Braintree is a PayPal-owned payment processor that specializes in online payments but also has complementary tools through PayPal for in-person transactions. Notable features include top-notch security with level 1 PCI compliance and compatibility with many payment types, including international payments and bank transfers. Credit card processing rates are reasonable, and discounts are available for nonprofits.
When to Use Braintree
Braintree is one of the most popular online payment platforms, after PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon Pay. Its security, ease of use, wide array of payment types, and international capabilities make it an enticing option for just about any online merchant. However, there are many mixed user reviews around customer support and frozen funds, so I recommend comparing all your options for accepting payments online before choosing Braintree.
In particular, Braintree is best for:
- Secure online payment processing: Braintree has advanced features to fight fraud, chargebacks, and other threats to your business. It can also be used to securely store customer data for recurring billing and subscriptions. It’s one of the best secure payment processors available.
- Increasing online conversion rates: Using Braintree as your payment gateway allows you to accept PayPal, Venmo, and digital wallet payments. Shoppers view PayPal as the most trustworthy security seal, and offering PayPal payments can reduce cart abandonment rates at checkout.
- Nonprofit credit card processing: With options to accept ACH and bank transfer payments, recurring donations, and reduced transaction fees for qualifying organizations, Braintree is our top recommended payment processor for nonprofits.
- Mobile credit card processing: Braintree works with PayPal’s mobile readers and with PayPal’s mobile payments app, which is one of the best mobile credit processors.
When Braintree Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Retail payment processing: If you have a permanent brick-and-mortar store, you might opt for something tailored for storefront businesses. One of Braintree’s advantages is its mobility, but there are better options for the best retail credit card processing.
- Cheapest credit card processing: Though Braintree’s ACH deposits are affordable, there are other payment processors with more affordable rates for card transactions. Check out our guide to the cheapest credit card processors.
- Food-based businesses: Braintree doesn’t have features dedicated to food-based businesses like sit-down or quick-service restaurants and food trucks. Check out our guide to the best payment processors for restaurants for a more industry-specific solution.
- High-risk businesses: Braintree does not support high-risk businesses. If your business falls under this category, you’ll need to apply for a specialized high-risk merchant account.
Looking for something different? See our recommendations for the best merchant services for small businesses to find a solution that’s right for you.
|International payments||Complex interface can be difficult to use|
|Reduced rates for nonprofits||Owned by PayPal|
|Affordable rates for ACH deposits||Chargeback fee applied to every instance|
|Secure platform with fraud prevention tools||Less-than-favorable user reviews|
You can use Braintree’s “sandbox” offering to try out the software without signing up for its merchant services. To actually use Braintree, you can sign up for a merchant account through Braintree or integrate your existing one.
When you want to apply, you’ll need your official ID, proof of address, bank statements, processing statements, and IRS SS4 letter. Overall, users report a fairly quick and easy application and approval process.
Venmo, card, and digital wallet transaction fee
2.9% + 30 cents
ACH transaction fee
0.75% (maximum capped at $5 per transaction)
International payments fee
Nonprofit transaction fee
2.2% + 30 cents (3.25% + 30 cents for Amex)
Discounted rates are also available for enterprise businesses.
Braintree Alternatives and Fees Comparison
Stax by Fattmerchant
Most small businesses
starts at $99/month
starts at $0/month
starts at $0/month
Card-present transaction fee
Interchange + 8 cents
2.6% + 10 cents
Keyed transaction fee
Interchange + 15 cents
3.5% + 15 cents
3.5% + 15 cents
Ecommerce transaction fee
Interchange + 15 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
2.90% + 30 cents to 3.50%
- Payment types: Braintree works with credit and debit cards, digital wallets, PayPal, and Venmo (in the US). You can also set up recurring billing and subscriptions.
- Security: Braintree is PCI compliant and one of the most secure platforms out there. The account updater securely and automatically updates customer card details. 3D secure fights fraud and chargebacks with additional cardholder verification, and there are also dedicated tools like risk analysis, investigations, and filters.
- Mobile payments: Braintree can integrate seamlessly with PayPal One Touch, which facilitates efficient in-person transactions using customers’ PayPal accounts. Customers can process these payments on their own devices.
- International transactions: PayPal and Braintree are available in more than 130 currencies and more than 45 countries/regions. It’s ideal for merchants who serve an international customer base.
- Chargebacks: Braintree has lots of tools to fight fraud and chargebacks, but there is a $15 per instance fee for the ones they don’t catch.
- Analytics reporting: Take advantage of Braintree’s advanced transaction search options, or use the open API to build your own custom reports. The Control Panel also gives you reports on transactions, declines, and settlement batches.
- Send payments: Perhaps the unique feature for Braintree is the ability to send outbound payments as well. You can do so through its integration with Hyperwallet.
- In-person transactions: You can take in-person payments with Braintree via customers’ mobile devices, PayPal’s compatible readers, or third-party compatible POS systems.
Braintree Ease of Use
Strong integration with PayPal makes it easy for merchants who already use PayPal or who are just getting started with online payments. It’s a simple, trusted, and secure platform. However, this does put merchants at the mercy of PayPal’s tendency to unpredictably freeze funds and accounts.
Braintree has no shortage of other integrations either. You can connect it to popular ecommerce platforms like Shift4Shop (formerly 3dcart), BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Other integrations include options for recurring billing, shopping carts, accounting, analytics, online forms, event ticketing, and enterprise-specific tools.
Braintree Customer Support
Braintree customer support is available over the phone, or you can submit a support ticket via an online form. You can also troubleshoot with their extensive support library or refer to their developer documentation. Most users report difficulty getting in touch with Braintree’s support team.
What Users Think of Braintree
Braintree’s overall reviews are mixed with most complaints about poor customer service. Well-liked features include the open API, integrations, ease of use, and global payment capability.
- Capterra: 23 users give Braintree a 3.9 out of 5 stars. Those who like it say it’s easy to use, though there are many complaints about customer service.
- G2: On G2, Braintree earns 3.5 out of 5 stars based on 75 reviews. While merchants like that they can do business across international borders, they have negative comments about fraud prevention, unresponsive customer support, and inability to access funds.
- FinancesOnline: 18 reviewers rated Braintree an average 4.5 out of 5. Some users report difficulty from start to finish, even saying they have difficulty closing their account entirely. Others like the pricing and how many payment types Braintree can work with.
While reading through reviews, I noticed these trends:
Users Don’t Like
Open API and integration options
Poor quality customer support
Payment options, including PayPal and Venmo
Lack of customization
Setup and ease of use
Frozen funds and accounts
Overall, Braintree is easy enough to set up and use for mobile and online payments. However, it’s not the best long-term solution. Limited features and functionality, lack of customer support, and commonly frozen accounts and funds mean other payment processors may be better suited for the long run.