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    8 best credit card systems for salons for efficient payments and happy clients

    credit card processing

    Let’s talk credit card payment processing. 

    Having a smooth payment system is an essential part of any successful spa or salon. After all, the right credit card system means smooth transactions, happy clients, and less time untangling payment issues. 

    The wrong one? Well, that’s a headache you don’t need while juggling a busy schedule.

    That’s why we’re tackling everything about salon credit card processing. From must-have features to the top systems on the market, we’ve got insights to help you choose a solution that will be the right fit for your business.  

    Let’s dive in and transform your payment process.

    Features to look for in a credit card processing system for a salon

    For starters, let’s go over some of the key capabilities a credit card processing system should have to keep both you and your clients happy.  

    We’ll cover five features that make a real difference in day-to-day operations and ensure a smooth payment experience for everyone.

    Robust security

    The beauty industry thrives on trust. Just as clients expect their medical details to be kept safe, they also expect their credit card information to be handled with utmost care. 

    A data breach at a beauty salon can have disastrous consequences, as it can expose sensitive payment and personal details and hurt both the salon’s reputation and your clients directly. 

    That’s why prioritizing a credit card processor with robust security measures is non-negotiable.

    Look for these key safeguards:

    • Data tokenization – a process where you replace sensitive payment information, such as credit card numbers with unique codes that are less tempting for hackers
    • Secure encryption for safe data transfer
    • Compliance with standards like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

    You don’t need to know the intricacies of how these safeguards work, but you do need to know what to look out for, and these are critical.

    Ease of use

    Whether in-person or online, clients want a frictionless payment experience. Your credit card processor should prioritize speed, ease of use, and clarity at every step.

    Look for systems with lightning-fast transactions that are straightforward enough for staff to process payments and chargebacks efficiently, which is especially important during those busy periods. 

    By streamlining the checkout process, you’ll leave clients feeling happy with the entire salon experience, from booking to payment.

    Flexible payment options

    Your clients appreciate choice, and that extends to how they pay for your services. So, you should make sure your credit card processor can handle a variety of payment options.

    Support for credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover should be a given.

    But payment types like Apple Pay and Google Pay should also be available as a lot of people prefer mobile wallets over carrying cards with them.

    Your processor should also handle transactions from the point of sale (POS) system, as well as take online payments and offer options like storing cards within the system.

    As an added bonus, consider whether the payment system can handle gift cards, memberships, or loyalty program discounts and rewards.

    With a wide range of options, you’ll create a smoother experience for clients.

    Powerful integrations

    Your salon runs on many moving parts – from booking software to inventory management and perhaps even marketing tools.  

    A powerful payment solution that plays nicely with these systems can seriously streamline your operations.

    These integrations can help with everything from reducing manual transfer of payment data between your POS system and accounting software, while some integrations can even automatically adjust your inventory levels when purchases are processed.

    So, look for a system that either integrates directly with your existing salon software or has a robust API that allows for custom connections to be built.

    Transparent pricing

    Salon services and package deals can already get complicated. The last thing you need is confusing credit card processing fees eating away at your salon business revenue.  

    A reputable salon payment processor should be upfront and clear about their pricing structure.

    Watch out for:

    • Hidden fees: Some processors sneak in extra charges for things like monthly statements or customer support so make sure you fully understand all potential costs
    • Bait-and-switch rates: Avoid processors with ultra-low teaser rates that they later increase
    • Complex Contracts: Clear, straightforward contracts minimize the chance of unpleasant billing surprises down the road

    Focus on processors that are transparent from the outset, allowing you to factor payment processing costs accurately into your salon’s budget.

    The top credit card processing systems for salons

    Alright, let’s now dive into specific salon credit card processing systems. 

    In the following sections, you’ll find a wide range of options, from all-in-one salon management systems to standalone credit card processors.  

    Our goal in taking a look at both approaches is to help you find the best fit for your needs.

    1. Pabau

    Pabau is an all-in-one practice management solution designed specifically for salons, medspas, and clinics.  Our integrated credit card processing system, Pabau Pay, is the cherry on the cake of an already robust system, offering a streamlined payment experience alongside Pabau’s other features.

    Our credit card processing option is best suited for salons that want payments to be seamlessly integrated into an all-in-one system system. So you minimize payment reconciliation issues, provide a great checkout experience, and get scheduling, marketing, and a myriad of other features under one roof.

    Features and pricing

    • Simple, low-cost card payments with market-leading fees
    • Choice of traditional and contactless payment methods
    • The ability to sell packages and gift cards
    • Seamless integration
    • Modern, portable credit card readers
    • PCI compliant payments

    Pabau uses a tiered pricing model based on your business size and specific needs. If you are interested in our system, request a demo to see Pabau and Pabau Pay in action and get personalized pricing information.

    2. Vagaro

    Vagaro is also an all-in-one salon and spa management software with a built-in payment processing solution. It offers core scheduling and client management features alongside its card processing features.

    Vagaro offers a mobile card machine and a point-of-sale terminal with contactless payment. Vagaro can also be run in a browser, as an app, or on a dedicated pay desk hardware

    Features and pricing

    • Contactless payment features
    • Payment processing within the Vagaro system
    • Online appointment scheduling
    • eCommerce capabilities

    Vagaro has a flat monthly fee that depends on the number of locations you plan on using it for as well as the number of users. For one user and one location, the price is £30 a month, along with any additional payment processing fees you’ll have to pay that depends on monthly cash flow.

    3. Boulevard

    Boulevard is a salon and spa management software with custom credit card payment processing and a number of other payment-oriented features. These range from the system’s Duo iOS app for integrated payments to an optional Offsets feature that lets clients pay most of the credit card processing fees.

    Boulevard is best suited for large salons and spas with a large team that needs to make use of the vast array of tools and can afford the large price tag.

    Features and pricing

    • Multi-merchant account setup
    • Offset feature for credit card processing fees
    • Boulevard Duo app
    • Bluetooth card reader
    • Memberships, packages, and gift cards

    Boulevard’s pricing plans range from $175 for the basic Essentials plan for a single location, 5 users, and limited messaging and storage to upwards of $410 a month, per location, at the Prestige plan which still has some storage and messaging limitations.

    4. Stripe

    Stripe is a very popular, highly flexible, and customizable credit card system and payment platform popular with a wide range of businesses, including salons. It’s known for its developer-friendly API and its simple and efficient EMV card readers.

    Providers like Pabau often leverage Stripe’s secure and reliable payment processing infrastructure. These kinds of powerful integrations are adaptable to businesses of all sizes. 

    If used on its own, Stripe is best suited for small salons that want a simple way to take payments.

    Features and pricing

    • Extensive API allows for custom integrations
    • Global payment capabilities
    • Supports various payment methods, including online and in-store
    • Fraud prevention tools

    Stripe primarily uses a pay-as-you-go model with per-transaction fees – so it is free to use, but there is a 2.9% + 30-cent transaction fee. Complex features or custom integrations may incur additional costs.

    5. Square

    Square is a popular all-around payment processing solution widely used by businesses across various industries. It offers a suite of hardware options like terminals and card readers as well as software options enabling credit card payments in person or online.

    Small salons find this system appealing as it offers some basic salon management features like appointment scheduling, inventory tracking, and more.

    Features and pricing

    • Salon management options
    • Virtual terminal
    • Online checkout
    • Afterpay for payment in installments
    • Marketing tools

    Square’s credit card payment processing features are completely free, with only the processing fees to worry about. On the other hand, some of the salon management features, and more advanced options come at additional costs.

    6. GlossGenius

    GlossGenius is a salon management software specifically tailored to independent beauty professionals and smaller salons. It includes a built-in payment processing solution designed for the beauty industry.

    Independent stylists, beauty professionals, and smaller salons that prefer a system that has a customizable and modern design for both the booking website and the style of the card readers, will find GlossGenius to be a perfect fit.

    Features and pricing

    • Appointment scheduling
    • Contactless payments
    • Rebooking and client review features
    • GlossGenius card reader
    • Integrated payments

    GlossGenius has two payment tiers coming in at $24 and $48 a month. The lower tier has all the essential salon management and payment features, while the Gold tier has a more advanced feature set. There’s also a flat 2.6% fee on all transactions.

    7. MangoMint

    MangoMint is a modern salon and spa management platform focusing on streamlining operations and enhancing the client experience while providing fully integrated payments

    This system is best suited for larger salons seeking to automate tasks, improve client booking efficiency, and support complex payment scenarios like multiple merchant accounts.

    Features and pricing

    • Mobile payments, Front Desk Display, and Bluetooth card reader
    • Deposit and recurring payment features
    • Booking-oriented features
    • Allows saving cards on file

    MangoMint has three payment plans, starting from $165 a month for up to 10 service providers and only the essential features available. Other tiers offer some advanced features, integrations, and custom API support. There are also fees for in-person transactions (2.45% + 15 cents) and virtual ones (2.9% + 20 cents).

    8. Zenoti

    Finally, we have Zenoti, a cloud-based software catering to spas and salons, offering a comprehensive feature set including appointment scheduling, client management, marketing, inventory, and its own payment processing solution, Zenoti Payments.

    This system is built for spas and salons of varying sizes that value flexibility in payment providers and card terminals.

    Features and pricing

    • Accepts major credit cards
    • Fully integrated payments
    • Wide range of card readers
    • Full set of salon management features
    • Accepts third-party payment processors

    Zenoti doesn’t have any payment options listed on their website, so you’ll have to contact them for a personalized quote. What we do know is that the credit card fees range from 2.45% + 10 cents for non-Amex cards, to 2.95% + 10 cents for Amex cards, with the fee being slightly higher for payments with the card not being present.

    Increase your salon’s efficiency and client satisfaction with Pabau

    We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, from the key features of credit card systems to eight of the best standalone and all-in-one solutions you should explore. 

    Believe us when we say – finding the right fit can make a world of difference. 

    Disjointed payments lead to frustrated staff, time wasted sorting out issues, and can even make clients feel like their experience isn’t a priority in your salon.  

    But with a system like Pabau, everything works in harmony. 

    Pabau Pay provides all the payment features you need, seamlessly integrated with Pabau’s tools to run and market your salon, manage staff, and get in-depth reports and analytics.

    Interested to see how Pabau can transform your salon operations? Go and explore our full feature set.

    What you should do now

    1. Schedule a Demo to see how Pabau can help your team.
    2. Read more clinic management articles in our blog.
    3. If you know someone who’d enjoy this article, share it with them via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.

    See Pabau in action

    Schedule a free demo with one of our team today.

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