The Impact of EMV Technology on Payment Transactions

EMV is an acronym for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa as these are the three companies that came together to create the EMV standard. An EMV card is a type of smart card. It can be a card that needs to be inserted into a card reader or a contactless card that uses NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology.

EMV cards have quickly become an integral part of keeping businesses and their customers secure. Chip cards work to protect businesses by decreasing losses and fraud liability related to credit card fraud and creating a safer payments ecosystem.

Hence, most debit and credit cards these days are EMV cards. When you look at your EMV payment card, you will see a small, shiny, square chip on it—this is the EMV chip. EMV cards are much safer than traditional magnetic strip cards as the chip generates a unique verification code for each transaction. 

Data is stored on the IC (Integrated Circuit) chip of an EMV card as well as the magnetic strip. This allows EMV cards to be backward compatible, which means that they can be used on older card readers and payment terminals. These cards are also known as IC cards, chip cards, and integrated circuit cards. Card issuers can choose various authentication methods like digital signatures or PINs for their EMV cards. Depending on the authentication method, EMV cards can also be called chip-and-signature or chip-and-PIN cards. 

Figures published by EMVCo, the company that manages EMV specifications, in 2021 show that by the end of the year, there were 21 billion EMV cards in circulation worldwide. The report also highlighted that the number of EMV cards rose by 1.1 billion when compared to the previous year and that when it comes to card-present transactions, 90% of them are made with the help of EMV technology. 

TL;DR

  • EMV is an acronym for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa as these are the three companies that came together to create the EMV standard. An EMV card is a type of smart card. It can be a card that needs to be inserted into a card reader or a contactless card that uses NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology.
  • EMV chip cards are more secure because they contain a microchip that, generates a code for each transaction. This code is unique and cannot be reused, so even if the cardholder’s information is obtained from stolen cards, if the card is copied, or if the credit card number falls into the wrong hands, fraudsters wouldn’t be able to complete a transaction.
  • The first step to implementing EMV chip technology is to ensure that you have the right equipment. In some cases, you may also need to guide your customers on how to use an EMV debit or card payment card.

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The History of EMV

Europay, Mastercard, and Visa were the founding members of this standard, creating the name EMV in 1993. They were later joined by Discover, JCB, UnionPay and American Express to form EMVCo.

The first version of EMV came out in 1994, although it took a few years before it saw widespread use across Europe. Issuers in Europe adopted this standard because phone line card authorization was prohibitively expensive for them. Due to international call rates, the cost to authenticate cards was 80 to 90 percent higher in Europe.

It took until 2015 for the United States to start its EMV migration. Companies were slow to adopt the more secure payment system because of the expense and lack of synchronization among retailers, credit card providers, and banks.

On October 1, 2015, an EMV liability shift was created, which required businesses to be able to accept EMV cards or risk being liable for fraudulent transactions if it were to occur, pushing for synchronization across the board.

EMV cards have now become the standard, as they are more secure and smarter than magnetic stripe cards or cash transaction.

How EMV Chip Technology Works

EMV chip cards are more secure because they contain a microchip that generates a code for each transaction. This code is unique and cannot be reused, so even if the cardholder’s information is obtained from stolen cards, or if the card is copied, or if the credit card number falls into the wrong hands, fraudsters wouldn’t be able to complete a transaction.

In contrast, card transactions involving magnetic stripe cards are less secure because magstripe cards are only able to store static information. This makes it easy to produce counterfeit cards. An EMV chip card needs to be inserted into a special slot in the card reader or POS terminal to complete a process that is called “dipping.” In comparison, a magnetic strip card is swiped at the payment terminal so that the static card data can be read. 

It must be noted that with EMV cards the card number is never transmitted unlike with magnetic strip cards. The unique code generated by EMV cards is used instead to authenticate the transaction.

Once an EMV card is inserted, the data on the computer chip is read and the card is verified by the terminal. As the EMV verification process is more complex than that of magnetic strip cards and because a unique code is generated each time the card is used, it takes a bit longer to complete a dipped transaction.

Chip-and-signature transactions are still the most common EMV transactions in the US. Here, a customer must also sign on the receipt after the card is dipped to complete the transaction. Chip-and-PIN transactions are more popular outside the US where a customer types in a four-digit PIN during payment processing. In general, the latter is considered to be safer. 

Newer EMV cards can also be used for contactless payments. Customers can simply tap or wave the card across an EMV-enabled terminal, and the card would generate a one-time code for the transaction.

From the customer’s side, using a card with EMV chip technology is quite simple. They present the card at the point of sale (POS), but instead of swiping it, the shopper dips or taps their card using the merchant’s card reader. Once the transaction is authorized, they can proceed with the sale.

EMV Cards Are Safer

Previous methods using magnetic-stripe cards meant that cashiers had to look at the card and signature to verify a purchase. Card information on these cards is stored data statically, meaning that it can be pulled from the stripe with a simple piece of hardware.

The chip in the EMV cards provides stronger security for transactions through cryptographic algorithms, uniquely encrypting the data each time you use it. Authenticating your purchases are made easier with the use of a personal PIN number, instead of requiring a signature.

EMV cards provide a two-fold confirmation during card-present transactions, using the physical card and the customer’s PIN. This verifies the cardholder, allowing the one-time-password (OTP) generated by the chip to be confirmed and approved. In situations of card-not-present purchases these options are unavailable as the card won’t be in the merchant’s hands, making it easier to exploit than retail fraud. Some methods and tools for eCommerce sites to implement verification are to:

  • Continue PCI compliance and follow the specific rules for data security and management.
  • Verify card security codes.
  • Use an address verification service (AVS).
  • Analyze priority shipping requests (especially if free shipping is offered).
  • Validate unusual orders from repeat and regular customers.
  • Confirm the phone number and transaction information before shipping products.
  • Take advantage of fraud prevention services available from credit card companies such as Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode

Keeping a well-maintained authentication system will significantly reduce your business’ risk, while your customers enjoy the ease of purchasing your products with a business that establishes trust and security with CNP payments.

EMV Cards Are Smart

Every chip on an EMV card contains an embedded microprocessor, a type of small computer that provides strong security features and other capabilities not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards.

When you insert this card into a terminal, the reader is able to exchange data with the card easier. Contactless EMV cards allow for an exchange of data via radio frequency without the card ever leaving the customer’s hand. With contactless cards, a customer does not have to verify the transaction by providing a signature or PIN, which makes contactless transactions much faster than chip and magnetic strip cards. The cashier also does not have to print out a receipt unless specified by the customer. 

How to Implement EMV Chip Technology in Your Business

The first step to implementing EMV chip technology is to ensure that you have the right equipment. Your credit card readers must be EMV enabled in order to support chip-and-pin and chip-and-signature transactions.

The good news is that most credit card terminals these days can support EMV, so if you recently purchased your credit card machines, they’re likely EMV-compliant.

If this isn’t the case, contact your payment processor or hardware provider to discuss your options.

If you already have an EMV card reader or EMV terminal, you should be good to go from the technical side of things. You may need to orient your staff on how to use the terminals if they’re unfamiliar with the technology.

In some cases, you may also need to guide your customers on how to use an EMV debit or card card.

Final Words

As more transactions become digitized, data security is of the utmost importance. 

Additionally,  businesses and their customers need to be educated on how they are transferring money and the tech behind these products that protect their payments.

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FAQs about EMV Technology

Q: What does EMV stand for?

EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa. These are the three companies that came together to create the EMV standard.

Q: What is an EMV card?

An EMV card is a type of smart card containing a microchip that generates a unique code for each transaction. This makes EMV cards more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards.

Q: How does an EMV card work?

When an EMV card is inserted into a card reader, the terminal reads the data on the chip and verifies it. The card generates a unique code for each transaction, which is used to authenticate the transaction.

Q: What is the purpose of EMV technology?

The primary purpose of EMV technology is to enhance the security of payment transactions. The technology helps decrease losses and fraud liability related to credit card fraud, creating a safer payments ecosystem.

Q: How prevalent is the use of EMV cards?

According to 2021 figures published by EMVCo, there were 21 billion EMV cards in circulation worldwide. Moreover, 90% of card-present transactions are made using EMV technology.

Q: What are the different types of EMV cards?

EMV cards can be categorized based on their authentication method. They can be chip-and-signature or chip-and-PIN cards. More modern EMV cards also support contactless payments.

Q: What is the difference between chip-and-PIN and chip-and-signature cards?

Chip-and-PIN transactions require the customer to type in a PIN during payment processing, while chip-and-signature transactions require the customer to sign on the receipt to complete the transaction.

Q: What are contactless EMV cards?

Contactless EMV cards are a newer type of EMV card that supports contactless payments. Customers can tap or wave the card across an EMV-enabled terminal, and the card generates a one-time code for the transaction.

Q: How to implement EMV technology in a business?

To implement EMV technology, businesses need to have EMV-enabled credit card readers. They might also need to provide guidance to staff and customers on how to use EMV cards.

Q: What is the history of EMV technology?

Europay, Mastercard, and Visa created the EMV standard in 1993. Over the years, other companies joined them to form EMVCo. The first version of EMV was released in 1994, and it gained widespread use across Europe over the following years. The United States started its EMV migration in 2015.

Q: What is the EMV liability shift?

The EMV liability shift, created on October 1, 2015, required businesses to be able to accept EMV cards or risk being liable for fraudulent transactions. This pushed for synchronization across retailers, credit card providers, and banks.

Q: How do EMV cards enhance transaction security?

The chip in EMV cards provides stronger security for transactions through cryptographic algorithms, uniquely encrypting the data each time the card is used. The cardholder’s personal PIN number or the physical card itself helps authenticate purchases.


 

How To Set Up A Merchant Account: A Step-by-Step Guide

As a business owner, you might already know that debit and credit card payments can be processed through merchant services. But the process of actually getting a merchant account is not that well known. This is primarily due to the various steps that are involved in setting up payment methods through merchant account providers.

Even if it might seem a little tricky at first, signing up with a conventional or online merchant account services provider is really quite simple. You’ll need to take your time to understand the underlying aspects. Once you have sufficient knowledge about merchant account services, you can move forward with signing up for traditional and mobile payment processing solutions with ease.

From a high-level view, once you’ve chosen your preferred account provider, you’ll need to submit an application with a variety of documentation, like your business license and credit history. Once the provider approves the application, you go through the underwriting process and then set up your new equipment and software. After that, you’re up and running.

Of course, that’s a bird’s-eye view. With this in mind, let’s dive into a detailed overview of how merchant services actually work, more about what goes into the process of opening a merchant account, as well as what to look for when searching for the right merchant account provider.

  1. How Merchant Accounts Work
  2. Identify the Kind of Merchant Services You Need
  3. Determine Merchant Account Costs
  4. Find the Best Merchant Account Provider for Your Business
  5. Submit Your Merchant Application
  6. Set Up the Merchant Equipment and Software
  7. Start Processing Payments

Understand Just How Merchant Accounts Work

Before you start the sign-up process with merchant account providers for your small business, let’s first look at how these services work.

Setting Up A Merchant Account_Your Business_Merchant Account Provider_Payment Processor_Body Image

Setting up your merchant account involves a relationship between three parties:

  1. The Merchant. This refers to you and your business.
  2. The Acquiring Bank or Merchant Account Providers. This is the entity you will sign up with to hold your merchant account and receive funds from customer payments.
  3. The Payment Processor. This refers to the entity that manages and authorizes the actual transactions from credit card companies such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express that you will accept payments. They are responsible for ensuring funds are transferred so that businesses get paid on time.

The Merchant Account Process

The set-up process for a merchant account actually begins with the need to start accepting card payments from your customers.

To do that, you then need to enter a contract with an acquiring bank or a reliable payment solutions provider. These solution providers then let you select which credit card networks, such as Visa or Mastercard, you will accept payments from.

No matter the type of merchant account you want to set up—conventional, mobile, or online merchant account services—the involvement of the acquiring bank/payment provider, as well as the credit card network, remains a constant feature.

Whenever a customer submits their payment via a card reader or enters its details on your checkout page, the information is processed through your acquiring bank or payment solutions provider.

From there, it’s handled by the credit card networks such as Visa or Mastercard, which authorize the payment and transfer it to your merchant account.

The payment procedure goes through multiple steps to complete. But even then, the process is completed within a few seconds.

Learn What Kind of Merchant Services You Want

The first step in signing up for a merchant account comes in the form of deciding what kind of services your business needs.

Keep in mind that the primary goal of signing up with merchant account services is to accept credit and debit card payments and not depend on cash transactions.

However, the right merchant services provider will arm you with all the payment options and resources your business needs to go even further than that. It also supports the ability of your business to create a higher quality of service for your customer, while also saving your company money.

In-person Payments

If you run a brick-and-mortar store, then going with a conventional point of sale (POS) terminal is a good idea. POS terminals can process payments by syncing with the merchant software on your register.

Mobile Payments

If you require a mobile setup, then you can go with mobile payment processing solutions. These modern card readers are wireless and can attach to your iOS or Android devices to process card payments remotely. (A common example of a mobile card reader are Square readers. If you’ve been to a food truck, chances are you’ve seen a Square reader.)

In addition to simply accepting credit card payments on a mobile reader, you’ll also want to find out if you can take digital wallet payments like PayPal, Venmo, or Apple Pay. 

eCommerce Payments

Conversely, if you have an online business, sign up with a merchant account provider that provides you with an online payment gateway. This allows you to accept online transactions over the web and receive them directly in your bank account via your merchant services provider.

Over-the-phone Payments

Similarly, if you process payments over the phone, then you can sign up for a virtual terminal that will allow you to enter the customer’s card details manually into your system.

An Important Piece to Consider: Depending upon the type of merchant services you want to set up, you should ensure you also receive the proper payment processing equipment needed to accept your preferred credit card payment types.

This equipment comes directly from your acquiring bank or merchant services provider and has different costs associated with it. In the case of online payments, this comes in terms of software and payment gateway support and has a service fee associated with it.

Merchant Account Costs

Regardless of the type of payment solutions you end up choosing from your service provider, you will have to account for a variety of fees to be able to benefit from them.

These costs include but are not limited to:

  • Setup Fee
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee
  • Transaction Fee
  • Credit Card Processing Fees
  • Equipment Fee
  • Early Termination Fees
  • Chargeback Fees

In most cases, transaction fees represent the bulk of fees charged by merchant account providers. Most providers take a cut out of each sale plus a small transaction fee. This pricing model is known as flat-rate pricing, and the transaction fee percentage is based on your sales volume.

While this payment structure works well for businesses with low credit card transaction volumes, it can get pretty costly for high-volume merchants. Thus, they usually go for a pricing model commonly known as interchange-plus or interchange markup pricing. In this case, the provider will charge you the exact interchange rate for that transaction plus a set fee, often between $0.02 and $0.15. Because interchange rates vary depending on the banks and payment type involved, some transactions will end up much cheaper than flat rate. 

However, that method can end up still costing high-volume businesses a lot —and it makes it extremely difficult to predict how much you’ll owe in fees each month. 

This is where Stax can give businesses an advantage. Instead of taking a percentage of your sales, you’re simply charged a flat membership fee for access to wholesale interchange rates. Stax’s payment structure is often more cost-effective and can save businesses up to 40% in processing costs.

It’s also important to note that all merchant account providers work upon the same underlying process, but not all of them have equal services.

Some excel in terms of supporting mobile payments. Whereas, others take pride in delivering additional support with their services.

Depending upon their services, these vendors also charge different fees for the same payment services.

For example, some acquiring banks will charge you their service fee as well as the credit card network’s processing fee on each transaction. On the other hand, modern service providers often offer reduced costs that are included in their monthly fees. It’s factors like this that can help you differentiate between various merchant account providers and understand your potential expenses between processing rates, annual fees, and additional fees.

Paying close attention while comparing the costs of acquiring banks or service providers is key to finding the best merchant account provider for your business.

Compare Different Merchant Services

Since you can accept credit and debit card payments in a number of ways, it is essential to choose an acquiring bank or account provider that supports all your needs.

For instance, if you need a way to accept credit cards in the form of traditional, mobile, and online payment methods, then your selected payment processor must offer services that allow you to support them all.

Doing so helps you manage all your finances in one location.

In most cases, it also saves you from paying additional setup costs or higher equipment fees.

Additionally, when doing a comparison between each service provider, you should also look at the types of businesses they serve and their customer support.

Some payment processors also have different restrictions for what they consider high-risk businesses, as well as how they handle PCI compliance.

Submit Your Merchant Application

Up until a few years ago, getting a merchant account was a very complicated and grueling process. Submitting your business license, physically verifying your business location, and providing your credit score information were all part of obtaining a merchant account.

But thanks to the advancements in financial technology, the process is now super easy and can be completed in minutes. You just need to contact the right provider that uses modern solutions to process all applications.

Visit the Merchant Account Provider’s Website

When you have done your research in terms of payment services, costs, and overall reliability, simply visit the website of the acquiring bank or payment solutions provider to apply for a merchant account.

Select the Required Services

Sign up for the kind of merchant services you need for your small business. You’ll need to specify your needs for conventional and/or mobile payment processing solutions.

You will also need to move forward with choosing the necessary equipment for your solutions.

A great merchant account provider will have experts on hand to help you with the selection process and make sure you are making the best decision that fit your needs.

Submit the Required Details and Documents

Follow the process of filling out all the required details about your business. This will often require your personal information, business information, as well as any additional data that applies to your case.

Depending on the provider, this may feel like the most time-consuming step in the application process. But it is one of the most important as these extra steps really help in ensuring your business is protected and able to truly maximize all the merchant service providers can offer.

However, with a little bit of planning, this can be easily checked off the list. You simply need to put together the necessary information and documents, which the financial institution will then use to verify and underwrite your application.

Here are the most common documents and details required by merchant services providers during the application process:

  • General info and business documentation, including your contact information, and employer identification number (EIN). articles of incorporation, business license, credit history, etc.
  • Your business’ financial statements. This includes your business bank account statements, balance sheets, cash flow, income statements, records of credit card transactions, etc.
  • Other supporting documents, may include a business plan, voided checks, forecasts, marketing materials, etc.

Provide Additional Information if Necessary

Depending upon the efficiency of your chosen acquiring bank or payment provider, you will receive an update on your application status in just a few days. Your application may get approved, or the provider might require some additional information to put it through. Submit the details and move on.

Go Through the Underwriting Process

Once your information is submitted, the provider will review and analyze your application to ensure accuracy and evaluate risk. Known as the underwriting process, this step is necessary to determine your eligibility for a merchant account.

This step can take a few minutes to several business days depending on your provider, your industry, and the type of business you have. High-risk merchants may take longer to underwrite.

Setup the Merchant Equipment and Software

The next part of the process is receiving your equipment and setting up your software until you can start using the required merchant services. Upon approval, you may also need to make payments for equipment costs and service fees.

Most merchant account providers make this process easier by providing extensive onboarding support—often even a support person to walk you through set-up. By following the provided instructions and seeking help when you need it, setting up your merchant account is simple.

Enjoy a World of Efficiency and Superior Business Processes

By turning to physical or online merchant account services, you do not just welcome additional payment methods. You also improve and scale your business operations effectively.

Using traditional, conventional, or mobile payment processing solutions allows you to:

  • Increase your sales.
  • Improve your financial management.
  • Become more efficient in processing payments.
  • Expand your business operations to include more avenues of delivery.
  • Deliver a better customer experience through multiple payment methods.

If you are on the fence about signing up for merchant services, then this will be the time to make a decision. Move forward with easily integrating modern payment solutions in your day-to-day business operations.

At Stax, we take pride in offering easy-to-use yet highly efficient payment solutions to our clients. From conventional POS support to online merchant account services, we can fulfill all your merchant account needs and help you scale your operations to the next level.

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FAQs about Merchant Account

Q: What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is a service that enables businesses to accept debit and credit card payments by processing them through the merchant services. This process involves the merchant, the acquiring bank or merchant account providers, and the payment processor.

Q: How does a merchant account work?

Setting up a merchant account involves a relationship between three parties: the merchant (you), the acquiring bank or merchant account provider, and the payment processor. When a customer submits their payment, the information is processed through your acquiring bank or payment solutions provider, then handled by the credit card networks, which authorize the payment and transfer it to your merchant account.

Q: What is the process to set up a merchant account?

Setting up a merchant account involves first knowing the kind of services your business needs. Services can range from in-person payments, mobile payments, eCommerce payments, to over-the-phone payments. Next, the merchant should compare various service providers for support, costs, and reliability. Once a service provider is chosen, online applications can be filled out and documentation such as general info, business documentation, business’ financial statements, and other supporting documents can be submitted for review and underwriting. Lastly, set up the equipment and software provided by your acquiring bank or merchant services provider.

Q: What costs are associated with a merchant account?

The costs associated with a merchant account may include setup fee, monthly maintenance fee, transaction fee, credit card processing fees, equipment fee, and early termination fees.

Q: What are the benefits of using a merchant account for my business?

Having a merchant account helps a business increase its sales, improve financial management, become more efficient in processing payments, expand business operations, and deliver a better customer experience as it provides a wider variety of payment options. It also has the potential of saving up to 40% in processing costs for high-volume merchants by using payment structures like Stax’s that charge a flat membership fee instead of a cut from each sale.

Q: What are the key factors to consider when choosing a merchant account provider?

When choosing a merchant account provider, consider factors such as the types of payments they can handle (traditional, mobile, online, etc.), the types of businesses they serve, their customer support, PCI compliance, their pricing structure, and the associated fees for their services.

Q: What happens after the merchant account is set up?

After the merchant account is set up, merchants can start using the required services to process payments. This starts with setting up merchant equipment and software and making payments for hardware costs and service fees. The provider typically provides comprehensive onboarding support to simplify the setup process.


 

11 Easy Ways Businesses are Accepting Payments Online

When the world wide web became available to the public in the early ’90s, the growth of eCommerce and online shopping wasn’t far behind. With triple-digit growth seen annually since its emergence in the mid-1990s, online shopping now accounts for 13% of all U.S. retail sales.  Clearly, accepting online payments is no longer an option for your business—it’s a must.

One of the major benefits of accepting payments online is the ability to get paid faster and in some scenarios, expand your revenue outside your local area of business. For professional service businesses such as legal consultations or therapeutic services online invoicing lets customers and clients the ability to pay for your products and services from anywhere at any time.

Whether you’re currently transitioning your company to a digital format or you are interested in finding a more convenient approach to get paid faster, here are 11 ways your business can accept payments online.

Accepting Online Payments using Credit and Debit Cards

As a business owner processing payments using a credit card or debit card is most common. The process uses an ACH transfer (Automated Clearing House transfer) or the transfer of money electronically from the customer’s bank account through the ACH network to the merchant’s bank account.

These transfers don’t require a payment gateway to be processed (although you do need a merchant account). ACH payment transaction fees are usually lower than credit card processing fees and are charged either per transaction or at a flat rate. For scenarios where the card isn’t present, you can use its details to perform contactless payments via online or digital payment gateways.

Mobile Payment Processing

As payment technology continues to advance financial institutions are increasingly providing customers with the ability to use mobile phones for banking transactions. This increases your customer’s ability to pay for just about anything from anywhere. Accepting mobile payments saves time by allowing you to collect compensation right from your phone or tablet.

With additional payment processing methods such as Apple and Google Pay on the rise, cloud-based payments have become a necessity. Most credit card processors use cloud-based technology, so your data, as well as your customer’s information, is secure. In other words, mobile payments are secure, fast, and convenient.

eChecks Through ACH Process

An eCheck is simply a form of online payment. Money is withdrawn from the payer’s checking account through an electronic funds transfer (EFT). Funds are electronically withdrawn from your customer’s account, sent via the ACH network to the payee’s banking institution, and then electronically deposited into the payee’s account.

eChecks are one of the most popular types of recurring payments. Funds are verified within 24 to 48 hours of the transaction being initiated. Should the payer have the funds available in their checking/bank account, the transaction is cleared within 3 to 5 business days and the funds are moved from the payer’s account to the payee’s account.

Click to Pay Email Invoicing

Email invoicing is the exchange of the invoice document between a business and a customer in an integrated electronic format. Traditional invoicing is manual and tedious, often prone to human error resulting in increased costs and payment processing lifecycles for your business.

Email invoicing or electronic invoicing is an easy and safe way for businesses to send out online payment requests. With a simple click, your customers can open the invoice via email, input their preferred payment information, and pay you instantly.

With email invoicing, you’re also able to schedule payment reminders and recurring payment options for long-term customers.

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Recurring Billing

Also known as auto-pay, recurring billing means the customer has authorized the merchant to deduct payments for recurring goods and services each month from their bank account. Payments can also be made with a securely saved debit or credit card. Recurring billing and payments prevent late fees by processing payments on or before their due date.

Recurring billing is effective for a wide range of businesses. Not only does it decrease late or missed payments, but it also improves your cash flow and assists your business with long-term financial planning.

SMS Text Payment Requests

SMS payments (sometimes referred to as text to pay) allow businesses to request payments and for customers to pay for goods, services, or products via a text message sent from a mobile phone. With the SMS payment system, purchasers send a text message to pay for an item or service.

With a 95% open rate over email invoicing, sending customers SMS text payment requests minimize your turnaround time of getting paid and optimize the opportunity for your customers to pay using digital payment options directly from their smartphone.

Related Article: What is Text To Pay And How Can You Leverage It For Your Business

Contactless Payment Options

Industry data shows that global contactless card purchases are forecasted to hit over $10 trillion by 2027. 

This payment method is clearly here to stay, so if you currently don’t accept contactless payments, now is the time to upgrade your system. 

Offering contactless payment methods provides safe and efficient payment options for your customers. Outside of mobile payment solutions, there are various types of contactless payments, including touch-to-pay credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay that can be used via smartphone or smartwatch, as well as other contact-free devices.

Virtual Terminal

A Virtual Terminal is a web-based payment application that assists your business with sending invoices, scheduling future & recurring payments, and it securely saves payment information for customers with recurring charges. Fit for businesses that primarily operate over the phone, require online invoicing, or have recurring monthly memberships, virtual terminals incorporate your entire payment experience into one easy-to-use platform.

Built into your integrated payment platform a virtual terminal allows your business to accept a variety of online payment types including debit, credit, and ACH bank payments all from your dashboard.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Payments

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments refer to the transfer of funds between individuals or entities without the involvement of traditional financial intermediaries such as banks. These transactions are typically facilitated through digital platforms or mobile applications (like Zelle and Venmo) which connect users directly to initiate the transfer.

P2P payments offer a convenient and efficient way to send and receive money, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks. They are often used for various purposes, such as splitting bills, repaying friends or family, or making purchases from individuals or small businesses.

eCommerce Shopping Cart

eCommerce refers to internet-based stores selling goods and or services to customers. This online shopping network allows people to do business without the constraint of distance and time.

Simply put, once a customer has added items or services to their online shopping cart, they can go directly to the checkout page. There, they can pay with a credit or debit card, processing their payment digitally. This process allows your customers to complete their entire purchase without ever having to leave the business’s website.

Payment Gateway Plug-Ins

A payment gateway plug-in authorizes credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses, online retailers, or traditional brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence. Adding a payment gateway plug-in to your business website allows you to seamlessly process payments directly from your web store.

Adding a payment gateway plug-in is an ideal solution for businesses interested in selling goods and services online via an eCommerce store. Doing so makes purchasing quick and easy for customers and expands your client reach, expanding your business’s ability to generate revenue exceeding your local area.

How Can Stax Help Your Business With Accepting Payments Online?

Online payment solutions are crucial to modern business. Without them, you are unable to accept payment methods that are becoming an industry standard.

While card-not-present rates tend to be higher, with Stax you save more on the costs. Not only will your business have access to the wholesale card-not-present rates, but you’ll also gain access to the Stax Platform. This helps your business easily streamline payments, increasing flexibility in how you receive payments between in-store and online.

Whether it’s invoicing, recurring billing, pay by phone, contactless payments, or being able to receive payments through your website, Stax offers multiple online payment options that can help your business succeed.

10 Ways Businesses Are Accepting Payments Online

How to Accept Payments Online: 3 Simple Steps

Every business operating in this current day and age—whether brick-and-mortar or eCommerce—must do so in an efficient and effective manner. A core component of this new era is the speed and convenience of payments. Further, it is crucial for small business owners to be able to accept payments online.

Not only is it a requirement for being up to date with the latest payment processing technology, but it is also a matter of meeting customers’ demands and fulfilling their expectations.

That is why the total transaction value of digital payments in 2023 is projected to reach a whopping $9.46 trillion. With more and more integrated payment platform solutions coming to the forefront, this figure is likely to grow at an exponential pace.

If you have just started your business or want to set up virtual terminals for credit card processing for an older entity, the process may seem a bit daunting. But even if it sounds stressful, it isn’t impossible to understand.

If you use the right kind of merchant services, you can begin to collect payments online in no time. Here’s how you can collect online payments and run your online store.

Step 1: Find an Integrated Payment Solution

To start taking payments online without any hassles, your best bet is to turn towards an integrated payment platform as your payment service provider. This will give you the ability to process and automatically sync major credit cards (e.g. Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express), debit cards, automatic clearing house bank transfers of ACH payments, and e-check transactions.

Thankfully, specialized entities provide these integrated payment platform solutions and make the process simple.

Built with scalability in mind, these virtual terminals for payment card processing can help you with accepting credit card payments online in no time using an easy-to-use payment gateway. But they do not stop there. Depending on the kind of payment technology you select, you can also accept an array of other digital payments.

These include but are not limited to digital wallets (like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.), recurring billing, email invoicing, text2Pay, and bank account payments.

If you select an integrated payment method, you can also set up your point of sale (POS) terminal at your brick-and-mortar store with it. This way, you can see all your revenues and incoming credit card transactions in one place.

With Stax, you can offer a variety of payment options to your customers including credit and debit card payments, mobile payments, ACH transfers, eChecks, and contactless payments. You can even create customizable, professional invoices for your customers or send them a checkout link via text or email to get paid faster.

Step 2: Making Payment Provider Comparisons

You may have seen it firsthand.

It’s common (and widely expected) for your customers to shop around for details at other payment service providers before going with what you have to offer.

Similarly, you need to make proper comparisons between integrated payment platform services before selecting one for your online business.

Here, you will need to keep some key factors in mind. These aspects include but are not limited to:

  • Functionality. Check what kind of features and integrations the solution offers. Does it help you keep your customers’ information safe by ensuring PCI compliance? Does it allow you to integrate your most commonly used business apps with its APIs?
  • Ease of use. Evaluate how easy it is going to be for your employees to learn and use the solution.
  • Variability. Check if the payment service provider is only offering virtual terminals for payment card processing or if you can accept multiple payment methods.
  • Cost. Compare processing fees and costs between other payment service providers to make sure you are paying competitive prices. While there’s no way to accept online payments for free (because of the non-negotiable interchange fees set by card networks), look for a merchant account provider that doesn’t charge a host of additional fees or markups. Typically, they would pass on the costs of interchange and their markup in the form of monthly fees or transaction fees. As such, providers like Stax which offer membership-based pricing with no hidden fees or markups, are the most cost-effective for growing businesses.
  • Customer support. Evaluate the level of customer support offered by each provider to ensure that you receive prompt assistance when needed. Look for providers that offer 24/7 customer support through multiple channels such as phone, email, or live chat. Read reviews and testimonials from existing customers to get an idea of their satisfaction with the provider’s support services.

Step 3: Setting Up Your Payment Solution

Now that you have made your decision about which online payment service provider to go with, it’s time to set it all up.

Some integrated payment platform providers make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. Make sure that you choose a solution that not only provides you with an easy setup but also goes on to offer long-term ease of use.

As a general rule, always keep in touch with the payment service provider while setting up payment gateways or virtual terminals for payment card processing. This allows you to ask questions and get relevant answers during and after the setup phase to avoid any potential issues.

The Bottom Line

At Stax, we make it quick and easy for businesses to accept credit cards in-person, online, and on the go. Through our best-in-class, integrated solutions, Stax gives your business the ability to accept payments anytime, anywhere across Apple or Android applications.

Our smart all-in-one platform is perfect for businesses that need online payment services or take payments over the phone. With simple invoicing, recurring charges, and online bill pay, you’ll get paid faster with Stax.

If you are currently in the process of finding an online payment processing software, reach out to Stax today. Our Payment Consultants will be glad to answer any questions you may have and help you find a solution that’s a perfect fit for you.

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FAQs about Accepting Online Payments

Q: What are some ways businesses can accept payments online?

Businesses can accept online payments through various methods such as credit and debit cards, mobile payment processing, eChecks, email invoicing, recurring billing, SMS text payment requests, contactless payment options, virtual terminals, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, eCommerce shopping carts, and payment gateway plug-ins.

Q: Why are online payments important for businesses?

Online payments are crucial for modern businesses as they facilitate transactions without the constraints of time and distance. They also provide faster payment processing, thereby improving cash flow. In an increasingly digital world, not accepting online payment methods may limit a business’s customer base and revenue prospects.

Q: Can businesses accept payments via mobile devices?

Yes, with the advancing technology, businesses can now accept payments via mobile devices. This method is convenient, fast, and secure, allowing customers to pay from anywhere, anytime.

Q: What are eChecks and how do they work?

eChecks are a form of online payment where money is withdrawn electronically from the payer’s checking account and deposited into the payee’s account via an electronic funds transfer (EFT). eChecks are popular for processing recurring payments and typically clear within 3 to 5 business days.

Q: What is Email invoicing?

Email invoicing is the digital exchange of invoice documents between a business and a customer. It enables businesses to send out payment requests to their customers online. Customers can then open the invoice via email, enter their desired payment information, and make instant payments.

Q: How does SMS Text Payment Requests work?

SMS payments allow businesses to request payments via a text message sent from a mobile phone. With a high open rate, SMS payment requests offer a quick turnaround time for receiving payments and allow customers to use digital payment options directly from their smartphones.

Q: What are contactless payment options?

Contactless payment methods allow customers to make payments without physically touching payment hardware. These methods include touch-to-pay credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, and Fitbit Pay. They can be used via a smartphone, smartwatch, or other contact-free devices.

Q: How can Peer-to-peer (P2P) Payments benefit businesses?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments allow the transfer of funds between individuals or entities without the need for traditional financial intermediaries. They offer a convenient and efficient way to send and receive funds, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks.

Q: What is an eCommerce shopping cart in the context of online payments?

An eCommerce shopping cart is a software application that allows customers to select and store items for purchase while browsing an online store. Upon checkout, customers can pay for these items using their desired online payment method.

Q: What is a Payment Gateway Plug-In?

A payment gateway plug-in authorizes credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses and online retailers. This plug-in allows businesses to seamlessly process payments directly from their e-commerce store.

Q: How can businesses set up an online payment solution?

Businesses need to select an integrated payment platform that can process major credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, and e-check transactions. Comparison of different providers, considering functionality, ease of use, payment methods supported, cost, and customer support is crucial in making an informed decision. After selecting the provider, businesses can set up the solution with the help of customer support from the provider.


 

Best Website Builder for Small Business

There’s no new news in saying that every small business needs an online presence. Whether you’re a coffee shop, retail boutique, or professional services—a website is crucial for your business. It’s not just a digital placeholder; it’s a dynamic tool that can unlock doors to growth, credibility, and a wider customer base.

Yet, 1 in 3 small businesses still don’t have a website or even a landing page. Of those, 20% rely on social media. But it shouldn’t be a case of one vs. the other.

At its most basic, a website is a place to create the brand narrative, tell your business story clearly, and give you an online brand presence. Step it up a notch, and it is a sales machine, fully kitted out with SEO tools and eCommerce features to drive online sales and nurture new site visitors into long-term customers. It also requires much less upkeep than a social profile.

Building a website has gone from a thousand-dollar outsourced web design project to a tiny web hosting fee, sometimes even a free, do-it-yourself (DIY) task.

Let’s examine the features, functionalities, and suitability of today’s website builders and what they bring to the table for small businesses in various industries.

TL;DR

  • No matter the industry, every small business needs a website.
  • Website builders allow freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and businesses to create websites without the need for advanced technical skills or coding knowledge.
  • The current range of website builders on the market caters to every possible business need, from simple free solutions to feature-rich business and eCommerce site builders. 

Learn More

What is a Website Builder?

A website builder is a software tool or online platform that allows freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and businesses to create websites without the need for advanced technical skills or coding knowledge. It simplifies the process of designing, building, and launching a website by offering a user-friendly interface and pre-designed templates.

Not that long ago, these simple drag-and-drop business website builders were primarily used by bloggers and small businesses. Today, they’ve become so feature-rich and effective that they’re the go-to, even for top-tier enterprise organizations. 

Criteria for Choosing a Website Builder

Not all website builders are equal. Small business owners need to consider a range of factors that will determine which aligns with the specific needs and goals of the business. These factors are:

Ease of use

A top factor is how user-friendly the website builder’s interface is. It should facilitate intuitive navigation, drag-and-drop functionality, and straightforward editing options. A steep learning curve can be a deterrent, especially for beginners.

Ease of use is extremely important. Unless you have a technical background, your expertise as a small business owner lies in creating products, serving customers, or running your company. As such, your website builder must empower you to focus on your strengths, rather than having to worry about the techie bits.

Pricing

Website builders often offer tiered pricing plans, each with varying features and capabilities. Owners should consider the budget and the features required. Some builders offer free plans with limited features, while others provide premium plans with more advanced tools. Pricing should be evaluated in terms of long-term sustainability and value. Also, check for setup fees, free trials, and money-back guarantees.

Customization options

The level of customization provided by your web solution can significantly impact the uniqueness and functionality of the website. Opt for website builders that allow for extensive personalization of templates that enable you to align the site with your brand’s identity. The ability to tweak layouts, fonts, colors, etc., is crucial for achieving a tailored look.

Integration with business tools

For businesses, seamless integration with essential apps or software is vital. These tools should include integrations with social media platforms, eCommerce platforms, payment gateways, email marketing services, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other tools to operate efficiently.

SEO features

A good website builder should offer built-in SEO tools, including the ability to add meta tags, customize URLs, and optimize images for faster loading times. Some builders also provide guidance on creating search engine-friendly content.

Customer support

While website builders make it easy to launch a website, it can still be complicated for site-building newbies to navigate these new platforms. Responsive customer support is essential to round out the overall site building ease. 

In addition to multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and phone support, a documentation and resource hub is a huge plus. Tutorials and FAQs give businesses the information they need to keep the website-building process beginner friendly.

Scalability

A website is the long-term face of the business. As such, it should be built with long-term potential in mind. Owners need to consider if it will accommodate the business’s needs as it grows. That means adding more pages, products, and functionalities overtime. 

To that end, be sure to compare site builders on the features you need today and in the future. 

Pro tip: those with add-ons and different plan options will have the most flexibility to grow and change with your organization.

Templates and designs

Some web builders have more website templates and design options than others. You should investigate which builders have templates and website designs that reflect the visual aesthetic of your business. The right template can save time and effort in the initial setup, reducing the need for customization, which may not be in the wheelhouse of every owner.

Top 10 Small Business Website Builders

Now that we’ve covered the basics of website builders, let’s look at some of the top solutions you can consider:

Wix

Wix is a versatile website builder known for its drag-and-drop interface and a wide range of customizable templates.

  • Features: Extensive app market, eCommerce capabilities, SEO tools, blogging features, mobile responsiveness.
  • Pros: User-friendly interface, robust customization options, great for various types of websites.
  • Cons: Design limitations with advanced customization, switching templates can be challenging.
  • Pricing: Offers a Light plan for $16/month with premium plans ranging from $27-32/month.

Squarespace

Squarespace offers elegant templates and is ideal for businesses that prioritize aesthetics.

  • Features: Beautiful templates, eCommerce functionality, blogging capabilities, and built-in SEO features.
  • Pros: Stylish designs, all-in-one platform, high-quality visuals.
  • Cons: Learning curve for beginners, limited third-party integrations.
  • Pricing: Plans start at $16/month, with eCommerce plans ranging from $27 and $49/month.

Shopify

Shopify is the go-to website builder for eCommerce-only sites, providing tools to create online stores.

  • Features: Extensive eCommerce tools, inventory management, secure checkout, app and app store integrations.
  • Pros: Dedicated to eCommerce, excellent sales features, scalability.
  • Cons: Transaction fees on lower-tier plans can be expensive for small businesses.
  • Pricing: Basic plan starts at $39/month, going up to $105/month for small businesses.

Square Online (Formerly Weebly)

Square Online is known for its simplicity and beginner-friendly features.

  • Features: Drag-and-drop interface, eCommerce functionality, blogging tools, app center.
  • Pros: Easy to use, suitable for beginners, affordable plans.
  • Cons: Limited advanced features compared to other builders, fewer templates.
  • Pricing: Plans start free and go up to $79/month for the Premium plan.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a hosted version of the popular WordPress.org content management system.

  • Features: Customizable templates, blogging features, plugin options, and eCommerce capability.
  • Pros: Offers more flexibility and control than other website builders and has a vast plugin ecosystem.
  • Cons: Learning curve for beginners, can require some technical know-how.
  • Pricing: Plans range from free to $5/month for a personal site and up to $59/month for eCommerce sites.

GoDaddy Website Builder

GoDaddy offers an easy-to-use website builder with hosting services.

  • Features: Drag-and-drop editor, eCommerce functionality, built-in marketing tools, SSL certificate.
  • Pros: Simple setup, good for beginners, integration with GoDaddy’s domain name and hosting services.
  • Cons: Limited design flexibility, fewer advanced features compared to other builders.
  • Pricing: Basic plan starts at $18.95/month, eCommerce plans go up to $39.95/month.

Zyro

Zyro focuses on easy website creation for those who want a simple website.

  • Features: Intuitive drag-and-drop editing, versatile templates, AI-generated content, eCommerce tools, logo design, SEO basics, blog management, image galleries.
  • Pros: User-friendly interface, AI assistance, affordable plans, eCommerce tools, logo maker.
  • Cons: Limited customization, not suitable for complex projects.
  • Pricing: $3.99/month Website plan and $6.89/month for the Business plan.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another robust eCommerce platform offering advanced features for online stores.

  • Features: Powerful eCommerce tools, SEO features, multichannel selling, secure checkout.
  • Pros: Geared towards larger eCommerce businesses, extensive feature set, scalability.
  • Cons: Learning curve for beginners, higher pricing compared to some other builders.
  • Pricing: Plans start at $29.95/month for the Standard Plan, including one website, with higher-tier plans available, such as the Plus Plan, for $79/month, including marketing solutions.

Gator Website Builder

HostGator’s Gator Website Builder caters to individuals and small businesses seeking a straightforward online presence.

  • Features: User-friendly drag-and-drop editor, diverse customizable templates, eCommerce capabilities, mobile optimization, blog management, basic SEO tools.
  • Pros: Beginner-friendly interface, affordability, eCommerce integration, mobile optimization, responsive customer support.
  • Cons: Limited customization for intricate designs, might not suit complex project requirements.
  • Pricing: Gator has an introductory plan of $4.95/month for a single website and then has plans going up to include marketing ($7.95/month) and online stores ($13.95/month).

Volusion

Volusion is a comprehensive eCommerce website builder tailored to businesses seeking robust online stores.

  • Features: Extensive eCommerce tools, customizable templates, product management, secure checkout, payment gateways, SEO features, inventory tracking.
  • Pros: Dedicated to eCommerce, advanced features for online stores, secure payment options, built-in SEO tools.
  • Cons: Might have a steeper learning curve, focused primarily on eCommerce, pricing can be higher for smaller businesses.
  • Pricing: Plans start at $35/month for the Personal Plan and go up to $79/month for the Professional Plan and $209/month for the Business Plan. 

Best Free Website Builder

Most website builders have a free version which will often have limited features but are excellent for those making their own website rather than having great business requirements.

Platform Custom Domain Storage & Bandwidth Templates eCommerce Third-Party Apps
Wix Paid Domain 500 MB 800+ Limited Available
Squarespace Paid Domain Unlimited Storage 100+ Limited Limited
Shopify Paid Domain Unlimited Storage 70+ Full Extensive
Square Online Free Domain Unlimited Storage Customizable Full Limited
WordPress Paid Domain 3 GB Limited Limited Limited
GoDaddy Paid Domain Unlimited Storage 300+ Limited Limited
Zyro Free Domain 500 MB 70+ Limited Limited
BigCommerce Paid Domain Unlimited Storage 100+ Full Limited
Gator Website Builder Paid Domain Unlimited Storage Diverse Full Available
Volusion Paid Domain Unlimited Storage 11+ Full Available

 

Most Customizable Website Builder

CSS and HTML-free high customization capabilities often come with pro plans giving businesses greater access to other features like Wix’s Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) or PayPal and credit card integrations.

Platform Drag-and-Drop Code Customization Design Flexibility Third-Party Integrations
Wix Yes Yes Yes Available
Squarespace Yes Yes Yes Limited
Shopify Limited Limited Limited Extensive
Square Online Yes Limited Limited Limited
WordPress Limited Yes Yes Limited
GoDaddy Yes Limited Limited Limited
Zyro Yes Limited Yes Limited
BigCommerce Limited Yes Yes Limited
Gator Website Builder Yes Yes Limited Available
Volusion Limited Limited Limited Available

 

Best eCommerce Website Builder

eCommerce sites have the most complex and demanding needs of all website types. Setting up the eCommerce store and shopping cart needs to be seamless and full of features.

Platform Product Management Payment Gateways Checkout Options Inventory Tracking
Wix Limited Limited  Limited Limited
Squarespace Limited Limited  Limited Limited
Shopify Full Extensive  Extensive Full
Square Online Full Limited Limited Full
WordPress Limited Limited Limited Limited
GoDaddy Limited Limited Limited Limited
Zyro Limited Limited Limited Limited
BigCommerce Full Extensive Full Full
Gator Website Builder Limited Limited Limited Limited
Volusion Full Extensive Full Full

 

Best Business Plan

Unlike free or personal plans, merchants looking to drive business through their website will need a paid plan of some sort that gets them the best insights and tools to get attention online. Google Analytics and page ranking insights should come as a standard.

Platform Business Templates SEO Tools Analytics Customer Support CRM Integration
Wix Yes Yes Yes Email/Phone Limited
Squarespace Yes Yes Yes Email/Phone Limited
Shopify Limited Yes Yes 24/7 support Yes
Square Online Yes Limited Limited Email/Phone Limited
WordPress Limited Yes Yes Email/Chat Limited
GoDaddy Yes Yes Yes Email/Phone Limited
Zyro Yes Yes Yes Email/Chat Limited
BigCommerce Limited Yes Yes Phone/Chat Yes
Gator Website Builder Yes Yes Yes Email/Chat Limited
Volusion Yes Yes Yes 24/7 Support Yes

Tips for Building a Successful Business Website

Website builders have come a long way in terms of user-friendliness, functionality, and features. That being said, creating your site still requires careful planning and attention to detail. These are the keys to building a successful business website:

Select the right template

The website template is the face of the business. So, take some time to view and compare different website templates, styles, and layouts. The right one must align with your business identity and goals. Look for a template that suits your industry, style, and desired functionality.

Publish relevant content

Clear and concise content conveys your message and value proposition. Your content should state what products or services are offered and how they solve your customers’ problems. Make it a point to use language that resonates with the target audience.

Use high-quality images

Visuals play a crucial role in capturing visitors’ attention, and high-quality images help you do just that. Striking imagery helps in showcasing your products, services, or team in the best light. Professional photos also establish credibility and create a positive first impression.

Use effective call-to-action (CTA) buttons

Strategically place call-to-action buttons throughout your website to guide visitors toward desired actions, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting a quote. Make CTAs visually distinct and use compelling language.

Don’t forget about mobile optimization

All website builders will be mobile responsive, meaning that the site will automatically alter the layout slightly to fit the screen on whatever device the viewer is on. However, not all designs look good on all device layouts. It’s important that you check what the site looks like on all devices before putting it out online.

Implement consistent branding

Attention to detail, like maintaining consistent branding elements such as colors, fonts, and logos throughout the website, goes a long way in building a strong, professional reputation. This branding should also be consistent elsewhere online, such as on social media.

Conclusion

No matter the industry, every small business needs a website. Free options like Square Online and WordPress are excellent free options for freelancers or small businesses with minimal needs. But the possibilities are really endless. Website builders like Shopify and BigCommerce power the eCommerce industry, and builders like Volusion offer businesses the insights to go further.

At the end of the day, remember that it’s not just about the tools. It’s also how they align with your business goals, branding, and user experience. A strong idea of your business needs and branding aesthetics will make it easy for you to identify the best solution.

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FAQs about Website Builder

Q: What does a website bring to a small business?

A website brings growth, credibility, and a wider customer base to a small business. It’s also a crucial tool for creating brand narratives, driving online sales, and maintaining a low-maintenance digital profile.

Q: How does a website builder work?

A website builder is a software tool or online platform that simplifies the process of designing, building, and launching a website. It often provides user-friendly interfaces and pre-designed templates, thereby eliminating the need for advanced technical skills or coding knowledge.

Q: What should a small business consider when choosing a website builder?

Businesses should consider ease of use, pricing, customization options, integration with business tools, SEO features, customer support, and scalability before choosing a website builder.

Q: What are the top 10 small business website builders?

Some top small business website builders are Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, Square Online, WordPress.com, GoDaddy Website Builder, Zyro, BigCommerce, Gator Website Builder, and Volusion.

Q: Which website builders offer free plans?

Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, Square Online, WordPress.com, GoDaddy, Zyro, BigCommerce, Gator Website Builder, and Volusion all offer free versions of their websites, often limited in functionalities.

Q: Which website builders are the most customizable?

Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, WordPress.com, Zyro, and Gator Website Builder are highly customizable with drag-and-drop functionalities and code customization options.

Q: Which website builders are the best for eCommerce?

Shopify, Square Online, BigCommerce, and Volusion are widely regarded for their extensive eCommerce tools, from product management and secure payment gateways to inventory tracking.

Q: What tips should businesses consider while building a website?

Businesses should select the right template, publish relevant content, use high-quality images, place effective call-to-action buttons strategically, implement consistent branding, and ensure mobile optimization for a successful business website.

Q: What are some of the best website builders for small businesses according to industry experts and users?

According to various sources, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and GoDaddy are among the top rated website builders for small businesses due to their ease of use, diverse functionalities, and affordable pricing plans.

Q: How do website builders support SEO for small businesses?

Many website builders offer built-in SEO tools. Features might include the ability to add meta tags, customize URLs, optimize images for faster loading times, and guidance on creating search engine-friendly content.


 

Understanding Fee Statements: Everything Business Owners Need to Know

Knowledge is power when it comes to winning in business (and life). This is especially true in the realm of fees, fee statements, and payments. 

Virtually all merchants today must accept credit cards and other non-cash modes of payment. And as you know, processing these transactions isn’t free; that’s why you need to understand the fees you’re being charged and ensure you’re not paying more than you should. 

The first step to doing that is understanding the fee statement. Sometimes referred to as a merchant account statement, your fee statement is a detailed record of all transactions processed, associated fees, and other account-related activities over a specific period.

In this article, we’ll help you decode your fee statement, so you can run the numbers and identify areas of potential savings. 

TL;DR

  • A fee statement, also known as a merchant account statement, details all the transactions a business processed, the associated fees, and account-related activities over a specific period. 
  • Not all fee statements look the same. The exact information that’ll be included in your fee statement will depend on your payment processor’s pricing structure.
  • Don’t just take your fee statement’s information at face value. Cross-check the data with your own records and sales reports. This step helps ensure accuracy, uncover potential errors, and confirm you’re not charged for transactions you didn’t process.

Learn More

What is a Fee Statement?

A fee statement, also known as a merchant account statement, is a document provided by your merchant services provider, typically every month. It outlines all the transactions that your business has processed during the statement period, including credit and debit card sales and refunds. 

What Information Can Be Found in the Fee Statement?

The merchant fee statement should detail your account activity, as well as the transactions and fee information for the month. Here’s a breakdown of the key information you can expect when you view your statement.

Fee overview

This section is usually found at the top of the statement, and it shows the total fees you’ve been charged. If you want a quick look at the amount due, you should look here. 

Summary of account activity

Some statements may also provide a quick summary of your account activity for the month. This usually includes the total number of transactions, sales volume, refunds, chargebacks, etc. 

Detailed list of transactions

Your statement will also go into deeper detail about your account activity. This typically means listing each individual transaction processed during the statement period.

Fees charged

In addition to listing the merchant’s transactions, the fee statement also details the fees associated with these transactions, including:

  • transaction fees (interchange, assessments, and markup)
  • monthly service fee
  • terminal fees
  • payment gateway fees
  • early termination fees
  • other incidentals like chargeback fees
  • retrieval fees
  • paper statement fee
  • account fees
  • monthly fees

It’s important to note that not all fee statements look the same. The exact information that’ll be included in your fee statement will depend on your payment processor’s pricing structure. 

For instance, if you’re working with a provider that uses interchange plus pricing, then your statement will likely have a breakdown of interchange fees and the markup of your merchant services provider. 

On the other hand, if you’re using a provider like Stax, which doesn’t charge markups and instead uses a membership-based structure, then your fee statement won’t have those markup costs. 

Example of a Fee Statement

To give you a better idea of what a fee statement can look like, here’s an example of the merchant statement we have at Stax. 

Let’s break down the different components of their merchant account statement. 

  • The amount in the “Total” section represents the merchant’s gross funds, less any refunds and surcharge fees. 
  • The amount in the “Total Fees” section lists the fees the merchant incurred for non-surcharged transactions. 
  • Processing fees are paid for non-surcharged transactions. 
  • The Surcharge column shows the surcharges customers paid, categorized based on the card brand. 

Again, your statement will likely look different, depending on your processors and the payment methods you accept. Hopefully, though, this example gives you a solid foundation for understanding the core components of most fee statements.

How to Access the Fee Statement

Like most financial statements, your fee statement can be sent via mail, or you can opt to go paperless and have the documents emailed to you. Modern payment processors usually have a merchant portal where you can log in and access your monthly statements. 

Note that most paperless options require an enrollment process. As such, if you prefer to go digital and have the documents available online, ask your provider about their capabilities. 

How to Review Your Merchant Fee Statement

Now that we’ve covered the basic anatomy of merchant fee statements, let’s look at the steps you can take to review yours effectively. 

Understand your statement

The best way to make sense of your statements is to understand the basics—i.e., what the different terms mean, the different types of fees, and how they apply to your business operations.

The good news is that if you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way to understanding your fee statements. 

Set aside time to review these documents

Just like with any important task, scheduling an activity increases the likelihood of it getting done. If you really want to dig into your statements, put some time into your calendar to review them.

Familiarize yourself with your statement fee schedule so you know when it’s coming. Then, block out an hour or so to go through it. This structured approach ensures you won’t overlook or rush this financial task.

Verify the information

Don’t just take any information at face value. Cross-check your fee statement data with your own records and sales reports. This step helps you ensure accuracy, uncover potential errors, and confirm you’re not being charged for transactions that shouldn’t have incurred fees.

Pro tip: Most POS systems offer sales and transaction reports that can help you verify the information on your fee statement. Plus, if you’re using integrated payments, generating payment reports that directly correspond with your merchant account activities is relatively easy. Leveraging these tools can simplify the verification process so you can spend less time drilling down on the numbers. 

Compare the information with previous periods

Compare your current statement with the ones you’ve received in the past. This will allow you to spot trends, identify inconsistencies, and monitor changes in your payment processing costs over time. 

Compare different providers

If you switched providers, it’s also helpful to compare the statements of different payment processors. Which vendor is more transparent? Which one offers better rates? The best way to get answers is to compare and contrast the different statements. 

Get in touch with your payment processor if needed

See anything amiss on your fee statement? Get in touch with your provider and bring up discrepancies, errors, or parts that aren’t clear. In addition to rectifying any mistakes, having these conversations will help you better navigate the complexities of payment processing. 

Bringing it all together

Understanding your merchant fee statement isn’t just about digging into financial documents; it’s about gaining better control of your business’ financial health. Knowing exactly what each line and amount means puts you in a better position to negotiate fees, save money, and run a stronger business overall. 

And if you need a merchant services partner that offers powerful payment solutions, transparent fees, and top-notch customer support—check out Stax Payments. 

Unlike other payment processors, Stax doesn’t take a cut out of your revenue. Our membership model gives you access to wholesale processing fees, which translates to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars worth of savings per month. Plus, we don’t charge any additional costs, so there are no surprises when your statement arrives. 

Stax also offers a fully compliant credit card surcharging program, which allows you to pass the processing fees directly to the customer, further minimizing your costs.

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FAQs about Fee Statement

Q: What is a fee statement?

A fee statement, also termed a merchant account statement, is a document provided by your merchant services provider, typically every month. It details all the transactions a business has processed, including credit and debit cards sales and refunds, during the statement period.

Q: What information is included in the fee statement?

The merchant fee statement should contain details of your account activity, the transactions and fee information for the month. It generally includes a summary of account activity, a detailed list of transactions, and fees charged related to these transactions.

Q: Does the fee statement structure vary with payment processors?

Yes, not all fee statements look the same. The exact information in your fee statement is reliant on your payment processor’s pricing structure. For instance, certain processors might include a breakdown of interchange fees and their markup, while others might omit markup costs altogether.

Q: How can I access the fee statement?

Fee statements can be sent via mail, or you can switch to paperless versions and have them emailed to you. Many modern payment processors typically have a merchant portal where you can log in and access your monthly statements.

Q: How to effectively review your merchant fee statement?

Initially, you need to understand your statement completely. Cross-check the fee statement data with your records and sales reports to verify the information’s accuracy. It’s good practice to compare your current statement with those from previous periods to spot trends and changes in payment processing costs.

Q: Can the fee statement help me save costs?

Yes. Understanding the fee statement helps you spot potential areas of savings and negotiate fees. Verifying your statement details ensures you’re not being charged for transactions that haven’t incurred fees, thereby saving money.

Q: What if there are discrepancies in my fee statement?

If you identify any discrepancies or errors in your fee statement, get in touch with your provider immediately. They will rectify any mistakes and clarify any information that isn’t clear.

Q: What is credit card surcharging?

Credit card surcharging is a program where you pass on the processing fees directly to the customer, thereby decreasing your costs. This program would be represented in your fee statement.

Q: What is Stax’s pricing approach?

Stax operates on a membership model providing access to wholesale processing fees. This could result in significant savings per month. Stax also offers a fully compliant credit card surcharging program allowing customers to bear the processing fees.

Q: Can my POS system assist in verifying my fee statement?

Absolutely, most POS systems offer sales and transaction reports that can aid in verifying the information on your fee statement. This reduces time spent deep diving into the numbers and simplifies the verification process.


 

10 Best Business Credit Cards for LLCs and How to Select the Right One

Business credit cards are an important tool to help LLCs (Limited Liability Companies) divide personal and business expenses and build a strong enough credit profile to become eligible for business loans and larger lines of credit. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 77% of U.S. adults hold at least one credit card. So by choosing a credit card that offers the right mix of rewards and benefits, LLCs can support better financial health and cash flow while offering valuable perks to business owners.

In this blog, we’re going to cover 10 of the best business credit cards available for LLCs, and what your LLC needs to consider to choose the right credit card for your needs.

TD;LR

  • Business credit cards offer benefits such as streamlined financial management, separation of personal and business expenses, and an enhanced business credit profile.
  • The right business credit card will depend on the type of business you run, whether you are a sole proprietor, and what spending categories you will be using the most.
  • When selecting the right business credit card, LLCs should consider factors such as fees, rewards, features, spending categories, and additional services to ensure it aligns with their specific needs.

Learn More

Benefits of Business Credit Cards for LLCs

Financial management

It’s far easier to manage personal finances if your LLC’s ingoings and outgoings are contained to its own ecosystem. A business credit card makes it easy to track and categorize business purchases by keeping expenses isolated to a single account, rather than being split between personal credit cards and business accounts. This minimizes the time it takes to reconcile your accounts at the end of the financial year.

Separation of personal and business expenses

It’s vital that business owners maintain a separation between personal and business spending to ensure accurate record-keeping and minimize personal liability. Having a dedicated business credit card not only simplifies filing taxes and tracking expenditures, but provides more legal protection in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy.

Enhancing business credit profile

Separating your personal credit score from your LLC is important to build business credit. A strong business credit score makes it possible for your business to access bigger lines of credit and more generous loan terms, which sets up your LLC for better stability and growth opportunities. Business credit cards are a crucial tool to build creditworthiness by demonstrating that your company has the ability to borrow money and pay it back according to an agreed-upon schedule, especially for startups and new businesses.

Employee expense management

LLC employees need a way to manage expenses effectively so they aren’t having to pay out of pocket for business needs. Employee cards offer an easy way for companies to give select employees a spending limit to manage expenses for either a department or specific business functions. Plus, this makes it easy for LLCs to track spending activity from all of their cardholders with each billing cycle, reducing the administrative burden of processing and checking invoices.

Rewards and perks

Getting a dedicated business credit card allows your LLC to access valuable cashback rewards and bonus points that are tailored to businesses and commercial entities. Other credit card offers include welcome bonuses, travel rewards, rewards points at office supply stores, and more. Using a business credit card to manage large purchases enables you to maximize these benefits and cost savings to improve cash flow. Some credit card issuers also offer useful services such as extended warranties, purchase protection, and travel insurance.

Top 10 Business Credit Cards for LLCs

1. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is well-suited for LLCs who want a variety of options for how and where they can redeem points. The card also offers one of the most generous welcome bonuses, which is a great option for businesses that have bigger expenses coming up and want to maximize points earned.

Fees

Annual fees: $95

Variable APR: 20.99%–25.99%

Rewards

  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Earn x3 points on shipping purchases, social media and google ad spend, internet, cable, and phone services.
  • 5x points on Lyft Rides
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Points are redeemable for cash back, gift cards, and travel experiences.

Features

  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • No point expiration
  • Purchase protection
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • No foreign transaction fees

2. Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® offers versatile reward options on all business expenses, rather than specific spending categories. The lack of annual fees and 0% APR makes this card a great option for small businesses that want less costly maintenance fees, though you will need to do the majority of your business banking with Bank of America to access all of the rewards.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% for 9 billing cycles

Variable APR: 18.24% – 28.24%

Rewards

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in net purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.
  • Earn up to 75% more points on every purchase if you have a business checking bank account with Bank of America®.

Features

  • Overdraft protection
  • Unlimited points earning
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free credit score checks

3. Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card

The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card is offered in partnership with Barclays and Wyndham Rewards, and offers small business owners with frequent travel needs a solid option for earning bonus reward points. Wyndham Rewards offers some of the most robust rewards for gas purchases, as well as decent rewards for other business expenses like cellphone bills.

Fees

Annual fee: $95

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 20.99% – 29.99%

Rewards

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 within the first 12 months.
  • Earn 8 points per $1 spent on qualifying gas purchases.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible marketing and advertising expenses.

Features

  • Unlimited points earning
  • Cellphone protection against damage or theft
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • Fraud liability protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

4. The Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card is a good fit for LLCs whose main business expenses are in the office supply and telecom categories. The card requires a less robust credit history than other comparable business cards, which makes it suitable for startups and small businesses that haven’t had time to accrue a higher score. However, the capped bonus rewards aren’t the best option for big spenders.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% for the first 12 months

Variable APR: 18.24% – 24.24%

Rewards

  • $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases.

Features

  • Referral program for other business owners
  • Recurring billing feature
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • Zero Liability Protection
  • Fraud alerts

5. The American Express Business Platinum Card

The American Express Business Platinum Card is a premium credit card geared towards business owners who want more exclusive travel benefits and rewards, such as airport lounge access and premium check-in privileges. In addition to travel rewards, the platinum card also offers other business benefits, such as bonus points on technology expenses and credit for recruitment websites.

Fees

  • Annual fee: $695
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Pay Over Time: 19.24% – 27.24%
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%
  • Late Payment: $39 or 2.99% of the amount due (whichever is greater).

Rewards

  • 5X points on flights & hotels booked with Amex Travel
  • Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at electronics retailers, software providers, and shipping providers.
  • Access to over 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries
  • Up to $200 in Airline Fee Credits

Features

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Baggage insurance plan
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Dispute resolution

6. American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card is designed for LLCs who are looking for flexibility in spending and points redemption. The 4x points earning feature is well-suited to high-spending businesses whose expenses are isolated to a couple of key spending categories.

Fees

  • Annual fee: $295
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Pay Over Time: 19.24% – 27.24%
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%
  • Late Payment: $39 or 2.99% of any past due Pay in Full amount, whichever is greater.

Rewards

  • Welcome off of 70,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the top 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle, plus earn 1X on other purchases.

Features

  • Pay Over Time features lets businesses carry a balance with interest on eligible purchases
  • No preset credit limit
  • Employee cards available
  • Quickbooks integrations
  • No foreign transaction fees

7. Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is tailored for businesses whose business expenses are focused on one spending category, as this allows them to quickly accumulate reward points. Earn rates can also be boosted if you qualify for Bank of America® Preferred Rewards for Business.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% APR for the first 9 billing cycles

Variable APR: 18.24%-28.24%

Rewards

  • $300 online statement credit bonus offer
  • Earn 3% cashback in your chosen category(includes gas stations, office supply stores, travel, telecom, computer services, or business consulting services.
  • Earn 3% and 2% cashback on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining each calendar year.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.


Features

  • Change your 3% cashback category once per month.
  • Fraud monitoring
  • Zero liability protection
  • $100,000 in travel accident insurance

8. Capital One Spark 1% Classic credit card

The 1% classic credit card is a great starter business credit card for LLCs. Although it doesn’t earn the biggest rewards, this card is a good option for businesses with low to average credit scores. Responsible use of the card will help LLCs to build their score to pass credit checks for business loans or credit cards with higher limits. The Spark 2% Cash Plus or Spark 1.5% Cash Select Excellent Credit are also available to those with higher credit scores.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Variable APR: 30.49%

Rewards

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • No expiration date on cashback rewards
  • Capital One Lounge access
  • Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

Features

  • Complimentary employee cards with customizable spending limits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty
  • AutoPay feature

9. The American Express Blue Business Cash

Thanks to its fast approval process for good credit scores, The American Express Blue Business Cash credit card is designed for businesses who want a solid cashback option quickly. The Expanded Buying Power feature is valuable for businesses that face fluctuating expenses during certain stages of the year and would benefit from a temporary credit increase for cash flow purposes.

Fees

Annual fees: $0

Intro APR: 0.0% on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening

Variable APR: 18.24% – 26.24%

Rewards

  • 2% cashback on everyday eligible business purchases, up to $50k per year.
  • 1% cashback on other eligible purchases after the first $50k spent on your card.

Features

  • Expanded Buying Power allows businesses to temporarily spend above their credit limit
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Global Assist® Hotline travel support

10. U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard®

The U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard® is a great all-around option for businesses who want to earn rewards in multiple areas while keeping maintenance fees low. The card has one of the longest 0% APR periods on the market, as well as a low threshold to qualify for the welcome bonus reward.

Fees

Annual fees: $0

Intro APR: 0% for first 15 billing cycles

Variable APR: 16.99% – 25.99%

Rewards

  • $500 cashback when you spend $4,500 within the first 150 days of account opening.
  • 5% cashback on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked via the Travel Rewards Center.
  • 3% cashback at eligible gas and EV charging stations, restaurants, office supply stores, and cell phone providers.
  • 1% cashback on all regular purchases.

Features

  • ExtendPay® Plan feature allows large purchases to be split into zero-interest fixed monthly payments for a monthly fee
  • $100 annual statement credit for software services
  • Extended warranty protection

How to Evaluate a Business Credit Card

Identifying business needs

The right business credit card for your LLC’s needs will depend on the type of business you run, whether you are a sole proprietor, and what spending categories you will be using the most. Assessing your needs this way will help you to narrow down the best credit card options that maximize rewards and cost savings. Whichever card you select, you need to be prepared to share the following information:

  • Social Security Number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • LLC registration
  • Personal guarantee

Assessing spending patterns

Small business credit cards frequently offer better rewards for eligible purchases, such as gas stations or office supply stores. It’s important to create a list of your biggest expenses to understand what sorts of rewards will be the most valuable to your business and result in the biggest cost savings.

Importance of reward programs

There’s a wide range of reward programs available via business credit cards, including travel rewards, cashback, or access to various services. It’s important to check the T&Cs of each program to understand the rules surrounding balance transfers, points expiration, and any additional costs to determine which program offers your LLC the best benefits.

Evaluating interest rates and fees

Business credit cards come with different annual percentage rates (APR), annual fees, and foreign transaction fees, so LLCs need to compare options to find out which bank business offers them the best value for the money. It’s important to consider that some cards may offer a favorable introductory APR for the first year after account opening before reverting to a variable APR, so it’s important to read what terms apply and consider the potential impact of these charges on your cash flow.

Importance of considering credit limit

Different business credit cards may offer your LLC different credit limits, so you need to choose the one that fulfills your business’s needs and expected expenses. An excellent credit score is essential for qualifying for a high credit limit. However, be aware that any balance must be paid off to avoid getting into a debt spiral and affecting business profitability.

Review of additional features and services

Depending on the bank providing the credit card, there may be additional supporting features that help you to utilize the card more effectively. This includes budgeting tools, fraud protection, and software integrations that make it easier to run your business.

Final words

Choosing the right business credit card for your LLC is important to streamline financial management, maximize reward earnings, and build your business credit score to access better loan opportunities from lenders. The selection of credit cards above provides a range of options for businesses depending on their credit score, main spending categories, and required credit limit. However, it’s important to assess each card option before committing to ensure you can maximize the benefits, as well as meet any repayment requirements.

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FAQs about Business Credit Cards

Q: What are business credit cards and why are they important for LLCs?

Business credit cards are financial tools used to facilitate business-related expenses. They are essential for LLCs as they help segregate personal and business expenses, improve financial management, and enhance the business’s credit profile.

Q: What are the benefits of having a business credit card for an LLC?

Business credit cards provide various benefits such as improved financial management, separation of personal and business expenses, an enhanced business credit profile, better employee expense management, and access to rewards and perks like cash back or travel rewards.

Q: What are some of the top business credit cards recommended for LLCs?

Some of the top business credit cards for LLCs include The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®, Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card, Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card, and American Express Business Platinum Card.

Q: What factors should LLCs consider when choosing a business credit card?

LLCs should consider factors such as fees (annual fees, variable APR), rewards (welcome bonuses, reward points on specific purchases), features (purchase protection, complimentary cards), and the nature of their business and spending patterns.

Q: How can a business credit card improve an LLC’s credit profile?

Business credit cards are essential tools for building a strong business credit score. This score enables businesses to access larger lines of credit and better loan terms, promoting the company’s stability and growth opportunities.

Q: How does a business credit card help in employee expense management?

A business credit card allows LLCs to give certain employees a spending limit to manage business-related expenses effectively. It provides an easy way to track spending activity from all cardholders with each billing cycle, reducing the administrative load of processing and checking invoices.

Q: What perks and rewards does a business credit card offer to LLCs?

Business credit cards offer various rewards and perks such as cashback rewards, bonus points on specific purchases, welcome bonuses, travel rewards, points at office supply stores, and more. Some issuers also provide services such as extended warranties, purchase protection, and travel insurance.

Q: Which business credit card is best for LLCs with frequent travel needs?

The American Express Business Platinum Card is popular among business owners who travel frequently. This premium credit card provides exclusive travel benefits and rewards, such as access to over 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and up to $200 in Airline Fee Credits.

Q: How can a business credit card help separate personal and business expenses for an LLC?

A business credit card helps maintain a clear separation between personal and business spending, ensuring accurate record-keeping. This separation also minimizes personal liability and provides legal protection in events like lawsuits or bankruptcy.

Q: What specific benefits do the ‘Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card’ and ‘American Express Blue Business Cash’ offer?

The ‘Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card’ offers cash back on office supplies and telecom expenses. In contrast, ‘The American Express Blue Business Cash’ rewards businesses with cash back on everyday eligible purchases, helping to improve cash flow with its Expanded Buying Power feature.


 

The Top 10 Best Online Shopping Carts for Merchants (and How to Choose the Right One)

What separates a regular website from an online store? The humble online shopping cart.

This functionality allows customers to select and store items before heading to the checkout and committing to a purchase. If brands want to offer their customers a seamless shopping experience, the shopping cart is a key touchpoint to build trust and confidence.

Shopping cart software comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, from full-fledged customer loyalty management solutions to basic plugins. The right shopping cart for your needs will depend on a range of factors, from transaction volume to preferred payment methods. We’ve rounded up the top 10 online shopping cart systems to help you find the perfect solution for your business.

TL;DR

  • The online shopping cart is a crucial feature for eCommerce stores, allowing customers to select and store items before making a purchase.
  • Selecting the right shopping cart depends on factors like transaction volume, preferred payment methods, and additional features needed.
  • By choosing the perfect shopping cart solution, your business can lower cart abandonment, increase customer satisfaction, and gain greater insight into consumer behavior and preferences.

Learn More

Why You Need a Quality Online Shopping Cart

Increased efficiency and time savings

Today’s eCommerce shoppers have high expectations for a streamlined online shopping experience. Whether it’s an impulse buy or a high-ticket purchase, consumers expect to navigate the checkout process with ease. According to Baymard Institute, nearly a fifth (17%) of online shoppers abandon their cart due to a long or complex checkout experience.

High-quality shopping cart software helps to streamline the shopping experience and enables customers to complete purchases with minimal effort. Shoppers can add products to their cart with a single click, apply promotional codes, and set up an account quickly. In turn, this minimizes shopping cart abandonment rates and improve conversion rates.

Improved customer experience

If shoppers don’t get a positive shopping experience, they’re unlikely to make future purchases. A well-designed shopping cart solution offers customers an intuitive, user-friendly interface that guides them through the shopping journey step by step. For example, customizable experiences enable brands to provide shoppers with personalized product recommendations, creating an engaging experience that increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.

Increased sales and revenue

It’s a well-known fact that the majority of online shopping journeys are abandoned before a purchase takes place, causing business owners to miss out on valuable sales.

An eCommerce shopping cart is your best tool to boost order volume by providing you with a valuable set of marketing tools. This includes abandoned cart reminders, personalized promotions, and in-depth reporting to gain insight into customer behavior.

Top 10 Best Online Shopping Carts for Merchants

1. Shopify

One of the most popular eCommerce platforms globally, Shopify has become to go-to option for small and large businesses alike to set up an online store. With a wide range of templates and integration available, Shopify makes it easy for brands to hit the ground running.

Best suited for: Businesses who want to stay within the Shopify system for eCommerce management.

Features

  • Level 1 PCI compliance and 256-bit SSL certificates
  • Responsive checkout design
  • Tax calculations for different states/countries
  • Multiple shipping options at checkout

Pricing

Basic: $39 per month

Shopify: $105 per month

Advanced: $399 per month

Pros

  • Massive thirty-party app marketplace makes it easy for brands to find plugins that address other business needs, such as digital marketing.
  • Suitable for a wide variety of eCommerce businesses.
  • Great ease of use for startups and small businesses.

Cons

  • The basic Shopify shopping cart comes with very few features.
  • Businesses will need to pay a fee to use payment gateways other than Shopify Payments, which has high credit card processing fees.
  • Additional plugins can make it hard to estimate monthly fees accurately.

2. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform built as a shopping cart plugin for WordPress. This enables WordPress site owners to turn their existing website into a fully functional online store. As an open-source eCommerce solution, it offers one of the most flexible shopping cart options.

Best suited for: Businesses using WordPress who want greater customization options.

Features

  • Secure payment system
  • Order management
  • Detailed documentation and knowledge center
  • Unlimited product variations
  • Real-time reporting and analytics

Pricing

Although WooCommerce is a free plugin, businesses need to have a WordPress site already set up in addition to web hosting and a registered business domain.

Pros

  • Designed to be fully compatible with WordPress systems.
  • A good selection of paid and free website themes.
  • Robust abandoned cart recovery system.

Cons

  • Businesses need to research/add other capabilities from scratch, which can be a lot of hassle for small businesses.
  • Hard to use without some developer expertise.

3. Magento

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform for building and managing online stores. Although originally developed by Magento Inc., and later acquired by Adobe in 2018 and now forms part of the Adobe Commerce suite. Magento offers merchants a highly scalable and customizable shopping cart solution.

Best suited for: Large businesses that need enterprise-level shopping cart software.

Features

  • Guest checkout and customer account options
  • PCI DSS certified and 3D Secure transactions
  • Multi-storefront management
  • App marketplace for extensions and add-ons

Pricing

Magento Open Source: Free (with limited features)

Magento Commerce: $22,000 per year

Pros

  • Highly flexible and offers great customization.
  • Allows customers to pay in multiple currencies.
  • Strong product management tools, including product bundling and downloadable products.

Cons

  • Finding experienced Magento developers can be challenging.
  • Not cost-effective for small to medium-sized businesses.

4. BigCommerce

Like Shopify, BigCommerce is an all-in-one SaaS platform that supplies businesses with all the tools they need to set up an eCommerce site. BigCommerce offers a decent amount of customization in their shopping cart functionality, as well as an intuitive backend and a variety of payment options supported.

Best suited for: Brands looking for an affordable shopping cart that supports lots of payment methods.

Features

  • Abandoned and persistent cart tools to save cart contents across devices
  • In-depth shopping cart analytics
  • Remarketing campaign tools

Pricing

Standard plan: $39

Plus plan: $105

Pro pan: $399

Pros

  • Doesn’t charge transaction fees on any of their plans.
  • Offers a variety of one-click checkout options, including Amazon Pay and PayPal One Touch.
  • Website themes have advanced SEO features built in.

Cons

  • Payment plans are capped to a certain transaction volume.
  • No social media or email marketing tools are available via BigCommerce.
  • The app store has relatively limited options.

5. Square

Best known for its affordable POS system, Square also offers merchants a shopping cart solution via Square Online. Square Online is an all-in-one eCommerce system that is added to an existing website to manage online orders, fulfillment, and shipping.

Best suited for: Businesses who are accepting orders for home delivery and in-store pickup.

Features

  • Accepts a range of payment options, including PayPal and Apple Pay
  • Displays real-time shipping rates at checkout
  • Online tax calculator
  • Customizable checkout fields

Pricing

Free plan: $0

Plus plan: $29 per month

Premium plan: $79 per month

Pros

  • Offers a great free option for startups and small businesses.
  • The ability the configure smart tipping options for pickup, local delivery, and self-serve orders.
  • Manage online orders for multiple storefronts.

Cons

  • High transaction fees for online payments.
  • Difficulties with accessing timely customer support.

6. Wix eCommerce

Wix eCommerce is a feature within the wider Wix website builder that allows business to convert their website into an online store. Brands can simply use the Wix Editor to add the shopping cart widget to their website and then customize according to their needs.

Best suited for: Wix users who need to quick solution to start selling online.

Features

  • Selling via social media channels
  • Customize the look and feel of your checkout
  • Abandoned cart recovery tools
  • Set shipping costs, coupon codes, and tax calculations at the checkout

Pricing

Business Basic: $17 per month

Business Unlimited: $26 per month

Business VIP: $35 per month

Pros

  • Very easy to add and configure to an existing Wix site.
  • Responsive mobile design.
  • Subscription billing available for all business plans.

Cons

  • Third-party apps or plugins outside of Wix cannot be added to your website.
  • Limited storage space for large product catalogs.

7. 3dcart

3dcart is an all-in-one solution for building an eCommerce website and selling products online. It offers a wide range of customizable website templates, as well as product catalog management and credit card processing.

Best suited for: Established online retailers looking for scalability.

Features

  • Integrations with eBay, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Shopzilla.
  • Live chat and phone customer support
  • Upselling/cross-selling tools
  • Return management
  • POS system for brick and mortar transactions

Pricing

Startup Store: $19 per month

Basic Store: $29 per month

Plus Store: $79 per month

Pro Store: $229 per month

Pros

  • Offers a 15-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Supports a wide range of payment options, including PayPal,
    Venmo, Pay Later, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
  • Unlimited product listings.

Cons

  • Only available to U.S.-based merchants.
  • Not designed for beginner-level eCommerce stores.

8. PrestaShop

PrestaShop is a free open-source eCommerce platform designed for both small and large businesses. It also provides an extensive marketplace where businesses can find additional themes and integrations to expand the functionality of their website.

Best suited for: Brands with in-house development expertise who want a lot of flexibility.

Features

  • Redeem coupons, promotional codes, or time-based discounts at the checkout
  • A streamlined one-page checkout option
  • Pre-installed web hosting available for purchase
  • Integrates with payment processors including PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Authorize.Net.

Pricing

Free to use, but businesses will have to pay for web hosting, customization, add-ons, and developer expertise if needed.

Pros

  • High level of customization, with over 3000 templates available.
  • No additional transaction fees.
  • Optional customer support plan is available for personalized help.

Cons

  • The free version without plugins has very limited functionality.
  • A lengthy set-up period is usually required.

9. Ecwid

Ecwid by Lightspeed is a multi-channel eCommerce solution that integrates with a variety of websites to create an online storefront. Instead of being designed for creating standalone eCommerce websites, Ecwid is focused on adding online store functionalities to an existing website.

Best suited for: New businesses who want to set up an online store quickly.

Features

  • Create shopping apps for iOS and Android
  • Oder and shipping management
  • Multilingual storefronts
  • Tax calculator
  • SEO toolkit

Pricing

Free: $0 per month

Venture: $19 per month

Business: $39 per month

Unlimited: $99 per month

Pros

  • ‘Instant Site’ tool allows brands to create a basic one-page standalone store while they are getting their business set up.
  • Integration with a number of other eCommerce platforms, including Wix and Squarespace.
  • Fully- customizable checkout API.

Cons

  • Free plan comes with very few functionalities.
  • Plans are more expensive for non-U.S. users.

10. Volusion

Volusion is one of the oldest eCommerce platforms and shopping cart solutions on the market, having been founded in 1999. It offers merchants a good mix of reporting, customization, and site management tools at an affordable price point.

Features

  • PCI Level 1 Certified and 3D-Secure payment gateway
  • Mobile app for managing your storefront
  • Centralized dashboard for sales reporting
  • Accept payments in 135+ currencies
  • Built-in CRM system

Pricing

Personal plan: $35 per month

Professional plan: $79 per month

Business plan: $299 per month

Pros

  • Premium Checkout feature option available for higher conversion rates.
  • Strong analytics/monitoring toolkit.
  • No payment gateway maintenance fees.

Cons

  • Cannot sell digital products.
  • Design interface isn’t very intuitive to use.

How to Select the Right Online Shopping Cart for Your Business

Identify your needs and objectives 

Before you commit to a particular shopping cart integration, access the demands of your eCommerce business to help you select the most appropriate option. Consider your business’s niche, the eCommerce platform you’re using, and the breadth of your product catalog.

Consider the features and functionalities you require

Many online shopping carts come with additional eCommerce solutions such as order management, payment gateways, email marketing, and SEO management. Make sure to prioritize solutions that offer these tools to avoid needing separate subscriptions later.

Check pricing plans and decide what suits your budget

Most shopping cart software will offer multiple plans at different price points, depending on what functionalities you require. However, different plans will include transaction fees or additional monthly/annual charges for add-on features. It’s important to compare options closely to find out which offers the best value for money.

Research customer reviews and ratings

Check out the reviews of other eCommerce stores within your niche/vertical that have used a certain shopping cart. This will give you insight into the pros and cons of different solutions and whether there are recurring problems concerning technical issues or reliability.

Take into consideration the compatibility with your existing system

Your shopping cart needs to be able to integrate seamlessly with your tech stack and other business tools to avoid compatibility issues. This means your current eCommerce platform or payment processing solution may dictate what shopping carts are available to your business.

Evaluate customer support and service quality

Given that your shopping cart is responsible for capturing sales, solid customer service support is essential. Be sure to look for a shopping cart solution that offers multiple support channels including phone, email, and live chat.

Consider future scalability 

The best shopping cart software is able to scale alongside your business, saving you from wasting time and resources by switching to another solution at a later date. To assess scalability, find out what transaction volumes a shopping cart is able to handle and what integrations it supports.

Your online shopping cart is an essential feature for any e-commerce business to remove friction from the shopping experience and increase sales. But to achieve this, you need to select the right shopping cart for your business needs. Key factors to consider are:

  • What additional features you may require
  • Whether there is a high volume of positive customer reviews
  • If the pricing plan is good value for your business
  • Compatibility with your current eCommerce platform

Hosted shopping carts, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, are easy to set up but can lack robust customization. Open-source options offer a fantastic sandbox, but businesses need to have the right developer expertise to take advantage of their flexibility.

By choosing the perfect shopping cart solution, your business can lower cart abandonment, increase customer satisfaction, and gain greater insight into consumer behavior and preferences.

Already have a shopping cart in mind? Integrate it with a robust payment processing platform that allows you to accept all payment types—including credit cards, mobile payments, ACH and more. 

Stax helps you do just that. We cover all your payment processing needs so you can focus on driving sales and delighting your customers. Learn more

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You Can Now Offer PayPal, Venmo, and Buy Now Pay Later with Stax

Staying competitive in today’s consumer landscape requires flexibility—particularly when it comes to payments. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that Stax merchants can now add PayPal buttons on their websites, enabling them to accept PayPal, Venmo, and Pay Later payment options. 

Give your customers a choice to pay how they want, on any device. With PayPal and Stax, you can accept PayPal, Venmo, and Pay Later, as well as credit cards and debit cards—all within a seamless checkout experience designed to boost conversion. 

There are no hidden fees. No monthly commitment. And it comes with instant access to funds, fraud detection, Seller Protection on eligible purchases*, and the built-in compliance standards PayPal is known for. 

Learn More

It’s one of the most trusted global brands1, and simply offering PayPal can give you instant credibility with millions of PayPal users, worldwide. 

Paypal Stax Logos

What this means for you

Our partnership with PayPal helps you speed up the checkout process, improve the customer experience, and ultimately drive more sales. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of offering PayPal in your business. 

Grow your sales and revenue. Having PayPal as a payment option has been proven to increase sales. Research from Nielsen, commissioned by PayPal2, found that consumers are nearly three times more likely to complete their purchase when PayPal is available at checkout. 

In addition, giving customers the option to pay over time using PayPal Pay Later can help increase order values and conversions – at no additional cost to you.  According to PayPal’s internal data, businesses with pay-over-time messaging on their site saw a 39% increase in overall cart sizes.* 

Implement faster checkout. You can speed up checkout by adding PayPal, Venmo, and Pay Later to your website, invoices, or payment links. PayPal users can pay for their purchases with just a few clicks—whether online or on their mobile device—so they’re able to complete the checkout process with as little friction as possible. 

These benefits create a smoother shopping experience, improving customer retention and ultimately increasing your bottom line. 

Paypal Checkout

Your next steps 

If you’re using Stax, take advantage of our PayPal integration today, so you can start offering PayPal, Venmo, and Pay Later to your clients and customers. 

Still looking for a payment processor? Get in touch with Stax today. Our platform enables you to accept multiple payment types—including credit and debit cards, ACH, Tex2Pay, recurring payments, and more. Plus, Stax’s membership model allows you to maximize your revenue and accept payments in the most cost-effective way possible. 

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– 

*Available on eligible purchases. Limits apply

1 Morning Consult – The 15 Most Trusted Brands Globally. March 2021. Morning Consult surveyed over 330,000 consumers across 10 international markets to provide a global view on the current state of consumer trust across brands. 

2 Nielsen, Commissioned by PayPal. A study to understand and measure the impact that PayPal has for US-based LE merchants across different verticals (e.g., health & beauty, travel, fashion) by Nielsen Behavioral Panel of desktop transactions from 15,144 US consumers between July 2020 to September 2020. 

3 Businesses with pay-over-time messaging on their site saw a 56% increase in overall PayPal AOV. Average lift in overall PayPal AOV for merchants with PayPal Credit messaging vs. those without, 2019 PayPal internal data. 

4 51% of BNPL users have abandoned a purchase due to not seeing a BNPL option. An online study commissioned by PayPal and conducted by Netfluential in November 2020, involving 1,000 US online shoppers ages 18-39 (among BNPL users, n=357). 

Oracle Netsuite vs QuickBooks: Features, Pricing, and Customer Ratings

More businesses have come to realize how technology can help them automate the tasks involved in bookkeeping and other aspects of financial management.

Robust platforms like Netsuite and QuickBooks will help you stay on top of your finances and give you a leg up on the competition in efficiency.

Both tools are excellent but they each have unique strengths with Netsuite being a comprehensive business management platform that includes bookkeeping, CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), and eCommerce features.

QuickBooks on the other hand a much simpler accounting software program that is more focused on core accounting tasks like booking keeping, invoicing, payroll, receipts, and reports.

This article will compare both programs to help you decide which will best meet the needs of your business.

TL;DR

  • Netsuite is a comprehensive business management platform that includes bookkeeping, CRM, ERP, and eCommerce features, making it a suitable option for international businesses with larger operations and complex financial needs.
  • QuickBooks is a simpler accounting software program that is more focused on core accounting tasks such as bookkeeping, invoicing, payroll, receipts, and reports. It is ideal for small-scale businesses and startups with less complex financial needs.
  • Both platforms offer mobile apps, integrations with third-party platforms, and customer support, but Netsuite is more expensive than QuickBooks, and may require multiple teams manned by expensive experts to manage each of its modules, while QuickBooks has a limited number of users and fewer customization opportunities.

Features

To kick things off, let’s look at the key features and capabilities of Netsuite and Quickbooks, so you can get a better idea of which solution is right for you. 

Oracle Netsuite features

Netsuite was built from the ground up as a cloud-based software solution to give businesses more flexibility. It also offers the crucial benefit of automatic software updates and ehancements. 

This is more beneficial than other legacy platforms that require you to keep track of new updates and install them yourself. Even when these legacy systems are later redesigned to work in the cloud, the transition is not always seamless.

Netsuite is designed as a software program that lets you manage practically every aspect of your business operations on a single platform. It includes accounting, CRM, ERP, inventory, and eCommerce features.

This eliminates the need for you to spend money on individual software tools for each aspect of your business, including the training of your employees to use each of those platforms.

Netsuite ERP is built to be scalable and you can opt to only pay for the features you currently need at this stage of your business before scaling up when your business operations become more complex and expansive.

This explains why Netsuite is more commonly used by international businesses that naturally have larger operations and more complex accounting, CRM, and ERP needs.

The highly integrated platform is divided into modules and data from each part of the platform is synced together to give you complete visibility into the health of your business. It’s built to ensure that you are able to licence only the set of modules your business needs.

The modules include: 

  • Financial management: this module includes all the tools you need to track and analyze the financial performance of your business. This covers accounting, billing, revenue management, and planning and budgeting. It also helps with regulatory compliance.
  • Warehouse and fulfillment: the inventory management module that helps you track inventory levels and ensure you always have the required quantity of goods in stock.
  • Supply chain management: this module is all about demand planning and forecasting. It lets you analyze sales and consumer trends to create a system that helps you deliver your products more efficiently to customers. 
  • Order management: it helps you to efficiently manage every step of the order fulfillment process. From tracking customer orders to shipping the goods to them.
  • Customer relationship management: this module includes everything you need to track and nuture your relationships with customers. It consolidates your customer service communication mediums to help you create a better experience for customers. It also makes working deals and leads a lot easier.
  • Human capital management: this part of the platform is all about streamlining core HR tasks and managing payroll. You will be able to hire the right talent and manage your staff more effectively. There is also an employee center feature.
  • Professional services automation: this module provides businesses that largely offer professional services with a range of essential features for project management, resource management, invoicing, time tracking, timesheet management, expense management, and collaboration tools.
  • Omnichannel eCommerce: it’s built for businesses that have thriving online stores as well as brick-and-mortar outlets. It syncs your financial data across both channels to help you seamlessly manage both sides of your business.

Learn More

To ensure members of your staff are only able to access parts of the platform that are relevant to their roles, Netsuite lets you create customizable user permissions. 

You will be able to assign tasks to each employee and limit the access of that staff member to functions related to that task. That way you can protect your business’s confidential information and ensure your warehouse operative doesn’t have access to information available to the warehouse manager.

Business Owner Using Oracle Netsuite Vs Quickbooks

QuickBooks features

Intuit’s Quickbooks is nominally a much simpler platform. In its basic form, it lets you manage the financial aspect of your business including tracking your income and expenses, billing, generating invoices and receipts, and reports generation.

You can use it for almost any type of business including restaurants, construction firms, eCommerce businesses, and businesses that offer professional services (for example, law firms).

There are two versions of Quickbooks; the cloud-based QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Desktop which will be installed on your computer. You can customize the Desktop platform for remote access (cloud) so you can sync data in real time across all your systems.

QuickBooks Online is fully subscription-based. QuickBooks Desktop on the other hand used to be available as a one-time purchase, but now you must pay a yearly subscription fee to retain access to the platform.

Both versions have all the tools you need to manage the accounting aspect of your business, but the online version has way more add-ons and app integrations.

For the Desktop version, there is Desktop Pro and Desktop Premier Plus, but it’s QuickBooks Enterprise which is the company’s most feature-packed offering. It includes most of the functionality you will find on Netsuite except for some niche features that are unique to Oracle’s platform.

QuickBooks Enterprise only works on Windows and unlike QuickBooks Online whose highest-level subscription plan is limited to 25 users, you can have up to 40 users. You can even negotiate a custom plan that lets you have way more users.

With both the online and desktop versions of QuickBooks you can:

  • Accept different modes of payment including credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, and Venmo
  • Track income and expenses
  • Create custom invoices and track invoice status
  • Send payment reminders
  • Capture receipts
  • Track sales tax
  • Manage accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Run advanced reports
  • Pay 1099 contractors

QuickBooks Online users can also subscribe to QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, a service that gives you access to a dedicated, virtual bookkeeper that will help you with day-to-day bookkeeping tasks.

It costs $500 to get started, then the monthly subscription fee ranges from $200 to $400 per month depending on the amount of money you are processing each month.

The certified bookkeeper will help you with tasks like categorizing your expenses, reconciling your accounts, invoicing, inventory management,  and the preparation of your monthly financial reports. You can also hold video calls with the individual to sort through issues when necessary.

Netsuite users on the other hand will either have to employ expensive in-house accounting staff or outsource the responsibility to outside accounting firms.

It’s the subscribers to QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus and QuickBooks Enterprise that have access to the full spectrum of capabilities offered by Intuit. 

These additional features include:

  • Order management
  • Inventory management
  • Warehouse management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Project management 
  • Milestone billing
  • Revenue management
  • Vendor management 
  • Advanced reporting
  • Key performance indicators (KPI) reporting

Ease of use

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s explore the ease of use Netsuite and QuickBooks, and compare their dashboards and user interfaces. 

Oracle Netsuite ease of use

Oracle offers an extensive range of features and navigating all that can be a bit intimidating for a small owner that’s only interested in automating basic bookkeeping tasks.

The management solution is more suitable for large businesses that need such a robust platform and have specialized staff to manage each module.

The “complexity” of the platform will be irrelevant to such business, and besides, Oracle offers extensive support to help its customers set up and train to use the platform.

The best way to compare both platforms is to evaluate the user-friendliness of their dashboards. As expected, Netsuite’s dashboard gives users access to a vast array of information displayed as metrics, graphs, KPIs, etc.

Some of the features you will find on the dashboard include:

  • General accounting information: transactions and reports
  • Top customers by balance: A/R agging report of your customer’s unpaid invoices in order of your top to buyers.
  • Reminders: any task that requires your attention
  • KPIs: metrics tracking the financial health of your business
  • SaaS metrics: full visibility into every aspect of your business based on data from the set of modules you subscribed to

QuickBooks ease of use

A more accessible and user-friendly platform that is perfect for small business owners. Such users also don’t need additional, complex CRM, ERM, HRM, and eCommerce features.

The layout of QuickBooks’ dashboard is less cluttered and you can easily locate and understand the information and metrics you are seeing on your screen.

Also, unlike Netsuite’s dashboard, there is a left navigation bar that makes finding your way to any of the different accounting functions on the platform very easy.

Here are some of the sections you will see on your screen when you access the dashboard:

  • Sales: a graphical presentation of your sales in the fiscal year
  • Bank accounts: bank balance and credit card account information
  • Cash flow: income and expenses over a customizable time period 
  • Profit and loss: customizable P&L statement
  • Navigation bar: list of tabs that take you to the different functions on the platform

Mobile App

In this section, let’s compare the mobile apps of Netsuite and QuickBooks to see which one is better for managing finances on-the-go.

Oracle Netsuite mobile app

Netsuite’s mobile app is available on both iOS and Android. Unlike the user interface (UI) of the desktop version, the mobile app has an intuitive user interface. 

It’s easy to navigate and it’s optimized for key workflows. You still get most of the available features, KPIs, and report customization options.

QuickBooks mobile app

It’s also available on iOS and Android and its UI is excellent. You get all the features in the online version as well as the ability to turn your mobile device into a receipt scanner.

Android users can link their Whatsapp accounts and use them to send invoices to customers. A notification will be sent to you when the invoice is viewed and paid for by the customer.

Integrations

Both Netsuite and Quickbooks connect with a number of third party solutions. Here’s an overview of the apps they integrate with.  

Oracle Netsuite integrations

The sheer breadth of features available on Netsuite’s 11 modules reduces the need to integrate third-party software tools for additional functionality.

Nonetheless, the management software still integrates with a number of third-party platforms like Google Apps, Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle’s other tools. You can also use its SOAP and REST web services for your custom integrations.

QuickBooks integrations

The online version supports over 650 business apps, while the desktop-based Quickbooks Enterprise supports over 200 integrations.

Some of the third-party apps supported by QuickBooks include:

  • Stax
  • Salesforce
  • WooCommerce
  • Shopify
  • Hubspot 
  • TradeGecko
  • Gusto
  • Lightspeed 
  • Pay TraQer
  • Plooto
  • Hubdoc
  • AutoEntry

Pricing

As far as pricing, there’s a wide range of rates to consider, and the right package depends on your needs. 

Oracle Netsuite pricing

The fact that Netsuite offers robust modules and advanced features for managing each aspect of your business means its subscription fee will cost a lot more than that of QuickBooks.

The company doesn’t provide any pricing information on its website and instead instructs visitors to contact the Netsuite sales team for a custom quote.

The cost covers the licence fee you will be paying for the set of modules you are signing up for and a per-user fee.

Information from current customers suggests that the base licensing fee is $999/month and you will also pay $99 for each user monthly. 

This means the total amount will depend on the number of modules you picked and the number of users.

QuickBooks pricing

With QuickBooks, the pricing for the online version is different from that of the desktop version.

The online version has five plans depending on the number of users. You also get to choose between signing up first for the 30-day free trial or signing up for paid plan immediately and get 50% off for the first three months.

If you choose to get the 30-day free trial, here is what you will pay:

  • Self-employed (1 user): $15/month
  • Simple Start (1 user): $30/month
  • Essentials (3 users): $55/month
  • Plus (5 users): $85/month
  • Advanced (25 users): $200/month

If you opt to pay immediately, the discount will kick in for three months, and here is what you will be paying:

  • Self-employed (1 user): $7.50/month
  • Simple Start (1 user): $15/month
  • Essentials (3 users): $27.50/month
  • Plus (5 users): $45.50/month
  • Advanced (25 users): $100/month

Here is the pricing plan for QuickBooks Desktop users:

  • QuickBooks Pro Plus (1 user): $549.99/year
  • QuickBooks Premier Plus (5 users): $779/year
  • QuickBooks Enterprise (40 users): $1,410/year

QuickBooks Enterprise users can get even greater discounts if they request a custom quote that covers more than 40 users.

Customer Support

Both providers offer phone and online support, though Netsuite has an advantage, thanks to its 24/7 support offerings. 

Netsuite customer support

It offers the following customer support channels:

  • 24/7 phone support
  • Netsuite Knowledge Base (tutorials, webinars, and videos)
  • Online training by Netsuite partners

QuickBooks customer support

With Intuit, you get:

  • 12 hours phone support (Mon to Friday)
  • QuickBooks Knowledgebase (articles, videos, webinars)
  • Online training by a QuickBooks ProAdvisor or QuickBooks partners

Pros and Cons

If you made it this far, you likely already have an idea of which solution would best fit your needs. That being said, here’s a quick overview of Netsuite’s and QuickBooks’ pros and cons. 

Oracle Netsuite pros and cons

Pros

  • All-in-one solution
  • Dashboards for each employee that is assigned a role
  • Multi-currency support  

Cons

  • Too expensive for small businesses with simpler needs
  • Netsuite pricing plans aren’t transparent 
  • May require multiple teams manned by expensive experts to manage each of its modules

QuickBooks pros and cons

Pros

  • Cheaper than Netsuite
  • It’s much easier to operate
  • Supports hundreds of third-party integrations 

Cons

  • Not ideal for large businesses with complex operations
  • Fewer customization opportunities 
  • Limited number of users

Final Words

This article should have made it clear by now that each accounting solution is ideal for a specific type of business.

Businesses with large-scale operations and complex financial needs should go for Netsuite. You should also go for the software if you are a medium-sized business and you want an all-in-one platform to manage your business operations. 

Small-scale businesses and startups should opt for QuickBooks since they have less complex needs and Netsuite would be an overkill.

Consider your business processes and needs carefully and be sure to opt for the software that has the features you need to run your business accounting efficiently.

That being said, if you need help accepting and managing payments, get in touch with Stax—our experts can assist you in determining which solution is right for you.

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Reviewing the Clover Card Reader: Features, Pricing and Merchant Ratings

With seemingly endless options for point-of-sale (POS) hardware and software, it can feel like cleaning a messy room—where should you start? While this task may seem daunting, Stax is here to help share what you need to know about various popular POS systems. This post explores the various Clover card readers, including features, pricing, and merchant ratings.

TL;DR

  • There are a variety of Clover card readers, ranging from pocket-sized mobile readers to all-in-one payment terminals.
  • Clover product pricing depends on your business type and size, which will determine the hardware’s pricing.
  • Many customers state the ease of use and the well-functioning mobile checkout experience as positive aspects of Clover terminals.

Features of Clover Point of Sale Systems

Based in California, Clover Network, Inc, is owned by First Data and Fiserv and is the largest cloud-based point-of-sale company in the U.S. Clover offers a variety of options for mobile and fixed payment terminals—whether looking for a simple on-the-go card reader or a dual-screen all-in-one POS system.

Payments on the go with Clover Go and Clover Flex

At the most mobile end of the spectrum, the Clover Go reader fits in the palm of your hand and Bluetooth pairs with iPhone or Android smartphones to easily accept credit and debit cards as well as mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay. This allows merchants to process payments using the Clover Go app easily. The Clover Go has an estimated battery life of 160 dip or swipe, or 130 contactless transactions per charge.

The Clover Flex is a handheld mobile device that works especially well in restaurant and retail environments and accepts EMV chip cards, swiped cards, and near-field communication (NFC) contactless payments. This Clover device features a 5” color touchscreen and is a sleek option for a mobile point-of-sale.

Learn More

All-in-one payments with Clover Mini, Clover Solo and Duo

The Clover Mini is slightly larger than the Flex and features a 7” touch screen, and is meant to serve as a fixed POS system. The Mini operates with either an LTE cellular connection or a WiFi connection and is a sleek option for businesses.

The Clover Station Solo and Duo are similar options for a larger POS with more capabilities, such as a receipt printer and the ability to connect with a cash drawer. Both feature a 14” screen, and the Duo also includes a 7” customer-facing touchscreen.

Stax is pleased to offer our customers several Clover device options to choose from, including the Flex, Mini, Solo and Duo, with our payment processing capabilities.

Process EMV chip cards, contactless, and cardless payments with one card reader

No matter the Clover POS system you choose, all easily handle mobile wallet, debit and credit card payments. One of the top considerations many merchants have is compatibility with their devices. Clover terminals are compatible with Android and Apple devices with the Clover app. Merchants simply need to download the Clover Go app and set up a merchant account with a payment processor.

Secure payment processing

All Clover devices are PCI compliant and are compatible with Apple iOS version 10.0 and higher and Android 4.4 and higher (and it’s always a good idea to keep your iOS up to date to stay secure and compliant). Windows phones are not supported by Clover at this time. 

For merchants seeking an additional layer of protection, Clover also offers Clover Security Plus, which features data protection, rapid PCI compliance, security scores and additional customer support for an added cost.

Reporting and analytics

Like many payment processing companies, Clover also offers reporting and analytics. Depending on your payment processor choice, the dashboards will offer slightly different functionality and user experience, but the analytics and information are similar across platforms.

Clover Credit Card Reader Pricing Options

Let’s address the elephant in the room—how much does this all cost? The answer is a bit murky since it depends on where you purchase Clover devices and what payment processor you choose.

If purchased directly from Clover, the Clover Go is $49, and if using their software, there is an additional charge of $14.95 per month.

The Clover Flex mobile card reader has three pricing options, including Starter, Standard and Advanced, with monthly pricing of $35, $50, and $80 for hardware and software, respectively.

Similarly, the Clover Mini has the same options at $45, $60 and $90 per month for hardware and software for the Starter, Standard and Advanced packages.

The Clover Solo is available for $120 per month, including hardware and software, for the Retail and Services plan. For the Full-Service Dining package, the cost is $150 per month for hardware and software.

The Clover Duo is $130 monthly for hardware and software for both the Retail and Services and the Quick-Service Dining packages.

The bottom line with Clover product pricing is that the best point-of-sale terminal for you depends on your business type and size, which will determine the hardware’s pricing. Bear in mind that this is only the cost of the payment terminal and software, and credit card processing fees will vary depending on the card brand and payment processor fee structure.

Stax operates with a subscription-based model starting at $99 per month and does not add a processor markup to the processing fees. In addition, Stax connects with leading credit card terminals—including Clover devices—which means you can use Clover’s sleek terminals while still having access to more merchant-friendly rates. 

Clover Pos Reviews: Everything You Need To Know
Clover POS Reviews: Everything You Need to Know

Merchant Ratings for Clover POS Systems

Overall, ratings for Clover devices average 3.9 stars on Capterra and 3.8 stars on G2. Many customers state the ease of use and the well-functioning mobile checkout experience as positive aspects of Clover terminals. Clover terminals are also customizable, and merchants can add options for digital receipts, tipping, and accepting gift cards.

Common themes that lower the rating and are seen as a limitation include lackluster customer support and the frequent need to reboot due to freezes and software glitches. Clover devices are also only equipped to handle card and mobile wallet transactions unless you have the Clover Solo or Duo, which can be equipped with a cash drawer. Finally, their pricing is a bit opaque, and users report surprise fees such as minimum usage and termination charges. 

Compared to competitors, Clover POS terminals rank a bit lower than some top options, including Square. Depending on your business, Clover has some tough competition in the restaurant industry, where several alternatives rank well over four stars.

Clover terminals are geared towards retail and restaurants primarily. However, mobile solutions are also excellent for home and field professional services, allowing merchants to accept payment from anywhere. In short, Clover is best for small- to medium-sized businesses and offers several terminals to suit your business needs.

Final Words

Clover terminals are a solid option for businesses, especially those in the retail and restaurant industry. Stax is pleased to offer Clover terminals alongside our top-notch payment processing platform.

If your business is considering a Clover card reader, our advice is to research the fees thoroughly to ensure you’re not being overcharged by the payment processor or the device manufacturer.Ready to learn how Stax can support your business with the best in payment processing technology? Reach out to learn more.

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