Accepting credit cards is one of the best decisions a small business can make. If you only accept cash, you're missing out on sales.
But for many business owners, the hardest part is selecting a credit card processor. With hundreds of credit card processing companies to choose from, coupled with the many ways businesses can accept credit cards, it's easy to feel like you're in over your head.
The best credit card processor is one that tailors its services to fit your small business's unique needs. It not only allows you to pick and choose the features that are best suited for you, but it's also budget-friendly and doesn't enforce stringent requirements or restrictions just because you're a small company.
Editor's note: Looking for a credit card processor for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
To help you find the right Credit Card Processing, we researched and analyzed dozens of options. Here is a roundup of our 2018 best picks for Credit Card Processing and an explanation of how we chose them.
Here is a full list of Credit Card Processing providers and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks, which are marked with badges.
2Checkout provides online credit card processing for businesses around the world, supporting 87 currencies and 15 languages. It offers hosted checkout solutions, integrates with more than 100 shopping carts and has an API for custom integrations. It has flat-rate pricing and doesn't charge setup or monthly fees. A volume discount is available for businesses that process $50,000 or more per month.
Amazon Pay, formerly known as Amazon Payments, is a credit card processing service for online merchants. You add its familiar checkout button to your website, and your customers use their Amazon credentials to complete their transactions. You pay a flat percentage of each sale and a per-transaction fee. There's no long-term contract and no monthly, annual, gateway or PCI-compliance fees.
Authorize.net is a payment gateway provider that lets you accept credit cards through the platform itself or integrate payment with your existing merchant account. The service is packed with features, such as advanced fraud detection, recurring billing, e-check processing and more. However, with its $49 setup fee and monthly gateway fee, working with the service directly may cost slightly more than going through a third-party processor.
BankCard USA offers all types of credit card processing solutions for small businesses, including wireless and mobile processing, e-commerce solutions and POS systems. It claims to have a guaranteed low rate, but its rates and fees aren't clearly disclosed on its website. BankCard USA promises same-day application decisions.
Best Merchant Rates boasts everyday low rates and posts its interchange-plus pricing on its website. The company states that there are no long-term contract or cancellation fees, so you won't have to worry about any unpleasant surprises. It sells processing equipment or, if you already have hardware, it will reprogram it for free.
BluePay Processing, recently acquired by First Data, offers all-in-one credit card processing solutions for a wide range of B2B and B2C merchants, including nonprofits. It offers omnichannel and
Want to accept more than one type of online payment? Braintree, a PayPal company, lets you accept PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo and more using a single integration into your website or app. You can also accept more than 130 currencies. Volume pricing is available for companies processing $80,000 or more per month.
Cartwheel Register by Tantrum Street is a mobile credit card processing app for the iPhone and iPad. Instead of using a card reader, it uses your device's camera to capture card data. The company charges a flat percentage of each sale plus a per-transaction fee. There are no monthly, annual or PCI-compliance fees and there's no contract so you can cancel at any time without penalty.
CDGcommerce provides in-person and online credit card processing services to small businesses. It offers interchange-plus pricing to all its merchants and charges fewer fees than most. There's no setup, AVS, PCI, TIN/1099K or annual fees. There's also no monthly minimum and no early termination fee.
Century Business Solutions
Century Business Solutions provides in-store, mobile and online payment solutions for businesses of all sizes across multiple industries. It doesn't require you to sign a contract, and it integrates with more than 50 accounting software, e-commerce platforms and CRM systems.
Change Merchant Solutions
Change Merchant Solutions offers a choice between flat and interchange-plus pricing, and every six months it invites its merchants to submit a statement for an audit to ensure their rates haven't increased. It works with new businesses and can approve applications as quickly as same day. It doesn't charge setup or cancellation fees.
Charge.com merchant accounts let you process credit cards on- and off-line, even if you have bad credit or are a high-risk merchant. The company says it offers low rates, but it only posts its qualified debit card rate on its website. It comes with free setup, software, online shopping cart, and terminal or credit card reader.
Chase Merchant Services
Chase Merchant Services, formerly known as Chase Paymentech, is one of the largest processors in the industry. It offers a wide range of products to help small businesses accept credit cards in person, online and on the go. Its processing services comes with advanced fraud protection, data encryption and other security tools to make sure your business and customers stay protected from cyberattacks.
Cornerstone Merchant Services
Cornerstone offers merchant accounts, a variety of processing equipment and its own online payment gateway, so you can accept credit card payments in-store, online and on the go. It pairs its customers with a dedicated account executive, so you'll have a consistent contact throughout the life of your account.
Credit Card Processing Specialists
Credit Card Processing Specialists advertises a free terminal, no long-term contract and a low-rate guarantee, though it only shows its qualified debit card rate on its website. It offers industry-specific merchant accounts, a variety of processing services and third-party software integration (including QuickBooks).
Accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and STAR credit and debit cards with a merchant account from CreditCardProcessing.com, an iPayment company. It offers solutions for retail, restaurant and e-commerce businesses, including POS systems, mobile credit card processing, and a virtual terminal for phone and mail orders.
Currencycloud is a cross-border payments platform based in New York and London that helps B2B businesses accept payments from international customers. It provides real-time exchange rates and has a Global Collections program that provides your clients with virtual, local account numbers so you can receive payments faster.
Dharma Merchant Services
Dharma Merchant Services is a certified green business that provides payment processing for retail, restaurant and e-commerce businesses. It has no long-term contract requirements and transparent pricing, posting its complete rates and fees on its website. The company donates generously to charity and offers discounted rates to nonprofits.
Accept credit cards and integrate your credit card terminal or POS system with QuickBooks when you use E-Commerce Exchange. The company also lets you accept international payments, online payments, checks and EBT. It offers other business services such as small business loans, merchant cash advances and payroll services.
eData Financial Group
In addition to providing in-person, mobile and online credit card processing for U.S. businesses, eData works with high-risk and international businesses. It offers additional business services, like small business loans, merchant cash advances and marketing.
Formerly NOVA, Elavon is one of the largest credit card processors in the world. It works with businesses of all sizes, though its focus is small and midsize businesses. Its services include retail, mobile and online credit card processing, and it posts its pricing online. It can provide you with processing equipment as well.
Electronic Cash Systems (ECS)
— ECS, a division of US Alliance Group, provides merchants with credit and debit card processing services. In addition to mobile credit card readers and countertop checkout terminals, ECS sells and supports ATMs. It offers additional business solutions such as ACH transfers, remote electronic deposits and merchant cash advances.
Electronic Payment Exchange
Also known as EPX, Electronic Payment Exchange has nearly 40 years of experience in the payment processing industry and is a subsidiary of North American Bancard. It uses multiple technologies to secure your processing data end-to-end and provides retail, online, mobile and ACH processing services.
Electronic Payment Systems
Electronic Payment Systems offers more than credit card processing. In addition to retail, mobile and online processing, it provides processing equipment, check processing, loyalty and gift cards, merchant cash advances, and marketing and SEO services.
Electronic Transfer, Inc.
Electronic Transfer, Inc. offers retail, e-commerce, mail, phone and mobile credit card processing solutions. It claims low rates, but they aren't posted on its website. It advertises free merchant-account setup, virtual terminal, shopping cart, recurring billing and fraud prevention.
eMerchant offers credit card processing services for all types of businesses. This includes retail stores, service providers, ecommerce businesses, professional offices and mobile merchants. The company claims to have the lowest rates for card present transactions but doesn't post them online. It promises fast approvals and quality customer service.
EMSplus is a mobile credit card processing app from Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) that works on Apple and Android phones and tablets. It has flat-rate pricing and a month-to-month agreement with no setup, cancellation or monthly fees. There are also no monthly minimum processing requirements.
As one of the few subscription-based credit card processors, Fattmerchant offers a unique pricing structure for small businesses. Instead of markups, it charges a monthly fee, the direct cost of interchange and as little as 8 cents per transaction. There are no annual fees, batch fees or long-term contracts.
Federated Payments offers check acceptance and merchant services, including retail, online, phone and mobile processing. It has a cash-advance program and notes that it approves most applicants and no financials are required to apply. Gift cards, customer loyalty programs and processing equipment are also available from this company.
First Data is our pick for best credit card processor for high-volume businesses. It provides merchant services and Clover equipment to businesses of all types and sizes, including banks and independent sales organizations that resell them to small and midsize businesses. In addition to credit card processing, it offers check acceptance, ACH transfers and advanced security. Rates, fees and contract terms vary, depending on the agent or reseller and the specific needs and qualifications of your business.
Flagship Merchant Services
Our pick for the best credit card processor for flexible terms, Flagship Merchant Services can quickly set you up with a merchant account and everything you need to process credit cards on- and off-line. It has low rates, month-to-month terms and offers merchants a choice of interchange-plus or tiered pricing plans. It sells Verifone processing equipment and Clover POS systems.
Flint has partnered with Stripe to offer an innovative mobile credit-card-processing system. You don't need a reader to accept credit cards on your smartphone just download the credit card payment app, and then scan the card to process a transaction. It also comes with features like e-commerce processing and invoice billing.
Global Payments ranks among the largest credit card processors in the U.S., though it also serves businesses in many other countries. The company offers a full range of processing services to businesses of every size, across many industries, including retail, restaurant, healthcare, education, gaming and nonprofits.
goEmerchant provides payment processing services for e-commerce businesses, but it works with companies that accept payments in-person as well, offering terminals, a POS system and a mobile card reader. It also has developer tools for businesses that need custom integrations.
Gotmerchant provides credit card processing services and equipment to retailers, restauranteurs and online merchants. Its hardware options include credit card machines, wireless card readers, electronic cash registers and POS systems. It also offers touch tone credit card processing and integration with Yahoo Store Merchant accounts.
Heartland, a Global Payments company, is a popular small business credit card processor that provides in-person, ecommerce and mobile payment processing to businesses in many industries. The company offers interchange-plus pricing to all its merchants, which is the pricing model industry experts recommend. It also offers robust data security and 24-hour customer service.
Our pick for best small business credit card processor, Helcim makes processing simple and affordable. It offers retail, mobile and virtual credit card processing solutions with transparent pricing and month-to-month terms. All merchants receive volume-based interchange-plus pricing and you can view complete rates and fees online. Discounted rates are available for nonprofits.
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services offers interchange-plus pricing to all its merchants and you can view its rates for businesses processing $10,000 or more per month on its website. Those processing less, as well as high-risk businesses will need to call for quotes. It offers discounted rates to nonprofits. There's no long-term contract and no early termination fee. There's also no setup fee or monthly minimum.
Intrix Technology, Inc.
In addition to merchant services and payment gateways, Intrix provides bespoke payment solutions to enterprise businesses, APIs that developers can use to connect with proprietary software, and white-label products such as virtual terminals, mobile apps and hosted payment pages that resellers can customize with their own branding.
iPayment is a large, direct processor that works with businesses of all sizes, including ISO partners that resell its services. It has its own payment gateway and sells a variety of processing equipment from top brands, including Clover and Verifone. In addition to credit and debit card payment processing, it offers check and ACH processing, gift cards and merchant cash advances.
iTransact provides a full range of merchant services, including ACH processing. It also offers processing equipment, data analytics and merchant cash advances. For its resellers, such as credit unions and community banks, it has a white-label mobile app and card reader that can be customized with your brand.
Leaders Merchant Services
Leaders Merchant Services claims to have a 98 percent approval rate for merchant account applications and offers a free mobile card reader to new merchants. It advertises industry-low rates, though it doesn't post them on its website. The company can set you up with processing equipment and provides its merchants with 24/7/365 support.
Leap Payments offers interchange-plus pricing to all its merchants and is one of the few companies with a rate-lock guarantee. It sells a variety of terminals and POS systems. Supported businesses include retail stores, restaurants, professional and personal service providers, contractors and home services, and e-commerce businesses. It also works with businesses in high-risk industries.
This company works with various banking partners to deliver the right products and services for your business's needs. The businesses that Maverick BankCard can provide credit card processing services for run the gamut of industries: retail, restaurant, e-commerce, hospital, lodging, gas station and nonprofit. It can also work with high-risk businesses.
Merchant Anywhere offers its processing services to small businesses on a month-to-month basis and charges a single monthly fee, which includes gateway services. There are no fees for application, setup, cancellation or statements. There's also no monthly minimum. You can use Merchant Anywhere on Android and Apple devices as well as computers.
Merchant One offers processing solutions for small businesses that accept card payments in-store, online, on the go, or by mail and phone order. It approves a high percentage of applicants, can set up your account quickly and provides 24/7 customer support. It advertises low processing rates, but only posts the rate for qualified debit transactions on its website.
Merchant Solutions lets you accept credit cards in person, online and by phone. The company works with business of all sizes, including those that are home-based. Services also include mobile and PC credit card processing, as well as merchant and POS cash-advance programs. It advertises a free terminal placement program, but terms for it aren't posted.
MerchantPlus provides retail and online credit card processing to businesses of all sizes. It offers interchange-plus pricing with a single monthly fee to its merchants. With its RateAssure program, your interchange markup decreases as your average monthly volume increases. It has integrations available for shopping carts, gateways, terminals and POS systems.
Moolah, not to be confused with Moolah Payments, is a rarity among mobile credit card processing companies because it provides you with a merchant account and an Authorize.net gateway but charges very few fees. There are no monthly, annual, PCI, gateway or termination fees. It has flat, transparent pricing, pay-as-you-go terms and a low monthly minimum. It integrates with hundreds of third-party apps, including e-commerce platforms and POS systems.
MSI Merchant Service
MSI Merchant Service is a Shift4 Payments company (formerly Harbortouch) that provides payment processing services and equipment to small businesses. MSI's website talks about interchange rates, but its application shows tiered pricing, so you may need to specifically request interchange-plus pricing when you call for a quote. It offers on-site installation services and training as well as 24/7 technical support.
This company provides its processing services on a month-to-month basis with no cancellation fee. You can choose either interchange-plus or tiered pricing, but you'll have to call for a quote since only its qualified rate for swiped debit cards is posted on its website. The company sells terminals, POS systems and mobile card readers, and you can view pricing for these items online.
National Merchants Association (NMA)
National Merchants Association is a merchant services provider that offers in-store and online credit card processing to small businesses, including high-risk merchants. It has flat rate pricing, integrates with QuickBooks and many shopping carts, and supports recurring billing.
National Processing offers credit card processing for retail, restaurant, and online businesses, as well as those that sell over the phone or by mail order. It has interchange-plus pricing and you can view its rates on its website. ACH and check processing services are also available.
National Transaction Corporation (NTC)
NTC lets you process credit cards, debit cards, EBT cards, online payments, electronic checks and gift cards using your own phone, tablet or computer. NTC works with businesses in a variety of industries, including travel agencies and healthcare businesses that process medical claims.
Nationwide Merchant Solutions
Nationwide Merchant Solutions has a roster of services to help you accept credit cards and grow your business. In addition to in-person, mobile and online credit-card processing, it also offers ACH and Level 3 processing. It advertises no contract and interchange-plus pricing, though its rates aren't posted on its website.
Newtek offers a full suite of processing services for retail, mobile and e-commerce businesses, allowing you to accept all major credit and debit cards as well as payments made using mobile wallets like Apple Pay. Newtek sells a variety of processing equipment and provides its customers with 24/7 support.
NextPay is a full-featured online credit card processing company that works with international businesses as well as those in some high-risk industries. Its features include email payments, subscription billing, multi-currency processing, API integration and an advanced anti-fraud system. Mobile credit card processing is also available from this company.
North American Bancard
North American Bancard is a large credit card processor that provides a complete range of solutions, including check acceptance and ATM service. The company claims to have the fastest approvals in the industry and some of the lowest rates, though only its qualified debit rate is displayed on its website. Month-to-month terms are available to most merchants.
Paya, known as Sage Payment Solutions before its acquisition by private equity firm GTCR, is a credit card processing company that you can use to accept debit and credit cards, mobile and online payments, and electronic checks or ACH. It has more than 300 integrations, allowing you to connect to your shopping cart, POS system and other business software.
PayAnywhere, the mobile credit card processing arm of North American Bancard, offers two plans. The Mobile plan has flat-rate pricing, pay-as-you-go terms and no monthly fee or minimum. The Storefront plan, for businesses processing more than $5,000 per month, has tiered pricing, which you can view on the company's website, and a monthly fee. Card readers are available, including a Bluetooth option.
PayJunction provides its customers with interchange-plus pricing, and established merchants can submit billing statements to qualify for a rate match. It doesn't charge any PCI compliance, gateway, annual or exit fees, and it only charges a monthly fee if you process less than $10,000 per month. It connects with third-party applications and has an API for custom integrations.
Acquired by First Data in 2017, PayLeap is a mobile and online credit-card-processing service designed specifically for small businesses and online stores. PayLeap integrates with many shopping carts and social media sites, and your developers can use its APIs and SDKs to completely customize the service and software to suit your business's exact needs.
Payline provides cost-effective credit card processing solutions with no lengthy contracts to businesses of all sizes. It has multiple plans, each featuring interchange-plus pricing with rates posted on its website. Custom solutions are also available. Payline offers in-store, online, mobile and ACH payment processing, subscription billing services and more.
Like other top processing companies, Payment Depot uses interchange-plus pricing, but it's membership-based, so there's no percentage markup, just a per-transaction fee and a monthly membership fee. There's no separate statement or PCI compliance fees as they're included in the membership fee, and if you decide to close your account, there's no cancellation fee. Multiple plans are available, based on your processing volume.
Our top pick for the best low-volume credit-card processor, PayPal lets businesses of all sizes, including startups and very small businesses, accept credit cards with minimal application requirements. It's affordable, has transparent pricing and terms, and is easy to use for both in-person and online transactions. It also integrates with many POS systems and shopping carts.
Pineapple Payments is a new merchant services provider that offers omnichannel payment processing solutions to businesses of all sizes. It has an iPad POS system, integrations for all major shopping carts and EMV-capable mobile card readers. Its merchants can choose either interchange-plus or flat-rate pricing.
Planet Payment provides domestic and international payment processing to merchants that accept payments in person and online, as well as to banks and payment service providers. In addition to its multicurrency processing services, it offers a money-transfer platform, risk management, authorization and capture services and other advanced solutions.
QuickBooks Payments, a division of Intuit, has several processing solutions, allowing you to accept payments on the go, in-store and online, either through a webstore hosted on a compatible e-commerce platform or invoices you send using QuickBooks accounting software. You can view its rates online and choose between a plan with no monthly fee or one with a monthly fee and lower rates.
Sekure Merchant Solutions
Sekure Merchant Solutions offers retail, online, mobile and MOTO (mail order, telephone order) credit card processing. It works with businesses in many industries, including retail, restaurant, petroleum, hospitality, service and government. It advertises low rates, but you'll have to call for a quote as it doesn't post them on its website.
Businesses using the Shopify platform to sell products online can use Shopify Payments to accept credit and debit card payments. You can also use the service to accept payments via social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest as well as in-person using a mobile card reader. It has competitive flat rates and month-to-month terms, and you avoid paying an extra fee for using an external payment gateway.
Signature Card Services
Signature Card Services provides in-store, online and mobile credit card processing to businesses of all sizes. It can also handle multi-currency processing and alternative payments, which may be useful if you have international customers, and Level 3 transactions, which can reduce the cost of accepting payments from your B2B and government clients.
Square is our pick for best mobile credit card processor because it's the simplest and fastest way to accept credit cards using a smartphone or tablet. It has clear and affordable pricing, no contracts and there are no credit checks or complicated setup processes, so you can get started right away. You can start small with a simple credit card reader, then transition to a Square POS system as your business grows.
Sterling Payment Technologies
Sterling Payment Technologies, now a division of EVO Payments International, is a full-service credit card processor that works with retail, restaurant, B2B, e-commerce and service businesses. It offers credit card readers, POS systems, mobile payment processing and value-added programs like gift cards.
Stripe, our pick for best online credit card processor, provides its services to online businesses in 25 countries. Its developer toolkit allows you to customize it for your website or mobile app, and it comes with more than 100 features, including APIs and automatic currency conversion. Stripe also integrates with many popular business software applications and platforms. It has flat, transparent pricing and no cancellation fees.
This mobile credit card processing company is already popular in Europe, and recently opened a U.S. office to expand its services to businesses in this country. It has a low, flat rate, apps for iOS and Android devices and a Bluetooth card reader that accepts chip and magstripe cards, as well as mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Tidal Commerce, formerly known as Premier Payment Systems, provides credit card processing services to businesses of all sizes, across many industries, including retail, restaurant, healthcare, B2B and professional services. It offers its merchants the choice of simplified tiered or interchange-plus pricing, and you can view its rates online. It doesn't charge setup or cancellation fees.
Total Merchant Services
Total Merchant Services is a large credit card processing company that was recently acquired by North American Bancard Holdings. It offers a complete range of payment processing products and services to businesses in many industries, such as retail, food and beverage, beauty and fitness, healthcare and professional services. It advertises free product placement, fast deposits and 24/7 customer support.
The Transaction Group
The Transaction Group specializes in providing merchant account services to international and high-risk businesses, including legal marijuana dispensaries and vape shops. It also serves low-risk businesses. Its merchants can accept all major credit and debit cards in-store, online, over the phone or mail order, and on the go. E-check processing is also available.
TransNational Payments provides interchange-plus pricing to all its merchants. It offers in-store, mobile, MOTO and online credit card processing services. It has Level 2 and Level 3 processing for companies that accept B2B payments, and supports recurring payments. An API is available to merchants that need custom integrations.
Transparent Merchant Services
Transparent Merchant Services claims it can slash up to 68 percent off your current processing fees. The company charges a flat, monthly fee plus a per-transaction fee over interchange, which may be a cost-effective pricing model for companies with large sales tickets. As with most processors, you pay an annual PCI compliance fee. There's no contract and no cancellation or setup fees.
TSYS is one of the country's leading payment processors and recently acquired Cayan (formerly Merchant Warehouse). TSYS works directly with businesses of all sizes across many industries, including healthcare, as well as indirectly through merchant account providers. It has everything you need to process credit cards in store, online and on the go.
If your restaurant uses Upserve's Breadcrumb POS, you can accept credit cards using Upserve Payments. With this credit card processing service, you can accept payments tableside or at a checkout station. You pay the interchange rate plus a per-transaction fee for each sale, and the monthly subscription fee for the POS software.
US Merchant Systems (USMS)
USMS offers credit card processing solutions for all types of businesses: retailers, restaurants (including fast food and delivery), e-commerce, service providers, fuel and automotive, grocery, hospitality, health care and government. Additionally, USMS works with nonprofits, B2B, international and high-risk businesses. The company says it has the lowest cost worldwide, but its rates aren't on its website.
Velocity Merchant Services (VMS)
VMS provides online, mobile and in-store processing solutions and processing equipment, including card readers, POS systems and cloud-based terminal options, It also offers merchant cash advances, loyalty programs and a website builder for your online store.
Worldpay, Inc., formed after Vantiv acquired Worldpay, is one of the world's leading payment processors. It offers advanced omnichannel products and services to make credit card processing work even better for your business. These include developer resources to integrate Worldpay with apps your company already uses and value-added services like gift cards, loyalty programs and working capital.
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Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.
Editor's note: Looking for a credit card processor for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free: