SignaPay | PayHub Review
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- Date Established
- Irving, Texas
- Features integrated payments platform
- Full line of EMV-compliant terminals
- Interchange-plus pricing available
- Low complaint volume
- Uses independent sales agents
- Long-term contract with early termination fee
- Direct customer support limited to business hours
SignaPay/PayHub is a merchant account and payment gateway provider headquartered in Irving, Texas. While now a single entity, SignaPay and PayHub originally began as separate companies, with the somewhat older and larger SignaPay acquiring PayHub in 2014. SignaPay was founded in 2006 and has focused on providing merchant accounts and associated products. PayHub, on the other hand, started up in 2011 and features an integrated payments platform as its primary offering. SignaPay and PayHub both continue to host separate websites, and it’s entirely possible to use PayHub without also signing up for a SignaPay merchant account. Likewise, traditional retailers might be interested in SignaPay’s services, but not have a need for PayHub’s eCommerce-focused product. For this reason, we’re going to present a combined review of both entities, highlighting the differences between the two.
Important! It’s confusing enough that SignaPay/PayHub is using two separate websites and offering an overlapping array of products and services. However, the confusion doesn’t end there. Be aware that there is also a processing company called PayHub Payments out there. Despite the similar name, they’re a completely separate company. If you would like to leave a review or a comment below, please make sure that it’s for the right provider. Thanks!
PayHub offers a Virtual Hub as one of their primary features. The Virtual Hub is a browser-based online portal that allows you to access all the basic tools you need to run your business from just about any internet-connected device. It includes a virtual terminal, recurring billing capabilities, and sales tracking analytics. With the Virtual Hub, you can process transactions (either keyed-in or using an available card swiper) and manage your business in a variety of settings (mobile, at the counter, or in the office) and still have all of the information go to the same place. The Virtual Hub is very popular with merchants, and probably explains why SignaPay has retained the PayHub brand name and the separate website following the merger.
PayHub’s Virtual Terminal is a really solid, sensible service. The software is easy enough to figure out and yet powerful enough that you’re not likely to outgrow it any time soon. They have great simple solutions for website integration (including shopping cart plugins and simple payment pages) and a functional smartphone payment app for mobile processing. If you’re looking for an all-in-one, practical solution, they’re worth considering. Startups and established businesses alike will both find the tools they need at PayHub. You can also demo all of the software for free before signing up.
One new addition to the company’s lineup of services is their new PayLo cash discount program. This is a not-so-subtle attempt to pass your transaction processing costs onto your customers. While SignaPay claims that it isn’t a surcharging program, it automatically adds a “customer service fee” to every transaction. This fee is then discounted if the customer chooses to pay in cash – something fewer and fewer consumers are doing these days. Although the company claims that PayLo will save you a ton of money on processing costs, they also charge a monthly fee for this service that’s proportional to your monthly processing volume. Unsurprisingly, we’ve also heard complaints from merchants whose sales went down after implementing the PayLo program. Apparently, customers don’t like being charged extra to use their credit cards. Unless you’re in an industry where surcharging for credit card use is common and accepted by customers, we recommend that you steer clear of PayLo.
Although we like PayHub’s Virtual Hub, we can’t say the same about SignaPay’s merchant accounts and other services. Heavy reliance on independent sales agents, hefty early termination fees, and a lack of transparency when it comes to pricing all combine to lower their overall rating. So, while I can highly recommend the PayHub Virtual Hub as a great product, I would advise caution when it comes to SignaPay’s merchant accounts. Overall, SignaPay and PayHub get a strong 4 out of 5 stars rating. However, be aware that this is a combined rating. Individually, PayHub rates 4.5 out of 5 stars, while SignaPay only rates 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Check out the full review for more information!
Table of Contents
Products & Services
SignaPay and PayHub offer all the basic services and products that you’ll need for your business, including the following:
- Merchant accounts: It’s important to understand that by itself the Virtual Hub is not a full-blown merchant account, although it’s a suitable replacement for very small businesses and eCommerce ventures. If your business needs are such that you need the additional features of a merchant account, SignaPay can provide you with one. However, they’re actually a reseller for other, larger processing companies. SignaPay currently offers merchant accounts through First Data (see our review), Elavon (see our review), and TSYS Merchant Solutions (see our review).
- Countertop terminals: SignaPay offers a number of credit card terminals on their website, including the Dejavoo Z8, Z9, and Z11, as well as the Verifone Vx520, Vx 680 and the PAX SP20, SP30, and S80 models. All of these terminals are EMV-compliant and include support for Apple Pay and other NFC-based payment methods. Prices are not listed on their website, but it appears that you can either lease your equipment or buy it outright. For most merchants, we highly recommend buying your terminals outright instead of leasing. Be sure to shop around, as you will likely be able to get your terminals for a much lower price than what SignaPay will charge you.
- Point-of-Sale (POS) systems: As a reseller for First Data, SignaPay offers the Clover Station, Clover Mobile, and Clover Mini, as well as the Mynt POS system. Although they don’t provide much information on their website, these systems appear to be available for either lease or purchase.
- PayHub Mobile Hub: You can access your Virtual Hub virtual terminal through the PayHub Mobile Hub app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Transactions can be keyed in or entered by using an available card swiper that plugs into your phone’s headphone jack. The iOS version has generally positive reviews, but it hasn’t been updated in over four years. The Android version, on the other hand, seems to have a lot of compatibility problems with numerous popular Android-based smartphones. The company has also recently released the PayHub Plus app for iOS, which appears to have the same basic functionality as the older PayHub Mobile app.
- Payment gateway: The company now offers PayHub Plus, their proprietary payment gateway. Features include integrated analytics and reporting, tokenization, a hosted payment page option, support for recurring billing, and integration into the PayLo cash discount program.
- Virtual Hub: No matter how you accept payments with PayHub, all of the payment and customer data goes to your “Virtual Hub,” PayHub’s online reporting system. The Virtual Hub includes access to a browser-based virtual terminal. Some of the Virtual Hub’s capabilities include:
- Customer management: Enter customer details at any point in the payment process to create a profile and track the customer’s spending.
- Recurring billing: This is pretty much a standard feature these days, but still important.
- Customizable receipts: These receipts can be printed or sent via email. This feature also works with the PayHub mobile apps.
- Multi-user management: No matter how many employees and users you need, PayHub can get it done at no extra charge. Easily change permissions to give managers more capabilities.
- Fraud/risk prevention tools: Prevent chargebacks before they happen by utilizing the built-in, customizable fraud reduction tools.
- PayHub Checkout: You can easily generate a payment button and forms to integrate payments into your website painlessly. It’s a good simple solution, and for some businesses, it will be all they need.
- Shopping cart plugins: PayHub offers plugins that provide easy integration with a wide variety of popular online shopping carts. Current partners include WooCommerce (see our review), OpenCart (see our review), PrestaShop (see our review), Magento (see our review), Zen Cart (see our review), and others.
- Cash discount program: As we’ve noted above, SignaPay now features PayLo, their automated cash discount program that passes the bulk of your processing charges onto your customers. Pricing is not disclosed for this option, but their website includes a PayLo Calculator that indicates you will be charged a monthly fee that’s proportional to your average monthly processing volume. This fee appears to start at a minimum of $49.95 per month. For more information on how this and other so-called “free” processing systems work, check out our article The Truth Behind Free Credit Card Processing.
- High-risk merchant accounts: SignaPay advertises their services to high-risk merchants, but doesn’t provide any details about which types of businesses are eligible. You can expect to pay much higher processing rates for a high-risk account, and you might be subject to a rolling reserve as well.
Fees & Rates
Despite being the same business entity, SignaPay and PayHub differ radically on providing information about their fees and rates. Put simply, SignaPay doesn’t advertise any processing rate information on its website. Rates will vary widely depending on the nature and size of your business, as well as other factors. The fact that SignaPay operates as a reseller for other processing companies adds even more variability to the mix, so it’s just not practical for them to try to list all of the possible options. The company used to provide an Applications/Forms page on their website that allowed you to read their contract documents before talking to a sales agent, but this information now requires access to a merchant portal – something you’re unlikely to obtain until after you’ve signed up for an account. The most recent SignaPay/First Data merchant application we were able to obtain discloses the following standard fees:
- $99.00 annual fee
- $99.00 annual PCI compliance fee
- $19.95 monthly PCI non-compliance fee
- $25.00 chargeback fee
There are several other minor additional fees. Also, note that there are a large number of other fees that are listed, but no amount is specified. These include monthly minimum fees and statement fees, among others. So, you might be charged for these fees, or you might not. As always, review your contract very carefully before signing.
If you’re just using PayHub, you’re in luck. The PayHub website has a Pricing page that explains their rates and pricing plans clearly and succinctly. PayHub offers the following standardized pricing plans:
Gateway Plan (Gateway Only)
- Includes payment gateway only (you must supply your own merchant account)
- From $9.95 per month
- Includes mobile payments, payment gateway, recurring payments, secure checkout, payment tokenization, virtual terminal, cloud reporting, and live support
Flat Pricing Plan
- Includes payment gateway and full-service merchant account
- 2.79% + $0.25 per transaction
- Includes all Gateway Plan features, plus credit card processing
Interchange Plus Plan
- Includes payment gateway and full-service merchant account
- Interchange + 0.40% + 0.10% per transaction
- Includes all Gateway Plan features, plus credit card processing and flexible pricing
Regardless of whether you use one of these standardized plans or sign up for a merchant account through SignaPay, we highly encourage you to review all contract documents thoroughly before signing up. It’s very unlikely that your sales agent will disclose every single fee and contract term verbally, but all this information is available in your contract.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
If you sign up through PayHub for one of their pricing plans mentioned above, it appears that you will be on a month-to-month contract with no early termination fee. Although your contract shouldn’t have a specified term, you will still need to provide at least 30 days’ written notice to shut your account down. Be sure to review your actual contract to see if any other requirements apply.
On the other hand, contracts through SignaPay generally do include an early termination fee. While the actual amount specified will depend on which of their processors SignaPay signs you up for, most of them have a $495 early termination fee in their contracts. Contract length is usually for three years, with an automatic renewal clause for one-year terms after that.
In some cases, your sales agent may have the authority to waive the early termination fee. It’s definitely worth asking for a waiver. However, be sure to get it in writing!
Sales & Advertising Transparency
One thing to understand when it comes to marketing is that when PayHub was an independent business, its founders saw it as being a software company first, and a payment processing company second. This philosophy is still evident in the layout of PayHub’s website, which provides far more information about software features and extras for developers than it does about pricing. While PayHub’s pricing plan information is a lot more than you’ll get from other companies, it’s still pretty basic. If you choose to go with the Gateway Only or Flat Pricing Plans, you shouldn’t have too many surprises when it comes to extra fees. The Interchange Plus Plan, on the other hand, probably includes more fees than just the ones shown on their web page.
SignaPay, on the other hand, has always been a processing company first and foremost. And, like a lot of other processing companies, they rely heavily on independent sales agents to market their products. Although they’ve toned down the flashy advertising gimmicks since our last review update, they continue to feature a prominent sales pitch to recruit independent agents on their home page. This pitch sends a clear message that the company is more interested in recruiting sales agents than it is in educating potential customers about its products. While the use of independent sales agents hasn’t generated a large number of complaints about SignaPay like it has for many other processors, you should still be very wary when dealing with them.
SignaPay has an active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There are also video channels on YouTube and Vimeo. The company frequently updates these accounts, with new content being posted almost every day. The video channels are particularly useful, with client testimonials, educational videos, and tutorials showing you how to set up and use your processing equipment. Social media content for PayHub appears to have been discontinued and folded into accounts for the SignaPay brand name.
Customer Service & Technical Support
SignaPay offers telephone support from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Central Time during the week. For after-hours support, they provide contact information for their backend processors on their website. Customer support via email is also available. The PayHub website also includes an impressive Developer Portal for developers looking to integrate the Virtual Hub into their websites. PayHub used to offer a fairly strong knowledge base, but this has now migrated over to the SignaPay website. Equipment guides are also available on their Support page.
Overall, SignaPay and PayHub’s customer support seems to be fairly effective, at least judging from the general lack of complaints about their services. My one concern is that, as a reseller, it’s a little too easy for them to pass responsibility for problems onto the processors they’re working with. While this may be legitimate in many cases, it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
SignaPay and PayHub both still have separate company profiles with the BBB, so I’ll cover them individually. PayHub is not accredited by the BBB, but nonetheless holds an A+ rating, with zero complaints in the last three years. That’s about as good as it gets. PayHub’s clean record is most likely a result of complaints now being filed exclusively against SignaPay. Also, payment gateway providers usually don’t receive nearly as many complaints as merchant account providers.
SignaPay has been accredited by the BBB since 2008, and also holds an A+ rating. The company currently has four complaints filed within the last three years, and one complaint filed within the last twelve months. That’s pretty impressive for a company that currently serves around 18,000 merchants. It also represents a notable decrease in complaints since our last review, when they had six complaints in the last three years. There are also two negative reviews filed against the company with the BBB.
Neither SignaPay nor PayHub currently has any complaints filed on Ripoff Report. This is pretty impressive, as the site never takes down complaints once they’ve been posted.
Of the few complaints that I could find, difficulty in closing an account seemed to be the predominant theme. While SignaPay did respond to all of the BBB complaints, they often tried to re-direct blame for the problem onto one of their numerous business partners. While this may have been perfectly legitimate under the circumstances, it also highlights something you should be concerned with when working with SignaPay. As a reseller of other companies’ services, they have little or no control over the situation when a problem arises. While SignaPay has a commendably low complaint volume, they’re still providing services from companies such as First Data and TSYS – and those companies have much higher complaint volumes. So, do your research and find out which company will actually be providing (and servicing) your merchant account before you sign up.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
You’ll find fifteen testimonials from satisfied customers on the Testimonials page of SignaPay’s website. There are also several video testimonials on the company’s YouTube and Vimeo channels. The PayHub website includes just two very brief testimonials. The written testimonials aren’t very informative and frequently omit important identifying information, such as the name of the business providing them. The video testimonials, however, are much better.
If you’ve had any experience with either SignaPay or PayHub, please feel free to tell us about it in the Comments section below. Thanks!
With the passage of time since SignaPay and PayHub merged, it appears that the PayHub brand is gradually being de-emphasized in favor of newer products from SignaPay. The PayHub website hasn’t been updated with new information since our last review update, and much of what was previously available has been moved to the SignaPay site. Nonetheless, PayHub’s Virtual Hub is still a strong product, and it appears that SignaPay is going to continue to support it.
At the same time, PayHub’s pricing disclosures are incomplete. The pricing information they provide on their three plans doesn’t mention early termination fees, PCI compliance fees, or monthly minimums. While you probably won’t have to worry about these with the basic Gateway Only plan, the Flat Pricing and Interchange-Plus Pricing Plans are full-service merchant accounts, and so you might see some (or all) of these fees as part of your contract.
While the advertising on their pricing leaves a little to be desired, PayHub’s pricing plans themselves have improved over the past few years. Standard rates for the Flat Pricing Plan have been reduced from 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction down to 2.79% + $0.25 per transaction. While this doesn’t sound like much, it could still add up to significant savings over time, especially for high-volume merchants. Also, I’m very happy that they’ve replaced their old Tiered Pricing Plan with interchange-plus pricing.
SignaPay, on the other hand, is pretty much just a run-of-the-mill processor. While they cover all the bases with their line of product and services, none of them particularly stand out. In fact, the PayHub Virtual Hub is just about their only really notable offering. For some merchants – particularly eCommerce-only merchants – PayHub’s Virtual Hub and Flat Pricing Plan may be all you need. For more traditional retailers, sooner or later you’re going to need more of the bells and whistles, and that means moving up to a full-service merchant account. When this happens, SignaPay will be there to offer you everything your growing business needs. However, they’re not the best processor out there by any means, so shop around and negotiate firmly to get the best possible terms.
The company is also placing a heavy emphasis on their PayLo cash discount feature. We’re very skeptical about so-called “free” credit card processing programs, as the inevitable loss of sales can more than offset any savings in processing costs. Customers really don’t like to pay extra for the convenience of using their credit cards, and unless you’re in an industry where this practice is common and accepted, it will put you at a competitive disadvantage.
Overall, SignaPay and PayHub earn a respectable rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Because of the unique way in which the merged companies are still operating and marketing their services, this is a combined, averaged rating. Rated individually, PayHub alone would rate 4.5 stars due to the quality and pricing of its Virtual Hub. SignaPay, on the other hand, would only rate 3.5 stars – a slightly better than average rating.
Let us know your thoughts! If you’ve had any experience with PayHub, please leave a comment below.