Our rating(3.5/5)
Payanywhere is a payments platform with a wide range of payment tools for small businesses.
Owned by Wells Fargo under the North American Bancard brand, Payanywhere is an all-in-one merchant platform offering card readers and POS terminals for merchants in the US. Is it as good as its sleek appearances?
  • Highs: Free EMV & swipe reader. Free payment tools. Simple pricing for low-volume merchants.
  • Lows: Poor customer reviews. Pricing and terms can be deceptive.
  • Choose if: You’re a low-volume merchant who wants a simple card reader with complimentary payment tools.

How it works

Payanywhere is a broad-featured payments platform offing POS features, online and in-person payments. Once you are signed up to the service, you get an online merchant hub, free payment app (used with the card readers), virtual terminal and other features.

Accepted payments

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressDiscoverContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

Merchants making up to $10k a month get pay-as-you-go pricing without contractual lock-in, but the account will be active indefinitely until you cancel it (so there is still a contract, albeit cancellable).

To sign up, you fill in the online application form and wait 24 hours for your details to be approved.

If you make more than the pay-as-you-go threshold, you can get custom fees by speaking to a sales rep, or you’ll automatically be transferred to a contractual merchant account with other fees if you exceed the limit.

Card transactions should be paid into your bank account the following business day, which is a competitive settlement time.

Payanywhere fees and pricing

Businesses accepting less than $10k a month are automatically on a pay-as-you-go plan with a 2.69% fixed-rate transaction fee for any swipe, chip dip and contactless payment. Key-in payments cost 3.49% + $0.19 each.

Payanywhere – pay as you goCosts
Setup feeNone
Monthly feeNone
Card processing limitUnder $10k a month
Swipe, EMV & contactless payments2.69% per transaction
Keyed card transactions3.49% + 19¢ per transaction
Inactivity fee (after 12 months of no payments)$3.99 per month
Payanywhere
pay as you go
Costs
Setup feeNone
Monthly feeNone
Card processing limitUnder $10k a month
Swipe, EMV & contactless payments2.69% per transaction
Keyed card transactions3.49% + 19¢ per transaction
Inactivity fee (after 12 months of no payments)$3.99 per month

Though there is no lock-in or ongoing monthly fees on the Pay As You Go plan, Payanywhere will charge a $3.99 monthly “Inactivity Fee” after 12 months of not accepting cards. Once you resume the card payments again, the inactivity fee will stop being charged. You will have to cancel the contract to stop any obligation to pay this fee.

If you make more than $100k through Visa, Mastercard, Discover – and even PayPal – within a 12-month period, you will automatically be transferred to your own merchant account with a separate contractual commitment, new transaction fees and different terms. Moreover, making over $100k a year through American Express will open up a direct contract with Amex.

Payanywhere isn’t transparent about this, as we have seen in customer reviews. If you already accept over $10k monthly, you can ask for tailored rates specific to your business when you sign up.

HardwarePrice
2-in-1 Credit Card ReaderFirst one free, then $29.95/each
+ Free app
3-in-1 Credit Card Reader$49.95
+ Free app
Smart Terminal*$349.95
+ $9.95/month software fee
Smart Flex*$549.95
+ $49.95 setup fee
+ $19.95/month software fee
Smart Point of Sale*$949.95
+ $99.95 setup fee
+ $29.95/month software fee

* Free placement with custom plan, though terms may apply.

HardwarePrice
2-in-1 Credit Card ReaderFirst one free, then $29.95/each
+ Free app
3-in-1 Credit Card Reader$49.95
+ Free app
Smart Terminal*$349.95
+ $9.95/month software fee
Smart Flex*$549.95
+ $49.95 setup fee
+ $19.95/month software fee
Smart Point of Sale*$949.95
+ $99.95 setup fee
+ $29.95/month software fee

* Free placement with custom plan, though terms may apply.

Low-volume businesses might prefer the two app-based card readers with low (or no) startup cost. The 2-in-1 Credit Card Reader (for EMV and swipe cards) is given to you for free upon sign-up, with an option to buy additional ones for $29.95 each. The 3-in-1 Credit Card Reader (for EMV, swipe and contactless payments) costs $49.95 each. Either of these will work together with the free Payanywhere app to accept cards.

Larger budgets can consider the higher-end, touchscreen card terminals that are not dependent on a mobile app:

  • The Smart Terminal costs $349.95 upfront, but then you pay a $9.95 monthly software fee just for using this.
  • The Smart Flex terminal costs $549.95 upfront as well as a $49.95 setup fee, then $19.95 every month for using the software on the device.
  • The Smart Point of Sale costs $949.95 upfront plus a $99.95 setup fee, then $29.95 a month for the software.

In other words, the touchscreen terminals have monthly, ongoing fees even on the pay-as-you-go plan, but the app-based card readers do not.

Varied choice of card terminals

Payanywhere’s card terminals can be split into two types: app-based card readers and smart POS terminals. The card readers are the cheapest and therefore best suited for small budgets and mobile merchants. The smart POS terminals are more expensive, but works independently and have more features.

Let us look at the card readers first.

Payanywhere 2-in-1 card reader

Payanywhere 2-in-1 Credit Card Reader accepts swipe and chip cards.

Payanywhere 3-in-1 card reader

Payanywhere 3-in-1 Credit Card Reader accepts NFC, chip and swipe cards.

The 1-in-2 Credit Card Reader comes free when you sign up with Payanywhere. It accepts magstripe and EMV (chip) cards while connected to the Payanywhere app on iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet, using the latter’s 3G, 4G or WiFi connection.

In a similar vein, the 3-in-1 Credit Card Reader accepts payments while connected to the Payanywhere app, but it accepts contactless (NFC) payments as well as swipe and chip cards.

They’re both very simple card readers, small and connect via Bluetooth to your mobile device. Using Payanywhere with one of the app-based card readers is the most inexpensive way to use the service, as there are no monthly fees or software licence to pay for.

Using one of the smart POS (touchscreen) terminals, on the other had, has ongoing costs as the software and hardware are more complex. All of these accept contactless (NFC), chip and swipe cards.

Payanywhere Smart Terminal

Payanywhere Smart Terminal prints receipts, scans barcodes and more.

Payanywhere Smart Flex

Payanywhere Smart Flax terminal has a customer-facing screen.

The cheapest one of those is the compact Smart Terminal, which has a 5-inch HD touchscreen, built-in barcode scanner and built-in receipt printer. The software, which is installed on the terminal, uses a 4G or WiFi connection to process sales over the internet.

The higher-end smart terminal is called Smart Flex and has an 8-inch HD touchscreen, 4.3-inch customer-facing touchscreen, built-built barcode scanner and built-in receipt printer. It also uses a 4G or WiFi connection to process sales.

Finally, there’s a large Smart Point of Sale terminal with an 8-inch HD touchscreen, 4.3-inch customer-facing touchscreen, receipt printer and barcode scanner. Due to the size, this can only be used at a stationary checkout, and the white finish should preferably fit into your shop environment as otherwise it will stick out like a sore thumb.

Payanywhere Smart Point of Sale

The Smart Point of Sale is not quite as discreet as the small terminals.

Payanywhere app for the card readers

The app-based card readers are synced with the free Payanywhere POS app available in the App Store (on iPhone or iPad) and Google Play (on Android devices). It has a good range of features, including:

  • Accept cards, cash and electronic invoice payments

  • Process refunds

  • Offline card payments (processed when next online)

  • Void transactions

  • Add $ or % discounts to items or transactions

  • Open tickets (for e.g. restaurant tabs)

  • Send digital receipts

  • User accounts with roles assigned, with different app permissions

  • Inventory library with product categories, variants and modifiers

  • Stock counts and low stock alerts

  • Bulk-import inventory from a spreadsheet

  • Barcode scanning from your mobile camera

  • View sales trends

All of these features are available in the app, and any actions and changes will update in the Payanywhere account in real time, as terminals and the backend account are constantly synced.

Basic employee features like user accounts, roles and permissions are automatically available in the account, but additional features can be added through the free ‘Homebase’ integration. This allows you to forecast labor costs, manage staff schedules, track work hours and post job openings on Craigslist.

It’s unclear whether the platform can integrate with third-party software such as online stores or markting tools (to compare, Square integrates with loads), but the Payanywhere SDK allows you to embed its payments system in your own native app.

Merchant hub

Payanywhere’s software is comprised of the mobile app (or on-screen software for the smart terminals) and the central merchant hub called ‘Payanywhere Inside’.

The merchant portal is where you can:

  • Generate full sales reports
  • Analyse sales trends, employee performance and customers
  • Manage the product inventory
  • Process manual-entry card payments in a virtual terminal
  • Oversee and manage disputes/chargebacks

The main account holder will have full access to Payanywhere Inside, but it is also possible to assign admin access to another user created in your account.

The reporting tools are generally detailed, but you can always export sales to the accounting platform QuickBooks.

Payanywhere Inside analytics

The Payanywhere Inside portal is accessible in an internet browser.

Customer service and user reviews

Payanywhere’s website looks sleek and transparent, but customer reviews tell a different story about the service.

The company offers help via a phone number, email address and live chat on the website, but there are no support hours disclosed. Alternatively, you can contact them over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or search the online knowledge base or YouTube video channel for answers.

Based on user reviews, the support is lacking, to say the least. The online chat is automatic and doesn’t help if the problem isn’t covered by the bot. The responses you get via email are slow and sometimes unhelpful, and phoning the company can put you on hold for a long time.

Some have reported positive experiences, but it’s alarming to see the many users warning against the service. Furthermore, some users say the app is unreliable, transactions not going through, and others report their surprise of contract changes and costs not disclosed until after signing up.

Our verdict

Payanywhere is a clear competitor to Square because of its similarly wide-ranging payments tools and choice of branded terminals. Furthermore, the Payanywhere costs are easy to understand, geared towards small (but also larger) businesses.

That said, above a certain threshold of sales, the company will roll you onto a different contract with more costs and fees not properly disclosed at sign-up. For that reason, it is best to use Payanywhere if sales do not go near this limit, as otherwise you may not get the best deal compared to alternatives.

The mobile card readers are a great draw, as the 2-in-1 version comes free and you have the virtual terminal and other tools at no extra monthly fees. The smart terminals, on the other hand, are not as great a deal as Square’s, because Payanywhere charges setup fees and a monthly software subscription on top of transaction fees.

The customer service leaves much to be desired. Payanywhere’s support is not the most responsive, contract terms not the most transparent, and issues with transactions, app and aggressive sales reps prevail, but some users do report a positive overall experience.

Bottom line: Payanywhere is best for low-volume businesses needing an app-based card reader with free access to invoicing and a virtual terminal.