Payment Processing Costs: Compare Top Providers

Choosing the right payment processor is crucial for any business. The pricing structure of these processors can significantly impact your bottom line, making it essential to understand the various fees involved.

Payment Processing Costs: Compare Top Providers

In this post, we'll compare the pricing of some of the industry's leading payment processors, including PayPal, Stripe, Square, Braintree, and Nickel Payments.

Understanding Payment Processor Pricing

Payment processors typically earn money across three major categories:

  1. Transaction Processing Fees
  2. Monthly Subscription Fees
  3. Additional Miscellaneous Fees

Pricing Snapshot for a business processing $1,000,000 annually (70% via ACH, 30% via Card). We'll go through the detailed calculations at the end of the article.

Summary of Annual Costs (ACH + Card Processing)

Payment Processor Total Annual Cost
Nickel Payments $8,970.00
Stripe $14,369.00
Square $15,754.00
Stax Payments $14,833.70
Braintree $12,823.20
QuickBooks Payments $15,995.00

Transaction Processing Fees

These are the bread and butter for payment processors. They vary widely and differ between ACH/eCheck, wire transfer, and credit cards. Here we focus on just ACH and card processing fees, as ACH adoption has been increasing rapidly over wire transfers.

Everything you need to know about ACH

Payment Processor ACH Fees Card Processing Fees
Nickel Payments Free 2.99% per transaction
Stripe 0.8% per transaction, capped at $5 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Square 1% per transaction, minimum $1 fee, no cap 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person; 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions
QuickBooks Payments 1% per transaction, no cap 2.99% per transaction
Braintree 0.75% per transaction 2.49% + $0.49 per transaction
Stax Payments 1% per transaction, up to $10 Interchange + $0.08 per transaction (swiped), Interchange + $0.15 per transaction (keyed-in)

Monthly Fees

Some payment processors charge monthly fees in addition to or instead of transaction fees.

Payment Processor Monthly Fees
Stax Payments Up to $150,000/year: $99 per month
$150,000-$250,000/year: $139 per month
Over $250,000/year: $199+ per month
Stripe No monthly fees for standard accounts
Checkout links: $10 per month
Additional domain for links: $10 per month
Stripe Express: $2 per account per month
Stripe Custom: $2 per account per month
Shopify Basic Plan: $39 per month
Shopify Plan: $105 per month
Advanced Plan: $399 per month
Shopify Plus: Starting at $2,000 per month (quote-based)
PayPal No monthly fees for standard accounts
PayPal Payments Pro: $30 per month
Square No monthly fees for basic services
Advanced POS systems and software plans have monthly fees
Braintree None
Nickel Payments None
QuickBooks Payments None

Additional Fees

Payment Processor Chargeback Fees
Stripe $15 per dispute
Shopify $15 per dispute
Stax Payments $25 per dispute
QuickBooks Payments $25 per dispute
Square $0 per dispute
Nickel Payments $0 per dispute
PayPal $20 per dispute
Braintree $15 per dispute

Limitations

It's important to note that pricing alone cannot show you all of the limitations that a processor may have. For example, Stripe may flag large transactions for further review. QuickBooks Payments will only process transactions up to $50,000 for credit cards. It's important to read the fine print when selecting a payment processor so that your business is set up for success.

PayPal

  • Services: Supports online payments, invoicing, in-person transactions via PayPal Here.
  • Pricing:
    • Transaction Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
    • ACH Payments: Not supported
    • Monthly Fees: None for standard accounts; $30/month for PayPal Payments Pro
    • Additional Fees: International Transactions (4.4% + fixed fee), Chargebacks ($20), Micropayments (5% + $0.05), Currency Conversion (3-4% above base rate)
  • Pros: No monthly fees for standard accounts, widely accepted, easy integration
  • Cons: High fees for international transactions, expensive chargebacks, high currency conversion rates, no direct support for ACH.

Stripe

  • Services: Extensive APIs for custom payment solutions, supports online payments, subscription billing, in-person transactions.
  • Pricing:
    • Transaction Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per card charge
    • ACH Payments: 0.8% per transaction (capped at $5)
    • Monthly Fees: None for standard accounts
    • Additional Fees: International Transactions (1% additional), Currency Conversion (1% additional), Instant Payouts (1% fee)
  • Pros: No setup fees, extensive developer tools
  • Cons: Additional fees for international transactions and currency conversion, limited customer support options.

Square

  • Services: Point-of-sale systems, online payment processing, business management tools.
  • Pricing:
    • Transaction Fees: 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person payments; 2.9% + $0.30 for online payments
    • ACH Payments: Not supported
    • Monthly Fees: None for basic services; advanced systems have monthly fees
    • Additional Fees: Instant Transfers (1.5% fee), custom rates for high volume
  • Pros: No chargeback fees, simple pricing, comprehensive POS solutions
  • Cons: Higher transaction fees for online payments, limited international support

Braintree

  • Services: Online and mobile payment processing, customizable solutions.
  • Pricing:
    • Transaction Fees: 2.49% + $0.30 per transaction
    • ACH Payments: 0.75% per transaction
    • Monthly Fees: None
    • Additional Fees: International Transactions (1% additional), Currency Conversion (1% additional), Chargebacks ($15)
  • Pros: No setup fees, wide range of payment methods, seamless PayPal integration
  • Cons: Additional fees for international transactions and currency conversion, expensive chargebacks

Nickel Payments

  • Services: Tailored for industrial-sized payments, seamless QuickBooks integration.
  • Pricing:
    • Transaction Fees: 2.99% per credit card transaction
    • ACH Payments: Free
    • Monthly Fees: None
    • Additional Fees: No chargeback fees, no currency conversion fees, handles large transactions up to $1,000,000
  • Pros: No monthly fees, free ACH, competitive credit card fees, and integrations with popular accounting software.
  • Cons: Limited international support

Scenario: A Business Processing $1,000,000 Annually

  • ACH Transactions: 70% of $1,000,000 = $700,000
  • Credit Card Transactions: 30% of $1,000,000 = $300,000
  • Number of Payments per Month: 50
  • Number of Chargebacks: Assuming an average chargeback rate of 0.5% for credit card transactions

Nickel Payments

  • Transaction Fees: 2.99% per transaction for credit cards, free for ACH
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Chargeback Fees: None

Cost Calculation:

  • ACH Fees: $0
  • Credit Card Fees: $300,000 * 2.99% = $8,970
  • Per Transaction Fees (assuming 50 payments/month, 15 credit card transactions): $0
  • Total Annual Cost: $8,970 = $8,970

Stripe

  • Transaction Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per credit card charge, 0.8% per ACH transaction (capped at $5)
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Chargeback Fees: $15 per dispute

Cost Calculation:

  • ACH Fees: $700,000 * 0.8% = $5,600 (capped at $5 per transaction, assumed 35 ACH payments per month)
  • Credit Card Fees: $300,000 * 2.9% = $8,700
  • Per Transaction Fees (assuming 50 payments/month, 15 credit card transactions): $0.30 * 180 = $54
  • Chargeback Fees (assuming 0.5% of 15 transactions/month): 0.5% of 180 credit card transactions = 0.9, rounded up to 1 chargeback = $15
  • Total Annual Cost: $5,600 + $8,700 + $54 + $15 = $14,369

QuickBooks Payments

  • Transaction Fees: 2.99% for credit card processing
  • ACH Fees: 1% per transaction
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Chargeback Fees: $25 per chargeback

Cost Calculation:

  • ACH Fees:
    • 70% of $1,000,000 = $700,000
    • ACH Fees: $700,000 * 1% = $7,000
  • Credit Card Fees:
    • 30% of $1,000,000 = $300,000
    • Credit Card Transaction Fees: $300,000 * 2.99% = $8,970
  • Chargeback Fees (assuming 0.5% of 15 transactions/month): 0.5% of 180 credit card transactions = 0.9, rounded up to 1 chargeback = $25
  • Total Annual Cost: $7,000 + $8,970 + $25 = $15,995

Square

  • Transaction Fees: 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person payments; 2.9% + $0.30 for online payments
  • ACH Fees: 1% per transaction, minimum fee of $1 per transaction
  • Monthly Fees: None for basic services
  • Chargeback Fees: None

Cost Calculation:

  • ACH Fees:
    • 70% of $1,000,000 = $700,000
    • ACH Fees: $700,000 * 1% = $7,000 (with a minimum fee of $1 per transaction, assumed 35 ACH transactions per month)
  • Credit Card Fees:
    • 30% of $1,000,000 = $300,000
    • Credit Card Transaction Fees: $300,000 * 2.9% = $8,700
  • Per Transaction Fees:
    • Assuming 50 payments/month, 15 credit card transactions: $0.30 * 180 = $54
  • Total Annual Cost: $7,000 + $8,700 + $54 = $15,754

Stax Payments

  • Transaction Fees: Interchange + $0.08 per transaction (swiped), Interchange + $0.15 per transaction (keyed-in)
  • Monthly Fees: $199 per month
  • ACH Fees: 1% per transaction, up to $10
  • Chargeback Fees: $25 per dispute

Cost Calculation:

  • ACH Fees: $700,000 * 1% = $7,000
  • Credit Card Fees (assuming average interchange fee of 1.8%): $300,000 * 1.8% = $5,400
  • Transaction Fees (assuming 50 payments/month, 15 credit card transactions, half swiped and half keyed-in):
    • Swiped: $0.08 * 90 = $7.20
    • Keyed-in: $0.15 * 90 = $13.50
  • Monthly Fees: $199 * 12 = $2,388
  • Chargeback Fees (assuming 0.5% of 15 transactions/month): 1 chargeback = $25
  • Total Annual Cost: $7,000 + $5,400 + $7.20 + $13.50 + $2,388 + $25 = $14,833.70

Braintree

  • Transaction Fees: 2.49% + $0.49 per transaction
  • ACH Fees: 0.75% per transaction
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Chargeback Fees: $15 per chargeback

Cost Calculation:

  • ACH Fees:
    • 70% of $1,000,000 = $700,000
    • ACH Fees: $700,000 * 0.75% = $5,250
  • Credit Card Fees:
    • 30% of $1,000,000 = $300,000
    • Credit Card Transaction Fees: $300,000 * 2.49% = $7,470
    • Per Transaction Fees (assuming 50 payments/month, 15 credit card transactions): $0.49 * 180 = $88.20
  • Chargeback Fees (assuming 0.5% of 15 transactions/month): 0.5% of 180 credit card transactions = 0.9, rounded up to 1 chargeback = $15
  • Total Annual Cost: $5,250 + $7,470 + $88.20 + $15 = $12,823.20

Summary of Annual Costs (ACH + Card Processing)

Payment Processor Total Annual Cost
Nickel Payments $8,970.00
Stripe $14,369.00
Square $15,754.00
Stax Payments $14,833.70
Braintree $12,823.20
QuickBooks Payments $15,995.00

Additional Resources

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