Payline Data Review 2021: Features, Cost, Alternatives

Interested in Payline Data? We cover the payment processor's features, pricing model, pros/cons and alternatives.

Matthew SpeiserJul 29, 2020
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Payline Data is a Chicago-based payment processor that can accept most credit and debit card payments as well as e-checks and ACH transfers. Through Payline, business owners can get their merchant account, payment gateway, credit card and virtual terminals and more. Plus, Payline features affordable and transparent pricing.

Payline Data is a great option for small-business owners looking for affordable payment processing that is also easy to use. Given everything that Payline Data provides and its sterling reviews, it's a solid option for the payment processor for your small business.

How it works

Payline Data is a front-end processor, meaning it connects your business to credit card networks and provides authorization and settlement services with your merchant account. Back-end processing with Payline Data is done through Worldpay, one of the largest and most reputable back-end payment processors in the world. Payline Data is owned by Pineapple Payments, a Pittsburgh-based payment processing company.

Signing up with Payline Data means you are authorizing them to process your credit card, debit card, ACH and e-check payments and deliver the funds to your business bank account. Depending on the nature of your business and the sales channels you utilize, Payline Data offers a variety of methods to make sure you are able to accept every method with which your customers want to pay. On its website, Payline Data promotes solutions for in-store, online and mobile payments, as well as payment solutions for high-risk merchants, enterprise businesses and medical services.

Capabilities

One of the best reasons to go with Payline Data as your payment processor is the range of solutions it can provide. Here’s everything you can choose from to get the payment solution that fits your business’s needs:

Merchant accounts

No matter what type of business you operate, you need a merchant account to accept card payments. Through Worldpay, Payline Data provides businesses with a dedicated merchant account complete with its own merchant ID number. This type of merchant account is more stable than the merchant accounts provided by services like PayPal and Square, because you do not have to share your account with other businesses. You can expect funds from your merchant account to be deposited into your business bank account within 1-2 business days.

Payline Data also provides what are known as “high-risk merchant accounts” for non-traditional businesses selling riskier products. For high-risk merchant accounts, Payline Data promises a simple application process and a solution through one of Payline’s 20 different banking partners. Payline Data also provides a chargeback prevention platform to help your business battle chargebacks and win more revenue. Note that with a high-risk merchant account you will likely have to accept higher monthly and per-transaction fees.

One other cool service Payline Data offers is merchant accounts for nonprofit organizations. Those that qualify will receive Payline Data’s lowest payment processing rates.

Payment gateways

If you’re an e-commerce merchant, you’ll need a payment gateway in order to accept payments online. Payline Data provides an in-house solution that integrates with over 175 different e-commerce platforms and shopping carts. You can use it to accept credit, debit and electronic payments, process invoices and arrange recurring payments. You can also use the Payline Gateway to manage multiple merchant accounts, save customer payment information, process large batches of transactions at once (5,000 transactions in as little as 90 minutes) and manage inventory. Users of Payline Data’s payment gateway will not face an additional per-transaction charge on top of what they are already paying.

Virtual terminal

Payline Data’s virtual terminal allows you to process “card not present” transactions by manually entering them into your internet-enabled device. Having a virtual terminal allows you to accept additional forms of payment, such as payment over the phone and email invoices. To use the Payline Data virtual terminal, you will have to pay an additional monthly fee and a higher per-transaction fee.

Credit card terminals

Payline Data sells a variety of credit card terminals, all of which can accept most major credit cards. There are two credit card terminals in particular that Payline recommends. One is for mobile payments, while the other is for in-store payments.

  • Clover Go: This is a portable card reader that can accept magstripe, chip card and contactless forms of payment, including Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. The card reader syncs via Bluetooth with your smart device, allowing you to send text or email receipts, as well as provide suggested tip amounts. To use the Clover Go you’ll have to pay a one-time fee of $125 plus $11 per month.

  • Ingenico iCT220: This is a countertop device that can also accept magstripe, chip card and contactless forms of payment. The card reader also comes with enhanced security features and the ability to print paper receipts.

Payment API

Although Payline Data already integrates with a variety of different e-commerce platforms and POS systems, it also offers an API that allows developers to integrate Payline’s payments system into a variety of additional software.

Business loans

On top of payment processing, Payline Data can hook you up with financing for your business via a partnership with a loan broker. Payline allows you to fill out an application on its site and be connected with over 75 different lending partners. You can view your loan options via your Payline account and receive funding in as little as 24 hours. Loan products you can acquire via Payline include term loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, merchant cash advances and more.

Security

Along with the aforementioned chargeback protection feature, Payline Data utilizes some additional security measures at checkout that aim to limit your liability. All customers must provide a CVV — the three or four-digit code on the back of a card — at checkout. In addition, card-not-present customers must verify their address. Payline also provides a built-in rules-based fraud solution that evaluates your payment history and configures filters to help differentiate between legitimate and suspicious transactions.

Customer service

Payline Data provides customer support via phone during normal business hours Monday through Friday. There is also an email address you can use for less urgent matters and a dedicated Support Center on the Payline website featuring a variety of guides and tutorials on how to use Payline’s products.

Price

Arguably the best part of Payline Data is the pricing — not just that it’s affordable, but that it is completely transparent. The easiest way to use Payline Data is with one of the two pricing plans. Each plan features a combination of interchange-plus pricing on credit card payments plus a small monthly fee.

Payline Start

This plan is designed for brick-and-mortar retail merchants. The per-transaction fee you’ll pay is the interchange price plus 0.2% plus ten cents, where the interchange price is determined by the credit card network (it typically ranges between 1%-3% depending on the type of transaction). For payments using the virtual terminal, you will pay the interchange price plus 0.3% plus 20 cents per transaction.

There is also a monthly fee of $10, and a $25 monthly minimum on per-transaction fees. With this plan you get free PCI compliance and the ability to process mobile payments. Note that you have to buy your credit card terminal separately, and there is a chargeback fee of $25.

Payline Connect

This plan is designed for e-commerce merchants. The per-transaction fee you’ll pay for all online and virtual terminal payments is the interchange price plus 0.3% plus 20 cents. There is also a $20 monthly fee you must pay and a $25 monthly minimum on transaction fees. Again, you’ll pay a $25 fee on chargebacks. This plan comes with a Payline Gateway at no additional charge, plus free PCI compliance.

The best thing about both of these plans is that you can use them month to month and cancel at any time for no additional fee. This kind of flexibility is fairly uncommon in the world of payment processing. Payline also offers lower-cost pricing plans for enterprise businesses, nonprofits and medical services.

On its website, Payline offers a calculator that can estimate your total monthly cost for using Payline Data as your payment processor based on your customers’ payment method and your transaction volume and amount. For example, a merchant who processes 1,000 in-person transactions per month at an average of $25 can expect to pay $36.50 in transaction fees.

Pros

Price

Not only are Payline Data’s prices affordable, but they are clear. Oftentimes business owners complain about their payment processor hitting them with hidden fees. That isn’t the case with Payline, as what you pay is explicitly stated on the website. If an issue ever arises with your service, you can drop Payline at no cost whatsoever. That kind of flexibility is ideal for small businesses.

Dedicated merchant accounts

The underwriting process you’ll face to get a Payline merchant account is more involved than if you were to go through an aggregator like Square or PayPal. However, for your trouble, you’ll get an overall better service, as dedicated merchant accounts are much less likely to experience account holds or terminations. Having a dedicated merchant account guarantees more stability for your business.

Cons

There isn’t a lot to dislike about Payline Data. The service has shockingly high marks across all the major review websites, and all customer complaints filed against Payline Data on Better Business Bureau have been resolved. The two recommendations for small businesses are to be careful when picking a high-risk merchant account with Payline Data, as high-risk accounts tend to come with unfavorable terms for businesses. It would also be nice if merchants could acquire point-of-sale software or hardware through Payline, as this would make them a one-stop shop for merchant services.

These are minor things and shouldn’t really make or break your decision on whether or not to go with Payline Data.

Reviews

Payline receives very high marks on all the major review websites.

  • G2 Crowd: 5 stars out of 5.

  • TrustRadius: 10 stars out of 10.

  • Capterra: 5 stars out of 5.

  • Better Business Bureau: A+.

In positive reviews, users rave about Payline’s price, ease of use and customer service. There are no negative reviews to note.

Alternatives

Square

As a payment processor, Square’s rates are probably a bit higher than what you’d get with Payline Data (in-person payments are 2.75% per transaction). However, Square does not charge a monthly fee, and also provides a full range of POS hardware and software, which is really the only missing piece from Payline Data. If you want to have all your commerce needs with one vendor, Square is a good way to go.

Square
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on Square's website

PayPal

PayPal is one of the largest payment processors in the world, and it offers per-transaction fees that are slightly lower than Square’s (2.7% on in-person payments). Like Payline, it has solutions for brick-and-mortar and e-commerce merchants, plus features like mobile payments, invoicing and ACH transfers. PayPal also offers some nifty small-business features outside of traditional processing, including financing options, shipping services and a debit card. Like Payline, PayPal can also integrate with most POS systems — all of which makes it a fairly comparable option, albeit at a slightly higher price.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.