Intuit Merchant Services (QuickBooks Payments) Review
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- Date Established
- Mountain View, CA
- Predictable flat-rate pricing
- Seamless QuickBooks integration
- Inexpensive chip card readers
- No monthly minimums
- Good for professional services
- Limited invoice customization
- High per-transaction fees
- Slow deposit times
- Inconsistent customer support
QuickBooks Payments (formerly known as Intuit Merchant Services) is a merchant services provider that’s an internal division of the mammoth financial software company Intuit. Established in 1983, Intuit is one of Silicon Valley’s original startups, with its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company first began providing credit card processing services that would integrate with its popular QuickBooks accounting software in 2003, when it acquired Innovative Merchant Solutions. Despite the vast size and considerable resources of its parent company, QuickBooks Payments is not a direct processor. Instead, the company uses Fiserv (formerly First Data) as its back-end processor.
The company has a massive array of products targeting business owners, from accounting software to point of sale (POS) systems. The problem is that QuickBooks Payments is (almost) as layered and diverse as QuickBooks and Intuit. There are four different elements of QuickBooks Payments, not to mention the standalone mobile processing option. All of these have different payment rates, and that’s not counting the custom rates available for merchants processing more than $7,500 per month, which one sales rep told me amounts to 15 different plans. Fifteen!
And that’s just a cursory glance at the service.
If you don’t use QuickBooks for accounting, there isn’t much point to pursuing QuickBooks Payments. But if you do, the seamless integration with QuickBooks is probably going to be a big draw. You also get invoicing, eCommerce support, and ACH payments at a reasonable cost. The rates aren’t the lowest I’ve seen — and if your average ticket size is pretty small, it could be very pricey. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out that QuickBooks integration is more or less a standard feature among most merchant service providers these days. In other words, you shouldn’t feel like you have to go with QuickBooks Payments just because you use QuickBooks. You have a lot of other choices.
QuickBooks Payments is, overall, designed for professional service providers and office environments, so I’m inclined to think most users are going to have a much higher ticket size than your typical retail store. While QB Payments does accommodate retail setups with QB Point of Sale, I find that the costs are a little bit less favorable for those merchants, who are likely to have smaller ticket values. However, while you certainly aren’t limited to using Intuit’s processing if you use the company’s POS, using QuickBooks Payments is the only way to sync your QBPOS transactions to QuickBooks Desktop automatically.
I don’t think most businesses that find QuickBooks Payments most appealing are worried about having the latest fancy technology. However, the company does offer developer tools if you need to rig up something custom. So if you want an effective, no-frills payment solution that’s guaranteed to work with QuickBooks, it’s definitely worth considering. And if you do need something specially built, you can still do that.
Unlike most payment processors we cover in our reviews, QuickBooks Payments is merely a division within a much larger organization (Intuit), not a separate business entity in its own right. Adding to the confusion is the way that Intuit has changed the name of its payment processing service several times over the years. So if you’re looking for information about “Intuit Merchant Services,” “QuickBooks Merchant Services,” or any other name that you come across for a QuickBooks-integrated payment processor, rest assured that you’ve come to the right place.
All in all, I’m happy to give QuickBooks Payments a score of 4 out of 5 stars. Check out the full review for more information, and if you’re a current or past Intuit Merchant Services/QB Payments user, please comment with your thoughts! If you’d like to see your other options, check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart to see some of our favorite credit card processing companies.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
When you sign up for QuickBooks Payments, Intuit will give you your own merchant account with soft monthly and per-transaction limits. More importantly, every account comes with QuickBooks integration, though your plan and some of the features will depend on which version of QuickBooks you’re using.
QuickBooks Online Payments
If you can’t tell from the name, QuickBooks Online Payments is designed for users of QuickBooks Online (see our review). Everything is managed from within the app, though you’ll have to connect your Payments account to QuickBooks to get started. With this plan, you can send invoices, set up recurring payments, and even accept swiped transactions with sales receipts wherever you are. When you generate invoices and sales receipts, you can pull from your customer list and populate the invoice from your product/service catalog.
On a computer, you can use a USB-connected swiper. But since QuickBooks Online has a mobile app for Android and iOS, you can also connect one of the GoPayment readers to accept payments.
While I’m not here to tell you all the differences between the Online and Desktop versions of QuickBooks, I will say in my research that I found many complaints that the Online version isn’t quite as feature-rich. However, the processing rates for the online plan are cheaper.
QuickBooks Desktop Payments
Intuit’s plan for QuickBooks Desktop (see our review) users isn’t quite as comprehensive, but that’s not too surprising. After all, the software lacks the cloud capabilities of its nimbler little sibling. However, it gives some more advanced accounting features in exchange, according to users. But clearly, you can’t accept mobile payments with the Desktop version. (You can do so via GoPayment, but the transaction data from GoPayment won’t sync with QuickBooks Desktop.) Like QuickBooks Online, you can send invoices or process sales receipts on the spot and populate both from a list of existing clients and products/services.
ACH transfers are available for a set fee of $3 per transaction instead of being free. However, QuickBooks Desktop Payments includes a check-scanning feature not found in the online version. For other hardware, your options are limited to USB swipers.
Previously known as Intuit GoPayment, this mobile payment app has been rebranded as part of the QuickBooks family. GoPayment syncs automatically with QuickBooks Online and lets you take payments via smartphone or tablet. There is an item library, but you can just enter a quick sale without selecting a product. You can also collect tax and tip. While you can accept payments from within QuickBooks Online, if your business is more retail-like, then GoPayment is probably the better option. It’ll certainly feel more familiar. In addition to the app, you’ll need a card reader. The basic GoPayment Chip and Magstripe Carder Reader accepts both EMV and magstripe transactions and connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. You can also use it as a virtual terminal with QuickBooks Desktop using a USB cable. You’ll get one free card reader when you sign up for GoPayment, and additional readers are available for only $19 each. If you’d like to future-proof your processing solution, the $49 GoPayment All-in-One Card Reader adds NFC capability, allowing you to accept Apple Pay and Android Pay. Check out our GoPayment review for more information.
QuickBooks Point Of Sale
For brick-and-mortar retail shops, there’s QuickBooks Point of Sale. You can technically bring any processor you want to Intuit’s POS system, but only QuickBooks Payments integrates seamlessly and prevents you from having to enter transaction data manually. Point of Sale is a desktop-based system, and therefore it shouldn’t surprise you too much that it’s only compatible with QuickBooks Desktop. If you use Point of Sale and QuickBooks, it seems a bit silly not to bundle Payments, too. That’s probably by design because Intuit wants you to use its payment processing services.
You won’t get ACH transfers with QuickBooks Point of Sale (but that’s why you have QuickBooks itself). It’s also a desktop-based system, so again, there are no mobile capabilities.
Intuit offers hardware that you can purchase directly or through a third-party vendor. I recommend checking out our full review of QuickBooks Point of Sale if you want to know more about the actual system and its features. If you just want to use a standalone POS system with QuickBooks, check out our article, The Best POS Systems That Integrate With QuickBooks, for some recommendations.
QuickBooks Payments doesn’t offer nearly as much of a variety of features and hardware options for online sellers as it does for traditional retail merchants. Then again, you don’t need as many of them to get set up and start processing right away. The QuickBooks website advertises compatibility with Shopify (see our review) and Big Commerce (see our review), either of which is an excellent choice for a small business. While these are the only third-party shopping carts advertised, the QuickBooks Payments processing system might be compatible with other carts as well. You’ll have to contact the company’s sales department for more information.
QuickBooks Payments used to offer a payment gateway and an API with a hosted payment page, but it no longer advertises them as being available. Quite honestly, if your business is large enough to need these features, you’re probably better off going with a merchant account provider that offers a more affordable interchange-plus pricing plan in addition to these features. As we’ve mentioned above, most providers today can integrate with either the online or desktop versions of QuickBooks.
I’m a little disappointed that the QuickBooks eCommerce plan doesn’t include ACH transfers because we know the infrastructure is there. It would be a nice way to differentiate the product from others.
This is a bit of an oddball feature because, technically speaking, you don’t need to be a QuickBooks subscriber to use it. The integration allows you to generate invoices from directly within Gmail and select whether you want to accept credit cards or bank transfers (or both). You will need to create a free user account with Intuit. And, if you’re not using QuickBooks Payments, Stripe may be the processor handling your payments for you. If you are a QuickBooks user, this feature only syncs with QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Cash Flow
This new feature includes two separate products: the QuickBooks Cash Flow Planner, which replaces your current spreadsheet with an automated system that can generate 30-day and 90-day cash flow predictions, and a QuickBooks Cash Account, which is a bank account that allows you to set aside money for expenses, such as taxes or payroll, in virtual envelopes. You can withdraw money from this account via an ATM, ACH bank transfers, or with your included QuickBooks Debit Card. At this point, you might get the impression that Intuit is trying to leverage the popularity of its QuickBooks accounting software to take over virtually every aspect of the financial life of the small business owners that use the product. We agree.
QuickBooks Cash Flow is currently available to new QuickBooks customers only but is coming soon to existing users of the Online and Desktop products. An iOS app is also scheduled for release soon.
Fees & Rates
QuickBooks Payments scores well in terms of transparency, as most prices are disclosed on the Intuit website. However, its pricing scheme is needlessly complex, and you’ll have to do your research to nail down the exact rates and fees that apply to your account. Every variation of QuickBooks Payments comes with its own pricing schedule, and the differences can be very subtle. We recommend checking out Intuit’s published pricing schedule because the rates quoted on the website aren’t complete.
Below is an overview of the company’s current rates and fees. Processing rate plans are generally flat-rate, although some plans distinguish between qualified and nonqualified rates — a hallmark of tiered pricing. Note also that flat-rate pricing means that you pay the same rate for every transaction. This is actually a good thing, as it keeps you from overpaying on a majority of your transactions. Also, be aware that if you process more than $7,500 per month, you should be eligible for custom processing rates, which should be lower than the advertised rates discussed below.
QuickBooks Online Payments
QuickBooks Online notably supports PayPal payments, which you won’t get with the Desktop version. I actually like this because so many businesses use PayPal. Here’s a breakdown of the disclosed rates and fees:
- ACH Bank Transfers: 1.0% (up to a maximum of $10)
- Card Swiped: 2.4% + $0.25 per transaction
- Card Invoiced (Includes PayPal & Apple Pay): 2.9% + $0.25 per transaction
- Card Keyed: 3.4% + $0.25 per transaction
There is no monthly fee for this service, but you will need a QuickBooks Online subscription. Rates are currently $25 per month for the Simple Start plan or $40 per month for the Essentials plan. Intuit offers a 50% discount off these rates for new customers, but only for the first three months of your subscription.
QuickBooks Desktop Payments
One thing to note is that the QuickBooks Desktop version of Payments does not include PayPal support. You’ll also see that ACH transactions cost $3 each, whereas they are 1.0% each with the Online plan. You’ll also want to note that the per-transaction fee is higher.
- Monthly Fee: $0
- ACH Bank Transfers: $3 each
- Card Swiped: 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction
- Card Invoiced: 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction
- Card Keyed: 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction
Pay Monthly Plan
- Monthly Fee: $20
- ACH Bank Transfers: $3 each
- Card Swiped: 1.6% + $0.30 per transaction
- Card Invoiced: 3.3% + $0.30 per transaction
- Card Keyed: 3.3% + $0.30 per transaction
QuickBooks Point Of Sale Payments
You can technically bring any processor to QuickBooks’ POS system, but only QuickBooks Payments syncs transactions automatically, sparing you from the need to enter data manually. The pricing here is a bit different, so look at it closely. First, note that there’s no per-transaction fee on the free basic plan. That’s a good thing. In fact, it puts the rates on par with PayPal and Square, making it viable for businesses with low ticket values. You also get PIN debit support, which is a nice touch.
With the monthly plan, you’re going to save 0.3-0.4% per transaction, but you’re also going to pay $0.25 per each transaction. In essence, that means if you do have a low average ticket, you probably want to stick with the pay-as-you-go plan. That $0.25 is going to add up pretty quickly and take a chunk of your revenue.
- Monthly Fee: $0
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 2.7% + $0 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.5% + $0 per transaction
- PIN Debit: 1.0% + $0 per transaction
Low Monthly Rates Plan
- Monthly Fee: $19.95
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 2.3% + $0.25 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.2% + $0.25 per transaction
- PIN Debit: 1.0% + $0.25 per transaction
I won’t say these are the best rates for a processor, especially for a retail environment, but they could be worse. Want to know more about how a per-transaction fee affects your processing cost? Check out our article, Analysis: Is Square the Cheapest Processor For Your Business?
QuickBooks eCommerce Payments
QuickBooks Payments offers separate rate plans for eCommerce-only merchants. Again, you have a choice between a Square-like, pay-as-you-go plan and a more traditional plan that offers significantly lower processing rates in exchange for a monthly account maintenance fee. The rates listed are also described as qualified rates, something that usually indicates a tiered pricing plan. This type of rate plan almost always also includes a nonqualified tier and possibly even a mid-qualified tier as well. You’ll want to be clear about what these rates will be before you sign up, as nonqualified rates are typically much higher than qualified rates. You’ll also want to know what criteria are used to decide which tier a given transaction will fall under. Rewards credit cards are the usual culprits here, as processors often pass the cost of the reward onto the unsuspecting merchant by processing them under the nonqualified tier.
- Monthly Fee: $0
- Swiped Qualified Rate: 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed Qualified Rate: 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction
- Monthly Fee: $20
- Swiped Qualified Rate: 1.6% + $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed Qualified Rate: 3.3% + $0.30 per transaction
If you only need a mobile processing solution, the pricing for GoPayment is pretty simple. There’s no monthly fee, and you’ll receive a free EMV-capable card reader when you sign up. Comparisons between GoPayment and Square (see our review) end there, however, as that $0.25 per-transaction charge can add up fast for merchants who process a large number of small-ticket transactions.
- ACH Bank Transfers: 1.0% (maximum $10)
- Card Swiped: 2.4%+ $0.25 per transaction
- Card Invoiced: 2.9% + $0.25 per transaction
- Card Keyed: 3.4%+ $0.25 per transaction
- Monthly Fee: $0
If you decide to opt-in for the PCI compliance service with the pay-as-you-go option, you’ll be charged $9.95 per month. For monthly fee accounts, PCI compliance services are included as part of your monthly account fee. You’ll also be liable for the following incidental fees:
- $25 chargeback fee
- $25 ACH/bank reject fee
- $10 returned check fee
You should also be aware of the fees at the bottom of Intuit’s official pricing schedule. These are incidental fees or fees that have to do with opt-in features. Make sure you’re not looking at one of the legacy schedules, which are for people on existing plans.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
You won’t pay early termination fees with any of the service plans that QuickBooks Payments offers. With the pay-as-you-go option, you can simply stop using your account without any penalty. If you use the higher volume option, then make sure to cancel your account or change over to the pay-as-you-go option if you plan to take time off from processing. Otherwise, you’ll still have the monthly fee taken from your account. If your account becomes inactive for six months, it will likely be suspended or terminated. (Although, I’d rather see this than the practice of charging “inactivity fees” as some processors have done.)
You should also know that to cancel your account, you’ll have to mail or fax a formal written request for cancellation. That’s pretty typical of any processor.
Other than that, you’ll find that the Intuit Payments Merchant Agreement is pretty clear on its expectations of merchant behavior: You’ll have a monthly limit on processing volume and an individual transaction limit, for example. Don’t exceed these, or you’ll start to encounter trouble. You should also beware of excessive chargebacks, which could lead to account termination. Per the agreement:
“Excessive Chargebacks” means chargebacks during any monthly period and for any one of your terminal identification numbers or merchant identification numbers, including: (a) Chargebacks and/or retrieval requests in excess of 1% of the average monthly dollar amount of transactions; (b) ACH unauthorized returns in excess of 0.5% or returns in excess of 3% of the average monthly dollar amount of transactions; or (c) processing an average transaction above the processing limits or amount approved by us.
If your account is closed due to merchant misconduct, however, Intuit reserves the right to charge you a fee anywhere from $500 to $2,500. But as long as you’re operating a legitimate business and following prescribed guidelines for card processing, you shouldn’t encounter this penalty.
And one final note about selecting a plan, which isn’t mentioned in the contract but rather in the pricing schedule:
You may only switch from a non-monthly plan to a monthly plan (or vice versa) once during a consecutive twelve (12)-month period.
I strongly encourage you to do the math before you decide whether you want a monthly or pay-as-you-go plan. You could end up paying more than you need to, and you’re only allowed to switch plans once per year.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Overall, I’m satisfied that Intuit’s payment processing services are pretty transparent. It’s easy to find the merchant agreement as well as the pricing schedule, which is a huge plus. They’re also both easy to understand, and the contract is clear about what’s expected of merchants. Overall, I don’t see complaints from merchants that they’re paying unexpected fees, or they’ve been locked into a contract they can’t get out of. That’s typically a good sign.
I wish that QuickBooks would do better on payments-related blog material. Still, Intuit is such a large machine that targeted content like that might be difficult, and there are certainly higher priorities. But educated merchants make for the best merchants, so I’ll always hope for a little bit of effort on this front. And I’d like to see a bit more clarity about PCI compliance (especially the extra fees the company charges for providing it).
Frankly, I think part of the reason QuickBooks Payments works so well is that Intuit simply doesn’t need to resort to shady tactics to lure merchants in. The merchants who are most likely to find value in Intuit’s services aren’t bargain-hunters looking for the absolute lowest rates (you won’t find them with Intuit, anyway). The ideal user is just looking for a convenient, no-fuss way to take payments and automatically sync transactions with QuickBooks. There’s a built-in user base as well as a massive convenience factor, which leads to a low-pressure approach to sales.
Customer Service & Technical Support
While I’ve heard conflicting reports in terms of quality of support, I can at least say that Intuit’s customer service is very streamlined. The QuickBooks Payments FAQ is enough to answer most basic questions, with phone support available if you prefer to talk to real people. Telephone support is available during the following hours: Monday-Friday, 5 AM to 6 PM PT.
You can also reach out to the sales representatives on Intuit’s live chat feature. I like that they don’t immediately ask a bunch of questions about your business, which can be a pushy sales tactic in disguise. In my experience, the sales reps’ knowledge was a little bit fragmented and inconsistent. It’s good for quick, simple questions but less suitable for complex questions (especially ones about how all the different components fit together).
However, as a reviewer, it’s difficult for me to ascertain the quality of customer service when it comes to complex, account-specific issues. That’s where you come in! Have you worked with QuickBooks Payments? Have a complaint, a rip-off report, or even a positive testimonial? Please leave us your review. Don’t forget to read the user review and comment policy.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
While QuickBooks Payments doesn’t have its own BBB page separate from Intuit’s profile, you can find a handful of complaints directed at the company’s payment processing service there. You can also find complaints on other review sites across the web — though I’ll admit, you have to look carefully because you won’t find a lot of threads devoted exclusively to QuickBooks Payments. Many merchants seem to lump it in as part of the QuickBooks suite of products.
Here are the complaints I’ve seen:
- Long Hold Times For Customer Service: Some users have reported less-than-stellar customer service, including unacceptably long hold times for unhelpful service. You’ll want to make sure you call the right number to start with, so you don’t have to play the department shuffle.
- Deposit Times: In a world where the best processors are offering same-day or next-day processing times, Intuit’s two-to-three business days seems a bit out of touch. It’s not awful; it’s just not ideal. In case you hadn’t already realized it, Intuit is not exactly a cutting-edge processor.
- Lack Of Customizable Invoices: This one seems to come up the most often. Intuit’s invoicing feature is not as capable as some of its merchants would like, specifically regarding customization. In fact, there’s not a whole lot of customization beyond the ability to populate the customer name, the products or services to be provided, and payment options.
All in all, these aren’t terrible complaints, and the overall volume that I’ve seen is relatively low. But these are complaints from actual users, and the lack of some features might be a deal-breaker for other merchants.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
While you’ll find a few anonymous, superficial reviews on the QuickBooks Payments site — all quite positive, as you might have guessed — I was not able to find any in-depth case studies or testimonials demonstrating the effectiveness and value of Intuit’s offerings. I’m not surprised, given how fragmented the information out there is about QuickBooks Payments.
If you have any insights here, please leave us your review. In the meantime, I’ll keep this updated as more information becomes available. Here’s what I have found from satisfied Intuit customers:
- Easy Integration: Unsurprisingly, the biggest draw for most of Intuit’s merchants is simply the easy integration with QuickBooks. Everything is linked up to the software, and the reporting and recording are automatic. You don’t need to do any manual data entry.
- Invoicing & Reminders: While the lack of customizable invoices is a bit of a disappointment to some merchants, that’s not to say the feature is a total dud. In fact, it’s still a huge draw for many businesses. They also like the ability to send reminders to customers about outstanding invoices. However, take note: These emails are sent from Intuit, not the user’s personal account. If you’re using the Gmail integration for QB invoices, this is the exception.
I’ve warmed up to QuickBooks Payments and the GoPayment mobile processing system. I’ve recently seen this company make some really sensible changes and advancements and am hopeful for the future. With online invoicing, a powerful mobile app, eCheck/ACH acceptance, and absolutely ideal QuickBooks bookkeeping integration, there are certainly some noteworthy draws for Intuit’s payment processing services. If you love the QuickBooks interface and like the idea of brand loyalty, this could be a great option for your payment processing needs.
At the same time, you can get lower rates elsewhere, and probably better support as well. CDGcommerce (see our review), for instance, advertises QuickBooks integration and will set you up with interchange-plus pricing and a lower monthly fee than Intuit can provide. Fattmerchant (see our review) is another excellent provider that advertises QuickBooks integration. The truth is that, with the right gateway pairing, any of our top-rated providers can set you up with an account and QB integration. It could mean a little more work on your end, depending on what sort of QuickBooks integrations are available to you, but the cost savings could be substantial.
It comes down to deciding what you value most as a merchant and how much you enjoy working with QuickBooks. I strongly encourage you to do some math before you decide on a processor. And if you’re not a current QB user, but you are considering getting the software and payments set up together, I encourage you to check out our QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online reviews to figure out which one is right for you.
Given the progress made by Intuit in transparency and pricing as well as its ability to provide a fairly frictionless, seamless merchant experience, I’m going to award QuickBooks Payments a respectable score of 4 out of 5 stars. I’ll be hoping for more good news in the next update.
Are you a current or previous QuickBooks Payments user? Please comment with your experiences and insights!
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