Intuit has integrated its payment acceptance service for brick-and-mortar retailers with GoPayment, its Square-like mobile payments service, the company is telling us in a press release. The QuickBooks Point of Sale 2013, as the latest edition of Intuit’s POS service is called, is of course offering all other features that users of its previous versions would expect of it and I have little doubt that they will love the update.
But how does Intuit’s QuickBooks-connected GoPayment service compare to Square’s Register, its emerging competitor? Reading through what Intuit’s executives have been telling the media, one may get the impression that none of their rivals offers anything that comes anywhere close to their product’s capabilities. The reality, however, is quite different. Whereas QuickBooks is without a doubt the most powerful accounting software currently available to small businesses at a reasonable price, Square Register has been closing the gap quickly, while offering a much more straightforward pricing to its users. And, on balance, Square may be the better choice.
So the news is that Intuit’s QuickBooks Point of Sale can now be synced with the company’s GoPayment mobile payments offering, so that whether a merchant accepts a payment through the POS register or a mobile phone, the transaction is recorded into their QuickBooks account. As Intuit says, merchants using the company’s software can now accept “credit cards in the aisle or on the go at street fairs and trade shows using GoPayment on the most popular smartphones and tablets.” And you can see how being able to check customers out in the aisles of your store could eliminate the lines at the registers at peak hours. Moreover, you can’t really take your POS terminal with you to a trade show, so these are all legitimate points.
But how does Intuit’s offering compare to Square Register?
Well, to begin with, Square Register doesn’t come with a full-fledged accounting software built into it, so Intuit has a clear advantage here. However, Square’s offering does let you import your inventory and automatically keeps track of your sales, as well as of your customers. Moreover, the Register allows users to monitor transactions in real time through its analytics feature. It’s a pretty powerful solution and it’s free, while the basic Intuit version costs $1,099.95. Then there is the pricing issue.
We’ve done a detailed comparison between Square’s and GoPayment’s pricing models before and the biggest difference that we discovered was that Square’s fees were much more clearly disclosed, while Intuit seems to have gone out of its way to hide the real cost of its service. I’m not going to go over the whole comparison again here, just take a look at what we already wrote for details. I will just say that much of GoPayment’s most important pricing details are hidden in the fine print of the disclosures underneath the main pricing table, which you can see here. Square, on the other hand, is as straightforward as can be.
Intuit’s approach to pricing is, regrettably, the same with QuickBooks Point of Sale 2013. Actually, Intuit has this time literally hidden some of the pricing disclosures of its POS solution. I will go into details in a moment, but first let me mention that the regular GoPayment pricing has been superseded by the regular Intuit payment processing pricing. Now on to the details. Intuit tells us that the rates for Visa, MasterCard and Discover are 1.64 percent for swiped and 2.75 percent for key-entered transactions. But there is more to it and the details can be seen after you click on the “Important disclosures” link underneath the pricing table. There is a lot to be learned there, including that:
- Card-swiped rate applies to qualified swiped Visa/MC/Discover network transactions.
- All Visa/MC/Discover network transactions that do not meet the requirements for card-swiped and or key entered rates will be charged a non-qualified rate of 3.94%.
- A per-authorization fee of $0.34 will be charged for “Non-Qualified” transactions.
Now, you may ask, what is a qualified transaction? To the uninitiated, these are payments made with rewards and other special types of cards and they will not be processed at the “card-swiped” rate, even if they are actually successfully swiped through the reader. Instead, they will be processed at the higher “key-entered” rate and will be assessed an additional per-authorization fee of $0.34 for good measure. Now I ask you: do you think Intuit’s pricing is clear and straightforward?
Intuit’s payment processing service has many things going for it and I can testify that merchants do love using it and often ask whether our own platform is compatible with it. However, Intuit can and should be much more straightforward with its pricing. Yes, setting up a pricing model that is at the same time easy to sell and simple to explain to merchants is not an easy task. But once a company develops a pricing model, it owes it to its existing and prospective clients to clearly explain all of its details. Intuit has not done so.
Image credit: YouTube / Intuit.