What to Know Before Getting Started
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Selecting a credit card processor is often more complicated than most people expect. How much should you be paying in fees? Should you lease or buy equipment? Should you be locked into a service agreement for anything length of time? These considerations and several others are imporant to understand before signing up with any merchant account provider. Mistakes are easily made and can be very costly to your business. Along with seeing our top choices for payment services below, be sure to checkout this post to avoid common traps in the merchant services industry.
Considerations For Current Business Owners
Changing merchant accounts can be an expensive, complicated, and time consuming process. Are you really going to save as much as promised? Do you need to buy to new equipment or sign new lease agreements? Will there be other less accountable costs such as those associated with employee retraining? Before selecting one of our choices below, you may want to consider renegotiating your fees with your current payment processing vendors using the help of a contingency-compensated consultant. It can result in a dramatic decrease in costs without the pains of switching. In some cases business owner have also obtained substantial refunds of prior overcharges along with saving thousands in future processing costs. See this post to learn more about this little-known alternative to changing merchant account provider.
Marketplace platforms are relatively new e-commerce environments that are becoming rapidly more popular, especially within the technology industry. Companies like Uber, Etsy, and Airbnb have redefined the way that merchants interact with consumers in the modern economy and have empowered everyday people to earn money on their own schedules. However, this unprecedented shift toward semi-professional peer-to-peer payments has outpaced the credit card processing industry’s ability to provide easy-to-use, dependable merchant accounts for customers to pay the marketplace (“pay-in”) and for marketplaces to pay their vendors (“payout”). Simply put, there are only a handful of payment processors that offer payment solutions designed to integrate with marketplace platforms.
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Why These Merchant Account Providers
Founded in 2010, Stripe is an e-commerce merchant account aggregator that enables merchants to accept payments through their websites. The company currently offers a product called “Stripe Connect” that is specifically intended for marketplace-style payments, and this service currently powers large-scale marketplaces like Lyft, Kickstarter, Shopify, Squarespace, and Instacart. Stripe Connect offers pay-in and payout, identity verification, tax reporting, payments in 25 countries and 100 currencies, in-app payments, custom statement descriptors, custom payout schedules, and instant fund routing.
Stripe Connect costs 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, which is charged to the marketplace before the payment gets disbursed to any vendors. For an additional 0.5%, marketplace owners can upgrade to managed accounts, which provide identity verification, custom branding, flexible payouts, local optimization, and reporting. Our review of Stripe currently gives the company a “B” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives Stripe an “A+.”
Founded in 2008, WePay is a payment processor that was originally created as a standard e-commerce merchant account provider, but has since shifted its full focus to its integrated, white-label payment service for enterprises and marketplace platforms. WePay specializes in serving marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms and offers simple seller onboarding, seamless checkout, customizable layouts, custom settlement schedules, fraud screening, transaction-level reporting, and mobile payment options for vendors. WePay is particularly active within the crowdfunding community, as it is the official partner of GoFundMe and YouCaring.
WePay no longer discloses its fees on its website, but it was previously known to charge 2.9% plus $0.30 per card transaction and 1% plus $0.30 per ACH transaction. Our review of WePay currently assigns it a “C” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives WePay an “A.”
Founded in 2000, Hyperwallet is a global payout solution for enterprise-scale businesses and marketplace platforms. Hyperwallet offers marketplaces the ability to issue mass payouts to sub-merchants, suppliers, and contractors located in multiple countries through a single application. Hyperwallet’s features include automated currency exchange, payee-managed payment preferences, a universal payment file, phone support for payees, sales analytics, compliance with all security standards, and tax reporting. It is important to note that Hyperwallet is a payout-only solution, meaning that it does not offer a merchant account solution for sub-merchants or payees to accept payments at this time.
Hyperwallet customizes its pricing based on the countries that each user needs to issue payouts to and the total number of payees. It offers phone support and live chat support in multiple languages to all of its users. Our review of Hyperwallet currently assigns it an “A” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives the company a “B-.”
For more information, visit the Hyperwallet website.
Shopify is a well-known e-commerce platform based in Ottawa, Ontario. The company’s payment processing platform, Shopify Payments, is powered by Stripe and functions as the preferred payment option provided by the company. Shopify is unlike the other providers on this list because it is not an independent payment service that can be integrated into a marketplace platform. Rather, Shopify users can turn their own stores into small-scale marketplaces using one of several apps from the Shopify app store. This means that merchants can create a store on the Shopify plaform, purchase a single app, and suddenly have the ability to offer sub-accounts for independent sellers while taking a commission from their sales. The two most popular apps for creating a marketplace in Shopify appear to be Marketplace by Bold and Multi Vendor Marketplace by Webkul.
For marketplace owners, Shopify offers different service packages at the following pricing tiers: $9/month (Lite), $29/month (Basic), $79/month (Standard), $299/month (Advanced), and a customized Plus plan for merchants who sell over a million dollars in merchandise per year. Online per-transaction fees decrease with each upgraded package, starting at 2.9% plus $0.30 for the Lite package and ending with a low custom rate for the Plus plan. Merchants can integrate their existing merchant accounts with Shopify, but they will pay an additional 2% per transaction on the Lite plan, an additional 1% per transaction on the Standard plan, and an additional 0.5% on the Advanced plan.
For more information, visit the Shopify website.
Other Merchant Account Options
The providers in this section may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them here to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Are you a decision maker with your company and believe that you should be listed below? Tell us here.
Based in Iowa and founded in 2008, Dwolla is a merchant account alternative that aims to bypass traditional card networks in favor of direct bank–to-bank transfers between users. Dwolla markets itself as an excellent, low-cost option for marketplace payouts due to the fact that it does not charge a per-transaction fee or a fee for disbursements to vendors. Using only a simple API, marketplaces can automate their payouts and grow their marketplace without experiencing a corresponding increase in fees. However, marketplaces are advised to find a different provider than Dwolla for pay-in due to the fact that Dwolla does not support credit card payments.
Dwolla charges a fixed monthly fee for its white label service, but it does not disclose this fee on its website. Dwolla offers a dedicated customer support phone number, but its customer support team prefers to direct merchants to its online knowledge base or email communication. Our review of Dwolla assigns it an “A” rating at this time, while the Better Business Bureau gives it a “B” grade.
Braintree Payment Solutions
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Braintree Payments (braintreepayments.com) is an excellent option for marketplaces due to its easily integrated plugin and fixed-rate, all-inclusive pricing. Braintree’s products and services for marketplaces include tax management, flexible funding schedules, and sales reporting. Braintree Marketplace is comparable to Stripe Connect in terms of its application and scope.
Braintree charges marketplaces 2.9% plus $0.30 for all initial transactions made by sub-merchants, but it does not charge any fees for distributing payments to sub-merchants. Braintree utilizes First Data as its processing network but handles its accounts directly via phone and email support. The company is currently showing an “A” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com and a “B+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
PayPal is one of the largest payment processors in the world and was originally created to be the first large-scale online marketplace platform. PayPal offers marketplace payments to up to 250 vendors at once through its Mass Pay API. Like other PayPal products, this service disburses payments to PayPal accounts rather than bank accounts, although it is capable of accepting credit card payments.
PayPal is an easy-to-use service with a high profile and widespread acceptance. This recognition has enabled the company to grow and develop its product and service offerings, but it has also resulted in PayPal receiving a very large number of complaints related to customer service issues and fund holds. Our review of PayPal gives the company a “B” rating overall at this time, while the BBB gives PayPal an “A+.”
If your business offers pay-in and payout for marketplaces, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.