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Seeing Green: 7 Payment Processing Solutions for Small Businesses

ByMaricel Rivera, writer
May 18, 2016
> Finance

The flourishing online shopping industry is fostering the need for business owners to facilitate easier and more varied payment methods to cater to their growing range of customers, as evidenced by the following statistics: 

  • Data from Statista suggests that in 2015, the number of online shoppers in the U.S. reached 205 million, with figures projected to reach 224 million in 2019.
  • From $231 billion in 2012, Forrester Research predicts that U.S. online retail sales volume will steadily increase to $370 billion in 2017.
  • In a study enumerating the payment methods most popular with E-commerce customers, debit card preference topped the list at 43 percent, credit card preference followed at 35 percent, while PayPal and other online wallets trailed behind at three percent. 

For business owners intending to stay relevant to a growing base of online shoppers, clearly, a move toward more flexible payment solutions is in order.  So if you’re in the market for payment tools to try, here’s a list of  merchant processing services to consider: 

Related Article:Payments Suck: Breaking Down the Current Landscape of Payment Processing

1. Dwolla 

dwolla home page screen shot

Founded in Iowa in 2008, money transfer services company Dwolla launched in the U.S. in 2010, effectively positioning itself as an alternative to then payments processing giant PayPal. 

Opening an account with Dwolla is free, and it lets you avail of their money transfer services for one-time, recurring, and even mass payments.

For faster, next-day money transfers and other features, users will have to pay a flat monthly fee that starts at $25 per month, instead of per-transaction fees. Dwolla is available online and offered as a mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows users. 

2. WePay 

wepay home page screen shot

Perhaps an interesting part of WePay’s history would be the fact that it was the fundraising service of choice for participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011, which led to a huge boost in WePay’s usage and general visibility. 

Established in 2008, from being mainly used for money-pooling, donation initiatives, WePay pivoted to focus on lending its intuitive, user-friendly payments processing platform to businesses. 

WePay is available on mobile and charges a fee of 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per successful credit card transaction, and a fee of one percent plus $0.30 for ACH. 

Related Article:Ways to Pay: Credit Card Processing Tools All Small Businesses Should Use

3. Stripe 

stripe homepage screen shot

Gaining traction for its less complicated “only pay for what you use” pricing system, Stripe charges a straightforward 2.9 percent plus $0.30 flat fee per successful card transaction. No setup or monthly fees to fret about, and Stripe’s data and reporting feature shows you transaction information in real time.

Stripe supports 100+ currencies and also processes Bitcoin and ACH transactions for fees starting at 0.8 percent and at a maximum of $5. 

Recently, Stripe released a new feature, called Stripe Atlas, which allows business owners from anywhere in the world to incorporate a U.S. company, open a U.S. bank account, process payments, and receive tax and legal guidance from Stripe’s consulting partners. Stripe is available both on the web and mobile.

4. ZipBooks 

zipbooks home page screen shot

Free accounting software ZipBooks is quickly establishing itself as a QuickBooks alternative among freelancers and small to mid-sized businesses. 

ZipBooks forgoes charging a monthly subscription fee to users by offering cash flow management tools to small businesses, like invoice financing. Its business model is built on the premise that many businesses need short-term help when their cash balance temporarily runs low and they are willing to pay a small fee for assistance. 

In addition to making next-day payments into a company’s bank account based on an outstanding invoice, ZipBooks also offers more traditional payment tools like credit card processing and PayPal integration.

ZipBooks also builds in sophisticated productivity tools into its accounting suite such as time tracking, bank account integration, and recurring invoicing. 

It’s a cloud-based accounting tool available either as a responsive web application that works well on any device or as a native iPhone app. An Android app is slated for release later this year. 

Related Article:Pocket Payments: How To Find The Right Mobile Payment System For Your Business

5. Braintree Payments 

braintree homepage screen shot

Founded in 2007 and acquired by PayPal in 2013, Braintree lets you process payments using credit or debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Bitcoin, and Venmo. 

Braintree caters to a whole spectrum of businesses, such as subscription-based, direct sales, service-based, or marketplace-based merchants. They employ a straightforward pricing scheme starting at 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction for cards and digital wallets. 

Even better is that Braintree processes your first $50,000 in transactions absolutely free. Other pluses include no minimum transaction or monthly fee requirements, and no hidden costs for fraud protection services or recurring billing, among others. 

6. Beanstream 

beanstream homepage screen shotAccording to its website, Beanstream has been processing “over $20 billion in payments annually since 2000.” With such a long history behind it and with a partner list that includes First Data Canada, TD Bank, and Sage Payroll, it’s safe to say that Beanstream has successfully carved for itself a place in the industry. 

A versatile omnichannel platform, Beanstream can handle varying transaction types:  eCommerce, EMV, mobile payments, batch processing, and recurring billing. 

Beanstream charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per successful card-present transaction and a 2.8 percent plus $0.30 card-not-present fee. 

7. Venmo 

venmo homepage screen shot

Venmo is a PayPal-owned payment processing service that allows you to request for, send to, and receive money from other Venmo users. 

You can directly send money to a person’s Venmo account, and even link your bank, credit, or debit cards. Money from your Venmo account can be transferred to your bank account in one business day. 

Venmo is available via the Apple Store and Google Play platforms. It should be noted that Venmo use is only free when making payments via a bank account or certain debit cards. For credit card and some debit card transactions, Venmo charges a standard three percent transaction fee. 

Final Word 

Providing exceptional customer experience implies the willingness to change with the times. Online shopping and online payment processing are fast becoming the new normal, and it would do your business well to expand your payment processing capabilities.

Maricel Rivera
Maricel Rivera
See Maricel Rivera's Profile
Maricel Rivera is a business and technology writer, editor, and proofreader who has held content development positions for various software startups. She has been in the content development space since 2012, and some of her work appear on sites like Tweak Your Biz, Business 2 Community, Customer Think, and others. She currently runs a content development agency that caters to SaaS businesses.
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