Payments by Wave 2023: Card Processing Reviews & Complaints

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Company Overview

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 initial service (free online accounting software) to include invoicing, payroll, personal finance, PayPal integration, and receipt management.

Payments by Wave Payment Processing

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 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.

Easy-to-Use Payment Gateway

The easy-to-use payment gateway offered by Payments by Wave enables businesses to accept credit card payments through their Wave invoices or custom payment pages. With a simple setup process and intuitive user interface, small businesses can quickly start accepting payments without the need for extensive technical knowledge.

Transparent Pricing Structure

Payments by Wave offers a transparent pricing structure, with no hidden fees or long-term contracts. Small businesses can benefit from the pay-as-you-go pricing model, which allows them to pay a fixed fee per transaction without any additional monthly costs or setup fees. This pricing model is particularly advantageous for businesses with fluctuating transaction volumes.

Invoicing Integration

One of the key features of Payments by Wave is its seamless integration with Wave’s invoicing platform. This integration allows businesses to create and send professional invoices, track payments, and automatically update their accounting records, simplifying the entire invoicing and payment collection process.

Fast Deposit Times

Payments by Wave aims to provide small businesses with fast access to their funds by offering quick deposit times. Most transactions are deposited within two business days, ensuring that businesses have timely access to their revenue and can effectively manage their cash flow.

Mobile Payments with Wave App

The Wave App allows businesses to accept payments on the go using their mobile devices. By enabling small business owners to accept credit card payments from customers wherever they are, the Wave App provides an additional layer of convenience and flexibility.

Strong Security Measures

Payments by Wave employs robust security measures to protect sensitive customer data and ensure secure transactions. The service is PCI DSS compliant and utilizes strong encryption methods to safeguard payment information, providing a safe payment processing environment for small businesses and their customers.

Location & Ownership

Vantiv is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank as its acquiring bank, and Wave is headquartered at 155 Queens Quay E Suite 500, Toronto, ON M5A 0W4, Canada. Kirk Simpson is listed as co-founder of Wave Accounting while Zahir Khoja is CEO.

Table of Contents

Payments by Wave Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Customer Reviews Summary
Item Result
Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A
Recent Lawsuits No

Low Complaint Volume

We are currently able to locate a number of negative Payments by Wave reviews, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. These complaints mostly describe fund-withholding problems through Wave, which is consistent with complaints that are typically filed against its previous processor, Stripe. Many 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. If you have your own Wave review to make, please do so in the comments below.

Wave Lawsuits and Fines

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Wave. However, it appears Wav was fined three times for consumer protection violations Dissatisfied clients 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 client 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.

Payments by Wave Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

Online Ratings Summary
Item Result
BBB Reports 203

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 170 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 173 complaints with the BBB.

What Merchants Say

In addition to the 173 complaints filed against the company, Payments by Wave has also had 30 informal reviews filed against it. All but 1 complaint reflect negatively on the company. The most recent review concerns issues with the app:

I have used Wave for several years. In October, it stopped importing transactions. After two weeks of working with the Chat support because I can’t find the phone support, I am told that this is *****’s problem not Wave’s problem and I have to download my statements. I don’t trust this organization and software *** **** ******** **** ** ** *******. What company that wants to grow tells customers that it can’t fix their problems?

High-risk businesses 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.

Payments by Wave Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Cost & Fees Summary
Item Result
Cancellation Penalties None
Monthly & Annual Fees No
Processing Rates 2.9% + $0.30
Equipment Leasing 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 $0.60 except AMEX, which is 3.4% plus $0.60. ACH payments are assessed a fee of 1%, but the minimum Wave fee for those transactions is $1. This means that any ACH payment from $0.01 to 100% through Wave will cost at least $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 clients 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 businesses 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 negative Wave reviews 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. We also encourage business owners to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.

Payments by Wave Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Jobs & Marketing Summary
Item Result
Uses Independent Resellers No
Telemarketing No
Misleading Marketing 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. This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.

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.

Our Payments by Wave Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

Payments by Wave rates as a reliable credit card processing provider according to our rating criteria. Although the company essentially repackages Vantiv’s 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. Business owners are encouraged to compare Payments by Wave’s pricing to that offered by top-rated payment processors.

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Your Comments & Reviews

How Did Payments by Wave Treat You?

15 Responses

  • Andrew Ferruche

    Hello and I am so glad I have found you. I do not know what you charge but I have been spun round and round for two and a half weeks on a 20k charge with my client. I own a small advertising agency called MediaMarks. We are legal and we represent MassCop. We went through a local gentleman he lied owes us fees told both my partner and I separately we had no limit on our clients card we had been calling for all charges over $5k per transaction. This one for 20k they asked for documentation. We provided it. I have over a 100 emails. I have a text from local rep stating to check my bank account the next morning this last Saturday and the funds will be there. They are not there today and was told by CEO at MiCamp that Fiserv has exited the relationship and may put a hold on my clients card for 60-90 days and wont hear back from FIserv until Thursday and unethically loops in a sales rep and has stated he might be able to find another bank if Fiserv hasn’t held the funds. I told him I have a Squareup account I just need to know if the hold is off the card and asked them to cancel this over a week ago numerous times. Norton Police for the record has been the only one to help us to date! I told the police when they called me this is a civil matter and who I represented he called my local rep and called me back and said everything I said was true and the money is coming its being processed it should be 3 days. I can prove this and I don’t know who can help me no other business owner does either. Please help

  • Joe traff

    Financial sources inc

    Stay way they will find a reason to hold you money and play game for ever in order not to give it back ! Can someone please sue them and make them go out of business?!

  • A Carter


    Fraudulent company!! They will put a hold on your money and not return it, this is a scam.

  • Katelyn

    Hello Gorgeous Boudoir

    PHOTOGRAPHERS BEWARE. I had a client forget about their session and issued a charge back. I called them and got it handled the same day. Refunded and issues a new invoice. Client paid, no issue there. Well, the waveapp said my account wasn’t connected to my bank so I switched accounts hoping it would fix. Instead of pulling the money out of the same account it was issued to, it pulled from the other one and didn’t go through. No biggie, I fixed it immediately.

    They then put a hold on my account to review and make sure the second transaction goes through. They gave me the run around 2 times. I had to wait 7-10 days with no access to my funds at all. Then on day 6 I message them asking for a resolution and bank proof that the funds were processed. No response for 2 days! JESS, then emails me after I contact online support:

    Hi Katelyn,

    I am very sorry for the delay! I ended up needing to be offline for the last two days due to an urgent surgery.

    It looks like the resubmission of the chargeback withdrawal was successful and your outstanding balance is cleared. I have escalated your account to our Risk team for a quick review to confirm that all is good to go to reactivate your account. As long as they don’t have any issues you should be reactivated for normal payouts by the end of day today.


    An hour or two later they BAN my account for being a boudoir photographer and are holding my money for 120 days or I can refund my clients. I email back immediately asking for clarification. I have found no information on this in their terms.

    I feel like this company is a fraud. I feel manipulated by their claims team. My family and livelihood relies on my buisness and now I have no way to pay my bills. Shame on you Wave.

  • Be careful if you have a small business, they have the capability of withholding payouts and their promises to resolve the problem in a day is empty. They can also block your account and then you can’t even refund your client and try a different payment method. I don’t really know how they are keeping clients or getting new ones. This doesn’t seem like good practices to keep clients?

  • Danielle Acuna

    I am so disappointed in wave I feel lied to they are holding all my money for 120 days without good reason they were given all proper forms from my customer and customers bank so they could release my money and they still refuse to release my money thr has been no disputs filed and it’s been over a month they don’t even release some of the funds

  • Fred Switzenberg

    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…

  • 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.

  • 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) !

  • Michael Skelton

    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.

  • Michael Jasperse

    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.

  • 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.

    • Mike Hayes

      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.

  • Tom Belknap

    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:

    “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.

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

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