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- Date Established
- Amsterdam, NL
- Ideal for international merchants
- No setup or application fees
- No monthly fee
- Required monthly minimum
- Not for high-risk merchants
- Mixed customer reviews
Adyen is an international merchant account provider known for its big-name users, including Microsoft, Pinterest, eBay, Uber, and Spotify. Impressed yet? It’s hard not to get a little starstruck, but we didn’t want to let that sway our non-biased approach. You’ll find that as a small business owner, you may have some things to be cautious about, and we’ll tell you why in this review.
But first, a little history on the company: Adyen’s primary objective was to build new technology and systems from the ground up, bypassing middlemen and old-fashioned payment infrastructure. It accomplishes its goal of “frictionless” payments by providing merchants with a source for local acquiring and managing multiple acquirers. It’s built for established, successful companies to expand into new markets.
Adyen works well for all these big-name, mid-to-enterprise level clients operating on a global scale. But what about the proverbial little guy with big dreams? Or how about the forward-thinking merchant with an eye on expanding into new foreign markets? In this review, we’ll explore how Adyen handles the complexity of international processing and help you decide if this processor could be a good fit for your business.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Adyen is the actual acquirer and processor for your account, not a reseller or ISO. The company describes itself as a “full-stack” payment service provider (PSP), meaning that it provides the payment gateway and processing capability while also undertaking risk management and merchant acquiring responsibilities. Basically, it’s a true end-to-end solution, handling the entire payment flow. When signing up on the web, you’ll be asked to create a Test Account first. Signing up for this test account will give you access to Adyen’s Customer Area, which you can use to view reports, manage integrations, and more. View a screenshot of the Customer Area below:
Here is a summary of Adyen’s main features and standout points:
- Global Processing With Local Customization: Adyen is an international processor. In addition to standard credit and debit cards, the company aims to facilitate payments in as many locally-accepted methods as possible. This is accomplished through Adyen’s ability to adopt an international or local acquiring approach depending on the country. Adyen’s flexibility in this regard can help merchants reduce fees and increase authorization rates for country-specific payment methods. Merchants can also enable Dynamic Currency Conversion for their customers at the point of sale.
- Omnichannel Payments: This refers to the main three ways businesses operate: online, in-app, and in-store. The omnichannel shopper’s info and complete transaction history are integrated into one overarching system and set of records, resulting in a more seamless purchasing experience.
- Online Payments: All merchants have the option of integrating Adyen with their website, mobile site, or app. Integrating Adyen with your online store enables a few cool features, including one-click checkout and recurring payments.
- Marketplace Payments (MarketPay): Adyen facilitates payments within online marketplaces. eBay would be a prime example of a marketplace — a platform that connects buyers and sellers. Among other features, MarketPay includes the ability to split payments across multiple sub-merchants, transfer funds, and schedule payouts.
- RevenueProtect & RevenueAccelerate: There are a lot of fancy-pants terms thrown around in the explanations of RevenueProtect (Adyen’s risk management feature). AI learning, device fingerprinting, risk engine, behavioral analytics, transaction linking — it all just means Adyen uses multiple data analysis tools to prevent as many chargebacks caused by card fraud as possible. RevenueAccelerate seems to include an account updater tool. I wasn’t able to find out if RevenueProtect and RevenueAccelerate were standard features or only available at extra cost. Be sure to ask when you sign up!
- Dynamic Reporting: Beyond basic monthly statements, Adyen’s Customer Area is an in-depth portal into the reasons behind approvals and declines for each payment method accepted at your business. Take a look at the reporting overview for samples of the types of tables and graphs Adyen creates for tracking payments in real-time.
- POS Equipment: Adyen lists nine hardware options on its site, ranging from countertop options to portable, handheld options. All available hardware is from the Verifone brand. Both the hardware and Adyen’s software are fully certified for EMV and NFC transactions, and all relevant payment methods are certified out-of-the-box. You must buy this hardware directly through Adyen.
- POS Software: In case you haven’t caught the theme, Adyen likes to keep everything in-house. However, Adyen reps have told me that their business is payments, so they’ve decided to let the experts take care of POS software. You have three options — (1) standalone Verifone terminals that are pre-programmed with Adyen’s payments software, requiring no third-party POS software integration or cash register, (2) the Terminal API for custom integrations, or (3) ready-to-go plugins. If you choose option 3, Adyen has partnerships with many major POS software systems, including Microsoft Dynamics, Retail Pro, Oracle X Store, and Aptos, along with the supporting integration documentation.
- Integrations & Developer Tools: In addition to POS systems, Adyen offers several plugins for eCommerce, clienteling, and billing software. It also provides extensive developer documentation for adding extra features to the baseline system. If you’re not skilled at coding, you’ll need to hire outside help to implement this.
Fees & Rates
Pricing models are organized by global region, country, and payment type. On Adyen’s pricing page, US customers will find a mix of interchange-plus pricing (for Visa and Mastercard) and flat rates (for American Express and Discover), which Adyen calls “blend.” If you’re wondering why Adyen calls it “interchange++,” the two pluses refer to the processor markup and any card network fees that apply to the transaction.
Adyen’s advertised interchange processing fee is just is $0.12 per transaction. In the past, Adyen has also had a percentage markup of 0.60% (making a total markup of 0.60% + $0.12). However, I was told over the phone that the current markup includes just the $0.12 flat rate. This means the company has lowered its prices since our last update.
However, interchange++ rates are not the only rates you’ll need to consider. Many payment methods are billed on a flat-rate model. You can view all rates on Adyen’s site, but we’ll include a few of the rates for other common US payment methods here:
- Amex: 3.95% + $0.12
- AndroidPay, GooglePay, ApplePay, Samsung Pay: Payment method fee defined by card used + $0.12
- ACH Direct Debit: $0.25 (refunds $0.20) + $0.12
- Diners Club: 3.95% + $0.12 (special pricing may apply)
- Discover: 3.95% + $0.12 (special pricing may apply)
- JCB: 3.75% + $0.12 (special pricing may apply)
I was not able to find any information on volume discounts, but that does not mean that they don’t exist. Ask your sales representative about what it takes to qualify for volume discounts.
Other Notable Rates & Fees:
In the past, Adyen listed a few additional fees on its website. These fees have since been removed from the site. When I called Adyen to ask about the fees, I was told that rates depend on the payment method used. I will include below the rates that Adyen used to list for these fees — be aware that these rates may have changed:
- Chargeback/Retrieval: $7.50 for the first stage of the process
- Refund Fee: Varies depending on the payment method (e.g., $0.10-$0.30)
- Reconciliation Fee: 0.20%
Adyen also requires merchants that merchants have a minimum invoice of $120/month.
Fees Not Charged:
- Early termination
- Annual fees
- Monthly fee
- PCI compliance
- Gateway Fee
- No currency conversion charges
Overall, Adyen’s pricing is reasonable for a cutting-edge, international payment processor accustomed to serving high-end, complex clients. The all-inclusive pricing style is appealing, and I also like that you automatically receive interchange-plus pricing for Visa and Mastercard, no matter your business type or size.
However, lower volume international merchants might consider a simpler merchant service provider with no monthly minimums, such as Braintree or even Stripe. US and Canadian merchants might also look at Square, which has improved on and added to its developer tools recently.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fees
Adyen contracts are indefinite, and there is no early termination fee. Either party can terminate the merchant agreement by giving at least 60 days’ notice in writing. When it comes time to cancel, many merchants are surprised that a simple phone call won’t guarantee that your account will be closed properly. And if you don’t follow the proper “paper trail,” there isn’t much you can do about it. So be sure to put your request in writing to avoid frustration. We do like that there won’t be any need to worry about or buy out the rest of a terminal lease.
In some circumstances, either the merchant or Adyen may terminate the contract immediately. For example, if the service availability is below 90% in a given month, the merchant may terminate the agreement. By the same token, Adyen may terminate the contract if the merchant changes the products or services they’re offering without written permission. These are pretty standard conditions, but see section 10.2 of Adyen’s Merchant Service Agreement for the full explanation.
Adyen is generally not into high-risk clients and will readily suspend an account if there are too many chargebacks. The chargeback threshold is 0.5% of the total transaction volume for most payment methods, and the merchant could also be subject to fines. This is explained in section 7.1 of the Adyen Merchant Service Agreement. Note that the 0.5% figure is more strict than the general industry standard of 1%. Additionally, accounts may be subject to a rolling reserve, which Adyen calls “Deposit Reservation” in section 3.5. That’s a bit more in line with industry practices.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
If there’s one personality trait that all my Dutch friends have in common, it’s frankness. Adyen is no exception to this rule. CEO Pieter van der Does cuts through the bull to give simple, straightforward answers to every question in his interviews, and this ethos trickles down through the company.
Since our last review, Adyen has improved its approach to pricing transparency with fully disclosed costs easily found on its site. Additionally, we had no problem finding the contract, which provides even more information about what to expect before signing up.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Adyen employs tech support staff around the world. Support for your account may be accessed via email, web, and phone during business hours. Emergency support is provided 24 hours a day. A list of worldwide offices and phone numbers may be found at Adyen’s Contact page, along with a web form for filing technical support tickets. This is all nice to see.
Even nicer to see, the website itself is a wealth of information, easily searchable for developer documents, product descriptions, and case studies. Detailed, country-specific guides may be downloaded for some countries, but you can also find a quick overview of each country’s common payment methods and “inside tips” on how to best enter each market.
The Support tab is split into several helpful FAQ and troubleshooting sections, while the Developer tab contains its own set of resources. You can also bet that Adyen maintains active Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube accounts that highlight new product developments and industry news. The e-newsletter and blog round out Adyen’s online resources. The blog is the only resource I’ve seen that is out of date; the last post was in 2018.
On the surface of things, all signs point toward solid customer service and sales support with Adyen. We are tentatively keeping this rating at “good.” However, some of the user reviews from small business owners in the section below do give cause for concern.
Since our last review of the company, several consumer reviewers have expressed their experiences on the major review sites we check, including Trustpilot, G2, and Capterra. As you can see, positive and negative reviews are nearly split evenly down the middle, which is quite rare indeed!
- Trustpilot: 1.6 out of 5 stars with 23 reviews
- Capterra: 5 out of 5 with 5 reviews
- G2: 4 out of 5 stars with 15 reviews
Let’s take a look at some of the specific complaints first and then we’ll look at the praises.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Trustpilot is by far the place that holds the lion’s share of negative reviews for Adyen. We found the following complaints:
- Poor customer service
- The minimum amount required is inconsistent with what is stated on the website
- Hidden fees
- Not friendly for new businesses
Because there just aren’t very many overall reviews for this company, but these complaints overwhelm review sites, we do need to take them seriously.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
You will find several client testimonials and case studies on Adyen’s YouTube channel. Reviews tend to emphasize Adyen’s global compatibility, ease of use, and its forward-thinking, high-tech focus. You’ll see spokespeople from many recognizable brand names.
The Adyen blog is also a good source for case studies, where you can get a flavor for the types of businesses Adyen caters to and the customized solutions it provides. While these posts are all marketing materials, to be sure, it’s nice to see some hard data and company-specific details here.
G2 and Capterra consumer review sites paint a different picture, and we were curious to see what customers did like about this solution.
- No Monthly/Early Termination Fees: Adyen does not hide any monthly fees or early termination fees. You can cancel your account with 60 days’ notice.
- International: Mid-market and enterprise merchants can sell goods internationally and process payments in many currencies.
- Customer Service: Users report that Adyen’s customer service is helpful and quick. We do like to see some merchants have a good experience with their customer service, and that does leave some hope.
Because Adyen just doesn’t have the reviews built up from small business owners, we have to wonder if its services are more friendly to big-ticket clients but may leave much to be desired for the small business.
Adyen provides global payment processing for some very big names and clearly delivers a set of finely-tuned products and services on an international scale, without the need for sales gimmicks. Interchange-plus is the standard pricing model whenever possible, and the granular data insights available to merchants in real-time only add to the transparent feel of the company.
Adyen really seems to do it all. Where most international payment processors have focused on eCommerce and in-app purchases, Adyen adds brick-and-mortar and point of sale setups to the mix. Undoubtedly, other highly-rated international payment processors will add payment channels and methods in the coming years. Domestic providers already offering omnichannel payments will expand into additional countries. But the fact remains, Adyen has a huge head start on both fronts. Not to mention that this company is highly driven to improve its already cutting-edge systems continually.
It’s tempting to get caught up in the excitement of a tech-savvy payments company with an alluring Silicon Valley startup vibe and such notable customers in its care. Most recently, Adyen’s unique approach to global processing was even strong enough to lure eBay away from PayPal. But it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. The CEO has been very open about Adyen’s strategy to only go after big fish from the beginning.
My overall impression is that Adyen is still not actively pursuing small merchants at the individual level. These businesses are more likely to work with Adyen as a sub-merchant within a larger marketplace, such as Etsy or eBay.
Considering our MM audience doesn’t include the likes of Spotify and Uber, I give Adyen 4 stars. We have other preferred providers to check out if Adyen is not for you. Braintree is one notable international processor with competitive rates, no monthly minimums, and an innovative approach worth exploring. Stripe is similarly global with a powerful suite of tools (including support for storefronts). If you’re in the US or Canada, Square might suit your needs with various integrations, developer tools, and seamless multichannel experience. No matter which one you choose in the end, keep the comments coming. We’d especially love to hear from any smaller merchants who have had direct experience with Adyen.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.