Just How Much In The Event You Purchase Charge Card Processing?

How much should you pay for credit card processing

Retailers, restaurant proprietors, along with other retailers happen to be counting on traditional merchant services for a long time to process debit and credit card transactions. However with the development of Square in ’09 and PayPal Within 2012, pay-as-you-go processing has become the egalitarian means to fix card processing. E-commerce has thrived, and vendors of types — from artists to food trucks — can accept charge cards additionally to cash and appearance. But exactly how much in the event you purchase charge card processing?

Because of so many possibilities, and much more popping up constantly, how can you tell what you need to pay in credit card processing charges? Would be the figures the processing companies quote you accurate, and therefore are they fair?

Regrettably, there&#8217s nobody number we are able to say is a fair processing rate. Charge card processing isn&#8217t complicated, however, many factors modify the charges a merchant pays.

At this time you&#8217re thinking it might be a lesser headache just to setup processing using the first company that&#8217ll have you ever, right? Maybe your bank is providing an offer as a lengthy-time customer, or perhaps a friend of the friend uses Square and loves it.

Sure, you are able to go down that path — however, you could find yourself having to pay hundreds, otherwise thousands, of dollars in extra charges that you simply don&#8217t have to pay. We&#8217re here that will help you navigate charge card processing and help give you the best rate feasible for your company. So hang in there!

Understanding Kinds of Charge Card Processing

When you begin searching into charge card processing, you&#8217ll discover that your choices typically fall under 1 of 3 groups: tiered prices, interchange-plus prices, and flat-rate processing. We&#8217ve already covered the variations, and all sorts of terminology you should know, in several articles (check out The Complete Help guide to Charge Card Processing Rates and Fees and our corresponding infographic), but we&#8217ll just discuss each option again briefly.

Tiered Prices: 

Every card transaction is assigned a code to classify it. There are millions of codes, and a few signal less dangerous transactions than the others. (Coffee at the local cafe is much less of a problem than a sizable acquisition of furniture from your online shop, for instance. Find out more about high-risk payment processing here.) Merchant providers began lumping similar groups into &#8220tiers&#8221 as a means of simplifying statements and rate processing. Typically you will find three tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Qualified transactions would be the cheapest risk and then the cheapest cost to process the rates increase with mid- and non-qualified transactions.

The greatest issue is transparency. It&#8217s common for retailers to see downgrades — transactions processed as mid- or non-qualified. Merchant providers don&#8217t always clarify why is a purchase qualified or non-qualified, and each company categorizes differently. You may be quoted exactly the same rate with two processors, but finish up having to pay more with one because fewer of your transactions are qualified for your low rate.

Interchange-Plus Prices:

Interchange-plus is a way to fix the problems with tiered prices models. High-volume companies have lengthy had the ability to make use of this prices model, however it&#8217s only lately been expanded to retailers of any size. For every transaction you have to pay the interchange rate (assigned through the charge card associations) as well as the processor&#8217s markup. This really is frequently a small % along with a per-transaction fee.

It&#8217s important to note that some cards and transactions come with greater interchange rates, so that your processing rate will still vary slightly, but less than you&#8217ll see with tiered prices. The processor&#8217s markup percentage is usually between .20% and .75%, as well as your transaction charges could be everything from $.15 to $.30.

Flat-Rate Processing:

The most recent prices model to interrupt to the scene is flat-rate processing. This is exactly what the thing is with pay-as-you-go processors like PayPal and Square. Regardless of kind of card, you have to pay exactly the same rate again and again (using the periodic exceptions for card-not-present transactions or worldwide cards, that also have set rates). This really is nice since you know whenever you complete the transaction that which you&#8217ll pay for your processor, guaranteed. There&#8217s no messing around with qualified transactions whatsoever.

Some credit card merchant account providers (namely Payment Depot and Fattmerchant) have pioneered another kind of flat-rate processing: subscriptions. Rather than paying a portion markup over interchange, you normally pay a set fee every month along with a per-transaction fee. There&#8217s no percentages to fool around with, only the interchange charges and transaction charges.

Finding Your Effective Rate and efficient Markup

Should you&#8217re already accepting charge card payments, before you go searching for alternatives, you should know your effective rate and effective markup. And even though you aren&#8217t processing payments, understanding how to calculate these numbers is the only method to make accurate comparisons between providers.

Effective Rate:

Your effective rate isn&#8217t the theoretical rate you&#8217re having to pay — it&#8217s the entire number of profits which go toward charges. Also it&#8217s simple to calculate: just divide your overall monthly charges (gateway charges, statement charges, monthly charges, equipment leases, and anything else) through the total amount of your monthly sales.

Let&#8217s say you need to do $20,000 in sales in a single month. You have to pay $1,050 as a whole charges, departing a internet gross of $18,950. The formula for calculating your effective rate appears like this:

  • ( [total charges] / [total sales] ) x 100
  • (1,050 / 20,000) = .0525
  • .0525 x 100 = 5.25%

Read this handy guide to learn more.

Effective Markup:

Your effective markup is really a tool particularly for evaluating processors that provide interchange-plus or subscription plans. It’s calculated similar to the effective rate — however it omits the interchange charges.

Let&#8217s assume your monthly sales total is $35,000. With one processor, you have to pay $1,580 in markup charges (including statement charges and extra monthly services). The formula for calculating your effective markup appears like this:

  • ( [markup charges] / [total sales] ) x 100
  • ( 1,580 / 35,000 ) x 100
  • (.0451) x 100
  • 4.51% 

This really is the easiest method to make apples-to-apples comparisons for the way much the charge card processors are charging you. However, it won&#8217t work with evaluating tiered or pay-as-you-go processors simply because they don&#8217t separate their markup in the interchange.

Factors That May Affect Rate

Now you know your effective rate as well as your effective markup, let&#8217s check out why they might be greater than you&#8217d like.

Kind of Transaction:

One of the leading determinants in charge card processing rates is &#8220card-not-present&#8221 versus. &#8220card-present&#8221 transactions. Card-not-present transactions encompass everything in which the merchant doesn&#8217t swipe a card via a terminal. Every online transaction is basically a card-not-present transaction — and thus is every payment where you type in a card number through PayPal Here or Square. There&#8217s a larger chance of fraud, a minimum of in the outlook during the processor, which means you pay more for implementing their professional services in this manner.

Volume: 

Another figuring out factor is volume. In retail, it will save you money when you purchase in large quantities. Likewise, you reduce processing charges if you have greater monthly sales. Volume discounts change from one processor to another. PayPal provides you with a price reduction beginning at $3,000 monthly. Others won&#8217t give you credit before you obvious $80,000 per month.

Extra Services:

Extra services won&#8217t always affect your processing rates, but they’ll increase your effective markup. Including PCI compliance charges, gateway charges, statement charges, monthly leases, and so forth. Don&#8217t purchase services you don&#8217t need! Should you&#8217re not utilizing a feature your provider offers however, you&#8217re still having to pay for this, it may be time for you to shop elsewhere.

That stated, opt for regardless if you are having to pay another-party service for something a free account could include. This can be website hosting, a shopping cart software, or perhaps a gateway — if they come cheaper using your provider than through commercial alternatives, the greater effective rate could cost it! Just make certain you factor these costs to your estimates when creating a comparisons.

For instance, let&#8217s say you process $35,000 monthly. Your effective rate with one processor (Option A) is 3.5% and also you pay $225 for any shopping cart software.

Another processor (Option B) provides an effective rate of 4% but features a located shopping cart software that’s on-componen together with your current option.

The formulas for calculating the various seem like this:

Option A

  • (Effective Rate x Monthly Sales) + Charges for Third-Party Services
  • (.035 x 35,000) + $225
  • 1225 + $225
  • $1450

Option B

  • (Effective Rate x Monthly Sales)
  • (.04 x 35,000) 
  • $1400

Within this situation, while you pay a greater effective rate, the inclusion from the shopping cart software ultimately helps you save money — $600 annually, actually.

Card Type:

The kind of card you process may also affect your processing rate. For instance, American Express&#8217 interchange minute rates are greater than individuals for Visa and MasterCard. Interchange rates for PIN an atm card are very low, but signature debit, that is processed with the charge card systems, includes greater charges. Rewards cards — for example charge cards that provide users cash return — and worldwide cards are available with greater interchange rates.

Business card printing may also increase your processing costs, so if you’re mainly a Business to business organization, count on paying more for charge card processing than the usual consumer-facing store.

Ticket Size:

With respect to the prices model your processor uses, how big your ticket may also affect just how much you have to pay in charges.

Generally, bigger tickets have a greater risk (which processors don&#8217t like), however they can help you save money for those who have a lesser percentage rate along with a higher per-transaction charges. Say your processor charges a $.20 per-transaction fee.

You need to do $15,000 in monthly sales as well as your average ticket dimensions are $15. That&#8217s a typical 1,000 transactions.

  • 1,000 x $.20 = $200

You need to do $15,000 in monthly sales as well as your average ticket dimensions are $150. That&#8217s a typical 100 transactions.

  • 100 x $.20 = $20 

A lesser average ticket amount means you could be having to pay $180 furthermore monthly. That&#8217s $2,160 each year in charges.

Evaluating Processor Rates

Once you know the standards which will affect your charge card processing rates, how can you start precisely evaluating offers from various processors?

For just one, always perform the math. Have a couple of scenarios — a great month, a poor month, as well as an average month, and run the figures to determine that which you&#8217d pay with every processor. Keep in mind that not every your transactions is going to be qualified, either. Review your existing monthly statements and find out in which you presently fall. That&#8217s not perfect model because every processor differs, however it&#8217s a great beginning point.

Better still is always to compare only interchange-plus quotes, since with interchange-plus you are able to compare just the markup. In contrast to tiered prices, the markup is a continuing. The interchange variable is totally taken off the equation, making the comparisons better.

Running these numbers can assist you to decide whether a regular monthly fee, greater rate, or per-transaction fee is much more pricey than you would expect.

Once we&#8217ve already stated, some merchant providers includes extra services, because of free or at additional cost. Choose which ones you’ll need and don&#8217t spend the money for ones you don&#8217t use! If you presently pay another provider for that services, do a price comparison, features, and reliability to determine in which the less expensive lies.

And try to, always research any processor you&#8217re thinking about. Read testimonials and check out exactly what the experts say. A string of reports claiming a processor is overcharging, complaints about never receiving statements, unauthorized withdrawals, and too little responses to individuals allegations are indicators.

Everything appears pretty apparent, right? Good!

Here are a few other common issues which you may need to wrangle with:

PCI Compliance:

PCI compliance is about protecting your clients&#8217 information. It&#8217s some security standards for card processing. Some credit card merchant account providers will assess a PCI compliance fee — which means you&#8217re meeting the standards for data security. Others charge a non-compliance fee, meaning you&#8217re not meeting individuals standards and also you acknowledge as a result. Should you&#8217re lucky, your processor won&#8217t have PCI charges. Find out more about PCI compliance here.

ETFs:

Early termination charges are ugly. Retailers don&#8217t like them, nor will we (particularly when they sneak into contracts without retailers realizing it!). That stated, sometimes you are able to negotiate lower rates or have an interchange-plus plan in return for saying yes for an ETF.

Should you&#8217ve had a good processor and deal directly with the organization, this isn&#8217t a problem. In case your processor happens to be under trustworthy, or else you undergo a completely independent sales repetition nobody just really wants to close the offer and obtain the commission, you&#8217re in danger.

Other Difficulties:

Some processors ask you for the absolute minimum fee should you don&#8217t meet a particular amount of processing, yet others won&#8217t provide you with volume prices whatsoever. Also important to note is that some processors don&#8217t distinguish between card-present and card-not-present transactions. That&#8217s whether problem (should you mainly process card-present transactions, you&#8217re most likely having to pay greater than you have to) or perhaps a relief (should you handle mostly card-not-present transactions, you&#8217re most likely obtaining a better rate).

What In The Event You Do Now?

There&#8217s nobody fair number with regards to charge card processing rates. Some companies are riskier than the others, and processors will most definitely pass that cost onto you instead of taking it in themselves. The greater money you generate, the greater processors are prepared to decrease your rates, simply because they from the improvement in sheer volume.

Comprehend the interplay between your different prices models and factors for example ticket size and the kind of card. For those who have a little ticket size, per-transaction charges can cost you even more than they perform a business having a bigger ticket size. The kind of cards your clients use can result in you at long last having to pay more, too.

Wherever you are able to, we recommend you may well ask for interchange-plus prices. Even when merchant services don&#8217t advertise diets, they often have them. It&#8217s probably the most transparent payment model.

Read your contract completely through prior to signing and don&#8217t hesitate to inquire about what you would like. After which, continue studying your statements each month and checking your effective rate. If something appears off or perhaps your rates all of a sudden spike, inquire and demand solutions. Should you&#8217re unsatisfied, start searching for any better deal.

Take a look at our top-reviewed merchant account providers here. Should you still feel stuck, call us to obtain help lowering your processing rates or choosing a repayment processor!

The publish Just How Much In The Event You Purchase Charge Card Processing? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Understanding Your Square Capital Loan Offer

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Should you&#8217re a Square seller, there&#8217s a high probability you&#8217ve become a deal for any Square Capital loan. There&#8217s no denying these loans really are a easily method of getting extra capital for the business, but they are everybody good to be real?

Continue reading to learn all you need to learn about Square Capital.

Square Capital Loan Basics

A Square Capital offer looks something similar to this:

image source

Typically, when you’re considered qualified for Square Capital, you’re given three possible loan options which differ by borrowing amount. If you’d like a borrowing amount apart from those presented, you may also personalize the loan offer you’ll be able to select from anywhere as much as your maximum (normally the first offer proven).

The loan offer details these details:

  • The borrowing amount: The amount of cash you will get from Square Capital after requesting funds. Usually, the utmost you are able to borrow is one of the same as 30 days of sales.
  • The fixed fee: The fee billed for borrowing the funds. This fee pre-based on a multiplier known as an issue rate. Unlike interest, your fixed fee won’t ever change this really is described at length below.
  • The repayment percentage: The proportion of every payment which will go toward repaying your Square loan and glued fee. For example, should you process $150 in a single day as well as your repayment percentage is 13%, Square will subtract $19.50.

The fixed fee and repayment percentage fluctuate together with your borrowing amount. For those who have a lesser borrowing amount, your fixed fee and repayment percentage is going to be lower for those who have a greater borrowing amount, your fixed fee and repayment percentage is going to be greater.

Since your repayments fluctuate together with your income, there’s no set date which the borrowed funds is going to be paid back. Rather, Square simply deducts their set percentage til you have paid back the borrowed funds.

That stated, you do need to pay back the loan in a more 18 several weeks. Considering that Square loans are typically repaid within 9 several weeks, this won&#8217t be considered a problem unless of course profits drastically decrease.

And if you wish to pay back sooner, it&#8217s easy to pay back some or even the entire your remaining loan anytime.

Overall, Square Capital loans are relatively clear to see: you obtain some money, and also you pay back the borrowed funds along with a fee using a deduction of the daily sales. Square doesn’t hide any information, and you’ll not encounter any surprises.

Because Square Capital differs from a conventional loan, however, it can be hard to know how this loan stacks facing your competition. Continue reading to understand more about the main difference between Square&#8217s fixed charges and traditional rates of interest, the purpose of calculating a highly effective APR, and just how Square Capital comes even close to other popular loan options.

An Email on Renewals

One major point of frustration for Square Capital users is renewals. Once they&#8217re nearing repayment, and have paid back the borrowed funds entirely, some borrowers have simply been awaiting Square to increase another offer for their business, and obtain frustrated in the event that offer doesn’t come.

On the Square seller community, representatives have mentioned that you may be extended a brand new offer whenever your current loan is much more than 75% compensated off. 

Regrettably, because Square monitors your bank account activity, your company may not fit the things they&#8217re searching for, even when your company is doing in addition to (or much better than) it had been whenever you received your last loan. If you’re not receiving a deal and also you need capital, you might like to consider searching elsewhere for business funds.

Fixed Charges versus. Rates Of Interest

Square Capital loans do not carry mortgage loan. Rather, your fee is pre-based on a multiplier known as an issue rate. Within the example above, the charge is 15% from the borrowing amount, or perhaps a factor rate of just one.15. Calculating your factor rate is easy:

factor rate = total repayment amount / borrowing amount

Within the example above, $11,500 (repayment amount) divided by $10,000 (borrowing amount) produces a factor rate of just one.15. This can be used number to check Square Capital with other loan options.

Typically, Square Capital&#8217s factor rates vary from 1.10 &#8211 1.16, so your fee is going to be between 10% to 16% of the borrowing amount.

Even though the rate could be expressed like a percentage, an issue rates are totally different from mortgage loan. Rates of interest accrue with time, but factor minute rates are only calculated once. Because Square Capital doesn&#8217t carry interest, evaluating it to loan options with an intention rate could be a little difficult. Begin to see the next section to learn to compare Square Capital to the competitors.

An Issue of APR

Because Square Capital uses factor rates, it’s really a little hard to compare the organization to lenders which use rates of interest.

One method to compare these financing options, and obtain an awareness of just how much Square Capital costs, would be to calculate the effective APR. Even though it&#8217s technically difficult to calculate the annual percentage rate on the loan without mortgage loan, you are able to estimate the amount.

Within the examples above, the effective APR is a touch under 40% for those three (presuming the customer repays them within the standard nine several weeks). Quite simply, if the Square Capital loan had mortgage loan, it might be about 40%. Your individual APR will be different based on your borrowing amount, fee, and also the time that it requires to pay back the borrowed funds.

Nav supplies a calculator that you could easily use to calculate the annual percentage rate by yourself loan. Or, for any more thorough explanation of calculating APR on short-term funding, take a look at our article with that subject.

Square Capital Loan Rates Compared

Does Square Capital offer a great deal? There are plenty of things to consider when deciding if your funding product suits your company, therefore it can help to be aware of other available choices available.

They are some popular lenders that act like Square Capital.

Square Capital OnDeck Term Loan Kabbage PayPal Capital
Square review PayPal review
Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review
Maximum Borrowing Amount $100K $500K $100K $97K (first loan)

$125K (subsequent loans)

Term Length No maturity date

Max 18 several weeks

3 &#8211 36 several weeks 6 or 12 several weeks per draw No maturity date

Max 18 several weeks

Factor Rate or Rate Of Interest x1.10 &#8211 x1.16 x1.003 &#8211 1.04 monthly 1% &#8211 12% monthly x1.01 &#8211 x1.58
Additional Charges None % &#8211 4% origination fee None None
Believed APR Approximately. 40% 6% &#8211 99% 18% &#8211 102% Max. 25%

As you can tell, rates can differ a great deal for Square Capital and it is competitors. If you are looking at finding the right rates, you might want to look around just a little to obtain your personal rates before buying a loan provider.

Mind over fully reviews while using buttons above, but here&#8217s a fast rundown of every loan provider:

  • OnDeck offers business term loans and credit lines. You&#8217ll need to be running a business a minimum of 12 months and make a minimum of $100K yearly to qualify. Its fast turnaround and convenient products turn it into a favorite among borrowers, although the charges could possibly get just a little pricey.
  • Kabbage offers business credit lines. You&#8217ll have to be running a business a minimum of 12 several weeks making a the least $50K yearly to qualify. Borrowers like this Kabbage&#8217s credit line style loan an internet-based interface imply that there&#8217s always money available when they require it.
  • PayPal Capital offers short-term loans much like Square Capital. You’ll have to possess a PayPal business or premier account to be eligible for a this kind of loan, however it&#8217s a useful method of getting payday if you have one.

Final Ideas

Square Capital is a straightforward to know, convenient loan products for Square borrowers. Even though the charges could be a little costly, they&#8217re still generally similar to or much better than individuals of their competitors. Despite the simplicity of acquisition, this loan is not a gimmick.

Take a look at our full Square Capital review for additional info on this loan. Or, should you&#8217re searching for something quite different than Square Capital, search for a comparison of a lot of our favorite small company lenders.

The publish Understanding Your Square Capital Loan Offer made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Will Nick Cards Kill Mobile Processing?

mobile emv card reader

Since Square launched in 2009, the charge card industry has, in lots of ways, been switched on its mind. Charge card acceptance is much more prevalent and fewer costly than ever before. But with the nationwide change to nick cards arriving October 2015, we may see another major shift in the manner we conceive of in-person payments, as well as in the alternative direction.

Remember whenever you once had to ask in the counter should you could pay having a charge card? Well, lately I opened up in a school fundraising event carwash and considered to myself, &#8220They most likely take charge cards.&#8221 Plus they did. With Square. This is the way much low-cost, phone-based processing has altered the way you purchase things, and just what we predict from sellers. Today, I believe any grade school child having a lemonade stand could be foolish not to take a look at (with parental supervision) an application like Flint. 10 years ago I most likely might have known as law enforcement when the same child requested me in my charge card. However with an upswing of nick cards, are we able to expect exactly the same ubiquity?

The news about how mobile processing required root

Let&#8217s be obvious: most from the democratization of payments introduced about by third-party payment services like PayPal, Stripe, and Square is not going anywhere soon. These types of services introduced charge card acceptance towards the masses by not charging any monthly charges, supplying nearly instant approval, and requiring no setup costs. Which means that literally anybody are able to afford to register to simply accept card payments with hardly any effort and simply no expense aside from charges according to usage. Compare that to old-fashioned traditional credit card merchant account setup that may take days, cost 100’s of dollars in advance, after which include monthly charges of $40 or even more even when no transactions are processed, alongside hefty early termination charges. (Note that lots of the best merchant account providers can hold low-volume users without charging a leg along with a leg.)

But exactly how are the likes of Square in a position to ship out free charge card readers to anybody who requests one? Two reasons: low-cost hardware and the requirement for an enormous users list.

Square along with other mobile processors create a very, very little bit of profit on every account. To create a sustainable quantity of profit, the organization should have a massive quantity of accounts. By looking into making the setup process as frictionless as you possibly can, Square has the capacity to cast the largest internet possible. And because Square has in the past were able to produce this kind of affordable charge card readers, there isn&#8217t much financial risk involved with setting everybody up. The truth that Square&#8217s signup process requires essentially no underwriting or evaluation doesn&#8217t hurt either, a minimum of when it comes to keeping operating costs lower. Although, as we view, this doesn&#8217t always make the best consumer experience.

The price of mobile nick card readers

As I don&#8217t have exact figures, I will tell you with absolute certainty that manufacture of nick card readers is a lot more costly than magnetic stripe card readers, especially thinking about that nick card readers, typically, will still need support mag stripe cards. The development price is elevated a lot, actually, that Square charges about $30 for this&#8217s current nick card readers &#8211 a high rise in the formerly free readers it’ll replace. The organization&#8217s new NFC-capable nick card readers will retail for $50, but certain retailers may be eligible for a a totally free readers (based on processing volume and business type), while some who pre-order may be eligible for a a $50 statement credit.

The reality is, many micro retailers won’t be able to get a totally free EMV nick card readers from Square, or elsewhere, a minimum of not without having to pay a regular monthly fee. It might just be too dangerous and costly of these companies to ship out nick card readers to retailers who might not even process just one transaction.

But retailers who don&#8217t wish to covering out $30 to $60 for any readers aren’t at a complete loss. Of course, users can key-in card information with no readers whatsoever. The down-side for this is the fact that keyed-in transactions tend to be more vulnerable to holds, plus they generally are more expensive to process. I additionally expect that we’ll see more camera checking functionality implemented, like what Flint uses, that will a minimum of result in the keying-in process faster and simpler.

How are mobile processors coping with the requirement for nick card readers?

Here&#8217s what we should know to date regarding mobile processors&#8217 plans for EMV nick cards.

PayPal Here:

PayPal states that it is new readers is originating in &#8220Fall of 2015.&#8221 Since Fall begins on September 23rd this season, and also the official EMV switch date is October first, I suppose don’t be surprised it sometime that week? The organization lately released pictures of the forthcoming nick card readers, but provided no pre-order date.

Here&#8217s what we should can say for certain about PayPal&#8217s US-based nick card readers:

  • It will likely be another Bluetooth connected device, not really a headphone jack readers
  • It’ll have a complete PIN pad
  • It will likely be NFC-capable, meaning it may accept Apple Pay and other alike mobile wallets
  • It will likewise support magnetic stripe cards
  • It won’t be free

The present United kingdom version form of PayPal&#8217s nick card readers costs about $50, however the new US version will probably be more costly because of the NFC readers embedded.

Paypal-emv-chip-card-reader

Spark Pay:

Most mobile processors are keeping things near to the vest regarding the nick card switch. Spark Pay&#8217s official response is:

Yes, Spark Pay will support EMV. The deadline for supporting this latest standard is October 2015. Once we catch up with up to now, we’ll provide additional information around our support and just what actions, or no, you will have to undertake.

In addition to that, there’s been no public comment from Spark Pay about this subject.

Flint:

Flint Mobile has remained quiet regarding its plans for that approaching EMV shift. Because Flint uses the devices camera to scan charge cards rather of the card readers, the transactions are technically processed as card-not-present. The brand new EMV rules won’t impact card-not-present transactions, therefore it appears prone to me the nick card liability shift won’t pressure Flint to create any changes. However the ultimate decision rests at the disposal of Flint&#8217s backend processor. I&#8217d anticipate seeing some type of announcement later this summer time. If Flint could use its application as-is, when i anticipate, the organization is going to be better off because it won’t suffer from the cost and friction of issuing hardware.

flint-card-scan

PayAnywhere:

At the begining of This summer, PayAnywhere published inside a Facebook comment proclaiming that &#8220we are presently evaluating supplying a Mobile EMV capable device, and much more information is going to be available soon.&#8221 Regarding the storefront tablet, the organization had this to state: &#8220We started shipping EMV capable Storefront units recently [June 2015]. Should you purchased just before then, your unit is probably not EMV capable.&#8221

Oddly, however, PayAnywhere isn’t positively advertising its EMV hardware or releasing images and specifications on its website. So right now I do not know what the organization&#8217s nick card system may be like or what features it’ll offer.

QuickBooks Payments (Intuit GoPayment):

Quickbooks lately started accepting pre-orders because of its mobile EMV card readers. It&#8217s a sound jack readers that actually works with magnetic stripe and nick cards, but doesn’t support NFC payments for example Apple Pay. The cost tag is $30, on componen concentrating on the same non-NFC mobile readers. The readers is certainly not to reside in about when it comes to either design or features, however it&#8217s nice to determine the organization is on the top from the EMV transition.

Quickbooks-intuit-gopayment-emv-chip-card-reader

Square Register:

Finally, we’ve Square. This is actually the apparent frontrunner within the EMV race, with among the first mobile nick card readers available on the market (we unboxed and evaluate it), as well as an NFC-capable readers presently readily available for pre-order. The conventional audio jack nick card readers can process EMV cards and magnetic stripes, as the Bluetooth NFC readers cannot run magnetic stripe transactions (Square ships individuals readers having a free audio jack mag stripe readers). In addition, Square has released a nick card readers particularly for that Square Stand. That&#8217s a fairly solid number of products, especially thinking about your competition.

Square EMV reader

It&#8217s lower towards the wire for mobile nick card readers, however they&#8217re not going anywhere soon

I honestly expected a lot more from mobile processors with this point. As recently This summer, this really is all the information we’ve. I&#8217m surprised that each processor hasn&#8217t issued official press announcements with information regarding forthcoming hardware at the minimum. As you can tell, only 1 / 2 of the businesses we checked out here did this, and just one of these includes a nick card readers presently available to buy. With simply about two several weeks left prior to the liability shift, I&#8217m just a little disappointed.

But here&#8217s what’s promising. Nick cards are certainly not likely to kill mobile processing. They might, however, allow it to be more costly &#8211 designed for micro retailers who won&#8217t wish to covering out $30 or even more for that new hardware. These users will either choose to swipe them and risk fraud, to key-within the card data and spend the money for surcharge for doing this, or otherwise to simply accept card payments whatsoever. This might make camera scan mobile processing apps like Flint Mobile more appealing, because no hardware is required to entitled to the standard rates. But time will inform how scalping strategies adapt for nick cards. I’d reckon that a minimum of a couple of mobile processors will fold along the way.

In the meantime, I&#8217m excited to get hold of newer and more effective hardware for testing! Follow us on social networking for additional hardware reviews and also the latest news regarding nick cards and mobile processors.

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Shopkeep Versus Square

shopkeep-vs-square

In only yesteryear many years, mobile payment processing is becoming componen for that course for various kinds of small companies, from food trucks to hairstylists. Mobile point-of-sales systems combine a smartphone/tablet having a charge card readers so that you can easily process payments, regardless of whether you&#8217re on the run or perhaps in your brick-and-mortar store. Presently, Square and ShopKeep are a couple of of the largest mobile POS providers, even though there is a lot in keeping, they likewise have some important variations.

In the following paragraphs, I’ll explore the primary features and downsides of every service that will help you pick which, if either, of those systems works perfect for your online business. Since Square is mainly a mobile payment processor and ShopKeep is much more-or-less an entire point-of-purchase system, your decision ultimately relies upon the dimensions and scope of the business. If you’re tight on time and trust our judgment at Merchant Maverick, then It is best to check out our best reason for purchase providers and/or mobile payments providers. They all offer very fair and competitive rates and don’t charge any bogus charges. If you like to discover these items yourself, then continue reading!

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Champion: Tie

Square and ShopKeep are generally pay-as-you-go, no-contract software services. There’s no early termination fee with either service, making both solutions flexible choices for small companies just beginning out.

Features:

Champion: ShopKeep

Square includes a very robust set of features for any mobile POS — actually, it’s probably the most advanced associated with a free mobile payment system available. But ShopKeep (that we should most likely note, isn’t free) is really a full-featured POS system which includes sophisticated register tools in addition to “back office” tools for operating a business, for example worker management and advanced inventory management. As it pertains lower into it, ShopKeep offers quite a bit more options featuring than Square. Let’s check out the primary features provided by each.

Square’s primary features:

  • Mobile terminal (iPad, Android device, etc.) combined with a totally free card readers
  • Mobile application, which could take payments with no readers (however for a greater fee)
  • Integrated (in-house) payment processing
  • Selection of emailed or printed receipts
  • Tipping, open ticket, and split-tender options
  • Fundamental inventory management
  • Online menu ordering
  • Customer comments management
  • eCommerce features to sell online

Find out more about Square’s features within our Square review.

ShopKeep’s primary features:

  • Mobile terminal/register (iPad/iOS only)
  • Free ShopKeep Pocket™ iOS application
  • Starter package includes iPad stand, cash drawer, receipt printer, and card swipe
  • Advanced register features — capability to add modifiers, split tenders, apply quick discounts (item and order level), process returns and refunds, and much more
  • Integrates with the selection of payment processor
  • Staff management features, including worker time-tracking
  • Advanced reporting options
  • Complete inventory management, including capability to inventory products as raw goods, after which create assemblies according to these details
  • Customized email receipts
  • Crm (CRM) tools — capture and store customer information to transmit custom offers and coupons (pairs with MailChimp for integrated e-mail marketing)

Learn more about ShopKeep’s features within our ShopKeep review.

Observe that both Square and ShopKeep offer EMV nick card readers, out of the box needed legally by October 2015. Both readers accept Apple Pay and both accept swiped cards too. ShopKeep’s EMV readers costs $249 and qualified Square users can presently reserve one EMV readers totally free (standard cost is $49).

One sort of feature Square has that ShopKeep lacks is eCommerce, that is important if you wish to setup a built-in online storefront.

Charges and Rates:

Champion: Tie

It’s not necessarily easy to say which service has better prices as this depends upon profits volume and, within the situation of ShopKeep, the selection of charge card processor. Square is probably the greater affordable mobile payment system for small-time, low-volume companies. However, because ShopKeep includes a more flexible payments structure, it is commonly a much better value for greater-volume retailers — i.e., individuals processing about $10,000/month or even more.

So, here’s the offer: Square is free of charge (no fee every month), besides the cost to really process payments, and also the cost to purchase peripheral equipment, for example iPad stands and extra card readers. You could have as numerous registers/points of purchase as you desire.

Square’s users are limited to Square’s in-house charge card processor, whose rates are listed below:

  • Swiped and dipped nick card transactions: 2.75%
  • Online/invoice transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + $.15

ShopKeep has a simple prices structure of $49/month, per register (plus the price of hardware). Like Square, ShopKeep also provides its very own integrated payment processor, ShopKeep Payments. Minute rates are customized for every business. So, potentially you can get a much better rate than you are able to with Square. More to the point, you may also make use of an outdoors payment processor with ShopKeep, locating a more competitive rate than Square’s 2.75% of every transaction. (Compare a few of the top a merchant account providers here.)

Prices for peripheral hardware (Bluetooth printers, iPad stands, scanners, etc.) is fairly comparable for Square and ShopKeep, and to keep your hardware for either POS from third-party sellers.

Software and hardware Needs:

Champion: Square

All that you should take payments on Square or ShopKeep is really a supported smartphone or tablet and Wireless/data connection. However with Square you’ve got a a bit more versatility when it comes to hardware — you should use an Android phone to process payments, for instance, and you may have as numerous registers/points of purchase as you would like without getting to pay for more for that service.

Square works together with all newer android and ios devices, though it doesn’t formally guarantee compatibility with Android tablets. To gain access to the receipt printer, cash drawer, or bar code scanner, you’ve got to be linked to an iPad all peripheral hardware setups should be combined with an iPad.

ShopKeep works solely with iOS devices — latest-gen. iPhones, iPads, and iPad minis. You are able to browse different hardware setups within the ShopKeep Store. As pointed out, with ShopKeep, your rate per month is dependent upon the number of registers you’ve.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

Champion: Tie

Square integrates with increased apps and outdoors software services than ShopKeep, and it also provides an API for developers. So for the reason that sense, Square is much more customizable than ShopKeep. However, unlike Square, ShopKeep integrates with many outdoors payment processors, which for many shopkeepers, may well be a much more important than integrations with third-party accounting or invoicing apps. Also, since ShopKeep provides more features out-of-the-box, you might require less outdoors tools (for example inventory software) anyway.

Here are a few of Square’s integrations:

  • QuickBooks
  • Stitch Labs
  • Xero
  • IFTT
  • TaxJar
  • SumAll
  • Fresh KDS
  • Shopseen
  • ShipStation
  • Intrakr Inventory
  • Zoho Books
  • MyERP

Find out more about Square’s integrations.

The primary ShopKeep add-ons/integrations are MailChimp, QuickBooks, and AppCard. ShopKeep doesn’t provide a public API, though this really is supposedly coming later in 2015. Observe that while ShopKeep integrates with plenty of charge card processors additionally to the in-house processor, you can’t use PayPal or LevelUp with ShopKeep.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team:

Champion: ShopKeep

Customer care is definitely an area where both of these services differ significantly.

Square’s customer care continues to be notoriously harmful to a lot of the service’s history, although once we discuss within our Square review, everything has been gradually improving in the last couple years. Both phone and email support are actually available during business hrs, though responses aren’t particularly personalized or prompt, with email responses sometimes taking on to 3 the future through. And with regards to account holds along with other issues natural with third-party payment processors (more about that in a moment), prompt, account-specific support could be really important.

ShopKeep, by comparison, has perfectly-received customer care, available 24/7 by telephone or email or via live chat during business hrs. ShopKeep boasts about its customer care among the “features” incorporated within the monthly charge. So, they take support pretty seriously, also it shows.

Reviews:

Champion: ShopKeep

There are lots of negative Square reviews floating online, with nearly all unhappy customers complaining about account stability issues and/or poor customer support. Naturally, third-party payment processing is much more dangerous than traditional payment processing, which risk is regrettably frequently forwarded to the retailers using these types of services, by means of withheld funds, account freezes, and sudden account terminations. Compounding Square’s account stability issues is Square’s poor/slow customer care, that make it hard to solve business-critical account problems.

Fortunately, there’s something that you can do like a merchant to prevent the kinds of account problems some Square users experience find out more within our article regarding how to avoid credit card merchant account holds, freezes, and terminations. 

Moving forward, ShopKeep has far less negative reviews than Square, though that’s partially since it doesn’t have as many users as Square (ShopKeep reported 16,000 registers being used by early 2015, whereas Square’s users have been in the millions). Some ShopKeep retailers are unhappy concerning the limitation of merely one florida sales tax, however for most users appear to become pretty quite happy with the service.

You should check out Square’s and ShopKeep’s particular Better Business Bureau’s profiles here and here (observe that Square isn’t BBB-accredited, while ShopKeep is).

Final Verdict:

Champion: Tie

Square is a straightforward and somewhat cheaper option to a complete-featured POS like ShopKeep. Square is a superb choice small companies and begin-ups — it essentially runs itself. Square offers a lot of features and it has no fee, which makes it a less expensive option for lower-volume retailers. It&#8217s flexible service design enables employees, as the organization puts it, to “each be their very own reason for purchase.” Additionally, it offers the opportunity to setup a built-in online storefront.

ShopKeep, however, is a superb option for companies which require hard data and tools to handle employees, inventory, and customers. ShopKeep provides more responsive customer care than Square while offering numerous payment processing options, while Square users are tied to Square’s in-house processor, that has not-so-great account stability and greater charge card transaction rates (when compared with, for instance, Payline Data, that can be used with ShopKeep).

Overall, Square is a superb, financially achievable option for casual micro-companies who wish to accept mobile payments, particularly if they should also sell online. ShopKeep is much better for greater-volume companies who require a far more robust point-of-purchase system. We love to these two services a great deal and also the choice really depends upon your unique needs. You can call us if you want any help deciding between these mobile POS systems, or other POS for instance!

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Best PayPal Alternatives

PayPal alternatives for merchants

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

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

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

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

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

PayPal

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

Pricing

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

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

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

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

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

Customer Support: Fair

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

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

Reliability: Fair

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

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

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

Integration & Implementation Options

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

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

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

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

Other Features

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

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

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

Payline Data

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

Pricing

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

Simple (Under $5,000 per month)

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

Pro (Over $5,000 per month)

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

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

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

Customer Support: Excellent

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

Reliability: Excellent

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

Integration & Implementation Options

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

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

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

Other Features

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

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

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

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

CDGCommerce

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

Pricing

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

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

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

Customer Support: Excellent

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

Reliability: Excellent

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

Integration & Implementation Options

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

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

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

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

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

Other Features

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

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

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

PayJunction

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

Pricing

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

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

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

Something else we definitely like: next-day deposits.

Customer Support: Excellent

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

Reliability: Excellent

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

Integration & Implementation Options

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

Other Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Braintree

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

Pricing

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

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

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

Customer Support: Great

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

Reliability: Excellent

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

Integration & Implementation Options

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

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

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

Other Features

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

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

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

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

Stripe

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

Pricing

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

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

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

Customer Support: Poor

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

Reliability: Poor

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

Integration & Implementation Options

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

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

Other Features

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

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

Quick Comparison

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

Want More PayPal Alternatives?

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

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

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

The post Best PayPal Alternatives appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Best Small Company POS

The owner of small restaurant

POS systems (that’s point-of-sales, for that uninitiated) have gone through some major innovations previously couple of years. The greatest of those changes range from the move of numerous systems “to the cloud” and also the emergence of mobile POS systems. While Square is most likely the very best-known mobile POS, it’s fairly fundamental and works well with casual micro-companies. However that doesn’t imply that your online business must lose out on the mobile revolution. Take a look at ShopKeep, SalesVu, and Shopify POS — three fully featured POS’s for small companies that contain cloud and mobile technologies for an entire POS experience.

After giving a short overview of the high small-business POS systems (plus one honorable mention), I&#8217ll let you realize which of those POS&#8217s we believe is the overall best POS for small companies — considering cost, set of features, reliability, along with other factors.

ShopKeep — Hybrid iPad POS for convenient Serve, Restaurants/Bars, and Retail

shopkeep-logo

  • Hybrid cloud-based iPad solution
  • $49/register/month
  • Perfect for small-to-medium-sized food service and niche shops
  • Offline functionality
  • Excellent customer care
  • Integrates with many payment processors
  • Back-office features including worker, customer, and inventory management
  • Raw component tracking
  • E-mail marketing (MailChimp) and QuickBooks integration
  • Fundamental hardware package includes: Stand, Card Readers, Receipt Printer &amp Cash Drawer
  • EMV nick card readers to simply accept nick cards, mobile payments (including Apple Pay) — free for any short time

Founded by Jason Richelson this year as a solution to poor-quality Home windows POS software, ShopKeep is straightforward-to-use iPad POS software with lots of helpful features. ShopKeep is particularly well-liked by food service and beverage retailers, because of features like raw component inventory tracking and onscreen tipping.

ShopKeep was among the first cloud POS’s having a “hybrid” setup. The program operates on an iPad register, but syncs its data towards the cloud when there’s a web connection. The application is constantly on the run once the internet goes lower, and queues charge card payments before the connection is re-established. This hybrid setup offers stability for companies concerned about a flaky web connection.

Affordable at $49/register/month, ShopKeep is really a terrific all-around POS for small companies which have only a couple of registers. Additionally, it includes helpful back-finish features like worker time tracking, real-time analytics, and marketing features. ShopKeep can also be noted for getting great customer care.

Finally, this POS integrates with many payment processors (including its very own well-received ShopKeep Payments), providing you with the versatility you ought to get the very best charge card processing rates. You may also accept mobile payments (including Apple Pay) with ShopKeep. And due to ShopKeep&#8217s EMV (nick card) terminal, retailers using the service are looking for the October 2015 nationwide change to EMV. 

Obtain the full story on ShopKeep within our complete ShopKeep review.

SalesVu — Advanced Mobile POS for Retail, Food, and repair Companies

salesvu-logo

  • 100% cloud-based mobile POS
  • Operates on iOS or Android devices (see Supported Hardware)
  • Packages vary from $25 to $150/location/month
  • Perfect for small-to-medium-sized companies
  • Works great for retail, food service, and expertise
  • Capability to charge decimal and fractional quantities (may charge through the pound or partial hour)
  • Limitless devices per location
  • Scaleable and customizable — can buy bundles or POS system “a la cart”
  • Must use with either Mercury Payment Systems or Century Payments credit card merchant account for charge card processing (see processing rates here)
  • Self-checkout kiosk (offered by $75/month level)
  • Integrated eCommerce and recurring billing options
  • Extensive back-finish features include accounting (QuickBooks integration), inventory monitoring, reports, custom discounts and promotions, customer database, worker management, appointment scheduling, and much more
  • One free charge card readers incorporated

SalesVu is yet another cloud-based mobile POS and one of the greatest for small companies, regardless of whether you take payments inside your brick-and-mortar store or on-the-go. Founded this year, SalesVu is marketed being an all-in-one business management solution, with sophisticated back-finish features like worker management and integrated online ordering, SalesVu greater than only a mobile register.

SalesVu is provided at three different cost tiers, using the “Basic” mid-level package which includes most features along with a self-checkout kiosk setting you back $75/month/location, with limitless devices permitted each and every location. Should you only want the POS without all of the features, you pay $25/month. Learn more about the characteristics you receive with every cost level here.

Additionally to food service companies and retail boutiques, SalesVu’s online appointment booking abilities and skill to charge customers fractional amounts (for instance, a small fraction of an hour or so) helps make the service ideal for service-based companies, for example therapists, fitness instructors, and sweetness professionals.

An area where SalesVu has room for improvement is its insufficient payment processing options. At this time, the program only integrates Mercury Payment Systems or Century Payments, meaning you’ll need to use one of these simple as the credit card merchant account. There’s even the problem with the inability to process charge cards in case your Wireless goes lower.

Find out more about the SalesVu POS system within our SalesVu review.

Shopify POS — Web-based iPad POS with Integrated eCommerce for Stores

shopify-logo

  • iPad and iPhone POS
  • Designed particularly for retail companies
  • Best for promising small to medium companies
  • Integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments
  • Fully web-based (can&#8217t process charge cards offline)
  • Has a free Shopify card swiper that matches in to the headphone jack of the iPad (you can purchase peripherals just like a cash drawer and bar code scanner within the Shopify Home Improvement Store)
  • Lite Plan — $9/month — in-person charge card rate of two.7% (no online shop) Basic Plan — $29/month in-person charge card rate of two.7% Professional Plan — $79/month, 2.4% Limitless Plan — $179/month, 2.2%
  • Limitless devices
  • Syncs instantly with Shopify eCommerce
  • Capability to generate custom payment options, accept partial payments, accept multiple types of payment
  • Discount, gift certificate, store credit, and custom sales item functionality
  • Back-end features include inventory management, reports (integrates with QuickBooks and Xero), gift cards, customer management, staff accounts

Shopify has been available since 2005, though its iPad point-of-sale system is really a newer offering. Shopify began by helping cover their eCommerce but still does well in this region — a large draw of the POS is it syncs seamlessly with Shopify eCommerce.

Even though you don&#8217t do eCommerce, Shopify continues to be a great POS for small retail companies. This POS has fully integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments, while offering a distinctive prices structure, whereby your rate per month determines your charge card transaction charges. At most fundamental $9/month plan, you receive a charge card processing rate of two.7% (for in-person swiped transactions) however a couple steps up in the $79/month plan, you receive a very decent rate of two.4%, or perhaps an excellent rate of two.2% in the $179/month level. Learn more about what you’ll get each and every prices tier here.

Another perks of Shopify POS include limitless products, inventory management features, advanced reporting, gift certificate functionality (at $79/month and greater levels), store credit, staff profiles, and the opportunity to accept multiple types of payment for the similar transaction. Responsive, 24/7 support can also be incorporated with all of packages.

Overall, Shopify is really a solid iPad POS for small stores, with affordable prices, integrated eCommerce and charge card processing, and lots of helpful point-of-purchase features. One of the only drawbacks is that you’ll require a web connection to process charge cards.

Learn more in our Shopify Review.

Honorable Mention: Quetzal — Hybrid iPad POS for Apparel and Shoe Retailers

quetzal-logo

  • Hybrid iPad cloud POS (created for iPad but could operate on a desktop if you like)
  • Particularly for clothing and shoe retailers
  • $990/location/year for 1-4 locations $940 for five-7 locations $890 for 8-10 locations
  • Limitless terminals per location
  • Offline functionality
  • Integrates with ROAMpay, Velocity, Gravity, National Discount A Merchant Account, and Mercury Mobile Payments in US Moneris in Canada
  • Rear customer-facing display
  • Multi-location
  • Multi-language
  • Discount and gift certificate features
  • Retail back-finish features including detailed customer profiles, Apple Figures reports (doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks), inventory management
  • Get Began Bundle includes Ipad Air, iPad Enclosure, Cash Drawer, Receipt Printer, Hands Scanner, Ethernet Cable and three Rolls of Thermal Receipt Paper
  • Accept swiped cards with Roam G4X headphone jack wordpress plugin device or nick card payments by having an (incorporated) EMV readers.

Established this year, Quetzal is a slick iPad-based POS and business management system made particularly for small, independent clothing and shoe retailers. Should you choose food service or a different type of business, it’s and not the POS for you personally. That stated, Quetzal is excellent at what it really does, if you operate a clothing or shoe store, pay attention.

From discounts and gift certificates to inventory management and customer accounts, Apple-centric Quetzal offers an array of helpful features, which you’ll begin to see the full, extensive listing of here. Most retailers will discover that Quetzal offers almost everything they require, as well as for a yearly cost of under $1,000 (minus peripherals such as the receipt printer, hands scanner, cash drawer, etc.), it presents an excellent deal over a traditional POS system.

Like ShopKeep, Quetzal is really a hybrid system with offline functionality, meaning you can keep to use Quetzal even if your online connection goes lower. When the connection returns, all pending transactions are processed and knowledge is synced towards the cloud.

For payment processing, Quetzal integrates with several credit card merchant account providers, including Mercury, Velocity, Gravity, and National Discount A Merchant Account. You may also use Quetzal with ROAMpay, which isn’t a free account by itself, but enables you to definitely process mobile payments with many major charge card processors, from Chase Paymentech to Bank of the usa. The only real downside with using ROAMpay is it’s yet another monthly fee, on the top of anything you pay your a merchant account provider.

Obtain the complete rundown on Quetzal within our Quetzal POS review.

What’s the very best POS in my Small Company?

Now it’s time to determine which provider meets your small business’s specific needs:

ShopKeep — Perfect for … small food companies/niche shops/liquor stores/mall kiosks with a couple of registers, who require some back-finish features, and wish a large selection of payment processors, offline functionality, EMV compliance, and skill to simply accept Apple Pay along with other mobile payments.

SalesVu — Perfect for … small food, retail, hourly professional companies, with single or multiple points of purchase (mobile registers), who would like sophisticated back-finish features, and maybe want to process payments on their own Android device. Comfortable with using Mercury or Century for payment processing and conducting business cash-only when the Wireless is out.

Shopify POS — Perfect for &#8230 small retail companies with a lot of products to market, particularly if you would also like integrated eCommerce and payment processing. Comfortable with using Shopify Payments as your credit card merchant account and conducting business cash-only when the Wireless is out.

Quetzal — Perfect for … small clothing and shoe retailers who would like a sleek, modern iPad POS with integrated sales and reporting features (and therefore are fine with using Apple Figures rather of QuickBooks).

If you want some assistance sorting which POS is the best for your store or restaurant, you are able to complete the shape in this article and our experts can help you determine the best idea POS for your online business.

Why ShopKeep Is the greatest Small Company POS

While all four of these solutions are really excellent, as well as your choice will be based somewhat in your business’s specific needs, ShopKeep may be the champion if you need to pick one. ShopKeep’s exceptional customer service and wide selection of recognized payment processors makes this specific cloud POS the safest, surest bet (SalesVu and Shopify have good customer care, but ShopKeep’s is top-notch) .

ShopKeep can also be affordable, versatile (works for food service, retail, and service industries), while offering helpful backend features like worker management, marketing features, and inventory management, in addition to offline functionality. Plus, you are able to accept Apple Pay along with other mobile payments.

Another major reason for ShopKeep&#8217s favor is its EMV-compliant card readers, which protect merchants from the approaching 2015 Payment Networks’ Liability Shift (whereby issuers and retailers who don’t accept customers&#8217 EMV-compliant cards will held responsible for fraudulent charge card transactions caused by swiping individuals cards).

Although it doesn’t offer each and every feature available, ShopKeep will greater than meet the requirements on most small companies searching for any solid POS — and all sorts of for under $50/month.

Wish to have a Try Out?

ShopKeep and SalesVu offer free trial offer versions — ShopKeep includes a 14-day free trial offer, along with Shopify POS, and SalesVu includes a 15-day free trial offer for whichever degree of service you need to try. Quetzal doesn’t formally provide a free trial offer, however, you can refer to them as to look at a demo from the service.

If you would like more options, you may also compare another top POS systems within our handy POS comparison chart, or take a look at our POS software reviews to judge much more systems.

The publish Best Small Company POS made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Best Help guide to Accepting Mobile Payments

This Year, the PewResearch Internet Project discovered that 65 % of respondents in the survey thought that by 2020, mobile payments may have almost entirely replaced the requirement for cash or perhaps charge cards. And if you&#8217re a merchant who&#8217s not accepting mobile payments yet, you&#8217re already behind the bend.

Now is a great time to have a look at why you ought to accept mobile payments, we’ve got the technology in play (and just what&#8217s coming), not to mention, the main players. We&#8217ll also demonstrate how to pull off obtaining the tools you have to accept mobile payments.

Why you ought to Accept Mobile Payments

Accepting mobile payments

Infographic by Jess3. Source: http://visual.ly/global-rise-mobile-payments

The truth is, business proprietors can&#8217t manage to focus on cash-only systems. Even though you&#8217re only a small-time crafts business and attend a couple of shows annually, should you don&#8217t accept card payments, you’re passing up on an enormous quantity of potential earnings.

Based on a 2012 study through the Fed, lots of people carry less than $20 in cash. Even though cash transactions were the most typical kind of transaction, their overall value was under credit, debit, or electronic transactions. By 2017, experts predict cash will take into account just 23 percent of transactions.

In a nutshell: if you would like people a larger investment along with you, you have to accept cards.

Technological progress around the mobile payments front continues to be slow. Square introduced its mobile payment system, enabling smartphone proprietors to show their devices into card readers, in ’09.

Google Wallet debuted this year, turning individuals same phones into digital wallets that replaced cards and funds, supplying, obviously, the business had the required equipment.

PayPal, the darling of e-commerce for a long time, didn&#8217t introduce its very own mobile payment solution until 2012.

However in 2014, Apple finally debuted its very own mobile payment solution, Apple Pay, which utilizes biometric authentication and NFC to create payments through the iPhone and Apple Watch. The adoption rate among Apple Pay is promising, with major retailers reporting massive increases in mobile payments.

In a nutshell: Apple joining the mobile payments field, and getting aboard a large number of major companies along the way, would be a big advance.

And also in 2015, Google made the decision to exchange Google Wallet&#8217s mobile payment abilities with a brand new application known as Android Pay. Google Wallet grew to become a peer-to-peer payments tool, allowing users to transmit money to buddies and family.

A 2015 study through the Given discovered that 22 percent of cell phone users and 28 percent of smartphone users had designed a mobile payment in the past year. That&#8217s up from 16 percent of cell phone users in 2014. And mobile transactions increased with a whopping 118 percent over five years, according to Business Insider.

Comprehending the Consumer Mindset

Researching the market may be the cornerstone associated with a effective strategic business plan. Here is exactly the same: Before you begin adding mobile payments for your business, it&#8217s essential that you understand a bit concerning the consumer mindset regarding them. Knowing your consumer can help you choose which option is the best for both you and your business.

Overall, there&#8217s great news. In america, Europe, and lots of japan, the outlook is usually positive and individuals are receptive. And when people begin using mobile payments, they are more inclined to keep doing so. The rate and ease of mobile are generally big factors within their appeal, so you have to remember this.

Plus, smartphones are starting to saturate the marketplace. An astonishing 82 % of 18-to-25-year-olds had smartphones by Q4 2013. About 60 % of the parents have smartphones, too.

That, however, doesn&#8217t mean there aren&#8217t any barriers to resistance or objections. Actually, a couple of pervasive myths might be keeping consumers from going mobile:

Infographic: Mobile Payment Myths

Infographic by Intuit. Source: http://payments.intuit.com/
mobile-payments-myths/

A 2013 survey by Accenture revealed some surprising insights about consumer sentiment toward mobile payments:

  • Many people understand their phones can complete mobile payments, however the adoption minute rates are low. That stated, once individuals have designed a mobile payment, they’re certainly going to keep doing so.
  • People aren&#8217t prepared to switch banks, upgrade phones, or make other changes just to obtain more support for mobile payments. Quite simply, it&#8217s around the merchant to become as flexible as you possibly can where mobile payments are worried.
  • Most importantly, individuals are concerned about privacy, security, and convenience with regards to mobile payments. Additionally they worry about value. Sixty percent of people that make mobile payments will make much more of them if utilizing their smartphone generated instant coupons. Several-third of mobile payment users are prepared to give private information in return for that convenience. They’re also thinking about value-added tools like receipt tracking.
  • Additionally to coupon incentives, consumers want to see other tools to supplement mobile payments. Which means features like receipt tracking or perhaps balance checkers might make an impact in adoption rate, as would having the ability to make use of a cell phone as evidence of ID.
  • Possibly most surprisingly, consumers AREN&#8217T waiting to determine what technology claims dominance. Which means there&#8217s likely room for a lot of types of mobile payments on the market, and it wouldn’t be impractical to think about finding a method to accept variations.

There&#8217s a little bit of push and pull happening here. There&#8217s a proper segment of shoppers who wish to use mobile payments. You may also lure new users to use mobile payments with the proper incentives.

Also important to note: Millennials, undoubtedly the greatest users of technology, are far interested in financial choices from technology, e-commerce and payment giants like PayPal, Amazon . com, Google, and Apple compared to what they have been in services using their own banks. One-third of them feel they won&#8217t want to use a financial institution whatsoever soon.

That stated, over fifty percent from the commercial banks have some type of mobile banking, and 61 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds who own smartphones use mobile banking. They have a tendency to determine their bank as interchangeable along with other banks, that is most likely one of the reasons for curiosity about alternative payments. The 2008 recession most likely didn&#8217t do much to assist Millennial perceptions of banks, either.

Mobile Payment Technology

At this time, you will find three contenders competing for dominance in mobile payments. They all have its very own advantages and disadvantages:

  • NFC
  • QR Codes
  • iBeacon

Let&#8217s take particular notice each and every to actually know how they might dominate mobile payments.

NFC

NFC, or near-field communication, is really a contactless data transfer system similar to RFID. When two NFC-enabled devices enter into range, you are able to transfer data from together (for example getting a telephone in selection of a charge card terminal). It plays well along with other technology for example Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, that is a huge advantage.

NFC isn&#8217t ubiquitous (yet), however it&#8217s found in many phones, particularly the flagship devices from Samsung, LG, and The new sony. Apple finally leaped in to the NFC game in 2014, and Google relaunched its mobile payments service as Android Pay in 2015. Samsung also launched its very own application, aptly named Samsung Pay, in 2015.

NFC is really a safe way of payments. Sensitive information is kept in a safe and secure element, either included in the Sim of the phone or put into another nick. Generally, retailers never really see your card or banking account data.

For any much deeper take a look at NFC, check out our guide, &#8220What is NFC, and Why Would You Care?&#8221

QR Codes

QR codes, or quick-response codes, have the type of ubiquity that NFC lacks. They work similar to your standard barcode symbols, with the exception that rather of counting on one-dimensional analog checking, they’re digital. This means that having a QR code readers application, your smartphone&#8217s camera could be temporarily converted to a scanner. QR codes can embed far more information than your standard barcode symbols, which provides them the ability to complete such things as open mobile sites, lead you to YouTube Videos, you will find, even allow you to complete mobile payments.

iBeacon

iBeacon is definitely an Apple-developed technology that utilizes Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE, or sometimes also known as Bluetooth Smart). Unlike another two kinds of technology, it&#8217s really still within the developmental stages. While you can use it for mobile payments, right now the greatest application for iBeacon is really as closeness alert or geo-fence that may go where Gps navigation doesn&#8217t.

It really works such as this: iBeacon units are positioned up within a building (like a mall). If somebody by having an iBeacon-enabled device makes selection of individuals beacons, they transmit information. A few of the ways fraxel treatments might be used is always to transmit mobile coupons or any other special deals, to steer customers through the store by department, or perhaps to enable them to find specific products on the grocery list.

A primary reason that NFC had an edge over Bluetooth for any lengthy there was a time the huge quantity of energy that Bluetooth needed. However, BLE uses much less energy than its predecessors, and that’s why it&#8217s now becoming more popular for pairing wireless rodents and keyboards (the batteries can last considerably longer). iBeacons with Bluetooth Smart technology won&#8217t be considered a massive power-suck for consumers. Plus, iBeacons have a further range than NFC: NFC devices have to be within 8 inches (though 2 ” is really most effective). iBeacons, however, have a variety of 50 meters, or about 165 ft.

For payments, iBeacons works as being similar to NFC: the telephone would wirelessly transmit payment information towards the terminal or beacon via Bluetooth.

It&#8217s also important to note that although iBeacons are Apple technology, they aren’t only at iOS devices. The telephone just will need Bluetooth Smart and also the appropriate application. In addition, Samsung announced its own form of the iBeacon, known as Closeness, at its 2014 developer conference in November. it really works exactly the same way as iBeacons, but instead of dealing with an application, Closeness works directly using the phone&#8217s hardware.

Even Facebook features its own Beacon service for companies. The beacons prompt people to the place to love the organization&#8217s Facebook page and offers additional information.

Major Players in Mobile Payments

Let&#8217s begin by analyzing a few of the major players in mobile payments, where they stand, and just how they compare when stacked facing one another. Included in this are:

  • Apple Pay
  • Android Pay
  • CurrentC
  • Flint
  • Square
  • LevelUp
  • PayPal Here
Apple Pay
apple-pay-logo

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Also in September 2014, additionally, it introduced Apple Pay, which utilizes a mix of biometrics and NFC to accomplish mobile payments. Furthermore, Apple already had major retailers arranged to begin accepting Apple Pay. With this particular mobile payment method, consumers never need to give their names, charge card figures, or security codes to retailers. Rather, Apple utilizes a unique device ID to process the transaction.

Apple Pay works together with debit and credit cards for major US banks, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express from Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, PNC, and much more. You should check out the entire listing of banks and retailers here.

&nbsp

Android Pay

Before Apple Pay, there is Google Wallet. It never acquired much traction, however in 2015, Google launched Android Pay, the successor to Google Wallet. (GW continues to be available, but because a mobile wallet and peer-to-peer payments application.) Android Pay also uses NFC. To really make it work, you have to let the lock screen in your device. Unlock the telephone together with your preferred method (fingerprint scanner, PIN, or pattern) and tap it towards the terminal to accomplish the transaction.

There&#8217s also the Google Wallet Card. It&#8217s debit cards from MasterCard, that’s linked straight to your Google Wallet balance. You are able to link your GW account to your Android Pay account as well as withdraw cash from ATMs using the card.

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CurrentC
CurrentC_App

Apple Pay encountered some trouble when some major retailers (including CVS and Rite Aid) disabled its NFC terminals to bar Apple Pay. The main reason? Wal-Mart, Best To Buy, Rite Aid, CVS along with other retailers have partnered inside a partnership known as the Merchant Customer Exchange, that is creating a mobile payment option known as CurrentC.

CurrentC uses QR codes instead of NFC. However the CurrentC process is slow, much slower than NFC, and extremely clunky. It&#8217s exactly the same kind of system combined with direct deposits. First, the client must scan the QR code generated by register while using CurrentC application. Then, the cashier scans the QR code generated through the phone.

The main reason people from the MCE are tossing their support behind CurrentC is it could conceivably enable them to sidestep the charges that charge card issuers charge. Most retailers pay between 1 % and three percent from the transaction in charges. CurrentC would sidestep this by utilizing checking accounts, gift certificates, and store-issued an atm card.

Right now, CurrentC hasn’t gone live, however the application will come in iTunes and Google Play. Worth mentioning is the fact that in October 2014, CurrentC was hacked and user emails were stolen. That&#8217s before the woking platform is fully ready to go.

Here&#8217s why that&#8217s so troubling:

CurrentC collects your driver&#8217s license number, your ssn, as well as your birth date to ensure your identity. Additionally, it collects your wellbeing information. Plus, among the key selling options that come with CurrentC may be the coupon-and-rewards feature. While it might be a large draw for purchasers, additionally, it reveals a lot of data about users as well as their shopping habits. Everything information goes directly to retailers, since retailers are the type who developed the platform.

Apple Pay, by comparison, doesn’t collect that data, also it doesn&#8217t share any information with retailers.

Flint
Flint-mobile-logo

Unlike another mobile payment options we&#8217ve discussed to date, Flint doesn&#8217t need any kind of terminal. It&#8217s a really &#8220mobile&#8221 solution because all that you should accept payments is the phone, that makes it well suited for service companies which make house calls along with other vendors who travel. Flint&#8217s mobile application works together with the digital camera to scan cards (note: it never stores the photos it requires of the charge card) and process payments. Which means no fighting with card readers as you’ve to with PayPal and Square. However, you are able to only accept Visa and MasterCard right now, with no pre-compensated cards. (It&#8217s also important to note that in October 2014, Flint guaranteed $9.4 million in funding, with Verizon adding the majority of it).

Flint offers invoicing, support for mobile coupons (via email and Apple Passbook), and digital receipts for money and appearance options. Should you also sell online, you may also setup an e-commerce system for checkout using Flint. For retailers, Flint&#8217s rates rely on regardless if you are charging a debit or credit card: for debit, you have to pay 1.95 % for credit, 2.95 %. Money is deposited straight into your bank account within 2 working days.

Square
Square-POS-Logo

Square really was the very first company to go in the mobile payments space, completely in 2009. Anybody having a cell phone could start swiping cards and accepting payments having a dongle that connects to headphone jack. Square, like other mobile payment services, charges a set rate per transaction.

For card swipes, retailers pay 2.75 %. Should you key the transaction in by hand, that jumps to three.five percent plus $.15. Square&#8217s greatest issue, from the merchant perspective, is its difficulties with holding funds if this suspects fraud. Otherwise, retailers obtain money within 1-2 working days.

Using the EMV liability shift, Square introduced a brand new card readers that is capable of doing studying the nick-and-PIN cards. It provides 2 types of the readers, including one which has NFC support to be able to accept payments via Apple Pay, Android Pay, along with other NFC-based services.

LevelUp
LevelUp-logo

LevelUp is really a mobile payments processor with increased functionality than the other available choices we&#8217ve seen. It really works much like CurrentC for the reason that you scan QR codes. However, instead of linking to some banking account, it enables users to produce a mobile wallet using their debit and credit cards (the website states any U.S. debit or charge card is recognized). Additionally, it integrates with loyalty programs and generates coupons for you personally. LevelUp has greater than 14,000 partners, and you should check out their email list here.

Like Square, LevelUp includes a POS functionality. However, LevelUp also adds its very own terminal devices, that also support NFC and iBeacon. Much more promising, LevelUp&#8217s application for consumers can be obtained not only for Android and iOS, but additionally Home windows Phones.

Another thing that sets LevelUp apart is its open platform, that can be used to integrate to your own systems. You are able to integrate it into greater than 40 other POS systems in addition to e-commerce an internet-based ordering platforms.

Retailers pay just 1.95 % per transaction, without any chargebacks. Money is deposited the following day to your account.

PayPal Here
paypal-here-logo

PayPal is, unquestionably, a huge in e-commerce, as well as in 2012 it finally moved into mobile payments. Like Square, you need to simply swipe the credit card while using free card readers. The funds you collect go straight into your PayPal account are available for you quickly. If you possess the PayPal bank card, the different options are the cash inside your PayPal account when it&#8217s inside at any location that accepts charge cards.

Like Square and LevelUp, retailers are billed flat charges per transaction. There’s additionally a POS system and support for invoicing. You are able to accept checks by snapping photos together with your phone&#8217s camera. PayPal Here charges 2.7 % for card swipes, though manual key-ins are 3.five percent plus $.15.

Something also worth mentioning is PayPal&#8217s One Touch. This mobile solution enables you to definitely stay logged to your PayPal account in your phone and employ that to accomplish any in-application purchases.

Like Square, PayPal also offers an EMV-compliant readers with NFC abilities to be able to accept mobile payments via consumers&#8217 selected apps.

Accepting Mobile Payments with a free account

What must you do in order to start accepting mobile payments? Should you travel for the business, a mobile solution like PayPal Here’s most likely the greater choice for you. However, if you want POS capacity and also have a brick-and-mortar location, you’ll need an NFC-enabled terminal that may accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, yet others.

Credit card merchant account providers can frequently assist you to get yourself a terminal, because of free or at an inexpensive. Let&#8217s check out a few of the top-rated providers, using their charges for their terminal options.

  • Dharma A Merchant Account
  • CDGcommerce
  • Helcim
  • PaylineData
  • PaymentDepot
Dharma A Merchant Account
dharma-merchant-services-logo

Dharma A Merchant Account offers retail and e-commerce solutions alike, if you come with an web store in addition to a physical store you are able to integrate them easily. As opposed to a tiered prices model Dharma charges a $15 fee every month (including PCI compliance) by having an interchange-plus cost model for transactions. Dharma charges .25 % along with an additional $.10 per transaction for in-person transactions, and .35 % plus $.10 for e-commerce.

For small companies (individuals earning under $10,000 per month), Dharma includes a partnership with Flint, so use a smartphone or tablet to process charge cards. However, this doesn&#8217t provide NFC abilities.

Terminals: During the time of penning this, Dharma can re-program your overall equipment to utilize its services for $100. For $299, you can aquire a VeriFone Vx520 terminal, that is NFC enabled in addition to EMV ready.

(EMV is really a global standard that will become a lot more common stateside in 2015 because of the massive liability shift that starts in October 2015. Essentially, this means that debit and credit cards includes a unique nick that gives extra security. Basically we&#8217re more worried about mobile payments here, you need to certainly locate a terminal that’s EMV compatible too.)

Also worth mentioning: Dharma donates 50 % of their profits to charitable organization. It&#8217s additionally a certified eco-friendly business and B-corp. If social or ecological responsibility are part of your company model, this appears such as the apparent fit.

CDGcommerce
cdgcommerce-logo

CDGcommerce also offers retail and e-commerce payment solutions — but additionally, it includes a mobile payment option that Dharma lacks, known as ProcessNow.

Prices wise, CDG charges 1.95 % plus $.30 for online transactions, 1.7 % plus $.25 for swipes, and 1.7 % plus $.25 for mobile transactions. On the top of this, there&#8217s a $10 monthly support package as well as an optional cdg360 package with value-added security measures for $15 per month.

Terminals: For $79 annually, CDG will give you an EMV-ready and NFC-enabled PerkWave terminal along with a customer-facing readers. It&#8217s suitable for Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Softcard, along with the remaining NFC payment services. CDG also promises to replace it all within 24 hrs. The long run-proofing guarantee helps to ensure that if another bit of technology becomes standard (for example iBeacon), it’ll change your terminal. Plus, you receive free terminal reprogramming for just about any existing equipment, a totally free USB card swiper that&#8217ll use most Home windows and Mac devices for those who have existing software, and much more.

Helcim
helcim-logo

Helcim is yet another processor with multiple solutions: it provides an online terminal for implementing computers or running an e-commerce site, retail solutions with terminals, along with a mobile payment solution, all on the monthly subscription plan plus interchange-plus prices (Helcim calls it cost-plus prices).

The virtual terminal package runs $30 per month, the retail package runs $12 per month, and also the mobile package runs $25 per month. CDG charges just .18 percent per transaction for mobile and retail transactions, and .36 percent for virtual/e-commerce transactions.

Your monthly subscription also covers PCI compliance. The mobile package incorporates a totally free card readers and limitless users — but additional card visitors $45 each.

Terminals: With Helcim, you possess an range of terminal choices to accept mobile payments, beginning at $199. Re-programming of terminals is free of charge, and the organization offers exchanges for $45, where it’ll give back a refurbished pre-programmed model.

Payline Data
payline-data-logo

Payline Data again provides retail, e-commerce, and mobile solutions, also it claims to give the cheapest rates, guaranteed. They&#8217ll even provide you with $500 whether they can&#8217t beat your overall prices.

Payline uses interchange-plus prices on the top of the fee every month. Standard plans start at $5 monthly for any subscription, though you will get the professional take into account $20. Using the standard plan, you have to pay .five percent plus $.10, and pro accounts pay .2 percent plus $.10.

Terminals: Once again you can buy multiple terminals from VeriFone and Ingenico, including EMV and NFC devices. Prices start at $195. There is also a number of other retail supplies, including check readers, card readers, PIN pads, as well as receipt paper.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that Payline Data will donate 10 % from the processing revenue from your bank account to some charitable organization of the selecting from Payline&#8217s listing of approved partners.

Payment Depot
payment-depot-logo

Payment Depot operates a little differently compared to other processors we&#8217ve spoken about here. Again you’ve mobile, retail, and e-commerce solutions. You are able to pay a regular monthly fee or perhaps an annual fee that discounts the price by 20 %. But rather of interchange-plus, you have to pay a set rate.

That fee depends upon the package you select, which depends upon your monthly volume.

  • For sales under $10,000: $199 each year ($20 monthly) $.25 per transaction.
  • For sales as much as $40,000: $399 each year (40 monthly) $.15 per transaction.
  • Limitless: $599 each year ($60 monthly) $.10 per transaction.

Using the mid-tier package there is also a totally free virtual terminal so that you can enter payments from the browser or mobile phone. Using the limitless plan, Payment Depot offers an EMV-ready Smart Terminal.

Terminals: Again, you can aquire a free Smart Terminal using the limitless plan. Should you&#8217re not doing quite that volume, Payment Depot can reprogram existing equipment free of charge. Otherwise, you are able to use the organization to obtain a new terminal of the selecting, which will come at wholesale cost (the website states costs start just $49).

Final Ideas

We&#8217re residing in digital age, folks. Consumers have not had a lot of options, approximately much power — and for retailers, that may certainly appear frightening. And when you&#8217re not devotedly following a latest developments in technology, the idea of stepping into the sport can appear overwhelming.

Anything you do, don&#8217t just sit around at nighttime ages.

We&#8217re here to assist. Take a look at our reviews of charge card processors/credit card merchant account providers, in addition to our overview of mobile payment solutions. Need assistance selecting a service provider? Call us for help. We will also help you select a web-based shopping cart software to get involved with e-commerce, and pick a qualified POS software for you personally.

What else would you like to learn about accepting mobile payments? Ask away!

The publish The Best Help guide to Accepting Mobile Payments made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Mobile Payment Processing 101

how do mobile payments work

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

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

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

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

What Exactly Are Mobile Payments?

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

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

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

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

How Popular Is Mobile Payment Processing?

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

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

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

How Can Mobile Payments Work?

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

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

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

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

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

How Secure are Mobile Payments?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Must you Accept Mobile Payments?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software

Best small business software

For most small business owners, it’s a jungle out there. Danger lurks around every corner, predators seem to be silently stalking your every movement, and – in the immortal words of Jethro Tull – the rivers are full of crocodile nasties. Let’s face it, when it comes to start-ups and small businesses the statistics are grim. According to one recent study, the failure rate of retail establishments after four years is over 50%, and businesses in the service industry usually meet the same fate. Sadly, restaurants tend to do even worse, and the majority are forced to close their doors before a decade has passed.

There are many reasons why businesses eventually fail – bad locations, limited staff, a poor economic climate, etc. But experts are beginning to agree that most failed businesses (no matter what industry they belong to) have one, very important factor in common: inexperience on the part of the owners/managers. It’s all very well to follow your dreams, but man does not live on dreams alone. For most of us, a little thing called money is required if we want to eat, access our electricity, wash our clothes, keep our children shod, etc. That’s right, money. It’s what you get when you run a business that brings in more revenue than it puts out. That sounds so simple: spend less than you make. But the reality is that pulling in a profit takes knowledge, skill, and access to the proper tools. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve opened up a cat-grooming boutique or finally launched that grilled-cheese food truck you’ve always wanted – if you don’t know what you’re doing when you set out, and/or don’t bother to learn as you go, you might as well throw your seed money down the storm drain.

Fortunately, at Merchant Maverick (MM), we understand how hard it can be to start a business – let alone to keep one going for more than a year or two. You shouldn’t have to do everything by yourself – keeping up with inventory, payment processing, invoicing, shipping, point of sale, website design and the like is nearly impossible without the right equipment (good ol’ pen and paper just doesn’t cut it anymore). The good news? Advances in software and cloud technology have resulted in some pretty impressive small business tools. Even better news? The writers and reviewers at MM have invested thousands of hours researching, testing, and rating small business services/software. In other words, we know our stuff. Running a business is a tremendous burden, but the heavy lifting has already been done – we’ve done if for you – and all you need do is benefit from our years of experience.

Each company below has undergone a rigorous evaluation by an experienced MM reviewer. We scoured websites, read help articles, and browsed through user forums. We talked to customer service and saw for ourselves how responsive they were. And most importantly, we tested the actual software or service ourselves. The following are our reviewers’ top small business software picks for merchant services/payment processing as well as for mobile payments, shopping carts, point of sale, accounting, inventory management, invoicing, booking, email marketing, CRM, project management, loyalty rewards, and website building.

So, without further ado, let the awards ceremony for the best small business software begin!

Merchant Account Providers

Winner: Dharma Merchant Services

dharma-merchant-services-logo

Dharma Merchant Services is one of our all-time favorite companies, period, here at Merchant Maverick. Defined by exceptional customer support, low-cost hardware, excellent industry connection, and reasonable negotiation-free rates and fees, Dharma is an ideal option for small businesses with in-person sales. It distinguishes itself from the competition by using only interchange-plus pricing and charging no early termination fees or monthly minimums. There are no annual fees, no application fees, and no pesky PCI compliance fees to deal with either. In addition, this company dedicates 50% of its net profits to charity. Dharma is basically a paragon of integrity, honesty, and respect, and it’s worth its weight in gold in this sometimes unscrupulous industry,

There is one small catch: businesses must process at least $10K per month to use Dharma Merchant Services. Businesses with smaller revenue streams are directed instead to Flint Mobile (see review below).

Dharma offers amazing in-house customer support during business hours (8:00am – 5:00pm Pacific Time). If you need support outside this time frame, you will be directed elsewhere, depending on the severity of your issue and what processor you’re using.

To read more about Dharma Merchant Services, see our full review here.

Runner-Up: CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

Boasting a great reputation and a low monthly base fee (which includes access to Quantum gateway), CDG Commerce is a budget friendly alternative to Dharma Merchant Services, especially for low-volume merchants or web-based businesses. CDG was established in 1998, and has had plenty of time to cultivate a reputation for honesty and excellence. In fact, customer complaints are nearly non-existent, which is a miracle in itself after nearly 20 years in business. Like Dharma, CDG offers interchange-plus pricing, does not charge an early termination fee, and has no gateway setup fees or PCI compliance fees.

CDG Commerce charges only $10 per month in base fees; beyond that, you can pick and choose which additional services you want to pay for. This is a great system, as it ensures that you won’t be stuck buying things you neither want, nor need.

CDG offers live chat, email, and phone support 24/7. In our experience, support staff is helpful, knowledgeable, and scrupulously honest.

Click here to read our full review of CDGcommerce.

Mobile Payments

Winner: Flint Mobile

Flint-mobile-logo

Flint Mobile is our overall top pick for mobile, based primarily on its speed, ease of use, reliability, and price point. To start off, it doesn’t offer a swiper – not a free one, not a paid one, just no reader whatsoever. You can either key in card numbers or simply use your phone’s camera to scan numbers instead. That in and of itself significantly reduces the cost for setting up your account. Flint therefore has the ability to offer lower rates, which is exactly what they do. And with a ridiculously low rate for processing debit alongside a very fair credit rate, they’re nearly impossible to beat.

Flint has only two rates:

  • Debit transactions: 1.95%
  • Credit transactions: 2.95%

Yep, that’s it. It doesn’t get more complicated than that at any point: there are no per transaction fees, no non-qualified fees, and no surcharges of any kind. Flint Mobile runs transactions at a much faster speed than other similar apps, and while it might take a couple tries to get your scanning settings set up the way you like, Flint makes customization an easy and intuitive process. Our one complaint is that they do not provide any means for printing a paper receipt.

One very important thing to mention about Flint Mobile is that, even with the EMV liability shift (effective October 1st, 2015), users have no need to upgrade hardware. The camera scan will continue to work as it always has, with no change to liability. Currently it’s the only mobile processor we’re aware of that will securely process chip cards with no hardware upgrade.

This app can’t replace a full-feature tablet POS, but it comes with a number of amazing features (integrated QR coupons, invoicing, customizable receipts, etc.) and executes service flawlessly. If you’re looking for a sensible, surefire way to accept payments and grow your clientele, you can’t go wrong with Flint Mobile.

If you’d like more information about Flint Mobile, check out our full review.

Runner-Up: Payline Data

payline-data-logo

Payline Data is mostly a standard merchant account provider, but it has a good mobile solution and low-volume fee structure. Extra services are offered as-needed, so you only have to pay for what you need. There are two pricing models (to accommodate both low and high volume merchants):

Simple (Under $5,000 per month)

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

Pro (Over $5,000 per month)

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

We really appreciate the number of customer service and support outlets Payline provides, and it has an extensive knowledge base and FAQ for self-service support, which is quite nice.

Payline Data delivers on any businesses essential needs, and has managed to maintain positive reviews and a spotless reputation since 2009 – which is no small task in the credit card processing industry. In general, it’s a great pick for mobile processing for small businesses everywhere.

Find out more about Payline Data by reading our full review here.

Shopping Carts

Winner: Shopify

shopify-banner

Shopify is unique in that it can be used as a physical POS or an online shopping cart or both at once. This inherent flexibility gives it a clear edge over other shopping carts, and its low price point make it well within the reach for small businesses, even those with strained budgets. Shopify is the industry standard for shopping cart software, and for good reason. There are never any limits to the number of products you can sell, which is nice, though there aren’t many limits to the software in general.

All Shopify plans come with a full 14-day (no credit card required) trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees. Plans range from $14/month to $179/month with rates ranging from 2.9% + 30¢ to 2.4% + 30¢. You can pay on a month-to-month basis, but you’ll receive a 10% discount if you choose to pay for one year up front (a 20% discount is offered for those who sign a two-year contract). We’re not terribly fond of Shopify’s transaction fees, unfortunately, although they do get waived if you use Shopify as your credit card processor.

Shopify is eminently user friendly, and the cart is easy to set up and easy to manage. In our experience, the software works flawlessly from the point of view of both the customer and the merchant, and it is one of the most feature-rich carts available. It is accessible for online mavens, but it is also well within the reach of newcomers and amateurs. Shopify offers a number of apps, some of which are free and some of which may cost a small fee. You can check out Shopify’s App Store to browse offerings.

Customer support is available via phone, email, and live chat, but there are other great self-help resources as well, including a support center, Knowledge Base, a discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page where you can find experienced professionals in design, marketing, development, and photography.

For more information, click here to read our full review of Shopify.

Runner-Up: Ecwid

ecwid-logo

Ecwid, the “go anywhere, sell anything, no manual required” shopping cart, is designed for small eCommerce businesses, as well as for individual sellers and start-ups. We’re big fans of Ecwid, and there are two main reasons why. Firstly, it is extremely ubiquitous, and capable of integrating with nearly every existing website, from social media platforms to blogs. Secondly, it is so reasonably priced, compared to its competitors, that you would be foolish not to take it out for spin. Unlike most shopping carts, there is no typical “free trial period” for Ecwid. Instead, you can simply try out the Free Plan (the obvious advantage to doing this is that your services won’t be cancelled after your trial period ends).

Ecwid offers unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and no transaction fees on every subscription level, even the free plan. Paid plans range from $15/month to $99/month. Personal support by email and online chat are only available at higher subscription levels.

Like Shopify, Ecwid gives you the option to use the software as a physical POS. However, this function is really best suited for online-only business owners who want the option of having a mobile or “pop up shop” operation, but aren’t trying to maintain a physical storefront at all times.

In general, Ecwid is a solid product with great, user-friendly elements. It’s not the best solution for high-volume sales, but most companies out there (especially startups and very small businesses) will be fully satisfied with its features and ease of use.

Read our full review of Ecwid to learn more.

POS Software

Winner: ShopKeep

shopkeep-logo

ShopKeep is one of the best software solutions we’ve ever encountered at Merchant Maverick. This simple, elegant, and visually-appealing cloud-based POS has carved out a solid niche catering to small-business food and beverage sellers. For a very low monthly cost, ShopKeep can help you manage your inventory, customers, employees, as well as record transactions and offer a variety of reporting options (for analyzing all this data).

ShopKeep does not require you to sign a contract. It is a pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription service. There are no extra maintenance fees, and what’s more impressive, tech support is 100% included in the monthly charge. The actual pricing system is beautifully simple as well: $49/month/register.

Other than it’s extremely reasonable price point, ShopKeep’s biggest selling point is its ease-of-use. There is very little learning curve involved, and even the most technologically deficient should have no problem learning the ins and outs of this software in a matter of days (or hours, more likely).

Customer support is fantastic, and unlimited email, live chat, or phone is included in the monthly price. The support page on the company website is also fantastic, and offers comprehensive articles and video tutorials on every aspect of the software.

Read our full review of ShopKeep if you’d like more details.

Runner-Up: SalesVu

salesvu-logo

SalesVu is a perfect POS for the average small business, offering a robust feature set at a competitive price. eCommerce options are built right into the software, so you can design your own site from the back office without ever having to pay for (and integrate) Shopify or hire an expensive third party designer. Integrated eCommerce also ensures that communications between the web store and the brick and mortar store are smooth and seamless.

Prices range from $25/month to $150/month, depending on how many features you need (things like time tracking, accounting, etc. are a bit extra). Basically, SalesVu can be as affordable as you need it to be. Additionally, when you open an account with SalesVu you get a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit (for some small business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need).

Customer service is good, but the primary strengths of this software are found in its intuitive interface and broad flexibility. It is so much more than just a mobile cash register. With SalesVu, you can monitor inventory, create detailed reports, design custom discounts and promotions, maintain an active customer database, and manage employees – and you can do all these things anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Opening an account with SalesVu gets you a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit. For some business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need.

SalesVu integrates with SalesVu Easy Accounting, Quickbooks, Facebook, and Zapper.

You can check out our full review of SalesVu for more information.

Accounting Software

Winner: Xero

best small business accounting software

It’s not hard to see why Xero takes the prize for best small business accounting software. It is mobile, cloud-based, easy-to-use, and extremely comprehensible for the small business owner who is handling finances on his/her own (click here for a full list of features). While it can be more expensive long-term than something like QuickBooks Pro, small business owners – especially those who aren’t accountants by nature or profession – are more likely to enjoy using a simple, intuitive program like Xero.

There are multiple pricing plans available, ranging from $9/month to $70/month (these prices include updates as they are released, usually every 3-6 weeks). Small companies with limited invoicing needs would have to look far and wide for a similarly robust accounting/payroll package that trumps Xero’s $9/month price tag. And happily, you don’t have to sign a contract with Xero; plans are paid by the month and you can basically cancel the service at any time. Xero offers a 25% discount for non-profits and a 15% discount on your total bill if you subscribe for multiple businesses. If you do feel comfortable making a commitment and signing up for a 6 month subscription, you’ll get a 30% discount.

There are only a few minor problems with Xero, one of which is slow customer support response times. Customer service is offered 24/7, year-round, but some customers have complained of long response times, cut-and-paste answers to questions, and reps who don’t seem to actually know how to use the software. This would be a much bigger deal if Xero was complex or had a steep learning, curve, but it’s not as alarming considering the software’s general simplicity and ease of use. Furthermore, many customers praise Xero’s level of customer service, and the wait times are comparable to those of other accounting software programs.

One real perk of using Xero is that it integrates with over 400 other applications which can facilitate nearly every aspect of business operation, including inventory management, CRM, and POS (some of these are only available to certain countries; in the U.S., there are about 350 Xero integrations available). 

Read our full review of Xero here.

Runner-Up: QuickBooks Pro

Best small business accounting software

Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro is a robust, feature-rich accounting solution, perfect in many ways for small business (to see a full list of features, click here). It is locally installed software, which results in lower per-year costs and more features than your typical cloud-based software, so if you’re willing to deal with a pretty steep learning curve at the beginning (especially difficult for people who have no previous accounting background), then QB Pro can be an excellent way to save money in your accounting budget. Though it lacks the convenience of a cloud based solution – you don’t get automatic, routine updates or instant access to new features – it is a very viable accounting solution for companies with complex bookkeeping needs.

QuickBooks Pro’s list price is $299.95. This might seem a bit high compared to something like Xero, but keep in mind that QB Pro requires a one-time purchase and does not use a subscription model — and it is nearly always available at a discount. While there’s no free trial available, Intuit does back QB Pro with a 60-day guarantee; if you return the program for any reason within 60 days, you can get a full refund. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the purchase price does not include updates, nor do you get full tech support or bank feeds. It’s also worth noting that customer service tends to be slow.

One comment we’ve noticed often on user reviews is that, while people aren’t particularly enthusiastic about QB Pro, it works and does what it’s supposed to do; many claim that it’s the best accounting program available. While that’s far from a resounding recommendation, it’s also true that despite its drawbacks, for many businesses, QB Pro is more than adequate. And whether you love it or hate it, QuickBooks Pro is often the best option for the money.

Read our full review of QB Pro here.

Inventory Management Software

Winner: Stitch Labs

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Stitch, the flagship product of Stitch Labs, is a cloud-based inventory management solution with tons of functionality, myriad useful integrations, and fantastic customer service. Designed to combine inventory, billing, accounting, shipping, and eCommerce features with your choice of 3rd party integrations, Stitch is the do-it-all, full service inventory solution. As the name would suggest, it is intended to be the thread that holds the backend of your company firmly together. Really, its only flaw is that is designed exclusively for American companies. International businesses will have to look elsewhere. 

Price plans range from $29/month to $449/month, not bad considering how many features this software brings to the table. What’s more, Stitch is easy to use, even for the uninitiated. The UI is clean, understated, and intuitive. Within a few minutes of signing up, you should feel like a pro, able to create products and customer contacts and generate sales orders with ease. It’s easy to pick up on your own just by experimentation, but if you’re queasy about finding your own way around, you can reference one of the many tutorials on each page that take you step-by-step through all the basic tasks.

In general, the customer service department is responsive and helpful. Our questions were promptly answered (never longer than 24 hours, even on the weekend), and ticket creation happened immediately, so we always had a case number to reference and never felt lost in the shuffle. Not surprisingly, the Stitch Labs support team is highly praised all over the web.

Stitch integrates with a large number of other programs and applications, including Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and Square, to name just a few. And when you combine an excellent selection of integrations with powerful suite of tools,you’ve got inventory management software that is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.

You can read more about Stitch Labs in our full review.

Runner-Up: TradeGecko

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TradeGecko, a cloud-based inventory application for small to medium sized businesses, is comparable to Stitch Labs in functionality and number of integrations, but is more geared toward international companies (it still works well for American companies, if you don’t mind a time difference with the support staff).

The design of this software emphasizes collaboration, group workflows, and activity feeds. This means that you can reference sales information, purchase orders, and stock levels at once, and they will all update in real time. TradeGecko is intuitive and easy to use, and has a clean – if spartan – UI which is perfect for a bookkeeping system.

TradeGecko offers a free 14-day trial, no credit card required. Plans range from $49/month to $399/month, though you can get a monthly discount if you commit to paying for a year up-front. The company provides a detailed knowledge base, with step-by-step instructions for performing many tasks, and it also offers 24 hour customer support. On the whole, our support experience was positive, though a few of our tickets took longer than we would have liked to resolve.

Integrations include Shopify, Salesforce, Xero, Magento, Quickbooks Online, Amazon, and WooCommerce (to name a few). All in all, TradeGecko isn’t the cheapest product on the market (which is why it’s the runner up for this category) but it is so intuitive and feature rich that small to medium-sized businesses with a budget to kick around should give it a look.

For more information about TradeGecko, read our full review here.

Invoicing Software

Winner: Freshbooks

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Officially, Freshbooks is a web-based accounting solution, though it is fair to say that it’s best utilized for its incredible invoicing features. This software is tailor made for independent contractors and small, service-based businesses; it is easy to use, has lots of interesting features (including time tracking, reporting, and expenses), and integrates with a huge variety of 3rd party applications.

Pricing, unfortunately, is a bit steep for the target market (small businesses), though there is a free plan which allows you to manage a single client. Paid plan range from $19.95/month to $39.95/month. Customer support is available Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm EST. In our experience, representatives are remarkably quick to respond to emails (usually within 20 minutes during business hours) and are courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable.

As mentioned above, FreshBooks offers more than 60 integrations and add-ons including  PayPal, Shopify, Basecamp, and Stripe. It is as comprehensive an invoicing solution as you could hope for, especially since it does offer other perks, like reporting.

You can read our full review of FreshBooks here.

Runner-Up: Invoiceable

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Invoiceable is simple, easy to use software that allows you to create professional looking invoices. It’s actually free to all, with no feature limits, though you can opt to pay a one-time fee to remove the company’s branding from your invoices: this is a perk that no other free invoicing program offers. Additionally, unlike many of the other major free invoicing programs, Invoiceable isn’t just a wimpy, scaled-back version of a paid service. You can have as many clients and send as many invoices as you like.

Of course, with a completely free service you’re going to miss certain features that come with a paid subscription. Support, for example, is unreliable and sporadic. Response times can vary between 1-12 days, and sometimes you may not get any response at all. There is also limited sales tax functionality, which means that the software really only works for businesses that charge a single, across the board tax rate, or don’t charge tax at all.

That said, if you are a freelancer or own a very small business with relatively low sales volume, this may be all you need for now. It’s leaps and bounds better than simply typing out your invoices into MS Word or Excel, and it is one of the best free options out there that both allow you to have unlimited clients and actually works in the United States! The interface is basic and intuitive, and while customer service is slow, you probably won’t need it most of the time. If this sounds like a good match for you, we suggest you try it out. You’ve got nothing to lose – after all, it’s free.

Read our full review of Invoiceable here.

CRM Software

Winner: Zoho CRM

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User-friendly, reasonably-priced, and full of useful features, Zoho CRM is our favorite customer relations management software, hands down. It’s not hard to see why we’re such big fans. The “building blocks” which make up the Zoho CRM logo are not there for design purposes alone; these blocks allude to the fact that the Zoho team has developed many other business applications, all capable of working together seamlessly (much like Google Apps). In addition, Zoho has an well-deserved reputation for integrating nicely with a number of 3rd party add-ons, including MailChimp, Unbounce, Google Apps, MS Office, and Quickbooks (see a full list of add-ons and integrations here). In short, Zoho CRM software can adjust to any size business, be whatever you need it to be, and grow with you as your business expands.

You can try Zoho CRM for free with a 15-day trial of their Professional package. After that, pricing breaks down as follows:

  • Entrepreneur: Free, up to 3 users
  • Standard: $12/user/month
  • Professional: $20/user/month
  • Enterprise: $35/user/month

24-hour Mon-Fri telephone support is available to paying customers, though those using their free edition are limited to email support. However, your email questions can be flagged according to urgency, so that important queries do not fall to the wayside.

You would be hard pressed to find a CRM that provides more functionality at a lower cost. Zoho CRM is, without a doubt, the most bang for your buck.

Read our full review of Zoho CRM here.

Runner-Up: CleverTim

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Clevertim is a cloud-based CRM system with a firm mission: to cater specifically to small businesses. With a surprisingly reasonable price point, a clean, user-friendly UI, and the ability to integrate with 3rd party developers (via an open API), Clevertim may just be as clever as its name suggests. The only chink in Clevertim’s armor is the lack of a mobile app. As it is now, the app functions smoothly on a desktop, but is only so-so on a tablet and virtually nonexistent on a phone.

Clevertim offers a 30 day free trial. After that, plans range from absolutely free to $99/month. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription at any time. Unlike most other CRM systems, Clevertim does not charge on a per-user basis. Instead, each plan has a user limit. There is also  customized pricing available, which allows you to upgrade the number of users allowed in your plan.

Clevertim is relatively new and does not yet have its own dedicated Technical Support team. However, queries can be sent to the company either via web tickets or through the sales email address.

Read our review of Clevertim here.

Booking Software

Winner: BookingBug

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BookingBug can do just about anything you would expect from scheduling software, but still manages to be accessible and intuitive. Many companies claim to be versatile, but this software actually is designed for a wide variety of industries, making it one of the only options out there for B&Bs or bike rental shops, and a better option than most for medium-sized spas and salons. It is a perfect tool for businesses that want to offer combination services while managing limited resources and limited staff (see a full list of features here). It is distinct from other appointment booking software other ways as well: first, it’s designed for serious scalability – which again validates its claim to be “the only real-time distributed booking and reservation system that works for all business types” –  and second, it integrates with a vast number of 3rd-party apps all over the world. This is a company that prides itself on innovation and flexibility.

Plans run from $19.95/month to $69.95/month, or you can scale up to an Enterprise plan, which are priced on an individual basis. Customer service comes free with your account. Like most companies, BookingBug relies heavily on email support, but phone support is available for some of the more expensive plans. We received helpful responses to our email inquiries within hours – always a great sign.

One terrific thing about BookingBug is that it offers your customers the option to make online payments (full or partial, including pre-payment and bulk payments); you can also issue full or partial refunds directly through the site via one of the software’s numerous payment integrations. BookingBug integrates with programs like MailChimp, WordPress, Facebook, and Dropbox as well.

There isn’t much negative feedback about the company online or in user reviews. Granted, some people have complained about issues with their mobile apps, but BookingBug’s receptivity and responsiveness to these issues speaks well about the company’s commitment to customer service.

To read our full review of BookingBug, click here.

Runner Up: Bookeo

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Bookeo is cloud-based booking software with a lot to offer. Not only does it include important booking features, but it provides a surprising variety of marketing solutions, integrates with many payment platforms and third party applications, and boasts excellent security features. This is innovative software as it is, and Bookeo continues to improve with age; significant new feature releases occur every few months, and updates are frequent. The only consistent complaint disappointed reviewers have is with its lack of phone support. (Bookeo relies on email and a store of 300 tutorials for its customer support.)

Bookeo’s pricing differs by product (in other words, by whether you want to book appointments, classes, or tours), but each version offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee on the first paid month of subscription. Bookeo accounts do not require set-up or processing fees and you don’t have to sign a contract – always a good sign.

One of the best things about Bookeo is that it is user-friendly. Action items and information are intuitive and clearly distinguishable, and the software in general is organized neatly, in a very manageable way. There isn’t much setup support, unfortunately, but the self-help tutorials available are precise, and sufficient enough to help you circumvent most major problems.

Customer service centers on the Bookeo Help Portal, which consists of 300 tutorials and an email support form. There is no phone support, however, and this is the only consistent complaint from disappointed reviewers. You can receive some support via a live chat option on Bookeo’s promotional website.

Read more about Bookeo here, in our full review.

Email Marketing Software

Winner: MailChimp

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At Merchant Maverick, we’re all in agreement that MailChimp is the boss when it comes to email marketing. It’s a mature, time-tested software with reasonable pricing plans, a great selection of features, and tons of integration, and it scales well to just about any size campaign. Better yet, for users with modest needs, MailChimp offers a robust, flat-out generous free plan which lets you have up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. There’s only one real catch: if you do your email marketing with the free plan, there will be a small MailChimp badge at the bottom of every email you send out. 

Paid plans come in two basic varieties: send-based (pay as you go) and list-based (monthly). These plans are fairly specific and complex, so if you’d like more details about pricing you should navigate here.

MailChimp is generally very easy to use, and signing up for a MailChimp account is simple; enter a name and email address and you’re on your way. The customer support system is pretty extensive as well, though it lacks telephone support, which is slightly disappointing. However, our experience with them has been good; representatives were courteous and well-informed, and inquiries were answered in anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 hours, depending on urgency. MailChimp’s biggest selling point, however, is that it offers over 500 integrations and add-ons. (These include Google Analytics, Zendesk, SHopify, Magento, and Salesforce).

Check out our full review of MailChimp here.

Runner-Up: AWeber

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AWeber appeals to a smaller niche than MailChimp, but it’s still incredibly easy to use and quite affordable. It comes with some very nice features, especially for businesses which want to send all new subscribers the same series of messages: the autoresponder setup in particular is easy, intuitive, and well explained within the program, and users have a lot of options. 

AWeber offers a free 30-day trial for lists of up to 500 subscribers. After that first month, there is a single list-based pricing plan available. It’s reasonably priced for the most part, but so robust that very small companies may find they are paying for lots of extra features they may not even require. If you don’t need much from your email marketing tool, you might be better off with MailChimp’s generous free plan.

In general, AWeber finds a healthy balance between ease of use and high functionality. Navigation is remarkably intuitive, considering the number of features available. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor has some quite impressive characteristics, and recent updates to the software have have managed to significantly improve the email design experience. Additionally, the analytics and reporting capabilities are well above par for an email marketing tool of this type, as are AWeber’s investment in numerous 3rd-party integrations.

Our experiences with customer support have been positive overall. As a rule, we’ve found AWeber’s representatives to be friendly, helpful, and prompt in responding to queries. Response times to our inquiries varied in time between 20 minutes and 6 business hours.

Read our full review of AWeber here.

Project Management Software

Winner: Trello

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Trello is a visually-oriented, Kanban-based project management tool that works by allowing users to see and manage their tasks and projects via detailed ‘cards’ which are then pinned onto ‘boards.’ At its most basic level, Trello is an ingenious way to create and organize a set of virtual 3×5 cards without the risk of misplacing them, but it also can also work as a simple task management tool, offering features like file storage and automatic email notifications.

The standard, free version of Trello allows for unlimited boards, users, and attachments (with a 10 MB max per file upload). However, for a fee, Trello also offers two upgraded versions of the software: $3.75/user or $5/user

Trello’s simple, visually-appealing UI makes it incredibly easy to use; there is almost no learning curve involved. A mere five minutes after I signed up I was able to navigate the software quickly, creating cards and boards like a pro. It may be integrated with several 3rd party apps, including Zapier, Google Drive, Box. Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Trello provides email support (via support@trello.com) to all users during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST).

Not only is this software reasonably priced, but it is characterized by elegance, simplicity, and user-friendliness. It would be difficult to find a basic project management solution with a more intuitive, visually-appealing design. And in terms of sheer adoptability – of getting your employees to actually use a software-based task management tool – Trello scores extremely high.

You can check out our full review of Trello if you’d like more information.

Runner Up: Basecamp

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With over 9,000,000 current users, Basecamp is considered the most popular cloud-based project management software system of all time. It is, without doubt, one of the most user-friendly project management programs out there. When it comes down to brass tacks, simplicity is an enormously valuable characteristic, and Basecamp is just that – simple. This is project management software at its most basic and effortless level.

This software is celebrated for its no-frills, no-fuss pricing system. There are no hidden fees and no per-user costs. Plans range from $20/month to $150/month. Features include task tracking, a calendar, email notifications and a daily recap of activities, text documents (basically giant legal pads), and very simple reporting.

Basecamp is known for fast, reliable service. While they don’t provide the level of immediate personal support that you can get from other software companies (read: no phone or live chat support), the folks at Basecamp respond quickly to email requests and offer a large variety of ready-made aids and live training tools.

Basecamp itself is a pretty basic program, but there are a huge number of optional 3rd party applications available if you want or need to increase software’s functionality. You can see a complete list of Basecamp integrations on the official product website

If you have plain, bread-and-butter management requirements, we think you’ll find that Basecamp is a suitable, extremely affordable way to go. One of the best things about Basecamp is the fact that it is designed, updated, and supported by an established parent company. It is a sure bet, in other words.

Read more about Basecamp in our full review.

Shipping Software

Winner: ShipStation

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ShipStation is a reasonably-priced, web-based shipping solution for eCommerce retailers. Designed to streamline the fulfillment process as much as possible, this software has invested in a huge number of integrations that make it possible for you to sync up your business with the most popular sales channels, shopping carts, payment gateways, and mail carriers.

Pricing plans range from $25/month to $145/month. There’s a free 30-day trial that includes access to all features, with no credit card required. If you’re not satisfied with the product within 90 days, ShipStation offers a full refund, no questions asked.

The user interface can be a bit overwhelming at first, as there multiple options, menus, and sub-menus displayed on most pages. A bit of patience is definitely required when you start out, though you can take advantage of a number of video tutorials, a large knowledge base, and a pretty robust community forum if you run into trouble. Actually, you can have your own personal account manager if you want, and this person will help guide you through the setup phase of your account. Some of the higher paid plans can receive chat support as well. In general, customer support is slightly disappointing, and the responses we received to queries were somewhat boilerplate and indifferent.

One of ShipStation’s biggest selling points is that it integrates with an enormous number of carriers, marketplaces and shopping carts, especially when compared to the competition, including FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Fulfillment by Amazon, as well as Shopify, Etsy, Magento, Square, eBay, etc. The list goes on.

Check out our full review of ShipStation for more information.

Runner-Up: ShipWorks

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ShipWorks is probably the best shipping software available, though unfortunately it’s a PC-only app (which removes about half of the world’s users) and the learning curve is extremely high. The good news is that this software, which is designed to streamline the order fulfillment process for small to large businesses, has many amazing features you can’t find in other shipping applications. With a few clicks, ShipWorks can download shipping information from an online sales channel, calculate and print postage, generate labels, packing slips, and more. Combine this functionality with integrations for over 40 different mail carriers and eCommerce platforms, and you’ve got a shipping solution that really packs a wallop. Additionally, ShipWorks scales well, in a way that its SaaS competitors don’t.

Cost per month is determined by two different factors: shipment volume and number of licenses. Shipment volume is divided into three tiers:

  • $14.95/month for 0-99 shipments/month
  • $29.95/month for 100-999 shipments/month
  • $49.95/month for 1,000+ shipments/month

The price for shipment volume is then added to your licensing fee to determine the monthly bill. How much you pay for licensing is based on the number of online sales channels you use with ShipWorks.

Our own experiences with ShipWorks support have been positive. Turnaround times on support tickets were 24 hours or less, and we never had trouble reaching anybody on the phone. The Knowledge Base is extensive, and covers everything from setup and configuration to online marketplaces and shipping providers. What’s more, the articles are clearly written and provide plenty of screenshots.

As I mentioned above, ShipWorks integrates with a huge variety of shipping carriers and online marketplaces (including USPS, FedEx, UPS, Magento, Etsy, Shopify, Volusion), but if you happen to use a store that isn’t directly supported by ShipWorks, you can always work with a developer and use the ShipWorks Generic API to create your own integrations.

Click here to read our full review of ShipWorks.

Loyalty Rewards Software

Winner: Sweet Tooth

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Sweet Tooth is a prolific loyalty rewards software that currently works with over 3500 merchants worldwide, including Delta, Universal, and Olympus. Sweet Tooth is dedicated to increasing customer engagement, and case studies from many of the clients mentioned above have demonstrated nearly 20% increases in customer lifetime values, sales and repeat purchases. It is complex software with a high learning curve, but in general, the benefits of using a robust loyalty rewards software outweigh the inconvenience of having to learn how to use it! Sweet Tooth is an ideal solution for both eCommerce merchants and merchants who use combined methods of commerce.

Sweet Tooth works best – and is most full featured – when it’s used through Magento, though you can use a lighter, simpler version of Sweet Tooth on BigCommerce or Shopify (this is free for up to 500 customers). Sweet Tooth subscription plans are offered monthly and automatically renew unless cancelled. Plans begin at $49/month, and are broken down by loyalty point transactions and annual revenue generated on Magento. If your activity exceeds the limitations of your plan you will be required to upgrade to the next available plan. You can view the full pricing details for Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento on the Sweet Tooth website.

Customer service is available Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST. Overall, our experience with Sweet Tooth has been positive. Everyone we’ve spoken to at the company has been knowledgeable and friendly, and most reviewers on Magento cite the technical support as an essential part of their loyalty program.

Read our full review of Sweet Tooth if you’re interested in learning more.

Runner-Up: Belly

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Belly provides a more hassle-free loyalty rewards program than Sweet Tooth, and is ideal for smaller businesses with brick and mortar store fronts (such as bakeries, cafes, grocers, bars, spas, fitness clubs and boutiques). What’s really unique about Belly, though, are its customizeable rewards offerings and “all in one box” setup, which includes an iPad (with stand and combination lock), data reports, a personal support representative, social media integrations, and email marketing tools. Even more significantly, Belly customers get a mobile page for their business on the Belly app, where potential customers can look to find Belly-compatible businesses.

Monthly subscription costs range from $99 – $199, and all contracts run for 12 months. The cost of the iPad, iPad stand, application software, and unlimited rewards cards are included in the subscription costs for the highest plan, but an additional $150 installation fee is charged for lower plans.

Right now there are only a few drawbacks to Belly, most important of which is its steep price. Customer service can be a bit spotty as well, and unfortunately, not enough other businesses currently use it, which doesn’t provide much incentive to customers to get in the Belly network. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an easy, no-worries loyalty program, you can’t go far wrong with Belly.

Read our full review of Belly for more details and information.

Website Building Software

Winner: Wix

 

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Wix is our number one choice for web building software, and it’s not difficult to understand why. With its sleek editing interface and multiple selection of apps and integrations, it is an extremely effective do-it-yourself website designer. In addition to being easy to use, Wix provides a great selection of unique and visually appealing templates (there are hundreds to choose from).

The free version of Wix is provided to anyone who signs up, though any website you create under the free plan will be branded with the Wix logo. Paid plans range from $4.08/month to $24.90/month. Wix’s store offers payment processing through a handful of vendors, including PayPal, WebMoney, Skrill, and PayU.

All in all, Wix is intuitive and user-friendly. Within a few hours, you should be able to take a template, mess around for a bit with the editing tools, and build yourself an incredibly fine looking website.

Because Wix allows developers to create and share their own add-ons, other users are given the opportunity to expand and diversify their websites as well. Some of the most popular integrations available include online shop expansions (like the Etsy app), the Wix Hotels premium booking system, live Instagram feeds, website profile systems, and a variety of other site boosting applications

There is one downside to the software: unlike most other website-building services, Wix does not offer 24/7 live-chat or provide an email response system. There is a toll-free number you can call for help with technical issues, but be aware that you could possibly be put on hold for an unspecified amount of time.

Click here to read our full review of Wix.

Runner-Up: Jimdo

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With its reasonable price points and clever, yet simplistic editor, Jimdo has made a mark on the website building industry. Managing to be both straightforward and comprehensive, Jimdo allows users to make custom, professional looking websites. Templates are provided, of course, but you’re not bound to the confines of the template you choose; you have total freedom to edit and can essentially be as hands-on about the design process as you want.

Jimdo plans range from free to $20/month, and all plans come with an HTML5 WYSIWYG web editor, usage of professional-grade templates, social media tools, a mobile device editing view, blogging tools, photo galleries, Google Maps, contact forms, direct video embedding, widget integration, optimized mobile websites, and unlimited bandwidth.

While the only online payment processor currently supported by Jimdo is PayPal, a selection of various real-world payment methods can be activated in a website’s store, including invoicing, payment-in-advance, collection-upon-delivery, local pickup, and local delivery.

This is an easy-to-use service that somehow still manages to astound with the depth of its overall functionality. Some things may be a bit too simple, and Jimdo isn’t sophisticated enough to work as a tool for a professional web designer, but it is perfectly suited – price-wise and in ease-of-use – for small businesses who would otherwise have to hire out their web design services.

Read our full review of Jimdo here.

The post Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Tips to get a Great Deal On a money advance Loan

merchant cash advance loan

Hunting for a Merchant Cash Loan (MCA), individuals lump-sum loans compensated back daily through debit and charge card sales, could be a time-consuming experience. Because of so many providers available, how can you even begin to discover the high quality ones? Worry forget about&#8212we at Merchant Maverick are here to assist. Here are a few helpful ideas to rapidly pare lower your advance provider options and make sure that your clients are obtaining the best prices.

However, even before you start searching for any provider, you should know what you’re speaking about. Don’t use blind&#8212know what a great deal appears like so when somebody’s attempting to cheat you from your money. Lucky for you personally, we&#8217ve done all of your research for you personally. Let me lead you towards the very basics of merchant payday loans, all of the buzzwords you’ll ever have to know and, obviously, how you can make certain you aren’t entering a gimmick.

Knowing that which you&#8217re searching for, looking can start&#8230

Don’t Neglect Non-Traditional MCAs

Many new information mill stepping into the money advance business, for example Paypal, Square, and American Express. These companies happen to be doing this well that I’m sure there are lots of more the likes of options are developing plans to get involved with the experience. If you’re a small business operator, the current curiosity about developing non-traditional payday loans is an extremely good factor for you personally.

If you’re qualified for any non-traditional MCA, you don’t need to bother about credit card merchant account providers, because, typically, they are the account providers. You already come with an established relationship, you have confidence in them, their applications are fast, plus they know your business’s finances (possibly much better than you need to do).

Plus, oftentimes, they’ll provide you with the best prices. For instance, on Paypal, the bigger your withholding rate, the smaller sized your factor rate at typically 1.06, Paypal&#8217s fixed minute rates are easily the very best on the market. Square’s fixed rates vary from 1.11-1.15 (reduced compared to 1.4 that some traditional providers request), having a withholding limit of 9-13%. American Express might request a high withholding rate, however their fixed rates only vary from 1.06-1.14, and the organization offers rebates based upon how quickly you pay back the borrowed funds.

If you can to obtain a non-traditional MCA, I wouldn’t bother searching any more. You’re unlikely to locate a better deal. We only hope more payday loans such as these is going to be available later on.

Ask your Credit Card Merchant Account Provider

Much like your credit card merchant account provider? Request cash loan provider suggestions. Frequently, merchant services work with funding provider, and they’d gladly provide you with suggestions. For instance, Dharma, our favorite credit card merchant account providers, works together with American Express. Through getting an indicator out of your credit card merchant account provider, you can be certain the advance is going to be suitable for your present setup. And believe me: unless of course you don’t much like your credit card merchant account provider, you don’t want to change providers for one cash loan.

Obviously, no matter who your credit card merchant account provider might suggest, don’t forget to go searching for reviews of the organization.

Choose a BBB-Certified Business

Bbb certified companies make a “commitment to create a good belief effort to solve any consumer complaints.” These companies accept uphold eight (rather good sense) concepts of excellent business practice including being truthful and looking after customer privacy. Quite simply, these businesses have integrity, and they would like to maintain their customers happy.

The right place to begin searching for BBB-certified cash loan providers reaches the little Business Finance Association (SBFA) website. Formerly referred to as United States Merchant Advance Association, the SBFA began for cash loan providers to watch themselves. Among other standards, SBFA people must maintain “ethical standards and finest practices guidelines for that industry.” Most, if not completely, people are BBB-certified. If you’re investigating a non-person in the SBFA, you can just check them (and then any complaints fond of them) around the BBB website.

If these providers are having to pay a charge to become certified, they&#8217re thinking about maintaining a great public image. That&#8217s healthy for you if something goes horribly, horribly wrong together with your cash loan, you are able to file a complaint around the BBB website, that ought to illicit a fast response out of your provider.

My own mail to visit public using their complaints though. To protect against that&#8230

Don’t Make Use Of Stingy Providers

Customer support reluctant to provide you with information unless of course you sign up? Worse, they need you to cover that application? Plus they aren’t coming back your calls? Don’t bother. If they’re this stingy using their information as well as their money when you’re only trying to obtain a loan, are you able to imagine how difficult it might be to talk with them when something inevitably goes completely wrong? Locate a provider that&#8217s free using their information, doesn&#8217t ask for several extra charges, and doesn&#8217t attempt to hide everything from you.

Your time and effort matters. It might take some time to locate a good advance provider, however if you simply obtain a bad one, fighting together will probably occupy really your time and effort over time.

Most Of All

Look for a loan that actually works in your terms. Getting a money advance is all about helping your company&#8212not about enhancing the providers. Locate one that you want (or at best one which isn&#8217t a duty to talk with) because when you choose a service provider, you&#8217re likely to be tied to them for quite some time.

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