Payments by Wave Review

Payments by Wave Overview

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Founded in 2009

Payments by Wave 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. The company also provides merchants with accounting, invoicing, payroll, and receipts services.

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

  • 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 and has received 22 complaints and 2 reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2013.
  • Sales & Marketing: Payments by Wave does not engage in misleading sales tactics and has not received complaints about its sales team.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Payments by Wave
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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% ($1 minimum fee)
Early Termination Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee None
Equipment Lease Terms N/A

Processing Through Vantiv

Wave offers electronic payment processing through Vantiv. Unlike most merchant services providers, Wave primarily intends for businesses to utilize its payment 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. ACH payments are assessed a fee of 1%, but the minimum fee for those transactions is $1. This means that any ACY payment from $0.01 to 100% through Wave will cost at $1. 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.

No credit card terminal is necessary with Wave’s platform. The service generates invoices to facilitate online payments. This gives merchants the benefit of being able to avoid costly, non-cancellable equipment leases.

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 Lawsuits

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Wave. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Wave Customer Support Options

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 5
Billing & Collection Complaints 12
Advertising & Sales Complaints 2
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 1

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 20 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 22 complaints with the BBB, with 5 related to a product or service issue, 12 having to do with a billing and collection dispute, 2 categorized as an advertising or sales issue, and 1 regarding a delivery complaint. 4 of the 20 complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, while the remaining 14 were either resolved to the dissatisfaction of the complainant or did not receive a final response from the complainant.

What Merchants Say

In addition to the 22 complaints filed against the company, Payments by Wave has also had 2 informal reviews filed against it. Each of the 2 complaints reflects negatively on the company. The most recent review concerns issues faced by a high risk merchant:

I signed up for Wave invoices about a month ago. Shortly after signing up, and having about ten invoices paid, they decided I was “high risk”. They refunded EVERYONE that had paid their invoices. I informed them that I had already sent these orders out, with some customers already receiving them. I demanded that they let my customers keep their money, and give me the money they refunded, as well. I received no response from multiple emails. Weeks later, still nothing… *************************************

High risk merchants face unique challenges for a multitude of reasons. Those factors can make finding a suitable merchant account difficult. Businesses confronted by these issues should research their best options for merchant accounts serving high risk industries.

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

Are you a representative of Wave? Add your voice to this section for free!

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.

Did you get what you expected from Payments by Wave? Tell us why, or why not.

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.

Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.

From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, 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 on this website.

How I Can Help You

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15 Reviews Leave Your Review for Payments by Wave Below

  1. Tanya Garrison says:

    TERRIBLE customer service NO PHONE support my MONEY is stuck and they WILL NOT HELP me – DO NOT USE THIS FOR PAYMENTS

  2. Chad says:

    Wave payment system doesn’t work correctly.
    I highly recommend NOT using Wave to accept payments. I too have had a very difficult time trying to contact their customer support. When they say they’re going to follow up regarding my issue they don’t.

  3. Kathryn says:

    There is no response from this company…loved them 2 yrs ago
    Now I can’t get my new bank account set up for accepting calls. The online customer support is worthless. I now have to go to another company. Too bad they don’t want your business..I would have really liked to have used them with my new businesses

    1. Brian Clark says:

      Kathryn,

      If you’re considering a new merchant account following a poor customer experience, this article may help: Best merchant accounts for customer service.

      -Phillip

  4. Alegria Q Ford says:

    Today I was informed by wave that I needed to provide them with a contract for one of my clients since 2017 or otherwise they will not release the payment to me so they have put a hold on a large sum payment,
    What? I am a web contractor who works monthly for services so they have decided that I need a contract? Closing my account as soon as the invoice has been refunded to my client. Would they put a hold on the refund?
    There is something wrong going on after they sold out!

    1. Brian Clark says:

      Alegria,

      This article may help: How to make a payment processor release your funds.

      -Phillip

  5. Fred Switzenberg says:

    I had a customer pay a $13,000+ invoice using a new master card they ordered for the sole purpose of paying my invoices. They are a one hundred million a year distributor with perfect credit whom I’ve sold to for over two decades.

    Well, the Wave alert hit my phone saying, “congrats, you’ve been paid” and I thought, “Oh, wow, I should have turned that option off because I don’t really feel like paying the fee on that amount. But, oh well, at least it’s done.”

    The very next day I get some freakin cryptic emails from Wave and some stooges named “Barsin” and “Qais” saying they have decided not to honor the transaction due to fear of chargebacks or some BS. OK, now I’m starting to panic so I call the customer and tell him to stop payment on the credit card. They in turn refer the whole thing to their controller who says, “Sorry, we paid Wave. You’ll have to take it up with them.”

    I tried to call Wave HQ in Toronto but they don’t take calls. They rely on the support ticket system only: which is total BS. My advice is to run from any company that does not take phone calls.

    I kept getting cryptic BS emails saying sorry, etc. but no answers as to what was happening with my money. Until I threatened to have my attorneys refer the whole thing to Interpol and initiate a lawsuit. Then, I got action. They refunded the money but did not provide any details. I raised hell about that and they finally sent a screenshot of the transaction ID’s. I’m sure we looked like complete idiots in my customer’s eyes.

    I finally got my customer to issue a paper check: two weeks later! I’m still considering suing them but the fact that they’re headquartered in Canada makes it difficult. H&R Block supposedly purchased them but they have nothing to do with the management I guess. H&R Block HQ in Kansas City was totally worthless as well. They don’t take phone calls either. They too are a company I’ll never have anything to do with.

    My advice? Stay as far away from Wave Payments/Wave Accounting/Wave Financial as you can…

  6. Leon Tates says:

    I started using Wave credit card payment a few weeks ago. I proceed roughly 3 invoices for a total of 2100.00. After all payment were processed I was informed that my account was high risk and that ALL invoices would be refunded to my customers.

    I’ve sent several messages explaining my personal incovenience as well as my client’s. NO response or phone call regarding my situation. I am a small business owner and withholding funds for work done for a week can really hurt.

    I’m very disappointed with Wave and the entire customer service process. I expected much more communication.

    1. Fred Switzenberg says:

      I went through the exact same thing. They are pathetic and should be shut down…

  7. Justin says:

    I’m so disappointed in the fact that they did not disclose that you need to add business information after the first payment has been made to you. Had I known I would have had all the required information ready before hand. And now that I tested ( at my own regret) the payment system, I am now waiting on some important funds. How dare you “wave” for not disclosing this you should be ashamed of this. I plan to set an online social media campaign up to discuss this fact. Please change your policy immediately(<—-all caps) !

  8. 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.

  9. 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.


    Are you with Wave? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  10. 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.


    Are you with Wave? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

    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.

  11. 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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