WePay is a payment service provider (PSP) lauded for its ease of use, but some reviewers also complain of funding holds and poor customer service.
As a PSP, it provides merchants with the ability to accept electronic payments, but isn’t technically a merchant acquirer. The difference between a payment service provider like WePay and a traditional merchant acquirer is that PSPs group all their merchants into one large merchant account, whereas merchant acquirers give all their merchants individual merchant accounts.
There’s also a key difference between WePay and fellow PSPs Square, Stripe and PayPal: the markets they service.
While Stripe, Paypal and Square directly service merchants who are looking to accept electronic payments, WePay only services operators of software platforms who want to allow their users to send and receive payments, a key distinction.
How does WePay work?
Say you operate a business selling software as a service (SaaS), and you need to find a way to allow users to accept payments within your platform. Without WePay, your SaaS business would have to use a third-party payment processor and integrate it into your platform. Users would then have to create an account with the third-party processor and link it back to your platform.
The drawbacks of this arrangement are that you are making your user work with two different services in order to use your platform. For platform-related inquiries, they would contact your business, but for payment-related inquiries, you would have to refer them to your payment processor. What’s more, the payment processor would receive all the revenue generated from the processing of credit card payments, and your platform would be required to share your user’s personal information with a third party — which could lead to fraud and compliance issues.
WePay allows SaaS businesses to circumvent these issues by providing them with a payments solution hosted within a business’s own platforms. Users can onboard and send and receive payments without having to use a third-party website. This is done through WePay’s developer tools that allow brands to create a white label payments solution for its platform and mobile app.
Using WePay, merchants on your platform can accept credit card payments from all major card networks, as well as mobile payments and ACH transfers. Note that WePay still charges the platform a payment processing fee, but the platform is then free to set the processing fee it charges its users, meaning your business can collect revenue from accepting card payments.
Another thing to be aware of is that platforms must share user data with WePay in order to manage and prevent fraud. WePay also provides platforms with custom support options, meaning platforms and users can select how they receive support.
For merchants with Chase business bank accounts, WePay offers same-day deposits. There are also two mobile credit card terminals WePay offers: The Ingenico Moby 3000 reader and the Ingenico RP350x. Platform operators can arrange to ship mobile readers to merchants directly from WePay’s warehouses.
WePay Link is WePay’s most basic level of service, and it pretty much functions like a third-party payment processor, rather than an integrated one. With WePay Link, users will be sent to Chase to set up and manage their merchant account. Chase will also provide support, oversee funding, manage risk and compliance and set payment processing fees (although platform operators will receive a referral fee).
Perks of WePay Link include instant onboarding for merchants (which means setting up an account in minutes), same-day deposits and a robust reporting suite. WePay says that its Link product can be integrated with only two API calls — meaning it should be relatively simple to do. Once integrated, merchants on your platform can accept credit, debit and echeck payments in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. WePay Link also accepts digital wallet payments.
Other features include payment tokenization, assistance with meeting PCI compliancestandards, automatic account updates and a customizable payout cadence (daily, weekly, monthly).
For processing credit card payments using WePay link through your platform, merchants will be charged a 2.95% plus 25 cents processing fee. WePay says that ACH payments may be processed at a different rate.
WePay Clear is the white label solution referred to earlier in this review. With WePay Clear, merchants can set up and manage their merchant account directly from your platform. They will also be able to receive dedicated support through your platform, instead of having to go to WePay.
What’s more, the platform gets to decide the payment processing rates it will charge to merchants (WePay still charges a “buy rate” to the platform operator, but then you can charge a markup on that rate and keep the difference).
In addition to all that, WePay Clear comes with all the aforementioned features included in WePay Link, such as instant onboarding, same-day deposits, a reporting suite and risk-management tools.
Note that WePay Clear is more complex to integrate into your platform, given its a more customized solution. WePay also requires platforms to include “Powered by WePay” as part of your branding for your payments service.
Lastly, there’s WePay Core — WePay’s enterprise solution that allows platform operators to control every aspect of the user experience and transaction lifecycle. It’s called WePay Core because it allows you to integrate directly into Chase’s core infrastructure.
Merchant accounts, support and risk and compliance are all handled within the merchant platform. Core also comes with everything included in WePay Clear. In terms of payment processing rates, WePay says it offers “aggressive, relationship-based pricing.”
This means WePay will quote you a price, and then you can charge a markup on its rate to your merchants. Of course, the work required to implement WePay Core into your platform is complex, but once you do, you’ll have a bespoke payments solution that makes sense for your business.
WePay offers customized support to help platform operators handle merchant inquiries. But what about support for the platform operators themselves?
Looking at the WePay website, there doesn’t seem to be any phone number to contact for support. Instead, there is a page where platform operators can submit a ticket, and a WePay customer support member will get back to them in due course.
Outside of payment processing rates, WePay doesn’t list any pricing information on its website. We assume that platform operators will be charged some kind of subscription fee for using WePay’s products, but that fee structure is quote-based. This isn’t surprising considering WePay offers a customized solution for each business. And as previously mentioned, merchants are free to charge a markup on the processing fees WePay charges them.
Under WePay’s Terms of Service, there are also a few other fees WePay may assess, including a $15 chargeback fee, a $15 ACH return fee and a $25 research fee (if an account is deemed abandoned).
There is no early termination fee, and WePay does not disclose contract lengths on its website.
The entire point of the WePay is to have a payments solutions that looks like your own white label payments solution. In that regard, WePay exceeds expectations.
Though it requires some technical acumen to integrate WePay into your platform, it offers a payment service for your platform that is totally unique. Platform operators can customize everything from onboarding to payouts, and merchants can sign up for a merchant account without having to deal with two different service providers.
Ease of use
The other aspect of WePay that we enjoy is the platform’s ease of use. Merchants can be onboarded to WePay in a matter of minutes, and WePay goes the extra mile by offering its customer support services to merchants through your platform.
WePay Link is also a very simple payment solution to integrate into your platform, and the endless amount of documentation on the WePay website makes it possible to find the answer to even the most specific questions.
We don’t have an issue with the fact that WePay offers quote-based pricing. After all, it is a product that is designed to be tailored to the needs of specific businesses. Our main concern with WePay is the payment processing rate it charges merchants.
Charging 2.9% plus 25 cents is a lot, and that doesn’t include the markup platform operators have the option to charge. If it does decide to charge a markup, merchants are looking at costs of over 3% to process payments. While it’s true that larger businesses have more leverage to negotiate this rate down, but having 2.9% plus 25 cents as a starting point is less than ideal.
We commend WePay for having a lot of documentation on its website, but this is a highly technical product and the lack of customer phone support makes things even more difficult. If you’re trying to integrate WePay into your platform and run into issues, you’ll have to submit a ticket through its website (if you can’t find the answer in its documentation), then wait for a response. This could take hours, or it could take days. Either way, this is a pretty big downside in our opinion.
On the Better Business Bureau, WePay has an A rating from BBB, but an average review score of one star out of five. Its high BBB rating doesn’t necessarily negate any customer reviews, but does indicate that the BBB considers most complaints against WePay to have been resolved to some extent.
In negative reviews, customers complain about funds from transactions being held in their merchant account for an extended period of time — over five days, as opposed to other processors who might only take hours — as well as a failure to process large transactions. Others complain about poor customer service — specifically open complaints being marked as resolved and consistent unresponsiveness from support staff — and hidden fees.
In positive reviews, users tout WePay’s ease of use. Specifically, customers say they find the product easy to integrate and onboard clients with. They also say WePay has solid documentation that helps them resolve issues quickly.
Stripe is another high-tech payment service provider. The main difference between Stripe and WePay is that Stripe markets to merchants and platform operators, rather than just platform operators. Examples of major platforms Stripe offers white label payments for include Lyft and Shopify.
Using Stripe Payments, you can accept a wide variety of payment options — credit cards, wallets and international currencies — both in-person and online. Stripe payment processing is charged on a flat-rate fee structure: 2.9% plus 30 cents for every credit card transaction and 2.7% plus 30 cents for every in-person credit card transaction using a Stripe terminal.
Another solution for platform operators is PayPal. With PayPal, you can integrate payments into your software platform, but you cannot create a white label solution. Any payment done through PayPal will require customers to either leave your platform or complete checkout through a PayPal-hosted page. Note that for merchants, PayPal fees range between 1.9% plus 30 cents and 2.9% plus 30 cents depending on sales volume.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet