It's not easy being a small business owner. Two of the biggest challenges on every entrepreneur's mind are how to minimize expenses and how to accelerate the growth of their business. The right payment processing solution can help on both fronts. So we did a thorough review of the leading payment solutions providers, and PayPal came out on top for more reasons than one.

PayPal has long been known to offer an excellent consumer experience, giving them an easy online checkout that accommodates different ways to pay. And for business owners, it's essential to provide this ease to your customers to gain referrals, return visits, and a good reputation. Fraud protection, security, ease of setup, and low overhead are all qualities to look for in selecting a good payment processor. PayPal checks the box on all of these key criteria. Here's how PayPal sets itself apart:

1. No hidden fees.

PayPal has simple, flat-rate pricing and transparency. It doesn't use "show rates" like other services who reel you in with lower fees, but whose add-ons add up. No long-term commitments, monthly minimums, startup or cancellation fees are also a huge plus.

2. It's not just for ecommerce.

Although a lot of customers do their shopping online, PayPal hasn't forgotten the brick-and-mortar businesses. If your business sells at farmer's markets, craft fairs, or on-site with clients, no need for a cash box. PayPal's mobile card readers allow you to accept credit and debit cards – even contactless payments like Apple Pay – in person or at your store.

3. Make it personal.

PayPal.me gives you a personalized link to your online store that you can share with your customers. All they have to do is click your link, type in the amount they owe, and send the money.

4. Get even more with PayPal Payments Pro

With PayPal Payments Pro, you're able to create a customizable checkout experience. You can seamlessly integrate PayPal to fit the look and feel of your website, maintaining your business integrity and aesthetic. Also, you can accept credit and debit cards, PayPal, and PayPal Credit.

5. Big purchases? No problem.

With PayPal Credit, your customers get access to special financing so they have more time to pay for their purchases. The best part: even though customers can pay over time 1, merchants get paid, in full, up front. For high-end items, this can make a huge difference to customers on the fence about a purchase. Some small and mid-size merchants saw up to 68% larger transaction sizes for customers using PayPal Credit compared to credit/debit transactions.2

6. Help fund your business.

Business cycles always include dips, like when you need to restock inventory or hire additional help. Certain businesses may qualify for a PayPal Working Capital 3 business loan – without a credit check and with a flexible payment schedule.

7. Go global.

One of the largest concerns with selling internationally is fraud. PayPal's reputation goes beyond the U.S., giving customers protection with secure payments and 24/7 monitoring, adding in that extra layer of confidence. They also allow you to accept payments in 25 currencies and from 203 markets around the globe.

8. It's a trusted business partner - starting at $0 a month.

Whether you're just starting out and have no experience in online sales, or have been in the business for years and want to expand, PayPal offers a trustworthy payment processing solution. For basic business solutions you can sign up for PayPal Payments Standard for no monthly fee; for a more customizable experience, you can sign up for PayPal Payments Pro for just $30 a month.

Of all the payment processors, PayPal is the most comprehensive payment processing solution that aims to help you attract new customers and sell more - online and off. PayPal is more than just a vendor for your business, but a partner to help you organize and optimize your sales. It's key to taking your business to the next level.

Update: Signing up for PayPal takes as little as 15 minutes! Follow this link to start accelerating your business with PayPal today.

1PayPal Credit is subject to consumer credit approval, as determined by the lender, Comenity Capital Bank. 2As reported in Nielsen's PayPal Credit Average Order Value Study for activity occurring from April 2015 to March 2016 (small merchants) and October 2015 to March 2016 (midsize merchants), which compared PayPal Credit transactions to credit and debit card transactions on websites that offer PayPal Credit as a payment option or within the PayPal Wallet. Nielsen measured 284890 transactions across 27 mid and small merchants. Copyright Nielsen 2016. 3PayPal Working Capital is subject to credit approval, as determined by the lender, WebBank, member FDIC. To apply for PayPal Working Capital, your business must have a PayPal business or premier account for at least 3 months and process between $20,000 (or, for certain qualifying business accounts, $15,000) and $10 million within those 3 months or within any time period less than or equal to 12 months. PayPal sales include processing on PayPal Express Checkout, PayPal Payments Standard, PayPal Payments Pro, and PayPal Here. Advertisement

PayPath
Follow Us on

Afghan women

NBC

Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

Keep reading Show less

Stacker

Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.