PayAnywhere is a merchant services aggregator, offering mobile solutions for storefronts and face-to-face POS services. The offer that makes PayAnywhere stand out is the free equipment, including a tablet. The downside is the cost in fees and charges to the merchant beyond the percentage costs per transaction.
North American Bancard (NAB) developed PayAnywhere, also known as Pay Anywhere, as an aggregator service that provides merchants with the ability to accept Mastercard, VISA, American Express, and PayPal payments for merchandise or services. In this particular merchant services segment, one that includes PayPal and Square, the competition is keen -- especially for a newcomer service to this industry. NAB developed PayAnywhere in 2011, and didn't offer the storefront POS system service until 2014. The offer that makes PayAnywhere stand out against other merchant service aggregators is their free equipment offer that includes a tablet with a card reader and integrated stand. But, as you'll learn below, that tablet is "free" for a price.
PayAnywhere could be a great solution for the startup or small business, but the fine print keeps this option well behind Square. Although the free equipment is a huge draw, PayAnywhere isn't as friendly price-wise when compared to Square or PayPal, considering their monthly minimum sales fees and their monthly and annual charges.
Below is a detailed review of PayAnywhere Merchant Services offering. The review is broken down into the following categories.
Depending upon the type of business you own, some of the following features may be very important to you, while others may not matter.
Since PayAnywhere is under the umbrella of North American Bancard and uses Global Payments as their processor, they can offer a variety of services. However, those services come with a price, as users are signing up for North American Bancard and Global Payment accounts when they use PayAnywhere.
|Microsoft Dynamics GP||No|
|Windows / Blackberry||Yes, Blackberry|
|iPhone / iPad||Yes|
|Alternative Transaction Types:|
|Snail Mail Orders||Yes|
|American Express (AMEX)||Yes|
|Add Tips to Bills||Yes|
|eCommerce / Shopping Cart||Yes|
|EMV Chip Cards||Yes|
|Loyalty / Gift Cards||Yes|
|eChecks / Electronic Checks||Yes|
|Welfare Benefits (EBT/SNAP/TANF)||Yes|
|Security / Fraud Prevention:|
|AVS Fraud Protection||Yes|
|PCI DSS Secure Transactions||Yes|
|HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare)||No|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||No|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||No|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
Almost every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (to learn the differences read here). Where companies allow us to disclose pricing information, we show the deals that our secret shoppers were able to achieve. When companies offer both Interchange Plus and Tiered Pricing, we try to get a quote on both options.
PayAnywhere, like other aggregators, charges merchants only when a sale occurs. If you read the fine print, you'll learn that merchants may pay other costs to PayAnywhere. On the front end, a sale through PayAnwhere rates can vary between 1.69% per swipe to 3.69 + $0.19 per transaction for a manually-keyed transaction:
Storefront: For merchants operating a storefront and/or a higher level of transactions. Includes the "free" tablet, stand with built-in reader, and app.
The monthly fee, we assume, is much like an equipment lease, because it may be paying for that "free" tablet. The minimum volume fee per month is based upon monthly credit card sales that are below $5,000. That's the kicker...and the reason to opt out of this option and go with Square or PayPal. The free tablet isn't enough to lure that small business owner. The mobile swiper option is a bit different:
Still comparable to Square or PayPal, and those other two options offer more services. Plus, we learned about an annual fee of $79, which is a disguise, we believe, for a PCI compliance fee. That fee may be applied to both the POS storefront as well as the mobile swiper systems.
Pay Anywhere's fine print is interesting, as the terms and agreements are based upon Global Payments, Inc., the processor for all PayAnywhere's transactions:
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Possible|
|PCI Inaction Fee||Possible|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||$79|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||None|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Yes|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||Possible|
|Daily Batch Fee||Possible|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||Possible|
|ACH Charge Fee||Possible|
|ACH Return Fee||Possible|
SwiperTablet POS systemUnlimited sub-usersApp and online reporting
We learned that PayAnywhere merchants are "fined" $15 for retrieval fees (which customers or your customers' issuing banks request sales receipt copies) as well as a $25 Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee. We still aren't sure if PayAnywhere charges the mobile swiper merchant the same PCI compliance fee, but at least they waive the monthly charge for that option.
We were excited about a company that, initially, seemed to offer free equipment with rates that were similar to Square. But, after digging deeper, we're very disappointed with the added fees and charges that are tacked on to the use of this merchant account system. After we read the complaints about this company, we're even more likely not to recommend this payment option to merchants.
While your transactions will take place via your merchant electronically, the actual device that you use to swipe a customer's card into is referred to as "the equipment." This equipment includes hardware and, often, software or apps for that hardware to function properly.
PayAnywhere initiall began with services compatible only with iPhones, iPads, and iTouch. Now, that system is compatible with Android and with many Blackberry models.
PayAnywhere currently operates only within the U.S. and only with U.S. customers.
We generally don't like to see long-term contracts or termination fees in merchant services agreements, because the ability to cancel a contract keeps the credit card processor on its best behavior (and more likely to try to make you happy if there's a dispute). The ability for the merchant to cancel gives you, that merchant, the ability to choose a better deal that might come along down the road before your current contract expires.
PayAnywhere is a month-to-month service, but beware -- they're tied into so many other options that a good look at the contract is definitely in order before signing on that dotted line.
The merchant account services industry is multi-layered. Understanding how those layers fit together can be confusing (Read More in this Article). A good thing to know, however, is whether or not your company is a direct processor (good if yes) or, if not, then to know who they process with and whether or not that processor is reliable. The second thing to know is whether or not the service or sales staffs are in-house or outsourced. In-house staffs are preferable for you, as these staff members may have more access to sources that can resolve your issues.
PayAnywhere ("PA") doesn't state that it's a North American Bancard brand except in one press release, but it does mention that it is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. That's the same bank that North American Bancard uses. Global Payments, Inc. is PayAnywhere's processor.
PayAnywhere uses advertising, public relations, strategic partnerships, and referrals to get the word out about their services. They're fairly low key.
Although LawCharge offers 24/7 phone, email, and chat support, but the sour reviews about this support are so rampant that we doubt this service is viable. PayAnywhere does have online tips, lessons, and videos that are fairly easy to comprehend and to put in practice.
As part of our review process, we try to test out the claims made by the Merchant Account Services provider by placing a few test calls, and working through the customer service process.
5/112015; TIME: 12:00 pm and 12:15 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
I put in two calls to PayAnywhere. Both times I had to select whether or not I had no account or an existing account with PayAnywhere. Once I selected the "no account yet" option, I had to select between the tablet and the card reader. I chose the card reader, and I was told during both calls that all representatives were busy and to leave my number for a sales rep to return my call. I refused that option.
3/12/2015; TIME: 11:00 am EST
Call to Customer Support
This time Mary answered the phone after seven rings. She answered the one question I had about the swiper -- whether or not that tool was subject to an annual fee. She laughed, and said, "No, not with the swiper."
Our Take: Since I didn't leave my number for a return call, I can't tell you how long it might take for a sales or service rep to return my call. But, I was a little annoyed with the laughter concerning the swiper question...I felt as if Mary was deriding me for not knowing the answer to that question. Interestingly, she also never asked me any questions about my business or ask if she could expound on any services.
We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about this processor. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues. We discovered numerous complaints about PayAnywhere online and through reviews that focused on two specific topics: Bad customer service and payment withholding...
Put on hold, long wait times, rudeness.
We discovered during our service call above that we could see how the rudeness factor might play out here. Additionally, the fact that the sales rep didn't ask to explain any services or offer to help in any other way is telling. Service is key in this industry, so perhaps NAB might pay attention to how their sales reps come across to clients.
It appears that the complaints about payment withholding are increasing.
We understand that reserve accounts for chargebacks sometimes are necessary for merchant accounts that are high risk or that accept merchants without background or credit checks. With PayAnywhere, however, this action seems to be running rampant. This pay withholding can be disastrous for small businesses.
A handful of complaints about the yearly charge that appears to be a PCI compliance fee.
Although PayAnywhere appears to be transparent about their pricing and services, they aren't fully open about all their fees. Complaints stated that this fee was in the contract, which is why we asked about it during our call. Be sure to read that contract carefully. With a new service like PayAnywhere, changes can be rapid and unannounced...so keep your eyes peeled for any changes in your services if you decide to go with this merchant account service.
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
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About the Reviews: These reviews, and for that matter any reviews, are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion, not as a statement of fact. Selecting a merchant services provider is an important decision, and we urge you to use no single source of information as the basis of that decision.
About the Pricing: This pricing is an estimate based on limited available information. In some cases, the Processors' pricing information was provided directly by the company, in others, we obtained it from public information, through calls to the company, or through past or current clients of the company. Where, despite these efforts, we were unable to obtain any information about certain fees, we used estimates based on similar providers in the industry. While we're working, in some cases, with the company directly to get more accurate pricing, even in those circumstances, we can't guarantee the pricing's accuracy. Complicating all of this, is that for some companies individual salespeople are given authority to modify terms on a deal by deal basis. In any case, if you know of an error, please let us know and we'll fix it.
About the Calculations: With respect to your estimated savings, this is based on a lot of factors and some hard math. The reason we do it, along with the "Actual Gross Rate" calculation is that every Processor prices their product differently (e.g. interchange v. 3 tier v. 4 tier v. flat v. membership, etc.) and some make it intentionally complicated or opaque. Trying to convert their pricing structure to a consistent "Overall Cost of Processing" is the only way you, the merchant, can do an apples to apples pricing comparison and know whether an offer is actually a good deal. Our system isn't perfect but we're trying.
Conclusion: In sum, these rankings, ratings, and scores are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion and not as a legal statement of fact. Moreover, use these prices and estimates at your own risk, and make sure to verify the pricing you see here in any formal contract you receive. Finally, if you do find something wrong in our pricing, terms, etc., tell us and we'll try to fix it.
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