Accepting Online Payments Part Three: So Which Payment Gateway Should I Choose?

 Update: July, 2014 – Some of the information in this blog post is no longer up-to-date.  For the most up-to-date information on the payment gateways FreshBooks supports please check out the FAQ.

Last part of a three part series – Accepting Online Payments: the Ultimate Guide. Part one covered Why You Want to Accept Online Payment. In part two, we discussed How Do Payment Gateways Work and How To Choose One?

If you’ve read the first two posts, you might be asking yourself, “great, thanks for all the information, but I’m still confused. Which gateway should I pick?”

To give you a better idea of the online payment gateways that integrate with FreshBooks, this last post in the series is a summary of the various options. If you have any specific questions about which one to choose, please feel free to contact us directly.

 

PayPal Standard

The big daddy of them all. PayPal has the advantage of being both incredibly useful and powerful while being easy to set up, all at the same time. The standard PayPal offering is free to use and it offers most very small businesses exactly what they need to start accepting payments online. It’s a great place to start if you are just doing a few credit card transactions a month. As your business grows, your PayPal account can be upgraded to add more features (for a monthly cost). There are three different flavours of PayPal that integrate with FreshBooks:

 

PayPal Standard

(Link: PayPal Standard)

PayPal Standard is the basic PayPal account and a great entry-level solution if you’re just considering online payments. It is easy to set up and does not charge a monthly fee. For larger payments, PayPal Standard’s discount rate (see pricing) lowers to give you a bit of a break. One thing to note: as this is PayPal’s entry-level solution, when your clients click to pay an invoice, they’ll be taken from your FreshBooks account out to PayPal’s interface. It’s not entirely seamless, but it works. If you’re only doing a few credit card transactions a month, I highly recommend this option. Also, if your clients also have PayPal accounts, they can pay via PayPal-to-PayPal transfers, which are virtually free.

 

PayPal WPP

(Link: PayPal Website Payments Pro)

This is essentially a higher-level version of PayPal Standard, with a cleaner interface and your own personalized branding. Unlike many other payment gateways, this version of the PayPal gateway does not require a merchant account. This is advantageous if you don’t like paperwork and/or your business is fairly new. Getting a merchant account can sometimes take some time and it can prove more difficult if you are just starting out. The downside with this gateway is that you won’t be able to set it up for recurring transactions (auto-bills), to automatically charge your customers’ credit cards on a regular basis.

 

PayPal PFP

(Link: PayPal Payflow Pro)

This is a further step-up from PayPal Website Payment Pro. PayPal Payflow Pro is a fully functional payment gateway that you can use to automatically charge your customers’ credit cards as well as process one-time fees very seamlessly. Payflow Pro requires you to obtain an Internet merchant account, although they will provide some assistance to help you get set up. Payflow Pro has proven to be a very flexible solution; giving most small to mid-sized businesses all the features they’ll ever need in a payment gateway.

PayPal’s support:PayPal has a full customer support system: FAQ, online knowledge base, live chat, support tickets, and also a US-based phone number (not toll-free) that is open during most North American daylight hours, including weekends.

 

Here are full details on PayPal’s Pricing.

 

Authoir

Authorize.Net has built a very good reputation as one of the leaders in online payment gateways for small businesses since 1996. They have a great solution, with a no-nonsense gateway that just works and is nice and fast. Authorize.Net’s prices are very reasonable and, from what we have experienced, their customer service is good too. We’ve received largely positive feedback from new customers getting going with Authorize.Net and existing customers continuing to use the service. If you do not have a merchant account, they can set you up with one at no charge.

Authorize.Net also offers an eCheck service, using the U.S.-based ACH (Automated Clearing House) network. This is a neat idea for small businesses in the U.S., it’s a pity there isn’t a good international equivalent.

If you choose to go the eCheck route, you should know that they will insist on holding back a certain amount of money for a designated time period, until you build up a reputation as a trusted merchant. This is because the funds come directly out of a checking account, so they need to be available from your buyer. Sometimes these funds can be held for weeks. The primary advantage of ACH is that it is based on a flat fee per transaction, instead of a discount rate. This can make ACH a good choice for larger transactions (over $1000).

They also have a great support resource center, support tickets, and a business hours toll free line (like FreshBooks!).

FreshBooks customers can get a discount on Authorize.Net services by signing up through our site, and we recommend them if you plan to do a lot of credit card transactions. You’ll find pricing details at that link as well.

Authorize.net announced in late April, 2010, that Visa is set to acquire Cybersource, Authorize.net’s parent company. The deal is expected to close later this year.

 

For Canadians (and Americans)…

Psi

(Link: PSiGate)

Yes! A Canadian payment gateway! PSiGate has been offering Canadians (and Americans) payment gateway services since 1998, and the customers we know who use it seem to like it a lot. PSiGate are based in Mississauga, Ontario, and they know a great deal about the unique challenges of Canadian small businesses. If you are interested in billing both USD and CAD, PSiGate offers this as well.

We’ve never heard any complaints, and their support is great (kind of like someone else I know…). They use support tickets, as well as a toll-free line that is open during normal business hours.

As a Canadian service, of course, PSiGate also offer their service in French.

Full Merchant Service Solutions (not just online based)

 

bluepay

(Link: BluePayGo Formerly LANDMARK Merchant Solutions)

LANDMARK (Now BluePayGo) is a full merchant services provider that is not as specifically focused on online transactions as other payment gateway companies. It was recently acquired by BluePay but has essentially remained the same for FreshBooks users. A big part of their business is POS (Point Of Sale) services for brick and mortar businesses, including clients such as Subway Sandwiches and Dominos Pizza. This is worth knowing – if you have a storefront or are traveling to clients, LANDMARK can set you up with a credit card terminal so you can have clients pay right on the spot. Note that these types of payments are not automatically updated in FreshBooks.

If you need to get a merchant account, they state they have a high approval rating and can get you set up in about two days. However, they only work with US-based companies and provide USD currency transactions.

They do offer 24/7 customer service, which is important for any client-facing activities.

 

 

iTransact

(Link: iTransact)

iTransact is similar to BluePayGo, in some ways, although they provide even more services. Established in 1994 and based near Salt Lake City, Utah, they are a larger gateway with a solid reputation from our standpoint. We haven’t received any complaints. They also differ from BluePayGo, in that they offer both Canadian and American merchant accounts and currencies.

Like most full merchant service providers, iTransact offers online payment, “bricks-and-clicks,” and traditional brick-and-mortar merchants the ability to accept payments via credit, debit, and gift cards, as well as electronic checks (online payments are the only option that will integrate directly with FreshBooks, of course).

One downside to iTransact is that they only offer support tickets and self-help resources, with no toll-free helpline.
Updated: Like FreshBooks, iTransact does offer a toll free number: 1-855-881-7481. They offer full in house support for both their Gateway and Merchant accounts.

 

First Data

(Link: FirstData – formerly Linkpoint)

First Data is based in Simi Valley, California. They offer very similar services to BluePayGo and iTransact,  covering everything from POS terminals, through online payment gateways, to ATMs. If you’re running an online business, I’m sure you’re asking yourself why on earth you’d need an ATM. You don’t, but hey — it’s neat to know you could get one if you wanted to!

First Data also have a great industry blog, which they call “Insights” – worth checking out.

These guys only operate for US-based business. Their support consists of support tickets and self-help resources, with a variety of toll free lines depending on the product you choose.

Simpler Gateways (No Merchant Account Required)

 

 

2checkout

(Link: 2Checkout.com)

If you really just want to get going quickly and easily, are based internationally, or want to accept payments in a variety of currencies, then 2Checkout.com is a great gateway for you.

They do not require a merchant account and you can use them no matter where your company is based. Plus, the set up is simple, painless and takes just a few minutes. You’ll be able to start accepting your first payments right away.

They have 24-hour support, and toll free lines for North America and the UK, so feel free to give them a shout.

 

Google Checkout

(Link: Google Checkout)

Last, but certainly not least, is Google Checkout. Google’s service is also really easy to get setup. However, they’re only offering coverage in the United States and UK right now. Knowing Google, this will likely expand in the future. You are also not required to get or have a Merchant Account for Google Checkout.

Two important things to note: Google Checkout cannot process auto-bills with FreshBooks and they also require your client to set up a free Google account (if they don’t already have one) before they can pay you.

They do have a help center for buyers and sellers but it is very focused on self-help. They also have a support email address.

What about Multi Currency payment gateways and FreshBooks?

If you would like to invoice with multiple currencies in FreshBooks, unfortunately, you only have one option, and that’s PayPal. You can check out their full currency listing here. Having said that, you can always bill people in your usual “home” currency and let your buyer’s credit card provider apply an exchange rate to the transaction. This also makes your accounting simpler.

 

Summary of Payment Gateways

To give you a quick recap:

summary

 

More information…

If you are interested in using FreshBooks with an online payment gateway and need or want even more info, you can check out our Online Payments FAQ or give us a call at FreshBooks support (1 866 303 6061). We’ll be happy to talk you through it, help you get set up, or answer any other questions you might have.

 

In Conclusion

When you pick an online payment gateway for your business there are quite a few options. Always make a list of what you actually need, ask why you need it, and go from there, so you can quickly evaluate, make a decision, and get back to your business.

Update: FreshBooks now integrates with the online payment gateway BeanSteam as well, a great gateway for North American business.

Update: You might want to explore PayPal Business Payments. It is a flat fee option for $0.50 using PayPal eChecks and Balances (no credit cards). It is currently only available in the United States.

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  • http://www.braintreepaymentsolutions.com Braintree

    John – we made this same comment on your second post but thought it important enough to make it again on the final post in your gateway series.

    One of the more important considerations to make when choosing a gateway is knowing if the provider will hold stored credit card data hostage if you ever want to change providers.

    Merchants will remotely store credit card data with gateways to both limit the scope of PCI Compliance and increase security.

    We deal with merchants in this predicament every day and the consequences can be significant.

    We created the Credit Card Data Portability Standard for this reason and have invited all payment gateways to participate.

    http://www.braintreepaymentsolutions.com/blog/data-portability

    Bryan Johnson
    Braintree

    • http://www.ericgreenspan.com Eric Greenspan

      Please add SQUARE! It puts Paypal to shame by providing direct deposit to your bank next day.

      • http://www.facebook.com/csaling Craig Saling

        Eric, This is Craig Saling. Why not go local with Global Gateway e4 and SBMerchant.com? I own the company. We put both Square and PayPal to shame with Interchanges rates for ALL and have the ability to connect with Freshbooks in less than 5 minutes.

      • james

        Yes ! Square ! Another vote. Please? It’s a perfect match for Freshbooks.

  • http://www.socialmediamercenary.com/ Leslie A. Joy

    What an excellent chart! Thank you-I’ll be passing this along to my clients.

  • http://www.Credit-and-Collections.com Michelle Dunn

    Great chart, I will pass this along to my association members and clients! Most of my clients are starting collection agencies and are always having trouble finding merchant account services, so this is just perfect.

  • StuDuncan

    I guess it’s timely to ask…what about Square? I know they haven’t released an API yet, but are you planning on supporting them? They have a very similar feel to FreshBooks and would be a great addition to your payment methods.

  • Gary Walrack

    Which one of the processors holds your money for the least amount of time? I dislike Paypal because they use your money for three or four days before they transfer funds. They blame it on the banks, but we all know the truth.
    Thanks, Gary

  • http://freshbooks.com John Coates

    Hi Stu,
    Square definitely looks interesting and we’re tracking their progress with interest. They don’t work outside the US right now, which limits things for us, but we’re keen to follow what they’re doing.

  • http://freshbooks.com John Coates

    Hi Gary,

    Any of the the merchant account required payment gateways will automatically deposit the funds into your account after a waiting period. It is usually shortened once you have processed a number of transactions.

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  • http://ecgridos.com Alan Wilensky

    I am surprised at comprehensive coverage of the front end of electronic payments, well done Freshbooks.

    I wonder if more small and medium businesses that use Freshbooks need to submit EDI X12 and EDIFACT purchase orders and invoices. This would be a natural fit for Freshbooks to offer.

    More small business is making use of on-demand SAAS solutions for being supply chain compliant, and it is simple to add that format and communications to the back end (with the obvious expertise at Freshbooks, hiding the complexity from the end users.)

    I wrote a song about it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UATIIy3XLAY

  • David

    John, looks like PayPal is now offering a way to do reoccuring payments through their standard service. They are calling it “Enhanced Recurring Payments” and charging 19.95 per month. The fee is being waived until 2011 so this would be a great option for me:
    https://merchant.paypal.com/cgi-bin/marketingweb?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=merchant/erp_overview
    Unfortunately, I just got off the phone with customer service and it doesn’t seem like you guys are supporting integration with this yet. This would be a HUGE bonus for small peeps like me who need to bill customers regularly but not at a high volume.

  • http://www.netprofitmarketing.com Jared Detroit

    If you’re going with a payment Gateway (read not PayPal or Google), make sure you get everything in writing from the sales person that you talk to. In a previous business we didn’t do that and ended up being sold one product and getting delivered another. In other words, the sales person told us we had a higher charge limit to get the sale and once we signed the contract, we found out our limit was much lower.

    Just an FYI as it was with a gateway on this list.

  • Joseph Law

    Could you provide a price comparison chart at some point? Thanks!

  • http://www.squareoak.com Brendan

    Yes, a price comparison seems like the giant missing piece here.

  • http://www.freshbooks.com/our-team.php#coates John Coates

    Hi Alan – Thanks! It is an interesting idea to have more supply chain related imports – I will pass it on to our development team. And I’ll have to check out your song!

    Hi David – We are always tracking PayPal features and integrating with what we feel is important for small businesses. Have you checked our recurring invoices in FreshBooks at all?

    Hi Jared – Thanks for adding to the discussion! It’s a great point.

    Hi Joseph and Brendan- We could create a pricing chart, but we have no control over the pricing of other services, so it could easily be out of date as soon as we put it up.

  • Joe Rodriguez

    My 2 cents. If it’s not free, it’s not hassle free. Do I really want to give $200 to any of these companies off a $10,000 check? I don’t think so. Paper will survive until online payments are meant to be free. A bank doesn’t charge me for depositing a check!

  • Pingback: Price Comparison Chart for Online Payment Gateways : GoalsOnTrack Blog()

  • http://www.goalsontrack.com Harry | GoalsOnTrack

    I did a quick check on the prices of these payment gateway services, and posted the price comparison chart here: http://blog.goalsontrack.com/2010/05/14/price-comparison-chart-for-online-payment-gateways/

  • Frank

    I signed up for 2checkout only to find out afterwards that they demand that I put a terms of service and refund policy on my website in the main navigation. I am a consultant so this doesn’t really fit into the format of my business.

    Maybe they’ve lightened up, but I felt like I wasted the $50 sign up fee with that one. Maybe i’ll try Google Checkout next for free.

  • http://www.fdis-wolverine.com sumin

    I’m glad you read it

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  • Peej

    Question, (btw nice job!)

    I want to be able to do auto-bills.
    Whats the average cost with Authorize.net

    Because I noticed when I clicked on the referral link from FreshBooks, it add’s “Value-Adding Add’ons)

    What are these?
    And what’s the minimum needed for auto-bills and Authorize.net?

    Also, one more question.

    I might go the PayPal Website Payments Pro route…
    With this, I know I can’t auto-bill, but does the user have to enter the credit card info every time or does it store it so when they log in they can press “Pay Now”?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.freshbooks.com/our-team.php#coates John Coates

    Hi Peej,

    To answer yours questions:

    1) You do not need any of the add-ons from Authorize.net to do auto-bills in FreshBooks. Some may be worth it to you, but the basics will get you going. For example, you do not need the Authorize.net auto-bill feature.

    2) With PayPal Website Payment Pro, it will not store your client credit for future use – PayPal basic and Google Checkout will but your client would be brought out of the FreshBooks interface. It is easy though to get back to the invoice.

    Cheers!

  • http://jarrodfreeman.tumblr.com Jarrod

    @John Coates

    Do you mind telling us what payment gateway is currently being used by Freshbooks for recurring monthly billing?

    Thanks

  • http://www.freshbooks.com/our-team.php#coates John Coates

    Hi Jorad,

    We use one of the popular US based gateways.

    Contact me directly coates [at] freshbooks [dot] com for more details.

    Cheers,

  • Peej

    @John Coates
    Awesome Man!

    So what’s a good setup in your opinion and what’s the basic requirements for what I’m looking for (with Authorize.net) and to do auto-bills.

    Thanks, you guys are legit!

  • http://www.freshbooks.com/our-team.php#coates John Coates

    Hi Peej,

    Just get what you must have and add on the additional features if you need them later. You’ll quickly know if you’re missing something.

  • http://www.avpsolutions.com AVP Solutions

    With sites such as eBay, can you choose to use any of these options or just pay pal. Ive only ever use pay pal.

  • http://www.cardpaymentoptions.com ParkerWest

    Payjunction.com also supplies a very easy to use payment gateway. Personally, I would recommend them over just about any of the picks on this list.

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  • Jay

    I’m confused. I live in Vancouver, BC and asked my credit union about getting a merchant number for use with online billing. They told me they use FirstData which seems contrary to the chart here (US only)

  • Mike

    With the usage of internet whole lot more, I know that the industry of payment processing is going to stop at nothing.

  • Rajan

    Thank you. Good analysis.

  • http://northernpaymentsystems.com nathan

    Most of the supported gateways are overpriced and the poster children of big banking mediocrity. When will you support an affordable Gateway, such as USAePay or Beanstream or Braintree? It’s surprising that a tech company doesn’t understand this part of their business.

  • http://www.freshbooks.com/blog John Coates

    Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for all the suggestions – knowing that people want them helps us determine if we should partner with them.

    Also, FreshBooks dose now work with BeanStream – check out the details: http://www.freshbooks.com/blog/2010/11/30/new-beanstream-online-payment-gateway/

  • Anthony Taylor

    I signed up for 2checkout only to find out afterwards that they demand that I put a terms of service and refund policy on my website in the main navigation. I am a consultant so this doesn’t really fit into the format of my business.

    Maybe they’ve lightened up, but I felt like I wasted the $50 sign up fee with that one. Maybe i’ll try Google Checkout next for free.

  • http://www.freshbooks.com/our-team.php#coates John Coates

    Hi Anthony – I’m very sorry to hear that.

    Where are you based? We always recommend PayPal or Google Checkout if you’re just exploring as they’re free to get started.

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  • http://psdtomagentosite.com/ rajiv

    This is really a nice module. It helped me lot in my work. Will you help me To add AJAX Contact form on my website.

  • steve

    I wanna sell my tour packages online, regions Europa, Asia, North America so what will be the convenient gateway facility an which is accepting multiple currencies.

    • sam

      if you looking for payment merchant account than i can place for you just contact me at my skype:s.arushabosse

  • Mason Gibbs

    GUYS DONT USE PAYMENT GATEWAY OF BR MERCHENT SERVICES, BIZZNETONWEB AND BINARY FOLDERS.

    THEY ARE BIG SCAMMERS AND FRAUD COMPANY. THEY WILL NEVER SEND YOU MONEY FOR THE SALES YOU UPLOAD INTO THEIR CRM.

    PLEASE BE CAREFUL. THANK YOU

    • sam

      if you looking for payment gateway or merchant account than i can place for you just contact me at my skype:s.arushabosse

  • Lydelle

    I know some time has passed since this article was written but I’m wondering if anyone out there has recent thoughts on the subject of PCI Data Security Standards?

  • Alex Perry

    To the Freshbooks staff: PLEASE, PLEASE find a way to work with Square! It will put your product in a new category and as a business that relies heavily on Square, it would make my life and thousands of other small business owners easier. I love Freshbooks, but need these two interfaces to work together more seamlessly. I need a processor that will not hold my money for 3-4 days. With Square you get it next day!

    Alex

  • http://mauryasoft.in reena

    i want payment getway in my site …how is possible tell me pls

  • hitesh

    hi,

    i am from india , i want to sell tech support services in usa
    i need payment gateway for that please guide

    thanks
    hitesh kohli
    +91-9990857031 (india)
    hitesh.andrew.kohli@gmail.com

    • irfan.khan

      write us on techonline.billing@gmail.com

      Regarding the payment gateway

    • sam

      hey hitesh i can place your gateway for tech support for more details contact me at my skype:-s.arushabose

  • Mani

    hi
    i looking for a good payment gateway for tech support
    1-877-776-3643

  • james

    Square ! Please ! A perfect match for Freshbooks !

  • Lynn

    Can you use Intuit as a payment gateway for Freshbooks?

    • merylmanning

      Hey Lynn,

      Thank you so much for reaching out :)

      Unfortunately this isn’t a payment gateway that we are currently paired with! Were there any others that you use that we may accomodate. If you could e-mail me some more information meryl@freshbooks.com I can definitely look into this for you!

      • sam

        hey if you looking for payment gateway for ur business than i can place it for you just contact me @ my skype:s.arushabose.

  • Jenn

    What are the fees above 10k?

  • matt

    hmmm. just starting on here and can’t believe you don’t integrate with square. i’m not sure we will continue if that is the case.

    • merylmanning

      Hi Matt

      Thanks for writing in, I remember when I first saw Square process a payment – totally mind blown.

      As of right now, Square does not offer an API for us to connect to them with, but should they open it up in the future, we’ll try our best to make a connection.

      I’ve put your name down as someone who would be interested in testing it out should that day come.

      If you wanted to send me your contact details, I can definitely add that to the request so we can get a hold of you :) You can e-mail me at meryl@freshbooks.com

      • ChrisBan35

        Keep me in mind as well. I use authorize.net but my provider takes up to 3 days to post my money in my account. When the fees for processing are the same and Square gives me the money by next day, it’s a no-brainer. ..

  • Mike

    Take a look at a company called Iridium Corporation, been really good for our business and great support, EU only though.

  • User123

    Really need Square Integration…

    • JaclynTanner

      Hey 123,

      Alas, Square’s API is not public, blocking us from the ability to create an integration. Not to worry though, if it ever goes public it will be a priority to include it as a payment gateway option – because Square is rad :)

  • ChrisBan35

    I’ve had super wonderful comments for using Freshbooks as my ticketing/invoicing system, so not leaving Freshbooks. But I do hope they find a way to incorporate Square as Square is by far the GREATEST credit card transaction service available. My provider who is an agent of authorize.net is taking 3 full business days to fund my account. This is unacceptable now that I know companies like Square can do it literally overnight.

  • tkn

    hi we provide the payment gateway for tech support for genuine transaction,our terms are easy so related inquiries are welcome and can call me at 09896502569

  • tkn

    hi
    we provide payment gateway for tech support for genuine transaction,our terms are easy and with impressive payout plans so any related query can contact me at 09896502569(tarun)

  • Daniel Martin

    This is really a nice blog. It helped me a lot in my work. I
    actually appreciate it!

  • Daniel Martin

    Thank
    you for sharing your blog. The online payment entree offers several options and
    choices which will be tailored to specific merchant business models. I really
    appreciate it!

  • David Landry

    It looks like Square does have an API… (https://connect.squareup.com/docs/api) Do you think any connection with Square would be possible in a near future?

  • izzy

    hi can your system work with UsaEpay online gateway?

    • Tim

      Hi Izzy

      FreshBooks does not currently integrate with UsaEpay. I’ve noted this as a request to our partners team for future considerations.

      Thanks!

      – Tim @ FreshBooks

  • Tim

    Hi David,

    While it’s true that they have released an API, the commerce API (The API that actually handles the transaction) are only available to some partners: https://connect.squareup.com/docs/api#commerce-api-overview

    I’ve noted your request to have an integrations with Square with our integrations team, if you have any other questions or concerns, give us a shout at support at freshbooks dot com.

    – Tim @ FreshBooks

  • David

    Canadians are “Americans”. Why can’t anyone get this simple stuff right? The differentiation is that in the USA, we are U.S. Citizens”. Humans who reside in the U.S.A., are NOT the only “Americans” in the “Americas”! Mexicans for example, are also 100 PERCENT AMERICAN, as is any natural born citizen of the “Americas”. There is NO COUNTRY called “America” and there never was! The U.S.A., should more correctly and properly be called “THE UNITED STATES OF THE AMERICAS”.
    “Canadians and Americans” is improper speech, or rather improper word usage in this article. The regular misuse of these words is a HUGE problem, as we discuss the affairs of Nations on this Earth! People, please make the proper distinction through well thought out, and definitive word use!