PayAnywhere was established in 2010 by credit card processing company North American Bancard. NAB is based out Troy, Michigan and has been around since the early 90s. PayAnywhere is NAB’s entry into the booming mobile payments market. My mission with this review is to figure out how well they did. I spent a ton of time reading through iTunes and Android app reviews. I also downloaded, signed up, and tested the app myself. Although it’s a good app that’s very easy to use, there were some issues that prevented me from giving them a higher score. Keep reading to learn more.
Fees and Rates:
Here are the fees and rates that are advertised on the PayAnywhere website:
- 2.69% for all swiped transactions.
- 3.49% + $0.19 for all keyed in transactions.
- No monthly fee.
- No setup fee.
- No cancellation fee.
After doing some digging, I uncovered the following fees as well:
- Chargeback fee – $25 every time someone charges back a transaction.
- NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds) fee – $25 whenever PayAnywhere tries to debit your account but you don’t have the funds.
- Retrieval fee – $15 every time your customer or your customer’s issuing bank requests a copy of a sales receipt for any given transaction.
The chargeback, NSF, and retrieval fees are not clearly visible on the PayAnywhere site. I had to search around to find them.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
PayAnywhere gets an average rating in this department. The fact that they don’t clearly advertise the chargeback, NSF, and retrieval fees is what hurt them the most. Besides that, everything looks good. They don’t charge a cancellation fee and they allow you to try the app before you sign up for an account…no pushy sales pitches. This is how business should be done.
Customer Service and Support:
PayAnywhere offers 24/7 phone support which is more than I can say for Square. However, judging from the negative reviews (see “Negative Reviews and Complaints”), the quality of that support is debatable. I called them myself to see how the phone support was, and I wasn’t impressed either. I was put on hold for over 15 minutes before I was finally able to chat with someone on the phone. Their live chat service isn’t something to brag about either. After waiting for an operator for 45 minutes, I finally gave up and cancelled the session. I figured this was a one-off situation so I tried the same thing the next day and was placed in their queue for another 30 minutes. Not exactly speedy service if you ask me.
In addition to phone support they also offer:
- Email Support - If you’re not having any luck via phone or live chat, try emailing them. I emailed them in regards to the chargeback, NSF, and retrieval fees. It took them about 24hrs to respond with an email stating that, “The information that you requested is not available through email…” Rather, they suggested that I call in. Really? It’s such a simple question.
- Knowledgebase - There’s a help center listed on the PayAnywhere website which you can also access through the mobile app.
- Youtube Videos - They have a bunch of Youtube tutorials that can come in handy if you need a visual aid.
- Social Media - PayAnywhere is active both on Twitter and Facebook, so you can reach out to them on those channels if you like. It would be nice if they had an account dedicated solely to customer support related tweets.
Between the help center and the Youtube videos you should be able to find answers to most of your basic questions. If I was you I’d try and find a solution via those channels before giving them a call or starting a live chat session. There’s no telling how long you’ll have to wait before you get an answer.
Ease of Use:
The PayAnywhere user interface is pretty intuitive, and easy to use. I really like that they give you the ability to test drive the app before you signup for an account.
Though the setup process was a bit more time consuming than the other mobile processors that I’ve tested. I applied for an account through the mobile app on my iPhone, which felt more like signing up for a traditional merchant account than it did a mobile payments app. During the process it even said something like “you’ll need to sign up for a merchant account first.”
Upon approval, I logged in and went through a brief setup process. I definitely liked that it walked me through everything step-by-step. After answering a few questions and adjusting a few settings, I was ready to go.
There’s a nice “Help” link located at the top of the app where you can find answers to most questions. Considering the slow response times via phone, live chat, and email, you might want to get familiar with that section.
I like that you can lock the app itself, so even if you don’t have a lock on your phone, the PayAnywhere app will have it’s own security wall. Some people might find that annoying, but I personally consider it a big-plus over the other mobile payments apps.
The card reader itself fits pretty well. Unlike the Square reader it actually attaches snug against your phone without moving around too much. It’s not as tight as the PayPal Here or GoPayment readers but it does the job.
Compatible Hardware and Software:
PayAnywhere supports most iOS (3G or newer), Android, and BlackBerry devices. For a full list go here.
You can get the card reader at a few major retail locations, or PayAnywhere can send you one when you sign up.
If you want to turn PayAnywhere into a full-blown POS system, then you’ll need an iPad, an AirPrint-enabled Star thermal printer and cash drawer to do so.
The PayAnywhere feature set is pretty similar to the other mobile payments apps that I’ve reviewed:
- Email Receipts
- Virtual Terminal
- Auto Tax Calculation
- eSignature Capture
- Inventory Management
There isn’t anything that really stands out.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
PayAnywhere integrates with QuickBooks so you can sync all of your financial data with QB if necessary.
PayAnywhere doesn’t really mention their security protocol in detail. They just say that they offer “end-to-end-encryption” and are PCI compliant, but what does that really mean? There is no breakdown of how the data is secured. I’m assuming the card reader itself encrypts the credit card data, but then what happens? Does the cc info travel over a secured network (SSL). Is the cardholder data stored on PayAnywhere’s servers? If so is it tokenized? Square has a page dedicated to explaining their security features, PayAnywhere doesn’t.
The good thing about the PayAnywhere app is that it has a built-in security lock so that even if you don’t have a lock on your phone, the app itself will need a login code in order to be used. Although it may be a bit inconvenient for some, I think it’s a smart feature.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
I read quite a few complaints about PayAnywhere over the course of this review. I pulled data from several different sources including iTunes and Amazon reviews. Based on that research I was able to dig up a couple of major complaints about PayAnywhere:
- Withheld funds, freezing of accounts, and termination of accounts - PayAnywhere seems to be pretty trigger happy when it comes to suspicion of fraud. There were a bunch of complaints from unhappy business owners claiming that their funds took too long to reach their bank account, and an equal number of complaints about frozen or terminated accounts. This is definitely something to be wary of, especially if you think that your business falls into the high-risk category. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the your e-cigarettes business won’t have any problems with using PayAnywhere. You can also learn how to avoid holds, freezes, and terminations here.
- Poor customer service – Another common complaint was in regards to PayAnywhere’s customer service, more specifically, their phone support. There were too many complaints for me to ignore this one. I personally didn’t have the greatest experience with their support either. Although their phone support was good, I had to for over an hour to speak to a live chat representative.
A less frequent complaint was:
- Hidden fees – If you read the “Fees and Rates” section above you’ll know why there were a few complaints about this.
- Annoying banner ad at top of customer receipts – If you’ve looked at customer receipts you’ll know that PayAnywhere likes to advertise themselves right at the top. Really guys? They’re my customers, not yours.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Here are the most common positive reviews that I read about PayAnywhere:
- Easy to use – There were plenty of comments about this one.
- Nice features – A lot of people like the inventory itemization feature.
That’s about it. There wasn’t anything else that really blew people away about PayAnywhere. It’s a good mobile payment option with good features…end of story.
PayAnywhere seems like another “me-too” mobile payments app. I can’t say that it’s the best solution out there, and I can’t say that it’s the worst. The app itself has all the features and simplicity of use that you’d expect from other mobile apps. In a nutshell, it gets the job done.
What worries me are the issues with customer service and withholding of funds. Much like every other new mobile payments vendor, PayAnywhere likes to withhold funds if they deem necessary. It’s understandable since fraud is more of a concern with mobile payments, but it’s still something to worry about if you’re a business that relies on those funds.
The customer service issue though is less acceptable. My suggestion, look elsewhere for your mobile payments needs.