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Paya is a merchant service provider, formerly known as Sage Payment Solutions. It offers a cloud-based platform that allows you to accept payments online through your e-commerce store, in-person with a credit card terminal and with a mobile app. While it comes with customizability and a quick onboarding process, its pricing lacks transparency.
Accepted payment methods
Credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, checks and electronic invoices.
Quick, within minutes.
How does Paya work?
Paya breaks down its payment products into three different components: Paya Accept, Paya Connect and Paya Enable. Here are the basics:
Paya Accept refers to the platform's features that allow you to accept payments. The platform allows you to accept multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, checks and electronic invoices.
With Paya Connect and the platform's payment gateway, you can access the virtual terminal to take payments, create payment pages for your website and securely integrate with e-commerce platforms like Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify. You can also use the Paya APIs to connect to enterprise resource planning, accounting (including Sage and QuickBooks) and customer relationship management software.
Paya Enable includes chargeback management, data tools and real-time reporting. With the reporting tools, you can access authorizations and transaction history, as well as summary reporting to gain insight from your business’s payment data.
The company offers dedicated customer support 24/7/365. You also have the option to email a ticket to Paya customer support or search its knowledge base for answers to your questions.
How much does Paya cost?
Paya is quote-based and doesn't provide any pricing information on its main website, although it does break down the interchange rates for various credit card networks without specifying how it charges transaction fees overall.
Paya also charges fees, including:
An annual compliance fee of $99.80, as well as an annual PCI-DSS fee of $75.
A PCI non-compliance fee if you do not complete the PCI certification process. The amount of this fee is undisclosed, and Paya continues to charge this fee monthly until you gain compliance.
An early termination fee if you cancel before your contract is up.
If you need to accept in-person payments, you’ll also have to pay for any hardware you require, such as a mobile card reader to pair with your virtual terminal.
Unlike many standard merchant applications, Paya's simplified approval process typically takes about 15 minutes, so you can start accepting payments without delay.
Paya's API suite offers the flexibility to customize your payment system, allowing you to edit and adapt different parts of the payment process to suit your business needs. You (or a developer) can use the APIs to customize specific payment features (EMV, recurring payments, ACH), e-commerce functions and software plugins, as well as gift card and loyalty features. All of the API tools offer integrated tokenization and are PA-DSS certified.
Lack of transparency
Paya's biggest downside is its overall lack of transparency. It provides minimal information on its website about its services, making it difficult not only to understand exactly what it offers, but also to compare its product to others on the market. The platform also doesn’t provide any pricing information online, and much of its website is unclear and difficult to navigate.
Limited POS payment options
Paya is limited in terms of its capabilities for point-of-sale and in-person payments. It allows you to accept in-person payments using EMV terminal devices, as well as its virtual terminal. But for brick-and-mortar retail stores or restaurants, these solutions more than likely won't be sufficient.
Alternatives to Paya
As a leader in the payment space, Square offers a variety of different solutions, along with flat-rate transparent pricing and the opportunity to integrate with hundreds of third-party tools.
Unlike Paya, Square is a payment service provider, meaning it doesn't provide dedicated merchant accounts. Instead, it aggregates all merchant funds into one account and then distributes them to the respective business bank accounts. It also offers flat-rate pricing and free POS software.
If your business needs a dedicated merchant account, you might consider a more traditional merchant service provider like Payment Depot.
The biggest difference between Paya and Payment Depot is pricing. Where Paya requires you to work with its sales team and provides no pricing information online, Payment Depot is extremely transparent about its costs, offering plans ranging from $79 to $199 per month. All of its plans include a payment gateway, low processing fees and free reprogramming of any existing equipment you have.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.