Category: Finances

Is Shopify or Square Better for Your Business?

  • Shopify and Square offer competitive point-of-sale systems, complete with software, hardware and credit card processors.
  • Shopify offers customers flexibility in choosing hardware, credit card processors and integrations. It is a great choice for businesses whose revenue comes from e-commerce sales.
  • Square offers reasonably priced POS software, hardware and transaction fees. It can perform all the functions an entrepreneur or small business needs from a POS solution. Square is a great, affordable choice for businesses whose revenue comes from in-store sales. 

A point-of-sale (POS) system is a combination of hardware and software used to complete sales transactions. But that’s not all that POS systems do. They also store customer contact information, organize your sales data, and provide insightful metrics about how your business is doing. 

There are hundreds of POS systems that are available. And though the best POS system for your business depends on your needs and budget, two competitive POS systems that are often compared with each other are Shopify and Square

If you’re stumped over whether you should go with Shopify or Square, we can help. We’ve examined both POS systems, including what each company offers, their costs (including their processing rates), features and their limitations. Here’s what we found, which, hopefully, makes your decision easier.


Editor’s note: Looking for the right POS system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.



Shopify vs. Square POS Software: Pricing and plans

Shopify charges a flat monthly fee, plus card processing fees for each transaction. Here are the rates for each plan. 

Basic Shopify

  • Cost: $29 per month, plus 2.9% and 30 cents for each online credit card transaction. In-person credit card transactions are charged 2.7%. If you choose to use a payment provider other than Shopify Payments,

Understanding Stripe’s Credit Card Processing Fees

Customers expect they can pay for goods and services beyond just paying with cash. Debit card and credit card transactions are increasingly common, as are digital wallets, which allow consumers to make contactless payments by holding their smartphone to an NFC-enabled payment terminal. But to extend these payment options to your customers, you need to partner with a payment processor.

Stripe is one such processor. In fact, it’s our pick as the best processor for online businesses. It offers competitive rates and relatively few fees compared to other leading payment processors.

This guide will help you understand Stripe’s pricing and the fees you can expect to pay when partnering with the company.


Editor’s note: Looking for the right credit card processor for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs. 

Stripe has chargeback fees, like most other credit card processors. If a customer disputes a charge and requests a payment reversal, Stripe charges you $15. However, if the dispute is settled in your favor, Stripe will reimburse the entirety of the fee. Most credit card processors do not reimburse chargeback fees in the event of a payment dispute. Moreover, if you issue a refund to a customer, Stripe does not charge a refund fee, but you will not be reimbursed for the initial transaction cost of the refunded payment.

How much does Stripe cost per month?

Stripe charges different rates and per-transaction fees depending on the transaction being conducted and how the customer is paying for those goods and services.

Here’s a closer look at Stripe’s rates and fees:

  • Domestic debit card and credit card payments: When you accept domestic debit cards or credit cards, regardless of the brand, you will pay a 2.9% rate plus 30 cents for each

What Should a Good Credit Application Include?

If you’re providing a service such as marketing or technology, a credit application might not seem like an obvious need. But anytime you perform work for a client before you’re paid, you are in fact loaning the client money. Before you loan your clients money, make sure they fill out a credit application. 

A credit application has three main purposes:

  • To evaluate your customer’s creditworthiness.
  • To establish terms with your customer.
  • To provide protection in case your customer defaults on the agreement.

You don’t want your credit application to be too lengthy, especially if you are also going to have a contract, but to be effective your credit application needs to have certain key elements.

Information to evaluate your customer

To evaluate your customer, you need some basic information. This should also include information you might need if the customer becomes delinquent. For example, instead of only collecting the contact information for accounts payable, also collect contact information for the owner or senior management, depending on the size of the company. The more phone numbers, cell numbers and email addresses you have, the better.

The most basic information to collect is the name, address and phone number for the company and any parent companies. You will also want references and bank information. Performing a basic check of any information given can prevent you from doing business with a fraudulent company. You would be surprised at the number of companies who do business without first confirming even the most basic information.

Establishing terms with your customer

It may be obvious, but all too often I’ve seen clients who did not have any written terms of agreement with their customers. Without something in writing a customer can claim that the salesperson told them they could wait and pay until a certain


How Much Should Your SMB Budget for Cybersecurity?

With the end of the year approaching, businesses are busy crunching the numbers for 2020. There are a lot of factors that go into building an annual budget, and small businesses are often left to juggle competing priorities for where to invest.

Cybersecurity is one priority, in particular, that is on just about everyone’s radar in some way, shape or form for 2020. With national news and anecdotes regularly featuring stories of cyberattacks to businesses of all sizes, small businesses are starting to wonder about the risks they face and whether they’re doing enough to protect themselves.

As with many core business functions, cybersecurity often requires a monetary investment and therefore needs space on your budget. The need for cybersecurity isn’t going away any time soon, it’s actually becoming more and more relevant for small businesses. That’s why it’s important to consider cybersecurity as a business, financial and practical priority in 2020. This article will discuss what you need to know about budgeting for cybersecurity, including:

  • Why cybersecurity should be a part of your business – and your budget
  • The potential cost of a data breach and the resulting ROI of a cybersecurity program
  • How to decide how much to spend on cybersecurity
  • How to maximize your investment to best protect your company

Put the calculator down and the thinking cap on. Here are a few thoughts worth considering as you plan and budget for the year ahead.

Why budget for cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an area that affects businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. In fact, about half of all cyberattacks target small businesses and 68% of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the last 12 months. In addition to simply protecting your company from the cost and disruption of a cyberattack, companies roll out cybersecurity programs


Venture Capital Winners and Losers: How to Stop the Bleeding from a Struggling VC Investment and How to Capitalize on Success

While venture capital investments can vary in countless aspects, one thing remains the same: They’re unpredictable.

Risk-taking is at the core of venture capital, and sometimes that risk can pay off in a big way. Other times, it can result in a problematic situation that requires a concerted effort to turn things around. So how do you handle these two extremes – restoring a struggling, but possibly valuable investment, and exploiting a highly successful one?

Let’s look at both ends of the spectrum separately.

The losing investments 

I recently had a venture capital client who had invested in a small software company that was essentially bleeding cash. The business had been in his portfolio for five years and had real customers and revenue, but profitability was lagging. The investor didn’t want to shut it down, but he also didn’t want to continue writing checks to barely keep it above water.

The company clearly had value, but the investor needed to know exactly how to derive that value – and how to stop the bleeding.

Although a so-called “purgatory” investment like this might have the potential to be valuable in the future, investors tend to view it as a drain on their resources, especially if there’s no clear end in sight. A decision needs to be made, with the investor’s choice of action ultimately tipping the tables toward success or failure.

When a venture reaches this point, investors have four options:

1. Sell the company: Ideally, you would sell the company to a strategic buyer who is interested because of the value the company adds to their own organization. This type of buyer can be hard to come by, but they are not infrequently found among a business’s competition or current customer base. Approaching possible buyers in this arena can be