Overall, QuickBooks Payments is a viable choice if you want seamless QuickBooks integration. But given that their pricing (once you factor in the fine print) isn't great and their customer service is difficult to contact (and you pay for it), there are other choices available that offer QuickBooks integration.
Intuit, the company famous for their accounting software, QuickBooks, also has a number of related but lesser known products. The product we're reviewing Intuit QuickBooks Payments, which is sometimes called Intuit Payment Solutions or QuickBooks with Payments. This is Intuit's Merchant Account Services product.
Because so many small businesses use QuickBooks for their bookkeeping, the company decided to buy an existing Merchant Account Services company, Innovative Merchant Services. Intuit then re-branded the company in 2012 as QuickBooks Payments for businesses with a completely integrated credit card processor for their QuickBooks accounting product.
In terms of what Intuit offers, the headliner focuses on that complete integration with QuickBooks and what initially appears to be a low total processing cost. That service is great for QuickBooks users and the teaser pricing and equipment they provide looks attractive. But once we started digging into the fine print, their hidden terms, pricing, and reputation for lukewarm customer service made it difficult for us to recommend this product and its services for all but the dyed-in-the-wool Intuit fan base.
Even then, we discovered that their rates are higher for individuals who already own QuickBooks. Those rates are the real "gotcha," because merchants may feel that owning that accounting software is vital to a business. If you don't own the accounting software and you decide to purchase it or accept a free copy when you sign up for merchant services, you might be in for a real financial surprise.
Below is a detailed review of QuickBooks Merchant Services offering. The review is broken down into the following categories.
Depending on the type of business you own, some of the following features may be very important to you, while others may appear to be fluff. If you aren't sure what a feature is, or why you might want it, click it to obtain more information.
|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||No|
|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)||Yes|
|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.
When companies allow us to disclose pricing information, we show the deals that our secret shoppers were able to achieve. Also, when companies offer both Interchange Plus and Tiered Pricing, we tried to get a quote both ways.
QuickBooks Payments uses a version of tiered pricing only with no Interchange-Plus pricing option. Within the tiered pricing model they offer two pricing options, the "Basic" or the "Pro." The difference between the two pricing options is that under "Pro" you pay less per transaction, but you pay $19.95 /mo as a flat fee, whereas under "Basic" you pay a higher per transaction cost, but no monthly fee.
When you visit the QuickBooks Payments site and click on "pricing," the site will ask you if you already own the accounting software. We clicked on both options and we were astounded at the difference in pricing.
Both pricing plans seem designed by a master marketer rather than by someone who wants to give you a good deal. The first sign is the teaser rate of 1.75%. "Wow, really, that sounds like a fantastic deal," you might say. Yes, it certainly would be if you could ever pay anything like that, which is why they advertise the heck out of it. But the reality is a lot different.
First, you're paying $0.25 per transaction cost instead of the standard $0.15. Add to that a bunch of incredibly intricate fine print charges (discussed below) and you can expect to pay well over 3.0% on your transactions if you aggregate all the hidden charges.
Thus, the combo of hidden charges and "gotcha" promises combine to make a product that we struggle to recommend for anyone. But in case you're the type of merchant that must have perfect QuickBooks integration, and you don't mind paying extra to get it, here's the pricing details under both options...
Debit pricing varies and is undisclosed.
AMEX pricing varies and is undisclosed.
Debit pricing varies and is undisclosed.
AMEX pricing varies and is undisclosed.
Note: This pricing is only available if you don't already own QuickBooks or GoPayment when you sign up. This option is also called the "Pay As You Go" Plan. It's important to note that Intuit WANTS you to own the QuickBook accounting software, and this merchant service option provides a way for you to tie into that product. We have no qualms about the accounting software. We believe that you get what you pay for in most cases, and Intuit offers superior accounting software. Just be aware that tying into that software if you don't already own it might cause some trouble for you down the road if you decide to terminate the merchant services.
Debit pricing varies and is undisclosed.
AMEX Pricing varies and is undisclosed.
Debit pricing varies and is undisclosed.
AMEX Pricing varies and is undisclosed
The devil is in the details when it comes to credit card processing companies, so it pays to read the contracts closely. Here's what we found in terms of fees and freebies:
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None**|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$100/annually or $9.95/month|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Statement Fee||$19.95 (or $0 w/ Basic Plan|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||None|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||0.4-0.5% per transaction|
|Voice Authorization Fee||$1.75|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||None|
|Daily Batch Fee||$0.20|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||$0.50 per transaction|
|ACH Charge Fee||$5.00|
|ACH Return Fee||$15.00|
|Mobile Swiper & Mobile App|
* None, unless the merchant accepts a free copy of the QuickBook accounting software in exchange for setting up a merchants services account. Termination may result in outright purchase of software.
** None, if you already own QuickBooks software. If you decide to acquire that product, that cost may be your setup fee.
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.
Quickbooks Payments gives you one free GoPayment Swiper per account, which is a pretty decent product. It's not as sexy as Square, or some other competitors' equipment, but it functions well and fully integrates with Quickbooks. It's compatible with iPad, iPhone and Android devices. Because its just a mobile swiper, you can buy one yourself for only $50, so in that sense the free equipment isn't as big of a deal as when you get a traditional terminal.
We like the fact that they do provide one piece of free equipment because, for most small or mid-sized businesses, one terminal or swiper is all that's needed. We don't like, however, that they force you to select the mobile swiper, whereas many companies give you a choice of a traditional terminal or mobile swiper. Mobile swipers provide a lot of flexibility, but they're slow, especially if your wireless connection is spotty. So by not giving you a choice, effectively they make their company a worse option for business owners that conduct even a medium volume of transactions.
In theory, Quickbooks Payments can handle payments from, and for merchants globally. The reality, however, is that they charge a hefty surcharge for any transaction that occurs outside the U.S. So if you're going to be international or have international customers, you might want to look elsewhere.
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.
Quickbooks Payments gets it right on this point, especially if the merchant already owns a copy of the QuickBooks accounting software. The contract is month-to-month, and there is no termination fee.
You might note, however, that if your contract ends due to your misconduct or if you decide to terminate and you own a free copy of the accounting software, Intuit reserves the right to charge you a $500 fee or more, including market costs of the software on the date you terminate. Another wrinkle in this fabric is that they require you to fax in or snail mail your contract termination. This could be yet another "gotcha" tactic that slows down the cancellation process and provides less of a viable trail that you can follow.
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: QuickBooks Payments is a direct processor, which is normally good because direct processing means there's no middle man who includes his or her own markup. But we sense that they use their tie-in with QuickBooks accounting software (which is so darn good) to lull people into a false sense of good pricing that isn't really there.
Account Sales: Account sales are marketed online, through direct mail and email, and through the QuickBooks accounting software and website. Most individuals who use QuickBooks and who are business owners know that Intuit offers a merchant services package that integrates with their accounting software. Intuit also manages a reseller program, which means that other sales organizations can market and sell the services. This addition of a third-party could inflate pricing or may cause changes to the contract's terms and conditions. Our suggestion is to deal straight with Intuit if you want to use their merchant services.
Account Service: Although customers have to dial through a lengthy phone tree process to acquire help, that help is usually...helpful...as long as the customer needs simple advice. As we note below under "complaints," this large company has quite a few complaints, but most of them are user-oriented. It takes some training to use the accounting software, and the integration of the merchant services option also requires some training, especially if the merchant doesn't own QuickBooks software and must use the online service center for card purchases conducted online without a swiper. That training often is available locally, and plenty of online materials exist to help in that process, too. The issue that we'll continue to harp on is the $1.75 per call for service. That cost can add up if you're not accustomed to this company's products.
QuickBooks claims to offer prompt 24/7 customer support. This is a great service if you have a business that operates outside of the traditional 9-5 week day time frame.
Company Structure Bottom Line:
A learning curve is involved, as this product is not intuitive - especially for individuals who do not own the QuickBooks software.
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.
1/20/2015; TIME: 5:03 pm CST
Call to Customer Support
Call was answered by automated system and we were funneled into a long phone tree (which we abhor). After poking "0" unsuccessfully, we mustered the patience to survive a brutal 2:30 minutes of navigating the phone tree to find help. Once there, we were quickly connected to a live customer service rep who was based in the U.S. The agent was friendly, spoke English as a first language, and seemed capable and ready to help with my technical issue.
We scour the web to find past / current customers' comments / complaints about merchant services processors. Then, we investigate those complaints that seem legit, and give our verdict on how well the credit card processor handled the issue(s). For QuickBooks Payments, there were an above average number of overall complaints about the credit card processing service, and they tended to be focused on the following three issues:
QuickBooks Payments seems to have a reputation among customers who have complained online as the worst in the industry. Add to that the fact that you may be getting charged $1.75 every time you call Customer Service by QuickBooks Payments, and that adds up to possibly the worse customer service experience we can imagine.
Customer Service isn't that hard for either the customer or the company. For the company: Answer the phone promptly, be polite, and try to help decent customers out, while politely getting the crazies off the phone. The fact that there are dozens of online reviews of people who are pulling their hair out because they can't get any decent help is inexcusable. We suspect it's because Intuit is a very large company, and as a result there may be less attention to detail. For the customer: Make sure you know the software before you call. Often, your issue may be user oriented. We know you may not want to hear that news, but it appears that most of the complaints are on this very issue.
An inordinate number of people complained about having their funds frozen and, in some cases, never being able to recover them.
We have no reason to doubt the authenticity of these complaints, but the fact that a huge company like QuickBooks Payments is doing this is baffling. Perhaps they're so big and so corporate that they've got extra internal rules and regulations. The thing that bothers us most is that business owners who complained struggled to get a clear explanation of what was going on. They also complained about finding an employee at Intuit who would take point charge on trying to recover the funds. Not getting your money on a big transaction is the sort of thing that can put a company out of business or cause it to miss payroll, so needless to say these complaints are disconcerting.
There are a few bad reviews across the web about merchants having problems cancelling their account with QuickBooks.
As with many merchant account companies, cancelling your account is more difficult than necessary. In this case, QuickBooks Payments seems to require that you fax or snail mail in your cancellation notice, which, is the sort of "gotcha" tactics that we, along with most customers, dislike immensely.
QuickBooks Payments markets its services as a simple solution for any small business. In our opinion, however, they're not a good choice for most merchants because of the learning curve, the tepid customer service, and the fees. Other processors are more friendly to small businesses.
|PCI Compliance Fee||$9.95|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
DISCLOSURE: Advertising, Affiliate and Conflicts of Interest: Merchant Negotiators accepts advertising via the Google Adsense platform, directly from advertisers, and has common parent ownership interests with other payments related companies leading to conflicts of interest. Read our Affiliate / Conflicts / Advertising Disclosure for a more detailed disclosure.
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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