Shopify versus. Bigcommerce: Tradeoffs, Comparisons & More

Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Shopify and BigCommerce are two fastest growing and many well-known located ecommerce platforms.

Ecommerce options exist on the spectrum of convenience and control. Both Shopify and BigCommerce are right in the center of the spectrum simply because they bundle all of the technical areas of a web-based store &#8211 hosting, speed, security, inventory, shopping cart software and payment processing &#8211 and bundle it right into a single monthly cost. This contrasts with solutions like WordPress + Woocommerce in which you buy, operate and keep each bit from the store but additionally have true 100% control of your site.

But just like a self-located ecommerce website, Shopify and BigCommerce also bundle in your website in your domain in which you have full charge of product, prices and customer experience. So unlike managing a store on Etsy, eBay or Amazon . com &#8211 you control the build, design and content of the store.

Even if this area of the spectrum has lots of tradeoffs &#8211 services like Shopify and BigCommerce are a great choice for many storeowners. Therefore the question becomes &#8211 Shopify versus. BigCommerce?

I’ve reviewed Shopify here and BigCommerce here. I’ve used both like a customer so that as an advisor to customers of both.

Both are excellent companies by having an excellent product. And like several my other ecommerce and hosting reviews, there’s no such factor being an absolute “best” &#8211 there’s just the best brand out there according to your circumstances, goals and sources.

Here’s how Shopify comes even close to BigCommerce across 6 variables that many customers take a look at &#8211 and what you need to consider with Shopify versus. BigCommerce.

Skip to conclusion here.

Aside &#8211 I built a Buzzfeed style quiz for ecommerce platforms that grades the standards together with your goals. You should check out the quiz here.

Also, a fast disclosure &#8211 I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All data and opinions derive from my experience like a having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

Cost

Ahh &#8211 cost. It’s both simplest and many complex method to compare two products.

Rapid story on cost is the fact that both Shopify and BigCommerce work on a regular monthly cost structure having a ~2 week free trial offer. They likewise have a really similar “sticker” cost with tiers at ~$29/mo and ~$79/mo or more.

Shopify Pricing for Shopify Review (2016)

BigCommerce Pricing

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That stated, their plan structure is simply different enough to create a direct comparison a little difficult.

Aside &#8211 Shopify throws another wrench within the comparison because you can buy Shopify Lite to be used being an inventory &amp order management with no actual website.

If you’re just beginning by helping cover their a fundamental store, you’ll likely save some cash with BigCommerce because (as we’ll see later) &#8211 they include lots of features directly within their setup. They’ve apps and styles &#8211 but both are usually either free or costly.

However, once you begin factoring in apps, styles, charge card rates, and mid-tier features for example HTTPS and cart recovery &#8211 then Shopify is the perfect total value cost for many stores. Shopify includes a more diverse group of apps &amp styles across a variety of cost points and it has some advanced features which are “global” &#8211 for example HTTPS everywhere.

In either case &#8211 cost isn’t the deciding factor for Shopify versus. BigCommerce. Rather, I’d take a look at additional factors.

Customer Care

Customer care is among the most undervalued advantages of choosing a located ecommerce platform.

The entire charge of a self-located ecommerce website is wonderful until it will get hacked and you’re having to pay $$$ to some developer or you are within the WordPress forums wishing someone points you within the right direction.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify have customer care included in their monthly cost. You obtain access to a variety of channels on &#8211 from phone to talk to forums to email tickets.

All customer care is customized since both operate on proprietary platforms.

At register &#8211 both of them come with an “onboarding” sequence along with a consultant to assist with any issues.

BigCommerce Onboarding Email

I’ve had good encounters with and you will find a few variations that I’ve observed &#8211

  • BigCommerce has more thorough and instructive DIY education. They’ve videos and screenshots for small changes around the Dashboard whereas Shopify may have text instructions.
  • BigCommerce results in as increasing numbers of beginner-friendly.
  • Shopify has more thorough and instructive content on running your general business. They invest considerable time and sources in situation studies, lengthy-form guides, tutorials, and helping your company succeed beyond just applying a brand new feature.
  • Shopify also offers a far more well-developed network of third party developers and marketers who focus on Shopify. They’re also known as “Shopify Experts.” It isn’t effortlessly, but it’s a much better beginning point for advanced help than the usual Google or UpWork search.

Overall, I’d state that beginners will probably find BigCommerce’s support system to become less daunting. However a growing store will probably find Shopify’s support system to become handier.

Customer Focus

Shopify and BigCommerce both serve companies that vary from really small retailers selling niche products to multi-billion dollar brands. Have enterprise plans (I authored about Shopify Plus here) plus they have customer care teams educated to help absolute beginners.

That stated &#8211 there’s a significant difference between your companies when it comes to sources and mission. Shopify did an Dpo in 2015 to be a perfectly-funded public company. Their platform should serve all retail companies both on and offline.

Shopify runs their very own payment processing service as well as has their very own Point-of-Purchase (POS) system to ensure that small offline retailers sell offline an internet-based from inside exactly the same system. These were the first one to unveil “buyable buttons” on Pinterest and Facebook to ensure that retailers could sell inventory directly anywhere online &#8211 not only from customers who examined through the merchant’s website.

Shopify’s backend (which I’ll cover within the next section) reflects this focus. These products / orders / customers / inventory area is outside of the “website” area. The concept is your website is just one of numerous sales channels. You are able to certainly run your site as the only sales funnel in Shopify &#8211 however the choices to sell elsewhere happen to be built-in.

BigCommerce’s focus appears to become 100% on online-only storeowners. That’s not necessarily a bad or perhaps a good factor &#8211 it’s only a choice. Their backend and terminology is centered on the storeowner that has an ecommerce website&#8230and that’s the main focus. BigCommerce has lots of integrations with eBay, Facebook, etc &#8211 but they’re still treated being an extension from the website.

BigCommerce’s big business development deal was with Alibaba. It’s focused particularly on helping ecommerce proprietors and dropshippers build out inventory to market online better.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify are fantastic platforms for novices to enterprise. However, Shopify’s focus is on helping everybody sell everywhere. BigCommerce’s focus helps online storeowners sell better.

User-ambiance &amp Onboarding

Associated with Customer Focus would be the problems with user-ambiance and “onboarding” (ie, obtaining a new customer for an active storeowner).

Both BigCommerce and Shopify have excellent onboarding processes and user-friendly management areas. Here’s a relevant video tour of every backend &#8211

The primary difference is when each backend is structured. BigCommerce includes a single Dashboard in which you manage everything &#8211 your product or service, inventory, websites, settings, billing, etc.

Shopify breaks out products/customers/orders as well as your website into separate areas. Furthermore, Shopify has their very own lingo.

For instance, rather of “product categories” &#8211 Shopify has “Collections.” Rather of a &#8220website&#8221 &#8211 Shopify has &#8220Online Store&#8221 that is among your &#8220Sales Channels.&#8221

To have an absolute beginner, it requires a couple of more minutes to determine Shopify’s lingo and structure when compared with BigCommerce. That stated, once Shopify’s lingo clicks, it will provide a little more versatility for daily operations. Shopify’s inventory setup, their product filtering and template editor are faster and much more versatile &#8211 when you figure them out.

For those who have never operate a website before and just possess a promising small to mid-size product collection, then BigCommerce will probably be preferable than Shopify.

If you would like more lengthy-term versatility, you’ll likely appreciate Shopify’s system more when you tackle the training curve.

Method of Features

Both Shopify and BigCommerce have the majority of the tools (marketing, Search engine optimization, inventory, order, etc) a web-based store will have to be effective. They differ though in the way the each approach adding additional features.

Shopify takes the “platform” approach. They’ve essential features that storeowners will require built-in. However for features that does not all storeowners need &#8211 they concentrate on ensuring storeowners can also add feature extensions for their store when needed. There is a large and active Application Store that does not has only well-known extensions (ie, MailChimp) but additionally lots of indie apps for each situation (ie, apps for worldwide tax and shipping features).

Shopify’s template editing language, Liquid, also enables developers to include features straight to an outlet if required.

BigCommerce comes with an Application Store for extensions too. However, BigCommerce includes a bigger concentrate on building plenty of features straight into their software to ensure that there’s you don’t need to add extra time.

For instance, take selling on eBay or importing your eBay listings for your store. Both Shopify and BigCommerce could make these functions happen.

BigCommerce builds the feature to their backend. Should you not require the feature, it adds some clutter and technically enables you to “pay” for something aren’t using. However if you simply require it, it’s already there also it simply works.

Shopify doesn’t have it built-in. However, they are doing come with an application extension (produced by Shopify, readily available for free) that you could supplment your store if you are an eBay seller.

Another example is bulk 301 Redirects. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have 301 redirect functionality built-in &#8211 and it is ideal for most storeowners.

However, some will have to upload a spreadsheet’s price of a large number of redirects. BigCommerce has bulk upload built-all the while Shopify users need to install an application to consider proper care of it.

Bigcommerce Advanced Settings

That stated &#8211 the switch side from the platform/built-in tradeoff is when BigCommerce doesn’t have an element built-in &#8211 they’re unlikely with an application to supply the functionality whatsoever.

For instance, if you’re applying individuals bulk 301 redirects and wish to monitor 404 errors to find out if you missed any URLs &#8211 Shopify’s application will require proper care of that however, you won’t have the ability to it whatsoever in BigCommerce.

It’s exactly the same situation for drag editing, membership shopping and lots of other advanced features. Most storeowners don’t needOrwould like them. However if you simply do, you are more inclined to have it in certain form or fashion in Shopify than BigCommerce.

Shopify Apps

Overall, for those who have fairly core ecommerce needs and just want something to exist and also to work &#8211 then BigCommerce will probably are more effective.

If you would like more versatility (without going the self-hosting route), then you’ll convey more use of features with Shopify.

Aside &#8211 for this reason I suggest carrying out a 2 week free trial offer with BigCommerce and Shopify simply to click around and discover for yourself.

Method of Design

Both Shopify and BigCommerce make use of a system of styles / templates for design. You decide on basics theme after which edit it to appear as you desire.

As the finish result is identical, they are doing have a slightly different approach.

Shopify includes a well-developed “Theme Store” which, similar to their Application Store, has many free and premium styles produced by companies, individuals, and Shopify.

Shopify Themes

Shopify’s backend enables you to definitely make changes towards the theme. Most styles possess a hybrid method of editing. Small customizations (colors, logos, etc) require only a click while bigger changes (layout, widgets, etc) require editing Shopify’s custom Liquid language. Knowing some HTML/CSS, then it isn’t ideal since you need to learn yet another method of making changes.

BigCommerce includes a Theme Store that’s quickly growing. They’ve just added a brand new batch of new styles. However, still it lacks the variety of Shopify. Their cost points for premium styles are often greater too. That stated, BigCommerce theme editing options include both selecting small customizations and editing the HTML/CSS. It’s a far more straightforward editor that you will get with Shopify.

Bigcommerce Design Editing Options

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Overall, I believe most storeowners will discover more versatility with Shopify’s method of design. However, if you wish to edit HTML/CSS directly without learning a brand new language and/or wish to download template designs (instead of your development store) &#8211 then you’ll like BigCommerce better.

Shopify versus. BigCommerce Conclusion &amp Next Steps

So Shopify versus. BigCommerce &#8211 who is the perfect fit for who? For those who have time &#8211 I’d really recommend carrying out a free trial offer (no charge card needed) with and merely clicking around.

Obtain a free 15-day free trial offer with BigCommerce here.

Obtain a free 14-day free trial offer with Shopify here.

Personally, i such as the versatility and options of Shopify. They’re likely a much better fit for many online storeowners. Take a look at Shopify here &amp my Shopify Review here.

However, if you are a online-only store and wish a less complicated experience, you’ll prosper with BigCommerce. Take a look at BigCommerce here &amp my BigCommerce Review here.

If you’re undecided &#8211 then take my Ecommerce Platform Quiz here. It will require your requirements and let you know who is the greatest option for your web store.

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The Top 7 Things to Look for in a Merchant Account

online transaction

While credit cards have existed in one form or another in the United States for almost a century, it’s only been during the last few decades that their use has become commonplace. It wasn’t all that long ago that most people made just about every purchase with either cash or a personal check. Today, most consumers have a variety of credit and debit cards, and prefer to use them instead of cash whenever possible. As a business owner, it’s more important than ever that you have the ability to accept credit cards, whether you’re running a traditional retail store or selling items online. Simply put, credit card acceptance translates directly into more sales and, hopefully, more profits.

Unfortunately, accepting credit cards is anything but free. Credit card associations, issuing banks, and transaction processors will all get a cut of every credit card transaction you accept. Obviously, you’ll want to minimize the cost per transaction as much as possible, but there are other factors that are equally important. The processor with the lowest processing rates might not provide the best overall service.

In order to accept credit cards, you’ll need a merchant account. This is simply an account with your credit card processor that you can use to both deposit funds from cleared transactions and also to pay the various fees and per-transaction charges that you will incur. Merchant accounts can also include a variety of associated products and services that you’ll need to run your business, such as credit card terminals, mobile credit card readers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and more.

Selecting the merchant account provider that’s best for you and your business is not an easy task. Too many merchants fall into the trap of simply looking for the provider with the lowest processing rates. This can turn into an expensive mistake over time, as the credit card processing industry is notorious for tacking on a host of pricey – and often undisclosed – monthly and annual fees for just about every service provided as part of maintaining your merchant account. So, don’t get too focused on processing rates – it’s the overall total cost over time that really counts. This includes processing rates, account fees, and other costs (such as chargebacks) that you might have to deal with.

Not all merchant accounts provide the same level of service. Popular small-business processors such as Square, for instance, don’t actually provide a full-service merchant account. While you’ll still be able to process credit card transactions, you won’t get certain features (i.e., a unique Merchant ID number, PCI compliance services, and robust customer service) that full-service merchant accounts include. The lack of these features often create real problems for merchants, with complaints about frozen or terminated accounts and poor customer service being very common. For a very small business that’s just starting out, this might be a reasonable trade-off in exchange for the money you’ll save over a full-service account. However, once your business grows beyond a certain point, you’ll need to transition to a more stable, full-service account and the security features it provides.

We’ve identified seven different features that you need to look at very carefully in selecting a merchant account provider. They’re all equally important, and you’ll want to examine all of them in evaluating any merchant account provider that you’re thinking of signing up with. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to come up with a precise estimate of your overall costs, you should be able to get a pretty good idea by evaluating these seven features.

1. Hardware that meets the unique needs of your business

No matter what kind of business you run, you’ll need equipment to process your sales. Even a purely eCommerce venture is still going to need some hardware – even if it’s just your own personal laptop. For most other businesses, however, your hardware needs will be more extensive. Basically, you’re going to need some type of equipment to read your customer’s credit card information and send it to your processor for (hopefully) approval.

Options for reading credit cards are a lot more robust today than they were just a few years ago. In addition to the traditional wired credit card terminals commonly seen in retail establishments, there are now numerous wireless terminals and mobile processing systems that combine a smartphone with a very basic credit card reader to offer the same capabilities as a dedicated terminal.

Wired credit card terminals are still the most commonly-used card readers out there, and they offer a number of distinct advantages. Perhaps most importantly, they’re simply more reliable. You don’t have to worry about your wireless internet connection suddenly going down and leaving you unable to process a sale. Wired terminals are also generally better at supporting newer features such as EMV credit cards and contactless payments using near-field communications (NFC), such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and others.

Today, wired terminals are more affordable than ever, and we highly recommend that you buy your own terminals outright rather than leasing them from your merchant account provider. Unfortunately, the credit card processing industry figured out a long time ago that they could make a lot of money by leasing terminals to their merchants rather than selling them directly. Here’s how the scam works: You sign up for a traditional merchant account, with comes with a three-year contract. You need terminals to actually process your customer’s cards, so you lease them from your merchant account provider. What you don’t realize (and your sales agent usually won’t tell you) is that the lease agreement for the terminals is actually with a separate company – and it’s for four years, not three. Not only that, but your terminal lease is non-cancellable, meaning that you’ll still have to pay for all of the remaining months on your lease if you try to cancel early. Even if you close your account and send the terminals back, many companies will still charge you for every remaining month of your lease. The end result? You’ll wind up paying literally thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that you can buy outright today for as little as $100.00.

Some companies will even try to tell you that it’s more cost-effective to lease your terminals rather than buy them. Don’t believe it! In almost all cases, this is simply not true. If you read the terms of your leasing agreement and most importantly, do the math, it should be pretty obvious that, in most cases, those “low” monthly leasing fees and associated charges will add up to far more money out of your pocket than simply buying your own equipment. One possible exception to this general rule is if your business needs a large number of terminals, but you don’t have the capital available to buy them all at once. Given that businesses large enough to need a lot of terminals generally aren’t short on capital, this is a pretty unlikely scenario.

Another very unique exception is if you sign up with CDGcommerce, one of our favorite processors. Rather than lock you into an expensive, four-year contract, CDG provides their terminals in exchange for a $79.00 per year insurance fee. This works out to about $6.59 per month, far less than what most other processors will charge you in leasing fees. This fee also includes any necessary re-programming and software updates, plus you can also exchange your terminal for a newer model. It’s the one exception we’ve found where you’ll get a good deal by “renting” your terminals from your merchant account provider.

When shopping around for terminals, there’s one last thing to bear in mind. With the advent of EMV terminals in the US in 2015, there are a lot of older, magstripe-only terminals still out there. Not only are these terminals essentially obsolete, they’re also potential liability traps with the EMV liability shift that occurred on October 1, 2015. Many of the true bottom-feeders in the processing industry are still trying to push these terminals onto unsuspecting merchants. Sometimes they’re advertised as being “free” (they’re really not), and other times they come with a traditional lease. Now that it’s 2016, there is simply no reason whatsoever to buy or lease a non-EMV-compliant terminal. Yes, some customers will still have magstripe-only credit or debit cards, and this will be true for some time. Nonetheless, since almost all currently available EMV-compliant terminals also include a magstripe reader, you should never accept a terminal that doesn’t include both capabilities.

In addition to EMV, you’ll also want a terminal that supports contactless payments through near-field communications (NFC). NFC-based payment systems allow customers to leave their wallets behind and use their smartphone to make a payment. Apple Watch and Android Wear users can also use the technology to make payments with their smartwatches. Currently, the world of NFC-based payments is very splintered, with Apple Pay only working on Apple devices, Android Pay only working on Android devices, and Samsung Pay being proprietary to Samsung’s Android-based smartphones. Despite the confusing choices out there, NFC payments are currently the most secure form of payment that’s available. Read more about it here.

Wireless terminals are also available, and while they’re not necessary for a traditional retail establishment, they can be very useful for any type of business where you have to go to the customer, rather than having the customer come to you. Plumbers, electricians, and others in similar trades will find them essential. If you’re in a business that needs a wireless terminal, realize that 1) the terminal itself will be more expensive than a wired terminal, and 2) wireless terminals also require a wireless data plan (typically about $20.00 per month). Depending on your needs, it might make sense to go with a mobile processing solution, such as Square, as a lower-cost alternative.

Mobile processing itself is a capability that didn’t even exist just a few years ago. Square, launched in 2009, was the first company to combine a smartphone with a plug-in credit card reader, allowing merchants to process credit card transactions anywhere they had cell phone or Wi-Fi coverage. Today, Square has a lot of competitors and many traditional processing companies are trying to get in on the action by offering their own apps and card readers. Unfortunately, none of them offer anywhere near the robust capabilities that Square offers, and many of them are actually more expensive. Square itself is certainly not perfect – complaints about frozen accounts and poor-to-nonexistent customer service are all too common. Nonetheless, it’s a respectable alternative for very small businesses, startups, and seasonal sellers who neither need nor want a full-service merchant account. It’s also a very economical way to add mobile processing to your existing merchant account.

Point-of-sale (POS) systems are also very popular with merchants today, combining transaction processing with database capabilities that allow you to track not only sales, but also inventory, customer relations, employee performance, and numerous other metrics. Modern POS systems truly bring “big data” concepts to small and not-so-small businesses. Again, your merchant account provider will usually have a POS solution that they’ll want to sell to you. Whether you truly need (or can afford) their “solution” is another matter. While a modern POS system is ultimately a software solution, the hardware required to input and display the data involved can vary from a dedicated terminal (such as Clover) to a tablet-based system that runs on your iPad or Android tablet. For most small businesses, we recommend a cloud-based POS solution rather than a far more expensive dedicated terminal. See our Best Small Business POS article for more specific recommendations.

2. Software to keep track of your business and help it grow

The days of tracking your sales in a paper ledger and collecting a shoebox full of sales receipts are, thankfully, long gone. Today’s merchant accounts harness the power of the internet to track and store your account data digitally. Cloud-based systems make that data available just about anywhere, on any internet-connected device. Physical and eCommerce businesses alike will need the appropriate software to take advantage of these capabilities.

If your business operates out of a physical location and you don’t make any sales online, your needs will be pretty simple. One useful product to consider is a virtual terminal. This is simply a software program or web service that allows you to process credit card transactions on your computer using a USB card swiper. While it won’t be quite as mobile as using Square, it will still allow you to process card-present transactions and access your sales data.

eCommerce merchants will have more extensive needs in order to run their virtual businesses. For online sales, you’ll have to have a payment gateway as part of your merchant account. Payment gateways connect customers wanting to make a payment with the bank or merchant account provider that processes the transaction. Most merchant account providers in business today will offer a payment gateway as part of their services, usually through Authorize.net. One of our highest-rated providers, CDGcommerce, will offer you either their own proprietary Quantum gateway or one through Authorize.net – for free. Most other providers, however, charge a monthly fee for payment gateways.

For eCommerce merchants, an online shopping cart that allows customers to select items and place orders is also essential. Shopping carts integrate directly into your website rather than functioning as a stand-alone feature. Shopify, one of our favorites, is perhaps the most well-known online shopping cart. For a good overview of the best shopping carts available, check out our Shopping Cart Comparison chart.

3. Reasonable, transparent fees

Merchant accounts don’t come cheap. In addition to the processing rates you’ll have to pay on each transaction, your merchant account provider will also charge you a bewildering variety of one-time, monthly, and annual fees for the privilege of maintaining your account. For a small or recently-launched business, these fees can quickly eat up your profits and threaten the growth of your business.

Just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, you’re also never going to find a free merchant account. Merchant account providers have to make a profit in order to stay in business, and they have to charge reasonable fees in order to do so. Traditionally, merchant account providers have relied on tacking a lot of nickel-and-dime fees onto your bill to compensate for the low processing rates they offer to entice you into signing up with them. These fees allow a processor to make money from a merchant account regardless of your monthly processing volume. In fact, they often still make money even if you’re not processing any transactions at all. Fortunately, a number of newer, more technology-focused merchant account providers are disrupting this old business model by offering accounts with low, fully-disclosed fees. It’s no coincidence that many of our highest-rated providers fall into this category.

In evaluating any merchant account provider, you’ll want to look for a fee structure that is both reasonable and transparent. Fees that are in line with the industry average aren’t necessarily reasonable, as there are still a lot of “junk” fees out there. For our purposes, a reasonable fee is one where the account provider actually provides a valuable service in exchange for that fee, and the fee is reasonably related to the value of that service. Fees should also be transparent, or fully disclosed before you sign up for an account. While all of our favorite providers fully disclose their fees right on their websites, most traditional processors do not. Instead, they’re buried in pages of fine print and often not disclosed by sales agents.

So, what kinds of fees might you be charged? Here’s a brief overview of common fees associated with merchant accounts:

Account setup or application fees: While they’re gradually becoming less common, some merchant account providers will charge you a hefty, one-time fee for setting up your account. We consider this a junk fee because it only requires a few minutes of an agent’s time to set up your account, and both the agent and the account provider stand to make money off of you, not the other way around. Usually running around $150 (!), a setup or application fee is a clear red flag that you should avoid doing business with that account provider.

Monthly or annual account fees: Almost all providers – good and bad alike – charge some sort of fee to maintain your account. This might be billed monthly, or charged as an annual fee. Either way, it’s something of a catch-all charge to cover all the things your account provider isn’t charging you for directly. This can include things like PCI compliance scans, “free” credit card terminals, “free” virtual terminals, and other services that come with your merchant account. What constitutes a reasonable account fee will depend on how many services come with your account and whether or not you actually need them.

Monthly minimums: Not a fee in itself, a monthly minimum is a requirement that your business process a sufficient total amount in transactions to incur at least a specified amount (typically $25.00) in processing charges. As a hypothetical example, if all of your transactions were charged a flat 2.0% processing rate, you’d have to process $1,250.00 in total sales in order to meet the $25.00 minimum. You only have to pay if you fail to meet the minimum, and even then you only pay the difference between your actual processing charges and the amount specified as the monthly minimum. While they’re won’t affect a large, established business, they function as a penalty for very small, part-time, and seasonal businesses. If you fall into that category, you’ll want to avoid any provider that includes a monthly minimum in their contracts.

PCI compliance fees: Your merchant account must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) security standards. This protects both you and your customers who, after all, are entrusting you with their credit card information. Since an in-depth discussion of PCI compliance is beyond the scope of this article, you’ll want to read this post for a good overview of the subject.

PCI-related fees come in two flavors: 1) PCI compliance fees, which are fees for services that your processor provides in order to ensure that your account remains PCI compliant, and 2) PCI non-compliance fees, which are effectively penalties for not being PCI compliant. See our article on the subject for more in-depth information. PCI compliance fees are a reasonable cost of doing business as long as a) your provider is actually doing PCI scans and taking other steps to protect your account and your customers’ data, and b) the fee is reasonable ($99.00 per year is the current industry average). On the other hand, you should never have to pay PCI non-compliance fees. If your provider can’t keep you compliant, find another provider. Also note that some of the newer providers do not charge a discreet PCI compliance fee. In most cases, you’re still paying for this as part of your monthly or annual account fee.

Statement fees and other “junk” fees: Traditional merchant account providers are notorious for adding any number of miscellaneous fees to your monthly bill, often with little or no actual service provided to you in exchange. While most of these fees are pretty minor and won’t add much to your costs, things like statement fees can add up quickly. Although the processing industry is slowly phasing out the statement fee, there are still plenty of companies that continue to charge it. Statement fees are usually around $8.00 per month. Think about that for a minute. That’s an extra $96.00 per year – just for them to send your statement to you every month. Considering that your statement is automatically generated by software and most companies today send your statement via email, it’s a complete rip-off.

Early termination fees: Most of the traditional merchant account providers in the industry will sign you up for a long-term contract (typically three years), and will charge you an early termination fee (ETF) if you try to close your account early – for any reason. ETFs are expensive (typically around $495.00) and are designed to discourage you from switching your account to a different processor. None of our favorite processors charge an ETF, allowing you to maintain your account on a month-to-month basis with no penalty for closing it.

Chargebacks: Any time your processor has to reverse a charge and issue a credit, you’ll be hit with a chargeback. Chargebacks can occur due to technical errors, returned merchandise, or actual fraud. Even though you as the merchant probably haven’t done anything wrong, most processors will still charge you a chargeback fee (typically about $20.00) to investigation what happened and issue a refund. For more information, see our article on avoiding chargebacks.

4. Fair, understandable processing rates

The processing rate is simply the total percentage of a transaction that you’ll have to pay to your merchant account provider in exchange for their processing the transaction. Processing rates can be very complicated and confusing, especially since the processor only keeps a portion of whatever they charge you. Fees (called the interchange) have to be paid to the credit card association (i.e., Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and also to the bank that issued the card, with the remainder going to the processor. Companies have devised several different pricing models to pass these costs onto you, including the following:

Interchange-plus pricing: Like its name, this pricing model consists of an “interchange” and a “plus.” As we’ve noted, the interchange is paid to the issuing bank and also the credit card association. The “plus” is simply the amount that your processor actually keeps from each transaction. Interchange-plus rate quotes are often expressed as “interchange + X %,” with the X % being the “plus.” Some processors also charge a fixed per-transaction fee (typically $0.10 to $0.25) as part of the “plus.” Because you can easily see exactly how much your processor is keeping from each transaction, it’s considered the most fair and transparent pricing model. It’s also usually less expensive overall than tiered or flat rate pricing.

Tiered pricing: This pricing model consolidates dozens of different processing rates into three tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified transactions. Which tier a transaction will fall into depends on a number of variables, such as whether the card was swiped or manually entered, what the items purchased were, when the transaction was actually sent to the processor, and many others. Companies offering tiered pricing often only advertise their qualified rates, with phrases like “rates as low as…” In reality, most transactions will fall into the mid-qualified or non-qualified categories, where the rates are almost always much higher.

Flat-rate pricing: eCommerce-focused companies such as Square and PayPal offer flat-rate pricing as an alternative to traditional pricing models. Each transaction is charged a flat percentage rate, and often a fixed per-transaction fee as well. Rates are simple, easy to understand, and fully disclosed right on the companies’ websites. Flat rates are usually higher than what you’ll get with interchange-plus pricing, but companies that offer them also charge you a lot less in monthly and annual fees.

Which pricing model is right for you is going to depend on a number of factors, with your monthly processing volume being one of the most important ones. For small or newly-established businesses with a low processing volume, flat-rate pricing is more economical because you’ll avoid most of the nickel-and-dime fees that make maintaining a traditional merchant account so expensive. On the other hand, a larger business that isn’t as concerned about fees will save money with interchange-plus pricing. For more information about processing rates, please see our Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees.

5. Honest, non-misleading marketing and advertising

“My sales agent lied to me!” It’s an all-too-common complaint we see from merchants who’ve signed up with a traditional merchant account provider – and it’s often true. Rather than hiring and properly training a staff of professional, in-house sales agents, many companies rely on independent sales agents who are only paid on a commission basis. With practically no educational or experience requirements, just about anyone can become an agent. Combine this with generally inadequate training and intense pressure to close a deal, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Independent agents have a bad reputation for failing to disclose some of the more onerous terms of the contracts they’re selling, especially early termination fees. Yes, there are some naturally talented independent agents who have done well and can provide you with quality service. However, the odds are against it. We recommend that you stick with companies that have their own dedicated, in-house sales staff. Some of the best companies will even assign you a dedicated account representative, which is about as good as it gets.

Online advertising has now become the single most important way to market any business, including merchant account providers. A website can tell you a lot about a company, both good and bad. Unfortunately, most merchant account providers have very poor websites. Filled with misleading advertising gimmicks and lacking any sort of educational information, they frequently tease you with claims of low processing rates, while failing to disclose any of the actual rates or fees you’ll be paying. You’ll know that you’re dealing with a good, ethical company if their website includes some (or all) of the following features:

  • Full disclosure of processing rates and all monthly and annual account fees
  • Educational articles that discuss the details of credit card processing
  • A detailed knowledge base for customer self-service
  • Clear options for contacting customer service (telephone, email, and chat)
  • No misleading low rate claims or “lowest rate guarantee” gimmicks
  • Positive testimonials from actual merchants, including full personal and business names

6. Month-to-month contracts

The credit card processing industry has an absolutely horrible (and well-deserved) reputation when it comes to contracts. Signing up for a merchant account typically locks you into a long-term contract, usually for three years. If that wasn’t bad enough, most contracts also include an automatic renewal clause that will extend your contract for an additional year if you don’t take very specific steps to cancel it ahead of time. Most processors will also include an early termination fee in your contract, which serves as a penalty (typically around $495.00) for terminating your contract early. Some of the worst processors will even include a liquidated damages clause in their contracts, which could potentially cost you even more money if you try to get out of your contract.

Naturally, these one-sided contract provisions have generated a huge number of complaints from merchants over the years. Fortunately, the industry is responding in a positive way, albeit very slowly. Most of our highest-rated processors will allow you to sign up for an account on a month-to-month basis. There’s no long-term contract, no early termination fee, and no liquidated damages clause. Given a choice between the two, there’s simply no reason whatsoever to sign up for anything other than a month-to-month account.

7. High-quality customer service and support

Service after the sale is just as important for merchant accounts as it is for anything else – maybe more so. Things can and will go wrong. Credit card terminals will suddenly stop working on a busy day. Mysterious, unexplained charges will show up on your statement. Chargebacks will occur, despite your best efforts to prevent them. For all of these and many other possible issues, you’ll want solid customer service and support from your merchant account provider.

For minor issues, self-service should always be an option. Good providers maintain extensive FAQs and knowledge bases on their websites, allowing you to fix a problem on your own. This is particularly handy during non-business hours.

Most processors (even the bad ones) offer support via telephone or email. Chat support through the company’s website is also becoming more common. Telephone support that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year is ideal. Realize that many companies offering 24/7 telephone support outsource that function, so you might end up talking to someone who may or may not be able to resolve your problem. Some companies will assign you a dedicated account representative, which is about the most personalized support you can hope for.

Final Thoughts

It’s 2016, and it seems like today just about everyone’s an entrepreneur in one way or another. More people are opening their own businesses than ever before, either as a side gig or a full-time occupation. The advent of eCommerce and low-cost processing options like Square make it easier than ever to start up a business. Whether you’re taking the plunge for the first time or you have many years of experience running a business, selecting the best possible merchant account provider is a critically important decision that can have a real impact on how well your business does.

If you’re just starting out, or your business is never going to be anything more than a side gig, you might not need a full-service merchant account. Low-cost providers such as Square will allow you to process credit cards without having to pay for many of the bells and whistles that come with a true merchant account. At the same time, you won’t have a unique merchant ID number for your account, increasing your risk for account freezes and terminations. Square also doesn’t provide much in the way of customer service, although they are getting better. Larger businesses will definitely need a full-service merchant account for the security features and robust customer service that come with it.

What if your business falls in the high risk category? If you’re a high-risk merchant, your options are more limited and you might not be approved for an account by some of our top-rated processors. Many of the processors that will give you an account will charge you higher rates and fees than the industry average. For a good processor that specializes in high-risk merchants and offers fairly-priced accounts, we recommend Durango Merchant Services.

Despite all the unscrupulous practices in the processing industry, there are some good companies out there that offer high-quality service at a fair, reasonable cost. For a side-by-side comparison of our top-rated processors, see our Merchant Account Comparison Chart. For a more detailed look at the features and benefits of each company, check out this article.

The post The Top 7 Things to Look for in a Merchant Account appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Very Best Retail Charge Card Processing Companies

Retail credit card processorRegardless of the growing recognition of eCommerce, retail companies are alive and well within the Twenty-first Century. Customers still need look for groceries, visit a cafe or restaurant for supper, and place their vehicle for their auto technician to achieve the oil altered. For almost any brick-and-mortar business in which the customer comes, you’ll need so that you can accept charge cards as a kind of payment. Payment by debit or credit card is becoming more and more popular in the last 2 decades – enough where it’s somewhat unusual to determine a person pay with cash or perhaps a personal check any longer.

Accepting charge cards means getting to obtain a credit card merchant account. Regrettably, the credit card merchant account provider industry includes a well-deserved status for top charges, lengthy-term contracts, and poor service following the purchase. They’re also well-noted for hiding individuals costly charges deep in the small print of the contracts, and employing shady sales representatives who put tremendous pressure on retailers to enroll in a free account, while easily neglecting to disclose the real price of the accounts they’re selling.

It doesn’t need to be by doing this. When a business will get a poor status such as this, it reveals an chance for fair, ethical companies in the future in and disrupt that industry by providing a much better value. Surprisingly, there are several excellent companies available who’ll treat you a lot better than the majority of the traditional credit card merchant account providers. We’ve identified six account providers who offer a mix of services and products that are perfect for brick-and-mortar retail companies. These have consistently been rated 5 from 5 stars at Merchant Maverick. No, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. There’s no such factor like a perfect credit card merchant account provider, due to the fact some information mill more appropriate to various kinds of companies than the others. Nevertheless, you actually can’t fail with the companies profiled below.

The Way We Chose:

There are lots of factors to consider in selecting a free account provider, whether or not you’re within the retail or eCommerce sector (or both). Still, retail companies have specific needs with regards to charge card processing. The most crucial require is in hardware. While an eCommerce merchant may never physically handle a customer’s charge card and may literally run their business from the laptop, a retail business needs a minumum of one charge card terminal. If your company is big enough, you will need several. A place-of-purchase (POS) system may also be very handy, whether it’s a passionate POS device or perhaps a tablet-based system. Mobile payments are another capacity that may be important, with respect to the nature of the business.

We’ve identified the next criteria in evaluating our very best retail credit card merchant account providers. All of the providers the following scored high on all these criteria. Here’s what we should checked out:

  • Hardware. At least, you’re have to a charge card terminal. Some traditional credit card merchant account providers will lock you into an costly, four-year terminal lease, the businesses we chose will either sell a terminal outright or permit you to rent one at reasonable cost. A number of them may even supply you with a free terminal as lengthy while you keep the account open. You’ll would also like a terminal that’s EMV-compliant, and perhaps with NFC capacity too so that you can accept contactless payment methods for example Apple Pay. With respect to the nature and size your company, you might or might not require a POS system or perhaps a mobile payments capacity. Should you choose, all the companies the following may have your back.
  • Sales and advertising. Traditional processors have a tendency to treat their websites exclusively being an advertisement targeted at enticing you into contacting certainly one of their sales representatives. Their sites are full of vague promises about how exactly great their professional services are, however with little if any details about prices. Once they do discuss their processing rates, they frequently make use of a sales gimmick of just quoting the cheapest possible qualified rate, and not mention that much of your transactions is going to be processed in a much greater rate. Account charges are hardly ever disclosed, even though some companies attempt to fool you by only speaking concerning the charges they don’t ask you for, but and not mention the rest of the charges you’ll still need to pay. A great credit card merchant account provider should disclose the expense connected using their services, or at best discuss the variables which go into prices. Fortunately, our top providers have excellent, informative websites that construct at length what you’ll be having to pay.
  • Prices. With any credit card merchant account, prices is available in two groups: rates and charges. Rates make reference to the processing rates you’ll pay to process each transaction. Charges would be the amounts you’ll pay on whether monthly or annual basis a account. While it’s perfectly reasonable to count on paying some charges to maintain your account up-to-date, many processors go overboard with nickel-and-diming retailers for each possible service they offer. In some instances, “junk” charges are billed in which the merchant doesn’t even get any take advantage of the provider (i.e., PCI non-compliance charges). Our online merchant account providers providers offer processing rates that derive from either an interchange-plus prices model or perhaps a subscription plan. The very best providers in the market offer low, reasonable charges. They won’t ask you for for such things as establishing your bank account or supplying a paper statement every month. Additionally they won’t penalize you by having an costly early termination fee should you close your bank account before your contract expires. For any more in-depth take a look at rates and charges, see our Complete Help guide to Charge Card Processing Rates and Charges.
  • Contracts. For several years, the conventional practice within the processing industry is to sign retailers up for any three-year contract, by having an automatic renewal clause that extends anything for further one-year periods. Contracts also incorporated an earlier termination fee, which may be enforced when the merchant closed their account prior to the contract term ended. The result of those provisions was to really make it tough to close your bank account and change to a competing provider without incurring a considerable penalty. Retailers happen to be understandably unhappy with this particular arrangement for several years, and also the market is finally beginning in the future around. Our top retail providers sets you track of per month-to-month contract, and not one of them charges you an earlier termination fee. While you’ll be liberated to close your bank account without penalty anytime, you most likely won’t cash reason to do this unless of course you shut or sell your company.
  • Customer care. This is an additional area where traditional credit card merchant account providers don’t have a very good status. Some providers claim to possess a 24/7 phone line readily available for support, the large amount of merchant complaints regarding customer support shows that it doesn’t always work perfectly. Lengthy waits on hold and the inability to achieve somebody that can really solve an issue are typical complaints. After-hrs support is a whole lot worse, with calls usually being routed for an overseas answering services company staffed by representatives who frequently don’t have the training or authority to resolve an issue. However, you won’t have these complaints with this top providers. These possess a status for supplying top-notch customer care and repair. Unlike most traditional providers, additionally they provide a knowledgebase on their own websites that will help you identify (and perhaps solve) common problems by yourself.

Using these criteria in your mind, here’s a far more in-depth take a look at the most popular credit card merchant account providers for retail companies:

Dharma A Merchant Account

Dharma Merchant Services review

Some credit card merchant account providers stick to fairly conservative, business-like names for his or her companies, Dharma A Merchant Account gets into the alternative direction, adopting a Sanskrit term present in several Eastern religions that roughly means “right lifestyle.” Not only an expensive name, it precisely describes Dharma’s unconventional method of merchant services and charge card processing. Dharma enables you to purchase your equipment outright, and just charges an affordable monthly account fee next. Interchange-plus prices can be used solely, and contracts are month-to-month.

If you simply need a fundamental charge card terminal, Dharma will sell the popular Verifone Vx 520 terminal for $299. This rugged, wired terminal accepts magstripe and EMV cards, in addition to Apple Pay. While you’ll find it for any lower cost online, Dharma’s terminal already comes programmed using the software load to utilize your Dharma credit card merchant account. If you purchase elsewhere, you’ll need to pay a $100.00 reprogramming fee to achieve the software placed on your terminal. Dharma also provides more fully-featured terminals, some with wireless capacity. If you may gain advantage from the POS system, they have the Clover Small, our favorite POS systems for small companies. Mobile payments will also be supported using Clover Go, which posseses an application and a range of whether plug-in or contactless readers.

Dharma’s rates and charges are pretty straight forward and clearly typed out online. All transactions are processed utilizing an interchange-plus prices model, with card-present transactions being billed interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction. A set $10.00 monthly account fee is you’ll purchase a fundamental account. Some features cost extra, like the Clover Go mobile payments service (another $10.00 monthly), along with a wireless terminal data plan ($20.00 monthly). Incidental charges (for example chargebacks and Address Verification Charges) are listed online.

Sounds too good to be real, right? Well, there’s one catch: Dharma is an excellent deal for retailers processing over $10,000 monthly in charge card transactions, but it’s not cost-effective if you’re processing under that. For smaller sized retail companies, Dharma recommends Square as a less expensive alternative.

PROS:

  • Full-range of terminals, POS systems, and mobile payments solutions for retail companies
  • Simple, transparent interchange-plus-only prices
  • No additional charges or lengthy-term contracts
  • Things to look for and support

CONS:

  • And not the best fit for companies processing under $10,000 monthly

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

CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

CDGcommerce is yet another excellent option for retail companies. While a number of our favorite providers only have been around for around 10 years approximately, CDG first began up in 1998. Like Dharma, they provide a simple prices structure, with transparent processing rates and minimal charges. With month-to-month contracts and things to look for, they’re a high option for any retail business.

Ordinarily, it is recommended that you purchase your personal terminals instead of leasing them out of your credit card merchant account provider. CDGcommerce may be the exception towards the rule, although the things they offer isn’t a lease. When they don’t ask you for for the terminal, you’ll need to pay $79 per year for terminal insurance. This can be a fraction of the items most terminal leases cost, as well as helps to ensure that your terminals also have the most recent features and software upgrades. If you’d rather purchase your own terminals, they’ll re-program the right results together with your CDGcommerce credit card merchant account for free. Wireless terminals can also be found, but you’ll need to pay yet another $20.00 monthly for that wireless data plan, as well as an extra $.05 per transaction in processing charges.

CDG also provides POS and mobile payment solutions. Their Harbortouch Echo using the CDG POS+ application is really a fully-featured POS system that’s a great option for retail retailers who require some thing effective than the usual simple charge card readers. It may be rented for $49.00 monthly, as well as the $79.00 each year equipment insurance fee. For mobile payments, CDG provides the ProcessNow smartphone application along with a free plug-in card readers. While there’s no additional fee with this service, the present card readers is magstripe-only.

Like Dharma, CDG only charges $10.00 monthly for any fundamental credit card merchant account. That’s it. There aren’t any PCI compliance charges, no annual charges, no monthly minimums, etc. They don’t even charge for Address Verification. If you would like, you may also add some optional cdg360 security package. This particular service provides you with $100,000 in data breach/thievery protection, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts, along with a couple of additional features. It’s a great investment.

CDG offers interchange-plus prices solely. Retail and mobile payments are billed at interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction. If you’re a non-profit, you’ll obtain a .05% discount.

CDGcommerce provides things to look for and support via telephone, email, and live chat. When they don’t receive complaints very frequently, they’re the only real company we’ve seen in which the Chief executive officer has personally responded and provided to correct the issue.

PROS:

  • Affordable terminal and POS equipment rentals
  • Exclusive interchange-plus prices
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Things to look for

CONS:

  • Mobile card readers doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments
  • Only accessible to all of us-based retailers

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

Fattmerchant

fattmerchant-logo

Fattmerchant is really a newcomer towards the credit card merchant account industry, beginning in 2014. Concentrating on transparency minimizing costs for retailers, the organization offers several subscription-based prices plans. Under diets, you’ll pay a greater fee every month, however, you won’t pay any markup percentage in your processing costs. Having a sufficient processing volume, this may lead to significant savings in immediate and ongoing expenses over traditional interchange-plus prices plans. Your monthly subscription fee also covers such things as PCI compliance, eliminating the majority of the additional charges that traditional processors like to increase your bill.

With Fattmerchant, you’re encouraged to purchase your own terminals, and they’ll re-program the right results using their services free of charge. Additionally they offer EMV-compliant terminals and POS systems with a few of their prices plans. For mobile payments, Fattmerchant uses Vantiv’s mobile application and card readers. Regrettably, the credit card readers doesn’t have EMV capacity yet.

Fattmerchant offers a range of three subscription-based prices plans. Monthly pricing is $69, $79, and $99, correspondingly. Using the $69 plan, you’ll pay interchange + $.25 per transaction in processing charges. The $79 plan lowers your processing rates to interchange + $.15 per transaction. The $99 plan lowers them even more, lower to interchange + $.08 per transaction. As you may have suspected, the majority of your monthly subscription fee would go to since the markup that traditional interchange-plus prices plans charge. In case your processing volume is sufficient, you could lay aside a great deal in processing charges using these plans. However, it’s most likely not cost-effective for low volume or periodic companies. Fattmerchant doesn’t charge PCI compliance charges, batch charges, or statement charges, as all of these are included in your monthly subscription fee.

While Fattmerchant claims there are no contracts, the things they really mean is there are no lengthy-term contracts. Their merchant services are billed month-to-month, and there’s no early termination fee should you close your bank account.

Overall, Fattmerchant provides an intriguing option to traditional merchant services. Their processing minute rates are very low, even though this is somewhat offset through the high monthly subscription costs. You’ll wish to run the figures and compare your present processing costs as to the you’d pay together to find out if their plans seem sensible for the business.

PROS:

  • Subscription-based prices offers really low per-transaction processing costs
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Things to look for

CONS:

  • Not cost-effective for low-volume companies
  • Mobile card readers doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Helcim

Helcim review

Helcim has lengthy been the most popular Canadian credit card merchant account provider, plus they provide the same high-quality service and transparent prices to all of us-based retailers. The website (both US and Canadian version) is among the most informative ones we’ve seen associated with a credit card merchant account provider.

The organization provides a full-range of EMV-compliant Ingenico terminals at competitive rates. Terminals are for sale to as little as $199, while wireless and NFC-capable models are more expensive. Helcim encourages US retailers to purchase their terminals outright – something we strongly have confidence in. Because Canadian EMV-compliant terminals are not shipped to become transferred or offered, an inexpensive month-to-month rental option (not really a lease) can be obtained for Canadian retailers. If you have your personal terminal, Helcim will re-program it for you personally free of charge (see a list of compatible terminals here).

Helcim will also support mobile payments through Elavon’s VirtualMerchant Mobile application and also the MagTek aDynamo Universal Card Readers. The application can be obtained for android and ios. You’ll pay $30.00 monthly with this service, however, you obtain the same great interchange-plus rates as other retail users. Helcim estimates that you’ll cut costs over using Square should you process a minimum of $2,500 monthly. The very first card readers is free of charge, and extra readers cost $45.00 each. Regrettably, the MagTek readers is magstripe-only and connects to your smartphone’s headphone jack. There’s no EMV capacity yet. The readers also won’t use the iPhone 7 or a few of the newer Android phones.

Helcim is among the couple of credit card merchant account providers in the market to supply a complete introduction to their charges and rates online. For retail accounts, a set $12.00 monthly is you’ll pay when it comes to recurring charges. If you wish to add mobile payments (or go mobile-only), do it yourself $30.00 monthly. There aren’t any account setup charges, and PCI compliance is incorporated inside your fee every month.

Helcim also uses interchange-plus prices (they refer to it as Cost+) solely. All retail and mobile (i.e., card-present) transactions are processed in the following rate: interchange + .18% + $.08 per transaction. These minute rates are for retailers processing under $50,000 monthly. Above that, volume -based discounts can be found which will take the rates lower even lower.

Additionally to transparent, affordable prices, Helcim offers month-to-month contracts without any early termination fee. They likewise have a status for supplying excellent customer care and repair, as well as their website-based understanding-base is among the best and many thorough that we’ve seen. The organization is a superb option for small and big retail companies alike.

PROS:

  • Terminals readily available for purchase at reasonable prices (no leases)
  • Very economical, transparent fee structure
  • Cost+ processing rates
  • Things to look for and support

CONS:

  • Mobile card readers doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments
  • Mobile prices not cost-effective for companies processing under $2,500 monthly

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Payment Depot

Payment Depot merchant services review

Another newcomer around the charge card processing scene, Payment Depot only has been around since 2013. Like Fattmerchant, they provide an innovative subscription-based prices structure that eliminates the markup normally billed for processing transactions and consolidates all of the extra charges for maintaining a free account right into a simple fee every month.

Payment Depot uses First Data his or her backend processor, an agreement which has its pros and cons. Being able to view the sources and equipment of these a sizable processor without having to be bound by their lengthy-term contracts is really a definite plus. Simultaneously, First Data sometimes restricts which companies may use their professional services, from time to time requiring a free account reserve that Payment Depot can’t enable you to get from.

Payment Depot doesn’t lease any terminals or POS systems. If you have your personal terminal, they’ll reprogram results using their system free of charge. Additionally they will sell the Verifone Vx 520, a rugged and popular terminal that supports EMV and NFC payments. Should you prefer a POS system, they offer a number of First Data’s Clover products, such as the Clover Mobile, Clover Small, and Clover Station POS.

When they don’t provide many details about this online, Payment Depot will also support mobile payments via a partnership with SwipeSimple. The organization has lately announced new Bluetooth-based terminals which are both EMV-compliant as well as support NFC payments. Which should help you stay protected from obsolete equipment for some time!

Payment Depot fully discloses their prices right online, so that you can crunch the figures and find out if they’re best for you. All prices plans are subscription-based, with four tiers available. Monthly subscription charges vary from $29.00 for that Fundamental plan as much as $99.00 for that Premier plan. This single fee includes all of the extras that you simply normally purchase individually, including PCI compliance, IRS reporting, monthly statements, etc. While there aren’t any additional charges, you’ll be billed for per-occurrence products for example chargebacks.

Your fee every month includes the markup that you’d normally pay on the per-transaction basis within traditional interchange-plus prices plan. Thus, Payment Depot’s minute rates are really low and straightforward to know. For that Fundamental membership plan, you’ll pay interchange + $.25 per transaction. The greater tiers offer even lower rates, using the Premiere plan only charging interchange + $.05 per transaction.

This sounds great – which is – but you may still find some limitations. Just the Premiere plan enables an limitless monthly processing volume. Another plans have monthly caps that vary from $20,000 for that Fundamental intend to $100,000 to find the best Value plan. Fortunately, Payment Depot will instantly bump you to the next greatest plan should you review these limits.

Although this is a general good deal for a lot of companies, it’s not for everybody. Payment Depot is presently only accessible within the U . s . States. Also, there is a lengthy listing of prohibited companies that basically repel any company within the high-risk category. Lastly, they often won’t be cost-effective for really small or periodic companies.

PROS:

  • Subscription-based prices offers really low per-transaction processing costs
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Provides a substantial discount for annual instead of monthly billing

CONS:

  • Only accessible in america
  • Doesn’t accept high-risk retailers
  • Not cost-effective for really small companies

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Pay Junction

PayJunction-logo-square

Pay Junction has been available since 2000, and they’ve created a great status since that time for low overall prices and ideal service. Their primary claim that they can fame is supplying a paperless means to fix transaction processing, using both an online terminal as well as their proprietary Smart Terminal card readers to transmit customers their receipts via email. For that merchant, this eliminates the requirement for paper copies of receipts, as all transaction information is kept in the cloud.

Pay Junction uses TSYS his or her backend processor, however their terms tend to be better. All contracts are month-to-month, and there’s no early termination fee should you close your bank account.

The center of Pay Junction’s payment product is an exclusive, web-based virtual terminal that connects to some payment gateway to process transactions and track sales. Even though many virtual terminals make use of a simple, magstripe-only card swiper that connects for your computer via USB, Pay Junction utilizes a proprietary Smart Terminal. This terminal can accept magstripe, EMV, and NFC-based payments. It’s even suitable for the Apple Watch. It’s readily available for liberated to qualified companies should you provide two months’ price of processing statements to ensure your processing volume.

Pay Junction utilizes a modified interchange-plus prices system. All charge card transactions are processed at interchange + .75%. There’s no per-transaction markup fee as there’s with many interchange-plus plans. As the .75% is a touch high, the possible lack of a per-transaction fee can lead to substantial savings in case your business processes a higher quantity of sales tickets monthly.

Account charges will also be very simplified. As lengthy as you’re processing over $10,000 monthly, there aren’t any. There’s no monthly account fee, no PCI compliance fee, with no payment gateway fee. For companies processing under $10,000 monthly, there’s a $35 monthly account fee that consolidates the suggestions above charges.

Pay Junction includes a status for things to look for and support, and you will find remarkably couple of complaints against them found on the web. Their service works well with companies that process over $10,000 monthly and just require a single terminal.

PROS:

  • Free terminal for qualified companies
  • Simple, transparent interchange-plus prices
  • No account charges for companies processing over $10,000 monthly
  • Things to look for and support

CONS:

  • Less cost-effective as other options for companies processing under $10,000 monthly
  • No smartphone-based mobile payments option

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Conclusion

Retail companies are available in all sizes and shapes, and each business has their own needs. What works well with a car parts store may not be so great for any book shop. All six from the credit card merchant account providers we’ve profiled here offer far better service than traditional, bank-owned providers.

With all of six in our top providers for retail, you’ll have affordable accessibility charge card terminals and POS systems you have to run your company. You’ll also relish transparent interchange-plus prices (aside from Fattmerchant and Payment Depot, designed to use subscription prices). Account charges are extremely low and clearly typed on each provider’s website. On top of that, contracts are month-to-month without any early termination fee, so you’re liberated to switch providers if you discover a much better deal elsewhere.

The majority of our top retail credit card merchant account providers focus on medium-sized or bigger companies, typically individuals processing over $10,000 monthly. If your company is smaller sized than that, a fundamental account with CDGcommerce continues to be a possible option. With regard to added small or periodic companies, you might like to consider Square like a low-cost alternative. Make sure to read our overview of Square first, though, because there are some definite trade-offs between Square’s aggregated accounts along with a full-service credit card merchant account.

If you’ve had any knowledge about any one of our top credit card merchant account providers for retail, don’t hesitate to leave a remark below. You may also compare the majority of our top processors mind-to-mind using our Credit Card Merchant Account Comparison Chart.

The publish The Very Best Retail Charge Card Processing Companies made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Best High-Risk Merchant Account Providers

High Risk rubber stamp on white.

Just about everyone in business these days needs to be able to accept credit cards. Finding a reputable merchant account provider to process those credit card transactions for you can be a pretty daunting challenge for any business, but it’s even harder if you’re a high-risk merchant.

So, what is a high-risk merchant? In the simplest terms, it’s any business that for any reason presents an elevated risk of fraud to the credit card processor. While this is usually due to the nature of the business itself, it can also occur if the business owner has particularly bad credit or the business caters to customers that are deemed to present a higher risk of fraud. Every processor has its own set of criteria for deciding whether a business is classified as high-risk. Thus, a business might be deemed high-risk by one processor, but not by another. Examples of businesses that are normally classified as high-risk include those in the adult entertainment industry, e-cigarette and vape shops, and online gambling sites. Those seem pretty obvious, right? Well, there are also a lot of other categories of high-risk businesses that aren’t so obvious. Bankruptcy attorneys, for example, can be classified as high-risk – a good example of how your customers can put you in the high-risk category even if you have perfect credit yourself. Furniture stores are also sometimes classified as high-risk due to their large average ticket size. For a complete discussion of the high-risk merchant category and a full list of businesses that often fall into it, see our article on the subject.

How does being a high-risk merchant affect getting a merchant account? Quite frankly, it makes it a lot harder and more expensive. Despite the intense competition within the merchant account provider industry, getting approved for a merchant account is never a sure thing. Providers have to balance the risk presented by a merchant applying for an account against the potential profit to be made from the account if it is approved. In most cases, they err on the conservative side of things, meaning high-risk merchants simply aren’t approved for an account.

Other providers will approve you, but you won’t get nearly as good a deal as a non-high-risk merchant would receive. Instead, you’ll pay higher processing rates and account fees, and you’ll usually be stuck with a long-term contract and an early termination fee. In some cases, you might also be required to put up a rolling reserve to get approved.

Merchant account providers that are willing to sign up high-risk merchants fall into two categories. On the one hand, there are the companies that indirectly market to high-risk merchants. Unfortunately, many of these companies are among the bottom-feeders in an industry that already has a reputation for being ethically-challenged. Look out for claims such as “instant approval” or similar gimmicks that suggest they’ll approve any merchant, regardless of their credit history or the nature of their business. Sign up with one of these companies, and you’ll be guaranteed to pay higher rates and fees, be saddled with a long-term contract, and receive virtually no customer support or service after the sale.

On the other hand, there are a handful of companies that we call “high-risk specialists.” These are ethical, honest companies that have a lot of experience working with high-risk merchants and will do their best to get you a decent deal on a merchant account. Below, we’ve profiled five merchant account providers that deliver the best service to high-risk merchants. While there are a handful of other high-risk specialists out there, these are the ones that we feel offer the highest quality service available.

How We Chose:

High-risk merchants have essentially the same needs as everyone else when it comes to finding a merchant account – it’s just harder to find them if you’re in the high-risk category. High-risk retailers are going to want to have access to reliable, up-to-date credit card terminals, as well as possibly POS systems and mobile payments solutions. eCommerce merchants in the high-risk category will need a solid payment gateway, and possibly a virtual terminal to go with it. Integration with online shopping carts is another important feature.

You’ll also want the best pricing plans and contract terms you can get. Here’s where a dose of reality comes in. There are several truly outstanding merchant account providers that we’ve awarded 5-star ratings to, and with good reason. They offer low interchange-plus (or subscription) pricing, month-to-month contracts, and excellent customer service and support. Unfortunately, one of the ways they keep their costs down and can offer such great terms to their merchants is by avoiding the high-risk category altogether. In other words, you won’t get approved for an account with them if they decide that you fall into the high-risk category. Getting approved for a merchant account if you’re considered high-risk involves a few compromises. You won’t get the lowest rates. You will pay more in fees than a non-high-risk-merchant. And you probably won’t get a month-to-month contract (although sometimes you can successfully negotiate one). That said, the high-risk specialists we’ve identified below will usually be able to get you a deal that’s above the industry average, even if it’s not the best of the best.

We’ve identified the following criteria in evaluating our best high-risk merchant account providers. Here’s what we looked at:

  • High-risk specialization. This involves more than just marketing toward the high-risk sector. A true high-risk specialist will have a sales staff (preferably in-house) that’s trained and experienced in dealing with high-risk merchant accounts. Likewise, their customer service representatives will also be trained in working with high-risk accounts.
  • Hardware. Unless you’re running a purely eCommerce business, you’re going to need equipment to process card-present transactions. This could be a standard wired credit card terminal, a wireless terminal, a POS system, or a mobile smartphone-based system with a card reader and an app. Regardless of what type of hardware works best with your business, we highly recommend that you buy your equipment outright rather than leasing it. Standard terminal leases run for four years and are noncancelable, meaning you’ll have to buy out the remaining months of your lease if you close your account. Note that some providers offer a “free” terminal with your account. Be wary of this and read the fine print. While this offer might work out if you only need one terminal, you’ll often end up paying a higher monthly account fee (i.e., the terminal isn’t really free), and you could also be locked into a long-term contract with a hefty early termination fee. Don’t accept a magstripe-only card reader! With the switch to EMV, you’ll need equipment that can process both magstripe and EMV cards. Equipment that can process contactless payments using NFC (such as Apple Pay) is also a good idea as this type of payment method is rapidly gaining in popularity with consumers.
  • eCommerce support. If your business has an online presence, you’ll need a payment gateway to process your sales transactions. You might also want a virtual terminal to go with it, as this will allow you to input card-not-present transactions from any internet-connected device with a web browser. Card readers that connect to your computer via USB or Bluetooth expand the usefulness of a virtual terminal by allowing you to process card-present transactions as well.
  • Sales and advertising. Misleading sales gimmicks and dishonest sales agents are common problems in the merchant account provider industry. While we like to see full disclosure of contract terms, processing rates, and account fees right on a provider’s website, even the best high-risk specialists often fall short in this area. There’s a reason for this. High-risk specialists often work with multiple third-party processors to find one that can accommodate your needs. With each processor setting their own rates and terms, it’s practically impossible to spell out all the details on a website. You’ll want to work closely with your sales representative and negotiate to get the best terms available. Just be aware that as a high-risk merchant you’re not going to get as good a deal as a non-high-risk merchant.
  • Pricing. Costs associated with maintaining a merchant account include both processing rates and account fees. Processing rates are assessed on a per-transaction basis, while account fees are billed monthly or annually. Ordinarily, we recommend an interchange-plus pricing plan for processing rates over a usually more expensive tiered pricing plan. As a high-risk merchant, however, you will have a harder time getting approved for interchange-plus pricing. It’s still worth asking for during the negotiation process, though. Likewise, you can also expect to pay higher fees than a non-high-risk merchant would. For a more detailed look at rates and fees, see our Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees.
  • Contracts. There has been a trend in recent years within the merchant accounts industry to do away with the standard three-year, automatically renewing contract and allow month-to-month contracts instead. Expensive early termination fees are also gradually being phased out as part of this trend. Unfortunately, as a high-risk merchant you usually won’t be able to participate in this positive development. Providers are more likely to sign you up for the traditional long-term contract. It’s worth asking for when negotiating the terms of your account – just realize that the odds are usually going to be against you.
  • Customer support. This is a challenging area for many merchant account providers, especially when trying to provide 24/7 support by phone or email. Many of the better providers are increasingly putting more self-help resources right on their websites, including tutorials and articles explaining in detail how their service works. This allows merchants to solve some of the simpler problems so that support staff have time to deal with more complex issues. While some providers offer better customer service than others, all of our recommended high-risk processors exceed the industry average in this area.

With these criteria in mind, here’s a more in-depth look at five of our recommended high-risk merchant account providers:

Durango Merchant Services

Durango Merchant Services logo

We’ve listed Durango Merchant Services first for a reason. Of all the merchant account providers who specialize in setting up accounts for high-risk merchants, they’re the best of the best. While they aren’t perfect, they are good enough that we even recommend them for non-high-risk merchants. Founded in 1999 and headquartered (naturally) in Durango, Colorado, they have an excellent reputation for honesty, fair rates, and great customer service and support.

Durango doesn’t try to set you up with expensive leases when it comes to processing equipment. Instead, they offer a variety of terminals for sale right on their website. Options include both wired and wireless models, with some offerings that support NFC payments. They also sell the iPS Mobile Card Terminal, which connects to a smartphone to provide mobile payments capability in conjunction with the iProcess mobile app. If you’re using a virtual terminal, they sell the MagTek DynaMag, a USB-connected magstripe card reader that attaches to your computer. Unfortunately, it’s Windows-only. Durango currently doesn’t offer any POS systems for sale.

Durango supports eCommerce through their proprietary Durango Payment Gateway, which integrates with the numerous processors the company uses and includes support for most of the popular online shopping carts. Durango’s gateway also features an Authorize.Net Emulator, which allows it to interface with any shopping cart that works with Authorize.Net. Pricing for the gateway is not disclosed.

Because Durango works with such a wide variety of third-party processors to set you up with a high-risk merchant account, they don’t list rates or fees on their website. These will vary tremendously depending on which processor they set you up with. While we normally like to see more transparency from merchant account providers, in this case, it’s understandable. Depending on your qualifications, you can expect either an interchange-plus pricing plan or a tiered one. Don’t get too excited about the “rates as low as 1.39%” quote on their website – you’ll probably be paying more than that. Merchant accounts through Durango don’t seem to have standardized fees. Again, these will depend on the terms that your backend processor imposes.

Durango assigns a dedicated account manager to every one of their merchants, which means you’ll be talking to the same person every time you have an issue. While this can sometimes be problematic outside of normal business hours and when your account manager isn’t available, overall it provides a much higher level of service than you’ll get from a random customer service representative.

PROS:

  • Direct sales of processing equipment
  • Reasonable rates and fees based on your business and your backend processor
  • Dedicated account manager for customer service and support

CONS:

  • No support for POS systems
  • USB card reader not compatible with Mac computers

For more information about Durango Merchant Services, see our complete review here.

Payline Data

Payline Data high risk merchant accounts

Another 5-star provider, Payline Data isn’t as exclusively focused on the high-risk sector as Durango Merchant Services. However, they do accept high-risk accounts and advertise this prominently on their website. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline is a relative newcomer to the merchant accounts industry, but they’ve quickly established an excellent reputation for honesty and fair prices. They also provide a full range of products and services to get you started, including terminals, POS systems, and mobile payment solutions. Payline uses Vantiv as their backend processor and partners with them for their iPad-based POS system.

Payline doesn’t offer terminal leases, but they will sell you a terminal or re-program the one you already own. The terminals they offer support both EMV and Apple Pay. Their website doesn’t go into specifics, so talk to your sales representative to see what’s available. They also offer the Vantiv Mobile Checkout app to provide either a tablet-based POS system or a smartphone-based mobile payments solution.

For eCommerce merchants, Payline offers a proprietary payment gateway that integrates with over 125 online shopping carts, supports subscription pricing, and offers numerous fraud protection features. Pricing for the payment gateway is not disclosed on Payline’s website.

Payline discloses a simplified interchange-plus pricing plan on their website: all retail (i.e., card-present) transactions are charged interchange + 0.20% + $0.10 per transaction, while all online (or card-not-present) transactions are charged interchange + 0.35% + $0.10 per transaction. There is a monthly $15.00 account fee. There are no application fees and no early termination fees. Contracts are all month-to-month. Customized pricing (with presumably lower processing rates) is also available to merchants processing over $80,000 per month. Unfortunately, as a high-risk merchant, this simplified pricing may or may not be available to you. Depending on the nature of your business and your processing history, you should expect to see higher (but still reasonable) processing rates. You should also expect to have a rolling reserve included in your account.

Payline provides excellent customer service and support by telephone and email. They also have a great knowledge-base on their website for self-help. Online complaints about Payline Data are very few and far between, which is a good indication of the overall quality of the service they provide.

PROS:

  • Full range of hardware options with no equipment leases
  • Minimal account fees, including no early termination fee
  • True month-to-month contracts

CONS:

  • Only available in the United States and Canada
  • Rates, fees, and contract terms may be substantially different than advertised for some high-risk merchants

For a more detailed look at Payline Data, be sure to check out our full review.

Cayan

Cayan (Merchant Warehouse)

Formerly known as Merchant Warehouse, Cayan has been in business since 1998 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. While the company doesn’t specifically market itself to high-risk merchants, its broad range of services and competitive terms make it an above-average choice for those in the high-risk category. Effective negotiation is the key to getting a fair, cost-effective deal on a merchant account from Cayan. Note that the company uses First Data as its primary backend processor, and so you can expect to have to put up a reserve in order to establish a high-risk account.

One of Cayan’s best features is their full range of credit card terminals, which are offered for direct sale at very competitive prices. You don’t have to worry about being pushed into an expensive terminal lease. The company offers a number of wired and wireless terminals from Ingenico and Verifone, as well as several other models. All are EMV-compliant, and most either support NFC payments natively or when used in conjunction with a pin pad. Cayan also offers their proprietary cloud-based Genius platform, a terminal/POS hybrid that supports magstripe, EMV, NFC, and QR code-based payments. Cayan also offers a Mobile Chip Card Reader for EMV-compliant mobile payments on an iOS or Android device.

Cayan also supports eCommerce by offering the popular Authorize.Net payment gateway. This can be used by itself, or in conjunction with Cayan’s proprietary MerchantWare Virtual Terminal. Pricing is not disclosed for either of these optional services.

You won’t find any specific information about processing rates on Cayan’s website, but the company offers interchange-plus pricing to all merchants. Account fees aren’t disclosed, either, but you can expect to pay $7.95 per month for a statement fee, $99.00 per year for PCI compliance, and have a $25.00 monthly minimum. As a high-risk merchant, you might also be subject to additional fees and a rolling reserve.

Contracts through Cayan are month-to-month and have no early termination fee. The company’s customer service options include telephone, email, and chat, although the latter is sometimes unreliable. Cayan has an above-average reputation when it comes to customer service, although it’s not as stellar as some of the other providers we’ve profiled here.

PROS:

  • Wide range of terminal equipment for direct sale (no terminal leases)
  • Month-to-month contracts with no early termination fee
  • Interchange-plus pricing

CONS:

  • Above-average number of complaints relative to size
  • Account fees not disclosed on website
  • $99 PCI annual compliance fee

For more information, see our complete review here.

Instabill

Instabill logo

Headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Instabill has been in business since 2003. The company uses a large number of backend processors to provide accounts to high-risk merchants and offshore companies doing business in the United States. A high-risk specialist, they also provide accounts to non-high-risk merchants as well. Although they’re a fairly small company, they have a strong reputation for being able to provide merchant accounts to businesses that would otherwise have a hard time being approved for one.

Instabill doesn’t provide very much information about credit card terminals and other hardware on their website. They do offer a variety of Verifone and Ingenico terminals, many of which support both EMV and NFC-based payments. Be aware that these terminals are probably being offered through a lease – which you should avoid like the plague. We recommend that you buy your equipment outright and have Instabill re-program it to work with their accounts. You’ll save thousands of dollars in the long run.

The company also partners with CardFlight to provide a mobile, EMV-compliant POS system and a smartphone-based mobile payments system. Pricing for these options is not disclosed on the Instabill website.

For high-risk eCommerce merchants, Instabill offers their proprietary international payment gateway that can process transactions in multiple currencies. If you’re in the MOTO (mail order/telephone order) sector, they also include a free virtual terminal.

Because Instabill works with so many different backend processors and there are so many variables that go into determining rates and fees for a particular business, they don’t advertise any specific fee or rate information on their website. They do, however, provide a Merchant Account Fees and Rates page which explains many of the factors that go into determining these costs. They’re also upfront about the fact that you will pay more as a high-risk merchant. Contracts are also highly variable for the same reasons, but you should expect a standard three-year term with an early termination fee in most cases.

Instabill uses a team of in-house sales representatives to set up accounts and doesn’t rely on independent agents. Customer service is also entirely in-house and includes telephone, email, and chat options. While the quality of customer support is generally very good, it’s also limited to normal business hours. Instabill is a solid choice if you’re a high-risk merchant who’s had trouble getting approved with other providers. Be aware, however, that they don’t accept everyone. Their prohibited list includes business categories such as drug paraphernalia, cigarettes, and weapons.

PROS:

  • High approval rate for hard-to-place businesses
  • International payment gateway with multi-currency support
  • In-house sales and customer service staff

CONS:

  • Offers equipment leases rather than direct sales
  • Customer support only available during normal business hours

For more information, see our complete review here.

Host Merchant Services

Host-Merchant-Services-logo

Host Merchant Services is a relative newcomer to the merchant accounts business, first opening in 2009. The company is headquartered in Newark, Delaware and has a second office in Naples, Florida. While they don’t specialize in high-risk accounts, their website lists several high-risk business categories that they can accommodate. Their interchange-plus-only pricing and a full range of products and services make them an excellent choice if you can get approved. A former web hosting company, HMS is ideally suited for eCommerce merchants. They use TSYS as their third-party processor.

For retail merchants, HMS offers a variety of Verifone and Equinox (formerly Hypercom) terminals. Terminals are offered for sale, and the company does not lease its equipment. While prices are not disclosed on the HMS website, you should be able to negotiate a very reasonable deal on terminals, especially if you need more than one. If you already have a compatible terminal, they’ll re-program it for free.

HMS offers a variety of POS systems that utilize either tablets or touchscreen displays. Choices range from an 8” tablet-based system up to a 17” touchscreen monitor. The company’s Starter, Plus, TouchStation Plus, and Custom POS options should fill the needs of just about any business that needs or wants a POS system.

If you need a mobile processing capability for your business, HMS has you covered. While their website still promotes their proprietary HMSPay app, the company has very recently discontinued this in favor of ProcessNow, which they offer via a partnership with TransFirst. ProcessNow works with either iOS or Android phones, but the current card reader is magstripe-only and requires a headphone jack to plug into.

As a tech-focused company, eCommerce is HMS’ specialty. The company has recently introduced their proprietary Transaction Express payment gateway, which includes a free virtual terminal. (Note that the HMS website has not been updated to show this new product as of this writing). HMS also supports a large number of third-party gateways, including Authorize.Net.

HMS uses interchange-plus pricing exclusively, which is a huge plus. While they don’t disclose their rates on their website, they’re based primarily on monthly processing volume and are very competitive. See our full review for more details. Fees are not disclosed either, but include a $24.00 annual fee, a $14.99 monthly account fee (which includes PCI compliance), a variable payment gateway fee ($5.00 per month for Transaction Express, $7.50 per month plus $0.05 per transaction for Authorize.Net) and the usual incidental fees (i.e., chargebacks, voice authorizations, etc.). Again, you might have to pay additional fees if you’re a high-risk merchant. Contracts are month-to-month with no early termination fee.

HMS provides customer service and support via 24/7 telephone and email. Chat is also available through their website during normal business hours. They also feature an extensive collection of articles and blog posts on their website for customer education. Support quality appears to be well-above-average, based on the almost complete absence of complaints about it on the BBB and other consumer protection websites. Assuming that your business falls into one of the categories of high-risk business that the company can accommodate, HMS is an excellent choice for a merchant account.

PROS:

  • Full range of products and services for retail and eCommerce businesses
  • Exclusive interchange-plus pricing plans
  • Excellent customer service and support

CONS:

  • Rates and fees not disclosed on website
  • Can only accommodate a small number of high-risk business categories
  • Mobile card reader not EMV-compliant

For more information, see our complete review here.

Conclusion

Running a business is a challenging proposition in itself, but it’s even harder if your business is in a high-risk category. We’re all aware that a distressingly large number of new businesses will fail within the first few years of starting up. It’s not hard to believe that many traditional merchant account providers take advantage of this unfortunate reality with their long-term contracts, early termination fees, and expensive terminal leases.

If anything, new high-risk businesses are even more likely to fail than others, which is one reason merchant accounts are more expensive for them. All five of the providers we’ve profiled in this article are good choices for high-risk merchants. Which one is best for your particular business will depend on a number of factors, including your credit history, your processing history, and which high-risk business category you fall under.

For particularly risky businesses that have a hard time being accepted by other providers, we recommend Durango Merchant Services as our top overall choice. Less-risky businesses can also find good service and terms through Payline Data or Cayan. Instabill is the best choice for international businesses operating in the United States. Finally, Host Merchant Services is a particularly good fit for eCommerce merchants, although they can only approve a limited number of high-risk business categories.

None of the providers we’ve profiled offer much in the way of specific information regarding rates, fees, or contract terms available to high-risk merchants. Be aware that the information they do provide on their websites applies to non-high-risk merchants, and you may or may not be eligible for them. Our best advice is to do your research ahead of time, talk to sales representatives from the companies you’re interested in to see what they can offer you, and review your proposed contract thoroughly before signing up. Lastly, unless you have a long and stable processing history, most high-risk merchant accounts will require a rolling reserve. Just remember that your reserve will decrease over time as you build up a processing history.

If you’ve had any experience with any of our top high-risk merchant account providers, please feel free to leave a comment below.

The post The Best High-Risk Merchant Account Providers appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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SiteBuilder Review: 5 Pros & 5 Cons of utilizing SiteBuilder.com

SiteBuilder Review

SiteBuilder.com is among the faster-growing brands within the quickly evolving website builder space. SiteBuilder concentrates on core features along with a clean interface. According to feedback from my Weebly, Wix and Squarespace reviews &#8211 I gave SiteBuilder a go. Listed here are my 5 pros and 5 cons and full SiteBuilder review.

Take a look at SiteBuilder&#8217s current plans &#038 prices here.

Before we glance at SiteBuilder particularly &#8211 there’s a larger concept to bear in mind. Regardless of whether you go drag website builder an installed Cms (CMS), or hands-coded HTML files, there are plenty of factors which go into an creating a website.

Within the finish, you want anyone to key in an internet site address and find out your data, presented well with the proper functionality within their browser. Regardless if you are creating a simple project website or managing a internet business, how you construct your site determines lots of you skill both lengthy-term and short-term.

Within the lengthy-term, the various tools you utilize to setup your site affects your versatility, functionality, and, obviously, your brand. For the short term, it may certainly add/remove lots of headaches. That stated, much like selecting an actual office or house, there’s no such factor being an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s only the best choice in accordance with your objectives, experience, and conditions.

What’s SiteBuilder.com?

Website building tools exist on the spectrum having a core tradeoff between control &amp convenience. Usually, the greater convenient something is, the less control you’ve &#8211 and the other way around.

Sitebuilder endures the spectrum more all-inclusive and easy to get began and also be your site. It’s as opposed to solutions in which you buy, install, and manage all of the “pieces” of the website individually by yourself server.

Like other “hosted website builders” like Weebly or Wix, SiteBuilder is kind of like leasing and customizing a condo inside a nice development rather buying and owning your house. You’re still in charge of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – however, you leave the development, plumbing, security, and infrastructure towards the house owner. That time is essential because, again, there’s often a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.

All of the functionality and style which are incorporated with SiteBuilder work seamlessly together like a platform. That’s what enables these to have drag design, layout and content.

So far as competition, SiteBuilder competes directly with all of-inclusive website builders like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace and WordPress.com.

Website builders like a group contend with options like WordPress.org (which supplies the disposable software to create a website that you simply own &amp control – see my WordPress setup guide here) completely to options like typing actual Web coding right into a text file. Seem sensible? Awesome, let’s follow the SiteBuilder review.

Another quick aside – a disclosure – I receive referral charges all the businesses pointed out within this publish. My opinions &amp research derive from my encounters as whether having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

SiteBuilder Advantages

Here’s things i discovered to be the professionals of SiteBuilder – not only to comparison with other website builders, but additionally being an overall website solution.

Speed, Security &amp Convenience

SiteBuilder provides hosting for those their websites. Quite simply, they offer a spot for your site files to reside additionally towards the builder too. That may be bad or good &#8211 however in SiteBuilder’s situation, it’s generally a benefit.

You will find big convenience points for getting to have little concern for hosting, speed and security. SiteBuilder seems to operate their software on Amazon . com and Google servers, that will hardly ever go lower.

SiteBuilder doesn’t the quickest load speeds, but it’s okay, especially because you, because the site owner, don’t have to do anything whatsoever as they are.

SiteBuilder Speed

Just like any website, you will find security risks. However they provide security and backups in their prices package.

Short-Term Prices

Should you not mind getting your site on the subdomain (ie, http://yoursite.myfreesites.internet) then SiteBuilder is free of charge without any trial expiration. It’s an excellent deal for small, temporary sites.

SiteBuilder Pricing Intro

However for more permanent sites, their opening prices is competitive with other all-inclusive website builders.

Since Sitebuilder comes with some fairly hard caps and structures on every plan, you almost need to go using the Pro plan or even more. Individuals is going to be pointed out within the prices section that come in the disadvantages.

Consider everything (software, hosting, security, tools, etc) is bundled, they’ve competitive prices for anybody who simply really wants to begin a website.

Even their ecommerce prices, while more costly than doing exactly the same factor by yourself hosting, is a lot less expensive than comparable plans with direct competitors.

Simplicity &amp Core Features

For just about any product, there is a thin line for brand new features. Sooner or later, additional features no more result in the product better &#8211 they worsen it.

Like I&#8217ve observed in my website builder reviews &#8211 companies possess the issue to be everything for everybody. They add a lot of features their “simple” website builder is actually quite complicated.

SiteBuilder concentrates on the main features that each fundamental website needs.

SiteBuilder Features

It isn’t for everybody (as I’ll mention within the cons), however if you simply do just have an easy, quick, fundamental website &#8211 SiteBuilder’s setup is straightforward and simple.

Site Building Process

On a single theme his or her concentrate on core features is the simplicity the particular site building process.

Regardless of what plan you finish up wanting, everybody will get began with similar setup process.

If you would like &#8211 you are able to create a live website in 3 clicks. There isn’t any purchasing in advance or passing charge card information.

Clicking Get Began, choose passwords, select a base theme, and you’re within the Editor where one can Publish your website.

SiteBuilder Setup

SiteBuilder Web Design

SiteBuilder Editor

The Editor also functions like a site dashboard where one can change your account towards the plan you would like.

The procedure &amp editor is intuitive and well-designed that is a solid pro.

Drag &amp Drop Editor

One marketed benefit of utilizing an all-inclusive website builder is you won’t be required to write HTML or CSS code. You can easily drag elements. A specific item within the builder is what you’ll get online.

However, it’s not always that easy. There’s lots of nuance to “drag and drop.” The majority of us really mean “I wish to click and drag this element and move it to some general area where it’ll look great – you realize, instantly centered, etc.” Quite simply, it’s like playing tee-ball rather of baseball…or bowling with gutter pads up. For you to do the factor, but in addition have a little bit of help.

Typically, SiteBuilder pulls this off. Their drag really works how you would expect it to.

You then have a variety of design options. The parameters and rulers are adjustable. The appearance &amp feel is easy and uncluttered.

SiteBuilder Editor

SiteBuilder Disadvantages

However, no Sitebuilder review could be complete without searching in the downsides. Let’s take a look at specific cons I discovered.

Search engine optimization &amp Marketing Tools

SiteBuilder does fundamental Search engine optimization &amp marketing tools much better than some competitors like Wix. They build in redirects and HTML tag functionality.

SiteBuilder Redirects

But that’s about all they offer. There isn’t any Schema or Sitemaps. That you can do little to completely personalize your website visitor’s experience. And you’re limited about where one canOrcan’t add content.

It normally won’t even get duplicate content right (ie, you’ll have duplicate websites on yourdomain.com and yourdomain.myfreesites.internet)

SiteBuilder SEO Duplicate Content

SiteBuilder acquire some broad strokes right, but it’s remember this that it is a fundamental website solution. Should you employ a professional to assist construct your site out, they’re likely likely to suggest that you progress to some more versatile platform.

This disadvantage is partially because Sitebuilder focuses more about towards convenience over control. And without 100% control of your website &amp server – it can be hard and/or impossible to include advanced marketing tools just like an EV SSL, custom email collection tools, custom analytics packages, custom social shares, specific Schemas along with aOrW testing software.

Lengthy-term Prices

SiteBuilder will a good job with opening prices, but overall, they aren’t an awfully the best value. Other website builders (ie, Weebly) give a less expensive on features and renewal prices.

SiteBuilder Pricing Renewal

And it is not even evaluating SiteBuilder against building your website by yourself server using website builder software like WordPress (or perhaps drag software like WordPress + BoldGrid). With Sitebuilder, you have to pay the fee every month per website. If you’re by yourself hosting server, any extra website is essentially free, so it’s that rather more value.

SiteBuilder Hosting Storage

Use Of HTML / CSS

Although located website builders cannot provide server access, many viewed accessibility “source code” (ie, HTML/CSS) from the website that you’re building.

It may be handy not just for somebody fluent in HTML/CSS, but in addition for anybody looking to get something around the page *just* right.

SiteBuilder provides an array of options within their builder (animations are particularly plentiful).

SiteBuilder Designer

However it doesn’t have means to access the HTML/CSS from the page. The only exception may be the header &amp footer where one can add verification tags for Search Console, Pinterest, AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

This limited access isn’t uncommon within the website builder world, however it does put SiteBuilder in a disadvantage when compared with competitors like Weebly and Squarespace.

Customer Care &amp Onboarding

Like I’ve pointed out in other reviews, customer care is really a tough issue to judge (in almost any industry). Rather of searching at whether customer care is “good” &#8211 I concept what their priority is by using customer care like a company.

Will they positively purchase sources and channels? Will they attempt to upsell? Will they turn to spend less?

With SiteBuilder, it’s a little difficult to say given that they operate a fully located platform where they are able to prevent many customer support issues.

Nonetheless, they are doing possess a small knowledgebase. Tech support team is by email &#8211 though billing support includes a telephone number.

SiteBuilder Customer Support

But all their “onboarding” emails (ie, the entire process of obtaining a new customer began) center around upsells.

SiteBuilder Customer Support

In accordance with other website builder companies, I take their customer care &amp onboarding like a disadvantage.

Growth Path &amp Platform Lock-in

Like I stated within the advantages, SiteBuilder excels like a simple website builder. That stated, for those who have a brand new website that you would like to develop and evolve, that’s additionally a disadvantage.

Competitors like Wix, Weebly and SquareSpace (and ecommerce competitors like Shopify) offer “app stores” or “extensions” that you could supplment your account while you grow. They take proper care of all of the advanced features that you’ll want while you grow. SiteBuilder doesn’t have that.

The characteristics you have would be the features you receive. If you’re planning on growing, you will need to think about that time.

Furthermore, moving from SiteBuilder to a different platform isn’t a straightforward process. They don’t have an information export option (which i may find). As well as their software doesn’t have any Feed that may sync your articles with something similar to WordPress.

Should you ever wish to migrate, you’ll need to element in migration costs and energy. Any design or content that you simply purchase SiteBuilder will have to be by hand moved.

Ecommerce Addendum

An added bonus for SiteBuilder is the ecommerce functionality. Marketing products out of your SiteBuilder website without switching platforms or any special development.

Ecommerce is a fairly little bit of functionality, but bear in mind that it is not really a full-fledged ecommerce that online shop platforms for example Shopify or BigCommerce. SiteBuilder includes a shopping cart software, fundamental inventory management, and payment acceptance.

It’s ideal for websites which are mainly lead-generation, informational, etc but should also sell a couple of products. It is also a great fit for anybody trying out products before relocating to a lengthy term platform. It isn’t a lengthy-term fit for websites which are ecommerce-first. For individuals a web-based store you have with WordPress + WooCommerce or perhaps a niche ecommerce platform like Shopify (review) or BigCommerce (review) will be a better fit.

Next Steps

SiteBuilder is a superb option for an easy, quick, no-fuss website. They’ve competitive prices, good functionality, and good consumer experience. There are plenty of tradeoffs for implementing an exciting-inclusive website builder, but when that route fits your objectives – then I’d take a look at SiteBuilder’s Plans here.

If you’re more confused than ever before – I produced a BuzzFeed style quiz that will help you decide what’s the best website builder for you personally according to your requirements here.

If you feel building your personal website by yourself hosting is the perfect route, make sure to take a look at my step-by-step help guide to setting an internet site with WordPress on your own here.

SiteBuilder

SiteBuilder is among the fastest growing companies within the website builder industry. They concentrate on core website features for fundamental sites.
SiteBuilder Review
Date Printed: 11/18/2016
SiteBuilder is really a clean, simple drag located website builder. Ideal for a fundamental site, but take a look at other available choices for something more.
3 / 5 stars

The publish SiteBuilder Review: 5 Pros &#038 5 Cons of utilizing SiteBuilder.com made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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Shopify Review: Pros & Cons of utilizing Shopify For eCommerce

Shopify Review

There are plenty of choices for running a web-based store &#8211 Shopify is a brand-in-one ecommerce solution which i&#8217ve accustomed to run several online retailers &amp consult up with clients since 2009. Here&#8217s my Shopify review &#8211 with 6 pros and 6 cons of utilizing Shopify for the online shop.

You should check out Shopify&#8217s current Plans &amp Prices here.

EDIT 01/02/2017: This Shopify review was initially printed 7/13/2013 and re-printed frequently with updates throughout to mirror additional featuresOrprices/opinion. In 2016 through 2017, Shopify has improved on several fronts, particularly with a significantly improved checkout process. Enjoy!

However, a little bit of intro. There&#8217s plenty of choices for running a web-based store, and the selection of best platform might have just like big of an impact on your company as selecting a structure or place for an actual store. It&#8217s and not the finish all the business &#8211 however it certainly could make or break your company &#8211 and may either expand your chance or seriously kneecap your company.

What’s Shopify?

Shopify belongs to several turn-key ecommerce (also known as &#8220hosted ecommerce&#8221) solutions that gives all you need from finish to finish (without the product and business know-how) to put together and begin selling your products(s) around the world as opposed to you putting all of the pieces together yourself (see Shopify&#8217s plans here).

It&#8217s kind of like getting a contractor to construct your home, over to be the contractor and hiring sub-contractors yourself. You&#8217re still in charge, however, you allow the contractor use their expertise to help make the project happen.

You will find benefits and drawbacks towards the approach &#8211 that is what we should&#8217ll enter into. But essentially realize that Shopify competes mainly with BigCommerce and Volusion &#8211 the 3 which provide turn-key search engine optimization, which competes with non-turnkey solutions (like establishing your personal store with WordPress).

Which located solutions kind of compete and integrate with ecommerce &#8220marketplaces&#8221 like Amazon . com, eBay and Etsy. I authored much more about how Shopify could work with Etsy here.

Shopify also offers a &#8220Buy button&#8221 functionality that enables you to employ Shopify as Reason for Purchase (POS) / Inventory option &#8211 and let customers click to purchase your products anywhere online (Pinterest, Facebook, WordPress blog, Tumblr, etc). I&#8217ll be searching less at this &#8211 and much more at Shopify&#8217s full online shop package. You will get the Buy button only included in the Lite Plan, however it competes with PayPal instead of full online shop options.

Seem sensible? Awesome. Let&#8217s dive in to the actual Shopify review.

Pros of utilizing Shopify

There are plenty of Shopify online reviews &#8211 usually with user-generated reviews according to anecdotes and private experience. That&#8217s fine however i have a different approach. I&#8217ve labored with Shopify not just like a storeowner but additionally like a consultant to stores running on Shopify additionally to stores running on platforms varying from custom made platforms to WooCommerce and a large number of others. There’s no such factor like a &#8220best&#8221 choice &#8211 only the best choice for the store according to your sources and objectives.

Knowing that &#8211 here&#8217s things i discovered to be pros of utilizing Shopify &#8211 not only to comparison to BigCommerce along with other direct competitors, but additionally being an overall ecommerce solution.

Built-in Speed &amp To safeguard Hosting

Listed here are the outcomes of the Speed Test on Shopify Store:

Shopify Review Speed Test

Among the challenges of running a web-based store is you have dual needs out of your hosting: you really need it to become screaming fast and you really need it to become super secure if you’re processing charge cards.

For each extra tenth of the second that the customer waits for the page to load is another they might perfectly leave and see your competition. Actually, most research has shown that individuals is only going to hang on to 4 seconds for any site to load before departing &#8211 which will get even tighter for ecommerce sites.

Around the switch side, you should also route your customer&#8217s charge cards through extra layers of security to stay PCI compliant and process charge cards. Many stores delegate payments to some third-party vendor (for example PayPal or Google Wallet), but that connection could be slowed in case your store isn&#8217t setup right.

An exciting-in-one solution like Shopify enables you to definitely turn that side from the business to the professionals and merely allow them to be worried about online hackers, caching, compliance, along with a whole selection of issues that include hosting a web-based store. Shopify can perform such things as pay bounties to security researchers to compromise-proof their systems.

Since Shopify can handle speed &amp security in a &#8220global&#8221 platform level &#8211 they are able to get it done especially well: provide 100% SSL, maintain their sites screaming fast, and integrate with payment providers well to be able to always will get compensated, and clients are never awaiting their page to load.

All Of The Necessary Features

All The Necessary Features

Regardless if you are building your personal ecommerce solution or looking for an all-in-one solution, getting all of the bits of a web-based store together can really be considered a bit challenging.

Sure, you are able to strip the simplistic lower to getting an item as much as buy, and allowing anyone to pay and provide you with their information &#8211 but to get it done right &#8211 you&#8217re likely to want additional features on the top.

You&#8217re likely to want integrated payments you &#8216re likely to want a good way to include and take away products you&#8217re likely to want so that you can personalize the feel of your store and also you&#8217re certainly likely to wish to have solid, simple to implement Analytics to trace everything (something which Volusion causes it to be difficult to implement).

Whenever I’ve run stores for clients or myself previously, Shopify had everything I desired to operate an incredible online shop &#8211 without having to be nickel and dimed in upgrades or overlooked to dry with no key feature.

Great Customer Care

Shopify Call Customer Support for Shopify Review

After I contrast my encounters between building an ecommerce store myself (with something similar to WordPress + WooCommerce) and running it with something similar to Shopify &#8211 customer care is among my why you should opt for something similar to Shopify.

When you’re building it and running yourself to it &#8211 you’ve got no one to go to, except $$$ developers and frequently unresponsive online forums. With Shopify &#8211 you receive solutions fast. And all sorts of my customer care encounters with Shopify happen to be really fast, correct, and useful &#8211 from both a developer and store owner perspective.

There is a huge database of FAQs, email/chat support&#8230and phone support &#8211 having a real, knowledgeable repetition on the other hand.

When you’re centered on running your web store &#8211 this safety internet of always getting someone at the back with solutions is essentially well worth the Shopify subscription cost alone. As well as on this time Shopify especially shines.

Marketing

What good is definitely an online shop if you’re able to&#8217t get anybody to appear? That&#8217s what marketing is perfect for &#8211 and it is something which Shopify really excels at. Shopify doesn&#8217t provide the fanciest marketing tools in the world (included in the primary package &#8211 they provide more within the Application Marketplace) &#8211 however they do range from the essentials &#8211 plus they make certain they are doing the necessities very well. For instance, Search engine optimization:

Shopify Category &amp Product Content Editor

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For marketing campaigns (for example email, AdWords, etc), Shopify enables you to definitely rapidly and simply create squeeze pages, that is a key differentiating factor between other all-in-one platforms (and a few DIY platforms).

As well as for Search engine optimization &#8211 Shopify creates 100% crawlable, clean code. They enables custom Title tags, and meta descriptions (see screenshot) &#8211 even on collections, additionally with other essentials like Search Console, sitemaps, and preventing the perennial ecommerce bug bear&#8230duplicate content (for Search engine optimization geeks, they will use canonicals).

While they don&#8217t allow &#8220root&#8221 or FTP access, being an Search engine optimization consultant, I&#8217ve always had the ability to implement even technical products via their front-finish code editor. Or &#8211 they really curently have all of the advanced technical products accomplished for me (e.g., Schema, SSL, Canonicals, Sitemaps, etc) so will be able to concentrate on such things as content strategy.

Should you&#8217re searching to have an all-in-one platform that does good marketing for Search engine optimization, AdWords, and other things your sleeve &#8211 Shopify is a superb choice in my opinion.

Design

Shopify Review Design Options

I believe so good web platforms must always offer a minimum of 3 amounts of personalization: first, it ought to look fine as they are second, it ought to be easily improvable without getting to use and professional artist or developer.

WordPress is a great one with this &#8211 it appears great as they are it’s a lot of custom styles available and apply it is able to be wielded with a professional designer to produce a through the roof-finish website.

Shopify has this ability too, and that i provide a huge pro to Shopify for your. Shopify runs off a style system. It’s free styles bundled as they are to select from, and a multitude of custom-built styles to buy through their marketplace. Additionally, as you can tell within the screenshot above, Shopify makes its theme system available to ensure that an artist or developer can personalize it and make any kind of shop you would like &#8211 regardless if you are a small niche boutique or perhaps a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

If you’re just beginning, you are able to get by all right having a free theme and upgrade as possible justify/require it.

Add-Ons (Shopify Application Store + Buy Button)

Screenshot of Shopify App Store for my Shopify Review

Shopify has a lot of features built-in, but no platform may possibly accommodate all of the features required by storeowners &#8211 so Shopify required a webpage from Facebook, Apple, Android, and began an Application Store.

Shopify offers the platform and all sorts of core features, and enables developers to provide hyper-specialized items that wordpress plugin seamlessly to Shopify&#8217s platform.

Many are compensated and a few have the freedom. The Chimpified Application is my personal favorite example though. Not every retailers need or do e-mail marketing, however, many like it. It&#8217s not really a core feature of Shopify &#8211 but MailChimp (an incredible e-mail marketing company) built an Application that integrates MailChimp seamlessly with Shopify. It&#8217s free, and awesome.

With this particular setup &#8211 you don&#8217t need to bother about locating a developer any time you desire a certain feature, since it&#8217s most likely within the Application Store&#8230and will always be cheaper and can work just as marketed.

Furthermore, Shopify has truly committed to their Buy button. On a single hands, it&#8217s a little confusing to market product outside of your site. However, it adds lots of versatility for brands which have a name all over the web &#8211 or retailers that simply don&#8217t wish to setup a complete online shop on the domain.

Not every platforms possess the scale to drag this off properly, but Shopify does &#8211 and they’ve a company team of developers that particularly creates developing newly discovered apps and getting new developers to resolve problems. The Application Store is a big pro for me personally with Shopify.

Cons of utilizing Shopify

Its not all platform is ideal though, along with a Shopify review wouldn&#8217t be complete without since the cons of utilizing Shopify to have an online shop. Let&#8217s dive in to the 6 cons of utilizing Shopify for ecommerce.

Prices

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Shopify Pricing for Shopify Review (2016)

For those who have a little online shop &#8211 Shopify will probably be more costly than BigCommerce at the start, and obtain less expensive while you grow. The kicker isn&#8217t the $5 difference &#8211 it&#8217s the transaction charges that Shopify charges (that are on the top associated with a charge card feed). They justify it everything about the they disappear while you grow &#8211 however it still represents a barrier to entry for Shopify.

They improve a few of the prices by providing the &#8220Get Began&#8221 option at $14/mo &#8211 but in my experience the transaction charges seem a disadvantage of utilizing Shopify, especially because you can ‘t be sure regarding your product sales or profitability in the beginning.

If you prefer a small online shop &#8211 and intend on remaining small, then you might like to also take a look at BigCommerce (just don&#8217t opt for Volusion due to their Analytics issues). But otherwise, it&#8217s not really a deal breaker for many online shop proprietors &#8211 but is really a disadvantage to understand and arrange for.

In 2014, Shopify has restructured their prices consistent with new industry business models. To place their prices in context which help you choose between competitors (like Bigcommerce &#8211 review here or Volusion &#8211 review here), here&#8217s a rundown of four aspects of prices you should think about.

First, your monthly cost &#8211 the sticker cost you have to pay each month for any certain degree of features. Shopify&#8217s plans begin with the Lite Plan at $9 USD monthly and increase after that, for instance. But observe that the Lite plan’s just for Buy button sellers. Really, I&#8217d state that Shopify starts at $29/mo and rises.

Second, your platform transaction charges &#8211 the extra fee you have to pay to some platform like a percent of sales. Shopify accustomed to charge these on all of their plans, but no more does. Settled to those when mix-evaluating.

Third, your charge card charges &#8211 these was once pretty standardized &#8211 and typically are still. However, Shopify lately setup their very own POS &amp processing network which means you don&#8217t need to go through a third party processor. Which means charges visit Shopify as opposed to a processor like PayPal or Authorize.internet. It may be confusing, and you will find some lock-in issues to think about with Shopify. But make sure you’re evaluating apples to apples.

4th, your add-on charges &#8211 they are third party apps, plugins or items of software that you could purchase to create your store better. These is one-time purchases, but may they elope transaction charges. Shopify includes a huge application store. Most are free, however, many are compensated. Make sure to plan for these when planning your store.

Prices is &#8220con with caveat&#8221 for Shopify. The built-in charge cards &amp no transaction charges are huge, but monthly cost &amp add-on charges can also add up. Essentially, Shopify is slightly pricier than Volusion &amp slightly less expensive than Bigcommerce typically (however, everything depends upon your instalments, apps, etc). The cost variations are close enough that you ought to be evaluating according to features &amp service.

Shopify, like several located platforms, will probably be consistently more costly every month than the usual self-located store you take yourself. However, self-located stores (like WordPress + WooCommerce) generally have really $$$ development needs occasionally &#8211 particularly if you&#8217re managing a bigger setup.

For those who have some technical understand how along with a smaller sized shop, Shopify prices is going to be costly. If you wish to concentrate on running &amp marketing your store (and like known monthly costs), then Shopify&#8217s prices will really be considered a an amazing value. You don&#8217t need to hire developers or perhaps a technically savvy Search engine optimization consultant to consider proper care of such things as Google Merchant Center or Schema.

Hacking around personalization

Shopify Editing Screen for Shopify Review (2016)

I made the purpose earlier that the pro of Shopify is it looks good as they are, has great custom styles available, and is able to be fully customized with a developer/designer.

How to the disadvantage of the personalization setup &#8211 they will use a distinctive setup to personalize their styles versus using something similar to PHP for his or her templates. It&#8217s an enormous plus somewhat, however for somebody that likes to tweak things without having done a complete-on personalization, it may be annoying.

I&#8217m accustomed to tweaking WordPress templates since they’re in PHP &#8211 that is a common language and a lot of forums and support, as the Shopify Liquid setup is foreign in my experience and then any other first-timers.

It’s fairly straightforward to get, plus they provide amazing support within the Shopify forums, however i consider it a disadvantage to need to understand Liquid to tweak my store&#8217s theme.

Content Marketing

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Shopify Blog Functionality for Shopify Review

Content marketing is a big marketing medium for ecommerce. You are able to boost you organic traffic, increase social shares, increase your brand, and educate your clients. In my experience, blogging software is essential to have an online shop.

Shopify includes built-in blogging software&#8230but it&#8217s and not the finest &#8211 particularly if you are spoiled for WordPress. It will get the task done, also it&#8217s much better than it&#8217s competitor&#8217s options, but is certainly something I&#8217d like to see enhanced.

Shopify Jargon

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Every ecommerce platform will have a learning curve, however i discovered that Shopify includes a slightly steeper curve simply because the jargon the utilization is slightly off. Whether or not this&#8217s their Liquid theme setup, using &#8220collections&#8221 over &#8220categories&#8221, or many other small edits &#8211 I’ve found their store setup to become not quite the way i&#8217d set some misconception.

It&#8217s not really a huge disadvantage &#8211 but other solutions like BigCommerce are a little more straightforward using their &#8220user experience.&#8221 This disadvantage is a lot improved though using the discharge of Shopify 2 (as observed in the first setup video below) &#8211 but remains.

Lock-in

Big Decision

Lock-was something I needed to use in my Shopify review, though it may be a disadvantage for those-in-one ecommerce generally. Here&#8217s the offer &#8211 should you ever choose to move your store to a new platform &#8211 it&#8217s not really smooth. This will make selecting an ecommerce platform especially tricky as you have to organize for future years &#8211 and not simply consider costs at this time.

For me, Shopify is definitely an amazing platform to develop with. They’ve the size, features, support, and prices to pay for you regardless if you are a completely new 1 product shop &#8211 or if you wish to function as the next Amazon . com.

However, should you ever wish to leave, the very best you can get will be a CSV export of the product information. Anything else &#8211 gone. It&#8217s exactly the same with BigCommerce, Volusion and any &#8220hosted ecommerce platform&#8221, however it&#8217s still a disadvantage to think about when searching to have an online shop platform.

Initial setup

The final disadvantage of utilizing Shopify for the online shop is the initial setup process. Using the discharge of Shopify 2 &#8211 Shopify has certainly made initial setup of the online shop much simpler &#8211 however it still isn&#8217t a &#8220just add water&#8221 step-by-step. It&#8217s easy in this way, however i think they oversell it a little. It takes some technical know-how (especially to obtain your website name redirecting properly).

For anybody who buys into Shopify looking to make profit fifteen minutes will probably be disappointed. This is because takes much more time, and needs a little bit of technical understanding is the fact that Shopify does still do it, and doesn&#8217t permit you to scrimp &#8211 plus they don&#8217t make real decisions for you personally. However &#8211 to gather the final disadvantage &#8211 here&#8217s a relevant video tour from the Shopify backend to be able to discover for yourself.

Shopify Review Conclusion

If you’re searching to have an all-in-one ecommerce solution for the online shop, and you’re searching to develop and add products &#8211 and you’ve got some technical know-how, then Shopify is a great fit for you personally.

You can examine out Shopify (see their plans here).

If you’re searching for something a bit cheaper, and a bit simpler to put together &#8211 i then would also consider BigCommerce (see their plans here &amp see my Bigcommerce review here). Take my ecommerce platform quiz here that may help you decide.

If you’re a brand searching to have an enterprise solution, I authored about my knowledge about Shopify Plus &#8211 Shopify&#8217s enterprise solution here.

For those who have any comments, questions, or encounters &#8211 tell me within the comments!

EDIT: Because of the remarkable quantity of junk e-mail this publish attracts, I&#8217ve disabled comments. Speak with me via Twitter!

Shopify

Shopify is really a located ecommerce platform that enables anybody to put together a web-based store with hosting and support incorporated.
Shopify Review
Date Printed: 01/02/2017
If you’re searching to have an all-in-one solution for the online shop, Shopify is a terrific way to go.
4 / 5 stars

The publish Shopify Review: Pros &#038 Cons of utilizing Shopify For eCommerce made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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Squarespace versus. Weebly versus. Wix: Website Builder Comparison

Squarespace vs. Wix vs. Weebly

Squarespace versus. Weebly versus. Wix &#8211 those are the most well-known website builders. I’ve discussed them individually here, here and here. But exactly how will they rival one another?

First, a little bit of background. Over only the past couple of years, website costs have plummeted and technology to obtain a website from idea to reality has blossomed. Regardless if you are utilizing a text editor and uploading towards the Amazon . com cloud computing your personal site operated by WordPress or utilizing a drag website builder, there’s never been an simpler time to produce a website.

All-inclusive website builders happen to be particularly interesting. The likes of Squarespace, Weebly and Wix have introduced websites to everybody no matter coding skills.

Around the wide spectrum of website building solutions, they endures the finish that’s all-inclusive and offers all you need to get began and also be your site. It’s as opposed to solutions in which you buy, install, and manage all of the “pieces” of the website individually. That’s a bad or bad factor. But it’s something to understand when you are selecting one of these like a solution because it affects your site both lengthy and temporary.

Within the lengthy-term, it impacts your versatility, functionality, and, obviously, your brand. For the short term it may certainly add/remove lots of headaches. That stated, much like selecting an actual office or house, there’s no such factor being an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s merely a such factor as the best choice in accordance with your objectives, experience, and conditions.

Utilizing a website builder is kind of like leasing and customizing a condo in a classy development rather buying and owning your house. You’re still in charge of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – however, you leave the development, plumbing, security, and infrastructure towards the house owner. That time is essential because there’s often a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.

Squarespace, Weebly and Wix like a group contend with options like WordPress (which supplies the disposable software to create a website that you simply own &amp control &#8211 see my WordPress setup guide here) completely to options like typing actual Web coding right into a text file. Seem sensible? Awesome, let’s dive to the comparison.

Side note &#8211 if you would like this comparison inside a BuzzFeed-style quiz, you are able to take this site builder quiz here&#8230

You may also take a look at my posts on &#8211

  • Squarespace versus. WordPress
  • Wix versus. WordPress
  • Weebly versus. WordPress

Otherwise, we’ll look particularly at prices, onboarding/consumer experience, design features, technical features, marketing features, and customer care.

Another quick aside – a disclosure – I receive referral charges all the businesses pointed out within this publish. My opinions &amp research derive from my encounters as whether having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

Prices

Evaluating prices among Squarespace, Weebly and Wix is difficult as their tiers are totally different. Weebly tiers according to technical and ecommerce features. Squarespace tiers according to quantity of pages and extras. Wix has lots of tiers according to an array of factors. And both Wix and Weebly have free plans.

Rapid version is the fact that Weebly provides the most feature value and least real caps each and every tier adopted by Squarespace. Weebly’s cheap tier is an especially attractive tier for many small personal and business sites.

Wix isn’t competitive whatsoever on any tier. It normally won’t even remove Wix ads on some premium plans.

Squarespace offers solid value on every tier and it is as good as Weebly on top tier.

Weebly wins here.

*Indication &#8211 these pricing is all completely different than if you’re searching at building your personal site with WordPress or perhaps a another thing. Area of the reason for website builders may be the bundled prices. It’s possible to obtain a custom website with limitless functionality for less expensive should you construct it yourself.

Onboarding &amp Consumer Experience

Regardless of how intuitive and straightforward a bit of technologies are, there’s always that moment of “what shall we be held searching at and just what will i do now?”

Onboarding is the procedure of guiding you past that time. Theoretically, an enormous feature of website builders is they have near zero learning curve. There is a straightforward process from website concept to website reality.

About this point, Weebly wins hands lower with Squarespace and Wix doing fine. I really like how Weebly includes a way to immediately segment yourself by kind of website. Additionally they offer lots of unintrusive info buttons, pop-ups, a listing as well as an email sequence to make certain you’re on the right track.

Weebly Onboarding Guided Alerts As You Click Through

Squarespace kind of drops you to their interface after selecting a design. The interface is rather intuitive, however it takes some clicking to determine where things are, how stuff works, and how to proceed next.

Squarespace New User

Squarespace has greatly improved their onboarding email sequence though &#8211 so props to that particular.

SquareSpace Onboarding

Wix is okay. They’ve an e-mail sequence, generally centered on hard selling their premium plans over helping. Their backend is easy, but requires some clicking and strategizing to determine how to proceed next.

Wix Menu

Weebly wins here.

Design Features

Area of the overall worth of website builders is design.

Design is difficult. Also it matters &#8211 a great deal. Many people can place a attractive website, but possess a harder time working out ways to get there. Utilizing a template for any foundation after which customizing it’s a great way to obtain the site you would like without having to pay for any custom web design.

About this point, Squarespace shines. Their platform is about design (their tagline is “Build It Beautiful) and you may tell. The leading and backend feels and looks beautiful.

Build It Beautiful

Squarespace includes a diverse group of templates which are built so they do become unique with a few photography and color scheming. Weebly includes a diverse selection of templates. They’re solid, but like a non-designer, I will tell that they’re more functional than anything.

Weebly Themes

Wix’s designs are great. They’ve improved a great deal within the this past year. Furthermore, Wix doesn’t allow any CSS personalization, so you’re really tied to whatever templates they’ve.

Wix Business Templates

Squarespace wins on design.

Technical Features

Technical features are the net development guidelines that do not really matter&#8230until they matter a great deal. I’m speaking about generating clean URLs, editable meta data, allowing page-level redirects, etc.

About this point, Squarespace and Weebly are generally good. Both of them have things they might fare better. Both of them have things they are doing particularly well.

For Weebly, they have ample front finish tools. They instantly generate permalinks and well-coded HTML. Squarespace provides more use of advanced tools, especially via their developer platform.

The laggard is Wix. To not keep getting on Wix, however they make use of an HTML5 / AJAX engine to construct and serve their pages. The machine is much better than their old Flash technology, but continues to be incredibly clunky to make use of. Wix websites obtain a URL structure that actually works, however is not ideal. It runs a lot more like a game title application than the usual website.

Website builders are restricted on technical features by their nature, but both Weebly and Squarespace are fine so far as the most crucial products go.

Marketing Features

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character famously states “if you construct it, they’ll come.” Sadly, that isn’t true about websites. As with every business, you need to positively promote and advertise your website for anybody to appear.

Marketing features like custom meta data, open graph information, Schema markups, email signups, share buttons, squeeze pages, etc all make marketing your website a great deal simpler.

For marketing features, both Weebly and Squarespace prosper. Squarespace requires some workarounds for custom meta data and could be a guessing game with Open Graph information. But overall have the various tools to complete the job.

Furthermore, both Weebly and Squarespace permit you to place custom Javascript anywhere, which opens lots of possibilities for custom tools (like Sumome) to retargeting and rate of conversion codes.

Again, here Wix is ok (they are doing provide many native apps) but is missing when compared with Weebly and Squarespace.

Support &amp Service

The 3 have knowledgebases and customer care. Wix and Weebly do phone during business hrs, additionally to email tickets and customer forums. Squarespace doesn’t have phone support, however they will have 24/7 live chat and email.

If phone is essential for you, then I’d eliminate Squarespace. Otherwise, Squarespace has the very best hrs and quick response.

Comparison Conclusion

If you choose that utilizing an all-inclusive website builder fits your needs, then Weebly and Squarespace would be the two I&#8217d narrow it lower to.

Squarespace wins on design and brand.

Weebly wins on functionality and many anything else. Remember there’s no “best” &#8211 only whichever platform fits your ultimate goal.

Join Squarespace here. Grab a coupon code here.

Obtain a free trial offer for Weebly here.

If you are thinking about building your personal website by yourself hosting, take a look at my step-by-step tutorial here.

The publish Squarespace versus. Weebly versus. Wix: Website Builder Comparison made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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NameCheap Shared Web Hosting Review w/ Pros & Cons

NameCheap Shared Hosting Review

NameCheap is definitely an independent (ie, not of a large holding corporation) an ICANN-accredited website name registrar founded in 2000. Additionally to domain registration, they provide a complementary spectrum of hosting companies.

NameCheap offers email, website builder, SSLs, as well as other services with round-the-clock support along with a thirty day money-back guarantee.

I reviewed NameCheap like a domain registrar here, but have obtained questions for a long time regarding their hosting companies. Readers ask because NameCheap Hosting is actually cheap &#8211 like, suspiciously cheap.

You should check out NameCheap’s plan and current prices here.

Although I love to keep my hosting and domain registration separate, I’d a little project to produce, and so i made the decision to use it NameCheap and find out the way the service switched out.

Here’s my NameCheap Shared Web Hosting review &#8211 structured with pros &amp cons according to my experience like a customer.

Skip to direct comparisons or skip towards the conclusion.

Disclosure &#8211 I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All opinion and knowledge is dependant on my experience like a having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

Pros of utilizing NameCheap Hosting

Listed here are the professionals (advantages) for thinking about NameCheap Hosting. There are plenty of NameCheap Hosting reviews online &#8211 usually with user-generated reviews according to anecdotes and private experience. That&#8217s fine however i have a different approach. As I’ve stated in other hosting reviews, there’s no such factor like a “best” hosting company. The “best” may be the right fit for the project according to your objectives, budget, experience &amp expertise.

Prices

NameCheap’s primary advantage is the prices.

It’s cheap &#8211 like, shockingly cheap.

But cheap isn’t always just like the best value. To find that out, we must observe how hosting prices is structured.

Website hosting information mill all selling exactly the same factor &#8211 a house for the website &#8211 but every one has different plans with various caps, different bonuses and various renewal prices. For many, working out their true value needs a breakdown into various parts.

To check “apples to apples” among website hosts, I break things lower into Core hosting features and Bonus hosting features.

Core hosting features would be the “3 D’s” &#8211 domains, databases and disk space. The main reason for a hosting server would be to serve website files if somebody types inside your website name.

  • Domains are the number of domains you are able to indicate your hosting account. If you would like multiple websites, you’ll wish to have multiple domains permitted. You’ll should also take a look at emails per domain &#8211 sometimes individuals are capped too.
  • Databases are the number of bits of website software you are able to operate on your hosting server. A WordPress install requires one database. For those who have any apps, Listservs, etc &#8211 you’ll require more.
  • Disk space is the number of files try on some your server &#8211 images, text, PDFs, etc.
  • Additional features could include everything from website builder software to advertising credits to backend software, etc.

Whenever you break it lower, you can at any rate compare apples to apples and obtain a feeling of value according to the thing you need.

NameCheap Pricing for my NameCheap Shared Hosting Review

NameCheap has four prices tiers. Value renews at $38.88/yr Professional renews at $78.88/yr Ultimate renews at $129.88/yr and Business Pro renews at 17.98/mo.

All of the plans include absurdly low intro prices &#8211 as little as $9.88/yr for that Value plan.

The issue is the fact that all of the plans are capped on two three “D’s” &#8211 additionally with other caps.

You’ll find more within the Cons section on plan limitations, but here’s the way the plans exercise.

  • Value &#8211 Restricted to 3 domains, 20GB in disk space, 50 databases and 50 email options.
  • Professional &#8211 Restricted to 10 domains, 50GB in disk space, 100 databases and 100 email options.
  • Ultimate &#8211 Restricted to 50 domains.
  • Business Pro &#8211 Restricted to 20GB in disk space &amp 5000GB in bandwidth.

For much better or worse, NameCheap’s plans have a lot of limits that it is very hard to check them straight to other company’s hosting plans. But here’s the way it concludes &#8211

If you are considering remaining under individuals caps &#8211 NameCheap is nearly always less expensive than the program you’d choose at another webhost.

If you’re not sure, then you will probably get more total value from the website hosting company with less individual caps for example InMotion, Website Hosting Hub, HostGator &#8211 or perhaps SiteGround.

In either case, NameCheap’s prices is really a solid advantage.

Company Brand &amp Values

NameCheap is really a independently-owned independent webhost. That’s a rarity inside a world where a number of corporations own almost all hosting brands.

Being private &amp independent isn’t always a great factor, and being of a sizable corporation isn’t always a poor factor.

However, where NameCheap excels being an independent clients are defining their brand values on and on for transparency inside a notoriously confusing industry.

Like I pointed out within my NameCheap or GoDaddy? domain registrar review &#8211 NameCheap has consistently donated money and sources to Internet freedom and security.

They’re corporate partners using the Electronic Frontier Foundation and FightForTheFuture.org &#8211 both organizations fighting for that fundamental infrastructure from the Internet.

NameCheap can also be transparent about all of their services and prices. I love the way they come with an expanding listing of all of their hosting features, and just how they conspicuously display renewal rates.

Overall, they’re a business which i think is reliable having a solid culture. When selecting who to use, It counts for much.

Onboarding &amp Account Management

As with every cool product &#8211 registering for a brand new hosting company could be both daunting and exciting.

The entire process of obtaining a new customer ready to go is really a critical a part of taking out the daunting part &#8211 and contributing to the thrill. Running a business jargon, the operation is known as “onboarding.” And there’s nothing and build regret just like a confusing onboarding process.

Ideally, after registering for a hosting plan, you’d immediately get the register credentials and then either visit a led tutorial or have the ability to sign in straight to your brand-new dashboard.

NameCheap does just that.

They give out a welcome email where one can login straight to the services you provide or follow directions right help sources.

NameCheap Onboarding Email screenshot for my NameCheap Shared Hosting Review

Their account backends are neat and minimalist. There isn’t any flashing banners or hard upsells.

NameCheap Hosting Upsell - a huge plus in my NameCheap Shared Hosting Review

Their WordPress quick install software installs a clear form of WordPress without any additional plugins or styles.

NameCheap Hosting WordPress-Install

And a straightforward, minimalist backend.

Account Backend screenshot for my NameCheap Shared Hosting Review

NameCheap Hosting Account-Management

It’s something well-targeted at DIYers or beginners searching for any super-cheap but straightforward website hosting company.

Backups &amp Datacenter Choices

NameCheap also does several Bonus features very well.

At register, they provide an option between their US data center or United kingdom data center. It can make them a fantastic choice for non-US customers who’re serving web traffic nearer to the United kingdom compared to US.

NameCheap also does 2x weekly backups of the hosting account. While you want to do backups yourself, it’s an excellent safety internet to possess. And backups are incorporated free of charge with NameCheap. Usually it’s a compensated or limited bonus feature at competitors like Website Hosting Hub, Dreamhost or HostGator.

Cons of utilizing NameCheap Hosting

Like every hosting company, NameCheap Hosting has disadvantages. Listed here are the disadvantages which i found while using the NameCheap for hosting.

Plan Limitations

Like I pointed out within the Prices section, NameCheap places caps across domains, disk space, databases and emails.

For those who have one to two sites you know will remain small, NameCheap could be great. However for many website proprietors the issue isn’t within the caps themselves, however in how NameCheap has lots of overlapping caps.

Many website hosts tier out their plans, however they usually concentrate on a couple of caps to split up the plans. For instance, HostGator’s Hatchling Plan enables 1 domain as the Baby Plan enables limitless domains. The main difference is extremely straightforward. When you wish to include on another site, then you definitely upgrade.

With NameCheap, there are several upgrade triggers. For those who have just one site with a lot of images and video, you can hit the upgrade trigger. If you’re running several small projects on several domains, you can hit the upgrade trigger.

And ironically, should you purchase NameCheap’s top plan, you can get restricted to the quantity of disk space. They offer the program for ecommerce websites that need a ton of memory although the plan itself heavily caps disk space&#8230which ecommerce sites require more compared to what they need multiple domains.

In either case &#8211 I possibly could continue on with further comparisons, but NameCheap’s limitations really are a disadvantage because there are plenty of of these that needs additional planning when choosing.

Allocations &amp Performance

Like I pointed out before, the main job of the hosting company would be to serve website files if somebody types inside your website name &#8211 but many agree that there is a missing adverb. It ought to be “to serve website files rapidly.

To state website speed is essential is cliche, mainly in the chronilogical age of mobile. While server speed isn’t the only element in overall website speed, it’s an essential aspect.

And critically, it is also a “bottleneck” factor. Quite simply, regardless of how fast you compress or accelerate your site, you are able to only go as quickly as your server can respond.

Calculating server speed and response time is really a complicated issue. Just the network engineers at NameCheap can for sure say what’s happening with server speed &#8211 though they are doing promise “in many instances, our Shared Web Hosting is 50% quicker than another guys.”

But, anybody can measure a ballpark metric of server performance.

It’s known as Time For You To First Byte (TTFB) &#8211 and shows how rapidly a web server offers the first byte of knowledge after it gets to be a request.

Here’s how NameCheap performed your day I measured it with this site &#8211

NameCheap Hosting Performance

Here’s the exam a couple of days later &#8211

NameCheap Repeat Speed Test for my NameCheap Shared Hosting Review

Here’s how Website Hosting Hub (an immediate entry-level competitor) performs &#8211

Web Hosting Hub TTFB Test

As you can tell &#8211 NameCheap isn’t horrible (well, that F around the second test is fairly bad), but it is also not “50% much better than another guys.”

Now, TTFB is better measured like a trend. Yet, simply searching at NameCheap’s server information causes it to be seem like they not just cap their plans, additionally they cap the particular servers those sites operate on.

Memory Caps

Now &#8211 such as the plan caps &#8211 server allocations aren’t always a poor factor. For those who have a little site with couple of images, then you’ll likely don’t know the main difference.

However, I wouldn’t buy NameCheap hosting for his or her speed or performance.

Customer Care

Customer care is notoriously difficult to judge. It’s hard to be aware what is actually happening behind the curtain, and whether a business is going to be useful when *you* refer to them as.

A lot of user-provided online reviews (associated with a company) are generally naively positive or exaggerated negative encounters. Besides, with anecdotes, who knows if you’re studying in regards to a one-off or perhaps a true trend.

Rather, I argue that you ought to search for indicators of whether a business treats customer support like a cost or perhaps an investment. Quite simply, could they be attempting to keep costs lower and maximize profit for a while or could they be attempting to develop happy, lengthy-term customers?

The 2 best indicators I’ve found are availability across a variety of support channels and purchase of DIY customer care.

NameCheap is mediocre on.

NameCheap Hosting Customer-Support

For availability, they’ve chat and helpdesk. My chat wait time is generally very good. Also it&#8217s usually good service for me personally. But may text-based support could possibly get tiresome if you have an elaborate issue.

So far as DIY customer care sources, there is a decent knowledgebase, though it’s focused mainly on domains &#8211 not hosting.

This time segues in to the next point about NameCheap&#8217s product focus.

NameCheap Doesn&#8217t Focus on Hosting

NameCheap is first of all a website registrar. Actually, a primary reason I utilize them for domain registration is they allow it to be very easy to buy a website and point it to hosting or email services elsewhere.

Within the broader Internet services industry, domains and hosting are natural complements. But I’ve never really seen a business do both super-well.

Website hosts that provide domain registration usually over-cost them making domain management a discomfort. Domain companies usually do not have the expertise or sources to operate a global-class hosting infrastructure.

That’s not saying it can’t be achieved or that some companies don’t compare. However, it appears like hosting and domains are just like coffee and breakfast.

They must be offered together, but it’s not often a perfect situation. Starbucks attempts to do breakfast&#8230but it isn’t quite there. McDonald’s attempts to do coffee&#8230but it isn’t quite exactly the same.

Even when NameCheap’s hosting was incredible &#8211 I’d be reluctant the way it puts my Internet-presence components with one company.

For diversity’s sake, I love to keep my domains and hosting at different companies. Though that always pertains to website hosts not holding domains, additionally, it pertains to domain companies running my hosting servers.

Bonus Features

While NameCheap includes a fairly complete set of features for every plan, they are doing exclude some bonus features.

First, their cash-back guarantee is extremely short. NameCheap does fourteen days. But corporate hosting competitors like HostGator do 45 days. And independent competitors like DreamHost, InMotion and Website Hosting Hub all do a minimum of 90-day money-back guarantees.

Second, they overprice a few of their upgrades like dedicated IP addresses (usually essential for installing SSL certificates). You pay $24/yr when a lot of companies charge $2 or bundle it free of charge.

Neither of individuals points is a big disadvantage, but together they form another disadvantage to understand.

NameCheap Hosting Comparisons

From the best-known web hosting companies that I’ve utilized as a person or consultant, here’s how NameCheap Hosting compares straight to each. Or skip towards the conclusion.

NameCheap Hosting versus. GoDaddy Hosting

GoDaddy has probably the most recognized brands in the market because of their TV, offline and everywhere advertising. Though they’ve improved previously couple years, GoDaddy includes a status for upsells, confusing backend and poor performance. I reviewed GoDaddy Hosting here. Like NameCheap, they’re a website registrar first which offers hosting.

Between NameCheap Hosting and GoDaddy Hosting, I’d opt for NameCheap. They’re less expensive than GoDaddy &#8211 and GoDaddy doesn’t from the difference with better performance or customer care.

NameCheap Hosting versus. iPage

iPage is really a sister make of HostGator focused on budget website hosting. They belong to Endurance Worldwide, but unlike HostGator, it normally won’t appear to become receiving active investment. Their primary factor is very cheap short-term prices. Their support and gratifaction are sub-componen. Despite iPage’s limitless features, I’d opt for NameCheap in virtually every situation.

NameCheap Hosting versus. HostGator

HostGator is an extremely well-known brand within the hosting industry. They’re also of Endurance Worldwide, causing them to be another sister brand to Bluehost/iPage. They are among Endurance International’s primary brands and also have a solid balance between cheap lengthy-term prices, good support and good performance.

HostGator has less plan limitations and comparable degree of performance and support. If you’re managing a single small website, I’d opt for NameCheap. If you’re building several or an increased website, I’d opt for HostGator. You can observe HostGator’s current prices w/ 45% off discount here

NameCheap Hosting versus. InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting is among the largest and fastest growing independent (ie, of employees not really a large corporate holding company) website hosts. This website utilizes a VPS server with InMotion. I reviewed InMotion here. InMotion has better customer care, better performance and plans features than NameCheap. They’re more costly than NameCheap overall. I’d choose whichever one fits your priorities. Take a look at InMotion here&#8230

Side note about InMotion &#8211 additionally they possess a starter hosting brand known as Website Hosting Hub that provides better limitless prices than InMotion with great performance. They compete mind to mind with NameCheap. They’re still more costly, but additionally make a great starter webhost if you would like a completely independent webhost. You should check out Website Hosting Hub here&#8230

Conclusion &amp Next Steps

Overall, I discovered NameCheap Hosting to become a good budget hosting option. If you’re beginning a really small website, concerned much more about cost than plan limitations, NameCheap works well.

If you’re searching to have an independent shared web hosting company with better performance, customer care, and plan options i then recommend checking out InMotion Hosting here&#8230

If you’re more confused than ever before &#8211 then take my BuzzFeed style hosting quiz here or use this site setup guide here!

NameCheap Shared Web Hosting

NameCheap is definitely an independent domain registrar and Online sites company which offers discount hosting companies.
NameCheap Shared Web Hosting Review
Date Printed: 02/19/2017
NameCheap Hosting is amazingly cheap, though they are doing have heavy plan limitations. For those who have a little website and searching for any good, discount host – they may be an excellent fit.
3.5 / 5 stars

The publish NameCheap Shared Web Hosting Review w/ Pros &#038 Cons made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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iPage Hosting Review: Pros & Cons of utilizing iPage

iPage Hosting Review

iPage Hosting is really a webhost individuals entry-level and budget-conscious finish from the market. They’re certainly one of Endurance International’s (a sizable hosting brand holding company) brands, together with Bluehost, HostGator yet others.

You should check out iPage’s plans here.

They’ve existed in certain form since 1998, only lately repositioned themselves like a pure-play webhost. They focus on Linux shared web hosting (ie, the kind of hosting utilized by a lot of companies that run their website with software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc), but additionally offer VPS and Server plans for greater traffic websites.

After their sister company, Bluehost, altered their prices, I’d a couple of readers asking things i considered them. So while looking for a new budget host for any side project, I made the decision to register and try them.

Here’s my iPage Hosting review &#8211 structured with pros &amp cons according to my experience like a customer.

Skip to direct comparisons or skip towards the conclusion.

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iPage New Page

Disclosure &#8211 I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All opinion and knowledge is dependant on my experience like a having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

Pros of iPage

There are plenty of iPage reviews online &#8211 usually with user-generated reviews according to anecdotes and private experience. That&#8217s fine however i have a different approach. Like I mention in most my hosting reviews, there’s no such factor like a “best” hosting company. It’s by pointing out right fit for the project according to your objectives, budget, experience &amp expertise. Here’s the professionals (advantages) for thinking about iPage.

Plan &amp Feature Simplicity

Among the greatest frustrations within the hosting market is the confusing prices plans. Company plans rarely match so it’s difficult to make direct comparisons.

Some companies cap the amount of websites around the lower finish, others add a lot of bonuses for their high-finish prices. The center (also known as “Best Value!!!”) is generally a mix meant to help you get to consider.

iPage’s greatest pro is the simplicity. They’ve one shared web hosting plan. It offers limitless use of things i call the three “D’s” that comprise the main of what you’re buying. They permit limitless Domains (ie, the amount of websites you could have in your account) limitless Databases (the amount of software installs to operate your websites in your account) and Disk Space (ie, the total amount you can store in your servers).

iPage offers limitless emails, along with a free twelve months domain using their plans.

Aside &#8211 theoretically speaking, all “unlimited” accounts will have abuse &amp file discussing policies. Because the servers are shared among several customers, iPage needs to prevent any single person from disturbing other customers’ websites. iPage details their abuse limitations here.

Second Aside &#8211 iPage has another group of “WordPress Plans.” The confusing factor about this choice is their primary Essential plan can run WordPress. I’ll cover this item more within the Cons section, but essentially their Weblog web hosting page is simply an upsell &#8211 it’s nothing particularly special.

In either case, iPage includes a single plan with all of their primary features. It’s easy to judge and straightforward to check.

Value Prices

Most website hosts have standard prices they discount depending on how lengthy you join. And many website hosts offer a price reduction for that newbie.

iPage is usually exactly the same. Their Essential plan runs $10.95 monthly, and you may renew in a slightly lower $10.95 monthly rate should you sign for several years.

However, iPage does do 1 prices tactic differently. They provide deep discounts &#8211 frequently lower to $1.99 per month (though this could vary some). You are able to usually discover that promo through here.

And, iPage enables you to register at this opening rate for approximately three years. You will get three years of limitless website hosting for under $80. That is excellent. Very couple of hosts, even just in your budget finish from the market, discount that deeply for your lengthy.

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There’s a couples of catches that I’ll mention within the cons section, however the deep discounting for any lengthy time period with limitless features is a superb value.

Support Channels

Like I’ve pointed out in other hosting reviews, insisting that a business provides amazing or horrible customer support to each single customer doesn’t seem possible. It’s difficult to termed as just one customer if you’re coping with the main one amazing or even the one horrible worker or maybe it’s the overall culture in a company.

I’ve limited knowledge about customer support reps at iPage, however i did find 2 customer support indicators &#8211 1 pro and 1 disadvantage at iPage.

The professional of iPage’s support is they can be found 24/7 across all support channels &#8211 email, tickets, chat and make contact with. They create all of their support channels simple to find and easy to use.

For any budget market shared web hosting company, that selection of support channels is helpful and a great way to stick out.

That stated the enormous asterisk is the budget shared web hosting company &#8211 while iPage may have good support at first glance, they aren’t selling service. They’re selling cost. I wouldn’t anticipate sustained, high amounts of support like you will probably find at the likes of InMotion or SiteGround.

Cons of iPage

Like every hosting company, iPage has disadvantages. There are many iPage complaints found online. Plenty are valid, and a few are merely anecdotal. Listed here are the disadvantages which i found while using the iPage for hosting.

Lengthy-Term Prices

Like I pointed out within the pros &#8211 iPage has an excellent discount offer, especially because you can lock it in for approximately three years. If cost is the main consideration, it’s worthwhile to enroll in the entire three years, even though you aren’t sure any project can last that lengthy.

However, there’s two disadvantages for iPage’s lengthy-term prices.

First, the renewal prices is okay, but it’s nothing stellar. You will get better renewal prices at HostGator. And you can aquire a far better product for any slightly greater renewal cost at either Website Hosting Hub or perhaps InMotion Hosting.

Second, should you aren’t sure how lengthy any project can last, iPage doesn’t permit monthly prices. That’s another thing you will get at HostGator.

So overall, their discounted rates are great, but lengthy-term their prices is another disadvantage.

Additionally, it directly relates to another drawback to iPage &#8211 upsells everywhere.

Upsells Throughout

Upsells aren’t unique towards the hosting industry. They’re common and frequently useful method to provide more services to customers whilst making the organization more income.

However, in addition, there’s a line where upsells stop being helpful and begin becoming exasperating and confusing.

iPage certainly crosses that line. They can exceed GoDaddy’s infamous upsells. From iPage’s initial register completely through for your requirements towards the backend of the website, there’s upsell after upsell.

iPage Upsells example screenshot for my iPage Hosting Review

iPage Upsells

iPage Upsells

WordPress Upsells example screenshot for my iPage Hosting Review

They can upsell premium WordPress plugins directly inside your WordPress install.

iPage Preinstalled Plugins screenshot for my iPage Hosting Review

Some offers are interesting, but many aren’t. They’re just re-worded benefits which are technically already incorporated inside your account (or they’re stuff that should be incorporated inside your plan like automatic backups).

iPage even comes with an entire “WordPress Plans” page focused on upselling features that actually aren’t features. Their Essential plan can run WordPress, but they’ve develop additional “features” to upsell to WordPress users.

The WordPress Essential plan includes a couple real features for example SSD servers, but is mainly just fluff (ie, making the User Interface more “visible” and pre-installing free plugins for the WordPress install). It’s nothing beats the truly custom WordPress features that the likes of SiteGround or WordPress Engine provide.

In either case, it’s not necessary to enroll in the upsells, but it’s a drawback for selecting iPage.

Mediocre Performance

Additionally to hosting your site files, a great hosting server may also deliver individuals files as rapidly as you possibly can whenever a customer would go to your website name address.

There are plenty of variables which go into how quickly your site is. You could have the quickest server on the planet and have a remarkably slow website because of issues in your finish. But in either case, you need to possess a hosting server that’s fast to be able to work in your corner from the equation.

iPage utilizes a data center in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA and just throttles memory allotted to my server with a bit.

iPage PHP Limits screenshot for my iPage Hosting Review

But here’s how their data center performed with this site initially when i first arrange it &#8211

iPage Performance Test screenshot for my iPage Hosting Review

Again, there’s a great deal which goes into website speed, but easiest method to evaluate your internet host is by using Time For You To First Byte (TTFB). That measures how rapidly the server offers the first byte of knowledge following a browser transmits a request.

iPage isn’t horrible, but it is also of low quality either. To compare, here’s how HostGator’s Houston data center performs (observe that this really is having a bigger website, there&#8217s a slower overall load time &#8211

HostGator Comparison

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So iPage isn’t the best artist, but it’s fine if you’ve just got a little website having a couple of visitors.

Knowledgebase &amp Self-Assistance

Among the customer support culture indicators that I love to take a look at is really a company’s Knowledgebase and self-help section. If your company comes with an extensive purchase of individuals sources and it has staff positively monitoring your comments ought to, it’s often a good symbol of customer support.

iPage has neither. There is a knowledgebase, but it doesn’t make the cut along with other companies. Additionally they don’t have an staff interaction inside the knowledgebase which forces customers searching for any short, quick solution to need to submit a ticket to customer support.

Custom Backend

When you begin a website hosting service, you’ll possess a hosting server backend or dashboard to sign in to to set up software (for example WordPress), reset username and passwords and setup your bank account. A lot of companies use software known as cPanel. It’s straightforward and simple. Some companies allow it to be pretty, but keep to the same software Another huge advantage of cPanel is the fact that since it’s so commonplace, it’s usually simple to find methods to problems.

iPage doesn’t use cPanel. There is a custom backend built on software known as vDeck. It’s fine in ways, but confusing in other people. But it’s certainly dated when compared with cleared up cPanel-based backends that you will find with hosts like Bluehost or InMotion.

iPage Backend screenshot for my iPage Hosting Review

Furthermore, while iPage offers auto-installs for common software like WordPress, Joomla, etc &#8211 they will use custom scripts for individuals rather from the more prevalent Softaculous or Fantastico. As well as their custom script is a lot more cluttered and confusing than other hosts.

Aside &#8211 you could by hand install that software. But auto-install apps result in the process faster and fewer daunting.

While iPage’s backend is functional and fine, it’s a drawback when compared with other website hosts.

iPage Comparisons

From the best-known web hosting companies that I’ve utilized as a person or consultant, here’s how iPage compares straight to each. Or skip towards the conclusion.

iPage versus. GoDaddy

GoDaddy may be the industry brand, while they are mainly a website registrar, not really a webhost. They’re much improved like a hosting company since 2013, however their main feature (like iPage) is the deeply discounted opening prices. As well as on that time &#8211 iPage competes mind up with them &#8211 and offers more features. Between GoDaddy and iPage, I’d choose iPage, unless of course you’d a particular need to choose GoDaddy (ie, you already rely on them and therefore are pleased with them).

iPage versus. HostGator

iPage and HostGator will vary brands of exactly the same parent company (like Coke and Sprite). They’re also pretty direct competitors. However, there’s a couple of key variations. HostGator operates from Endurance’s Houston and Utah data centers. According to my (anecdotal) testing, HostGator will get better performance (see above).

If prices is the only consideration, iPage wins together using their 3 year opening pricing (in the event that deal is within place). However, HostGator has cheaper lengthy-term prices and deep opening prices. They likewise have less upsells and cleaner backend for installing apps like WordPress. Most site proprietors would really like HostGator better. I run most personal projects on HostGator.

iPage versus. Bluehost

Like HostGator, Bluehost is yet another iPage sister brand. Behind GoDaddy, they are among the greatest brands in hosting. They accustomed to (pre-2015) possess a similar prices setup to iPage however with a cleaner backend and support. However, they’ve altered up their plans and moved “upmarket.” On prices and fundamental features, iPage is the perfect choice. However, Bluehost has no the Utah datacenter additionally with other geographic data centers for local markets (ie, Bluehost India). Bluehost is good if you’re searching for greater quality and options.

iPage versus. Siteground

SiteGround is among the fastest growing independent hosting providers. They operate from Bulgaria with regional datacenters. This comparison is straightforward. If you would like plenty of features in a inexpensive cost, iPage is perfect for you. If you’re able to pay a little more, SiteGround is really a much, far better company. There is a more intuitive industry standard backend and support. They provide an in-depth newbie cost on their own plans here.

iPage versus. InMotion

InMotion Hosting is among the largest and fastest growing hosting providers. They provide the entire-spectrum of hosting companies. This site utilizes a VPS server from InMotion. They’re more costly than iPage’s prices specials, but offer a far greater product on every consideration. InMotion also offers a brandname known as Website Hosting Hub that provides entry-level shared web hosting plans. They’re much more as good as iPage on cost, and still provide a far greater product. Take a look at Website Hosting Hub here (review here) and InMotion here (review here).

Conclusion &amp Next Steps

Overall, I discovered iPage hosting to become suitable for what they’re. For those who have a little website, they’ll work. Their deep discounts on plans that you could secure for several years is the primary feature.

In the event that prices sells you (and also you don’t mind the upsells everywhere), go join iPage here.

If you’re searching to have an affordable shared web hosting company with nearly as intro prices, better lengthy term prices and a far greater product, go take a look at InMotion Hosting here. You may also take a look at HostGator here if you would like the choice to pay for monthly.

If you’re more confused than ever before &#8211 then take my BuzzFeed style Weblog Web Hosting quiz here, the Website Hosting Quiz here or use this site setup guide here!

iPage Hosting

iPage is really a budget website hosting company in Burlington, MA of Endurance Worldwide.
iPage Hosting Review
Date Printed: 02/02/2017
iPage Hosting has great prices only mediocre performance. Their custom backend is loaded with lots of upsells and clutter.
3 / 5 stars

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25 Must-Have Accounting Software Integrations for 2017

Integartions

Is your accounting or invoicing software missing something? Does your current feature set not quite meet the mark?

You may be tempted to throw in the towel, but before giving up on your software completely (and dealing with the hassle of transferring all your data over to a new solution), it’s time to consider the advantage of using your current program’s integrations and add-ons.

Integrations are an excellent way to supplement your existing software; all good accounting solutions come with a number of integrations (if yours doesn’t then maybe it really is time to switch). These integrations can encompass everything from payment gateways and CRM to receipt management and tax support.

We get it—in situations like this it’s difficult to even know where to begin. So to help you get started, we have put together a list of the top 25 integrations to boost your software’s functionality and help your small business succeed in the new year. We chose integrations that are common across multiple accounting and invoicing software platforms and have divided them into categories to make everything even easier for you.

But first, let’s get some basics out of the way.

How Do Integrations (and Add-ons) Work?

The integration process is really quite simple. If it’s even remotely worth its salt, your accounting or invoicing software is already fast friends with other apps or software; like any good business partner, your accounting software should work to introduce you its third-party buddies so you can all shake hands, play nice, and begin working together. Note: Healthy (and legal) human friendships do not usually involve an exchange of money, but you will usually have to pay an extra fee for 3rd-party integrations.

Most often, there is a place to access potential integrations within your accounting dashboard. Once you’ve set up an account with the 3rd-party selection of your choice, data will automatically sync between the applications.

Makes sense, right? Okay, time to move on to the actual list…

Payment Gateways:

Between Stripe, Square, PayPal, Forte, Authorize.net, WePay, and countless other payment gateways, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all your choices. Which is the best for your company? It’s hard for me to say without knowing your exact situation, but it is easy for me to share our Merchant Maverick favorites.

1. Braintree

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, Hiveage, and Invoicera. There is also API for developers.

Braintree is a popular payment gateway and merchant account service and one of our top choices at Merchant Maverick (we’ve given it a full 5/5 stars). Braintree offers great customer service, as well as a good selection of merchant account features. Some of these features include recurring billing, international account support, buyable pins on Pinterest (still in beta), and strong mobile apps.

Pricing:

  • Credit Card – 2.9% + $0.30/per transaction

If you are interested in Braintree, check out our full Braintree review for more details.

2. PayPal

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, Invoice2go, Harvest, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, AND CO, Invoicely, LessAccounting, Saasu, KashFlow, ClearBooks, BillingOrchard, Sage One,  Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, and Wave.

You knew it was coming. PayPal is a world-renowned payment gateway and merchant account used by over 192,000,000 people. The service is easy to use and is available with virtually every accounting and invoicing software. PayPal offers a mobile app as well as free invoice creation.

Pricing:

  • In Store – 2.7%/per US swipe
  • Online & Invoicing – 2.9% +$0.30/per transaction

Price discounts are available for nonprofits and charities.

There is a history of user complaints about PayPal withholding funds, so our recommendation is that you may not want to rely solely on PayPal for your processing needs. For the most part, though, the company is well-liked. To read our full review, go here. If you are interested, we’ve also written a comprehensive review of the mobile version of PayPal.

Payroll:

Your company is growing, but your accounting software can’t keep pace—not in terms of payroll. What’s a business owner to do? Never fear; check out the following integration before throwing your current software out with the bathwater.

3. Gusto                                                                                                            

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro. There is API for developers.

Gusto is a full-fledged Payroll processor (we actually use it for our own payroll here at Merchant Maverick). This software works to manage part-time, full-time, hourly, and salary employees, as well as contractors (or any combination of the five). In terms of features, you can’t beat Gusto. The complete payroll package includes benefits, health insurance, 401ks, reimbursements, vacation days, and sick days. You can even organize employees and contractors by team and pay everyone via direct deposit.

Pricing:

  • Base Price – $39/mo + $6/per employee

Gusto offers a free 30-day trial. To learn more visit the Gusto site.

Project Management:

Project management can be one of the most useful features in an accounting solution (and one of my personal favorites). Sadly, very few software companies offer project management tools—not even Xero or QuickBooks Online. This is when project management integrations come in very handy.

4. Basecamp

Compatible accounting solutions: Blinksale, Harvest, LessAccounting, FreeAgent, and Invoicely. There is API for developers.

Basecamp is used by over 100,000 business owners, just like yourself. The software is completely cloud-based and very user-friendly; it comes with all the features you would expect—projects, tasks, job costing reports—but also includes a lot of unexpected but very welcomed surprises. Some of these extra features include team communication tools and group chat, scheduling, to-do lists, automatic check-ins, reminders, client reviews, and gift certificates. The software also offers mobile apps for both iPhone and Android.

Pricing:

  • $99/mo

Teachers and students can actually access this software for free, and non-profits get a 50% discount. You can also receive a discount for paying annually. Basecamp offers a free 30-day trial.

To learn more about Basecamp, read our full review and/or watch this How It Works video.

5. WorkflowMax

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, MYOB, and MoneyWorks. There is API for developers.

If you are looking for something on the cheaper side, WorkflowMax, a project management and time management hybrid, might be a better choice for your business. For such a small scale software, it is surprisingly common amongst accounting software integrations. Workflow Max’s features include jobs, tasks, timelines, quotes, invoicing, job costing reports, automated notification, and the ability to track time. Pricing is broken up by number of users.

Pricing:

  • 1 user – $15/mo
  • 2-5 users – $49/mo
  • 6-10 users– $110/mo
  • 11-20 users –$170/mo
  • 21-50 users – $250/mo

Learn more about WorkflowMax on their website or read our full review and see why we gave the software 4/5 stars.

Time Management:

Another integral feature often overlooked by accounting and invoicing software is the ability to track time. But hey, that’s what integrations are for!

6. Temponia

 

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro.

“When tracking time becomes saving time.”

That’s the motto of Temponia, a cloud-based time management software. Temponia offers an incredibly beautiful UI as well as scalable pricing plans. The software’s features are well laid-out and organized with a calendar interface. When you sign up for Temponia, you’ll get time tracking, budgeting, reports, reminders, timers, projects, and invoicing (that is better than even some invoicing software).

Pricing:

  • Starter – $5.90/mo
  • Team – $28/mo
  • Business – $49/mo
  • Enterprise – $122.50/mo

You can see pricing details and sign up for a free live demo here.

7. T-sheets

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro. There is API for developers.

Another time management option is T-sheets—a time tracking software with an optional booking component. This software is cloud-based and provides additional mobile apps. T-sheets differs from Temponia in a few key areas. In addition to time tracking and projects, T-sheets supports job-costing, POT (paid time off) tracking, approvals, shift scheduling, employee alerts and reminders, and a see-who’s-working feature. It is a time management, project management, and booking software all in one. Pricing varies depending on number of users.

Pricing:

  • 1 user – free
  • 2-99 users – Base fee of $16/mo + $5/mo per user
  • 100+ users – Base fee of $100/mo + $5/mo per user

You can receive a discount by paying annually, and a free trial of the software is available for those interested. Check out the T-sheets website for further details.

Point of Sale (POS) Software:

Outgrowing your invoicing tools and looking for a way to take your business’s sales to the next level? Here are our top 5/5 star POS recommendations.

8. Vend

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, and KashFlow. There is API for developers.

Vend, an intuitive SaaS program with great customer service, takes the cake for retail POS, especially for iPad users. Even though Vend is cloud-based, during internet outages the software will continue to work; it simply syncs stored data when the internet returns, which is pretty sweet if you ask me. In addition to operating as a basic POS system, Vend offers reports, inventory, stock control, customer profiles, and gift cards. Here is a basic summation of Vend’s pricing, but be sure to look at each plan in more detail to see which features you’re getting.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Starter – $69/mo
  • Advanced – $99/mo
  • Multi-Outlet – $249/mo

There is a discount available for paying annually rather than monthly. It’s worth noting that Vend offers no API, so you won’t be able to design custom integrations. Learn more about why we love Vend in our full review and take the software for a spin with this free trial.

9. SalesVu

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro. There is API available for developers.

Unlike Vend, SalesVu offers retail, restaurant, and service-industry POS—so whatever your business may be, SalesVu most likely has options for you. Like Vend, the software is easy to use and has good customer service. The system is designed for iPads and iPhones; features vary significantly depending on which type of POS you choose and include inventory, contact management, table reservations, online appointment scheduling, gift cards; you get the drift. The pricing plan is a bit confusing so bear with me.

Pricing:

  • Basic Restaurant Bundle – $75/mo
  • Basic Retail Bundle – $75/mo
  • Basic Beauty and Wellness Bundle – $75/mo
  • SalesVu for Restaurants – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Retail – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Beauty and Wellness – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Professional Services – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Wineries – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Health Clubs – $150/mo

There is also an individual pricing module option. For those interested in SalesVu, check out our full review or contact SalesVu to schedule a demo.

Email Marketing:

There’s no monkeying around when it comes to email marketing. Okay, well maybe there is. Save yourself some valuable time and automate your email process with…

10. MailChimp

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, KashFlow, Harvest, Xero, QuickBooks Online, Sage One, Sage 50 (for Canada and US), e-conomic, Saasu, and ClearBooks. There is API for developers.

MailChimp is a powerful email marketing software combined with basic CRM features. The company processes over 5,000,000 emails every single month and is scalable for any size business. It offers an unbelievable amount of features, including analytic reports, email campaigns, contact lists, API, and a custom email designer. You can also organize contacts by different criteria (like location) and deliver emails by timezone. MailChimp supports multiple users and strong user permissions.

Pricing:

  • Forever Free
  • Growing Business – starts at $10/mo
  • Pro Marketer – additional $199/mo

To learn more about these pricing plans and to see pay-as-you-go options, click here. Check out our full MailChimp review and see why we gave it 4.5/5 stars.

eCommerce:

With more and more small businesses owners selling online, the world needs an eCommerce platform that can keep up. We’ve found just that.

11. Shopify

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online, Bench Accounting, Xero, Sufio, Billy, AccountEdge, KashFlow, e-conomic, FreshBooks, Debitoor, and Sage 50. There is API for developers.

If you hadn’t heard of Shopify before, you have now—and I promise you will never live to regret it. Shopify is one of the biggest names in the eCommerce world, and for good reason. The company hosts over 325,000 online stores; it is easy to use and mobile-friendly. We often recommend it here at Merchant Maverick, especially because of the great features and scalable pricing plans. With Shopify, you get 100+ online store themes, branding, marketing and SEO, a shopping cart with secure checkout, payment gateway, store management, basic CRM, social media integrations, inventory management, and analytic reports.

Pricing:

  • Shopify Lite – $9/mo
  • Basic Shopify – $29/mo
  • Shopify – $79/mo
  • Advanced Shopify – $299/mo
  • Shopify Plus – call for pricing

The bigger the plan, the bigger the savings on credit card rates and transaction fees. Check Shopify pricing for more details.

Take advantage of the free 14-day trial or read our full Shopify review for more details.

Expense Tracking:

You probably got accounting or invoicing software so you could rid yourself of your Excel sheet/receipt box bookkeeping habits. So why do those receipts keep piling up? Why is your shoebox still overflowing? The answer is simple: you haven’t tried these expense tracking tools yet.

12. Receipt Bank

Compatible accounting solutions: Sage One, Xero, Twinfield, QuickBooks Online, KashFlow, FreshBooks, and FreeAgent. There is API for developers.

Receipt Bank is one of the most common expense management integrations on the market. Over 60,000 users rely on Receipt Bank to make uploading expenses easier. How does it work? Well, you simply use Receipt Bank’s mobile apps to snap a picture of your receipt. The app then extracts the important information and saves it to the expenses section of your accounting software. Pretty neat, huh? You can also set automation rules to streamline the process even more.

Single User Pricing:

  • 50 Items – $14.99/mo
  • 100 Items – $29.98/mo
  • 150 Items – $44.97/mo

Multi-User Pricing:

  • 50 Items – $25/mo
  • 100 Items – $40/mo
  • 150 Items – $55/mo

There are two larger plans available upon request. Receipt Bank also realizes that anticipating items is tricky and offers a flexible item limit policy. Additionally, you can take advantage of a 14-day free trial of the software so you can become better acquainted with this time-saving tool.

13. Shoeboxed

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, Xero, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, and Wave. There is API for developers.

Shoeboxed is another big player in the receipt management world. It is just intuitive as ReceiptBank, albeit a little different. Instead of taking pictures of your receipts, you place them in a free “magic envelope,” send them off, and everything is taken care of for you. Shoeboxed takes the data from your receipts and archives them for you automatically. In addition to expense management, Shoeboxed also offers basic CRM features and reporting. For a full list of features, go here.

Pricing:

  • Lite – $9.95/mo
  • Classic – $29.95/mo
  • Business – $49.95/mo

Learn more about Shoeboxed here.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

Almost all accounting and invoicing software programs come with CRM features, but the quality of these tools varies significantly between companies. If you’re looking for CRM capabilities your current software doesn’t provide, it might be worth investing in a CRM-focused add-on.

14. Insightly

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro. There is API for developers.

I don’t know if I believe this company when they claim “our CRM gives you super powers,” but I do believe Insightly is a super powerful CRM. Not only does Insightly handle contact and lead management, it also boasts strong project management, a beautiful UI, and well-developed mobile apps. One of the coolest ways Insightly helps generate sales and new customers is by integrating directly with your email, social media site, and website to automatically create an address book of leads. Other features include a calendar, mass emailing features, email templates, support, reports, and the ability to track new sale opportunities.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Basic – $15/mo per user
  • Plus – $35/mo per user
  • Professional – $59/mo per user
  • Enterprise – $129/mo per user

Insightly offers a free 14-day trial of any of the paid plans and a discount for annual subscriptions. Check out Insightly here or watch a quick overview video.

15. Capsule

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, FreshBooks, FreeAgent, KashFlow, Billiving, and ClearBooks. There is API for developers.

“There’s something to be said of the small business which caters to small business.”

Capsule is another CRM option that could be a good choice for smaller operations. Like Insightly, Capsule is easy to use and offers mobile apps. The company maintains strong security and is competitively priced. The Capsule feature set includes contact management, lead management, vendor management, sales pipeline, task management, recurring tasks, and file storage.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Premium – $12/mo per user

Important: Capsule is not designed for large businesses. If you are interested in the software, peruse our full Capsule review and take the free 30-day trial for a run.

Booking:

Keep forgetting your day planner? Unsatisfied with the calendar app on your phone? Tired of losing post-it note scribbled appointments on your desk? Welcome to the world of booking software.

16. Full Slate

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro.

Full Slate is cloud-based booking software that makes it easy to both schedule your own appointments and enable your clients to set up appointments with you. The UI is designed nicely, and everything is color coded for maximum organization. Full Slate offers different calendars for appointments, classes, and personal events (some users might hate this separation, but others seem to love it). In addition to these booking features, Full Slate also has CRM, sales tracking, basic reports, and the ability to set recurring appointments.

Pricing:

  • Just You – $29.95/mo
  • Up to 5 Staff – $49.95/mo
  • Up to 10 Staff – $79.95/mo

Have more than 10 staff members? Call for pricing.

Full Slate doesn’t offer a free trial; instead, the software is free until you exceed 10 booked appointments or 100 events. Read our full review of Full Slate to see why we gave the software 4.5/5 stars.

17. Acuity Scheduling

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, Invoice2go, Zoho Books, and Saasu. There is API for developers.

Over 500,000 people currently use Acuity Scheduling, and for good reason. It is an easy to use, customizable booking software with a strong feature set and single calendar. And to top it off, it’s affordable. Like Full Slate, Acuity Scheduling offers CRM and recurring appointments. But in contrast to Full Slate, Acuity Scheduling supports inventory, company promos, coupons, two-way Google calendar sync, and payment gateways, as well as the ability to track order history and manage time zones.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Emerging Entrepreneur – $10/mo
  • Growing Business – $19/mo
  • Powerhouse Player – $34/mo

Acuity Scheduling offers a free 14-day trial of any of the paid plans. Read our full review to see why Acuity Scheduling also gets 4.5/5 stars.

Customer Service:

Nothing beats service from the boss himself, but if your company is growing faster than you expect, or if you are spending more time answering customer questions than running your business, it may be time for to pass the baton.

18. Zendesk

Compatible accounting solutions: Harvest, QuickBooks Online, and Xero. There is API for developers.

Zendesk is actually the customer service tool used by several major accounting and invoicing software companies. (If it’s good for them it’s good for you right?). Zendesk offers support in the forms of phone, chat, message, text, social media, email, knowledge bases, and help desks. Pricing plans vary in the types of support service offered, so be sure to check out the pricing page before making any decisions.

Pricing:

  • Essential – $5/mo per agent
  • Team – $19/mo per agent
  • Professional – $49/mo per agent
  • Enterprise – $99/mo per agent
  • Elite – $199/mo per agent

Zendesk offers a free 30-day trial and demos that you can schedule at any time. To learn more about how Zendesk works, watch this video and check out Zendesk’s services.

Tax Tools:

Let’s face it, nobody likes tax season. You probably even cringed reading those words. But these integrations can help.

19. Track1099

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, Xero, Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice, and Intacct. There is API for developers.

Track1099 is a robust tax support tool that allows small businesses to e-file necessary tax forms (the most notable being 1099s, W-2’s, W-4’s, and W-BENS). Come tax time, simply send the proper forms to your employees via email. They will fill them out in an incredibly user-friendly portal (I’ve done it myself and the process is easy as can be). Then you receive a copy of the form, and voila! You’ve completed your taxes as fast as Augustus Gloop can eat a pool of chocolate.

Pricing:

  • 25 Forms – $9/year
  • 150 Forms – $59/year
  • 5000 Forms – $199/year

Note: The type of form you can purchase on these plans is dependent on the plan you buy, so be sure your necessary forms are supported before purchasing. Learn more here.

20. Avalara

Compatible accounting solutions: Sage, Sage 100, Sage 500, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, Xero, and Intacct. There is API available for developers.

Avalara is a sales tax solution for small businesses. A few accounting software companies have made Avalara a part of their system out-of-the-box, while many others offer it as an optional integration. Basically, this add-on automatically determines the sales tax for your clients based on geolocation, saving you time (and since time is money, well it’s saving you that too).

The worst part about Avalara is that they do not post prices on their site and request interested persons to call them instead. You’re probably thinking, “So I have to make a phone call? Big whoop!” Well, it wouldn’t be an issue except that the Avalara representatives are incredibly pushy and pricing can be a bit steep.

That being said, this add-on may still be worth it for the ease of automated sales tax. That’s up to you to decide. You can learn more by watching this video and the visiting the Avalara site.

Specialty Integrations:

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Here are a few more specialized integrations that might be the perfect fit for you.

21. For Nonprofits – Sumac

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro.

While many software companies offer nonprofit discounts, there are few software options that are designed specifically for nonprofits. That’s what makes Sumac so great. Sumac is a locally installed program (though you can pay an extra $25/mo for use with the cloud). The software begins with basic CRM (the Bronze plan below) that is tailored to manage and store nonprofit information specifically. The feature set of the software depends on the specific plan you choose, but your choice in features can include time tracking, invoicing, email marketing, donation management, event management, grant management, booking, auctions, and more. Check the pricing plan for more details.

Pricing:

  • Bronze – Free
  • Silver – $20/mo
  • Gold – Custom price, calculate here
  • Platinum – Starts at $400/mo

Sumac offers a free trial of their software. Watch this video or proceed to their site to learn more about how this software works.

22. For Freelancers – Cushion

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero.

Cushion is a simple, easy to use freelancing solution that helps you keep track of your work. The features are limited but effective and the pricing is competitive. With a Cushion plan, you get the ability to track invoices, track jobs, view monthly income, set goals, track expenses, and to view and organize all of you projects in a calendar.

Pricing:

  • Moonlighter – $6/mo
  • Freelancer – $12/mo
  • Studio – coming soon

Check out Cushion if you are interested in this organization solution.

23. For Team Communication – Slack

Compatible accounting solutions: Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books. There is API for developers.

Communication is hard. But Slack has found a way to make it easy. Slack is a powerful communication platform (we use it here at Merchant Maverick, in fact). It allows you to have private or public team conversations, send direct messages, attach images and documents, as well as make calls.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Standard – $8/mo per user
  • Plus – $15/mo per user

If you’re tired of jumping between emails and texts, Slack is a great, affordable solution. You can learn more here.

24. For Partial Payments – Partial.ly

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online.

As you probably guessed from the title, Partial.ly is a payment solution that allows customers to make partial payments on products or services. You can create custom payment plans for your clients who then get access to a personal client portal. The software uses Stripe as its payment gateway. Note: Before you freak out at the credit card rate below, understand that Partial.ly uses this fee to cover all Stripe fees, so you are only charged once.

Pricing:

  • Credit Card Rate – 5% + $0.30/per transaction

Learn more about how Partial.ly can work with your business here.

25. For Everything Else – Zapier

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, FreshBooks, Wave, FreeAgent, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, Saasu, LessAccounting, Hiveage, Proposify, QuoteRoller, and InvoiceNinja. There is API for developers.

I promise I’m not kidding. If your accounting or invoicing software has a Zapier integration, that means you have access to over 750+ apps and integrations. Zapier works as its own sort of API in that it gives you endless connections to apps you otherwise may not have been able to access.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • For Work – $20/mo
  • For Teams – $125/mo

Learn more about how Zapier works and how to maximize your business with Zapier here.

The End

While this may be the end of a post, there is no end to the number of accounting and invoicing integrations out there. I hope that in 2017 you are able to make the most of these powerful tools.

My own New Year’s Resolution is to continue helping business owners like you as much as I can—and preaching the gospel of these 25 hidden gems is the best way I know how. But I can always use more help getting the word out! Let me know which accounting integrations have helped you succeed and if I have missed any of your favorites!

The post 25 Must-Have Accounting Software Integrations for 2017 appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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