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- Date Established
- Spokane, Washington
- Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
- Integrates with most merchant account providers and shopping carts
- Supports Level II and Level III credit card data for B2B merchants
- Excellent customer support
- High per-transaction processing charge under Basic pricing plan
You might not think of eastern Washington as a tech hub, but it’s the home of PayTrace, a payment gateway provider headquartered in Spokane, Washington. Founded in 2004, the company currently has over 35,000 clients, and processes over $10 billion in transactions annually.
PayTrace’s payment gateway is their primary product. In fact, it’s their only product. The company doesn’t provide merchant accounts or any hardware (i.e., terminals, card readers, etc.) – you’ll have to go to a third party for those things. Because you’ll need a merchant account before you can use their payment gateway, PayTrace markets their gateway almost exclusively through partner merchant account providers and their ISOs. Be sure to research your merchant account provider thoroughly before signing up. While the PayTrace gateway is a solid, competitively-priced product, your merchant account provider may have terms and fees that aren’t nearly such a good deal.
The PayTrace gateway is set up to process most major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Diner’s Club, and JCB. eCheck (ACH) processing is also available as an optional feature. PayTrace specializes in B2B transactions and is one of the few payment gateway providers that can process Level II and III credit card data. Although it’s a little extra work for the merchant, this can pay for itself thanks to lower interchange rates.
Because there is still a lot of confusion out there on this issue, let’s be clear on one thing: PayTrace is not a merchant account provider. Their payment gateway is an additional feature to your merchant account, which will be provided by a separate party. Payment gateways allow you to process transactions through the internet, so they’re essential to eCommerce merchants and any business that has both a retail and an online presence. If your business is strictly retail, you don’t absolutely need a payment gateway. However, you might want one anyway. By combining the gateway’s virtual terminal feature with a USB-connected card reader, you can turn your computer into a credit card terminal. This combination allows you to process transactions at card-present rates without the need for a dedicated credit card terminal.
With a robust and versatile product, and great support for merchants and developers, PayTrace earns a perfect 5 out of 5 stars rating. The gateway has all the features you’ll need, including extensive documentation and training materials. It’s a great product, and we highly recommend it if you’re looking for a payment gateway. At the same time, be aware that not all the merchant account providers who offer the PayTrace gateway rate so high. Be sure to check out our merchant account provider reviews before you sign up.
Table of Contents
PayTrace is available in the United States. International availability will depend on whether or not your merchant account provider offers service in your country.
Products and Services
The PayTrace payment gateway comes with several standard and optional features, including the following:
- Payment gateway. The PayTrace payment gateway is the company’s primary product. You’ll need to obtain a merchant account from a third-party provider to use it.
- Virtual terminal. PayTrace’s gateway includes a virtual terminal, which allows you to access your account from your computer. When combined with a USB-connected card reader, you can also process card-present transactions right on your computer. The PayTrace virtual terminal is compatible with the following card readers: the MagTek Mini USB, MagTek Sure Swipe USB, MagTek Mini Wedge, MagTek Dynamag USB Keyboard Emulation, and ID Tech MiniMag 2 USB. Note that PayTrace doesn’t sell any of these readers directly. The can be obtained for a reasonable price online.
- Mobile payments. If you want to turn your smartphone into a portable credit card reader, PayTrace has you covered. Their PayTrace GO app is available for both iOS and Android. In addition to the app, you’ll also need either a MagTek uDynamo or iDynamo card reader. The uDynamo connects through a headphone jack, while the iDynamo connects through the Apple Lightning port, making it an excellent choice for iPhone 7 users. Both card readers are magstripe-only. Hopefully, PayTrace will soon be compatible with the MagTek eDynamo card reader, which can accept EMV chip cards and magstripe. The eDynamo can also connect via Bluetooth or USB, making it a great choice for use with the virtual terminal as well as mobile devices. According to the PayTrace website, an EMV solution is in development and should be released during the fourth quarter of 2016. Given that it’s already late December, it looks like the release will be delayed into 2017.
- Pre-integrated shopping carts. PayTrace’s gateway is already pre-integrated with a number of online shopping carts, including Magento, 3dcart, and many others.
- Stored customer profiles. PayTrace includes the ability to store customer information such as billing addresses and payment methods in a secure database. With this feature, repeat customers don’t have to re-enter their information when placing an order. Stored customer profiles are only available under the company’s Pro pricing plan.
- Recurring billing. If you’re billing customers under a subscription plan, you’ll need this optional feature. Payments can be set up to repeat on an annual, quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, or daily basis. Recurring billing is only available under PayTrace’s Pro Plan.
- Security features. PayTrace includes several security and fraud protection features in their Basic, Pro, and Cash Advance pricing plans. All data is encrypted and stored in secure data facilities, not on your computer or network. PayTrace utilizes SSL encryption and meets Level I PCI standards.
- Developer features. If you’re on PayTrace’s Pro plan, you’ll have access to a wide variety of APIs and developer tools, including integrations with 45 different independent software vendors. These integrations include shopping carts, invoicing, inventory management, and much more.
- eCheck (ACH) processing. PayTrace also offers eCheck processing for merchants who need it. This is an optional feature available under the Pro pricing plan only.
As noted above, PayTrace does not offer merchant accounts with their service. Rather, you’ll have to sign up with a partner merchant account provider and include the PayTrace gateway with your account.
Fees & Rates
On PayTrace’s website, you’ll find three different package plans to choose from. The Basic plan is intended for small eCommerce businesses. The Pro plan can accommodate larger online businesses, but is also tailored to the needs of B2B merchants. Finally, the Cash Advance plan is a specialized plan that’s only available to qualified financial institutions. PayTrace doesn’t disclose any pricing information on its website, so you can expect that costs will vary depending on which merchant account provider you sign up with to get the PayTrace gateway. Nonetheless, we’ve found some pricing disclosures that should give you a good idea of what fees and rates you’ll pay:
- $0.00 account setup fee
- $15.00 per month virtual terminal/gateway fee
- $0.30 per-transaction processing fee (note that this is in addition to whatever your merchant account provider charges you for processing a transaction)
- $75.00 account setup fee
- $20.00 per month virtual terminal/gateway fee
- $0.10 per-transaction processing fee (again, this is on top of whatever your merchant account provider charges you for processing a transaction)
The following optional features are also available if you need them:
- ACH eCheck processing: $15.00 per month (Pro plan only)
- Pre-integrated shopping cart fee: $15.00 per month (Pro plan only)
- Recurring payments fee: $5.00 per month (Pro plan only)
The PayTrace GO mobile payments app is available under both the Basic and Pro plans. While PayTrace will rent you an encrypted card reader for $40.00 per year, we highly recommend that you buy your card readers outright – you’ll save money and headaches in the long run.
You should also note that while you can process Level II credit card data under either plan, you’ll need to sign up for the Pro plan to process Level III card data and qualify for the lower interchange rates. These lower rates save you about 0.5% on average.
That’s it! PayTrace doesn’t charge for things like PCI compliance or chargebacks. Your merchant account provider, however, usually will charge you for these things, so review your contract documents carefully so you know what you’ll be paying for and who’s charging you for each particular fee.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
PayTrace bills their services on a month-to-month basis. There’s no long-term contract and no early termination fee for closing your account early. However, your merchant account provider certainly might require a long-term contract, typically three years with an automatic renewal clause that renews the contract for successive one-year periods. Merchant account providers who require lengthy contracts also typically charge an early termination fee if you close your account without proper notice and before the end of your contract. This fee usually averages around $500, but it could also be significantly more in some circumstances.
The good news is that more and more providers are starting to do away with the early termination fee and bill on a month-to-month basis. Even providers that include an early termination clause as a standard provision of their contracts are often willing to waive it if you negotiate and insist on it. In all cases, you absolutely must read your entire contract before you sign up, as sales representatives (particularly independent agents) won’t always be honest with you about these terms. You can (and should) also review PayTrace’s Terms and Conditions as well.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
PayTrace primarily markets its gateway through resellers, and most merchants will sign up for PayTrace as a bundled feature of their merchant account. It is, however, possible to sign up for PayTrace directly if you already have a merchant account. You’ll want to get a price quote from PayTrace and compare it to what your provider can offer before you try this option.
The company also includes a lot of promotional material on its website. With an excellent Product Comparison Matrix and access to the Help Center, you can get a lot of information about the PayTrace gateway’s features and integrations before you actually sign up. Just about everything you might want to know about PayTrace is available on their website – except prices, of course.
PayTrace is always looking to sign up new resellers, and you’ll find appeals to potential dealers and an application form on their website. Because there are so many resellers out there, be aware that your sales experience can vary tremendously from one reseller to another. Many of the resellers are themselves relying on independent sales agents to market their merchant accounts, so they may not be very knowledgeable about the inner workings of the PayTrace gateway. If you need specific information about the PayTrace gateway (especially about compatibility issues), you’ll want to contact PayTrace directly to get more reliable answers to your questions.
PayTrace has a somewhat limited social media presence. Accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn are infrequently updated. The Twitter account is a good resource to follow, however, as it includes system status updates. The LinkedIn account seems to be used entirely for posting job announcements. PayTrace doesn’t have a YouTube channel, but you will find a brief advertisement for their gateway from one of their resellers.
Customer Service & Technical Support
PayTrace’s customer service is provided primarily by telephone and is available from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday. While this isn’t quite as good as true 24/7 coverage, the reality is that most after-hours customer support is outsourced, and you often won’t get a service representative who has the training and authority to solve complex problems outside of regular business hours. With PayTrace, you’ll be talking directly to a company employee who’s very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the payment gateway and can provide top-notch support in solving technical issues.
PayTrace also provides support through email, with a promise to respond within 24 hours. This is probably a better avenue for solving quick problems when telephone support isn’t available.
PayTrace also provides a separate website for their online knowledgebase and help section. The PayTrace Help Documentation site is the most impressive self-help resource I’ve seen to date from any payment gateway provider. PayTrace has done an outstanding job here, offering extensive product documentation, training videos, and even links to sign up for training webinars. If you’re using PayTrace, you’ll definitely want to bookmark this site.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Despite being in business for twelve years, PayTrace doesn’t have a BBB profile. As such, there aren’t any complaints filed against the company in that forum. There are also zero complaints filed against PayTrace on Ripoff Report.
Does this mean that PayTrace is perfect? Of course not. But it is a good indication that the company provides a solid, dependable product and that customers are generally happy with their service. Problems are always going to arise now and then, but it appears that PayTrace’s customer service department is doing an excellent job of resolving these problems before they get elevated to the level of a formal complaint against the company.
Another factor keeping PayTrace’s complaint volume so low is that, because their gateway is usually bundled with a merchant account, complaints (if there are any) are possibly being filed against the merchant account provider instead of against PayTrace. Many merchants are still confused about the difference between a merchant account and a payment gateway. Read this article for an in-depth explanation of the functions and responsibilities of each entity.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Just as there aren’t any notable complaints about PayTrace online, there aren’t any positive reviews or testimonials, either. This isn’t surprising, as very few merchants take the time to write positive reviews of their merchant account or gateway provider and post them online. It’s often left to the providers themselves to solicit and post testimonials on their websites or through social media. These testimonials frequently come across as less than convincing, as they’re often heavily scripted and sanitized of any accompanying negative feedback. In this case, PayTrace hasn’t posted any testimonials from customers – either on its website or through any of its social media accounts.
If you’ve had a good experience with the PayTrace payment gateway, please take a minute to tell us about it in the Comments section below.
Payment gateways aren’t exactly sexy. They don’t have fancy graphics or animations, and they usually feature just a simple, utilitarian layout. If you’re in eCommerce, however, you can’t run your business without one. Without a payment gateway, you have no way for your customers to pay for their online purchases. Obviously, you need a secure, reliable gateway as a core part of your online enterprise – and that’s what PayTrace delivers. The PayTrace gateway is a great product with solid features. While options like support for recurring billing and a customer information database are standard features on most gateways, PayTrace’s ability to process Level III credit card data sets it apart from its competitors. It’s a particularly handy feature for B2B merchants.
PayTrace also excels by providing outstanding customer service through their in-house support team. Their website’s knowledgebase is a remarkable resource for prospective and current customers alike. It’s packed with more information and resources than any similar offering I’ve seen from other providers.
While the PayTrace gateway is a great product, it isn’t quite perfect. There’s currently no support for EMV chip cards, for one thing. This won’t be an issue if your business is entirely online, but for retailers, it exposes you to liability for fraudulent transactions if you’re still swiping the magstripe on your customers’ chip cards. Fortunately, a fix is in the works in the form of a new, EMV-compliant card reader. While its release seems to be delayed at the moment, I’m hopeful that it will be available before our next review update in 2017.
I’d also like to see PayTrace disclose the standard fees and rates you’ll pay for their gateway if you sign up directly through them, rather than through your merchant account provider. Authorize.net and other gateway providers already do this. It would also be helpful if PayTrace would disclose their merchant account provider partnerships on their website. Again, many providers disclose this information, and it’s valuable to a merchant that wants to use the PayTrace gateway, but also needs a merchant account. The costs of a payment gateway are usually lower if you bundle it with a merchant account rather than signing up directly with the gateway provider.
Despite these minor quibbles, PayTrace still earns a 5 out of 5-star rating, at least for eCommerce-only merchants who don’t need an EMV-compliant card reader. For retailers who are using PayTrace’s mobile payments solution or a USB-connected card reader in conjunction with the virtual terminal, the company probably rates 4.5 stars, which is still a very respectable rating. We’re pretty confident that the company will release their EMV-compliant card readers within the next few months.
This is our first time reviewing PayTrace, so we’d certainly appreciate feedback from our readers. If you’ve had any experience with the PayTrace gateway, please take the time to leave your review in the Comments section below.
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