Steve Woods | Dreamstime.com
Accepting credit cards is a must for almost any business. Not only does it give you the flexibility to accept multiple forms of payments, but that flexibility also boosts sales compared with cash-only transactions. One of the biggest challenges in making the leap, however, is choosing which credit card processing service is best for you.
With the myriad of credit card processing services available — along with their widely varying monthly charges and transaction fees — figuring out which provider will be the most cost-effective can be a daunting task. Businesses also need to consider other factors, such as customer support, the application process, point of sale (POS) systems, the time it takes to clear payments and merchant accounts.
BusinessNewsDaily's sister site, TopTenREVIEWS, does in-depth reviews to help you find the best credit card processing services for your business. The site also hosts a merchant processing services calculator to help you compare services and figure out how much you'll save based on your monthly revenue. All reviewed services accept all major credit and debit cards, and include the following fraud-protection features: address verification, real-time processing, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and card verification value (CVV).
To help you find exactly which merchant account service will be best for you, here are TopTenREVIEWS' top three recommendations for the best business credit card processing services.
1. Flagship Merchant Services
Flagship Merchant Services tops the rankings in part for its paperless application process, 98-percent approval rating and low fees. There are no start-up fees, and accounts can be set up same day. Retailers have the choice among three different point-of-sale models for in-store locations, along with a shopping cart for online stores. The company also offers month-to-month agreements, instead of the two-to-three-year contract typical of most other credit card processing services. Customer payments are cleared the next day after point of sale.
Customer service: Flagship has 24/7, toll-free phone and email customer support.
Internet-based features: Offers a merchant account, a virtual terminal and a payment gateway through Authorize.net.
Costs: Flagship has one of the lowest estimated monthly credit card swipe and key-in fees available, charging $4.00, or 0.38 percent to 1.58 percent. Other costs include required monthly fees of $7.95 for a gateway fee (if applicable) and $7.95 for a statement fee, with a formula-based monthly minimum. BusinessNewsDaily readers can get a free quote on Flagship's service by calling (866) 522-3925. You can also check out the merchant services processing calculator for transaction fees and more information.
2. Merchant Warehouse
Merchant Warehouse earns its high ranking due to its competitive transaction rates, low monthly fees, non-existent application costs and professional customer service. Merchant Warehouse's 99-percent approval rating for all applicants is the highest in the industry. The company also scores high marks on its competitive discount rate for Internet-based businesses. In addition to POS credit card swipers, pin pad terminals and wireless terminals, Merchant Warehouse also offers a shopping cart for online storefronts. Accounts can be set up within two days. Customer payments are cleared 1.5 days after point of sale.
Customer service: Merchants are instantly connected with one of the company's more than 900 sales representatives — not an answering service — who can answer all necessary questions. Customer service is available 24/7 via a toll-free number, email or live online chat.
Internet-based features: This company offers a variety of choices with different gateways, including Authorize.net, LinkPoint, VeriSign Payflow Link, VeriSign Payflow Pro and the MerchantWARE Virtual Terminal.
Costs: Merchant Warehouse's required monthly fees include a $5.00 gateway fee, a $7.95 statement fee and a $25 monthly minimum. Check out the merchant services processing calculator for transaction fees and more information.
3. National Bankcard
National Bankcard earned TopTenREVIEWS' bronze award for its outstanding customer service reputation. Part of the appeal is that businesses aren't required to sign a two-year contract, as many credit card processors require. Other highlights of National Bankcard's services include a 99-percent approval rating, low rates, high security, a wide selection of equipment, and great online features. National Bankcard also offers wireless terminals and mobile credit card processing services. These come with swipers that can be plugged into smartphones, for businesses on the go. Accounts can be set up same day, and customer payments are cleared next day after point of sale.
Customer service: Support staff is available 24/7 to assist with terminal procedures, software errors, trouble with chargebacks and other issues. Representatives can be reached via a toll-free number, email and live online chat.
Internet-based features: Web-based services include virtual terminal, payment gateway and shopping cart. In addition, users can access their accounts at any time to see balances, sales volume and charges they may have incurred. There are also several payment gateway options, such as Authorize, First Data Global, Charge Anywhere and ROAMpay.
Costs: National Bankcard has one of the highest estimated annual savings of all reviewed services, coming in at $169 based on a $1,000 monthly revenue. Their monthly, required fees include a $9.00 gateway fee (if applicable), a $7.95 statement fee and a formula-based monthly minimum. Check out the merchant services processing calculator for transaction fees and more information.
Need to accept mobile credit card payments? Visit TopTenREVIEWS' mobile credit card processing review.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.