BlueSnap Review for 2019: Pricing, Features, Top Alternatives

Matthew Speiser

Matthew is a staff writer at Fundera. He has written extensively about ecommerce, marketing and sales, and payroll and HR solutions, but is particularly knowledgeable about merchant services. Matthew's writing has been published in Business Insider, The Fiscal Times, Best Company, and NJ.com, among others. Matthew was also a co-author for Startup Guide—a series of guidebooks designed to assist entrepreneurs in different cities around the world. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Delaware. Email: matthew.speiser@fundera.com.

BlueSnap is a merchant services company that specializes in helping ecommerce merchants take payments online. The BlueSnap proprietary payment gateway comes with all sorts of bells and whistles that allow online payments to be accepted in a variety of different ways. Furthermore, BlueSnap is operational in 178 different countries, accepts over 100 different types of payment, and works with over 30 different global banks—meaning it can accommodate ecommerce merchants wherever they sell.

If you’re an ecommerce merchant that sells internationally, you’re going to want to know how BlueSnap compares to some of the other top payment gateways on the market. After all, BlueSnap isn’t the only service that allows you to accept payments all over the world. What differentiates one payment gateway from another is its range of additional features, ease of use, and, of course, price. So let’s evaluate BlueSnap on these factors to see if it is the right payment gateway for your ecommerce business. 

BlueSnap: The Basics

BlueSnap is primarily a payment gateway—software that makes it possible to accept payments online. However, it comes with a bunch of additional features that can expand the functionality of your gateway via an app programming interface (API). An app programming interface allows one software (BlueSnap) to communicate with another third-party software (such as your ecommerce platform) to allow you to use BlueSnap features within that third-party software. APIs are a series of protocols that are typically expressed in code that can be added to the backend of a third-party software.

The BlueSnap API offers a payments page, the ability to set recurring payments and invoices, the ability to accept payments via a virtual terminal, the ability to integrate with different ecommerce platforms and shopping carts, and the ability to work with your POS system. We’ll get into more detail on all the offerings of BlueSnap in the next section.

What we’ll say for now is that BlueSnap is a suitable solution for most ecommerce merchants—particularly ecommerce marketplaces and B2B and B2C SaaS companies. Now that we understand the basics about this payments service, let’s get into the weeds so we can understand just what BlueSnap can do for you:

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BlueSnap Capabilities

Here is everything that the BlueSnap payment gateway is capable of doing:

Accepting Payments

BlueSnap is not a direct processor. Instead, they partner with several major third-party merchant acquirers to provide you with a merchant account. Some of the brands they work with include First Data and Worldpay. Be sure to review your contract with BlueSnap so you can be certain who is providing your merchant account.

As previously mentioned, BlueSnap offers a lot of options when it comes to the types of payments it accepts. A non-exhaustive list includes major credit card networks like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, bank and ACH transfers, and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Skrill. 

Through BlueSnap, you can process over 100 currency types and offer a payments experience in 29 languages. BlueSnap also offers payouts in 17 currencies. On the BlueSnap website, you can see a complete list of the 178 countries you can use BlueSnap in. 

This is all made possible through the fact that a BlueSnap merchant account and payment gateway connect with over 30 international banks, allowing for more seamless conversions. Transactions are automatically routed to the most appropriate local bank, which helps minimize decline rates. Failovers, account updates, and subscription retries are all taken care of by the system automatically.

What’s more, BlueSnap features a Chargeback Management platform where you can manage and dispute chargebacks. BlueSnap will also send you pre-chargeback alerts to help you prevent chargebacks before they happen, and automate your response to retrieval requests. Furthermore, BlueSnap supports Visa Merchant Purchase Inquiry, which helps Visa merchants respond to cardholder inquiries around unrecognized transactions prior to a chargeback or dispute.

Checkout Page

BlueSnap offers an API and a library of software developer kits that allow merchants to provide a range of different payment options on their checkout page, or even create a hosted checkout page for a desktop or mobile device. The API can be integrated in minutes, and merchants can pick and choose which payment options they want customers to choose from. You can also create a PCI compliant hosted checkout page in different languages.

Subscriptions

BlueSnap’s Subscription Billing Engine API allows you to build custom subscription plans for your customers. The Billing Engine comes with automated retries if a subscription charge fails, plus an account updater that will automatically update a customer’s payment information. 

Invoices

Through BlueSnap, merchants can send invoices and include a Pay Now button for quick collection. The Pay Now button allows merchants to set the price, quantity, and time limit for the payment link and send it to customers for any kind of transaction. With BlueSnap Invoices, merchants can also select the payment options (credit card, ACH) and currencies they will accept, and even redirect customers to a hosted payment page where they can complete payment. 

BlueSnap also integrates with payments automation service Armatic, which allows merchants to streamline tasks throughout the payment lifecycle, from subscription setup to automated customer follow-up on accounts receivables. 

Virtual Terminal

BlueSnap comes with a virtual terminal that allows you to key in payment information received over the phone, via fax, or via email directly into your merchant console for processing. This feature comes built-in and does not require an additional integration. 

Marketplace Payments

BlueSnap provides functionality for merchants managing ecommerce marketplaces. With the BlueSnap Marketplaces API, you can onboard third-party merchants onto your marketplace and gain access to tools that allow your vendors to pay you while sending and receiving communications. Vendors are underwritten and verified by BlueSnap before being allowed onto your platform. Additionally, BlueSnap can facilitate multi-party payouts so that you and your vendor each receive your share on every sale. 

Plus, BlueSnap Marketplaces allow you to set transaction splits, predefined payout methods, and flexible schedules. Vendor bank accounts are linked to their own BlueSnap account for fast and simple distribution of funds.

Point of Sale (POS)

We should start by saying that BlueSnap does not currently offer POS integrations. On their website, however, they say this feature is “coming soon.” When it does come, BlueSnap says you will be able to use their payment processing service with over 100 different POS system providers, and process magstripe, EMV (chip), and contactless methods of payment for in-person transactions. BlueSnap will also offer omnichannel support, allowing you to manage in-store and online payments from a single account. 

What’s more, BlueSnap says it will begin offering countertop and mobile credit card terminals, although it does not specify which products it will be offering. 

Integrations

BlueSnap works with a decent amount of third-party software. A comprehensive list can be found on the BlueSnap website, but here are some of the most notable integrations:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Volusion
  • 3DCart
  • WordPress
  • WooCommerce

Reporting

BlueSnap tracks all transactions and generates comprehensive reports in real-time that provide an overview of your business’s performance. BlueSnap reports allow you to get insight into conversion rates, sales figures, reconciliations, chargebacks, and more. BlueSnap also has a reporting API that allows you to generate custom reports based on the analytics you are interested in tracking. 

Security

BlueSnap provides all merchants with a fraud prevention system tailored to their specific needs. The fraud prevention system includes features like customer authentication and an integration with Kount, a machine-learning security system. 

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Customer Service

BlueSnap offers support via phone, email, and live chat Sunday through Friday every week. Most inquiries during this time will be handled within 24 hours. On the website, there is also a Support Center with guides on how to use the various aspects of the BlueSnap system, as well as a blog, and a Resource Center with video tutorials, white papers, and infographics on BlueSnap and payments trends. For developers, there is a robust amount of documentation that teaches how to use the BlueSnap API. 

BlueSnap Price

For US-based merchants, BlueSnap offers a straightforward and transparent processing rate of 2.9% + $0.30 on all transactions. There are no setup or account maintenance fees, although cross-border fees may apply. Merchants who process under $2,500 annually will also be charged an additional fee. Contracts are month-to-month and can be canceled at any time. All accounts come with all of the aforementioned features. BlueSnap also offers custom pricing to high-volume merchants and charitable organizations. 

BlueSnap Pros

Given everything we have gone over, here are what we see as the benefits of this service:

Versatility

BlueSnap packs a big punch in the features department, making it one of the most versatile payment gateways we’ve seen. BlueSnap has really tried to consider a plurality of ecommerce businesses when developing its product, leading to a service that can facilitate payments for marketplaces, international sellers, or subscription services alike. 

Payments Acceptance

The other nice thing about the BlueSnap payment gateway is that it can accept such a diverse range of payment methods. This is important for ecommerce merchants who sell their wares all around the world, as not being able to accept a specific payment method can lead to a lost sale. Furthermore, BlueSnap’s partnerships with over 30 different international banks means that processing payments internationally won’t be a headache.

BlueSnap Cons

There are some drawbacks to BlueSnap. We’ll list them here:

Requires Technical Skill

Despite what BlueSnap says, to get the most out of the platform you need to have some technical skills. Many of BlueSnap’s best features are only accessible via the API, meaning you need to know how to integrate an API to use them. This can be learned, but as a small business owner, it’s just one more thing you have to do. Your other option is to hire some third-party help to set up BlueSnap in a way that makes sense for your business. Both options require you to either spend money or time, which is certainly a drawback to BlueSnap.

Integrations

The list of third-party software that work with BlueSnap has some notable omissions: Shopify, Squarespace, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, QuickBooks, and Alibaba, to name a few. These are some of the biggest ecommerce platforms, marketplaces, and software tools on the market, and not being able to use them with BlueSnap can be limiting to a business. Hopefully BlueSnap can integrate with some of these programs in the future, but for now it is a mark against the platform.

BlueSnap Reviews

Here is how customers rate BlueSnap on major review platforms:

Reviews on BlueSnap are sort of a mixed bag, with the service being rated very highly on some platforms and very poorly on others. In good reviews, customers say BlueSnap’s customer service is very helpful in teaching them how to use the product. Others tout the versatility of the BlueSnap API, and the ability to accept such a wide assortment of payments.

A lot of negative reviews focus on sudden account terminations or freezes. Others complain of having to provide a rolling reserve, which is not something BlueSnap discloses on its website. Foreign merchants also complain of having difficulty being accepted for a BlueSnap account.

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BlueSnap Alternatives

If you’re looking for something a bit different, here are some BlueSnap alternatives to consider:

Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net works with nearly any merchant account, making it one of the most versatile payment gateway providers on the market. This is a marked difference from your limited integration options with BlueSnap. Using Authorize.Net, you can accept all major credit cards, debit cards, digital payment methods, as well as e-checks and foreign payments from most countries. 

Features you get with Authorize.Net include a customer information manager, automated recurring billing, invoicing, and a developer API. The cost to use Authorize.Net as your payment gateway is $0.10 per transaction and a $25 monthly subscription fee.

Stripe

If you’d rather have your payment gateway and merchant account with one vendor, consider Stripe. Stripe is a payment service provider, so you’ll have to use Stripe’s merchant account and payment gateway together. You can accept all major payment methods with Stripe, plus several foreign credit card networks and payments via PayPal. Stripe’s best features are its developer tools, which allow merchants to do anything from build a branded payments page to code their own customizable transaction reports. Other tools include a machine-learning fraud detection system and 24/7 customer support. 

Stripe charges a flat 2.9% + $0.30 fee on online credit card transactions. 

Is BlueSnap Right for Your Business?

BlueSnap is an appealing option for ecommerce merchants who sell internationally and who already have some technical skills. It can pretty much handle all of your needs at a rate that is competitive with other online payment processors. However, small-time ecommerce merchants can probably get away with a simpler option. Consider what you need from your payment gateway and choose accordingly. 

Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone. They haven’t been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the companies mentioned above. Learn more about our editorial process and how we make money here.

Matthew Speiser

Matthew is a staff writer at Fundera. He has written extensively about ecommerce, marketing and sales, and payroll and HR solutions, but is particularly knowledgeable about merchant services. Matthew's writing has been published in Business Insider, The Fiscal Times, Best Company, and NJ.com, among others. Matthew was also a co-author for Startup Guide—a series of guidebooks designed to assist entrepreneurs in different cities around the world. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Delaware. Email: matthew.speiser@fundera.com.

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