Are you looking for a payment processing solution for your salon or spa?
Then you’ve landed in the right place.
Being able to process credit card payments and accept a variety of payment options that fits your clients is essential. And there are many different merchant services out there that you could use in your salon or spa business.
But which one is right for you?
I have spent weeks researching the most popular payment options and credit card machines for salons and spas. And today, I’m going to lead you through and compare the top payment processing alternatives so that you can decide on the best option for your business.
The solutions I’m focusing on are the ones that have been built specifically for salons and spas. This means that credit card and payment processing is only one part. With these systems, you’ll also get access to many more salon and spa-specific features (like point-of-sale (POS) and appointment management) which I will cover as we go through the alternatives in more depth.
Let’s dive in. Starting with an overview of the four salon payment systems.
- Mangomint: The most well-designed salon and spa software with smart payment options and low cost per credit card transaction
- GlossGenius: The best-looking credit card reader – designed for independent professionals
- Square: The payment system with advanced POS and card reader hardware
- Vagaro: The feature-rich, yet affordable, salon software with integrated payments
Before we go through my review of each merchant service and software, I have summarized a table that covers some key points when it comes to payment processing. where alternatives are sorted based on the card transaction fee.
|Card Transaction Fee||2.4%+15¢||2.6%||2.6% +10¢||2.75%|
|Monthly Software Fee||Starts at $165||Starts at $24||Free||Starts at $25|
|Card Reader Cost||Free to $100||$49||Free to $49||Free|
|Free Trial||60 days||14 Days||No||1 Month|
|Mobile Card Reader||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Contactless / NFC||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Payment Cards||All Major||All Major||All Major||All Major|
|Countries||US, CAN||US||US, CAN, UK, |
|US, UK, |
Mangomint: The Smartest Salon & Spa Software with Integrated POS & Credit Card Processor (US & Canada)
Mangomint is the most modern and well-designed salon and spa software with smart features to help you streamline administrative tasks while improving the payment experience.
This platform is designed for the salon or spa with a team who requires sophisticated features and a five-star client experience. Payments are integrated into the platform and work seamlessly with appointments, POS, inventory, and business reporting.
There are a few payment features that I find particularly interesting that you wouldn’t find with other platforms.
One example of this is the Express Booking™ feature. It solves the pain of collecting email addresses, credit card information, deposits, and cancellation policy consent over the phone. Instead, you can accept the appointment via phone or in person and then just send a text with a link where they can complete their booking.
Another powerful feature is that you can connect multiple merchant accounts to Mangomint. This can be a major help for businesses with a more complex structure where you have independent professionals working inside your business, and you want to ensure payments are routed to the right place.
You can also store clients’ credit card details on file and charge recurring payments if you offer a service subscription or membership.
The Mangomint Card Reader
Mangomint offers a compact Bluetooth card processor and Front Desk Display that turns your iPad into a client-facing screen where clients can pay and choose to leave a tip.
At first sight, Mangomint may look expensive compared to the other options.
But if you run a bigger business with a team and you look at the cost per employee as well as the time savings that are possible with Mangomint, it is not expensive. The cost per card transaction is also low. Something that would be important to a bigger business that process a large amount of transactions.
- Free 30 day trial (60 day free if you sign up using this link)
- Entry level plan starts at $165/ month (supports 10 service providers) and goes up to $375 for their Unlimited plan
- In-person transactions: 2.4% + 15¢
- Virtual transactions: 2.8% + 20¢
- One card reader is included for free in their standard plan. Additional card readers cost $100/ device.
- Modern, easy-to-use, interface
- Smart automations that help cut down on time spent managing business operations
- Open data ownership and contracts (you’re not locked into anything)
- Can integrate with any other platform that allows for integrations
- Memberships, packages, gift cards
- Forms, two-way client texting, waiting room management, intelligent waitlist, and many other smart features
- Sophisticated reports
- Strong and personal customer service & help documentation
- Higher entry-level price than most other salon software
In summary, I recommend Mangomint if you run a bigger salon or spa and want a complete, well-designed, business management system to help simplify your operations.
Read my full review of Mangomint here.
Special offer: Get 2 months of Mangomint for free when you sign up via the link below.
GlossGenius: The Salon POS & Credit Card Reader for Independent Professionals
GlossGenius is an all-in-one payment, appointment, and marketing app for independent professionals in the USA.
Here you can manage your entire business with an easy-to-use, beautifully designed app.
Everything about GlossGenius breathes exceptional beauty. Even the card reader is designed for a high-end client experience. And it’s the combination of excellent design and simplicity that makes this tool truly unique.
The GlossGenius Card Reader
The credit card reader allows you to check out your customers in style. The reader itself comes in a wide variety of designs that you can explore at the GlossGenius Website.
It connects via Bluetooth directly to your phone and the app. The reader accepts all payment types, including contactless payments. The cost per credit card swipe is 2.6%.
GlossGenius is a great alternative for the independent professional or small salon looking for a beautifully designed and intuitive credit card reader at a low monthly fee.
GlossGenius is only available in the US (at the moment).
GlossGenius has one flat fee plan at $24/month. Regardless of your team size, that’s what you pay for all the features.
- Free 14-day trial
- $24/month standard plan (unlimited employees)
- 2.6% per credit card transaction fee
- The credit card reader is $49
- Affordable and transparent flat-fee pricing
- Beautiful design
- Multiple card reader design options to fit your brand
- Fully integrated with salon appointments and client data
- Limited flexibility (you need to use the built-in format)
- Limited team management support
I recommend GlossGenius if you value the design and the appearance of your business and need a simple salon POS that you can manage out of your phone, wherever you are.
Read my full review of GlossGenius.
Square: The Popular POS System and Credit Card Reader (US, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan)
Square is probably the most well know credit card machine on this list.
But the famous mobile card reader is just one of the products in the Square family. They also offer an appointment scheduler (read my full review of Square Appointments), an eCommerce platform, and a whole suite of marketing tools that are designed to help local businesses grow.
Square POS is also subscription-free and they earn their money on credit card transactions and their other subscription products that you may want to add after you’ve started using POS and payments.
What I like about Square is its user-friendly and clean interface. Also, their hardware, like the POS terminal, looks nice and clean. And the suite of tools from Square allow you to increase the support as your business grows.
Square Card Readers
Square offers three types of card readers.
1. The Square magstripe card reader is for taking swiped card transactions. It plugs directly into your phone or tablet. The first one is free, and additional mobile card readers cost $10.
2. Square’s second card reader is a sleek small terminal for taking contactless card payments (NFC via Bluetooth). It costs $49, and a Square magstripe reader is included.
3. The Square terminal is an all-in-one card reader. It comes with a touchscreen, allowing you to take payments, access your Square POS system, print receipts, and use all the features of Square’s app. The cost for the terminal is $299.
There’s no monthly fee, but there is a transaction fee for each sale. 2.6% + 10¢ for swiped or tapped card transactions. 3.5% + 15¢ when the card number is keyed in.
Square hardware costs extra. See above.
- Easy-to-use mobile app
- Free subscription-only pay credit card transaction fee
- Fully integrated with salon appointments and client data
- Accept payments wherever your client is (for mobile salons)
- Access to Square’s business tools
- Offline mode
- Limited flexibility and customization options
- Limited availability worldwide
Despite being incredibly feature-rich, it’s clear that Square has made simplicity and ease of use a priority. The card reader and Square terminal’s sleek design and intuitive interface make it an easy-to-use option.
For more details, see my deep-dive review of Square Appointments.
Vagaro: The Feature Rich, Affordable, Salon Software with Integreatd Payments (US, Canada, UK, and Australia)
Vagaro is an all-in-one system for salons and spas. The Vagaro system comes with a vast array of features for salons, where POS is only one of the many tools you get.
Apart from the POS system and the credit card reader, Vagaro offers online appointment scheduling, email/SMS marketing, subscription payments, video streaming, website builder, eCommerce, payroll, hardware, and advanced business reporting, just to name a few.
Despite the tremendous amount of features you get, Vagaro keeps its pricing at very affordable rates. You can start using Vagaro for as low as $25/month and simply add the features and hardware your business needs.
Vagaro Card Readers
Vagaro offers a mobile card machine and a point-of-sale terminal with contactless payment. You can also run Vagaro in a web browser, your phone, or on the dedicated pay desk hardware. The pay desk is well-designed and will fit the interior of any beauty salon.
Vagaro Pro pricing is flexible and modular. The base rate is very affordable, and you can add to it with your own add-ons.
Below is a summary of the Vagaro costs you should expect.
- Free 30-day trial
- Monthly subscription fee: $25 for individuals and $10 for every additional user. Everyone after the 7th user is free.
- Credit card processing fee
- Small merchants (less than $4000/month): 2.75% per swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 per keyed in transaction. No monthly cost.
- Multiple merchants (less than $4000/month): 2.5% + $0.10 per swipe, 3.5% +$0.15 per keyed in transaction. No monthly cost.
- Large merchants (more than $4000/month): 2.2% + $0.19 per swipe, 3% + $0.19 per keyed in transaction. Monthly cost $10.
- Many features
- Affordable price
- Integrated payments (inc. recurring subscriptions)
- Client marketplace
- A moderate learning curve in the beginning
- Pages could load faster
Vagaro is ideal for the cost-conscious salon that wants access to many features while having the simplicity to manage everything in one place.
Even if you are not tech-savvy, you will be able to get marketing campaigns, online booking, and a lot of more advanced features up and running without having to integrate with other tools.
So if you’re looking for a good credit card processor and an all-in-one business solution for your salon, spa, or health & fitness business, this is a good alternative.
I hope you have found this overview helpful and that you have been able to find out which credit card reader is right for your salon.
If you want to dive even deeper into salon software check out this post where I list my top salon software.