Square recently announced that it is giving it’s flat fee the ax, making many of its small business customers wonder if there are any cheaper alternatives. The company credited for challenging the mobile payments industry stated that it will be discontinuing a monthly $275 flat fee for businesses processing less than $250,000 in credit-based sales annually. These Square customers will now pay the same 2.75 percent swipe fee per transaction that larger customers pay.
PayPal Here. I know that PayPal may not be the most well liked company around-especially among small business owners. But, it’s mobile payments service, PayPal Here, definitely has some great features that make it an option to seriously consider. Like Square, PayPal has a free app and card reader that you can attach to your mobile device, and you can accept a full range of credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. But with Paypal, you can also accept checks for electronic deposit as well as create and send electronic invoices. Fees start at 2.7% per transaction, which is actually a little cheaper than Square, while a manually entered transaction will cost you the same as Square, 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction.
The money is instantly transferred to your Paypal account where you can either transfer it to your bank account (a process that could take a few days) or access it immediately via a PayPal merchant debit card.
Intuit GoPayment. Depending on the amount of transactions you generate per month as well as how often you manually need to key in information, Intuit’s GoPayment service may be a cheaper alternative to Square. There are two payment options. With the first one, there is no up-front fee, and the cost per transaction is 2.75 percent. For manual transactions, the cost is 3.75 percent with no 15 cent charge. So if you process less that $60 in manual transactions a month, then Intuit is the cheapest option. If you process over $1,300 a month, then Intuit’s second option would be the best deal. In this case, you pay $12.95 a month, which gets you a swipe rate of 1.75 percent. The biggest downside to Intuit GoPayment is that the money doesn’t reach your bank account for two to three days.
Spark Pay. Spark Pay is a relative newcomer to the mobile payments scene, but it’s definitely a something to consider since it offers the best deal in terms of pricing for many small merchants. Spark Pay, which is part of Capital One, charges 2.70 percent per swipe or 3.70 percent for keyed-in transactions with no monthly fee. Pay a $9.95 monthly fee and swiped transactions are 1.95 percent, while manual transactions are 2.95 percent. Reviews of the service, however, have been mixed, with many users complaining that their accounts were canceled and that the reader and app didn’t work properly. So, proceed on this one with caution.
In short, before you pick any of these services, make sure you read the fine print, since there are slight differences among each service that can end up costing you a lot of money, such as how the service treats rewards cards. You can also see a side-by-side comparison of each of the major mobile payments platforms would perform for your particular business with this handy tool over at cardfellow.com.