Braintree functions as a payment gateway and merchant account, allowing you to accept payment information from your customers, validate it, and send the money along to your own bank account. It integrates with the following payment types:
- Apple Pay
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Google Pay
- Venmo — in the US only
Braintree’s payment gateway and merchant account utility is enhanced with:
- Fraud prevention. Its fraud tools include AVS, CVV, #3D Secure and risk thresholds. You can also integrate with Kount Custom, a third-party fraud management tool, to apply your own fraud protection rules to your Braintree gateway.
- Data encryption. It’s Level 1 PCI-compliant, and data is managed in the Braintree Vault, with multiple encryption keys. Info stored in the Vault can’t be connected to via the Internet, which helps prevent data thieves from breaking in.
- Reporting tools. From the control panel you can search transactions using advanced filters, batch transactions by payment methods and see transaction disputes. You can also set up custom reports using its API.
- Recurring billing. If your biz runs on a subscription model or you need to set up automatic donations, Braintree can help. Your customers can set up customized plans and can get prorated pricing if they need to upgrade or downgrade a subscription.
- Account updater. It automatically updates customer credit card info, so you don’t run the risk of charging expired cards.
Braintree only works with digital and mobile products, so there isn’t any hardware available. If you want to use Braintree for your app or website and also have a physical store presence, it directs you to PayPal and other third-party POS providers to get set up with hardware.
Braintree pricing and fees
Braintree charges 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction for credit and debit cards and Venmo, and it charges 0.75% per transaction for ACH direct deposits. There are no minimums or monthly fees. Other costs to consider:
- 1% fee to transactions in a foreign currency
- 1% fee if the customer’s card was issued outside of the US
- Each chargeback costs $15
Nonprofits that are verified 501(c)(3) organizations get a discounted transaction rate of 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction.
Braintree also offers customized pricing — including interchange plus pricing options — for businesses that process more than $80,000 monthly. For a tailored quote, call 877-511-5036 or send an email to email@example.com.
What if I only want to use Braintree as a payment gateway — not a merchant account?
If you’re stuck in a contract with a merchant account or are happy with your current provider and only need a payment gateway, Braintree has special pricing for that.
To use Braintree’s payment gateway services, but not its merchant account, you’ll pay:
- $49 monthly, which includes one merchant account
- $0.10 per transaction
- $10 monthly for each additional merchant account
What is Braintree sandbox?
Braintree sandbox is a place to experiment with its tools and services for free — though you won’t actually accept live payments. You can test the payment processing without entering your financial account details, see the control panel as a merchant would see it and play around with the API before committing.
Your sandbox account isn’t linked to your production account, so any changes you make in sandbox won’t go live if you decide to transfer to production.
To sign up for a sandbox account, go to braintreepayments.com/sandbox, enter your name, business name, business location and email address then click Try the sandbox.
To sign up with Braintree, apply for a production account.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Sign up.
- Enter your business details, including tax ID.
- Add information about yourself and the business owners, if they own 25% or more of the business directly or indirectly.
- Add information about your current and projected processing volume, including average transactions.
- Indicate whether your business offers subscriptions.
- Enter your routing number and account number.
- Read and agree to the terms and conditions, then click Submit application.
Expect to hear back about your application within one business day. In some cases, Braintree may request additional info to evaluate your eligibility.
Pros and cons
Braintree might serve your needs if you need a payment gateway and merchant account capable of customization, but it won’t be right for small businesses that want a simple payment processing platform. Before signing up, weigh the benefits and drawbacks:
- Transparent pricing. You don’t have to sign a long-term contract or deal with a complicated fee structure, and its rate is comparable to Square and Stripe.
- Ability to customize the UI. While Braintree has a ready-made checkout UI available, developers can alter and adjust it according to their business needs.
- It accepts payments in 130 currencies. Compare that to Square, which only lets you accept payments in a single currency.
- Slow sign-up process. You have to complete an application to sign up, which might be inconvenient for companies hoping to hit the ground running. And Braintree might reject you if it deems your business model high risk or unfit for its services.
- Poor customer reviews. Dozens of complaints on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), without any responses from Braintree, and low overall ratings raise a red flag.
- Maintaining API can be costly if you’re not a developer. Because you need to build Braintree’s API into your website, you’ll need a professional developer to keep an eye on the code in case it breaks or needs updating.
You’ll need an e-commerce platform to use Braintree, since it doesn’t offer tools to help you build or manage an online storefront.
E-commerce for Merchants
Braintree reviews and complaints
As of October 2020, Braintree has a 1.4 out of 5-star Bad rating on Trustpilot, compiled from over 100 reviews. Most people complain about hard-to-reach customer service and a dated platform.
Some also claim that Braintree failed to stop fraudulent charges from going through. More than a handful of small business owners report that Braintree rejected their application without giving them a reason why, which made them feel like they wasted time experimenting with sandbox.
Likewise, Braintree has a 1.4 out of 5-star rating with the BBB, compiled from nine reviews: It’s not accredited by the BBB, and has a B rating with the agency. Three reviewers state that Braintree froze their accounts, with the ability to hold the funds within for up to 180 days. Most of the negative comments remark that customer service is difficult to reach.
Braintree hasn’t responded to any of the complaints on the BBB or Trustpilot, which raises a red flag.
Still, it’s worth noting that Braintree generally has a positive reputation in business forums around the web, with people complimenting the integration API and straightforward pricing.
Contact Braintree’s customer support team via:
- Email. 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. CT Monday through Thursday, and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays.
- Phone. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT on Fridays.
Braintree also has support reps and engineers on-call at all times for emergency troubleshooting.
Its email and phone number aren’t publicly available, though you can access this information through the help portal after signing up.
Braintree is a full-stack payment gateway and merchant account provider based in Chicago, launched in 2017 and acquired by PayPal in 2013. It specializes in digital payment processing, for web and app-based e-commerce providers.
If you’re a developer in need of payment processing with transparent pricing and the negative reviews don’t put you off, then Braintree might be worth a shot. But if you’re looking for a provider with a better reputation or different features, compare other payment processing options.