First let’s discuss what a payment aggregator is. A payment aggregator establishes a merchant account and then lets other businesses accept credit card payments and bank transfers on the aggregators account. The payment aggregator facilitates the credit card transaction or bank transfer on behalf of the business. The business is then paid by the aggregator for the completed transactions.
The benefit of using an aggregator’s account to facilitate electronic payments (Square Up or PayPal) include:
- Fewer requirements for establishing the account. Most aggregators require only simple contact information and rarely require any financial documentation or credit information.
- Simplicity of set up. Most of the time the account can be applied for and set up immediately.
- Ease of use. Most aggregators have identified a niche market and have simplified their system to accommodate their target market. For example Square Up is ideal for low volume mobile merchants that want to achieve a swiped card rate. PayPal’s niche is low volume internet businesses that want a simplified payment processing solution for website stores.
- Cheap. Most aggregators pricing, for facilitating electronic payments, is less expensive than a traditional merchant account up to a certain volume level. At what volume should you switch off a Square Up account? At what volume should you switch off a PayPal account?
Drawback of using an aggregator’s account to facilitate electronic payments (Square Up or PayPal) include:
- Money is not your money. The business receives a payment from the aggregator. The funds collected from customer’s credit card transactions or bank transfers are the property of the aggregator. The aggregator then makes a payment, equal to the total received from all the transactions, back to the business. Less fees of course. Now these businesses would not be in business long if they withheld funds from businesses that use their account. But it is very important to know that if you violate your terms of agreement they can hold your funds indefinitely. You don’t own that money.
- Expensive at higher volume levels. Once your monthly volume exceeds a predetermined level, the cost associated with using an payment aggregators service is more than a traditional merchant account. When using Square Up, once your volume exceeds $4,300 it is cheaper to establish your own merchant account. When using Paypal, once you exceed $2,000 a month you are better off with your own merchant account.