Intuit Merchant Services (QuickBooks Payments) Review
Taking $3,000 per month or less in card payments?
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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
Intuit Merchant Services (also known as QuickBooks Payments) is a merchant services provider that’s an internal division of the mammoth financial software company Intuit. First established in 1983, Intuit is one of Silicon Valley’s original startups, with 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 huge size and considerable resources of its parent company, Intuit Merchant Services is not a direct processor. Instead, the company uses First Data as its backend processor.
Intuit Merchant Services has a massive array of products targeting business owners, from accounting software to point-of-sale (POS) systems. The problem is that Intuit Merchant Services/QB 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 of a point to pursuing QuickBooks Payments. But if you do, the seamless integration 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 services providers these days. In other words, you shouldn’t feel like you have to go with Intuit Merchant Services 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 automatically sync your QBPOS transactions to QuickBooks Desktop.
I don’t think most businesses that find Intuit’s QB Payments most appealing are worried about having the latest fancy tech. However, Intuit 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.
Intuit’s payment processing is neither the most forward-thinking nor the most cost-effective solution. But it’s convenient and comprehensive. It should cover everything most QuickBooks users could need without a lot of fuss, and the merchant chatter seems to back it up. The pricing scheme isn’t the best, but for most merchants who will benefit from the service, it’s also not totally detrimental. And high-volume discounts are available too.
All in all, I’m happy to give QuickBooks Payments a 4 out of 5 stars rating, but I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what happens. Check out the full review for more info, 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.
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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 targeted at users of QB Online. 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 QB 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. And, most notably, ACH transfers are free. I recommend checking out our QuickBooks Online and Desktop reviews if you’re looking for more information about which version of the software is right for you.
Previously known simply as Intuit GoPayment, this mobile payments app has been rebranded as part of the QB 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 $19.00 each. If you’d like to future-proof your processing solution, the $49.00 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 Desktop Payments:
Intuit’s plan for QuickBooks Desktop users isn’t quite as comprehensive, but it’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 via GoPayment, but the transaction data from GoPayment won’t sync with QB Desktop.) Like QBO, 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 $1.00 per transaction instead of free. However, QB Desktop Payments includes a check-scanning feature not found in the online version. For other hardware, your options are limited to USB swipers.
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 QB 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, 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.
There isn’t a lot of information about payment processing for online retailers. Unlike many other pages on the QuickBooks site, there isn’t even an offer of live chat support. I did a bit of digging and found that there’s both a payment gateway and an API with a hosted page to play with. You’ll have to apply for eCommerce processing separately from your merchant account.
It seems that Intuit is compatible with several major shopping cart providers (including BigCommerce (see our review) and Shopify (see our review)), which is good. That makes it a viable option. But remember that you might wind up paying more if you choose not to use your eCommerce provider’s default payments processor. That could end up being quite pricey. Also, many eCommerce providers offer QuickBooks integrations to simplify importing data. So, eCommerce payments are only sensible if you’re already using QB Payments for other aspects of your business and you’d like it all solidified in one place. Otherwise, I suggest looking elsewhere, because I think you can probably get a better deal.
I’m a little disappointed that the eCommerce payments 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.
QuickBooks Invoicing Integration For Gmail:
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 QB Payments, Stripe may be the processor handling your payments for you. If you are a QuickBooks user, this feature only syncs with QB Online. (Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.)
That’s about it for QuickBooks Payments and its services. You could honestly write pretty extensively on any of these, but it depends on which version of QB you’re using and what you need. So I encourage you to check out our QuickBooks Online and Desktop reviews, as well as our comparison article. You can also check out our GoPayment Review for an in-depth look at the app.
Fees & Rates
This part is the one that irritates me the most about Intuit Merchant Services. Or at least — second-most. Every variation of QB payments comes with its own pricing scheme, and the differences are subtle, so you need to pay attention. I recommend checking out Intuit’s published pricing schedule because the rates quoted on the website aren’t complete (which is just a teensy bit annoying). However, I’ll concede that QuickBooks has improved massively in the transparency and simplicity of its pricing, and I really, really like that.
I’m just going to lay all of the plans out here and keep the commentary to a minimum. But keep in mind that if you process more than $7,500 per month, you should be eligible for custom rates, which could save you money.
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. And I like that ACH transfers are free because it means you can offer that as a payment option for invoices and pay literally nothing for payment processing. Here’s a breakdown of the disclosed rates and fees:
- Monthly fee: $0.00
- ACH Transfer: $0.00
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 2.4% + $0.25 per transaction
- Invoices, PayPal, Apple Pay: 2.9% + $0.25 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.4% + $0.25 per transaction
QuickBooks Desktop Payments
One thing to note is that that the QuickBooks Desktop version of Payments does not include PayPal support. You’ll also see that ACH transactions cost $1.00 each, whereas they are free with the Online plan. You’ll also want to note that the per-transaction fee is higher.
Something I’ve seen come up repeatedly is mention of how QB Desktop is overall cheaper than QB Online because the desktop software is a one-time purchase, whereas QB Online is a monthly subscription. However, pricing for accepting payments is overall less expensive with the online version, and I’m sure that’s intentional, as an extra incentive.
Pay As You Go Plan
- Monthly fee: $0.00
- ACH Transfer: $1.00 each
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction
- Invoices/Apple Pay: 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction
Pay Monthly Plan
- Monthly fee: $20.00
- ACH Transfer: $1.00
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 1.6% + $0.30 per transaction
- Invoices/Apple Pay: 3.3% + $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.3% + $0.30 per transaction
QuickBooks Point of Sale Payments
You can technically bring any processor to QuickBooks’ POS system, but only QB Payments syncs transaction automatically and prevents you from having 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 0.4% 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: $0.00
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 2.7% + $0.00 per transaction
- PIN Debit: 1.0% + $0.00 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.4% + $0.00 per transaction
- Monthly Fee: $19.95
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 2.3% + $0.25 per transaction
- PIN Debit: 1.0% + $0.25 per transaction
- Keyed: 3.2% + $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, Is Square the Cheapest Processor For Your Business?
QuickBooks eCommerce Payments
Finding information about QB’s online payments option is not easy. There’s very little in the knowledgebase, none of which relates to pricing. Nor is the eCommerce plan listed in the standard fee schedule. The only pricing is listed on the page for eCommerce Payments, and it’s not exactly clear. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get clarification, either. Take these numbers with a grain of salt:
- Monthly Fee: $0.00
- Swiped Qualified: 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed Qualified: 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction
- Monthly Fee: $20.00
- Swiped Credit/Debit: 1.6% + $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed Qualified: 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 $0.30 per-transaction charge can really add up fast for merchants who process a large number of small-ticket transactions.
- Monthly Fee: $0.00
- Swiped/Dipped/Tapped Transactions: 2.4%+ $0.30 per transaction
- Keyed Transactions: 3.4%+ $0.30 per transaction
If you opt-in for PCI compliance service with the pay-as-you-go option, you’ll be charged $9.95 per month. For monthly fee accounts, you could pay up to $100 annually for PCI compliance. Intuit has typically assessed its fee on a sliding scale based on the number of transactions you process, but the company doesn’t disclose what the current cost is. I was not able to verify the information myself. You’ll also be liable for the following incidental fees:
- $25.00 chargeback fee
- $25.00 ACH/bank reject fee
- $10.00 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 any early termination fees with Intuit Merchant Services. 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. (Personally, I’d rather see this than the practice of charging “inactivity fees” like 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 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, but 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 they charge for providing it).
Frankly, I think part of the reason QB Payments works so well is simply that Intuit 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 and 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 QB 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 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM PT and Saturday 6:00 AM to 4:00 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, 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 QB 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 2-3 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 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 fairly 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 QB 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 Intuit Merchant Services/QuickBooks Payments and GoPayment recently. I’ve seen this company make some really sensible changes and advancements recently, and am hopeful for the future. With online invoicing, a powerful mobile app, eCheck acceptance, and absolutely ideal QuickBooks bookkeeping integration, there are certainly some noteworthy draws for Intuit’s merchant services. If you really 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 good one 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 4 out of 5 stars rating. I’ll be hoping for more good news in the next update.
Are you a current or previous Intuit merchant? Please comment with your experiences and insights!
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