WePay is a payment service provider that allows software platforms to provide white-label payment processing to their merchants. The BBB gives WePay an A+ rating, but it also has two out of five stars from customers. WePay is lauded for its ease of use, but some reviewers also complain of funding holds and poor customer service.
Payment solutions come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s important to keep in mind when talking about merchant services like WePay. Launched in 2008, WePay is a payment processing solution designed for software platforms that need to be able to allow their users to send and receive payments.
This sounds pretty niche, until you realize that WePay customers include some of the largest commerce platforms in the world, including BigCommerce, GoFundMe, Meetup, FreshBooks, and Constant Contact. Interestingly enough, WePay was the payment processor used for crowdfunding during the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011.
A lot has changed since then. Case in point: WePay was acquired by JPMorgan Chase in 2017—the largest bank in the world. WePay also claims to process $1.4 trillion annually, and its big-name customers lead us to believe that this payment processor probably has quite a bit to offer.
In this guide, we’re going to break down what small business owners need to know about WePay, including how it works, who it serves, and how much it will cost. We’ll also provide you with some alternatives to WePay so you can find the right payment processing solution for your business.
Let’s get started.
What Is WePay?
At its core, WePay is a payment service provider (PSP)—exactly like Stripe, Square or PayPal. This means 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 market 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. This is a key distinction that will inform the rest of the review.
WePay offers three different levels of service to software platform operators—each with varying levels of complexity and functionality. We’ll touch on each service later on. For now, let’s get a better understanding of how WePay works.
How Does WePay Work?
To really understand what WePay is and how it works, let’s provide an example. Say you operate a software as a service, or SaaS, business 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 those 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 their 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.
So that’s the basics of how WePay works. Now let’s learn a bit more about everything WePay can do for your software platform by looking at its three levels of service.
You understand now what WePay is and how it works. But to really understand what it can offer to your business, you need to look at each specific level of service it offers. Let’s break them all down.
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 their 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 compliance standards, 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% + $0.25 processing fee. WePay says that ACH payments may be processed at a different rate.
WePay Clear is the white label solution we 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 they offer “aggressive, relationship-based pricing.”
This means WePay will quote you a price, and then you can charge a markup on their 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 Customer Service
We mentioned 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.
While this is less than ideal, WePay does offer a lot of documentation on their website to assist users. For starters, there is a Help Center with numerous guides to help both platform operators and merchants deal with any issue that might arise. Along with that, there is developer documentation, a Knowledge Center, API Support, a blog, and an engineering blog.
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.
Given all of this information, here is what we like about WePay:
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.
There are some drawbacks to WePay. We’ll list them here:
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.
A 2.9% + $0.25 rate is a lot, and that doesn’t include the markup platform operators have the option to charge. If they do 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% + $0.25 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 their website (if you can’t find the answer in their 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.
To get a better idea of what WePay offers customers, we pulled some reviews of the app from Better Business Bureau. Overall, WePay has an A+ rating from BBB, but an average review score of two stars out of five. There are two recent complaints from 2019, and the rest seem to have been filed in June of 2018 or earlier. Their 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.
In addition to the BBB reviews, we talked to someone who uses WePay to run their business. Here is what he had to say:
“We use WePay to pay for some freelancers we hire. Until now everything has worked flawlessly. Not a complaint about the service. We move around $3,000 every month on there. We recommend it to anyone looking to hire someone through the internet. Better than the competition and reliable”
— Alberto Navarrete, general manager of Frisco Maids
If you’re not sold on WePay, or if its service is too specific for your business needs, here are some alternatives to consider:
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% + $0.30 for every credit card transaction and 2.7% + $0.30 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% + $0.30 and 2.9% + $0.30 depending on sales volume.
Is WePay the Right Payment Solution for You?
We like the functionality and versatility WePay offers to developers looking to integrate payments into their software platform. When deciding between WePay and another payments service, the key thing to keep in mind is the type of experience you want to offer merchants and their customers. A seamless payment experience can go a long way towards growing your business. So if WePay fits your business’s needs, we think you could do a lot worse.
Matthew Speiser is a former 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. Prior to Fundera, Matthew was an editorial lead at Google and an intern reporter at Business Insider. Matthew was also a co-author for Startup Guide—a series of guidebooks designed to assist entrepreneurs in different cities around the world.