The odds are that if you’ve been scouring the web for a deal, you’ve come across Groupon. In recent years, Groupon has become a touchstone for people who are looking for great deals on quality services, products, and more. And advertising your business on Groupon can put you in the millions of people who use the platform each day.
I believe that Groupon is one of the least utilized advertising platforms around. Using this e-commerce platform means that you won’t have to compete as much with competitors for advertising real estate. Utilizing the platform efficient can help attract repeat customers, increase brand recognition, and make more profit along the way.
So, save some paper and embrace the era of digital couponing we’re all living through right now. Here’s how you can advertise your business or brand on Groupon.
between 18- and 44-years-old. Men and women appear to use the platform in similar numbers, meaning that businesses can expect advertisement and deals that are inclusive to all genders to do best.
Using Groupon couldn’t be easier: both merchants and customers create profiles geared toward their interests or businesses and can choose to shop or advertise throughout the e-commerce platform. The ease of use and access to Groupon has only helped the commerce company not only grow in popularity but made it a viable place for other business to market their products, services, etc..
By leveraging Groupon’s broad demographic appeal, you can establish a strong presence on the platform that directly affects your bottom lines.
www.groupon.com/login, a login page will pop up that will request the following criteria:
- Your legal first and last name
- Your business or personal email address
- Your desired Password
- Choose whether or not you want to receive email newsletters from Groupon
- Choose whether or not you want the device you’re on to remember your inputs
After signing up, you’ll have the ability to do deep dives in local, national, or international markets. It’s worth noting that more than 70 percent of all Groupon sales remain bought by locals seeking deals on products and services in their neighborhoods.
Groupon Merchant Blog, which we’ll get into later, has many accounts of restaurants experiencing more traffic from using Groupon. From offering one-time deals on certain dishes to revolving discounted specials, Groupon can help grow your business traffic.
One of the more exciting perks of your restaurant being a Groupon Merchant is that you can offer Loyalty Rewards programs. Much like in other iterations, these loyalty programs can help attract long-time customers and bring attention to your eatery.
There needs to be a reason for your customers to want a loyalty program through Groupon. Consider offering deals and incentives to customers to sign up for loyalty rewards to receive. Recently, The National Restaurant News found that people who have a Loyalty Program to a specific restaurant will spend almost 40 percent more (on average) when they’re closer to receiving an award.
Even if you don’t choose to start a Loyalty Program for your restaurant, you can continue to offer deals. Research shows that people are many times more likely to spend more on a more expensive meal if they believe they’re getting it cheaper than usual.
Advertising on Groupon for your restaurant is a win-win: Your bottom lines and customer traffic grow, and your eaters leave having saved on a good meal.
How to Advertise on Groupon for Health and Beauty
Nail and hair salons, spas, massage companies, and more health and beauty businesses can all benefit by leveraging Groupon to expand their outreach. Research shows that even during times of recession, Americans tend to continue to spend the same on health and beauty products and services. But Groupon can do more than help you get more clients.
Groupon allows Groupon Merchants to streamline appointments by simplifying the booking process. Using “Groupon Appointments,” you can allow customers to request appointments after they purchase a ticket, voucher, or digital reservation card for your business. Your “Groupon Calendar” will immediately be updated to accommodate the customer, and that specific time will be unable to be booked that day. This streamlined process also eliminates the risk of double booking from happening.
Also, you can help boost traffic for our other online health and beauty services by cross-linking to your “Groupon Page.” You’ll have the option to link to your main business website through both your Groupon Page and advertisement, itself. By creating easy access to your main website, you can introduce new and old customers to services that are available, but not through Groupon.
How To Advertise on Groupon Effectively appeared first on ShivarWeb.
Touchscreens are everywhere, and the point-of-sale industry is no exception. Touchscreen POS systems are more intuitive and easy to learn than traditional legacy POS software, and many cloud-based systems employ the same kind of iPad and Android tablets that your employees already use every day at home. Whether you’re running a restaurant, a retail outlet, or another type of business, a modern touchscreen POS system helps keep your sales moving and your business data secure. Besides simple point-of-sale features, most of these cloud-based systems also have advanced reporting capabilities, business management features, and integrations with other popular business software.
Arguably, the only problem with touchscreen point of sale systems is that there are so many different products to choose from. Do you go with a proprietary-hardware solution like Clover, an AndroidÂ POS system like Toast, anÂ iPad POS like Revel, or an open-source POS like Vend? In my opinion, the most important consideration when choosing a touchscreen POS is not just iPad vs. Android. More important are your industry type, your specific business needs, and user reviews. To help you get started in your search, I’ve put together this list of my favorite highly rated touchscreen POS systems, sorted by industry. Most of these are iPad-based, though I included some Android and open-source options as well.
To make it easier to find the best touchscreen system for your business type, I’ve sorted the following 15 POS systems into restaurant, retail, and hybrid (systems that can be used for either restaurant or retail) categories. Be advised that the order in which I’m listing these excellent systems does not indicate their ranking.
Restaurant POS Systems
The following restaurant point of sale systems can be used by just about any type ofÂ food industry business, from drive-thrus to fine dining:
- iPad POS for restaurants
- Pricing starts $99/month/location
- Must use with Upserve payments (interchange plus $0.15 fee)
- Multi-location support
- Online ordering
Cloud-based Breadcrumb POS by Upserve (see our review) is a highly versatile restaurant POS, suitable for full-service restaurants, take-out, delivery, bars, and multi-location eateries. With Breadcrumb’s acquisition by Upserve in 2016 (Breadcrumb was previously owned by GroupOn), the company has expanded its restaurant management infrastructure, making this POS a complete business management system for just about any type of restaurant.
Breadcrumb is not the cheapest restaurant POS in town, but nor is it short on features. Some of the system’s strongest features include table management, employee management, customer management, and tableside ordering. Breadcrumb also recently teamed up with GrubHub to offer online ordering and delivery (at the $249/month/location “Pro” subscription level).
One thing Breadcrumb users really like about this system is that it is specifically designed with restaurant employees in mind. While we find Breadcrumb to be a very solid all-around POS/restaurant management system, a couple potential downsides are 1) you can’t use your own merchant account (you need to use Upserve Payments) and 2) there are occasional issues with outages. Learn more in our Breadcrumb by Upserve review.
- Android POS for restaurants
- Pricing starts at $79/month
- Must use with Toast credit card processing
- Multi-location support
- Exceptional customer service
Android-based Toast POS (see our review) is another robust, cloud-based POS systemÂ for restaurants. It can accommodate any size or type ofÂ restaurant, and features like tableside ordering, labor management, and inventory management make Toast a force to be reckoned with on both the front and back end. Toast is intuitive and easy to use for servers, while also providing detailed reporting, customer data, and menu options.
Although we love Toast’s strong feature set and the fact that it uses Android tablets instead of iPads (cheaper hardware costs, less of a theft risk), keep in mind that if you want every single feature Toast offers, it’s gonna cost ya. For example, online ordering, table management, delivery management, and gift card support all carry an extra monthly charge. You also can’t choose your own credit card processor to use with this POS and must use Toast’s in-house processor (which Toast users seem to like, at least). What really sets Toast apart from a lot of other cloud-based POS systems, however, is their excellent customer support â an indispensable quality in any POS, given the inherent complexity of a system that lets you take payments, process orders, and manage almost all aspects of your business.
- iPad POS for restaurants
- Pricing starts at $69/month
- Compatible with multiple payment gateways
- Best for single-location businesses
- Locally installed system (not cloud-based)
Elegant and easy to use, Ontario-based TouchBistro (see our review) has the distinction of being the top-grossing POS Application on Appleâs App Store in over 35 countries. TouchBistro is one of the few systems on our list that, while tablet-based, is not cloud-based; rather, your store data is stored locally on your restaurant’s iPad or Mac.
TouchBistro is not a full “restaurant management system” like Toast or Breadcrumb, but it’s good at what it does, and can readily handle the POS needs of just about any size/type of eatery, from a food truck to a full-service restaurant. Since TouchBistro stores data on local servers, it’s probably best for single-location restaurants (if coordinating data between locations is important to you). Keep in mind, though, that you will need an internet connection to process credit cards.
Some great features of TouchBistro include table management, menu management, kiosk option, tableside ordering, split-payment option, bar tabs, and sales reports. Customer service doesn’t seem to be as responsive as some users would like, though 24/7 support via phone and email is included in the standard cost. TouchBistro is compatible with Mercury, Cayan, Moneris, PayPal and several other gateways.
- iPad POS for restaurants
- Pricing starts at $69/month with annual contract or $79/month without
- Can use in-house payment processing orÂ BridgePay,Â Heartland,Â PayPal,Â Nets, orÂ Vantiv Integrated Payments
- Multi-location support
- Option to installÂ in-house server backup in case you lose your wireless connection
Lavu (see our review) is yet another highly popular iPad POS system for restaurants, used in more than 20,000 restaurant terminals across 88 countries.
Lavu is not the most advanced restaurant POS there is, but it is equipped to handle the needs of most small-to-medium restaurants (or cafes, bars, coffee stands, etc.). Some features that make this POS system a hit include its customizable table layout and menus, easy employee management, advanced menu management, and useful integrations. Lavu also has renowned customer service, which is included in the standard monthly fee.Â You can add both a loyalty program and gift cards onto your subscription for just $40 a month.
Customers have complained about occasional glitches with the Lavu software, but the company releases frequent updates to solve any bugs or complaints. Affordable and highly customizable, Lavu is a strong and growing contender in tablet POS systems for restaurants.
Retail POS Systems
The following POS systems are suitable for retail store establishments, such as clothing boutiques, toy stores, electronics shops, and many others.
5. Lightspeed Retail
- iPad and web browser POS for retail
- Pricing starts at $99/month (billed annually)
- Integrates withÂ Vantiv Integrated PaymentsÂ (Mercury),Â Cayan, andÂ izettle
- Multi-location support
- Bike rental store add-on
Lightspeed Retail (see our review) is one of the most fully featured tablet POS systems out there for retail. While Lightspeed can support up to enterprise-level size businesses, this cloud-based system is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that want powerful functionality — think unlimited inventory, integrated eCommerce, work order management, and customer relationship management. Lightspeed Retail also makes it easy to transfer inventory between different store locations.
Lightspeed is among the pricier systems on this list, and various integrations to extend its functionality, such as eCommerce, can make it even more expensive. So, it’s not going to be the right POS every business. But if you want a super robust POS that you can operate from any desktop browser (meaning, you don’t have to buy expensive iPad registers), Lightspeed Retail might just be right for you. The POS is especially suited for apparel businesses but can accommodate virtually any type of retail setup, including rentals.
Note that there are several Lightspeed products in addition to Lightspeed Retail. These include Lightspeed Onsite, Lightspeed Restaurant, and Lightspeed eCommerce.
- iPad and web browser POS for retail
- Pricing starts at $69/month
- Compatible withÂ Vantiv,Â PayPal, andÂ Square
- Multi-store support
- Apple Pay-capable
VendÂ (see our review) was actually the very first web browser-based POS system when it was introduced back in 2010. Today, it is still a big force to be reckoned with in the retail POS world, used by more than 20,000 businesses in 100 countries.
Cloud-based and scaleable for retail stores both small and large, Vend uses an HTML5 browser (such as Google Chrome), or an HTML5 iPad app, for all operations. If the internet goes down, Vend can keep operating locally using the cacheÂ and will sync back up with the cloud once the connection resumes. Being browser-based means you can run Vend on a PC, Mac, or iPad. Some features on Vend we really like include customer management, eCommerce, built-in loyalty program, inventory management, and aÂ good selection of third-party software integrations. Vend doesn’t have as much functionality as a POS like Lightspeed or Revel â for example, Vend doesn’t have item modifiers â but it is cost-effective and a good choice for a store (or even chain of stores) that doesn’t need every single “business management” feature out there.
Note that Vend’s email support is free, but 24/7 phone support costs an extra $19 per month, unless you have the multi outlet subscription ($199/month billed annually).
7. Shopify POS
- iPad POS system for retail (Also supports mobile sales on iPhone and Android phones)
- Pricing starts at $9/month for mobile and Facebook sales, or $54/month to also include Retail Package for in-store sales
- Integrates with Shopify Payments and many outside processors
- Multi-store support
- Instant syncing with your Shopify online store
Shopify (see our review) started as an online shopping cart for businesses who wanted an easy way to sell their products online. Eventually, Shopify extended their offering to include a POS system for in-person sales. As you might expect, Shopify POS does a great job integrating online and offline sales for retail businesses that also do eCommerce with Shopify.
- iPad POS for independent fashion retailers
- Pricing starts at $75/month per location
- Integrates withÂ Evo Payments International,Â Velocity, CardSmith,Â National Discount Merchant Services,Â Vantiv, andÂ Moneris
- Multi-store support (max. 10 locations)
- Clothing/shoe matrix
With its exclusive focus on fashion retailers, Quetzal (see our review) is an iPad POS that’s tailor-made (ha-ha) for stores that sell clothing, shoes, and/or accessories. This aesthetically appealing system has a streamlined iOS aesthetic; the interface seriously looks like it could have been designed by Apple itself, and Quetzal even has an iTunes app that lets managers check in on their store from their Apple Watch. Quetzal also uses a compact, sleek register, Star MicronicsâÂ mPOP system.
Of course, functionality is more important than aesthetics when it comes to a POS, but Quetzal doesn’t come up short in terms of function either. We like the clothing/shoe matrix, in-depth sales reports, “tag cloud,” loyalty program, employee leaderboard, and “sales thermometer,” in particular. At only $75/location price is right as well, especially as there is no charge for additional users or terminals. A couple downsides are that after setup and installation, customer support costs extra, and also there is no QuickBooks integration.
While it doesn’t have a huge marketshare of the overall retail POS segment, Quetzal’s niche focus makes it a functional, affordable, and visually appealing choice for emerging independent clothing brands.
Hybrid POS Systems
These POS systems are flexible in that they are equally suited to retail and restaurant environments. Service-based industries such as beauty salons, rental businesses, and hospitality businesses also often use hybrid POS systems.
- iPad POS for retail and quick serve restaurants
- $69/month/register ($29/month/register for fourth register and beyond)
- Integrates with Shopkeep Payments and outside processors
- Multi-store support
- Matrix inventory feature
Shopkeep (see our review) is an affordable and enjoyable-to-use POS system that runs locally from an iPad and syncs data back to the cloud. Shopkeep is used in both retail and restaurant environments, and while it’s more feature-rich on the retail side of things, it will more than meet the needs of most quick-service/coffee carts/food truck businesses.
10. Revel Systems
- iPad POS for retail, restaurants, hospitality, and more
- Supports numerous payment processors
- Custom pricing based on industry and individual business needs
- Multi-store support
- Ethernet internet connection
Revel Systems (see our review) is arguably the holy grail of iPad POS systems. Revel is powerful enough that franchises like Cinnabon use it, and flexible enough that it can support businesses in virtually any industry, from brewpubs to gas stations. It’s also the only iPad POS system that offers a “wired” ethernet connection for a faster an more reliable internet.
Revel POS pricing is determined by which industry-specific package you choose, but depending on your needs, you can expect to pay about $80 to $200/month per location. Myriad add-on applications and integrations extend Revel’s functionality to make it do just about anything you can imagine, though this naturally increases the system’s cost as well. Some of Revel’s more impressive features include its kiosk mode, digital menu board, and ability to accept mobile payments (including ApplePay, PayPal, Bitcoin, and others). Because Revel is so powerful and customizable, initial system setup can take a while.
- Web browser/iPad/Android/Windows POS for retail and restaurants
- Pricing starts at $200/month/location
- Compatible with all big-name payment processors, (though currently promoting PayPal as a preferred processor)
- Multi-store support
- Strong inventory features
ERPLY (see our review) originated in 2009 as a retail POS system, though it has eventually expanded support to food service too, now offering food-centric features such as kitchen printing and sell by weight. Whether you run a retail business or restaurant, ERPLY is especially powerful in the inventory management department, with functions like automated ordering, supplier management, and multichannel (online, in-store, phone, email) inventory tracking and transfers.
ERPLY gives you a lot of flexibility as a business owner. Using just about any payment processor under the sun, you can accept traditional swipe, chip card, and mobile payments, including Apple Pay, PayPal, and Android Pay. You also have the option to use pretty much whatever device you want, even without a reliable internet connection, or run ERPLY right from your browser.
It’s actually kind of hard to come up with a feature ERPLY doesn’t have. An open API architecture allows customizability and the ability to develop your own software integrations and customize it to meet your needs (or, have ERPLY make these integrations/customizations for you). Being such a versatile piece of software, it’s one of the pricier cloud-based POS systems. If you have a larger or franchise business, or you just want the flexibility and horsepower this system offers, you might try ERPLY out for size.
- iPad POS for retail and restaurants
- Standard subscription is $62/month/location (billed annually upfront)
- Compatible with multiple payment processors
- Multi-store support
- Kiosk mode
talech (see our review) is a smaller player in the iPad POS world, but with their affordable price point and impressive set of more than 100 features, they can certainly give their larger competitors a run for their money. talech is used by both retail and restaurant businesses, but restaurants,Â in particular, will find a lot of useful features, including table management, coursing, and the ability to split the check by table positioning (seat).
Advanced inventory management, self-service (kiosk) mode, and the ability to generate purchase orders are some more features that set talech apart from some of its competitors in both the retail and restaurant spheres. talech also made it possible for restaurant owners to integrate an online ordering system so that you can manage in-person and online orders all from your iPad POS terminal.
- iPad POS for retail and restaurants
- Custom pricing depends on industry and number of SKUs
- Works with nearly any payment processor
- Multi-location support
- “Favorites” grid displays most popular items as register buttons
Bindo (see our review) is a hybrid POS whose varied and easy-to-use features make it suitable for retail or restaurant environments. A reasonable pricetag, clean interface, robust eCommerce storefront, andÂ thoughtful inventory reporting suite make this an especially versatile touchscreen POS option. While fewer than 5,000 businesses use new-ish POS, customer support (included at all price levels) is responsive to these customers’ needs and tech support (also included) issues frequent updates to fix any software glitches.
As with most other fully cloud-based systems, you’ll need fast internet to experience the best functionality. More than one customer has also complained about being stuck in a leasing contract with Bindo for equipment they were not satisfied with (though in general, we do not recommend leasing POS equipment). Since Bindo works with most standard iPad POS equipment and offers a 14-day free trial, it is likely that you’ll be able to test out Bindo using your current equipment before you commit to purchasing.
- iPad POS for restaurant and retail
- Basic restaurant and retail packages start at $75/month
- Works with Vantiv, Evo, and WorldPay
- Multi-location support
- Allows items to be charged by decimal and fractional quantities
SalesVu (see our review) is another affordable and feature-rich iPad POS system that can be used in many industries, including service industries and traditional retail and restaurant environments. Since this system allows you to ring up transactions in fractional amounts, it’s especially useful for hourly professionals such as therapists or dog walkers, and businesses that sell items based on weight, like fro-yo shops. SalesVu also has an appointment booking system that health, beauty, and hospitality businesses will appreciate. Like the majority of touchscreen POS’s on this list, SalesVu is best suited for smaller to medium-sized businesses, though it has the capacity to scale up if you open a second or third location.
SalesVu runs locally on iPad registers and syncs all your data to your account in the cloud. Though you can use the SalesVu POS app without an internet connection, you’ll need internet to process credit card transactions; however, you can use a specialized router with a 4G wireless modem with a data plan so that you can switch to 4G without any interruption if your main internet connection goes down.
Another cool thing about SalesVu is that it will run on an iPhone, allowing you to take mobile sales on the go. The basic mobile POS app without any frills is free, similar to Square. Which brings us to the final favorite touchscreen POS on our list …
15. Square Register
- Proprietary POS hardware with free cloud software for retail, restaurants, service industry
- Hardware costs $49/month for 24 months or $999 one-time payment
- In-house credit card processing is 2.5% + $0.10/transaction or lower for high-volume businesses
- Multi-location support
- Best for businesses with average transaction of $40 or higher
- Ethernet support for more reliable internet connection
While Square‘s popular free POS mobile app has been around for some time, the Square Register is a relatively new product, released in October 2017. There are still no monthly service fees, but rather than selling on your smartphone or iPad, you’re ringing up sales on fully featured POS hardware that you purchase as a complete package from Square. With a concept similar to that of Clover Station (which I didn’t include on this list because it is locked into First Data’s less than stellar payment processing), the Square Register is sleek, proprietary POS hardware that works right out of the box, complete with a customer facing screen and built-in credit card terminal. The Square Register hardware itself costs $49/month for 24 months, or you can simply purchase the system outright for $999.
Note that Square Register users have a different credit card processing rate than the standard Square mobile processing rate. With Square Register, businesses are charged 2.5% + $0.10 on every transaction, vs. 2.75% (+ $0.00) with regular Square.Â This pricing setup may at first blush look like Square Register has cheaper rates, but if you have a lot of small transactions you’ll actually pay more with Square Register than with the Square mobile POS. For this reason, Square Register is a more appropriate solution for larger businesses with average ticket sizes of $40 or higher. Larger businesses processing more than $250,000 per year and with an average ticket size of $15 or higher may also qualify for lower rates.
As for the specific business type, 100% cloud-based Square can work with just about any industry. Square has a built-in 24/7 online booking system for service-based industries, as well as restaurant-centric features such as suggested tipping amounts and online food orders.
Finally, Square Register is not to be confused with Square’s iPad-only, $60/month solution, Square for Retail (see our review).
When sorting through your options for touchscreen POS systems, the plethora of choices may at first seem overwhelming. But that’s why we’re here to help you sort out the stinkers and lead you to the very best tablet point of sale systems. And really, you can’t go wrong with any of the POS software systems on this list. Just check that the touchscreen POS system you’re considering meets your business’s needs in terms of functionality and budget, and test it out with a free trial before purchasing. And of course, don’t forget to check user reviews and complaints on the BBB and other consumer review sites. If you need further help choosing a touchscreen POS system, please contact me in the comments section and I’ll give you some further guidance.
The post 15 Best Touchscreen POS Systems appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
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If you need a tech-driven platform to power payments for your business, Braintree Payment Solutions (read our review) and Stripe (read our review) should be at the very top of the list. In addition to very strong developer tools with support for multiple programming languages, both companies are global service that can reach customers all over the world. But does one company excel more than the other? In the Stripe vs. Braintree debate, which company comes out on top?
Here’s the good news: Because their core offerings are so similarly aligned, it’s really easy to draw direct, apples-to-apples comparisons. And in most regards, Stripe and Braintree are very similarly matched. They both cater to some very large and/or very innovative businesses with industry-leading tools for online and mobile commerce, global business, and subscription/billing management.
Before committing to either of these platforms, it’s important to understand that to make the most of them you need advanced coding knowledge or a developer. You can go it alone with minimal knowledge, but you’ll be unable to harness the full potential of Stripe and Braintree. If you’re not tech savvy, another solution may be a better fit.
Braintree differs from Stripe primarily in that it issues merchants with their own merchant accounts, whereas Stripe is a third-party processor that aggregates payments. That means Braintree has much greater account stability than Stripe. Braintree also provides its tools at no additional cost beyond its flat-rate processing, whereas Stripe will assess small fees for the use of select services. So Braintree could very easily become the more cost-effective solution.
However, Stripe has made a name for itself with industry-leading tools, and you’re particularly interested in marketplace or subscription tools, Stripe is the standout option.
Normally, a merchant account is suited to merchants processing more than $10k/month (though some work with merchants with volumes as small as $5k/month). Braintree has no minimum and no monthly fee and says that it works with businesses of all sizes. That’s quite a bit different. With its similar pricing, Braintree is just as attractive an option as Stripe for new and small-but-growing enterprises.
The best solution for a business isn’t immediately clear here. You’ll need to look at what features are must-haves; you’ll need to consider costs. And if you are leaning toward Stripe, it’s worth considering the tradeoffs that you’ll make regarding account stability. Ultimately, it’ll be down to you and your developer to decide whether Stripe or Braintree is right for your business.
Read on for a more in-depth analysis of these two online payment gateways! Got questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a comment!
Products & Services
First things first: both of these companies support all kinds of payments, from directly on a website to inside mobile apps. They both off a choice of pre-built and completely customizable payment forms. They also offer tools for businesses that operate on marketplace or subscription models. Differences between the two platforms really come down more to the nitty-gritty details. You can also find out more about each company and its offerings by checking out our complete Braintree Payments and Stripe reviews.
Braintree’s payment processing and gateway services support merchants in more than 45 countries, versus 25 for Braintree. However, merchants can reach customers all across the globe with support for 130+ currencies. One of the biggest draws is Braintree’s PayPal integration. Because Braintree is a PayPal owned company, it makes sense that the integration between the two would be seamless.
Braintree’s SDKs support both Android and iOS for mobile developers, as well as six other languages. And you’ll find support for major payment methods across the globe, as well.
Braintree Supported Programming Languages
Braintree Supported Payment Types
- ACH Direct Debit
- Credit Cards
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Amex Express Checkout
- Visa Checkout
Braintree Core FeaturesÂ
Braintree categorizes its core offerings into four services. I like the way they are grouped because it helps better explain what Braintree is capable of doing for different kinds of businesses.
- Braintree Direct:Â If you want to sell directly on your own website, this is the solution for you. Direct includes subscription tools (see below for more information).
- Braintree Marketplace:Â Braintree’s marketplace tools allow you to create your own platform and manage the sellers and payouts with automation.
- Braintree Auth:Â “Auth” (assuming that’s short for Authorization) is Braintree’s platform for other service companies to integrate the Braintree gateway into their solutions. This allows these companies to securely access their merchants’ data and take certain authorized actions on their behalf.Â For example, an invoicing company could use Auth to create an integration with their platform and allow Braintree merchants to connect their accounts and populate invoices based on data from the customer vault. Auth is also the tool that lets businesses make it possible to onboard merchants and accept payments natively.
- Braintree Extend: Formerly called contextual commerce, Braintree has expanded its offerings here. The merchant hosts the payment checkout and transaction data, but is able to share the transaction data with partners. This creates a seamless, frictionless commerce experience for customers and keeps them on your site. Extend would be the appropriate platform for booking sites (hotels, airlines, event tickets, etc.) and other businesses that want to empower merchants/partners to sell through their website or app.
Additional Braintree Features
- Fraud Management Tools:Â Braintree separates its fraud management tools into two tiers: Basic, which includes control over AVS and CVV checks, as well as risk threshold analysis. Advanced fraud tools require more work to enable, but include a partnership with Kount, a fraud management service. Kount Standard is offered at no charge, but if you want more control over transactions and your risk management policies, you can implement Kount Custom. You must meet Braintree’s requirements and it will cost more. In addition to all of that, Braintree also supports 3D Secure for additional verification.
- Multi-Currency Displays And Conversions:Â Braintree allows merchants to display prices in local currency rather than just the merchant’s default currency, which can help entice international sales. Braintree even automatically converts the currency for you.Â Global businesses with bases of operation in several countries can connect multiple bank accounts and help reduce processing costs by eliminating the need for conversion.
- Recurring Billing And Subscription Tools:Â Braintree has some powerful recurring billing and subscription tools whether you sell software or physical goods. However, you will notice a shortage of some specific features, such as invoicing. Stripe’s suite of tools is more advanced in this regard. However, if invoicing is a concern, don’t forget that Braintree integrates pretty seamlessly with PayPal and so you can use PayPal or another integration as an extension.
- Account Auto-Updater: Reduce failed transactions and canceled subscriptions with Braintree’s Account Auto-Update feature. Expired and re-issued cards from certain institutions will automatically update with new card data to ensure continuity.
- Reporting:Â Braintree offers a smattering of default reports in its control panel, including transaction-level reporting. However, even the company admits that you’ll probably outgrow the standard reports. Braintree’s Reports API allows you to generate custom reporting based on criteria you set. And unlike Stripe, this feature costs nothing at all.
- Integrations: Braintree does support a variety of integrations, including eCommerce shopping cart software. You can browse available integrations on Braintree’s site.
I certainly think Braintree has everything most merchants will need. It does lack a few features that Stripe offers, but it’s a hugely capable system. And the seamless Payal integration could be a major draw from some merchants who have loyal PayPal customer bases.
Stripe is available to merchants in 25 countries at the time of writing this, including some betas. You can check out Stripe’s Global page for a complete list. However, regardless of merchant location, you can accept payments from all over the globe. Stripe actually supports 135+ currencies.
In addition, Stripe’s SDKs include support for Android/iIOS and seven other programming languages. Accepted payment methods depend on the merchant’s location, but Stripe supports many popular local payment methods in the EU and China in particular.
Stripe Supported Programming Languages
Stripe Supported Payment MethodsÂ
Stripe’s supported payment methods can be broken down into universal methods and local payment methods. Whereas Braintree focuses on universal payment types, Braintree has worked hard to add support for payment types common in markets such as the EU and China. Let’s start with universal payment types:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Microsoft Pay
- Amex Express Checkout
- Masterpass by Mastercard
- Visa Checkout
- WeChat Pay
Local Payment Methods are only available in their regions where they are most popular, generally speaking:
- EPSÂ BETA
- P24Â BETA
- SEPA Direct Debit
- WeChat Pay
Stripe Core Features
Stripe claims to offer more than 100 features, though it’s not exactly clear how it defines a “feature.” Still, you can do an awful lot with this company. Here’s a quick primer on what you can expect:
- Payments:Â Stripe Checkout is a prebuilt form you can just drop into your site. But if you need something more customizable, Stripe Elements will let you design a form that suits your needs. You can build payments into your site or your mobile app.
- Connect:Â Stripe’s Marketplace tools are definitely some of the most robust out there. Build and manage your own platform, including automated payouts to your merchants. Connect also facilitates connecting Stripe to other services (such as building native payments into eCommerce software) in the same way as Braintree Auth.
- Billing:Â “Billing” now encompasses all of Stripe’s subscription, invoice, and recurring billing tools. Stripe’s subscription tools have always been powerful, but with the addition of invoice capabilities and the option for metered billing, it’s safe to say that you really can’t beat what Stripe has to offer.
Despite the differences in how these companies market and present their tools, the reality is, Stripe still has many of the same functions as Braintree. They’re just framed and presented in a different way.
Additional Stripe Features:
- Sigma: Stripe offers an assortment of standard reporting tools in its dashboard. However, if you want more advanced reports, then you’ll need Sigma. For an additional monthly fee (based on volume, see the pricing section below for more details) you can generate custom reports based on SQL queries.
- Radar: Stripe’s fraud monitoring tools include machine learning to identify and flag suspicious transactions. Merchants can review and override transactions they know to be legitimate, or set up custom rules for fraud transactions, all with far less fuss than you’ll see with Braintree. If you’re very comfortable with fraud management, this is definitely an advantage.
- Multi-Currency Displays And Conversions:Â Stripe has spent a LOT of time billing itself as the platform of choice for global businesses. It should come as no surprise then that Stripe allows merchants to display pricing in local currencies and automatically handles the currency conversion. You can connect multiple bank accounts to save money on conversion costs, too.
- Account Auto-Updater: Keep recurring transactions from failing when customers get new cards. Stripe will automatically update card data in your vault to ensure continuity of subscriptions.
- Integrations: Stripe has more than 300 integrations with all kinds of other software and services a business might need. The sheer number of supported integrations could be a significant advantage for some merchants. You can browse integrations by categories on Stripe’s “Works With” page.
If everything is starting to sound really similar, it’s because these two companies really are evenly matched in most regards. it comes down to little details — like the fact that Stripe is a third-party processor while Braintree issues traditional merchant accounts. Or the fact that Stripe has far more ready-to-go integrations than Braintree.
Braintree has an advantage in that it’s available to merchants in 15 more countries, but both companies are evenly matched in the number of currencies accepted and their multi-currency displays. Also, Braintree’s pricing model (see below) is also far more straightforward and will save merchants money versus Stripe, which now charges merchants for access to many of its advanced tools.
My overall impression is that for the most part, Stripe is willing to give you more freedom with less oversight. The tradeoff, of course, is account stability.Â For example, you have complete control over your fraud monitoring tools and which transactions are approved, but it’s quite possible to make a mistake and find yourself in hot water. Braintree offers a comparable set of features, but there will be a couple more hoops to jump through if you want the same degree of control over fraud management as you get with Stripe.
You’ll also find that Stripe’s subscription tools are far more advanced than Braintree’s. However, an integration (though more costly) could but Braintree on a more even keel here.
All in all, Braintree and Stripe are pretty evenly matched, and it’s hard to call one superior to the other. So much depends on what features you need and what payment methods you want to accept.
Rates & Fees
Baseline pricing for Square and Stripe is pretty simple, and similar. However, because Stripe has started charging for access to some of its features, merchants will find themselves paying more with Stripe than they will with Braintree.
Let’s start with transaction rates:
- Card Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per card transaction for both Stripe and Braintree
- ACH Processing: 0.75% for Braintree, 0.8% for Stripe (both capped at $5)
If you’re wondering, the $5 cap for ACH transactions would kick in at $625 for Braintree, and about $665 for Stripe transactions. However, Stripe says the $5 cap starts at $625. However, I imagine for many merchants the wibbly-wobbly space between $625 a $665 won’t be much of an issue.
It’s also worth mentioning that with Braintree, you can accept PayPal and PayPal Credit transactions. Those process at the rates determined by your PayPal account, but for the most part, you can expect them to be 2.9% + $0.30.
Both Braintree and Stripe allow you to accept cards from outside your home country. Those will cost an additional 1% per transaction; if the transaction is processed in one currency and settled in another, another 1% fee also applies for both companies.
Discounts and Alternative Payment Plans
I want to point out that Braintree does offer alternative payment plans for some merchants:
- Interchange-Plus Pricing: Available in Europe as well as to high-volume merchants (more than $80,000/month) in the US.
- Nonprofit Discount Rate: 2.2% + $0.30Â (Amex processed at 3.25% + $0.30)
Braintree doesn’t offer its own micropayments plans, but you can integrate Braintree with PayPal and use PayPal’s micropayments plan (5% + $0.05) instead.
Stripe also offers discounts as well:
- Volume Discounts: Stripe doesn’t specify the threshold for enterprise pricing/custom discounts. It also doesn’t indicate anywhere easily found whether those custom discounts include interchange-plus pricing.
- Nonprofit Discounts: Stripe mentions that 501(c)(3) nonprofits may be eligible for custom discounts. It doesn’t disclose what those rates are. In addition, the wording used on Stripe’s website sounds more like “we’ll see if we can work something out,” so it’s safe to assume not all nonprofits will qualify.
- Microtransactions: Stripe says its sales team will work with merchants who want to implement micropayments, but it doesn’t specify what the cost is.
You’ll notice a trend here, I hope: a lack of disclosure. All of these pricing features are available, but Stripe fails to mention them. This likely indicates that the pricing isn’t consistent from one business to the next (usually volume and industry are two of the biggest contributing factors). It’s not a red flag, but it’s disappointing when you look at Braintree with its disclosures.
Both Stripe and Braintree assess a $15 fee per chargeback incident, which is industry standard.
Braintree will refund your processing costs in the event you issue a full refund to a customer (it will not return fees on partial refunds, however). This is very nice, and it isn’t universal across all processors. PayPal, for example, keeps the $0.30 per-transaction fee but will refund the percentage fee.
Stripe does not refund processing fees for refunded transactions. This is (somewhat surprisingly) stated very clearly at the bottom of Stripe’s pricing page.
Generally speaking, Braintree charges absolutely nothing for access to all its features and tools. However, you may incur additional charges for using 3D Secure depending on your rate plan. Using Kount Custom as part of your advanced fraud monitoring will also incur additional costs.
Stripe has modified its pricing to include additional fees for its subscription, marketplace, and reporting tools.
Stripe Billing (including all of the formerly free subscription tools) now assess a small percentage charge. Pricing is lumped into two tiers:
- Starter: Free for first $1 million in transactions; afterward, 0.4% in addition to processing costs
- Scale: 0.7% in addition to processing costs; includes additional features and discounted processing costs.
If you used Stripe’s subscription tools before April 5, 2018, you are grandfathered out of these costs and can use Stripe Billing at no additional charge. That’s actually quite nice — and somewhat unexpected.
Sigma, Stripe’s reporting tool, is priced on a sliding scale based on volume. I’ll admit this is a fair way of pricing a service like this — it’s better than tiered packages that are divided by the amount of info available or the number of queries you could generate. This way small businesses get a very fair price for advanced business info.
- <500 Transactions: $0.02/charge plus $10 infrastructure fee
- 501-1,000 Transactions: $0.018/charge plus $25 infrastructure fee
- 1,001-5,000 Transactions: $0.016/charge plus $50 infrastructure fee
- 5,000-50,000 Transactions: $0.014/charge plus $100 infrastructure fee
Beyond that point, your business moves into enterprise-level pricing and you’ll get a custom quote. You can test out the pricing tool for yourself on the Stripe website.
Costs for using Connect, Stripe’s marketplace tools, are laid out on the website pretty clearly, which is nice to see given how little other information is out there.
Also, merchants who are on a custom payment plan will pay an additional $0.04 per transaction
One final point of consideration: With Stripe, you can’t access the gateway separate from the company’s processing services. But you can do that with Braintree, for $49/month + $0.10 per transaction. That’s a bit pricey for a gateway fee, but it could easily be worth the cost to access to all of Braintree’s tools.
All in all, Braintree is the winner here simply because it offers most of its features at no additional charge beyond processing costs, and that translates to savings for merchants.
Contract Length & Cancellation
With both Stripe and Braintree, merchants have no multi-year contracts. Everything is pay-as-you-go, so if you find a better service you are free to leave at any time. This is always good to see. But what’s even better is that both companies will help you migrate your data (customer database and card vault) securely to ensure seamless continuity. And that’s not just good, it’s awesome.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
I’m always happy to say when any processor is fair, honest, and transparent. In this case, I am extra happy to say both companies fit the mark. You won’t find any deceptive sales tactics, misleading quotes, or pushy sales reps here.
You’ll pay exactly what you’re quoted with both Stripe and Braintree, which is awesome. I like that both companies use flat-rate pricing by default. It’s hard to compare that number to interchange-plus models, which are usually the most cost-effective; however, you know exactly what you’ll pay for every transaction regardless of card brand. Flat-rate pricing is far more transparent than tiered pricing models, too.
You’ll find both companies are great at pushing out information about new features and how to use them, as well, and they’re upfront about matters such as customer service channels, integrations, and more.
Perhaps the only mark against Stripe is that while its terms of service spell out that an account can be terminated at any time for any or no reason, plenty of merchants seem to gloss over this or forget it entirely…until it happens to them. Stripe is a third-party payments provider, which means that the company doesn’t do extensive underwriting or investigation into your company when you apply for an account. The tradeoff to getting your account set up quickly is that you will face more intense scrutiny after the fact. Stripe has been known to terminate merchants with no warning, whether it’s for too many chargebacks or the company’s risk assessment team identifying a pattern of high-risk transactions. When this happens, there’s no appeals process to reinstate an account. You just need to move on and find a new processor.
To be fair, Braintree seems to exhibit some of this same behavior, despite the fact that it isn’t a third-party processor. When you sign up with Braintree, you do get a traditional merchant account. However, while I have seen complaints about this behavior, the overall volume is incredibly low, especially for a company as large as Braintree. So my honest assessment is that while it can happen, it happens only rarely with Braintree users. Account terminations are more common with Stripe because of its third-party processing model — but again, an account termination is an exception to the rule, rather than the norm. Most importantly, you should be aware that this is a possibility but you can take steps to protect yourself.
First, make sure you check out Stripe’s Prohibited Businesses list and then also look at Braintree’s Acceptable Use Policy. Both of these documents outline what kinds of merchants they won’t work with, so make sure your business isn’t on the list.
You can also check out our resources, including our guide on how to avoid holds, freezes, and account terminations.
Customer Service & Technical Support
One of the most difficult parts of assessing customer support is that experiences vary so much from one merchant to the next. With some notable exceptions, it’s fairly common to see at least one negative review focusing on customer support for every good review that praises a company’s customer support. So as a reviewer, I look for patterns that can clue me into what, if anything is going on. But it’s also important to look at what support channels are offered and how they serve merchants. Being able to talk to a real, live person in real time is such an important aspect of good service for many merchants.
Braintree is a clear winner in this category. It likes to tout its “white glove service”; even ignoring the marketing buzz, when you take a look at the options and availability, it becomes clear that Braintree has worked hard to cater to merchants’ needs.
Braintree Support Options
- Email: Email support is available from 5 AM to 12 AM US Central Time, Monday-Thursday and 5 AM to 8 PM, Friday. It’s nice to see the extended weekday hours, but the lack of any sort of weekend hours is a bit disappointing.
- Knowledgebase & Documentation: In my experience, Braintree makes it much easier to find information about particular features and how to use them than Stripe does. The self-service knowledgebase includes extensive guides so that even merchants who aren’t technically inclined can make sense of Braintree’s features without having to wade through the documentation. And generally speaking, developers seem to approve of Braintree’s documentation and the available resources. The company seems to have made some major strides forward and is up there along with Stripe in terms of documentation quality.
- Phone support: Hours for Braintree’s phone support are 8 AM to 7 PM US Central Time, Monday-Thursday andÂ 8 AM to 5 PM, Friday. Again, I think the lack of weekend support hours is disappointing, but it’s nice to see extended weekday hours.
I do want to point out that Braintree does make one additional promise about its customer support:
Of course, we offer emergency support via email 24x7x365, and have support reps and engineers on-call at all times.
So it’s nice to know that in an emergency you’ll at least know someone is there to answer your questions and help your business running again. But I have no data about whether this emergency support is effective (or even necessary).
Stripe Support Options
- Knowledgebase and Documentation: I personally haven’t found Stripe’s self-service knowledgebase to be very informative. It’s quite basic, and if you want to learn more about all of Stripe’s features or understand how they fit together, you’ll need to look at the documentation. However, I will say this: Stripe’s documentation is the gold standard. So developers will have no trouble here.
- Email: Stripe doesn’t offer a turnaround time for emails, just that the company will “get back to you as soon as we can.”
- Freenode IRC Chat: Stripe’s developers apparently spend their time in the #stripe channel if you need technical assistance. Unsurprisingly, most developers seem to like this aspect of support.
Stripe doesn’t offer phone support, and it doesn’t offer any information as to when its team is on call to respond to questions, all of which is a bit disappointing. But it’s the quality that counts, right? Except, reports suggest Stripe’s customer support isn’t always awesome, either. Check out the next section, “Negative Reviews & Complaints,” for more information.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
The overall quantity of complaints is onlyÂ one factor we use to evaluate a merchant because you also need to consider the overall size of the business.
Braintree doesn’t publish current numbers for its merchants, and Stripe is vague about it. All we know is that the number exceeds 100,000, which is a good number for any merchant services provider. But we do know that both Stripe and Braintree are enormous companies that handle billions of dollars each year. Part of that is because they both serve some very large, high-profile clients. But you’ll certainly find plenty of smaller businesses and startups using these platforms, too.
On the whole, Stripe has far more complaints floating around than Braintree does. This isn’t too surprising because third-party processors, including Stripe, tend to have a high number of complaints overall, usually for 1 major reason:
- Holds and Terminations: Third-party processors or aggregators can’t offer the same sort of stability that you get with a traditional merchant account because the onboarding process for new merchants doesn’t include the traditional in-depth analysis of the business and underwriting. That means accounts are more likely to face termination for suspicious behavior after they get up and running. This is absolutely the pattern we’ve seen with Stripe and it is one of the two biggest complaints about the company.
The other major complaint about Stripe is:
- Poor Customer Service: One of the biggest gripes in the customer service department is the lack of phone service. When something is not right, merchants want to talk to a real, live person. When companies that provide core services like payment process don’t offer that, it leaves merchants upset. That’s what I’ve seen with Braintree. However, other customer service complaints say that support is unresponsive and unhelpful. This is particularly true in the account of funding holds or terminations. I don’t see many complaints about the quality of support for everyday sort of issues.
And then there’s Braintree. Braintree overall has far fewer complaints scattered across the web. (Considering this is a PayPal-owned company, I continue to be absolutely flabbergasted by this fact.) However, you will see some similarities to Stripe complaints:
- Account Terminations: I want to make it clear that references to merchants who have had their accounts terminated are few and far between. They aren’t the majority of Braintree complaints, and even if they were, they would still be uncommon. From what I can tell, an account termination usually occurs when a business is deemed high risk. Whether this is a flaw in the screening process or a determination made by analyzing processing history or particular transactions, I don’t know.
- Poor Customer Support: Complaints in this category seem to center on slow response times for email support, as well as inconsistent answers from support reps. However, I do see other merchants praising Braintree for the quality of its customer support, too.
- Long Setup Times for Accounts: Some complaints focus on the fact that it can take a while to establish an account with Braintree. I know we live in the age of instant gratification, but sometimes vetting can take time.
All in all, it’s easy to call Braintree the winner in this regard. You’ll likely deal with fewer headaches and hassles with Braintree, and you’ll certainly see far greater account stability.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Stripe is a media darling, for sure. There’s no shortage of articles about the company’s co-founders, the Collison brothers, or about how massive the company is, the way it disrupts payments technology, etc.
Braintree doesn’t get quite as much press, but its parent company, PayPal does.
But press coverage doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Most of Stripe and Braintree’s big success stories come from household names. Big companies that you’ve probably heard about. You can see a shortlist of logos from prominent Braintree clients on its homepage; you can find a longer list on the Merchant Stories page.
However, what I like best is that Braintree actually has case studies for how these different companies have used Braintree to build successful businesses and process payments. These case studies aren’t exactly common, so it’s nice to see them — and so many, at that.
Stripe’s client list is no less impressive than Braintree’s though. You can find a shortlist on the homepage as well, but a more in-depth list on the Customers page. It offers only brief snippets instead of case studies, but the page does showcase the ways you can use Stripe.
But what do everyday merchants have to say? What do developers say?
Both Stripe and Braintree are popular with developers, and the consensus is that they both offer good documentation, extensive libraries, and powerful features.
Braintree’s merchants also praise the company’s customer support — at least, the customers who don’t have a problem with the customer service praise it. It appears the customer service excels on both the technical/developer side and the merchant side.
I also see Stripe get a lot of compliments for its well-designed website and the intuitive user interface in the dashboard.
Let’s call this one a draw.
When two options are as similar in appearance as Stripe and Braintree, it can be tempting to say “Eeny Meeny Miney Mo!” and point to one and roll with it. But I hope you’ve got a slightly better understanding of where Stripe and Braintree align and where they are very different.
Obviously, the stability of a merchant account can be a major draw,Â and some businesses won’t want to sacrifice that even if it means spending a bit more on integrations to get features they need.Â On the other hand, Stripe has several best-in-class tools that some businesses may find absolutely essential, such as its Billing tools. The risk of an account termination is relatively small so long as your business model is sound, you’re not on the list of prohibited business types, and you take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of fraudulent transactions and chargebacks.
Both of these companies integrate with some major shopping cart software options, so if you’re looking primarily for an easy way to take payments, you can certainly go that route. But having a developer will really make it possible to harness the full capabilities of both companies.
It’s important that you sit down, make a list of must-have features and a list of “Would be nice” features. If you can’t make a choice based on those criteria, have a discussion about the account stability issue and decide how much risk you’re willing to tolerate. Also consider the customer support that each company offers and the fact that you may end up having to pay more for using some of Stripe’s best features.
Don’t forget to check out our complete Braintree review, as well as our Stripe review, for good measure.
Thanks for reading! I always love to hear from readers, so if you have questions or comments, please leave them below! We’ll be happy to help you!
The post Stripe VS Braintree appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
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Spend a little bit of time reading up on Stripe (read our review) and Square (read our review) and you’ll start to see the similarities. They’re both giants in the payment industry, media darlings that have transformed the way people pay for things and the way merchants accept payments. They’re both on the leading edge of technology and rely heavily on machine learning to drive their payment processing systems.
Most importantly, both Square and Stripe offer huge assortments of commerce tools that make it easy for merchants to run their businesses. With the various APIs and integrations available, there are almost limitless possibilities for creating a custom system with everything from invoicing to email marketing and more.
But that’s where I stop pointing out the similarities. Once you get past that point, it becomes harder to draw apples-to-apples comparisons because Square’s offerings are much more varied. Square really is an all-in-one processor that can handle in-person and eCommerce payments, as well as inventory management, customer databases, and more. Stripe is more limited to eCommerce, both for websites and for mobile apps, but it has powerful tools for global enterprises, subscription-based businesses, and other online companies.
To keep things fair and within a manageable scope, we’re going to limit the scope of this comparison to each companies’ online and mobile commerce tools. That means, for the most part, we’re not going to look atÂ mPOS apps, POS integrations, appointment booking, or email marketing…except to say if you need them, Square is the better choice.That also means we’ll be ignoring Stripe Atlas, the company’s service for helping international merchants establish themselves in the US.
If you want to sell online and Square and Stripe have made your shortlist, you should start by asking yourself some questions:
- What features do you absolutely need? Which features aren’t essential, but would be very nice to have?
- What percentage of your transactions are from outside the US?
- Do you have a developer or advanced coding knowledge yourself?
- Do you have limited tech knowledge and need an easy solution?
- Are you looking for specific integrations?
- What industry is your business part of?
- How advanced are your subscription tool needs?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can sit down and look at each company in more detail. Read on for our comparison of Stripe vs. Square!
Products & Services
It’s so important to have a list of must-have features before you set about choosing any sort of payments or eCommerce software because you don’t want to make the decision and then find out that you’re missing a very important function. But it’s also important to think about where you want your business to go and what tools you want to invest in as your business scales up. If you pick the right service, it could mean you never need to switch. But if you don’t think about growth, you may wind up having to make a complicated switchover later in the future once you’ve outgrown a solution.
The good news is that for the most part, Stripe and Square are both very good solutions that scale up as a business grows. It just comes down to in which direction a business wants to grow.
Square Tools and Services for Online Merchants
Square initially stood out among mobile competitors by offering a free webstore to its merchants. Since then, the company has branched out considerably to include eCommerce integrations as well as developer tools. For a more in-depth review of all of Square’s offerings, check out our full review.
- Online Store: Square’s free online store is very basic. There are only four templates to choose from, and you can only customize portions of the site (such as filling in your business name and address in the footer) in addition to loading your products. This is not a good solution for anyone with a large and diverse inventory, especially if your shipping costs vary significantly or if you’re looking for a particular visual aesthetic.
- eCommerce Integrations:Â When you first take a look at Square’s eCommerce offerings, you’ll see that Square very conveniently groups everything by a merchant’s level of technical expertise. I think this is a really helpful approach.
The easiest integrations are listed on the site and Square lets you know that you can choose from an assortment of templates.
The intermediate level includes eCommerce integrations that require a bit more work and technical knowledge to get set up.
Square’s list of integrations includes some of the best shopping cart options, and the list keeps growing. That makes me happy, but if your preferred integration isn’t on the list yet and you do have the technical knowledge (or an eager developer on your payroll), there are more tools at your disposal. You can check out the list of Square integrations in the app marketplace.
- Developer Tools: Square’s dev tools make it possible for you to create almost any custom integration you could need. For eCommerce, there are two APIs, Checkout and Transactions.Â Square Checkout is a premade form that can be dropped into a site with minimal fuss. Using Checkout means merchants are eligible for some perks, like next-day deposits and chargeback protection. The Transaction API, combined with Square’s payment form, is more customizable. Square has other APIs to handle other aspects of commerce, but you’ll find that Square doesn’t readily support in-app payments.
- Dashboard Reporting: Square’s reporting tools are fairly advanced, especially for a company that started as an mPOS. They’re very popular with merchants who want to know what’s selling and how much they’re processing and need standard business data. The dashboard is actually quite intuitive, as well. However, Square doesn’t allow for a huge amount of customization in reports unless you get into the Reporting API, which allows you to create real-time notifications using webhooks.
Additionally, Square offers the following tools:
- Advanced Inventory: Square will reconcile online and in-person sales and give you an up-to-date count on your inventory, including low-stock alerts when you hit a specified threshold. Plus, you can bulk upload products and generate SKUs, create variants, and more.
- Fraud Protection Tools: Square uses machine learning to analyze transactions and identify and flag possible fraudulent transactions.
- Customer Database: Save customers’ contact information and build a database with records of their purchases so that you can market to them later.
- Invoicing:Â Create invoices from within the Square dashboard or from within the mPOS app. Square also allows customers to store their cards to automatically pay invoices (using this Card on File will cost you a bit more). You can also create recurring invoices. However, if you want extensive subscription management tools, you’ll need an integration with a service like Chargify, which will add to your costs.
- Free Virtual Terminal: If you want to process payments over the phone or you don’t have access to the mPOS, you can use Square’s virtual terminal. Transactions will be processed at the manual entry rate (3.5% + $0.15) rather than the eCommerce rate, but the solution is PCI compliant and is designed for regular use.
All in all, while it’s worth noting that Square really is an omnichannel solution for merchants who want to sell anywhere without needing to build a complicated system of integrations. But it has some shortcomings, especially for digital merchants. Subscription tools are nearly nonexistent, and fraud protection doesn’t compare to the tools Stripe offers. If you want advanced, custom reports, you’ll be better served by Stripe. However, Square’s tools and overall design are incredibly easy to use, especially for business owners who don’t have a lot of technical expertise or a large budget to hire someone. And it has very strong tools for merchants who sell physical products in particular.
StripeÂ Tools and Services for Online Merchants
Stripe has earned its name as a developer-friendly option, but you can also integrate with a host of third-party apps to accept payments with ease. The company focuses on internet and mobile commerce, but developers have extended Square’s power to include mobile payments and more. Just take note, there’s no free storefront option here. For a more detailed look at different features, check out our complete Stripe review.
- eCommerce Integrations & Plug-Ins:Â Stripe outclasses Square in terms of shopping cart integrations by virtue of sheer numbers. In addition to integrations with major eCommerce software providers, developers have created an assortment of plug-ins for businesses operating on WordPress, Magento, and other websites. If you’re not really sure where you start, you might end up doing a lot of research to decide the best course of action, but you can at least take heart in knowing that there’ll be something that will meet your needs. You can check out the full list of eCommerce integrations on Stripe’s “Works With” page.
- Developer Tools: Stripe is much loved by developers for its flexibility, its extensive documentation and its support for multiple programming languages. Its APIs allow you to create invoices and subscriptions along with many other features.
- Stripe Sigma: Stripe offers your standard user dashboard with some general sales reports at no charge. But if your business is heavily data-driven, Sigma’s customizable reporting is the perfect solution for you: you can generate reports based on SQL queries. This is pretty cool, and it’s a great way to make sure that anyone on your team can get the reports they need without creating an information bottleneck. Pricing is based on a sliding scale rather than a set additional monthly see.
Stripe’s additional tools include:
- Stripe Billing: Stripe’s subscription tools are industry-leading, with the ability to charge clients based on a recurring quantity or metered usage, to set free trial periods, and much more. You can also create invoices or set up recurring billing tools. However, new businesses will pay a small additional charge per transaction to use these tools.
- Stripe Radar: Stripe makes a big deal of its fraud monitoring tools, bundled under the very-apt name Radar. The system uses machine learning and a host of criteria to analyze every transaction and decide whether it is legitimate or possibly fraudulent. Radar also lets merchants set custom criteria for rejecting transactions and review flagged transactions to decide whether to accept or reject them.
- Marketplace Tools: Merchants who want to operate a marketplace can use Stripe to build the platform. Stripe’s marketplace tools are grouped under the moniker “Stripe Connect.”
- Multiple Currency Displays & Dynamic Currency Conversion: These tools are a major reason why Stripe is such a powerful tool for global businesses. Whereas Stripe will automatically convert transactions to USD (usually at the cost of a fee toÂ the cardholder), Stripe will allow you to display prices in local currencies based on where the customer is located. Stripe then automatically converts them for the merchant, charging a small markup over the exchange rate. This makes a business more appealing to international customers.
There’s no doubt that Stripe is very powerful. It can handle all sorts of payments, from digital subscriptions to retail goods. It’s one of the best solutions for global businesses with its currency tools. But it does have some limitations. If you plan to sell across multiple channels, there’s no option for in-person payments unless you have an integration like Flint Mobile (read our review), but it’s still more costly than other mPOS options. There’s no virtual terminal, either. While Stripe does allow you to manually enter a transaction if all else fails, it’s a last resort rather than a tool to be used on the regular because of PCI compliance issues.
Stripe’s inventory tools aren’t on the level of Square. They’re powerful, but if you want advanced inventory management, you’ll need to tack on an integration. I also don’t think that Stripe’s inventory tools are even half as intuitive as Square’s. But I think part of that is Stripe’s focus on online payments and tools for digital merchants, compared to Square’s omnichannel approach.
All in all, it’s really hard to say one of these companies is inherently better than the other. Both have a good assortment of integrations for shopping carts and other tools, though Stripe has a greater number of supported integrations. If you want ease of use, especially if you sell physical goods,Â Square is the standout option. But if you need flexibility, robust tools, and advanced data, Stripe is the better choice. So it ultimately comes down to your business’ needs.
Fees & Rates
I am happy to say that pricing for both Square and Stripe is mostly straightforward:
- 2.9% + $0.30 per online card transaction
There are no monthly fees, no monthly minimums, no statement fees. That’s very nice to see.
I do want to point out thatÂ Square charges different rates for its card-present and keyed transactions (2.7% and 3.5% + $0.15, respectively).Â However, invoices process at the same rate as eCommerce transactions unless you’re using Card on File, which process at the keyed transaction rate.
Square also has no chargeback fees, which is very unusual. Not only that, but the company has rolled out Chargeback Protection, which will cover the actual chargeback costs on qualifying disputes up to $250 per month. This doesn’t apply to merchants who use the Transactions API, but it is available for those who use Stripe Checkout.
You can getÂ volume discounts if you process above $250k per year AND have an average ticket size exceeding $15. That’s a mark in Square’s favor for large businesses. However, nonprofits don’t get any sort of special discount, which you can often find with other processors.
Stripe’s pricing has become a tiny bit more complicated. In addition to card transactions processed at 2.9% + $0.30, you can also accept ACH transactions for 0.8%, capped at $5 maximum.
The base fee per transaction is simple. And for each chargeback, Stripe will assess a $15 fee, unless the chargeback is decided in your favor. In that case, you’ll pay absolutely nothing.
Stripe’s subscription tools, lumped under the name “Stripe Billing” along with invoicing, will cost you a small percentage fee (between 0.04% and 0.07%) on top of your transaction.
Existing Stripe merchants are grandfathered out of this new pricing. Large businesses will actually pay the higher 0.7% markup, but it seems Stripe has compromised by offering lower transaction fees.
You’ll also pay a monthly fee for access to Stripe Sigma. The cost is a sliding scale based on the number of transactions you process each month, which is a great way for very small businesses to still get crucial data. But for a company that built its reputation on not charging any fees beyond transaction processing, it’s a little bit disappointing to see that model disappearing. You can estimate your cost with Stripe’s tool.
Stripe does offer enterprise pricing for very large businesses, andÂ some nonprofits may be eligible for a special rate. Stripe doesn’t make any promises about nonprofit pricing apart from “let us know and we’ll see what we can do.” So you shouldn’t assume it’s guaranteed.
With Stripe, you may also be able to negotiate for micro-transaction rates.Â Whereas per-transaction fees like the $0.30 Stripe and Square charge can eat up fees from small transactions (less than $10 in particular), micro-transaction rates typically include a higher percentage and a lower per-transaction fee that can save merchants money. This is ideal for anyone who sells digital goods and other low-cost items.
Because it’s something offered as part of a custom package, Stripe may not offer this deal to everyone. If you’re unable to get a micro-transaction plan from Stripe, it might be worth looking at a third option — PayPal (read our review) — instead. The 5% + $0.05 fee could save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
All in all, Stripe and Square are fairly evenly matched in pricing. Some merchants might enjoy the lack of chargeback fees and included chargeback protection that Square offers. But Stripe might be a bigger draw for other companies, despite the additional charges for using its subscription tools or Sigma reporting.
Contract Length & Cancellation
Both Stripe and Square offerÂ pay-as-you-go processing with no locked-in contracts or early termination fees. It really is that simple. Stripe will even help you transfer your customer data to another processor in a PCI compliant way.
If you’re using any of Square’s monthly services in addition to eCommerce processing, you can get a free 30-day trial, and then if you choose to continue with the service, you can cancel at any time. Square doesn’t bill annually for those services the way many SaaS providers do. (Conversely, you also don’t get any discounts for paying annually, either.)
Sales & Advertising Transparency
One of the reasons I like pay-as-you-go processors is that they are, on the whole, very upfront and transparent. They tend to not have extensive sales teams, and if they do have a sales team, they’re all in-house. They’re very clear about their pricing and terms, and they’re applied fairly to all merchants.
Square and Stripe both fit this pattern to a T. You won’t see reports of misleading sales pitches or rates not as promised here, which is always nice to see. You can find Stripe’s terms of service on the site, both the general user agreement and the Stripe Payments agreement. Like Stripe, Square has separate agreementsÂ applying to general use, payments, and other services. I do recommend you be cautious and check that your business doesn’t fall on either list of “prohibited businesses,” because that’s an easy path to account termination.
Overall, I’m really happy with both companies in this category, and you shouldn’t have any worries about whether you’re being told the truth or whether you’ll pay what you were quoted.
Customer Service & Technical Support
I think it’s fairly clear that Square outshines Stripe in terms of its customer support — both in quality and in the number of channels available.
Square offers merchantsÂ phone and email support, as well as an extensive knowledgebase. That’s pretty typical of any processor, but on top of that, Square operates the Seller Community, a community forum about all-things Square.
You can get answers from other Square merchants as well as from Square support reps. It’s a pretty powerful tool. But on top of that, Square’s team monitors Stack Overflow for questions about Square products and responds to them.
And that’s not even talking about Square’s dedicated Twitter support handle (@SqSupport), or the developer portal and documentation.
I can’t say that Square customer support is all sunshine and rainbows, because I do see customer complaints about the quality. However, without a doubt the biggest complaint about the quality of customer support comes from merchants whose accounts have been terminated. In that case, Square cuts off access to phone support and will only communicate via email. This is unfortunate and I don’t know if it’s actually a good solution. But I am sure part of the reason to reduce the odds of a customer support rep saying something they shouldn’t, and to prevent support resources from being tied up dealing with complaints from terminated merchants whose accounts won’t be reinstated.
Stripe is more limited in its support options. Its primary support channel is email. However, Stripe also operates an IRC Freenode chat (#Stripe) that developers may find useful.Â There’s no dedicated social media support with Stripe, but you can follow the general @Stripe twitter feed.
Stripe also maintains a self-service knowledgebase, though I don’t think it’s as extensive or detailed as Square’s.Â But I will say that Stripe’s documentation is pretty legendary, and so it’s going to be one of the best resources you can get.Â You can also find questions about Stripe on Stack Overflow, but I am not able to ascertain whether Stripe’s team is active on the forum at all the way that Square is.
I do see comments from merchants that the support is pretty good. But I also see a lot of complaints from frustrated merchants about the lack of phone support. That complaint has actually become one of the biggest marks against Stripe. I’ve seen one mention that Stripe might be rolling out phone support to “select merchants” (presumably high-value clients). However, take this with a grain of salt. I wasn’t able to verify it through any sort of authoritative source.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
As far as complaints go, the single biggest issue for both Square and Stripe is a common one:
- Account Holds And Terminations: This is unsurprising (understatement of the year, right there) because it’s a common issue with any third-party processor. Because these payment systems are usually open to almost anyone right away and they are all lumped into one large merchant account, there’s a greater risk that some of those accounts will be terminated for risky behavior. There’s very little scrutiny done before a sub-account with one of these processors is approved, which stands in contrast to merchant accounts, where the processing company will do a lot of underwriting and investigation before approving your application. Both Square and Stripe use a lot of machine learning to analyze transactions and flag suspicious behaviors. This potential for account holds or terminations is universal — you will encounter it with any third-party processor. If you want to avoid it, your only alternative is to seek out a traditional merchant account.
The other big complaint that I see with both is also a pretty common one:
- Poor Customer Support: If I’m honest, reports about the quality of customer service conflict. But because of how common the complaints are, I’m listing it here. With Stripe, the most common issues are the lack of phone support and slow response times for email. With Square, a lot of the complaints about poor customer service come from terminated merchants, but I’ve seen a few complaints about slow or unhelpful email responses.
Additional frequent complaints about Stripe include:
- Lack Of Fraud Protection: I want to be clear: Stripe does have fraud management tools and a system to help merchants fight chargebacks. But I have seen complaints from merchants who don’t think these are adequate. Chargebacks are not settled by Stripe, so there’s not much the company can do beyond pass the requested documents on. But for fraud prevention, merchants need to make sure they have the appropriate tools enabled.
- Not User-Friendly: There’s a lot of testimonials from users (especially developers) who really like Stripe and find it simple to set up. There are plenty of others who disagree with that idea. I’m inclined to think most people with a decent technical backing will get along fine with Stripe, but for some people, especially those with less technical knowledge, it’s not going to be a good choice.
For Square, there is one other common complaint:
- Lack of advanced features: It’s not that Square doesn’t have enough features, or that it’s missing anything important. The complaints about Square often focus on the lack of very particular advanced features that you typically find in full-scale POS systems. In this case, I think Square’s lack of extensive subscription tools would fit the bill. Some merchants have been upset for quite a while over the lack of Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) reporting. Square added this feature with its Square for Retail app, but not for online sales or its free POS. Square has some very powerful reporting tools, but in the end, they won’t hold a candle to Stripe’s Sigma offering.
I think, yet again, that the two companies are pretty evenly matched in this category. The largest complaints are identical, and that’s because they’re the same complaints we see with third-party processors. To be entirely honest, poor customer service is a common complaint across the entire payments industry. It’s frustrating, for sure. But you can take steps to better inform yourself — read our article on how to prevent holds, freezes, and account terminations. And please take reports of poor customer service with a grain of salt, because I see conflicting accounts there.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As media darlings, both Stripe and Square have gotten lots of press. They’re both lauded for the way they’ve transformed payments.
I usually feel a little bit silly comparing two businesses in this category because it almost feels like a bit of a popularity contest. But in this case, we’re dealing with two companies who have both gotten a LOT of positive press over the years, not to mention high-profile clients. And the bits of each service that merchants love most are pretty similar, too.
Square merchants love how easy the service is to use. And I tend to agree — Square is one of the most intuitive options out there as far as payments and using the dashboard. Merchants also really like the predictable pricing and lack of fees. Other than that, the integrated invoicing feature and the seamless omnichannel commerce experience are big draws.
Stripe also wins merchants over with its pricing, and its tools are very much loved by developers. While if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge, Stripe may feel foreign to you, developers say it’s incredibly easy to use. Also on the dev side of things, it seems like the quality ofÂ customer service is great, even if business owners don’t always like the lack of phone support. And unsurprisingly, merchants really seem to love Stripe’s robust subscription tools. The predictable pricing and lack of monthly fees are also appealing.
Stripe and Square have some very important core similarities: they’re both third-party processors with an assortment of tools that allow merchants to sell online. Neither one is suited to high-risk industries, and there’s a lengthy list of businesses neither company can work with. But despite that, both Stripe and Square offer tools that cater to a huge assortment of industries. They’ll both grow with your business, making it easy to scale up.
But despite their similarities in terms of business model, it’s also pretty clear that what each company does best is completely different.
Square is a spectacular all-in-one processor. You can sell in a store, on the go, and online and get all of your information and payments and orders collected in one simply, intuitive dashboard. There’s a huge array of add-on products that allow you consolidate a host of business functions under one name, and they’re guaranteed to work together perfect. eCommerce support is really the newest branch of Square’s offerings, and it’s a work in progress as the company establishes more partnerships and integrations with other major players.
If you have limited technical knowledge, Square is going to be much easier to get started with and to navigate through the different features. It’s free advanced inventory tools are also very well suited to retailers and other businesses that sell primarily physical goods.
Stripe focuses only on Internet payments (both on the web and in-app), but its tools make it possible for businesses to cater to customers all over the globe. The international appeal — from the local currency displays to the sheer breadth of payment methods accepted — make it clear that Stripe is already a global player.Not only that, but with Stripe’s APIs and documentation, a savvy developer could create all kinds of payments platforms for a business. Business owners who don’t have a developer on staff, and who don’t have a lot of technical knowledge themselves, might struggle with understanding how to use Stripe, especially if you want to do anything more than integrate it with some sort of shopping cart software.
You also get a far more limited scope of features. There’s no native support for omnichannel commerce. No mPOS app, no POS integration to support card-present pricing, no invoicing. If you need more than online payments on a regular basis, Stripe isn’t a suitable choice. But if that’s all you need, Stripe isn’t just a good option — it’s one of the best out there, period. If your business has a global reach, again you’ll find that Stripe once again tops the lists of best solutions.
I’m not comfortable saying that one of these solutions is better than the other because it really comes down to what your priorities are. Do you need something easy to use? Do you want to embrace multiple sales channels? Or are you limited to online sales and want best-in-class tools to reach a global audience, manage subscriptions, and even drive mobile commerce? Square can get the job done, and it’ll be the easier solution, but Stripe offers far more tools.
Sit down, think about what features are absolutely mandatory for you to have — and then look at which ones you’d like to have, but aren’t necessarily required. From there, it should be fairly clear which solution is right for you! Don’t forget to check out our complete reviews of Stripe and Square for more insights into how they function.
Have questions? Leave us a comment and we’ll help! Have experience using either of these tools? We’d love to hear from you.
As always, thanks for reading!
The post Stripe VS Square appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
It can be really hard to be a road warrior. Frequent business travelers have to constantly endure the hassles of modern travel, including security lines, flight delays,Â and cramped airline seats, but they do it because itâs necessary to build and maintain client relationships or to further other company goals.
If thereâs one tool that can make business travel a lot easier for you and your employees, itâs a small business card. The right small business credit card can offer travelers incredibly valuable benefits. For example, some cards will offer credits towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications, allowing you to skip the lines at security and immigration. A small business credit card can also grant you priority boarding, a free checked bag,Â and other airline perks. Finally, small business credit cards can offer you valuable points or miles that can be redeemed for travel rewards by you, your family, or even your employees.
Choosing The Right Small Business Card For Travel
The credit card industry is competitive, and there are many cards targeted at business travelers. To select the right card for your needs, you have to decide which features and benefits will be most valuable to you.
Travelers who are loyal to a particular airline will certainly appreciate the brand specific perks offered by hotel and airline credit cards.Â However, the reward miles you earn can only be redeemed for flights on that airline and its partners. And unfortunately, airlines have a habit of regularly adjusting their award charts to make their miles less valuable.Â Likewise, a hotel rewards credit cards can offer benefits such as room upgrades, late checkouts,Â and even free breakfast. But once again, the rewards you earn can only be used within that hotel chain.
Those who consider themselves âfree agentsâ will often prefer the non-affiliate credit cards. Many of these travel reward cards offer points that can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points with several different programs, or can be used to book travel reservations directly with the card issuerâs designated travel agency.
Co-Branded Business Cards
Credit cards that are co-branded with airlines and hotels can offer the best travel benefits. For example, airline credit cards offer benefits — like priority boarding, free checked bags and credit towards elite status — when you travel on a certain carrier.
|JetBlue Business Card from Barclaycard|
|APR||Variable,Â 17.24%Â orÂ 21.24%|
|Signup Bonus||30,000 points|
|Rewards||6 pts./$1 spent on JetBlue purchases|
|2 pts./$1 spent at restaurant and office supply stores|
|1 pt./$1 on all other purchases|
JetBlue has attracted a loyal following among business travelers who appreciate its low prices, great service,Â and strong rewards program. This card offers new applicants 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on new purchases within 90 days of account opening. You also earn 6x points on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and office supply stores and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Rewards donât expire, and there are no blackout dates with this program.
Benefits include 10% of your points back every time youÂ redeem, and the first bag checked free for yourself and up to three companions. You’ll be given 5,000 bonus miles each year on your account anniversary. You also receive TrueBlue Mosaic elite status when you use your card to spend $50,000 or more in a calendar year and a 50% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases. Thereâs a $99 annual fee for this cardÂ and no foreign transaction fees.
|Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card from American Express|
|APR||Variable, 16.99% – 25.99%|
|Signup Bonus||40,000 miles
10,000 MedallionÂ® Qualification Miles
|Rewards||2 pts./$1 for Delta purchases|
|1 pt./$1 on all other purchases|
This card offers several exclusive benefits when flying on Delta. You start with the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MedallionÂ® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within three months of account opening. This card also offers you 2x miles on all Delta purchases and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. The Miles Boost gives you the chance to earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $30,000 within a calendar year, and another 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles once you reach a total of $60,000 in spending during the same year.
Other benefits include complimentary Delta SkyClub access, priority boarding, and a 20% savings on in-flight saving purchases. You also receive a companion certificate each year (upon renewal) thatâs good for a free companion ticket (not including taxes) on a round-trip flight in economy or business class within the contiguous 48 states. Finally, this card offers you upgrade priority over other travelers with the same Medallion status who arenât cardholders. Thereâs a $450 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
|United MileagePlus Club Business Card from Chase|
|APR||Variable,Â 17.24% âÂ 24.24%|
|Signup Bonus||40,000 miles|
|Rewards||2 pts./$1 for United purchases|
|1.5 pts./$1 on all other purchases|
This premium travel rewards card offers both impressive rewards and benefits when traveling on United. New applicants receive a $100 statement credit after their first purchaseÂ and earn 2x miles on all United Airlines purchases. But one of the things that makes this card truly remarkable is the 1.5x miles earned on all other purchases — 50% more than youâll get from any other airline credit card.
This card also comes with a variety of cardholder benefits that are equal to or better than most other airline cards. First, you receive a United Club airport lounge membership thatâs valid for yourself and your immediate family, or up to two guests. When traveling, you also receive Premier Access travel services, which includes priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling. You’ll get two free checked bags for yourself and a traveling companion, as well as expanded award availability, a waiver of close-in award booking fees on United tickets, and the ability to receive Premier upgrades on award tickets.
Other travel benefits include Discoverist Status with Hyatt and Presidentâs Circle Elite status with Hertz car rentals. Thereâs a $450 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
|CitiBusinessÂ® / AAdvantageÂ® Platinum SelectÂ® World MastercardÂ®|
|Annual Fee||$95 ($0 the first year)|
|APR||Variable, 16.99% – 24.99%|
|Signup Bonus||60,000 miles|
|Rewards||2 pts./$1 for American Airlines purchases, gas stations, and some phone and car rental services|
|1 pt./$1 on all other purchases|
This small business card offers strong benefits when traveling on American Airlines. You start with the chance to earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn 2x miles on all American Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere.
Benefits include preferred boarding, a free checked bag,Â and a companion certificate each year when you use your card to spend $30,000 or more. Thereâs a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
|Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express|
|Annual Fee||$95 ($0 the first year)|
|APR||Variable, 16.49% – 20.49%|
|Signup Bonus||25,000 points|
|Rewards||5 pts./$1 spent at eligible SPG hotels|
|2 pts./$1 spent at eligible Marriott hotels|
|1 pt./$1 on all other purchases|
This small business card has a loyal following among award travel enthusiasts, primarily due to the strength of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. New cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. This card offers up to five points per dollar spent at Starwood hotels, 2x points at participating Marriott Rewards hotels, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
Points can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood and Marriott Rewards propertiesÂ or can be converted to miles with over 30 different frequent flyer programs. When you redeem four consecutive award nights, you get the fifth night free, and if you transfer 20,000 points to miles, you get a 5,000-mile bonus. Other benefits include free access to the Sheraton Club lounges and a chance to earn Gold Elite status by spending $30,000 on your card in a calendar year. Thereâs a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
|Hilton Honors American Express Business card|
|APR||Variable, 16.99% – 25.99%|
|Signup Bonus||100,000 points|
|Rewards||12 pts./$1 spent at Hilton hotels and resorts|
|6 pts./$1 spent on gas stations, wireless phone services, shipping, restaurants, flights booked via AmexTravel.com, and car rentals|
|3 pts./$1 on all other purchases|
This card offers up to 100,000 Hilton Honors points as a sign-up bonus, and complimentary Gold status. New accounts can earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening, and another 25,000 points after spending an additional $1,000 within the first six months. You also earn 12x points for purchases from Hilton hotels and resorts, and 6x points for purchases at US gas stations, on wireless telephone services from US service providers, and on US purchases for shipping. You also earn 6x points at US restaurants, on flights booked through AmexTravel.com, and on rental cars booked directly from select rental car companies.
Benefits include complimentary Gold elite status (room upgrades, points bonuses, and even free breakfast at some properties). You can upgrade to Diamond status after using your card to spend $40,000 in a calendar year. You also get a free weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on your card during a calendar year, and a second weekend night reward when you reach 60,000 in purchases within the same calendar year. You’ll receive 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge visits valid at over 1,000 locations around the world. Thereâs a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
Unaffiliated Business Cards
Credit cards that arenât affiliated with specific travel providers offer much more flexible travel rewards and benefits, while lacking perks with specific airlines and hotels.
|Ink Preferred Card from Chase|
|APR||Variable,Â 17.24% âÂ 22.24%|
|Signup Bonus||80,000 points|
|Rewards||3 pts./$1 for travel; shipping; internet, cable, and phone; and social media and search engine advertising (up to $150,000 per year)|
|1 pt./$1 on all other purchases|
This card offers you valuable Ultimate Rewards points and numerous cardholder benefits. New accounts can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn 3x points on your first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. You also earn one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
Points are earned in Chaseâs Ultimate Rewards program and can be redeemed for 1.25 cents towards travel reservations booked through Chase. Or, you can convert your points to miles with nine different airline programs or points with four different hotel programs. Other benefits include trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, cell phone protection, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. Thereâs a $95 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
|American Express Business Platinum|
|APR||Charge card, no interest|
|Signup Bonus||75,000 points|
|Rewards||5 pts./$1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked via AmexTravel.com|
|1.5 pts./$1 spent on purchases of $5,000 or more|
|1 pt./$1 on all other purchases|
The business version of American Expressâs premium rewards card offers many valuable cardholder benefits. New applicants receive up to 75,000 bonus points, including 50,000 points after spending $10,000 within three months of account opening and another $25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 during the same three month period. You also earn one point per dollar spent on all purchases, with a 50% bonus on purchases greater than $5,000. Points can be redeemed for travel reservations with a 35% bonus on airline reservations. You can also convert your points to miles with 16 different frequent flyer programs.
Benefits include a $200 annual airline fee credit and a $100 credit towards the application fee for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications. You also receive access to the Delta SkyClubs lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges,Â and American Express Centurion lounges. Thereâs a $450 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
|American Express Blue Business Plus|
|APR||Variable, 12.49% – 20.49%Â (0% APR for the first 15 months)|
|Rewards||2 pts./$1 spent on all purchases (up to $50,000 per year)|
|1 pt./$1 on purchases after $50,000|
This is a simple card that substitutes superior rewards for other cardholder benefits. You earn 2x rewards on all purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year. Points are earned in the same Membership Rewards program that the Platinum card offers, but this card has no annual fee. It still comes with cardholder benefits such as extended warranty coverage and a purchase protection plan. However, it does have a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
|Spark Miles Card from Capital One|
|Annual Fee||$95 ($0 the first year)|
|Signup Bonus||50,000 miles|
|Rewards||2 miles/$1 on all eligible purchases|
This is a straightforward travel rewards card, offering miles you can redeem for any travel reservation. New accounts receive 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel, once you spend $4,500 on new purchases within three months of account opening. You earn 2x miles on every purchase, with no limits. To redeem your miles, simply purchase travel the way youÂ normally would, and then use your miles for one cent each as statement credits.
Benefits include purchase protection and extended warranty coverage as well as numerous travel and shopping discounts offered by the Visa Signature program. Thereâs a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
The post The Best Business Credit Cards For Travel appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Being able to take payments on the go without having to jump through five million hoops is crucial for mobile businesses, whether you’re a service business that visits customers at home or just a small business without a permanent storefront. That’s where credit card processing apps come in: Combining integrated payments and feature-rich POS systems that run on smartphones and tablets, they’re designed to operate anywhere you can get a cellular or Wi-Fi signal.
We took a look at the most promising credit card processing apps for mobile and service businesses, comparing their features as well as their processing rates. Then, we compiled the best options into a list!
Choosing the Best App Features for Mobile & Service Businesses
If your business is primarily service-based or you tend to do more pop-up sales and events than deal with retail storefronts, you probably don’t need (or want) a whole lot of hardware. What you do need is an EMV-friendly reader and a smartphone or tablet to run the system from.
We used two primary criteria in deciding this list: first, the product has to have integrated payment processing, and the app must be available on a tablet (preferably a smartphone as well).
While hardware may not be a priority, knowing which systems can work as a countertop system as well as mobile is helpful. Invoicing, virtual terminals, solid sales tax management, and decent item libraries were also factors. Take a look at our comprehensive comparison chart to figure out which system might work best for your particular needs.
|Square||PayPal Here||Shopify||Payline Mobile||SumUp|
|Integrated Processing||Yes||Yes||Yes (Other options available)||Yes||Yes|
|Processing Rates (for most swiped/dipped transactions)||2.75%||2.70%||2.70%||Interchange + 0.5% or 0.3%||2.75%|
|Monthly Fee||$0||$0||Plans start at $9/month||$0 / $9.95||$0|
|Number of Devices||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1|
|Tablet Support||Apple, Android||Apple, Android, Windows||Apple, Android||Apple, Android||Apple, Android|
|Smartphone Support||Apple, Android||Apple, Android, Windows||Apple, Android||Apple, Android||Apple, Android|
|Email/SMS Receipts||Email/SMS||Email/SMS||Email Only||Yes||Email/SMS|
|Receipt Printer Connectivity||Bluetooth, Ethernet, USB||Bluetooth, LAN, Wireless||Bluetooth, USB, LAN||No||Bluetooth, LAN|
|Cash Drawer Connectivity||Yes (Tablet Only, With Printer Connectivity)||Yes (With Star Printer Connectivity)||Yes (iPad Only, with Printer Connectivity)||No||Yes (with Printer Connectivity)|
|Offline Processing Mode||Yes||No||Very Limited||No||No|
|Full and Partial Returns||Yes||Yes||Yes (including store credit)||Yes||Full Only|
|Sub-User/Employee Accounts||Yes (monthly fee)||Yes (free)||Yes (PINS/accounts)||Yes||Yes (Limited)|
|Discounts by $ or %||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Tipping by $ or %||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple Tax Rates||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adjust Tax Rates In-App||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Virtual Terminal||Yes||Yes (monthly fee)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bulk Item Upload||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Create Item from App or Dashboard||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No (App Only)|
You can check out our reviews of each service for more information about features, user experience, and more.
Square made its name with a mobile processing service that anyone could use, and while the company is definitely catering to larger entities these days, small and mobile businesses still make up a good portion of Square’s merchants. Square’s totally free processing app makes it easy to create an item library of physical products as well as services.
Square’s tax rate settings are easily adjustable from within the mobile app and you can pre-program different rates if you find yourself flipping between different locations often.
In addition, Square offers invoicing, recurring invoicing/storing cards on file, and a free virtual terminal. You can even integrate Square’s appointment booking software seamlessly.
Square will charge you 2.75% per swiped transaction, but invoicing will run you 2.9% + $0.30, and virtual terminal transactions will cost you 3.5% + $0.15.
PayPal Here is another staple of mobile businesses with a free mobile app. PayPal has the advantage of massive eCommerce support as well as a solid mPOS so you can seamlessly blend different aspects of your business. Plus, your funds are available almost instantly in your PayPal account, and with the PayPal debit card, you can spend them anywhere. The free mobile app isn’t quite as feature-rich as Square’s, but it’s highly capable.
You’ll also find PayPal Here’s tax settings are adjustable within the app and you can easily accommodate different sales tax rates.Â Like Square, you get free in-app invoicing. However, if you are looking for a virtual terminal or recurring billing, they’re going to run you an additional $30 and $10 per month, respectively, which is a fairly high price tag.
You’ll pay 2.7% per transaction in the app, whereas invoices will run you 2.9% + $0.30. Virtual terminal transactions (not counting the monthly fee) cost 3.1% + $0.15.
Shopify started out as just an eCommerce offering but it’s expanded into a multi-channel solution for business. You can get Shopify’s Point of Sale app for as little as $9/month with the Lite plan, or you can upgrade to a countertop-friendly version with the Retail package, and even add on integrations for appointment booking.Â However, if you don’t /need/ a receipt printer or cash drawer and don’t sell through your own site online, the Lite plan will absolutely get you through.
Shopify isn’t the most advanced credit card processing app out there — for example, it doesn’t support tipping — but overall it has most of the features mobile and service-based businesses need, and its integration with the eCommerce tools is definitely an asset. It even allows invoicing.
Shopify allows you to set a tax rate for a shop location and create overrides and exemptions. One thing I do like that I don’t often see in these sorts of apps is tax rates based on GPS location, which eases the burden on you considerably.
For Shopify Payments (the default processing method), you’re going to pay 2.7% per transaction to start out, though if you opt for the higher-tiered plans you’ll see some savings.
Payline is one of our favorite merchant account providers, and we like their mobile solution because it’s available independently of the other offerings and suitable for low-volume businesses, which isn’t common with traditional merchant accounts.
The app is overall solid, with inventory features, tipping, and discounts. While there’s no invoicing feature, the mobile plans do offer access to a virtual terminal. The app is also designed for mobile use only: it doesn’t support retail/countertop processing features like cash drawers or receipt printers. However, Payline supports multiple tax rates for different items as well as a master tax rate for checkout, depending on your needs.
Payline’s mobile products offer interchange-plus pricing, too: the Start planÂ (formerly Spark Plan) will charge you 0.5% over interchange plus $0.20 per transaction with no monthly fee; the Surge plan charges a 0.3% markup plus $0.20, with a $9.95 monthly fee. The $0.20 per-transaction fee is a little high, but doesn’t put Payline Mobile in the realm of unreasonable pricing. However, it does mean businesses with larger ticket sizes will feel the effects of that per-transaction fee less.
Capital One’s mobile processing solution Spark Pay is part of the larger “Spark” line of businesses solutions, which includes a fairly advanced online store. However, despite that, Spark Pay the mobile app stands alone, with no integrations.
It has all the major features a merchant would need — tipping, custom discounts, an item library, and support for a countertop setup. Unfortunately, there’s no invoicing, and Spark Pay’s virtual terminal is only in beta mode. You can only set one tax rate in the app as well. However, the major shortcoming is simply that while Spark Pay does offer EMV terminals, there’s not currently an EMV-compliant mobile reader, something that all the other options here do offer.
That said, Spark Pay does offer great customer service, and its pricing is competitive. On the Go plan, there’s no monthly fee and transactions cost 2.65% + $0.05. The Pro plan has a $19 monthly fee, but your rates drop to 1.99% + $0.05.
SumUp has been operating in Europe for several years now, but it’s only reached the US in the past year, which definitely makes it the newcomer. The app is overall solid, though more limited than the others on this list.
You do get a free mobile app and free virtual terminal, as well as a fairly unique tool: SMS payments where customers can complete a transaction by opening a link sent through text message.
However, you can only process on one device at a time, so while you can create sub-user accounts, there’s not much of a benefit. SumUp does support multiple tax rates, but tax rates can’t be deleted when they are associated with an item. You’ll have to delete the item first.
The lack of discounts and the ability to make some changes through the dashboard are a bit disappointing — but the fact that you can manage everything from within the app is a major improvement over a platform like Clover Go, which requires you to make many adjustments in the web dashboard.
There are no recurring billing or card-on-file options, though, and no invoicing, either. That said, SumUp charges a simple 2.75% per transaction, and 2.9% + $0.15 for virtual terminal and SMS payments, with no monthly fee.
I’m usually pretty hesitant to recommend one product above all others without consideration of the differences from one business to the next. And that’s true here. If you really only have simple needs, any of the options on this list will serve you well. As your needs get more advanced, it’s definitely worth looking at more advanced setups such as Square or PayPal Here. And as always, the price is a major consideration. Make sure you run the numbers and are confident the rates you will pay are competitive.
The good news is that all of these services have a no-monthly-fee option so you can try them out with no risk. I encourage you to check out our complete reviews of any credit card processing app you’re interested in pursuing. And if you have questions, I encourage you to reach out. We’re always here to help, so feel free to leave us a comment!
The post The Best Credit Card Processing Apps For Mobile And Service Businesses appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
If you’re launching a new business, you may naturally be attracted to the idea of getting a business credit card to use for your business expenses. And why not? “Business” is right there in the name.
However, there are a number of reasons why you might want to go with a personal credit card instead, especially when getting your startup off the ground. For one thing, the CARD Act of 2009 regulates personal credit cards. By law, personal credit card providers can’t jack up your APR overnight or charge excessive fees for minor infractions. While most credit card companies extend these safeguards to business credit card holders as a courtesy, many do not. Similarly, introductory rates associated with personal credit cards must be offered for the first six months. Not so with business cards.
What’s more, the incentive programs associated with personal credit cards may be more fitting for your needs than the rewards associated with business credit cards. Your startup likely does not yet need a large office, for example, so a business card that offers discounts on office supplies probably doesn’t hold any special appeal.
Let’s take a look at the best personal credit cards for entrepreneurs.
General Cash Back Cards
Most embryonic businesses will want to select a personal credit card with a solid, all-purpose rewards program. The following cards can help you maximize your profits on the everyday purchases you make for your budding business, whether you’re spending on gas for your car, paint for your office, printer paper, or new-client lunches.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
For entrepreneurs who require flexibility in a credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is an ideal choice. It’s a flat-rateÂ cash-back card, so there are no bonus categories — you get cash back on all purchases, and you are allowed great flexibility in how you redeem your rewards.
|Chase Freedom Unlimited|
|APR||Variable, 16.24% â 24.99%|
|Signup Bonus||$150 if you spend $500 in the first three months|
|Rewards||Automatic 1.5% cash back on all purchases|
|Can use your rewards to book travel with Chase|
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card has no annual fee, and you also get an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months. (Unfortunately, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.)
When you’re starting a new business, you may find yourself making all manners of unexpected purchases. To this end, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card automatically gives you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You won’t have to keep track of the categories your purchases fall into; everything is covered. And you can redeem for cash back in any amount you wish — there’s no minimum redemption.
Your redemption options continue from there. Beyond getting a statement credit or a direct deposit to your checking or savings accounts, you can also redeem your rewards by booking trips through Chase’s travel portal, which is great if your startup has you shuttling around. And if you use the Chase Freedom mobile app, you can redeem your rewards at certain participating stores.
If you have other Chase cards, you can also transfer rewards to them to take advantage of their particular redemption options.
All in all, Chase Freedom Unlimited is a very versatile card.
US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature
This is another card with versatility up the wazoo. Want to pick your own bonus categories to fit your startup? The US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card might be the one for you.
|US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature|
|APR||Variable, 15.24% – 24.24%|
|Signup Bonus||$150 if you spend $500 in the first 90 days|
|Rewards||5% cash back on two categories of your choice ($2,000 purchase limit per quarter)|
|Unlimited 2% cash back on an everyday category of your choice (gas, groceries, restaurants, etc)|
|1% cash back on all other net purchases|
The US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card has no annual fee, though the introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months only applies to balances transferred within 60 days of opening the card.
Here’s where the versatility comes in: You’ll get 5% cash back on the first $2,000 worth of purchases per quarter in two categories of your choosing. According to US Bank, category options are subject to change on a quarterly basis, but as of January 2018, these categories are:
- Ground Transportation
- Select Clothing Stores
- Cell Phones
- Electronics Stores
- Car Rentals
- Gyms/Fitness Centers
- Fast Food
- Sporting Goods Stores
- Department Stores
- Furniture Stores
- Movie Theaters
Furthermore, you’ll get unlimited 2% cash back on one “everyday” category of your choosing:
- Gas Stations
Lastly, all other eligible net purchases earn 1% cash back.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to remember to log in to choose new bonus categories every quarter. Also, the cash rewards expire after three years, you can’t transfer the cash to other rewards programs, and there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. The credit score requirements are pretty steep as well. On the plus side, there are no limits on the total amount of cash back you can earn and no minimum redemption amount.
Capital One Quicksilver
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is a good option for the new business owner whose expenses don’t fit neatly into approved categories.
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards|
|Signup Bonus||$150 if you spend $500 in the first three months|
|Rewards||Automatic 1.5% cash back on all purchases|
|50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription (runs through April 2018)|
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card bears some similarities to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. There’s no annual fee, and you’ll get a 0% intro APR for 9 months. It’s a shorter 0% APR period than that provided by some other cards, however.
This is another card for those who can’t be bothered keeping track of rotating categories of rewards-eligible purchases. The Capital One Quicksilver will see you earning unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no caps on how much you earn and no minimum redemption thresholds.
If you like to have music on while in the office (whether that office is an actual office space or your living room), you’re in luck. From now through April 2018, you’ll get 50% back as a statement credit on your Spotify Premium subscription. Keep on rockin’ in the fee world!
(See what I did there? Do you think that was tweet-worthy?)
One advantage this card has over Chase Freedom Unlimited is that Capital One Quicksilver has no foreign transaction fee. On the downside: the card carries a 3% balance transfer fee.
Discover it – Cashback Match
Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur who makes a lot of purchases through Amazon or wholesale clubs. You might want to consider the Discover it – Cashback Match card.
|Discover it – Cashback Match|
|APR||Variable, 12.24% – 24.24%|
|Signup Bonus||Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year|
|Rewards||5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, changing quarterly|
|1% cash back on all other purchases|
|Rewards are usable at the Amazon.com checkout|
In addition to the above, you’ll get an introductory 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months.
With this card, you can get 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories on your first $1,500 spent per quarter. Discover’s bonus categories for 2018 are:
- Q1 2018:Â Gas stations and wholesale clubs
- Q2 2018: Grocery stores
- Q3 2018: Restaurants
- Q4 2018:Â Amazon.com and wholesale clubs
With Discover matching all the rewards you earn over the first year, you should accumulate a healthy supply of cash back. You can put that cash back to use in the following ways:
- Pay with rewards at the Amazon.com checkout
- Gift cards with at least $5 added to each
- Deposit to your bank account or apply to your Discover credit card bill
- Make a charitable donation
It’s not a spectacular card for the frequent flyer (though there is no foreign transaction fee), but for the land-bound entrepreneur who doesn’t mind keeping track of the rotating categories, the Discover it – Cashback Match card provides plenty of value.
Not all entrepreneurs need to travel for business, but for those who do, a travel rewards program can be a godsend. The following personal credit cards can help you maximize your current travel spending and earn valuable points towards any future hotel stays, flights, and car rentals you’ll book as your business continues to grow.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
Here’s a great card for the entrepreneur who travels a lot: the AmEx Premier Rewards Gold card.
|AmEx Premier Rewards Gold|
|Annual Fee||$0 for the first year, $195 subsequently|
|APR||N/A (charge card)|
|Signup Bonus||Make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and get 25,000 rewards points|
|Rewards||$100 annual airline fee credit for incidental fees|
|3 reward points per dollar when you book a flight directly with an airline|
|2 points per dollar at gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants in the US|
|1 point per dollar on all other purchases|
Keep in mind that this is a charge card, not a traditional credit card. In other words, you’ll have to pay the entire balance every month.
If your startup has you going to and fro, you’re in luck, because this card’s rewards are tailored to the frequent traveler and will easily offset the $195 annual fee that kicks in the second year. First off, there’s a juicy signup bonus: you’ll earn 25,000 rewards points if you make $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of signing up (terms apply).
The big rewards come when you book flights. You get three reward points per dollar when booking a flight — the only drawback is that you’ll have to book the flight directly with the airline, and airline websites suck (the prices are higher, too). You’ll get a further two points per dollar at US gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants, and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
Another factor for the frequent-flying entrepreneur to consider is that the Premier Rewards Gold has no foreign transaction fee. Of course, American Express is less accepted internationally than Visa and Mastercard, so you’ll want to carry a backup card when traveling.
Capital One Venture Rewards
Here’s another card from Capital One — this one’s a versatile travel card for the entrepreneur on the go.
|Capital One Venture Rewards|
|Annual Fee||$0 for the first year, $95 subsequently|
|APR||Variable, 14.24% – 24.24%|
|Signup Bonus||Earn 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months (equal to $500 in travel)|
|Rewards||Earn two miles per dollar on every purchase|
|Use your miles to fly any airline and stay at any hotel|
The Venture card is designed to immediately reward the frequent traveler. Earn the equivalent of $500 for travel after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. After that point, you’ll earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on all purchases. This means that if you rack up $500 in charges on your card in a given month, you’ll get 1,000 miles that month. Not too shabby!
The Venture gives you a great deal of flexibility in how you use your travel rewards. You can either book flights, hotels, and rental cars directly through Capital One or you can book these things anywhere you like and use the company’s Purchase Eraser tool to get a statement credit for what you spent. This way, you won’t be locked into using a particular airline or hotel chain or booking site.
Unfortunately, if you want to redeem your miles for cash back or non-travel purchases, they will be worth half of what they would be worth if applied to travel purchases. Thankfully, the card has no international transaction fees. Plus, there are no blackout dates, no expiration dates, and no limits on the number of miles you can accrue.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Here’s a travel-oriented card that might be even more flexible than the Venture: the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred|
|Annual Fee||$0 for the first year, $95 subsequently|
|APR||Variable, 17.24% – 24.24%|
|Signup Bonus||Get 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months ($625 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards)|
|Rewards||Two points per dollarÂ on travel and restaurants|
|One point per dollar on all other purchases|
|Get 25% more value for your points when making travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards|
|Transfer your points to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs on a 1:1 basis|
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with some sweet bonuses. Not only will you get 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, but you’ll also get another 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user in those first three months and they make a purchase.
With this card, not only do you get two points per dollar when spending on travel and restaurants and one point per dollar on all other purchases, but you can transfer your points — on a 1:1 basis — to the following airline and hotel loyalty programs:
- Air France/KLM
- British Airways
- Korean Air
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic
- Priority Club/InterContinental Hotels Group
What’s more, your points will be worth $0.0125 apiece if you redeem them for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There’s no foreign transaction fee, either. You will have to pay a $95 annual fee after the first year, though.
Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
This next card isn’t for everyone, but the well-heeled flight-hopping entrepreneur with something to prove should enjoy theÂ Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
|Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard|
|APR||Variable,Â 16.99% â 24.99%|
|Signup Bonus||Get 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months|
|Rewards||Admirals Club membership for you and your guests|
|Earn 10,000 AAdvantage Elite Qualifying Miles after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year|
|Earn two AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and one AAdvantage mile for every dollar spent on other purchases|
|First checked bag is free on domestic AA flights for you and eight companions|
For the entrepreneur with the means to get around in style, the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard has quite the bag of perks. From the 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles if you spend $5,000 within the first three months to the automatic Admirals Club membership (a $550/year value) to the AAdvantage miles you’ll be racking up, this card brings significant value the table. However, that value doesn’t come cheap — note the eye-popping $450 annual fee! If you really want that Admirals Club membership, however, it’s a cost-effective way of getting it.
For this card to be worth it for you, you have to be a frequent American Airlines flyer with a burning desire to hang out in AA Admirals Club lounges. If you spend a big chunk of your life in airports and want to get away from the hoi polloi, this card gives you the opportunity to pay for that privilege. You’ll also getÂ 25% savings on in-flight purchases, a $100 credit for the TSA PreCheck program every 5 years, and the absence of a foreign transaction fee.
Entrepreneurs deserve a credit card that fits their particular needs. For many, a personal credit card can do the job just fine, and with greater legal protections. If it’s a business card you’re after, check out our piece on the best business credit cards for 2018.
The post The Best Personal Credit Cards For Business Expenses appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
This is actually the dawning of age Disruption, and the majority of us find ourselves one of the Disrupted. As wages remain stagnant, decent benefits become ever harder to secure, and temporary work becomes the permanent reality, the cultural centrality of at-will employment lessens on an hourly basis. With couple of legal or institutional norms left to provide us from economic uncertainty, Doing The Work Yourself appears more rational than ever before. And believe to DIY rather than leverage the cyber-commons to market things online?
Because of the recognition of these two platforms, I figured it might be useful to check and contrast Wix and Shopify, two most prominent online services utilized by individuals and firms to bring in the eCommerce dough. However, some background info.
Table of Contents
A Fast Take A Look At Wix
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Wix (see our Wix review) began in the year 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan. Getting grown to get probably the most broadly-used DIY website builder available on the market, Wix now boasts 110 million users all over the world — several unquestionably boosted because Wix is free of charge to participate.
A Fast Take A Look At Shopify
Shopify (see our Shopify review) may be the colossus from the eCommerce industry. Launched by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake (and in 2006), this Ottawa-based company presently hosts over 500,000 online stores and it has helped generate $46 billion in sales.
The 2 platforms possess a fundamental difference of emphasis, however. Wix is really a website builder with sophisticated eCommerce abilities (among additional features), while Shopify is really a dedicated eCommerce platform with website building features. This distinction should become apparent when i guide you through my comparison.
Web-Located or Licensed
Both Wix and Shopify are web-located.
Software and hardware Needs
All it’s important to use Wix or Shopify is really a computer, a web connection, along with a modern internet browser. Worry not, friend.
Here’s something which reveals the variations between the two platforms’ particular target audiences. While Wix has five compensated subscription plans available, you may also generate a free account. As long as its not necessary a web-based store, your personal domain, or any other advanced features, this can be used free account in perpetuity.
However, with Shopify, you are able to join without entering your payment info, but following the 14-day free trial offer ends, you’ll have to select from between three compensated plans. Basically, Wix is perfect for the hobbyist and also the casual blogger in addition to serious online sellers, whereas Shopify is about supplying an eCommerce platform—everything else is of secondary importance.
With Wix, you receive the next with a forex account:
- Full Use of Wix’s Design and Editing Platform
- 500 MB Storage
- Limitless Pages
- Free Hosting
- Free Wix Domain — your URL is going to be [your Wix user name].wix.com/[your website name]
- Wix Brand Ads
If you would like more from Wix, you’ll need to spring for just one of Wix’s five compensated plans:
Connect Domain Plan
- $5.00/month (annual plan)
- $4.00/month (2-year plan)
- $3.50/month (3-year plan)
- $7.00/month (monthly plan)
- 500 MB Storage
- 1 GB Bandwidth
- Connect Your Domain (rather of “wixusername.wix.com/sitename”)
- Free Hosting
- Google Analytics
- Premium Support
- $10.00/month (annual plan)
- $9.00/month (2-year plan)
- $8.50/month (3-year plan)
- $14.00/month (monthly plan)
- The suggestions above PLUS:
- Free Domain (for just one year)
- 3 GB Storage
- 2 GB Bandwidth
- Removes Wix Ads
- $14.00/month (annual plan)
- $11.00/month (2-year plan)
- $10.00/month (3-year plan)
- $16.00/month (monthly plan)
- The suggestions above PLUS:
- 10 GB Storage
- Limitless Bandwidth
- Site Booster Application (annual plan only)
- Form Builder Application (annual plan only)
- $300 Ad Vouchers (annual plan only)
- $17.00/month (annual plan)
- $15.00/month (2-year plan)
- $14.00/month (3-year plan)
- $20.00/month (monthly plan)
- The suggestions above PLUS:
- 20 GB Storage
- 20 GB Bandwidth
- Online Shop
Very important personel Plan
- $25.00/month (annual plan)
- $22.00/month (2-year plan)
- $20.50/month (3-year plan)
- $30.00/month (monthly plan)
- The suggestions above PLUS:
- 20 GB Storage
- Limitless Bandwidth
- Exclusive Very important personel Support Line – Priority Callback
- Instant Response
- Professional Site Review
Observe that while Combo-level plans and above incorporate a free personalized domain for just one year, you’ll need to pay to resume it beyond that — the typical rates are around $10 each year. If you would like your personal personalized email that suits your domain, Wix offers that (through G Suite) for $4.08 monthly. In addition, Wix has over 200 feature add-ons obtainable in the Wix Application Market, quite a few these apps are premium services and wish their very own compensated subscription.
Shopify, by comparison, has three primary subscription packages to select from:
- $26/month (annual plan)
- $23.25/month (2-year plan)
- $21.75/month (3-year plan)
- $29/month (monthly plan)
- Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.9% + 30¢
- Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.7% + 0¢
- Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
- Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: 2%
- 2 Staff Accounts
- Limitless Products
- Limitless File Storage
- Shopify POS Retail Package: yet another $49/month
- Shopify Shipping Discount: “Good”
- Print Shipping Labels
- 24/7 Support
- Fraud Analysis
- Manual Order Creation
- Website and Blog
- Free SSL Certificate
- $71/month (annual plan)
- $63.25/month (2-year plan)
- $59.25/month (3-year plan)
- $79/month (monthly plan)
- The suggestions above PLUS:
- Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.6% + 30¢
- Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.5% + 0¢
- Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
- Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: 1%
- 5 Staff Accounts
- Shopify Shipping Discount: “Better”
- Gift Certificates
- Professional Reports
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- $266/month (annual plan)
- $235/month (2-year plan)
- $219/month (3-year plan)
- $299/month (monthly plan)
- The suggestions above PLUS:
- Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.4% + 30¢
- Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.4% + 0¢
- Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
- Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: .5%
- 15 Staff Accounts
- Advanced Report Builder
- 3rd Party Calculated Shipping Rates
Shopify, like Wix, sells custom domains. Shopify’s domains cost $14/year for any .com and a little more for other domain types. Shopify also offers an application store of their own, featuring more than a 1000 feature add-ons, both free and never-free.
Furthermore, Shopify provides a service known as Shopify Lite just for $9/month. However, this plan of action doesn’t range from the online shop, that is, in the end, what many people consider once they consider Shopify. It will permit you to sell products in your social networking accounts, another website, or personally (presuming you receive Shopify POS for $49/month). Lastly, for businesses which make over $a million in sales each year, there’s Shopify Plus. It’s packed with advanced features, but you need to contact Shopify to even obtain a cost estimate, which means you know it’s just for the greatest outfits.
Having a free plan available along with a cheap $5/month plan since it’s opening compensated subscription, Wix is clearly the cheaper of these two platforms. Plus, Wix’s least expensive eCommerce-enabled plan’s $17/month when compared with $26/month for Shopify (annual plan prices), therefore if cost is an essential factor for you personally, Wix may be the champion. Obviously, you need to consider what you’re really getting for the money, and Shopify’s advanced eCommerce system might provide you with more bang for your buck.
Simplicity Of Use
Wix and Shopify both try to be as accessible as you possibly can, and both largely deliver. We’ll begin with Wix. The conventional editor combines simplicity of use with nearly infinite versatility. All of the tools you have to add features to your website can be found via buttons across the left from the editor. When you wish to include something, you simply choose the element, click on the Add button, and drag it wherever you would like it. It’s as easy as that. Many website builders restrict where you’re in a position to place elements, forcing you to definitely stack your elements like blocks and restricting you against placing things more precisely. Wix enables you to place anything anywhere (though if you want assist with precision placement, Wix provides options like “Snap to Objects” that will help you.
This method to website building means you need to be conscious of methods things can look on cellular devices, and that’s why the editor has dotted lines that demarcate the boundaries of the smartphone screen.
If you’d rather not need to invest in this degree of fine-tuning, Wix comes with an even simpler website building model for you personally: Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). When you begin building your Wix website, you’re given a choice of using either Wix’s standard editor or Wix ADI. Pick the latter, and you will be motivated to point the objective of your site and also the features you would like incorporated (a web-based store, your blog, etc). For those who have a current online presence, Wix ADI will pull your articles on the internet to include to your site. You’ll then be given some design/color/font options. When you make these choices, voilà! An internet site is going to be produced for you personally! After that, you are able to direct the AI to create specific changes aimed at your website for you personally, or it can be done yourself, utilizing a simplified form of the Wix editor which fits similar to the “arranging content blocks” model I pointed out earlier. It makes sense an editor that provides you less freedom but that makes it even simpler that you should create a beautiful website. Wix enables you to pick the editing model that works well with your purposes. Should you need assistance, 78 tutorial videos walk you thru pretty much every part of the website building process.
Shopify can also be one that is functional by almost anyone. You’ll begin within the dashboard in which you have quick access to every facet of your eCommerce site. In the links around the left from the dashboard, you will see and manage your orders, add products, see the details and buy good reputation for your clients, view site analytics, generate discounts, add apps in the Shopify Application Store, and make additional sales channels so that you can sell your product or service on Amazon . com, Facebook, Buzzfeed, and much more.
So far as customizing the feel of your eCommerce site goes, you are able to download a totally free theme (something like a Wix template), purchase a premium theme in the Shopify Theme Store, and edit your present theme. It ought to be noted that, naturally, Shopify has numerous more eCommerce-specific styles than does Wix.
When you attend edit your theme, you’ll discover that your articles — products, images, slideshows, and so on — is arranged in stacks that you could reorder when needed, much like Wix ADI. Creating, rearranging, and editing your articles is easy.You need to haven’t much problem creating a beautiful online shop using the Shopify editor.
A couple of facets of the editor aren’t as seamless, however. For instance, after i attempted to include a roadmap from Google Maps to my Shopify store, I had been forwarded to acquire and enter a Google Maps API key, which is an inconvenience. With Wix, you simply set the address you would like the map to focus on and add it. Overall, though, they are two very user-friendly platforms, so that your decision about who to choose most likely won’t hinge on simplicity of use.
Both Wix and Shopify provide an impressive variety of features. Since Wix is really a general-purpose website builder, it naturally includes a broader number of available features than does Shopify. Wix provides you with a high-notch blogging tool, photos from Bigstock, many social networking integrations, a forum feature that allows you to setup your personal membership-based network, an excellent form builder, and far, a lot more. Wix’s eCommerce system has enough features to fill a quite sizable page online, including order tracking, inventory management, worldwide shipping and tax rates, coupons, pop-up marketing sales tools, invoicing and accounting — other great tales. Actually, you may also produce a Shopify store and plop it on your Wix site!
Additionally for their standard online shop, Wix has some good feature packages tailored to a particular industries. There’s Wix Restaurants, an element set together with a menu element, a table reservation system, along with a full online ordering system which assists both pickup and delivery. There’s Wix Hotels, with a full reservation management system, multilingual booking for worldwide visitors, along with a feature that will get your website for auction on TripAdvisor. There’s Wix Music, which is a perfect tool for bands to setup digital distribution of the music. In addition, there’s Wix Occasions, a bundle that provides you all you need to manage and monetize a celebration. Truly, there’s little that Wix can’t do.
While Shopify is, obviously, centered on eCommerce, there is a great blogging tool too — a terrific way to showcase what you need to offer. It’s no afterthought, either. You may also do such things as schedule posts ahead of time and add tags. There’s also image galleries along with a e-newsletter signup form. The majority of Shopify’s features, however, are based on the internet store! Shocking, I understand.
Listing all Shopify’s online shop features will make this short article pretty ungainly, so I’ll list the highlights for you personally. You receive automatic shipping rates, abandoned cart recovery, as well as an automatic tax calculator that considers your location and also the location of the customers. Unlike Wix, Shopify lets your clients setup their very own accounts together with your store (though it doesn’t pressure these to create accounts) to create future transactions simpler and to provide you with valuable data relating to your customers’ shopping habits. You will find fulfillment center options and dropshipping apps, together with social networking integration, product variations, and digital revenue. Basically, if you are establishing a web-based store, there isn’t any contest: Shopify may be the platform for you personally. However, Wix includes a better attract certain industries, like restaurants and property management.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Both Wix and Shopify have extensive repositories of third-party integrations prepared to be connected to your website. The Wix Application Market has 248 apps to select from, both free and premium. These apps vary wildly from live chat apps, business tools, form builders, marketing tools, video players, booking apps, eCommerce apps — choose a feature, and you’ll likely find multiple options in Wix’s Application Market.
To not be surpassed, Shopify’s Application Store has more than one 1000 apps prepared. Marketing, sales, shipping, accounting, social networking — if it is eCommerce-related, you’ll probably think it is within the Shopify Application Store. Shopify even has product sourcing apps in situation it’s not necessary almost anything to sell and therefore are searching to market the other party’s products!
One key Shopify integration you may remember in the prices section is by using Shopify POS, something that allows you to accept charge cards to create sales wherever there is a purchase to make. It integrates seamlessly together with your Shopify store and it is an excellent tool in case your store has both a web-based along with a meatspace component. Wix, however, doesn’t have POS system of their own. You are able to integrate your Wix store with Square POS, only on iOS devices and just in a few locations. Advantage: Shopify.
Shopify has significantly more payment processing options than does Wix, offering over 100 to Wix’s 15. However, with platforms, you’ll only have the ability to use a few of the available payment options, as the majority of options are location-specific (certain payment gateways are just obtainable in many places). One awesome factor about Shopify is they their very own in-house payment gateway: Shopify Payments. Make use of this, and Shopify won’t charge any transaction charges. Use another payment processor, however, and they’ll (the speed depends upon your subscription level). Wix, by comparison, charges no transaction charges, regardless of what payment processor you utilize.
Observe that both Wix and Shopify allow you to accept offline payments too.
Customer Support and Tech Support Team
Wix includes a telephone number for direct support, available Monday-Friday from 6 am to five pm PST. They likewise have an assistance ticket system along with a healthy assortment of FAQs and support articles within their help center, but, alas, no live chat.
Shopify’s customer care is much more robust, with 24/7 phone, email, and live chat, together with many support articles. Again, advantage: Shopify.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
Wix and Shopify have a massive quantity of users, and together with which comes a higher amount of complaints, as you may notice in the comments published to the reviews of these two platforms. Wix will get lots of stick for poor customer support, slow/buggy sites, and unpredicted billing charges. Others have complained that Wix sites aren’t mobile-responsive — that’s, it normally won’t adjust instantly to suit the screen of the device.
Shopify also sees lots of complaints regarding customer support, and also the transaction charges (billed whenever a payment processor apart from Shopify Payments can be used) are very unpopular. Others have complained that Shopify doesn’t adhere to the legal needs in a few countries where they nevertheless sell their product. And others have experienced security problems. Overall, these issues have introduced lower the Trustpilot scores of these two companies — Wix’s Trustpilot score presently is 4.1 while Shopify’s Trustpilot score is 3.4.
Positive Testimonials and reviews
Wix and Shopify have ample fans too. Many users rave about the caliber of Wix like a design tool, while some really praise the oft-belittled customer support. Shopify users love the simple intuitiveness from the platform, along with the well-designed templates. Suffice to state, there’s no popular consensus regarding Wix or Shopify!
You’ll observe that in many of these groups, I haven’t announced a champion. That’s since these two platforms don’t entirely share exactly the same audience, though there’s certainly a large amount of overlap. What it really comes lower to is that this: if you are building a web-based store, or you possess a physical store by having an online component (or the other way around!), Shopify is what you want. Shopify handles eCommerce unlike any other. However, if you are creating a website with no online shop, or maybe you’re intending to sell restaurant orders, hotel reservations, or music online, Wix is the greatest option. The treatment depends on which your plans are for your own personel particular slice of cyber-territory.
Thankfully, both platforms can be used as free on the trial basis, so that you can explore without risk. Go on and try them! That old world is dead, and it is not returning. Embrace the ” new world ” before it slips your grasp! (The ” new world ” is very slippery, careful.)
With regards to nonprofits, typical accounting software just doesn’t work. Nonprofit organizations have very particular accounting needs, including the opportunity to handle grants and contributions, record volunteer time, create budgets, run reports for board advisors, complete specialized tax forms, and much more. Furthermore these businesses require specialized features, they’re also under special scrutiny from contributors and governmental agencies alike. Nonprofits require a software that may provide transparency where revenue and expenses are concerned.
At Merchant Maverick, we all know that although nonprofits need reliable accounting software, the women and men behind these companies ought to be available altering the planet, not stuck inside searching at accounting programs. That is why we’ve done hard meet your needs. We’ve spent hrs testing and researching the very best nonprofit accounting programs available and just the the best make the cut.
These four programs all offer several features and therefore are designed particularly with nonprofits in your mind. Each program meets the required nonprofit accounting standards and displays strong security. We’ve incorporated programs which are perfect for different sizes and types of nonprofits, so each business will find the accounting solution ideal for this. Cut back time handling the books and much more time creating a difference.
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Aplos is really a comprehensive cloud accounting program for nonprofits and places of worship. The program has over 42,000 users from 20,000 different organizations. Aplos started in Belgium in ’09 and it is now utilized in 50 plus different countries, receiving strong testimonials overall. It features a solid status within the nonprofit world, and even for good reason.
Of all of the programs, I discovered Aplos probably the most visually appealing and well-organized. This program supports multiple organizations and it has free limitless phone and email support.
Besides Aplos get things right when it comes to accounting, they likewise have lots of features to create nonprofits run more easily. This is a taste of the choices:
- Fund accounting
- Chart of accounts
- Bank reconciliation
- Journal records
- Manage contributions and donations
- Customizable donations page
- Recurring donations
- Contribution statements
- Fixed assets or allocations
- Tax support for 1099’s and 990’s
Aplos offers three prices plans: $25/mo, $40/mo, and $120/mo. Feature access varies by plan so make sure to visit Aplos’s prices page for details. Each plan only supports one user (along with a contact or donations manager) you can include additional users for an additional $15 – $80/mo (based on your plan).
Aplos offers donor management software, member keeper, and fundraiser software too.
Is Aplos suitable for me?
Aplos is really a superbly designed, robust accounting solution. The reduced monthly obligations allow it to be well suited for smaller sized nonprofits and places of worship looking for fundamental nonprofit accounting software. Bigger nonprofits will likely discover the software too feasible for their complex needs. Aplos isn’t well suited for companies in need of assistance of a lot users.
The robust features, strong security, and cost-effective prices get this to software great for nonprofits searching to handle their donations and expenses. To understand more about Aplos, request a demo or make the most of their free 14-day trial.
QuickBooks Online + Sumac
By itself, Quickbooks Online is a superb accounting program with beautiful invoicing, a chart of accounts, bank reconciliation, expense tracking, reporting, project management software, budgeting, and much more. However the program doesn’t offer any nonprofit-specific features. What it really has, however, is definitely an integration with Sumac.
Sumac is really a in your area-installed nonprofit accounting solution founded on the phrase “do more good.” The program offers from CRM to pledges to course registration and much more. The awesome factor about Sumac is that you could personalize it to suit the requirements of whatever kind of nonprofit you take.
With Sumac, you begin by buying the Fundamental CRM after which buying every other add-ons your nonprofit needs.The Fundamental CRM includes:
- Managing contacts
- E-mail marketing
- Donation management
- Event management
- Time tracking
- QuickBooks Online integration
Listed here are the extra features that you could increase Sumac (note: prices of these add-ons vary see section below for more information):
- Grant management
- Course registration
- Tour booking
- Auditions and submissions
- Job search
- Collection management
- Awarding grants
Should you require something beyond these choices, you can buy a custom add-on too.
(Remember: You will not be hurting for features should you follow this path because all of these functions is going to be additionally towards the QuickBooks Online features.)
QuickBooks Online offer three prices plans varying from $15/mo – $50/mo. Make certain to think about it that you will need to buy a Sumac account additionally for your QuickBooks Internet account (Sumac alone doesn’t provide the accounting capabilities a nonprofit needs).
When the Fundamental CRM Sumac set of features is sufficient for you personally, you can buy it for $/mo, that is a steal. You can buy the Fundamental CRM plus two add-ons for $20/mo, or even the Fundamental CRM plus five add-ons for $400/mo. You are able to also calculate a custom cost for a variety of add-ons you select.
If you like cloud-based software over in your area-installed software, you are able to pay an additional $25/mo for any cloud-based form of Sumac.
Is QuickBooks Online + Sumac suitable for me?
We’ve given QuickBooks Online the title of Best Accounting Software for Small Companies. This program is simple to use while offering the strong accounting features most promising small to mid-sized companies need. For nonprofits already attempting to make QuickBooks Online work, Sumac is a superb addition that provides much-needed tools.
For nonprofits which don’t yet come with an accounting solution, Quickbooks Online with Sumac is a great solution if you want complex features like tour booking, course registration, auditions and submissions, etc. The disposable Fundamental CRM is enticing, however the other plans could possibly get a little costly. Sumac’s compensated plans aren’t well suited for nonprofits on a tight budget, especially thinking about the price of QuickBooks On the internet and the possibility price of making the in your area-installed program focus on the cloud.
That being stated, the benefit of Sumac would be that the software programs are incredibly customizable for your specific nonprofits’ needs—and QuickBooks Online helps to ensure that the accounting side is taken proper care of. To understand more about QuickBooks Online, read our complete QuickBooks Online review and make use of the company’s free trials to understand more about Sumac, have a tour from the software or plan a demo.
First founded almost 30 years ago, Blackbaud has already established a lengthy while to secure its name and status within the nonprofit accounting world. The organization offers a large number of different products created for various organizations and nonprofits. However the bread and butter of the nonprofit fund accounting is known as Financial Edge NXT.
Financial Edge NXT is really a cloud accounting solution for mid-sized nonprofits which is used by over 5,500 organizations. The program offers strong accounting and fundamental nonprofit features. The interface is superbly designed and well-organized. The organization also provides strong security and free phone support.
Financial Edge provides several features and meets the accounting standards nonprofits need. A few of these features include:
- Fund accounting
- Chart of accounts
- Bank reconciliation
- Accounts payable
- A / R
- Journal records
- 100+ customizable reports
- Manage grants and allocations
- Purchase orders
- Track revenue and expenses
- Project management software
- Vendor management
- Document storage
- Fixed assets
Blackbaud doesn’t openly disclose their prices information. What we should can say for certain regarding their prices is there are three plans, billed yearly, which begin at $99/mo per user. Certain modules could cost extra and implementation charges are additional too. Contact Blackbaud to get a quote.
Blackbaud also provides another nonprofit fundraiser and member keeper known as Raiser’s Edge NXT.
Is Blackbaud suitable for me?
Based on Blackbaud, their software is fantastic for mid-sized nonprofits which have a good sized staff and take care of $1,000,000+ in revenue every year (or are continuously growing to satisfy standards). The program is fantastic for users who require more features than Aplos, but aren’t quite big enough yet to pay for FundEZ.
Among the leading names in nonprofit fun accounting, Blackbaud delivers wonderful features. The issue of prices continues to be an enormous factor for a lot of nonprofits (and personally it appears shady in my experience they don’t readily share these details), however the features count phone minimum. To understand more about Blackbaud, attend a web seminar or contact their salesforce directly.
FundEZ is probably the most complex and developed from the four programs. The program is becoming increasingly more developed since 1991. The organization takes pride in being completely current on nonprofit accounting industry standards. Whenever you join FundEZ, part of the FundEZ staff creates the program for you personally and trains yourself on this program you are able to relax knowing your chart of accounts and tax needs are 100% accurate and reliable.
Since FundEZ is really comprehensive, it will come in a steeper cost, however the options that come with the program cover just about anything you are able to consider. While complex, FundEZ uses intuitive organization and style so that you can discover the software faster. FundEZ also offers modules for State medicaid programs and Promote Care. Since FundEZ includes a State medicaid programs Billing solution, the program is susceptible to HIPAA laws and regulations, meaning it’s a few of the most powerful security and user permissions available.
FundEZ provides an large number of features, even though some require yet another cost:
- Fund accounting
- Detailed chart of accounts
- Bank reconciliation
- A / r
- Accounts payable
- Journal records
- Manage grants and allocations
- Manage donations and pledges
- Purchase orders
- Contact and vendor management
- Write and print checks
- Multi-currency support
- Fixed assets (costs extra)
- Fundraiser (costs extra)
- State medicaid programs Billing (costs extra)
- Promote Care (costs extra)
FundEZ comes both like a cloud-based product or like a in your area-installed program. The particular price of the program varies with respect to the quantity of users you’ve.
For that cloud form of FUndEZ, payments start at $225/mo. With this particular purchase, you’ll also receive licenses for Ms Word and Office. Users that like the in your area-installed route pay a preliminary fee $1,995+ based on their demands. This cost includes limitless phone support and upgrades, but there is definitely an annual maintenance fee that starts at $495/yr.
Is FundEZ suitable for me?
FundEZ is fantastic for large nonprofits and nonprofits with complex accounting needs. This is among the only programs Personally i think truly helps to ensure that nonprofits have accurate accounts and therefore are meeting all federal nonprofit rules.
While these comprehensive features really are a huge plus, they are available in a steep cost, making the program an impractical solution for smaller sized nonprofits or nonprofits on the strict budget. The organization did say that almost all their users manage promising small to medium nonprofits, however this makes me question what their meaning of “small” is. The program can also be not well suited for nonprofits that need payroll.
Ultimately, FundEZ offers probably the most complex nonprofit accounting available and is worth the money should you prefer a strong chart of accounts and pristine accounting. To understand more about FundEZ, contact support for any demo or try out this program having a free trial offer.
We all know that selecting software can be challenging, however, you can’t fail with these four great options. Ultimately, the choice can come lower that features your nonprofit needs and just how big your software finances are. Smaller sized companies may such as the benefit of Aplos, while bigger companies may require an answer like Blackbaud or FundEZ. However, you might be searching for any more customizable option like Sumac.
Whatever program you’re leaning toward, we recommend scheduling a demo or testing the program yourself prior to making any final decisions. Of course, you want the finest of luck during your search for that perfect software. Tell us which software you choose within the comments below, even (and particularly) if it is one we didn’t mention, and you can achieve by helping cover their any queries you’ve on the way.
Square will get lots of love from retailers due to its obvious, affordable prices. Square bills itself as charging 2.75% per transaction, no matter card type. That’s true, but prices Square is a little more complicated than that because of the number of services the organization offers retailers. Just how much does Square charge?
That honestly depends upon that which you expect to do with Square. Are you currently only processing transactions personally? Would you sell online? Do you apply the virtual terminal or card-on-file features? Would you like the software add-ons? As the flat-rate prices is clear to see theoretically, when you begin mixing all of the features together it will get a little more confusing.
We’ll enter into prices here in just a minute, however, listed here are a couple of items to bear in mind about Square’s payment processing:
- Square charges exactly the same rate for all sorts of cards, including American Express. While which means you pay a significant markup over interchange for the typical MasterCard or Visa card, additionally, it means that you reduce American Express and lots of business/rewards cards.
- Square is really a third-party payments processor. Which means it aggregates everyone’s accounts into one giant credit card merchant account. It’s quite simple to register, but because a tradeoff, you face a rather greater chance of a free account hold or termination.
- Square deducts its charges in the total worth of your transaction — including tax and tip. The charges are deducted prior to the funds ever hit your money (rather of deducting a whole month’s price of charges at the same time).
- Square processes an atm card just like charge cards. There’s no PIN debit option.
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Square Charges By Transaction Type
Based on in which the transaction happensOrthe kind of transaction, you can pay 1 of 3 rates with Square:
- 2.9% + $.30
- 3.5% + $.15
I am not going to enter heavy number crunching here. If you wish to learn to calculate your charges, I suggest checking the cost comparison article Used to do, Is Square Truly the Least expensive Processor for the Business?
That will highlight how you can calculate your charges too observe how Square stacks facing an interchange-plus prices plan.
For the time being, though, let’s take a look at what you’ll purchase Square’s services within couple of different conditions.
Should you mainly sell personally, you’re likely to pay 2.75% for most your transactions. That’s fairly foreseeable over a tiered prices plan or perhaps interchange-plus plan. You do not need to bother about what types of cards you’re accepting since you spend the money for same its them. Which includes:
- NFC: Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay
- Prepaid Gift Certificates
However, if one makes lots of internet sales, you’re likely to pay 2.9% + $.30, that is pretty standard. It’s exactly the same rate billed by PayPal, Stripe, as well as Authorize.internet. Including the following online transactions:
- eCommerce Transactions
- eCommerce Card on record
The final prices category is other Card Not Present (CNP) transactions, that Square charges 3.5% + $.15. Getting the opportunity to keep your card on record and hang up recurring invoicing can certainly be a good thing for many types of business, mainly in the Business to business space. Others might not take advantage of these.
- Keyed Transactions
- Card on record
- Virtual Terminal
Additional Charges for implementing Square
Just how much does Square charge its its administrative services? Normally, this is when I’d continue about any extra charges. PCI compliance, chargebacks, etc. However, I’m just likely to have a direct quote from Square’s Help Center to describe:
No hidden charges! There aren’t any charges for:
Installing the Square Reason for Purchase application
Seriously, that’s a fairly awesome deal for many retailers. Every other merchant will still ask you for charges for any refund, at the minimum. Most charges you a charge for any chargeback, too — on the top of what’s deducted to pay for the transaction.
Square boasts $250 monthly in chargeback protection. This only pertains to qualified transactions, however. However if you simply do encounter a chargeback also it does come under the needs, Square covers the price of the chargeback, meaning it will not subtract /anything/ from your bank account.
There’s one circumstance under that you pay an additional fee, and it is entirely optional. Square deposits most funds inside your account within 48 hrs. However, if you want your hard earned money sooner, you are able to choose a scheduled deposit or instant deposit. It’ll set you back 1% from the transfer value, if you transfer $250, you’ll pay $2.50, departing you with $247.50.
Theoretically, you will get your hard earned money almost once you result in the request. However, actual processing occasions still rely on your bank. Square can initiate the transfer, however your bank can always take hrs or perhaps a day-to publish. Getting a financial institution that processes transfers rapidly is certainly a benefit.
So we’ve now covered what you’d invest in your typical Square transaction along with the supplemental charges (more particularly, the shortage thereof). There’s yet another group of potential costs to understand more about, and that’s software add-ons.
You receive a lot using the fundamental Square Reason for Purchase application, but you will get much more using the software add-ons: everything from appointment booking to e-mail marketing.
I encourage you to look at our Square review for any more in depth consider the Reason for Purchase application features. You may also take a look at our other Square articles:
Square for Retail: $60 per register monthly
Square’s search-focused, inventory-heavy POS application, Square for Retail, was created with physical stores. It supports bar code printing and checking, too vendor management and buy orders. You could get inventory from inside the application, you don’t need to by hand update the counts. However, there are several limitations: the application isn’t as robust because the free Reason for Purchase application, and the price of goods reporting leaves many retailers dissatisfied. However, Retail does include Worker Management at no additional cost.
Worker Management: $5 per worker monthly
Worker management is Square’s time keeping add-on. Additionally, it supports user permissions to be able to restrict use of certain features as necessary. The permissions levels are customizable, too, so you aren’t locked into specific roles and talents. Worker management includes some advice reconciliation feature. Worker management is incorporated at no extra charge in Square for Retail.
Payroll: $25 monthly plus $5 per worker/contractor monthly
Payroll isn’t obtainable in every condition yet, but it’s obtainable in most of them. Browse the list here. For any $25 monthly base subscription plus $5 per worker monthly, you’ll get time keeping, direct deposit, records of your time off and sick days, payroll tax filing, workers compensation and much more. Square supports hourly wages, salaries, and flat payments, too. In addition, there’s a contractors-only plan that merely costs $5 monthly per contractor no monthly subscription needed.
It’s important to note that although you need to do get time keeping with Payroll, you do not obtain the other Worker Management features. For your, you’ll need to sign up for both services.
Appointments: $30 monthly for just one person, $50 monthly for just two-5 people, $90 monthly for limitless
Should you operate a salon or any other appointment-based business, Square’s appointing booking software integrates seamlessly with the remainder of Square’s services. They’ll even supply you with a free website so customers can book appointments 24/7. You are able to request pre-payment, send reminders, and much more.
Loyalty: $25 per location monthly
Square’s digital loyalty program enables you to reward customers for repeat visits. The rewards plan is customizable, so that you can choose the rewards and hang the parameters to earn them. The entire system runs from inside the purpose of Purchase application and you may sign people up at checkout.
A part of Square’s Reason for Purchase application may be the customer database where one can collect customer information making notes. That database also feeds into Square’s marketing service, so that you can keep records of the items customers buy so when. Use that information to focus on all of them with specific campaigns having a segmented database.
Conclusion: Just How Much Does Square Charge, Really?
Unlike a tiered prices plan or perhaps an interchange-plus plan, Square bills you the speed regardless of what kind of card you process. However, based on which kind of transaction, you’re likely to pay either 2.75%, 2.9% + $.30, or 3.5% + $.15. It’ll depend on you to definitely figure what number of transactions fall under which category and perform the math based by yourself processing history.
Still, Square causes it to be a great deal simpler to determine precisely what you’re having to pay. There aren’t any hidden charges, with no mandatory charges whatsoever (aside from processing rates). If you go searching for instant deposit, you’ll pay 1% for every transaction. Apart from that, the only real other charges Square expenditure is because of its monthly subscription services, that are entirely optional.
Remember to look at our Square and Square for Retail reviews to find out if Square can be a good fit for you personally. For those who have more questions regarding Square, you can publish them below! We’re always here to assist.