How to Accept Online Payments Without Fees

Kathryn Pomroy
Written by Kathryn Pomroy
Updated July 13, 2022
A contractor using his laptop on a construction site
Photo: skynesher/E+/Getty Images

Free and low-fee payment options for home service pros

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Home service professionals, from plumbers to roofers, need to have an easy way to accept online payments. Ideally, you’ll find an option that offers free payment processing so you don’t lose any profit per sale—but which companies don’t charge fees?

If you’re wondering how to receive payments online for free—or at least at a reasonable rate—this guide will answer all of your questions. Here’s everything you need to know about accepting payments online, features, and more.

Why You Should Accept Payments Online

It's hard to run a business without the ability to take online payments. Customers expect to be able to swipe a card or scan a code to pay for convenience and security. 

In 2020, over $5.4 trillion digital payments were processed. Accepting payments online will show prospects you’re a professional business that’s trustworthy, and it will make things simple for both you and your customers. Cash and check payments simply don't cut it anymore because not everyone carries these forms of payment at all times.

Here are the most popular online payment options and whether they’re free or charge a fee:

  • PayPal: $0.30 and 2.9% per transaction, and no monthly fees

  • Apple Pay: No monthly or per-transaction fees

  • Google Pay: No monthly or per-transaction fees

  • Amazon Pay: $0.30 and 2.9% per transaction, and no monthly fees

  • Stax: $0.08–$0.15 fee per transaction and a $99 monthly fee, but no percentage fees on each transaction

  • Stripe: $0.30 and 2.9% per transaction, and no monthly fees

  • Square: $0.30 and 2.9% per transaction, and no monthly fees

No-Fee Online Payment Options

No fees, please! If you want to know how to receive payments online for free, Apple Pay and Google Pay are your best bets. With no transaction, monthly, or hidden fees, you can accept payments without losing a penny. 

Here’s a look at the top ways to accept payments online for free.

Apple Pay

Another free online payment option is Apple Pay. But keep in mind that this was created for Apple users only. This won’t be a great option for any customers without an Apple device or account. However, there are no fees and you can add an Apple Pay button for easy checkout for your Apple-using customers.

Apple Pay offers the following features:

  • Customers can make payments by storing encrypted credit card data on a device like an iPhone

  • No up-front fees to the customer or the merchant

  • Apple Pay allows customers to use an Apple device to pay at participating payment terminals rather than pull out a credit card

Google Pay

Google Pay is completely free for merchants and customers. However, features are limited, so you’ll need to decide what features matter most for your business before going with Google Pay.

Here are some of the features of Google Pay:

  • Allows you to put a button on your site to easily process a transaction

  • Uses the digital wallet system like Apple Pay, simplifying the process for customers

  • Doesn’t charge up-front fees to customers or merchants

  • Allows customers to use an Android device to pay at participating payment terminals rather than pull out a credit card

Low-Fee Online Payment Options

Looking for different features and reasonable rates from your payment processor? Here are some popular options and what they have to offer business owners.

Square

Square is free to set up and only charges for transactions. E-commerce companies selling actual products set up online stores through Square, but as a contractor, you would probably prefer to just invoice customers. Square allows contractors to quickly send digital estimates and invoices to their customers, and you can take payments and track the status of invoices through Square.

Square offers the following advantages to consumers and merchants:

  • Simplifies the checkout process

  • Gives you the option to create a full online store

  • Offers a card reader and point-of-sale (POS) terminals for merchants who also want to accept payments on site

Stripe

Stripe has a lot of similarities to Square, charging the same amount per transaction and also offering online stores through a partnership with Spiffy.

Stripe has emerged as a popular processing platform in recent years, with several key advantages:

  • Can handle just about any type of payment source

  • Easy to embed into your site

  • Offers a card reader to merchants who also want to be able to swipe credit cards on-site

Stax

Stax by Fattmerchant charges $99 per month for its service and $0.08 to $0.15 per transaction without any percentage markup.

Stax offers some unique benefits compared to other services:

  • The payment structure is significantly different from any of the popular services

  • It offers developer tools, allowing you to build custom shopping carts that integrate into your store, or you can use a pre-built cart

  • It provides in-depth reporting and a unified dashboard that syncs data with QuickBooks

Amazon

Amazon Pay's fee setup is exactly the same as Stripe and Square, with no monthly fee and a charge of $0.30 per transaction and 2.90% on each purchase. It allows users to pay with their Amazon accounts on external websites.

Amazon has the following advantages:

  • The most convenient option for Amazon sellers

  • Easy to add Amazon Pay to your store

  • Customers won't have to input their payment info when it comes time to check out, eliminating a key step

PayPal

PayPal also uses the industry standard pay structure of $0.30 + 2.9% per transaction, and offers a host of banking services while ensuring all transactions are 100% secure. Also, PayPal allows you to put an easy pay button on your site.

The downside of PayPal is it only provides payment services, whereas other processors offer a complete suite of business management tools. 

PayPal is unique because of a few standout features:

  • Allows you to accept payments online or in store

  • Will assist you with emailing invoices to customers

  • Provides a lot of the services a bank does

  • Easy to add a PayPal button to your site

  • For merchants who want to swipe cards on-site, PayPal offers card readers

Determine Which Payment Processor Is Right for You

Each payment processor has its own benefits and drawbacks. Some processors have low per-transaction fees but make you pay a monthly fee. Still, others charge a hefty amount per transaction but have extras like online store setup and helpful integrations. And services like Apple Pay and Google Pay cut out many fees but don’t offer many features businesses need.

Weigh the pros and cons of each online payment processor to decide which one is right for you. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.