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PayPal Here Review

  • 15 comments
  • Updated on:
  • Review by: Tom DeSimone

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Date Established
1998
Location
San Jose, CA

Overview:

NOTE: PayPal Here is not currently available for Canadian merchants, although a small pilot program was launched in Canada. We’ve received a lot of inquires about this, and will post an update if we hear about any upcoming changes from PayPal.

If you’ve used eBay, chances are you’ve used PayPal. And if you haven’t used eBay – you probably don’t own a computer.

Seriously though, PayPal has 110 million active accounts. Need a point of comparison? There are only about 230 million adults in the entire United States. Needless to say, they’ve made a name for themselves in the processing industry. We already reviewed PayPal as a merchant service provider (4 stars), so a lot of that information also pertains to their PayPal Here mobile processing service.

PayPal Here (PPH) launched in 2012, after services like Square and PayAnywhere demonstrated that pay-as-you-go, standalone mobile payment processing accounts were in high demand. With brand recognition as big as PayPal, they had their work cut out them.

While you’ll need a PayPal Business or Premier account to use PPH, the upgrade from a personal account comes free of charge and will occur automatically as part of the sign up process. After that, you just download the app and then, presto – you can start processing. They’ll mail your free card reader to you, or you can pick one up at participating stores (including Staples) for $15, and PayPal will reimburse you for the purchase. It couldn’t be any easier, and the whole thing comes with no strings attached. You won’t have to return the card reader if you decide to cancel, nor will you have to pay any cancellation fees.

Bottom line, I’d definitely recommend PayPal Here over Square. Heck, I’d also recommend it over PayAnywhere. PPH has better features, comparable pricing, and I believe it offers an overall superior experience when compared to any of the standalone mobile processing providers we’d reviewed on Merchant Maverick to date. I love the almost instantaneous funding to my PayPal account alongside the PayPal debit card for quick access to the cash. The card reader has a very usable, stable design, which is more than we can say about the boxy Square swiper. Being able to use image capture to deposit checks as well as for automatic “keyed-entry” card payments also makes life easier.

A lot of people out there have had bad experience with PayPal (as you might expect, with 110,000,000 active accounts), but I honestly believe they offer good quality service overall, and especially as a standalone mobile payment processor. I’m not sure I’d be ready to take the leap and have PayPal Here as my only way to accept payment, especially for higher volume businesses – but then again, you don’t have to. It costs you nothing to keep PPH as an option on top of a traditional merchant account. Or, if you’re feeling brave, take the leap and use it as your sole processing option. For merchants who process low or sporadic volumes, it could save you a ton of money in fees (no statement fee, no monthly minimum, no PCI fee, no annual fee, no rate increases…). You do the math.

I’m completely comfortable giving PayPal Here 4 stars for now, and I hope that they continue to improve.

Check out the full review for more information, and please leave a comment with your thoughts or experiences!

Products and Services:

PayPal Here offers all of the basic features you’d expect, plus some nice surprises:

  • Mobile credit and debit processing
  • Free mobile app
  • Free audio jack swiper: Need it right away? Buy one at a local store for $15 and PayPal will reimburse you. Otherwise they’ll mail you one for free.
  • Card processing with phone camera
  • Check processing with phone camera
  • Manage multiple users under one account
  • Mobile POS: Offered via PayPal’s mPOS software.
  • Same-day funding: Funds go to your PayPal account almost immediately. Sign up for a PayPal merchant debit card and get access to the cash right away.

Compatible Hardware:

Here’s some information taken directly from PayPal Here’s FAQ:

Apple iOS

PayPal Here is supported on most Apple mobile devices running iOS version 5.0 and above.
The following devices are compatible and supported:

  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPod Touch
  • iPad (all models)
  • iPad mini

Android

In order to run PayPal Here, an Android device must include the following specifications:

  • Android version 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) or higher
  • 3.5 mm headset jack with microphone
  • Support for Location Services
  • Access to the internet (via WiFi or cellular data network)

PayPal Here is not compatible with all Android devices. Please download the app on your phone to determine if your device is compatible. At this time, PayPal Here is not supported on Android tablets.

Fees and Rates:

To use PayPal Here, you’ll need a PayPal Business or Premier account. Entry level business accounts have no monthly fees. If you need website integration and other features, see this page.

All fees and rates are plainly disclosed in PayPal’s advertisements, except for their $25 chargeback fee.

  • Swiped Transactions – 2.7%
  • Keyed Transactions and Scanned Transactions – 3.5% + $0.15
  • PayPal Transactions – 2.7%
  • Check Capture – No Fee
  • Cross-Border Transactions, Swiped and PayPal – 3.7%
  • Cross-Border Transactions, Keyed and Scanned – 4.5% + $.15

You’ll also be responsible for a $25 chargeback fee if one occurs. Learn how to prevent chargebacks here.

You won’t see any:

  • Monthly/annual fees
  • PCI compliance fees
  • Set up fees
  • Equipment fees

…or any other fees not mentioned above. There really are no hidden fees with PPH.

You should also be aware of their processing limits for keyed-in/scanned payments:

If you process more than $2500 in Keyed Transactions and/or Scanned Transactions in any rolling 7 Day period, PayPal may delay the availability of funds in excess of $2500 for a 30 Day period. After 30 Days these reserved amounts will be available to you.

So you can continue to process over this limit, but you’ll probably have to wait for a while to have access to those funds. If you swipe, however, you should be okay.

For a comprehensive list of all PayPal fees, both for mobile processing at everything else, check out this useful page.

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

You are completely free to close your PayPal Here account at any time, or to simply cease using the PPH app for processing and keep your PayPal account. You won’t find any early termination fees or stipulations in your merchant agreement. Considering the industry standard is a three-year agreement with a $400 early termination fee, I’m pretty satisfied with PayPal in this category.

Check out the full PPH user agreement here. You should also read the standard PayPal user agreement here, since you’ll have to agree to it in order to use their mobile service.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

As we said in our main PayPal review, their sales and advertising are very up front. All of their rates are listed in plain sight, so there’s no hidden agenda. Most of their business comes directly through their own website or via referrals. They don’t have the traditional sales team “pounding-the-pavement” and harassing potential customers. This is the way business should be done in my opinion. They’ve managed to solve a problem so well that they don’t need to shove it down your throat.

I couldn’t ask for anything more from PayPal Here advertising, except maybe more overt disclosure of the $25 chargeback fee. It would be nice to see their $2,500 weekly processing limit for scanned/keyed-in transactions disclosed more plainly as well. (No limit on swipes, however.)

Customer Service and Technical Support:

For PayPal Here, you’ll be using PayPal’s main support system. As we covered in our main PayPal merchant service review, PayPal has bunch of different customer service and support options including:

  • Quick Answers
  • Community Forum
  • Knowledgebase
  • Phone/Email - (Mon – Fri 4:00 AM – 10:00 PM PST. Sat/Sun 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM PST). Judging from the online chatter (see “Negative Reviews and Complaints”), PayPal’s phone support is very inconsistent. Sometimes you’ll get a rep that knows what they’re doing, other times you won’t. My advice is to avoid calling them if at all possible. Answers to most common problems can be found with just a little bit of searching. Between the knowledgebase, community forum, and quick answers sections, you should be able to find a solution.

They’re also very active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. They even have an AskPaypal Twitter account where they’ll field your service and support questions Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central Time.

The almost non-existent customer service offered by Square is one of the major complaints coming from their merchants, so I’m thrilled to see PayPal providing better service in this department.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Unfortunately, PayPal doesn’t have a separate BBB account for their PayPal Here processing, so we’re stuck wading through the 6,089 complaints filed in the last three years on PayPal’s main account (they’ve got an A+ rating though, if that means anything to you).

That’s an enormous number of complaints, no doubt about it. But when you actually start reading the complaints and PayPal’s responses, you’ll be impressed. PayPal responds to each concern in a very professional and complete manner, almost always giving refunds even when they don’t have any obligation to.

The one complaint that you should definitely take to heart is this:

  • Withheld funds, freezing of accounts, and termination of accounts:  PayPal seems to be pretty trigger happy when it comes to suspicion of fraud. They have a history of dealing with major fraud issues, so naturally they scrutinize accounts pretty closely. If you think that your business falls into the high-risk category, then you should know that it’s possible PayPal may withhold some of your funds or even freeze or shut your account down. It may be best to go with a high-risk processor like Durango Merchant Services instead. You can also learn how to avoid holds, freezes, and terminations here.

Still, they seem to do this less than Square does. I don’t know how comfortable I’d be having any of these standalone mobile processors as my sole means to accept cards, since they all are prone to freezes and withheld funds because of a greater risk of fraud.

Another concern:

  • Inconsistent phone-based customer service: Most merchants will rarely have to call in to PayPal’s customer service line, but those that have done so complain that the quality of service can be inconsistent. Some reps are obviously more knowledgeable than others. The good thing is that PayPal has a whole slew of other service and support options (knowledgebase, forum, email, etc.), so chances are you can find your answer without having to call in.

But again, Square doesn’t offer any phone-based support. So if you are comparing the two, PayPal definitely comes out on top.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

You can find a demo video with users saying nice things about the service. News outlets have also praised PayPal Here, including David Pogue’s NY Times tech blog.

From what I read, users find these features the most useful:

  • Quick funding and access to cash with PayPal debit card
  • Well-designed card reader
  • Free check processing capabilities
  • Ability to accept payments through PayPal accounts
  • No hidden fees

Final Verdict:

I recommend PayPal Here to anyone interested in standalone, pay as you go mobile processing. While it has some shortcomings when compared to traditional merchant account providers, PPH out-performs other mobile processor in my opinion, with better features, comparable pricing, and overall superior user experience. I love the quick funding to my PayPal account alongside the PayPal debit card for quick access to the cash. The card reader has a very usable, stable design, and being able to use image capture to deposit checks as well as for automatic “keyed-entry” card payments also makes life easier.

I’m completely comfortable giving PayPal Here a solid 4 stars rating making it our best mobile payment processing service to date! They still have to stand up to the test of time, though, and I’m eager to heat user experiences. Please leave a comment!

Tom DeSimone

Tom DeSimone

Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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15 Comments

    Levi Adair

    Beware of PayPal Here!!!!! First, they hold 100% of your funds above any amount of $2500.00 for up to 90 days. Second, they REFUSE to post my business account name or even my name on client’s billing statements. This has created a great amount of confusion as I have now had 2 clients file for fraudulent unauthorized charges. All they see is a charge from PayPal on their statement. I even had one client try to research who the merchant was that charged the total amount I charged them and were UNABLE to find my company info anywhere. At this point, I am fearful of authorities coming after me for fraud as I now show 2 fraudulent transactions against me. PayPal refuses to remedy this issue by simply applying my information to billing statements. PayPal simply says “that’s how the system is built and we will not change”, even one of their own customer service agents admits that this is wrong and confusing. Fortunately, my clients are really good smart people and have contacted their credit card companies, but it will take a week or more for the whole issue to be resolved. Also, be sure to check rates of swiped versus keyed in transactions. Does cost more for keyed in. Many of my clients are not on site when I charge their cards which requires keyed transactions.

    Rating11111
    Gretchen Schaefer

    Do transactions made with the camera on your phone count as ” keyed in” or normal transactions? This seems like a neat feature on some of these services but I can’t tell if it costs more. Thanks for the comprehensive reviews!

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Gretchen,

    With PayPal Here, camera scans are charged the same rate as keyed-in transactions (3.5% +$.15). If you’re interested in a service that allows camera scans without paying more, check out Flint. They don’t use a swiper at all – only camera-based scans.

    Good luck!
    -Tom

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    trina

    If I don’t use PPH is there any charges? Ty

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Trina, nope, no charges unless you process cards. Most of the mobile processors work like this, except the few who charge monthly fees. Good luck!

    -Tom

    RatingNot Rated
    bransi

    Do they clearly state, how much you are charged to make a withdrawal at an ATM with the debit card they supply? I’m not reading anything that clearly states….

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Brandi,

    The ATM fee from PayPal is $1.00, but you’ll also pay whatever standard fee is charged by the ATM owner.

    -Tom

    RatingNot Rated
    Merilee

    I’m very interested in using Flint primarily, but wondering if PPH would be a good “second” for accepting Amex. Wondering it there is Quick Books integration with PPH like there is with Flint. Thanks for your help!

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Merilee,

    PayPal Here doesn’t include QuickBooks integration. For the purpose of accepting AmEx only, I think Square could suit you fine, and Square is integrated with Quickbooks. While using Square does come with a higher risk for withheld funds, as a secondary account you won’t need to worry about that as much.

    Good luck!
    Tom

    RatingNot Rated
    Marc

    Why does PPH need access to my documents, pictures and videos in my phone? Seems kind of intrusive, and now debating if I should go for it.
    Thanks

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Marc,

    PayPal Here might need access to pictures so you can upload item images, but I don’t know why they’d ask for videos or documents. Can you tell me where you saw this?

    -Tom

    RatingNot Rated
    Mario

    I did a Web design job and accepted $750 as a payment for a job, the job was completed, then received a chargeback issue where the customer did a chargeback from the cc company and paypal took my money away completely. I then submitted the emails and conversations and PDF’s of proof, and Paypal then said sorry, non-tangibles are not covered under the paypal protection. Basically I am out of $750, contacted the customer keeps saying he will call the card company and cancel it (apparently only way i can get my money back) and indeed does not. So watch out if you are selling services with Paypal here because anyone can issue a refund from a card and might I mention this happened over 9 months ago!!!!

    Rating11111
    Jim Stauffer

    I haven’t used PPH a lot, but my experiences so far are positive.

    I would like to be able to test PayPal Here™. It is not a good business practice to experience the various ways of utilizing the feature LIVE with customers. If mistakes are made in your learning curve, it does not help your customers’ confidence level. Even worse, what if the mistake made is with several customers at one event, and results in a financial issue? We NEED a test abilitlity.

    Thank you…

    Rating55555
    Karen

    Been about a year using PayPal Here for my hair salon with no issues until they abruptly canceled check capture without any prior notice, that was just infuriating!

    Rating44444
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Karen,

    I was also very disappointed to see that PayPal Here dropped the check capture feature (which I considered a nice selling point for them), and am even more disappointed to hear that they didn’t provide sufficient notice about it. Your bank may have a mobile banking app that allows you to deposit checks with your phone camera (BofA and Chase do, I know), which isn’t as nice as doing it in-app but might be a working alternative.

    -Tom

    RatingNot Rated

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