a huge brick that attaches for your phone via headphone jack along with a clamp. Its dimensions are roughly 2 by 2.5 inches. The clamp is a fairly method to stabilize the readers, however it&#8217s still considerably bigger than your typical magstripe readers.

The greatest trouble with the Clover system, though, would be that the experience varies so extremely in one reseller to another. The prices for that hardware differs from just $30 to greater than $100, as well as your processing rates will be different too. Should you&#8217re already utilizing a Clover product, it can be useful for you, and you need to expand to mobile, you ought to be fine. Should you&#8217re not already set on Clover, you might like to consider another options.

Clover Mobile Hardware

Clover Mobile tablet

Should you aren&#8217t keen on a clunky card readers attaching for your smartphone (I don&#8217t blame you), Clover comes with an alternative choice. It&#8217s known as Clover Mobile and in contrast to Go, it&#8217s an exciting-in-one tablet and card readers — no device of your needed.

The Clover Mobile system supports magstripe, EMV, and NFC transactions all-in-one, having a 7-inch tablet screen. Additionally, it supports PIN debit. Clover Mobile even includes a front-facing camera along with a bar code scanner. And also the system works with Clover Station, so you’ll have a register setup but still serve customers on the run, seamlessly.

I&#8217m not going to call a tablet-only solution truly &#8220mobile friendly&#8221 (I consider smartphone compatibility essential). However, this setup works. Named is fairly small at 7 inches, and your readers are made in seamlessly there aren&#8217t weird bits chilling out in various places. You are able to easily contain the tablet in your hands while swiping a card. Clover also sells holsters and stands so that you can really move about by using it or ensure that it stays stationary when needed. There&#8217s a mobile printer.

However, the cost will make you think hard — the Clover Mobile setup will cost you $350 to $800 based on your reseller, and is more based on what accessories you go searching for. Many of them are just available through Clover resellers, too.

I honestly think this can be a better solution than Clover Go — but ouch, that cost! It varies a lot that Clover Mobile is just ideal if you&#8217re already using Clover and extremely desire a mobile EMV option that integrates using the bigger system.

SparkPay Hardware

Spark Pay by Capital The first is a genuinely mobile solution, it provides you with the choice for any register setup. It&#8217s and not the best mobile POS available however it certainly has solid abilities along with a fair quantity of integrations.

With Spark Pay out presently have a range of a totally free magstripe readers or EMV-compatible terminals. The organization presently doesn&#8217t offer an EMV readers for mobile use. Should you look into the support FAQs, you&#8217ll observe that it&#8217s promising an EMV readers by Q1 of 2017.

Magstripe Readers (Free)

Spark Pay Magstripe Reader

Spark Pay will give you one free magstripe readers to obtain began. You can buy more readers for $13 each, which puts it directly on componen with Square and PayPal.

The readers is nothing fancy — it&#8217s an easy, rectangular design using the Spark Pay emblem onto it. There&#8217s a lip around the entrance that functions like a brace. It connects via headphone jack, however it&#8217s a design we all know works.

Terminals (Wired $249/Wireless $619)

Spark Pay terminals

If you want EMV and therefore are running the Spark Pay application from the tablet, you will find the option for a wired or wireless terminal, each of which support EMV and NFC. Additionally they have integrated receipt printers, too. Overall, they&#8217re your standard sized terminals from the well-known name. Absolutely nothing to be particularly worried about here.

The wired terminal (Ingenico iCT220, which we review here) will cost you $249, which isn&#8217t bad. However, you&#8217ll require a line or ethernet port for connecting it. The wireless terminal (Ingenico iWL250) however means no cables, but do it yourself a fairly cent — 61,900 of these actually (that&#8217s $619, incidentally).

Shopify Hardware

Shopify has expanded from just an eCommerce means to fix a complete POS having a mobile option. Personally, i think there&#8217s very little sense in making use of Shopify for mobile payments unless of course you&#8217re also selling online (the fundamental Shopify plan starts at $29/monthly, but there&#8217s additionally a &#8220Lite&#8221 version that&#8217s just $9/month). Regrettably, the retail setup for Shopify could be pricier than another solutions if you would like multi-user support and hardware. However in exchange, you receive a very effective POS with seamless eCommerce abilities.

Once again you&#8217ve got a range of two readers: a typical magstripe readers along with a re-branded Miura M010 for EMV.

Magstripe Readers (Free)

shopify-magstripe-reader

The first magstripe readers is free of charge, but retail cost is $19 — that&#8217s slightly greater compared to competition, although not by much ($5). It&#8217s nothing fancy — however it comes with a rounded design with a lip around the bottom to stabilize it.

EMV Reader ($149 regular/$129 on purchase)

shopify-emv-reader

Shopify is presently providing the Miura M010 EMV/NFC readers for $129, however it states list cost is $149, using it componen with PayPal. There aren&#8217t any rebates available through Shopify. However, like Square it will sell the pier for that readers (readily available for $39). Additionally, it works together with both Android and iOS.

Intuit GoPayment Hardware

Intuit GoPayment has (surprise surprise!) two card readers. I&#8217m excited that Intuit finally has its own EMV readers out it&#8217s been taking pre-orders for a long time. Both designs are basically identical, white-colored having a vibrant eco-friendly circle. However, the EMV readers includes a little Brought along with a port for charging. I&#8217m likely to give points for style — these readers cause me to feel happy just searching their way.

Magstripe Readers (Free)

intuit-magstripe-reader

Intuit&#8217s magstripe readers is fundamental — an easy rectangle that connects to the headphone port in your phone or tablet. There&#8217s no lip or brace to stabilize it, however it&#8217s sufficiently small that the stabilizer isn&#8217t really necessary.

I like that Intuit provides you with three readers free of charge. Additional visitors only $9.95 each. That by itself is fairly awesome.

EMV Readers ($30)

Intuit GoPayment EMV Reader

Intuit adopted exactly the same type of thinking Square did using its EMV readers: The look is basically just like its magstripe readers and contains EMV only, no NFC. That&#8217s not really a deal breaker. Additionally, it implies that the EMV reader is just $30, that is a nice cost.

PayAnywhere Hardware

The ultimate readers about this list is PayAnywhere. As always, you may expect a totally free magstripe readers. The organization also provides an EMV/NFC readers. There&#8217s a tablet system if you prefer a register setup.

Magstripe Readers (Free) 

PayAnywhere Magstripe Reader

PayAnywhere&#8217s magstripe readers is free of charge, even though PayAnywhere doesn&#8217t openly disclose just how much additional visitors onto it website, they’re $10.49 around the Staples website ($8 on Amazon . com, $9.99 at Lowes). Don&#8217t be fooled through the graphics the thing is around the PA site, either — it&#8217s not too awful, big white-colored clunky readers. I’m able to&#8217t appear to locate that for purchase anywhere on the internet.

The readers that’s presently available at a number of stores may be the Componen-1 model. It&#8217s a sleek little black readers having a rounded top and stabilizing lip. Actually, it appears rather like Shopify&#8217s magstripe readers — which isn’t an uncommon occurrence within the payments space.

EMV Readers ($39.95) 

PayAnywhere EMV Reader

PayAnywhere brands its EMV/NFC as an &#8220Apple Pay&#8221 readers. That can be a&#8217s true, it frustrates me since it downplays the EMV factor — along with the proven fact that it supports other contactless payment methods (Android Pay and Samsung Pay, for instance).

However I promise, the readers does accept EMV payments. As well as for a pleasant cost, too — you will get it for $39.95, that is certainly the least expensive cost I&#8217ve seen to have an EMV/NFC readers. PayAnywhere and Apple will also be teaming up to provide you with the first $5,000 in Apple Pay transactions free if you purchase the readers from your Apple Store.

I&#8217m simply not interested in around the actual design. The readers is a huge black clunky attachment that clamps on your phone. It plugs in via headphone jack instead of pairing via Bluetooth. It simply feels clumsy in my experience. I’m able to&#8217t find a number of other reading user reviews some way about this, though.

Storefront Tablet Stand (Free)

PayAnywhere Storefront Tablet

PayAnywhere may be the only mPOS solution that provides you with a tablet completely totally free. There&#8217s a few caveats, obviously. One: It&#8217s no iPad. It&#8217s just an unbranded Android tablet. Two: You’ve to enroll in the Storefront plan, with a $79 minimum processing fee should you don&#8217t process a minimum of $5,000 in transactions that month.

The stand comes with an integrated magstripe readers. If you would like EMV or NFC, you&#8217ll need to get the PayAnywhere Apple Pay readers.

As I said within our full PayAnywhere review, I&#8217m a little skeptical from the too-good-to-be-true nature of the offer. The entire retail cost for that tablet, stand, and register setup is $900. The stand itself seems to become about $200 (PA states the price of replacing the stand whether it&#8217s broken is $199 plus handling and shipping). Still, when the cost will work for only you&#8217re meeting that monthly minimum volume, this might work.

What&#8217s the very best Value for Card Readers?

Switching payment processors could be a nightmare, however the EMV liability shift makes it essential for most retailers to think about exactly what the best — and many affordable — hardware choice is. With four card readers varying for free to $129, Square has something for everybody. But others (including PayPal and Shopify) have high-quality options, too. It truly comes lower that company has got the right mixture of features, prices, and hardware for your requirements. So don&#8217t hesitate to check on each one of these out and find out whether or not this&#8217s best for you!

What&#8217s your knowledge about mPOS card readers? Which of them were your favorites, and that have you despised? Leave us a remark and tell us!

The publish How Can Square&#8217s Card Readers Rival Competitors? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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