What a Process: Payment Platforms for Merchants
There are a few necessities that e-commerce merchants need to set in place before they can run their stores, including a business plan, merchandise and, of course, a secure payment processing solution.
Companies are now bridging the payment gap between consumer and merchant by offering more versatile and innovative payment options such as mobile payment wallets. However, not all of these solutions are created the same. While some offer more features, others may offer lower rates -- which is why merchants should be fully aware of what they are committing to before making a decision.
Take a look at these innovative payment processing solutions below:
Although Square isn’t the newest mobile payment processing solution, it doesn’t mean that it is outdated. This solution can be used to accept payments from mobile devices through a square-shaped reader. Retailers simply need to sign up for the free reader, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices, as well as install the free Square app in order to leverage this platform. Merchants are charged a rate of 2.75 percent per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and AmEx credit cards.
This solution can also be leveraged to create a loyalty program or even turn an iPad into a register, which enables merchants to add inventory, quickly process payments and wirelessly print receipts.
Created by arguably the most popular online payment provider, PayPal Here uses a triangular card reader to accept credit card payments from mobile devices. And aside from accepting credit and debit cards, the platform can also be used to issue invoices, track cash payments, process checks and, of course, accept PayPal payments.
Processing checks and issuing invoices are free, but PayPal Here charges merchants a rate of 2.7 percent for card swipes. Merchants can download the app and apply to obtain the card reader for free, and also have the ability to access live customer support through the platform.
Similar to Square or PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment enables merchants to accept payments from mobile devices. The solution’s app and credit card reader are free, with credit card transaction fees for Visa, Mastercard, Discover and AmEx charging merchants 2.7 percent.
This platform provides retailers with the ability to text or email receipts to consumers, sync GoPayment transactions with QuickBooks software and manage transactions from the Merchant Service Center.
The PayAnywhere payment processing solution can also turn mobile devices into credit card readers. Merchants must download the free app and sign up for the free card reader in order to start accepting credit cards on their iOS and Android devices.
PayAnywhere charges merchants a 2.69 percent fee for swiped credit cards, offers real-time and heat map reporting for credit card and cash transactions, as well as a free merchant portal for deeper consumer insights. Retailers can also earn money by referring PayAnywhere to other merchants.
VeriFone offers a couple of different payment processing options. The company's PAYware Connect platform is a hosted payment processing solution that is cloud-based, and enables merchants to conduct transactions on mobile devices and online.
However, merchants who are looking for a mobile payment solution more similar to Square can also choose to leverage the Sail platform that works on both iOS and Android devices. VeriFone offers a Sail Pro and Sail Go plan, both of which come with a free card reader. The Pro plan comes with a low swipe rate of 1.95 percent, as well as a monthly fee of $9.95, while the Go plan has no monthly fee but comes with a 2.7 swipe rate.
Retailers can use LevelUp to accept payments and set up a loyalty program through a mobile device. LevelUp is an app that works on both iOS and Android devices and enables consumers to link a credit or debit card to their account, in which they receive a unique QR code that can be used to make purchases.
Merchants can accept payments by downloading the LevelUp merchant app or obtaining the LevelUp dock for their counter, and are charged a 2-percent transaction fee per purchase. This solution can also be used to set up a loyalty program, view consumer purchasing analytics, send email receipts, obtain weekly reports and more.
This mobile application can be used to accept payments at brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. Google Wallet enables consumers to store their credit card information inside their mobile devices and make payments by tapping their phones on readers at physical store locations or by clicking a button on participating sites while surfing the Web.
Merchants can make their businesses Google Wallet-ready by offering contactless payment terminals within brick-and-mortar stores or by adding the Google Wallet button to their websites. Retailers can also utilize this platform to drive traffic by pushing offers that customers can save and redeem with Google Wallet in-stores, or partner Google Wallet with an existing loyalty program to retain more customers.
This payment solution is a little different from those previously mentioned because the focus is on low cost and not mobile. With Dwolla, all transactions less than $10 are free, with all other transactions costing only 25 cents.
Dwolla users can make payments online or in brick-and-mortar locations by connecting their bank accounts to their Dwolla accounts. Merchants can leverage this platform by utilizing the company’s free online, mobile and social tools.
This platform basically cuts out the middle man (or becomes the middle man -- depending on how you look at it) by transferring a customer's money through the Dwolla network directly into the merchant's bank account, so that no plastic cards are required and therefore no credit card fees are charged.