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Braintree's focus on e-commerce payments makes it a poor option for traditional brick-and-mortar retail operations. Still, businesses that accept online payments will appreciate the company's transparent pricing and range of payment options.
What is Braintree?
Braintree is a merchant services provider that offers payment processing services for mobile apps and websites and is connected to some well-known names in mobile payments: PayPal and Venmo. Founded in 2007, Braintree acquired Venmo in 2012 and was purchased by PayPal the following year.
Online payment processing
This is Braintree's bread and butter. Braintree Direct allows businesses to accept payments online and through their mobile app.
Businesses can accept the following payment methods with Braintree:
Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club.
Debit cards: Visa, Mastercard and Maestro (some markets).
Digital wallets: Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
Venmo (available only in the United States).
While Braintree focuses on e-commerce, the service does support in-person payments using PayPal Here card readers. Business owners who accept PayPal payments can order a PayPal Here reader for $24.99. Transactions are subject to PayPal Here pricing. There's no additional fee from Braintree.
Credit card processing
ACH payment processing
Recurring billing and subscriptions
Braintree charges a flat rate depending on the payment type, with different rates for credit cards and digital wallets versus payments processed by check, PayPal or Venmo. In addition, select businesses may qualify for discounted rates or interchange-plus pricing.
Cards and digital wallets: 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction for most. However, purchases using an American Express card are charged 3.5% with no additional fixed fee.
Additional fees apply for credit cards issued outside of the United States and for transactions in a foreign currency. Custom flat rates and interchange-plus pricing are available for businesses that process more than $80,000 per month.
Chargebacks are $15 each.
Venmo: 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction. Custom flat pricing is available for certain businesses.
ACH: 0.75% per transaction, maximum fee of $5. Discounted rates are available for enterprise businesses.
PayPal and PayPal credit: Rates are determined by the terms of your PayPal account.
There are no fees for payment card industry compliance or early cancellation, and most customers have no additional monthly fees, with one exception: businesses that use Braintree solely as a payment gateway. Those businesses pay $49 per month and 10 cents per transaction, along with any fees charged by their merchant account provider.
Transparent, competitive pricing
Braintree's rates are refreshingly straightforward when compared with other merchant service providers. The company charges a flat rate for most businesses and publishes those prices on its website. And Braintree's rates are competitive considering the company doesn't lump additional monthly fees on top of its per-transaction rate (more on that below). However, brick-and-mortar shops simply looking for a gateway will likely find better deals.
No contract, minimal fees
Braintree customers sign up on a month-to-month basis, so there's no lengthy contract or pricey early termination fees. There are few fees to speak of beyond the flat-rate, per-transaction fee for payments processed. Braintree doesn't charge additional monthly fees, PCI compliance fees or minimum transaction fees.
The only fees customers can expect are a chargeback fee of $15 per incident and a 1% fee for converting transactions paid in foreign currency to U.S. dollars.
Braintree has a rating of just 1.2 stars on TrustPilot, a consumer review website, primarily due to poor reviews related to customer service. Complaints claim support service is unresponsive, with many waiting several weeks for issues to be resolved. In addition, Braintree offers customer support only by email, with no telephone option except to reach its sales team.
Not suited for brick-and-mortar retail
While Braintree offers the option to take in-person payments with a PayPal Here reader, the service is not set up to support traditional brick-and-mortar operations. As a result, retail stores, restaurants and other businesses that primarily accept in-person payments should explore other options.
Square and Braintree offer many of the same benefits: transparent pricing, no monthly fees or PCI compliance fees, and no long-term contracts. However, Square offers payment processing solutions for brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants (Braintree caters to e-commerce businesses).
Other benefits include:
Competitive transaction rates.
No processing fees on customer refunds.
Free point-of-sale software and mobile card reader.
Dharma Merchant Services is another top option for e-commerce businesses, with transparent rates and low transaction fees for online payments. But it does charge a monthly software fee ($25) and an account closure fee ($49). Dharma uses an interchange-plus pricing model and offers reduced rates for businesses processing over $100,000 per month.
Other benefits include:
Compatible with a variety of point-of-sale systems.
No PCI compliance fees.
No minimum transaction fees.