225 W. Wacker Dr, Suite 1565, Chicago, IL 60606
Payline is a breath of fresh air for small- to mid-sized businesses seeking merchant account services. Payline offers great support, education, and personable service. Their rates are well below average, and the added fact that a portion of every dollar goes to charity makes this a good choice for small to mid-sized businesses. Large businesses can be better served elsewhere, however.
Paylinedata.com (Payline) offers a website and a service that's a breath of fresh air. This company sets the bar for transparency, education, and an easy design for any merchant to own a merchant account. Payline shares its motives and conditions up front and provides the merchant with options that are reasonable with ways to avoid payments that might not be necessary.
PayLine touts that a portion of every dollar they receive in revenue goes to charity. Initially we weren't turned on by the charitable aspect to this service, because it seems like a gimmick. But, they're committed to donating to charities every time a merchant processes a credit card. This donation comes at no additional cost to the merchant. Additionally, Payline is just as passionate about their merchants. We found only two complaints about this company online, and Payline responded to both complaints.
Although we believe Payline is doing all the right things as a credit card processor, we still warn merchants that what matters is a business's bottom line, which we review in depth below. Credit card processing with Payline might be confusing for merchants who have never used a credit card processing company before or who only used an aggregator such as Square. Read on to learn more...
Below is a detailed review of Payline Data 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 or may not be important to you. To learn more about any given feature, just click on it.
Payline offers a wide range of services, depending upon merchant options of hardware and software. When you talk with Payline, you might use this list to confirm that your choice provides what you need.
|Microsoft Dynamics GP||No|
|Windows / Blackberry||No|
|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)||Yes|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||No|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||No|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
We responded "yes" to almost all the items in the list above, because Payline does offer them...your options, however, may be limited by your choices of hardware/software.
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.
Payline tells viewers right up front on their homepage that they offer interchange rates for their services. They then proceed to explain these rates in layman's terms. Then, on another page, Payline provides a simple rate system broken down into two options: Simple and Pro:
Simple Plan (under $5k per month sales):
Pro Plan (over $5k per month sales):
The monthly fees cover a lot of fine print costs you might normally find in a more complicated contract. This plan is simple and ideal for small and mid-sized businesses or high volume businesses that don't want to deal with multiple contracts, long-term contracts, and tiered pricing that can eat up a limited budget and your time as a business owner.
With that said - and this is our biggest complaint about Payline - the simply all-inclusive payment plans don't actually include everything. When we read the fine print, for example, we saw that the payment plans above don;t cover gateway fees, some hardware or software options, and some other fees that apply to merchant options. There;s a good reason, which is that all of these are options that may not apply to every merchant, but it still can be confusing for unwary merchants.
Payline insists on contact with the merchant before a contract is signed. The reason behind this persistence is that the merchant must choose how and when he/she will take alternate payments. Mobile options, in-store sales, and phone sales all may require different plans. While these choices may sound complicated, Payline is ready to educate the merchant on the reasons behind these choices. Additionally, Payline seems sincere about saving money for that merchant.
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Yes|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||Perhaps|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||Perhaps|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Perhaps|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||Perhaps|
|Daily Batch Fee||Perhaps|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||Perhaps|
|ACH Charge Fee||Perhaps|
|ACH Return Fee||Perhaps|
|Free Setup Consultation|
|24/7 Free Cusomter Support|
Our Take: After talking with a Payline consultant, we had to rewrite this entire section. Initially, we were disturbed by the lack of transparency regarding gateway fees, PCI compliance, and other fine print "gotchas." Then, we learned that those fees vary depending upon the merchant's choice of POS hardware and software.
For instance, the totally transparent lead to using Flint as a mobile option is based upon the fact that Flint doesn't use a gateway and it is an easy and convenient choice for a small merchant's POS mobile sales needs. Payline uses three different gateways, and Authorize.Net is one of their options. The fact that they can pick and choose a gateway that works best for a client is a stunning piece of work, in my opinion.
Other fees may apply, including PCI compliance. With that said, Payline provides educational materials on how to avoid non-compliance fees and they will help merchants plow through that annual survey.
NOTE: The minimum monthly fee can alter the plan you, as a merchant, may choose with Payline.
While your transactions usually take place electronically, the actual device that you use to swipe a customer's card is referred to as "the equipment." This equipment includes hardware and, often, software or apps for that hardware to function properly.
Payline offers a wide variety of hardware and software options, including a POS system that is ready to go with printer, iPad stand, and encrypted card reader. Merchants need to consult with Payline to learn which systems might work best, as each one carries different options that merchants may or may not require for their businesses.
We're not unhappy with the variety of options that Payline offers, especially since the option is to purchase rather than to lease. When a merchant purchases hardware, no extra contracts or payments are necessary. Plus, no hidden fees are involved, as they can often be with hardware leases.
Payline Data Merchant Services can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States, Canada and abroad.
I generally don't like long-term contracts or termination fees in merchant services agreements, because the ability to cancel keeps the credit card processor on its best behavior, including the willingness to make you happy if there's a dispute. Plus, this ability to cancel gives you the ability to move on if you find a better deal.
No contract here, and no early termination fees. This is an ideal environment for small- and mid-sized businesses; but, I believe it's worth any merchant's time to contact MerchantNegotiators.com first if you have questions about whether or not this company is right for you.
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.
Processor: Payline Data Services, LLC is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio, Member FDIC. As an ISO, they partner with several other businesses for gateway and product services, including Authorize.Net and Ingenico.
Account Sales: Payline focuses on work with non-profit organizations and offers deals between those organizations and businesses to help spread the word about Payline's services. They also have a clean and brilliant website in their favor. The only downside we saw was that $500 offer to switch business from a current credit card processor to Payline. We'd like to see that offer go away, because that offer is a gimmick. I feel Payline can run on its own merits.
Account Service: Payline offers an extensive Knowledge Base section on their site, an 800 number, an email, and current Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn pages. Their support is 24/7, and we've yet to encounter one complaint about their support system.
As part of our review process, we try to test merchant account service companies' claims by placing test calls and working through the customer service process. We made a direct call to PayLine and the results are below...
2/17/2015; TIME: 3:00 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
Ryan answered our call immediately after we encountered a brief and simple phone tree. In native English, he explained a lot of Payline features in a short period of time. One of the issues we presented was the one complaint about not knowing about how to use some services and - as a result - getting caught up in some unexpected fines and fees. Ryan explained that Payline might be difficult to understand for the merchant who never used a card processing service or who previously used an aggregate such as Square Merchant Services.
In Payline's case, the merchant is setting up an actual merchant account. In this scenario, the merchant must be aware of several issues, such as PCI compliance, check cashing services, and other issues that contain a learning curve for many small- and medium-sized business owners. Ryan stated that they recognize this issue, and now are paying more attention to a merchant's knowledge about credit card processing so they can educate that merchant on these parameters.
Our Take: After talking with Ryan, we also understood the reasoning behind what we previously thought were hidden fees, or "gotchas." There are no hidden fees here. Instead, Payline refuses to state a price for service when a merchant may not need that service. This company seems very sincere about working one-on-one with merchants. We like that.
We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about Payline's services. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit, and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues.
The one complaint we discovered was centered on the "hidden" gateway fee.
Understandable, if the merchant wasn't informed about this cost and if Payline didn't educate that merchant about the cost. At this point, we hope this complaint may be the last one on this subject.
This is an interesting complaint, as it helped us learn more about Payline. It appears that some clients were in the dark about setting up options to avoid chargebacks and for AVS and other security options.
Payline seems to understand that this issue - much like the "hidden gateway fee" issue - is one that can be avoided when speaking with potential clients. On the other hand, we want to educate merchants as well to ask questions before signing on any dotted lines.
That's it on the complaints. We found tons of great review articles about Payline and a few positive reviews from customers. Most of those positive reviews centered on the simplicity involved with Payline's structure once the setup was complete.
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
Questions About This Processor?
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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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