Wave Invoicing comes with no monthly charge. However, you will pay a processing fee for any money collected through the service: This fee is 1% for bank payments, and around 3% to 3.5% for credit payments.
Overall, it's a fair price for a great service. The Wave platform has high invoicing functionality and great customer service options, even if a few features are limited. It's not just for invoices, either, offering general finance management tools as well.
Read on to find out exactly how the transaction costs break down and what features you'll get, as well as the pricing behind Wave's Payroll add-on.
Wave is a free service for small businesses that want to handle invoicing, accounting, and receipt scanning. But if you want to add the ability to accept payments with your invoices, you'll need to pay a processing fee.
Depending on what service you use, you'll have one of three options:
- 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover
- 3.4% plus 30 cents per transaction for American Express
- Either $1 or 1% for ACH bank payments (whichever's more)
Regardless of which options you're using, the core invoicing ability that Wave offers remains free.
Here's a table with some real-life examples of the three different types of payment processing fees you'll see while using Wave Invoicing:
You can also try out Wave Payroll, a paid service Wave offers for those who want to provide employee payroll through the platform as well. We'll cover that service in more depth later on.
What do you get for paying nothing? Some nice features, actually.
Wave offers some of the strongest functionality of all the top invoicing services. According to our research, it's second only to Freshbooks for features, though QuickBooks ties with Wave for features as well.
That doesn't mean Wave is perfect. Here's what it has to offer.
Wave offers a decent range of invoice creation tools and abilities. While the number of core templates is a little low at just three, you'll be able to add a company logo, customize colors, and include customer notes. The invoices can calculate taxes and create estimates, while offering multi-currency support – all useful features for a versatile invoicing service.
Missing features? An invoice by Wave won't add tracked hours, won't display discounts, and doesn't allow file attachments. This makes Wave ultimately a middle-of-the-road service for invoice creation specifically. It's not bad at all, but several services are better, with Zoho Invoice in particular coming out ahead – in fact, it supports every feature mentioned here.
Wave fully delivers on its invoicing delivery tools: The service lets users easily set up recurring invoices (a key time-saving feature), supports payment reminders, and tracks invoices so users will know when they've been opened. It also allows users to send and receive invoices through the Wave mobile app, so it's easy to use while on the go.
Scheduling and Accepting Payments
Wave supports its own first-party payment processing, but won't allow any third-party integrations to process payments through the Wave platform. This makes sense – after all, Wave wants to guide all its free users towards its own payment processing fees – but it's a restriction that will annoy any small business that's already happy with another payment service.
Wave includes a billing portal, so users can easily keep track of their revenue.
Reports & Analytics
Wave supports and tracks sales taxes and receivables, including those grouped by customer and aged receivables. It also provides a range of reports in two categories: Business Purchases, and Accounting.
However, Wave doesn't support additional report customization beyond these abilities. This is a bit of an oversight that puts Wave solidly below a handful of the top services – including FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Xero Invoice, and Square Invoices – when it comes to analytics. That said, Wave is aimed at small businesses, which have less to gain from breaking their revenue down on an incremental scale – so this point is moot for anyone who isn't planning to spend a lot of time processing reports in the first place.
Accounting & Expense Management
Wave's features extend beyond invoicing. The platform offers accounting and expense management as well, letting users manage their finances within the platform.
They can use dashboards to view cash balances and invoice statuses, or export their accounting reports covering profits and losses, sales tax, cash flow, and more. Exchange rate calculations can be made automatically – a must-have feature for those working with multiple currencies – while it's also a double-entry bookkeeping program, ensuring credit and debit are properly recorded.
Wave offers a handful of integrations with other types of services that small businesses are likely to need.
These include ecommerce integrations with Shopify and Square; CRM integrations with Hubspot, Pipedrive, and Harvest; and email marketing integrations with Mailchimp, Automational, and SendPulse.
Wave's payroll service's functionality is defined by whether you live in a state that allows a third-party service to file for you, or if you need to do it yourself.
14 states allow third-party involvement: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. These are called “tax service” states. If your business operates from those states, Wave Payroll can automatically pay your taxes and file the needed paperwork with state tax offices and the IRS.
If you don't live in those states, Wave can still help by crunching the numbers to give you the correct tax information and money owed. Since this is less useful, the service will be $15 per month cheaper.
For tax service states, Wave Payroll costs a $35 monthly base fee, plus $6 per active employee or independent contractor. For self service states, Wave Payroll costs a $20 monthly base fee, plus $6 per employee or contractor. A 30-day free trial is available for both options.
The core Wave software service is entirely web-based: Users will need an internet connection and browser window to use it, with no need to download an application. There's an additional mobile app, though – you'll be able to find it for download and installation from both iOS and Android app stores.
Users must input their login information to connect the Wave invoice app to their online account. Once connected, they'll be able to use the app for receipt scanning and mobile invoicing, which lets users create, customize, and send invoices straight from their mobile device. It also sends automatic notifications, letting users know immediately when an invoice is viewed, past due, or has just been paid.
The app has a great ranking – 4.6 stars out of 5 – on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, with thousands of reviews for each. This is uncommonly good, as even a high quality app can collect bad reviews over the years due to bugs or slow updates.
The iOS version is compatible with iOS 12.0 or later, while the Android version is compatible with Android 5.0 and up.
Wave's support options include a Help Center, with resources that can be browsed by categories including Accounting, Invoices & Estimates, and Payments, among many more. A community forum is also available.
The customer support team is available to users through email and live chat, but not by phone.
Wave offers a high quality customer service team. Our researchers gathered strongly positive customer feedback: Of the top nine invoicing services that we've reviewed, Wave Invoicing is just slightly behind our top pick for support (Square Invoices), although it is just about equal with two other services (Zoho and Xero).
Wave is a solid option for invoicing, standing out for its low pricing, great range of software functionality, and good customer service. But it's not the only option, and quite a few others offer more complex invoice creation abilities, or more comprehensive reporting and analytics. One of Wave's competitors, FreshBooks, offers loads of features at very low pricing.
Here's a table listing the top invoicing services on the market today, complete with their pricing and the restrictions they come with, which can include caps on clients, invoices, and estimates.
Each software platform charges an additional 2.9% of every invoice processed, as well as a 25-30 cent fee
The client limit on the lowest tier
The monthly invoice limit on the lowest tier
The monthly estimate limit on the lowest tier
No monthly fee
No monthly fee
$5.99 per month
$10 per month
No estimates on lowest tier
Verdict - Is Wave's Free Solution Worth It?
It's great for creating and delivering invoices, though the analytics leave a little to be desired, as they don't support custom reports. Wave also handles general finance management, and with the right third-party integrations, it can support CRM, ecommerce, and email marketing as well.
If you're willing to pay for the best invoicing software on the market, we'd recommend FreshBooks overall. But Wave is an inexpensive solution that handles the basics with aplomb, and is well worth considering.
The service includes both payroll taxes and sales tax (when applicable). It integrates with the Wave invoicing service, so the sales taxes charged will appear on your invoice.
If you're getting its paid payroll service, Wave Payroll, you will need to provide your credit card details.