PayPal for Small Business
This PayPal review is intended primarily for small business owners who accept credit card payments on a regular basis and for any new businesses that will need to accept credit cards. Due to this focus, the content of this review will cover the factors that are most important to merchants who are interested in using PayPal for the purpose of accepting credit card payments from their customers.
Is PayPal Holding Your Funds Right Now?
Thousands of merchants have had their payments frozen by PayPal. If you’re one of them, then you might find these resources helpful:
- How To Make Your Payment Processor Release Your Money
- How to Fight Chargebacks
- Best PayPal Alternatives
A Titan of E-Commerce
PayPal began as a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay, where it was heavily used for payments between buyers and sellers of eBay auctions. In mid-2015, PayPal split off from eBay to become its own independent company. The service is one of the most accessible electronic payment methods in the industry because it allows anyone with an email address to sign up to send and receive payments from other individuals. Additionally, PayPal has a “merchant services” division that allows businesses of all sizes to accept credit card payments, much like a normal merchant account.
PayPal Is Not a Merchant Account
PayPal is unlike traditional credit card processors because merchants cannot use PayPal with typical credit card processing equipment. Instead, PayPal offers several other services including shopping cart integration, “buy now” buttons, and donation buttons that are primarily targeted towards merchants with an online presence. The company also offers a virtual terminal with an optional credit card reader that plugs into the USB port of most computers. The virtual terminal allows merchants to enter credit card data themselves.
Point Of Sale (POS)
Paypal utilizes an all-in-one POS solution called Zettle, which provides portable in-person acceptance of chip, swipe, and contactless payments. The company focuses on the small handheld POS for most of their physical payment processing, but they also offer larger register-style POS and scanning equipment for managing inventory. The device can operate off customers’ smartphones and other USB devices. It integrates with existing PayPal merchant accounts as well as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android PayThe advertised rate for the Zettle 2.29% + .09$ per transaction, with added costs for additional equipment.
PayPal Requires a Separate Account
One important difference between PayPal and a merchant account supplied by a credit card processor is that merchants must request the transfer of funds from their PayPal accounts to their bank accounts. Typically, most merchant account providers transfer the money to their merchants’ bank accounts as “batches” automatically within 48 hours of the close of a business day. PayPal also offers payments by check and a debit card that can be used for purchases or withdrawing money from an ATM. Merchants who would like to avoid this arrangement are better off using PayPal alternatives instead.
Headquartered in California
Daniel Schulman is the CEO of PayPal, which is headquartered at 2211 North First Street, San Jose, California 95131.
PayPal Review Table of Contents
- Competitors and Comparisons How Does PayPal square up against competitors.
- Costs & Contract: PayPal offers a month-to-month contract with no early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: PayPal has received thousands of public complaints.
- BBB Rating: PayPal has an “B” rating with and has received 13,904 complaints and 1,551 reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2001.
- Sales & Marketing: PayPal does not hire independent sales agents and has not received any complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With PayPal
PayPal Competitors and Comparisons
PayPal vs Venmo
PayPal and Venmo, while technically the same company, are competing as an alternative option for small businesses to take payments online and in-person. Many merchants aren’t aware that PayPal actually owns Venmo when making this decision.
It’s also important to note that both PayPal and Venmo were not originally designed to be the primary payment processing service for most merchant accounts. Originally Paypal was the payment backbone for the online auction giant Ebay before it split off in 2015. Venmo was created to transfer funds between family, friends, and other trusted individuals. Paypal acquired Venmo as part of its purchase of startup Braintree in 2013 for $800 million.
However, they have seen an uptick in use in recent years from smaller merchants who do not wish to maintain an account with one of the larger payment processors. This shift has been embraced by both brands, and we’ve seen a recent introduction of new products and services aimed at appeasing their growing number of clients who use the services as their primary form of payment service provider. Venmo in particular has changed its platform to begin allowing businesses to create profiles and provide transactions with more transparency and security. There are some key differences between the two brands when it comes to payment processing.
Credit & Debit Processing
While we remind our readers that neither service was initially designed to handle large volumes of transactions, they both allow it in one form or another. Both companies offer electronic invoicing services, QR scanning, keyed-in transactions, and account to account transfers, but PayPal has a lot more to offer in terms of physical POS systems and virtual terminal options when it comes to taking cards. Venmo does not seem to have some of the consumer protections in place for chargebacks and consumer disputes, as indicated by the numerous warnings to only deal with trusted accounts and individuals.
Venmo allows merchants to accept credit card payments, but will charge an additional 3%. PayPal charges the same fee outside of account-to-account transfers. Venmo does not have a credit card scanner currently, and transactions must be made through the app. PayPal has several tiers of physical POS systems with card and chip readers depending on your needs, something Venmo just can’t currently offer.
Paypal also issues debit cards tied to their accounts, something Venmo plans to offer in the future according to their site.
Neither brand charges a monthly fee or early termination fee, making them both very attractive to merchants who make few or sparse transactions. While it can be difficult to gauge the Venmo and Paypal’s direct cost difference on services Venmo doesn’t offer, we can look at QR-based transaction fees and costs. QR codes are most likely going to be the primary payment method for Venmo users considering their lack of physical card readers. Venmo charges 1.9% + $0.10 per QR transaction, where Paypal is slightly more expensive at 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction. This percent difference comes with a lot of consumer protections on PayPal’s end. PayPal does offer several optional monthly services like added fraud protection for additional costs.
Pros & Cons
One of the biggest drawbacks to both services is the inability for funds to automatically be transferred to your bank. This might be the main distinguishing feature from a normal credit card processing company. While both companies make it easy for users to transfer funds to their bank in a few clicks, there is usually a delay of 1-3 days before the funds are released. PayPal in particular has received large amounts of complaints related to this delay, and it’s also where funds can get frozen for one reason or another.
While Venmo can typically take 1 to 3 business days to transfer money to a bank account for free, the company also has an instant transfer option. It allows merchants and other users to instantaneously transfer funds. However, a 1% fee is attached to these transfers, with a minimum of $0.25 and a maximum of $10. PayPal offers a similar service for 1% with no fee ceiling. These very small nuances can mean the difference of hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of using PayPal versus Venmo.
Both services offer a large amount of flexibility and that seems to be the main attraction for merchants. While PayPal can boast one of the largest payment networks out there, Venmo can really shine as a low-maintenance and highly mobile payment platform. It’s also more accessible to users, allowing them to simply download the app to pay. While PayPal technically matches all these services on paper, the end users and mobile market seems to prefer Venmo. We think there’s room for both services depending on a merchant’s needs, however it will be interesting to watch the two brands trying to stay off each other’s toes as Venmo steadily approaches merchant account territory.
We also invite our readers to check out our Venmo review for more in-depth information.