After testing and researching the main credit card processing options, there were three clear frontrunners: Square, PayPal Here, and Swipe4Free. In the write up below, we compare the cost, functionality, ease of use, customer service, and overall value of each provider, and make our recommendation about which provider is the best for your small business.
Both Square and PayPal here have no monthly cost and similar processing rates, with PayPal Here being just a tad bit cheaper. Swipe4Free has no monthly fees AND no processing fees.
Square has no monthly service fee of any kind. Instead, they make money by charging a processing fee on all credit/debit card transactions. The rate for swipe/chip card transactions is 2.75%. For manual transactions where you have to key-in the card number, the rate is 3.5% + 15¢. Square also allows you to send invoices to customers so that they can pay conveniently online from their computer or phone. For invoices, the processing rate is 2.9% + 30¢ per online payment.
PayPal Here, like Square, makes money through processing fees and do not have any monthly service charges. Their rate is 2.7% for swipe/chip card transactions. For manual transactions, the rate is 3.5% + 15¢ just like Square. Their rate for invoices is also the same as Square, at 2.9% + 30¢ per online payment.
Swipe4Free has no monthly service fees and no processing fees. The way we differ is by passing a small percentage onto the customer. For Example: A customer decides to use your service/product and the cost is $20. You gladly accept their credit card as a form of payment. You run the card through a Swipe4Free credit card terminal. A convenience surcharge fee of 4% is added automatically to the transaction at the point-of-sale. The total of $20.80 is received for the purchase and the fee. Both are automatically transferred to your business bank account within 24 hours. The fee completely offsets your processing fees and you have a ZERO FEE PROCESSING SOLUTION.
Square’s basic reader for swipe cards (plugs into your phone’s headphone jack) is free. When you sign up for an account, you get a free reader sent to you in 5-10 days. If you need one right away, you can get one at many stores (Walmart, CVS, etc). It costs $10, but then you get that $10 reimbursed on your first deposit. So, it’s essentially free.
However, with the recent changes in credit cards and the move to Chip (EMV) cards, it is important that you have a Chip Card reader, or you will be held liable for fraudulent payments/stolen information. Square’s Chip Reader is $49 and will also allow you to accept NFC payments like ApplePay. If you get Square’s Chip reader, you are also sent a basic swipe reader free of charge.
Like Square, PayPal Here’s basic swipe reader is free when you sign up for an account. However, their chip card reader (also accepts NFC payments) is much more expensive, at $149. If you process more than $3,000 in payments in the first 3 months, then you get a $100 discount on the reader. But, if not, then you are stuck paying the full price.
Swipe4Free gives you the option of a PAX S80 or S90 terminal. Both are advanced terminals that combine innovation, durability, and high performance to assure faster, more reliable transactions. One version is the advanced countertop POS terminal, and the other is the wireless POS option.
Square has several different payment options. If you can wait 1-2 business days, then your money will be deposited into your bank account free of charge. If you need the money that same day, then you can do an instant deposit, it will just cost you 1% of the total deposit.
With PayPal Here, money is deposited into your PayPal account within hours. So, if you pay a lot of things through PayPal, then your money is available really quickly. But, it takes 3-5 business days before you can actually transfer that money into your business bank account.
With Swipe4Free all transactions are automatically transferred to your business bank account within 24 hours.
The Bottom Line
If you want a functional and robust solution for credit card processing, Swipe4Free is the way to go. For most small business owners, Swipe4Free will give you the features and functionality you need without breaking the bank.