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- Date Established
- Glendale, California
USAePay is a payment gateway provider with a headquarters in Glendale, California and a second office in Albany, New York. First launched in 1998, it’s one of the oldest payment gateway providers in the eCommerce industry.
It’s important to understand that the company is not a merchant account provider. USAePay produces and maintains a payment gateway, as well as a number of software and hardware products to go along with it. All the company’s products and services are sold through third-party resellers. In other words, you can’t just sign up for USAePay’s payment gateway independently. You’ll have to establish a merchant account with one of their numerous partners and have the USAePay gateway included with your account. This saves the company money, as they don’t have to maintain a large sales force. For merchants, it translates into generally lower costs. At the same time, you’ll still be able to access customer service directly through USAePay for gateway-related issues that your merchant account provider isn’t equipped to handle.
Although USAePay is primarily a software company, they also offer several hardware products to help you accept credit card transactions. The company’s PaySaber products are mobile-focused and include several unique features. Their PaySaber POS card reader for iOS devices, for example, includes both a barcode scanner and a thermal printer for printing receipts. Unfortunately, its 30-pin connector limits it to use with the relatively ancient iPhone 4 and earlier models. Don’t even think about EMV or NFC capability. Unless you have an old iPhone 4 gathering dust and would like to re-purpose it into a credit card terminal, this product won’t be of any use to you. Hopefully, the company will introduce new models in the PaySaber lineup that are compatible with the latest smartphone models and are also EMV-compliant.
Fortunately, there’s no need to use USAePay’s obsolete hardware, as their gateway is compatible with dozens of merchant account providers and online shopping carts. If you don’t already have your own equipment, we highly recommend that you buy your hardware rather than lease it from your merchant account provider.
Despite the limitations of USAePay’s hardware offerings, their gateway is a solid product. It’s secure, simple to use, and has plenty of extra features in addition to basic credit card transaction processing. USAePay’s gateway also includes several features that allow you to manage your business from a single account. Plus, you can customize the gateway’s interface with your website using their free developer tools. Overall, USAePay rates a very commendable 4.5 out of 5 stars. They’re a great choice for eCommerce merchants and retailers who want to expand their business into the online marketplace.
Table of Contents
Despite their name, USAePay is available outside of the United States – if you sign up through a merchant account provider that’s available in your country. USAePay partners with Global Payments, Planet Payment, WorldPay, and other processors for international service.
Products and Services:
Despite being primarily a payment gateway provider, USAePay offers a surprisingly wide range of products and services for businesses, including the following:
- Payment gateway. The USAePay Payment Gateway is, of course, the company’s primary product. In addition to processing online credit card transactions, the gateway comes with features such as customer data management, inventory management, fraud prevention tools, and Level 1 PCI compliance.
- Virtual terminal. USAePay calls this their Online Merchant Console. It performs a variety of functions, including generating real-time reports and graphs, and maintaining databases of products, inventory, and customers. Unlike other virtual terminals, the Online Merchant Console doesn’t appear to be able to accept card-present transactions via a USB-connected card reader.
- Mobile payments. USAePay’s mobile processing system includes the USAePay Point of Sale Payment System app for iOS (USAePay on Android) and a series of compatible card readers to attach to your smartphone (or tablet) of choice. USAePay offers their proprietary line-up of PaySaber readers, including the PaySaber POS, PaySaber Jr., and PaySaber Clip models for iOS devices. PaySaber POS includes a built-in magstripe swiper, barcode scanner, and thermal printer. PaySaber Jr. is a sleeve-style card reader that skips the printer and scanner for a smaller form factor. PaySaber Clip is a small, bare-bones card swiper that “clips” onto compatible iOS devices. Unfortunately, all three PaySaber card readers use the old Apple 30-pin connector, limiting their compatibility to iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and older iPod Touch models. For merchants with newer Apple smartphones and tablets (which will probably be most of them at this point), USAePay is also compatible with several Infinite Peripherals card readers, including the Infinea Tab M, Infinea Tab 4, Linea Pro 4, and Linea Pro 5. In 2014, USAePay introduced the PaySaber Go, a plug-in magstripe card reader that uses Apple’s Lightning port and is compatible with the iPhone 5 and later models.
- Shopping cart integration. USAePay is compatible with several dozen online shopping carts, including Shopify.
- Security features. USAePay’s gateway comes with several standard security features designed to protect your business from fraud and data breaches. All processing occurs through Transport Layer Security (TLS), which uses a 2048-bit RSA to encrypt processing data. The gateway also includes a Fraud Stopper Module to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. USAePay’s gateway is also Level 1 PCI-compliant, the highest level of PCI-DSS security standards.
- Developer features. USAePay also includes several developer tools for customizing the integration between the gateway and your eCommerce website.
- Check processing. USAePay partners with a number of eCheck processors to offer check processing through their gateway.
One feature USAePay does not offer, of course, is a merchant account. Instead, they partner with many of the largest merchant account providers in the industry, including TSYS, First Data, Chase Paymentech, and many others. As a gateway provider, they also don’t offer traditional countertop credit card terminals. If you need a terminal, you can obtain it through your merchant account provider or buy your own. We highly recommend that you buy your own terminals rather than leasing them from your account provider.
Fees and Rates:
USAePay doesn’t disclose any pricing information on their website, but they’re not trying to hide anything. Because the company sells and markets its products entirely through resellers, there are no fixed prices. Resellers are free to set rates and fees as they see fit. While that might sound like a license to overcharge, most resellers will set reasonable prices due to the highly competitive nature of the processing industry.
So, what can you expect to pay for a USAePay gateway? For starters, your merchant account provider may or may not charge you for setting up your gateway. While some providers will waive this charge, others will require a gateway setup fee when you first establish service. This fee can be as high as $100, but it’s usually around $50 or so.
Almost all providers will charge you a monthly gateway fee for the use of the payment gateway. This will usually be around $20.00 – $25.00 per month. Note that some providers will offer you a “free” payment gateway that doesn’t require a monthly gateway fee. These providers usually charge a highly monthly account fee for your merchant account, so the gateway isn’t really free.
Finally, some providers will charge you a small additional fee for each transaction processed through the payment gateway. This is usually around $0.05 per transaction in addition to whatever processing rate and per-transaction fee your merchant account charges. You’ll want to keep an eye on this, particularly if you’re on a tiered pricing plan.
Despite all these additional charges, USAePay’s developer tools are free to use. If you have access to a developer and want to customize your site’s integration with the USAePay gateway, you’ll want to take advantage of these tools.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
Because USAePay doesn’t bill merchants directly for the use of their payment gateway, they don’t have long-term contracts or an early termination fee for closing your account early. Instead, your contract length and termination fees, if any, will be set by your merchant account provider. Unfortunately, many of the account providers that USAePay partners with usually require a three-year contract with an automatic renewal clause and an early termination fee. We highly encourage you to shop around and try to find a provider who will offer you a month-to-month contract with no early termination fee. More and more providers are offering these terms nowadays, so your chances of finding one are better than ever. While you probably won’t be disappointed with the quality of service that USAePay’s gateway provides, the same can’t always be said for your merchant account provider.
Also, be sure to carefully review your contract documents before you sign up for a merchant account. Since USAePay doesn’t sell their gateway directly, you’ll have to rely on your merchant account provider’s sales representative to explain the details of your contract. Frankly, some of them aren’t very honest, and will either neglect to mention early termination fees or lie about them. You are ultimately responsible for knowing what’s in your contract before you establish a merchant account.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
As we’ve noted, USAePay markets its products through ISOs and re-sellers. Because of this, the company doesn’t have an in-house sales team. Their customer service department, however, can often provide answers to any questions you might have about their gateway. They’ll probably be more knowledgeable about the company’s products and services than the sales agent for your merchant account provider who is actually setting up your account. Compatibility issues should be addressed to USAePay’s customer service department, as a sales representative for a merchant account provider might assure you that your existing equipment is compatible – whether it is or not – to get you to sign up for an account.
As a vehicle for marketing its services, USAePay’s website functions quite well. It’s very well laid out and includes a tremendous amount of information about the company’s gateway and associated services. Guides, manuals, and video tutorials are all available and easy to find.
USAePay has an active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The company also has a YouTube channel which features twenty tutorial videos for the USAePay Merchant Console. There’s also a PaySaber YouTube channel, but unfortunately, it’s mostly outdated advertisements for the PaySaber terminals.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
USAePay provides customer service and support via telephone and email. Their toll-free telephone number for customer service isn’t advertised as being available 24/7, but we encourage you to try contacting them during normal business hours, if possible. You’re more likely to reach a trained, in-house specialist with the knowledge and expertise to solve your problem. We haven’t found any online complaints about the quality of USAePay’s customer service, which is usually a good indication that the company does a good job in this area.
You will also find a very extensive knowledgebase for self-help on the company’s website. This section of the website contains dozens of articles and tutorials for using USAePay’s payment gateway and Merchant Console. There are also links to downloadable user guides and manuals. While it’s an overwhelming amount of information, there’s a good chance that if you sift through it, you’ll be able to solve most common technical problems without having to call or email customer support.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
Despite being in business for almost twenty years, USAePay doesn’t have a profile with the BBB. Hence, there are no BBB complaints on file against the company and no negative trends to be aware of. We couldn’t find any complaints against USAePay on Ripoff Report, either. Because the company sells its services through resellers, it’s possible that any complaints about the USAePay gateway have been filed erroneously against the merchant account provider.
All in all, we really couldn’t find very much negative feedback about the company online. This, of course, is a very good indication that USAePay’s customers are happy with the service they’re receiving and don’t have anything to complain about. Good job!
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
You won’t find any positive testimonials for USAePay on their website. That’s okay, though, as often these kinds of testimonials come across as scripted and inauthentic. While there isn’t much positive feedback for USAePay on the web, you will find a few dozen reviews of the company on their Facebook page. While there are a few negative reviews here, too, 21 out of 32 of the reviewers gave the company a 5-star rating. That’s a pretty good batting average. Unfortunately, two of those 5-star ratings came from Ben and Alex Goretsky, the company’s co-founders. Nice try, guys.
As always, we like to hear from our readers about their experiences with the companies we review. If you’ve had any experience with USAePay – good or bad – please let us know about it in the Comments section below.
Final Verdict on USAePay:
If you’re an eCommerce merchant looking for a top-of-the-line payment gateway for your website, USAePay is a great choice. Likewise, merchants whose business includes both a retail and an online presence will benefit from the strong feature set that USAePay’s gateway offers. Actually getting set up with their gateway, however, requires a bit of caution. While there are a large number of merchant account providers who offer the USAePay gateway, there’s a tremendous amount of variability in the rates, fees, and terms that each provider charges. You’ll want to do your homework and carefully research potential merchant account providers before signing up. Things to look for include interchange-plus pricing, reasonable account fees, month-to-month contracts, and the absence of an early termination fee. You should also be aware that gateway fees will be lower with some providers than with others.
If your business includes a retail component, USAePay’s outdated PaySaber card readers are their one major weakness. While the PaySaber POS, PaySaber Jr., and PaySaber Clip were state-of-the-art when the iPhone 4 was released back in 2010, they’re now all but obsolete, and there are relatively few older iPhones still in use that they’re compatible with. Fortunately, the newer PaySaber Go solves many of these compatibility problems by plugging into the Apple Lightning port. It will even work with the new iPhone 7. At the same time, it’s currently magstripe-only. I’d really like to see the company release an up-to-date card reader that can accept magstripe, EMV, and NFC payments, and uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone.
Overall, USAePay rates a very commendable 4.5 out of 5 stars. Their payment gateway has all the basic features (and more advanced bells and whistles) to manage a successful eCommerce business. While their hardware offerings aren’t quite as top-notch, retailers should still be able to use their gateway in conjunction with compatible third-party card readers to put together a reliable processing system.
If you’ve had any experience with using USAePay’s products or services, please feel free to leave a review in the Comments section below.
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