Payments by Wave Review

Payments by Wave Overview

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Founded in 2009

Payments by Wave (waveapps.com) is a credit card processing service offered by Wave Accounting Inc., a Toronto-based software provider. Wave was founded in 2009 and has since expanded its its initial service (free online accounting software) to include invoicing, payroll, personal finance, PayPal integration, and receipt management. The company appears to have debuted its debit and credit card processing service in late 2012, with its mobile payment service for iOS still in beta testing.

Payments by Wave Location and Leadership

Payments by Wave offers merchant accounts through Vantiv (and previously used Stripe), but the service is activated through the company’s accounting software rather than through Vantiv’s website. Vantiv is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank as its acquiring bank, and Wave is headquartered at 235 Carlaw Ave, Suite 601 Toronto, Ontario, M4M 2S1. Kirk Simpson is listed as the CEO and co-founder of Wave Accounting.

Payments by Wave Review Table of Contents

  • Sales & Marketing: Payments by Wave does not engage in misleading sales tactics and has not received complaints about its sales team.
  • Costs & Contract: Payments by Wave offers month-to-month, pay-as-you-go payment processing via Vantiv.
  • Complaints & Service: Payments by Wave has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Payments by Wave has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 17 complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Payments by Wave

Payments by Wave Statement Analyzer

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Products & Services Offered

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • Online invoicing
  • Small business accounting
  • Payroll services

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • B2B

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Payments by Wave Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Credit/Debit Rate 2.9% + $0.30
ACH Rate 1%
Early Termination Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee None
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

Processing Through Vantiv

Wave offers electronic payment processing through Vantiv. Unlike most merchant services providers, Wave primarily intends for businesses to utilize its Payments service when sending invoices to customers. The Vantiv payment processing service is a part of the overall Wave Accounting app rather than the company’s primary service.

Payments by Wave Pricing

Payments by Wave’s costs and fees are exceptionally straightforward, as all transactions are subject to the same flat fee of 2.9% plus $0.30. Wave also allows users to send direct bank-to-bank transfers for 1% per transaction, although the processing time is a little longer. The company does not charge an early termination fee or a PCI Compliance fee, and merchants are free to cancel their service at any time.

Vantiv Contract Complaints

We have rated Vantiv’s contract terms a “C” because of the company’s high complaint volume. Most of these complaints stem from Vantiv’s pricing and billing practices, but these are superseded by the specific pricing options offered through Payments by Wave. Wave is not one of the cheapest merchant account providers, but its terms are otherwise competitive within the industry. Given the fact that Wave’s pricing negates the worst aspects of Vantiv’s contract terms, we have assigned the company an “A” rating in this section. Payments by Wave’s merchant agreement can be seen here.

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Response from Payments by Wave

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Payments by Wave Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A

Low Complaint Volume

We are currently able to locate four negative Payments by Wave reviews, none of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. These complaints all describe fund withholding problems through Wave, which is consistent with complaints that are typically filed against its previous processor, Stripe. All of the other Wave complaints we have found are related to the company’s accounting software, which is a service that is only indirectly related to the company’s Payments service.

Wave Customer Support

The Wave customer service staff appears to respond actively to merchant questions and concerns on the company’s website and in the comment sections of independent reviews of their product. Wave does not publicly offer any dedicated contact information for its customer support department, and some reviews mention that there is not an easily accessible customer service phone number. Additional support may also be available within the Wave Accounting software, but for now, Payments by Wave does not qualify as a top-rated payment processor for great customer service.

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Response from Payments by Wave

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Payments by Wave BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 3
Billing & Collection Complaints 12
Advertising & Sales Complaints 2
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.

Over 10 BBB Complaints

Wave Accounting Inc. has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since September 2013 and currently maintains an “A+” rating. The company is showing 17 complaints with the BBB, with three related to a product or service issue, 12 having to do with a billing and collection dispute, and two categorized as an advertising or sales issue. Five complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, while the remaining 12 were either resolved to the dissatisfaction of the complainant or did not receive a final response from the complainant.

What Merchants Say

One complainant (like several others) expresses frustration with funds held by Wave:

I recently opened an account with Wave and processed over 10,000 in credit card payments for my company with no issue. I then opened another business under the same account and processed credit card transactions as well. My accounts were then placed on hold and my transfers postponed. They requested more information and I provided it immediately. Its has now been 7 days since the original transaction has not been deposited. My frustration is that these situations should be handled by phone and not every other day via email.

Merchants stuck in similar situations should look into how to make their payment processor release their money.

A “B” Performance

The complaint details provided by the BBB strongly suggest that most of these complaints are related to fund holds placed by Stripe on transactions made through Payments by Wave. As a result, we have adjusted the company’s BBB rating to a “B” for our purposes.

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Response from Payments by Wave

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

Employs Independent Resellers No
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms Yes

No Sales Complaints

Wave appears to rely primarily on its website and traditional advertising to market its Payments app. The company does not employ independently contracted sales agents, and we are currently unable to locate any negative Payments by Wave reviews that accuse the company of misrepresenting its terms.

No Deceptive Ads

Additionally, the Payments by Wave website does not appear to engage in any deceptive advertising strategies. We have therefore assigned the company an “A” rating in this category for the purposes of this review. If you suspect that Payments by Wave is charging you undisclosed fees, however, we recommend seeking an independent statement audit to spot hidden charges.

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Response from Payments by Wave

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Payments by Wave Marketing Example

wave logo

Our Opinion of Payments by Wave

A Decent Merchant Services Provider

Payments by Wave rates as a reliable credit card processor according to our rating criteria. Although the company essentially repackages Vantives merchant account services within its own software, and its overall rating is better than Vantiv’s on the whole. Payments by Wave’s has a relatively low complaint rate, but we will continue to monitor feedback on the company and adjust its score as necessary. Merchants are encouraged to compare Payments by Wave’s pricing to that offered by top-rated payment processors.

We rely on your feedback about Payments by Wave to keep this review accurate and up-to-date. Please take a minute to tell us about your experience. We and the small business owners of this world thank you!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.

My Qualifications

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry to start my own a small business. From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to write about it, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this insider knowledge to myself, so decided to build this website to help you research which providers to use and how to save money on rates and fees. I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers here. Simply scroll to the top of the page to find the search bar. You can also message me if you need any guidance.

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5 Reviews Leave Your Review for Payments by Wave Below

  1. Michael Skelton says:

    My Bank Account has been debited twice now by someone who is using this service to send invoices to someone else that works with them, then that person uses the stolen debit card info to pay the invoice. Each payment is for $980.00, so it is not just a small deal. I have cancelled the debit card now but these people are basically an accessory to extortion. They need to screen their clients much better. I have reported this activity to my bank along with their address and phone number.

  2. Michael Jasperse says:

    I also have money that is being held by wave. At each review, or after each time I complain that they are holding funds without grounds, they extend the time they think they want to hold the money. We are now up 120 days. Product was shipped in November of last year. i run only one or two transactions per year. Because they charge you to contact them, either by chat or by phone, having a conversation and getting any kind of resolution is very difficult. I fear the money is lost and I fear they are banking on that, they will wait me out and just keep the money. I would in no way recommend trusting this company, not with my accounting nor with my credit card processing.


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  3. Michael says:

    I have the sane problem. Run away, run away. They have been sitting on money from a single transaction, in my case the only one I needed last year. They say they informed me in an email but I have found no such email. At first they say they are holding the money in case there is a charge back or complaint. First time they say they will hold it for 3 months, when I complained, they increased that to 6 months.


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    1. Mike Hayes says:

      This company has found a way to legally extort funds from you in the name of security by freezing your funds and then asking you to pay for customer service in order to get past the internet wall they hid behind. They are located in Canada at 235 Carlaw Ave. Suite 601 Toronto,ON M4M 2S1 Canada Phone # 416-521-9141.
      I am an attorney and my sister-n-law a single mother trying to start her on business has been held captive. They need more information once she finally made two decent sales they hold the money so that she can not complete the order. They are all over the internet building their empire while destroying the working person dream of one. My personal and professional opinion is to find another source such as Freshbooks or another invoicing company. I will be filing a complaint with the U.S. Government tomorrow (04/01/2016) and most likely file a civil suit for damages on my sister-n-law behalf. I will, at least, make them spend some of their extorted interest and fees collected to explain in a U.S. Court as to why my sister-n-law online disclaimer for the use of her service is not efficient enough but it is equivalent to their terms and agreements policy if not better for the use of their service. Wave if you read this, Please feel free to contact me at [REDACTED – personal contact information]. Mike Hayes Attorney at law, and I will not even charge you $9.99 to a $ 49.99 fee to resolve a problem that you have created.

      M.L. Hayes Esq.

  4. Incompetent at best, criminal at worst. After having used their service for a year or more without incident, one incident sticks with me like herpes and I’ll never, ever go back.

    In October of 2015, I was working for a client on an hourly basis, with them paying me directly through Payments by Wave on a weekly basis. One week, a payment mysteriously failed to arrive in my bank account. The payment had been made according to my Wave dashboard. My client showed me their statement showing the money was out of their bank account. But after the customary three days, no money. What was going on?

    Well, that would have been a good question to ask their support team if only I had a phone number for them. But they don’t have one of those. Or at least, it’s not published to the website. If you’d like to actually speak to someone ABOUT YOUR OWN MONEY, you need to pay for the Premium support service at $10 a month. Ah.

    So I put a support ticket in and heard nothing. Mind you: this was a $1200 paycheck at a moment when I’m living paycheck to paycheck, so the situation is getting pretty desperate. Nothing. No response.

    Discussing the situation with my client, they agreed to try to stop payment. But the trouble was: the money had already arrived at Wave’s system and according to banking rules, that means the money’s gone. You can’t dispute the charges anymore.

    Ten days after this, my payment finally arrived. No fanfare. No “sorry about withholding your only paycheck.” Just the money. Fine. It’s over and from now on, I’ll take live checks from my client. Done deal.

    Oh, but it’s not a done deal. For the past three months, I have periodically gotten emails from Wave telling me I owe them $1,200 for that payment. That payment was disputed, they say, and according to the terms of my contract I’m required to pay for chargebacks.

    Mind you: my client was not able to successfully dispute the charge and they don’t have their money back. But all of this took place while Wave’s systems were apparently on the blink. So who the hell knows what happened? Probably Wave, if they bothered to look. But after numerous emails, support tickets and even phone conversations (I know, right? NOW, they have a phone number.) in which I patiently explained the situation, they’re still after me.

    I put a stop-payment on Wave at my bank. They’ve actually bounced two checks in pursuit of their non-existent money. And now that I’ve threatened a lawsuit, suddenly they’re hugely responsive.. to a point: they call me while I’m working and can’t answer, and then when I do call, they don’t answer.

    Here’s the thing: if they’d had a working support system, none of this would have been an issue. If they’d at least had an outage board or some other method to inform their paying customers that there was a problem and yes they were aware and of course, they’ll get in resolved, none of this would be a problem. If their system had not screwed up in the first place, this would not have been a problem. And I wouldn’t have had to write this post. But I do.

    Everything about this situation lays at the feet of this company. And no matter how many times I try to explain the situation, they don’t seem to get it, even going so far as to tweet me:

    https://twitter.com/tksimpson/status/688075974429179905

    “Let’s get this resolved.” Three months, I’ve been trying to get them to resolve this and they refuse. Now that I threaten a lawsuit, they want to talk. And they want to talk in a way that is frankly patronizing and seems to ignore every last moment of this debacle.

    I cannot more strongly recommend that you do not use Payments by Wave or Wave at all.


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