Cayan: Is It Right for Your Business?

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Cayan: Is It Right for Your Business?

A good, but pricey, credit card processing solution.

Good for

  • Businesses that want to accept credit card payments in a multitude of ways
  • Those looking for future-proof credit card processing

Bad for

  • Startups processing relatively few transactions each month
  • Companies looking for the cheapest possible processing

Editor's Rating


Cayan is a solid credit card processing option. We recommend it for more established businesses that have been around for at least a few years. If you're operating a startup and are processing just a few payments from time to time, Square or Stripe may be a better option for you due to their lower overhead costs.

Review: Should You Get Cayan for Credit Card Processing?

Cayan can be a good, albeit expensive, credit card processing solution. The company does not disclose any rates on its website, making it tougher for business owners to comparison shop without obtaining a quote first. However, after looking into the company, we found their services to be worth the price tag.

Cayan's biggest strength is its tech. The company's Genius platform provides modern credit card processing solutions that are EMV-ready and capable of accepting NFC payments. There's a healthy number of card reader options too. Cayan can set you up whether you need a point of sale countertop in a store or a mobile processing solution.

Our biggest gripe with Cayan is the lack of transparency when it comes to pricing. Unlike some of its competitors, Cayan doesn't post transaction fees, monthly fees or PCI fees to its website. The company does this because these costs will differ for each business. Still, without some base rates posted to the site, customers lose any negotiating power when discussing prices. This problem is not unique to Cayan. Plenty of large credit card processors follow a similar policy. To counter it, business owners should simply obtain as many quotes as possible from several processors and closely examine which one will give them the best deal.

We also need to warn consumers that we've found a number of complaints against Cayan posted by users online. Without the ability to verify these complaints, it's impossible to tell whether they are valid. We think business owners should at the very least be on a lookout when choosing to do business with Cayan after finding a common issue that kept popping up. Users claim they were quoted one price and charged something completely different. This can be avoided as long as you carefully go over your contract with Cayan, and make sure you understand the pricing model you are using. Always opt for interchange plus, since it is the most transparent and beneficial to you.

Bottom Line: Cayan is a good, modern credit card processor. Its rates and fees aren't quite as low as some of its competitors. However, if you aren't price sensitive, and want dependable credit card processing, we recommend Cayan.

Cayan Fees, Features & Benefits

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Cayan Credit Card ProcessingDetails
Transaction CostSwiped, dipped, or tapped starting at: Interchange + 0.50% + $0.15
Networks Accepted
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express
Monthly fee$0 - $7.95
Monthly minimumNone
PCI fee$99/year or $29/quarter
Chargeback fee$25/instance
Days to get funds24-48 Hours
Early termination fee$0

Cayan offers a wide range of credit card processing solutions. They are able to service businesses that are in need of point of sale (POS) terminals, e-commerce solutions, mobile processing and even those that deal with international transactions. The processor uses two pricing models: tiered and interchange plus. We recommend business owners opt for interchange-plus pricing since it's the most transparent and less prone to abuse. Before you sign any contracts with Cayan, double check that you are signed up for interchange-plus pricing and that the fees line up with what you were quoted.

The markup—the part of a fee the processor gets to keep—is quite high. Interchange plus accounts with Cayan start at 0.50% + $0.15 per transaction. You have to add onto that the charges imposed by the credit card networks that will be passed onto you at cost. These extra fees depend on factors such as how you are taking payments, what type of business you have, the average ticket size, processing volume and more. We estimate that, on average, you can expect interchange fees to be around 2.2% + $0.22. Therefore, when added together, your cost per transaction with Cayan can be about 2.7% + $0.38 when using an interchange plus model. Again, we want to stress that this will vary on the factors we outlined above.

Other fees not listed here may apply to your account, though all should be listed in your contract before you sign on. Make sure to review your agreement with Cayan carefully to avoid any surprises.

Payment Processing Terminals & The Genius Platform

Genius is the name of Cayan's proprietary payment solutions platform. We encourage business owners to temper their expectations when it comes to this, as there are many features here that aren't entirely unique to Cayan. For example, you can run gift cards and loyalty programs through processors like Square.

Genius offers payment terminals that service all business needs. If you need to to process payments on the go, you can use Genius Handheld. This can be perfect for services' businesses that make house calls. If you run a more traditional business with a register, you can use Genius Countertop, which can process EMV chip transactions in 4 seconds and supports new payment types like NFC. You can read more about Genius here.

How Much Can Cayan Credit Card Processing Cost Your Business

We want to give business owners a better sense of the total cost of choosing Cayan as your credit card processor. Keep in mind that the fees here are only our estimates. We assume an average interchange rate of 2.2% + $0.22, and that the business would face a $7.95 monthly fee, plus a $99/year PCI compliance fee. The average ticket size for this sample company is $100. We encourage readers to obtain a personalized quote, since their actual costs may vary significantly.

Transaction Volume (Monthly)Estimated Monthly CostEffective Rate

How Does Cayan Compare to Other Credit Card Processors?

In any review, we always try give readers the opportunity to see how a product or service compares to other available option. Shopping around always tends to produce the best results. Below you'll see how Cayan compares to other leading credit card processing solutions.

Cayan vs Square

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Square is the better choice for businesses that are just starting out and have more irregular cash flow. This processor doesn't charge any fees other than the flat 2.75% transaction charge. Therefore, you don't have to deal with the monthly and PCI fees that are present with Cayan. The downside of choosing Square over Cayan has to do with reliability. Large businesses that process more than $10,000 per month may start running to problems when using Square. Account and fund freezes will be more common, since Square has an overactive anti-fraud department. This downtime is especially problematic, given reports that getting customer service on the phone can sometimes be difficult with Square. As your company scales, paying more in terms of PCI fees and monthly fees makes sense, if you're getting reliability of service back in return.

Square Highlights

  • 2.75% fee per offline transaction
  • No monthly fees and no minimums
  • Capable of handling online transactions
  • Read Square Review

Cayan vs

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Cayan vs Stripe

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If you're running an online-only business you should probably go with Stripe instead of Cayan, especially if you're a small shop. Stripe is one of the best online credit card processors because it's quick to set up and comes with relatively few fees. This processor is also very popular among developers because it's easy to work with and well documented. The only problem Stripe users will run into is the same one that hurts Square—it doesn't scale well. Customer who process over $10,000 per month have reported their funds being frozen, which can end up costing a high-trafficked website a lot of money. We recommend anybody anticipating a lot of online sales to simply sign up for Cayan.

Also, note that Stripe has no offline credit card processing solutions. Therefore, if you need something to work both in-store and online, Cayan is the winner by default.

Stripe Highlights