New Payment Service:

Getting paid online is a delicate balance of convenience vs. cost. Some of the services are used simply because they’ve been around the longest. Like PayPal. But new ones seem to pop up every other day. For the most part, they’re worth signing up for to see how things work.

The newest is from Square. They have a nice link-shortening gimmick called “cashtags.” The idea is to create a username starting with a dollar sign ($) which then becomes your unique URL. They also provide phone apps for both iOS and Android.

Since this is new service, I wondered if all the good short names were taken. They weren’t. I was able to get$writer. I think that’s pretty cool.

There’s a choice between personal and business accounts. The personal accounts have no fees, but are limited in the transfer amounts.1 The buinsess account charges 1.5% per transaction with no transfer limits.2 This is quite a bit cheaper than the other options.

I have existing accounts with PayPal, Stripe, and Square. The fees as I write this are:

Service Rate Notes
PayPal Invoice 2.9% + 30¢ 2.2% + 30¢ for high volume
PayPal Here 2.7% 3.5% + 15¢ for keyed entries
Stripe 2.9% + 30¢ No standalone service
Square 2.75% 3.5% + 15¢ for keyed entries 1.5% Debit only, online only

Over all, they are all competitive. But the devil is in the details. Right now I don’t think there’s one that’s best in all cases.

Stripe is more of a back-end service. It’s at its best when integrated into another site. That might be a sales page or an online invoicing service.

PayPal is the granddaddy of the them all. It has a history of closing accounts at random and overall opaque3 customer service. It also has the best international support.

Square is the upstart new kid. It started as an app with a card reader, but has grown into a full merchant services provider. Square’s focus seems to be on retail, and I don’t like the invoices it sends. They’re too cutesy for a service invoice. only works for debit-to-debit card transactions. That’s the trade off for the low (or no) fee. For B2B transactions it will be hit-or-miss, depending on if a debit payment source is available.

For now, I’ll be pushing as my first payment option just because of the low fee.

  1. Personal accounts allow transfering up to $250/day with no more than $1000 in a rolling seven day window.
  2. Buiness accounts require basic ID verifcation using date-of-birth and SSN.
  3. Non-existant.