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The Best Credit Card Processors of 2021

By Lori Fairbanks,
Business News Daily Staff
| Updated
Jan 22, 2021

Here are the best credit card processing solutions for small businesses, including online payment solutions and mobile credit card readers.
Featured Sponsor
98% approval rate
Setup within 24 hours
Clover hardware
Best Overall
Pay-as-you-go pricing
Flat rates
Free mobile POS app
Best for Established SMBs
Transparent rates and fees
Interchange-plus pricing
Rate-lock guarantee
Best for Online Businesses
Pay-as-you-go pricing
Flat rates
Easy platform integrations
Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs
Pay-as-you-go pricing
Flat rates
Contactless QR code payments
National Processing
Best for Low Transaction Rates
Read Review
Interchange-plus pricing
Rate-lock guarantee
Works with new businesses
Here are the best credit card processing solutions for small businesses, including online payment solutions and mobile credit card readers.
Updated 01/22/21

We updated Square's review to include information about its new Shift Scheduling add-on.

  • For small businesses that process less than $5,000 per month, the most affordable option is usually credit card processors that charge a flat rate for each transaction and don't have any monthly or annual fees.
  • Businesses that process more than $5,000 per month should look for a processor that has interchange-plus pricing and charges few monthly or annual fees.
  • All businesses should look for processors that are very transparent with their pricing, clearly posting both rates and fees on their websites.
  • This article is for business owners who are looking for a credit card processing service.

Just about every business needs to be able to accept credit cards and debit cards, but choosing a credit card processing company for your small business can be difficult because there are hundreds to choose from and they all offer a similar service. As we researched this industry, we looked for credit card processors that have transparent pricing with reasonable rates and few credit card processing fees, reliable customer support, and no long-term contracts. Check out our recommendations below and our credit card processing guide to select the best credit card processor for your business.

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Our Reviews

Merchant One: Featured Sponsor

PCI compliance is included in your monthly fee.
This processor charges an early termination fee if you cancel your account before your contract expires.
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Merchant One combines cutting-edge technology with exceptional service to provide you with solutions for your merchant processing needs. Choose which type of processing you need, and Merchant One will work to get you in business in the blink of an eye.

  • Fast turnaround ‒ you could get set up within 24 hours
  • 98% approval rate ‒ even with less-than-perfect credit
  • State-of-the-art-systems and dedicated account managers

Merchant One offers custom packages to suit your business needs. Large or small, Merchant One can handle anything from an entire POS system with a terminal, to a simple card swiper for your mobile device.

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Square: Best Processor Overall for Small Businesses

There are no monthly or annual fees for Square's credit card processing service.
Its basic POS app is free and can be augmented with advanced features as your business grows.
Its customer service isn't as robust as some of its competitors.
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Square provides a fast and easy way to accept credit card payments anytime, anywhere, and it's our pick as the best mobile credit card processing company. Getting started is simple. Just sign up for an account, download the Square credit card payment app and plug Square's card reader into your iOS or Android device. Its app includes full-featured point-of-sale software, and you can also use Square's stand to turn your iPad into a powerful POS system at your checkout counter. Square offers additional hardware and software solutions for all types of businesses, along with simple pricing, fast deposits, integrations and other benefits.

January 2020: Square has added a new feature to its Team Management services called Shift Scheduling. Shift Scheduling lets staff members manage built-in timecards with clock-in and clock-out functionality, while managers control permission-based options that help them focus on labor optimization. Managers can create and maintain employee schedules, ensure that employees don't clock in too early or claim time for unscheduled shifts. Managers can also generate custom reports that check the number of scheduled hours versus the number of hours worked, making it easier to find discrepancies. Shift Scheduling is free in all Square Markets. Additional features and tools are in the Team Plus package, which costs $35 per month, per location.

October 2020: Square has unveiled a QR code-based self-serve ordering feature. When customers visit a restaurant and scan a QR code using their smartphones, they can order and pay for their meals without the need of physical menus or a visit from wait staff. Though Square expects this will impact tipping expectations, the new feature was touted by the company as just one way it is "expanding and adapting its services to this 'new normal.'" This feature is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

Read Review

Helcim: Best Processor for Established Small Businesses

Helcim posts its rates and fees on its website, so you know exactly what you will pay.
The monthly fee includes PCI compliance, virtual terminal access, an online store and more.
Some of its competitors offer lower online processing rates.
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Helcim is the best credit card processor for established small businesses that process more than $5,000 per month and want better rates than what flat-rate plans offer. We selected Helcim because in addition to being one of the most transparent credit card companies in the industry, it provides interchange-plus pricing to all of its merchants and posts its complete rates and fees on its website so you know exactly what you'll pay. Its rates are low, it offers volume-based discounts, and it's one of the few companies with a rate lock, guaranteeing its margin won't increase over the life of your account.

It has in-person, online, and mobile processing, plus more advanced solutions such as invoicing, recurring payments, a hosted online store and payment pages, and online food ordering. The company provides services on a month-to-month basis, charges no early termination fee and has 24/7 phone support.

Read Review

Stripe: Best Processor for Online Businesses

Stripe integrates with hundreds of business applications, including e-commerce platforms, accounting software and CRMs.
Its online processing rates are competitive, and it has pay-as-you-go terms.
Phone support is outbound only, which means you can't call Stripe directly for support; you must email them or use its live-chat service instead.
Stripe is our pick as the best online credit card processing company. It's easy to set up an account, so your online store can start processing credit card sales right away. It also has plugins and integrations for hundreds of business software applications and services. Stripe is packed with features and customization options, which lets you tailor the service to suit the unique needs of your e-commerce businesses. The company also has flat, transparent pricing, so you'll know exactly what you'll pay.
Read Review

PayPal Credit Card Processing: Best Processor for Freelancers and Solopreneurs

PayPal can be used by individuals, as well as businesses, making it a good option for freelancers and new solopreneurs.
It's a well-known brand, which helps customers feel secure about making purchases from your new business.
If you use a lot of its optional services, costs can increase quickly.
PayPal offers credit card processing to all types of businesses and has budget-friendly pricing, which is why it's our best pick for freelancers and solopreneurs. Whether you run credit card transactions in person, online, on the go or all of the above, PayPal's credit card processing solution can work for you. Designed specifically for small businesses and startups, the service has pay-as-you-go terms and comes with additional perks like basic POS features, the ability to extend credit to customers, a rewards business Mastercard program, and 24/7 phone and email support.
Read Review

National Processing: Best Credit Card Processor for Low Transaction Rates

National Processing has some of the lowest interchange-plus rates.
All customers are provided a dedicated account executive.
Closing your account without paying a termination fee can be tricky. You must get a quote for lower pricing elsewhere and allow National Processing to "meet or beat" it to keep your business.
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.
Read Review

Costs, Fees and Equipment for Credit Card Processing

Cost is one of the most important factors to examine when deciding which credit card processing service to use.

What Costs Should You Expect for Credit Card Processing?

There are usually three sets of costs involved when choosing a credit card processor. These include:

  1. Rates. These are the processing fees that you pay for every transaction. They're usually expressed as a percentage of the sale amount, plus a few cents for each transaction.
  1. Fees. These are the account service fees that are usually charged monthly, though some processors have quarterly and annual fees as well. There are also incidental fees that are charged when a specific action occurs. Processors with flat-rate pricing usually don't charge account service fees.
  1. Equipment costs. This is usually a one-time expense for the hardware needed to accept credit cards. We recommend buying processing equipment upfront whenever possible. Leasing is often available, but it's notorious in this industry for exorbitant costs. Free equipment offers are also available, but they're also problematic.

Credit Card Processing Fees

For each sales transaction that's made using a credit card, debit card or mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay, you pay a credit card processing fee. The amount of this fee is determined by the rate the processor charges.

The rate is made up of three parts: the interchange rate, the card brand's assessment fee and the processor's markup. The interchange rate and the card brand's assessment fee are set by the credit card networks, and everyone pays the same amount – which means that this part of the rate is nonnegotiable. The processor's markup is variable, however. Each processor sets its own margin, and as such, it's negotiable.

From these three parts, processors create their rate structure or pricing model. Here are the three main rate structures to know:

  1. Flat-rate pricing. For businesses that process less than $5,000 per month or have very small sales tickets, this is usually the most affordable type of pricing, because all you pay is a fee for each transaction – there are no monthly or annual account fees to consider when you're looking at the rates.
  1. Interchange-plus pricing. For all other businesses, this is the pricing model that industry experts recommend. The reason is that the price you're quoted is the processor's markup (remember, this is the only negotiable part of the pricing) – so you know exactly what the processor's cut is for each transaction, and you can easily compare it as you're evaluating pricing from multiple processors.
  1. Tiered, or bundled, pricing. This is the pricing model that many credit card processors prefer, but industry experts say you should avoid. The processors bundle together the interchange rates, assessment fees, and their markup and separate them into tiers: qualified, midqualified and nonqualified. They usually only advertise the qualified rate (which only applies to regular debit cards accepted in person using a card reader) and only disclose the other tiers if you specifically ask for them. It's impossible to determine the processor's markup with this pricing model, and the number of tiers (and the types of transactions that go into each tier) vary by processor, so it's difficult to know if the rates you're offered are good or not.

What Is the Average Fee for Credit Card Processing?

The average credit card processing fee ranges from 2% to 4% of each sale. Here are some of the factors that determine how much a transaction will cost:

  • The type of card your customer uses (debit, credit, rewards, premium rewards, corporate)
  • How you accept the card (in-person using a card reader, manually keyed in, online)
  • The pricing structure your processor uses (flat-rate, interchange-plus, tiered)

What Kinds of Fees Come With Credit Card Processing?

In addition to the processing fees you pay for each transaction, there can be several additional fees – where it gets confusing is that processors may each charge different fees, and it's hard to know which fees are standard and which ones are superfluous.

Generally, you want to look for a processor that charges no or very few fees.

Processors that charge flat rates usually don't charge account service fees, but there will still be some incidental fees to be aware of.

Full-service processors that use the interchange-plus or tiered pricing structures charge some recurring account fees. Here are some examples:

  • Monthly fee. This is sometimes called a statement fee. It covers customer service and statement preparation. It ranges from $5 to $15 per month, though it may be higher if it covers additional services like PCI compliance and gateway fees.
  • Payment gateway fee. This is also a monthly fee. It covers the usage of the payment gateway that allows you to accept payments online. The cost varies, depending on the payment gateway, but is often about the same amount as the monthly fee.
  • Monthly minimum fee. As mentioned above, some processors require you to process enough sales each month to generate a certain dollar amount in processing fees. Usually this is $25, but some processors set it higher. If you don't process enough to meet this amount, you're charged the difference. 
  • PCI compliance fee. All full-service processors are required to have their merchants complete a PCI compliance questionnaire each year, and this fee is for the assistance the processor provides to help you accomplish this task. Not all processors charge this fee, but for those that do, the average cost is $100 per year. If you don't complete your PCI questionnaire, you're charged an expensive PCI noncompliance fee until you do. 
  • Network fees. These fees are charged by the card networks and are passed on to you as either monthly or annual fees. Examples of these fees are Mastercard's Merchant Location Fee and Visa's Fixed Acquirer Network Fee.

There are some incidental fees to be aware of, those these are charged when triggered by a certain action. Here are some examples:

  • Chargeback fee. When a customer disputes a transaction, you're charged this fee. It usually costs $15 or $20 per incident, but it may be as high as $45. Some processors, but not all, refund this fee if you win the dispute.
  • Address Verification Service (AVS) fee. AVS is an anti-fraud tool that verifies the address and ZIP code of the cardholder. It usually costs a few cents per transaction.
  • Voice authorization. This is another anti-fraud feature that requires you to call the credit card company to provide them with additional information about the transaction. It's rarely required, but you're charged for each occurrence.
  • Batch fee. This is a small daily fee you pay when you close out the day's sales. It usually costs the same amount as your per-transaction fee, which is typically between 10 and 30 cents. Not all processors charge this fee.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee. This is a fee you are charged if you don't have enough money in your business bank account to pay the fees you owe the processor.

What Equipment Does a Business Owner Need to Process Payments?

At a minimum, you'll need either a phone or tablet and a credit card reader or a credit card terminal. Additional hardware, also called peripherals, like cash drawers, receipt printers and barcode readers can also be added to your system.

When you're shopping for a card reader or terminal, look for a model that allows you to accept magstripe cards, chip cards, and contactless cards and mobile wallets. The best credit card readers have these capabilities and typically cost less than $100 (usually between $20 and $50). If you prefer a terminal, a basic one with these capabilities usually costs $200 to $300, though fancier models cost more.

The best credit card reader for small business owners who don't yet accept a lot of credit and debit card payments is a mobile credit card reader that is used with a smartphone or tablet and the processor's app. This is an affordable choice and because you can email or text receipts to your customers, you don't have to buy a receipt printer, which also saves you money.

Key takeaway: When you're choosing a credit card processing company, you need to look at three types of pricing: rates, fees and equipment costs.

 

What Is Credit Card Processing, and How Does It Work?

Credit card processing is the method of moving money from a customer's credit card account to a merchant's account to pay for a purchase. The process is simple and fast for both the merchant and the customer; it only takes a few seconds for the transaction to complete. Behind the scenes, however, the process of moving money is complex as the data must travel between the merchant, their processor, the credit card brand's network, the customer's bank and the merchant's bank.

Why Do Businesses Need Credit Card Processing?

Credit card processing allows you to accept payments from your customers who choose to pay using a credit card, debit card or a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay. You need to be able to accept these payment methods because that's how most customers prefer to pay. Cash use is continually declining, particularly in light of the pandemic as customers and merchants opt for contactless and online payments.

What Are the Benefits of Credit Card Processing for Businesses?

There are a few additional benefits to accepting your customers' preferred payment method. For starters, customers spend more when they shop with a credit card than when they pay cash, according to multiple studies. Another advantage is that you won't lose potential sales from customers who don't carry cash.

What Are the Basics Business Owners Should Know About Credit Card Processing?

You have a lot of options when it comes to credit card processing, but there are easy entry points that make it accessible to every business – even those that are very small, such as solopreneurs and freelancers.

The easiest way to get started is to choose a mobile credit card processing company like Square or PayPal that has flat rates, no contracts, a free mobile credit card processing app and affordable card readers that connect to a phone or tablet. Then, as your business grows and your processing volume increases, you can add more equipment and features or switch to a more advanced payment processing service.

Here's why we like these processors for new businesses:

  • Low startup costs. If you already have a phone or tablet, the only thing you need to buy to start accepting credit cards is a card reader. Some processors give you a free swiper when you sign up, but you want a model that accepts chip cards and contactless payments. These models cost less than $100 (but usually between $20 and $50).
  • Pay-as-you-go fees. Most flat-rate processors only charge for the processing you use – you pay a flat rate for each transaction. This rate looks higher than what some processors advertise, but that's because you aren't paying monthly account service fees. If you opt for a full-service processor, look for one that has interchange-plus pricing ‒ it's more transparent and economical than tiered (or bundled) pricing structures.
  • No monthly minimum. Some processors have a monthly minimum, which means you're required to process enough sales each month to generates a certain dollar amount in processing fees. If you rarely accept credit cards, don't yet know how much you'll process each month or have a seasonal business, you don't want to work with a processor that has this fee.
  • No contract. Standard credit card processing contracts have three-year terms and automatically renew for additional one-year terms with just a 30-day window at the end of the term to cancel. If you want to cancel your account and don't make it within that window, you're charged an expensive early termination fee. If you choose a full-service processor, look for one that has month-to-month terms. The best credit card processors don't make you sign a lengthy contract to keep your business.

Key takeaway: Credit card processing lets your business accept customer payments made using credit cards, debit cards and mobile wallets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Credit Card Processing Secure?

As a small business owner, you must remain vigilant against credit card fraud. Though most headlines focus on data breaches at major retail chains, small businesses are just as vulnerable. According to industry experts, small businesses can shore up their credit card processing security measures by committing to two specific actions.

The first measure is to ensure that you comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Created by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB in 2006, this standard requires that businesses meet certain criteria to ensure their transactions are as secure as they can be.

The second action is to upgrade your card reader to accept EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip cards. Most credit cards have a chip embedded into one end of the card, and having the technology to read it makes the transaction significantly more secure because the chip is harder to counterfeit than the standard magnetic strip.

How Can You Avoid Credit Card Processing Fees?

Credit card processing companies rely on fees to make their money, so there's no way to completely eliminate credit card processing fees. If you feel that the fees you're paying are too high, you can negotiate with credit card processors to reduce them. If you can accept cards in person instead of over the phone or online, you'll also save money on fees.

Whether you're able to reduce the fees or not, another option is to set a minimum transaction amount that customers must meet before they can pay with credit cards. By doing this, you can ensure you come out on top of the transaction, since it makes more financial sense to pay the fee on a $10 purchase than a $2 one. The major credit card networks have rules about minimum transaction amounts, so verify that your policy complies with their rules.

Similarly, you can move the fee to your customers entirely by using cash discounts or surcharging. Many gas stations use this method, where a gallon of gas is discounted if you pay with cash. Though this may cause potential customers to take their business elsewhere, it could encourage people who prefer paying with cash to frequent your store more often. If you go this route, check the credit card networks' rules for surcharging to ensure you follow best practices. [Read related article: The Truth About Free Credit Card Processing]

How Much Are Credit Card Processing Fees for Customers?

Customers usually don't pay credit card processing fees. Some processors advertise surcharging programs that pass the processing fees to your customers, but these programs aren't popular with consumers.

Before implementing such a program, you need to know your customers and determine if they would accept it or if it would lead them to shop elsewhere. As mentioned above, the credit card networks have rules for surcharging that you must follow.

How Long Can a Merchant Hold an Authorization?

Authorization holds vary depending on the status of the transaction and the card issuer's self-imposed time limits. For most transactions, a merchant has up to 30 days to clear an authorization hold, though some credit card companies like Visa and Discover have significantly shorter time limits before such authorizations "fall off" the account. However, by failing to complete a transaction hold and letting it fall off, you run the risk of being charged a misuse fee by the credit card processing company.

Community Expert Insight

Part of our research involved reaching out to small business owners and asking them to tell us about their experiences with the credit card processors they use and what they like about them.

David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com chose PayPal as his business's first credit card processor more than 15 years ago. His business initially used PayPal's payment buttons that redirected customers to a PayPal payment page. Now, he uses its secure webform that allows Voices.com customers to stay on the company's website. In addition to the ability to design the user experience, Ciccarelli likes that PayPal continually updates and improves its systems.

"As an online marketplace, we exclusively accept credit cards online and appreciate all the built-in fraud prevention and security controls that PayPal has in place. Despite being one of the oldest payment processors on the web, PayPal has remained relevant, updating their systems, reporting and security protocols each year," Ciccarelli told Business News Daily.  

Lisa Chu, owner of Black N Bianco, was impressed with Stripe's security protocols, and it was one of the factors that led her to choose it as the credit card processor for her business, which accepts credit cards online and in person. Chu notes that Stripe isn't the cheapest processor but feels that it's worth the price.

"The only gripe I have about Stripe are the transaction fees. They are not high, but they certainly are not the lowest," she said. "However, its ease of use, integration capabilities and secure transactions make it one of the best credit card processors. I would recommend it to every business."

Rod Holmes, managing partner and director of sales for Pilot Digital Marketing, uses Intuit for his business's payment processing services. Since his business uses QuickBooks accounting software, using its parent company to accept credit cards and facilitate ACH transactions made sense.

"There's no bookwork," said Holmes. "This was the most important factor for me when we were just getting started and I didn't have an office manager. When an invoice is paid online, all the bookwork associated with the transaction is done automatically. No integrations. No hassles. It just works."

He also likes that Intuit has an ACH option, which allows his customers to pay their invoices via bank transfer, which is less expensive than credit card processing – particularly for high-dollar invoices.

Homes said that although he now gets a great credit card processing rate, he had to negotiate for it, calling Intuit several times asking for better pricing.

"I agreed to use their system for two months and then they'd evaluate our usage and our rate. I called on day 60 and they cut the rate. I called again in 90 days and they cut the rate. I've called probably four or five times and they cut the rate each time," he said.

Key takeaway: The small business leaders we heard from value security, reliability and convenience, though cost is also a chief concern.

What to Expect in 2021

Credit card processing trends for 2021 are continuations of several familiar themes, though the biggest by far is improving the customer experience. Customers have high expectations when it comes to credit card payments; therefore, you want to work with a credit card processor that helps you meet these expectations, which include a "fast, frictionless experience" that is also secure, according to 92% of the 7,000 North American and European consumers surveyed for an Ekata report. 

In a press release, Michel Léger, executive vice president of innovation at Ingenico, explained what consumers expect saying, "Now, everyone can pay when they want, where they want and how they want ... It's not enough anymore to just offer payment solutions that are tailored to consumers: now, payments need to be taken right to them." 

Mobile technologies present several ways to fulfill this expectation, and as such, will continue to play an important role in the payments industry in 2021. In addition to mobile credit card processing that allows you to accept payments wherever your customer is, you also need to accept payments in multiple ways.

If you have an online store, it needs to be mobile-friendly because consumers enjoy shopping on their phones. Of the record-breaking $9.4 billion in sales made on Cyber Monday in 2019, more than 32% of purchases – that's more than $3 billion in sales – were made using smartphones, according to Adobe Analytics

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, in addition to having a card reader that accepts chip cards, you also need it to accept contactless payments – mobile wallets like Apple Pay and contactless cards. Even though Americans have been slow to adopt mobile wallets, nearly one-third of adults used a mobile wallet or app to make payments or transfer money in 2019, according to Mobile Payments Today. 

But for contactless cards – which use the same near-field communication technology as mobile wallets – adoption may happen faster. The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on how people pay merchants, according to Square, which revealed data that suggests a major spike in cashless transactions in recent months.

According to the company, just 5.4% of Square sellers were cashless in February 2020 – but that percentage jumped to 23.2% in April. As states relaxed their restrictions and more retail locations reopened, the percentage has gone back down and settled at 13.4% in August.

Square economist Felipe Chacon said he believed the findings showed "a significant and stabilizing increase in cashless adoption rates compared to pre-pandemic, with business owners increasingly reliant upon contactless and online payments and consumers utilizing those alternatives." He suggested that COVID-19 will impact how people conduct business for years to come.

As for new mobile payment technologies, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) released its standards for contactless payments, and it indicates that card readers may not be needed for mobile credit card processing; merchants may be able to accept payments using just a mobile device and a payments app.

PCI SSC Senior Vice President Troy Leach said the PCI standards and program for contactless payments "provide merchants the option to use validated solutions that require no additional hardware to accept contactless transactions." 

In addition to a "fast, frictionless experience," consumers expect their data to be secure. Though EMV adoption has been extremely effective in reducing incidents of card-present fraud, card-not-present fraud is rampant. Over a five-year period – from 2018 to 2023 – retailers will lose $130 billion to card-not-present fraud, according to Juniper Research. 

Payment processing companies are projected to spend close to $10 billion by 2023 to detect and prevent fraud. In a TSYS blog, Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs at the Electronic Transactions Association, explained the technologies that processors are investing in to prevent fraud, writing, "These tools are powered by technological advancements like machine learning, biometrics, geolocation tools and artificial intelligence. They are critically important in the fight against increasingly sophisticated criminals."

Key takeaway: In 2021, the credit card processing industry will continue to focus on mobile and contactless technology, with the goal of improving the customer experience.

Our Methodology

To help you find the right credit card processing solution, we researched and analyzed more than 100 options. Here's an explanation of how we chose our 2021 best picks for credit card processing.

Locating the Best Services

To find the best credit card processors for small businesses, we started by asking business owners which credit card payment processing companies they use or have worked with. We also asked what the businesses liked and disliked about these vendors, and whether they would recommend them to other small businesses and why.

Choosing the Best Services

Next, we created a comprehensive list of more than 100 credit card processors suitable for small businesses. This included those mentioned by the small business owners we spoke to, the processors we were familiar with and those that contacted us asking to be considered. In addition to these providers, we looked at credit card processing companies that appeared on reputable online sources, such as merchant services review sites and business websites.

Researching Each Service

We then researched these vendors and narrowed our list down based on different use-case scenarios (i.e., the best picks categories). Our research consisted of reviewing each processor's website, watching videos, reading how-to guides and browsing help resources.

Analyzing Each Service

From our narrowed lists, we contacted the companies' sales and customer support reps to get a better idea of the quality of service they offer and to find information that isn't readily available online. We compared pricing, contract terms and features to select our best picks, which are Square, PayPal, Helcim and Stripe.

Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks
Business News Daily Staff
See Lori Fairbanks's Profile
Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes about small business finance, including accounting software, credit card processing and point-of-sale systems for business.com and Business News Daily.

Full List of Credit Card Processors

2Checkout, formerly Avangate, is a global payment platform that allows companies to accept online payments for physical goods, digital software and subscriptions from buyers worldwide. According to the company, it offers a preintegrated payments gateway, PCI compliance, international fraud prevention and integration with more than 120 shopping carts.
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 or monthly, annual, gateway or PCI compliance fees.
Auric aims to provide businesses with affordable credit card processing. With this service, your business pays a monthly fee but passes the 3.99% credit card fee for each transaction to your customers as a service charge, which the platform removes, or discounts, when customers use cash.
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. Mobile credit card processing is also available. Features include advanced fraud detection, customer information management, invoicing, recurring billing and e-check processing.
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.
BASYS provides in-store, mobile and online credit card processing services with free online reporting. It sells processing equipment – including Clover POS systems and EMV-compliant terminals. It offers next-day funding, gift card and loyalty programs, a surcharging program and merchant cash advance lending.
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, reprograms it for free.
BlueSnap has an all-in-one payment platform for B2B and B2C businesses that supports omnichannel processing. With it, you can accept payments from online, mobile and in-store sales, as well as from invoices and subscriptions. It supports more than 100 payment types, including mobile wallets.
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.
The business offers a large quantity of services ranging from merchant services to HR services to consulting. Card Z3N's merchant services and credit card processing offerings are designed specifically with small businesses in mind.
CDG Commerce provides in-store, mobile and online credit card processing services 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 programs, e-commerce platforms and CRM systems.
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 programs, e-commerce platforms and CRM systems.
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 online and offline, 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, 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. Read Review.

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.
Accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and STAR credit and debit cards with a merchant account from CreditCardProcessing.com, a Paysafe (formerly 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.
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).
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 is a certified green business that provides payment processing for retail, restaurant and e-commerce businesses. It has no long-term contract requirements and is transparent about pricing, posting its complete rates and fees on its website. The company donates generously to charity and offers discounted rates to nonprofits.
Due is an online credit card processing service that offers several payment options. You can use it with your online store and digital invoices, and it allows you to accept payments from domestic and international customers. It also offers a time-tracking tool that freelancers and small businesses can use to track their billable time.
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 provides in-person, mobile, and online credit card processing for U.S. businesses and international businesses, including those that are in high-risk industries. It sells processing equipment, such as the Clover POS system, and offers small business loans, merchant cash advances and marketing services.
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, and partners with Costco to offer processing services to the wholesale club's business members. Its services include retail, mobile and online credit card processing, and it can provide you with processing equipment as well.
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.
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 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. offers retail, e-commerce, mail, phone and mobile credit card processing solutions. It claims low rates and no hidden fees, but they aren’t posted on its website. It advertises free merchant-account setup and a virtual terminal. It provides 24/7 support.
eMerchant offers credit card processing services for all types of businesses. This includes retail stores, service providers, e-commerce 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.
EVO iPOS, a division of EVO Payments International, was formerly known as Sterling Payment Technologies. This full-service credit card processor 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.
Fattmerchant is an integrated payment technology platform that allows you to accept credit cards in store, on the go, over the phone and online. It has real-time data analytics and integrations for accounting software, e-commerce platforms and POS systems. Fattmerchant is transparent about its subscription-based pricing and has no hidden fees and no long-term contract.

FIS, the result of a 2019 merger between Worldpay and FIS, Vantiv and FIS (Fidelity Information Services), a leading technology provider for financial institutions, is one of the largest credit card processors in the world.

Although FIS is a giant in the payments industry that works with large corporations like banks and ISO/MSP processing companies, it also works directly with small businesses. It offers every form of processing, including omnichannel solutions, and tech savvy businesses can use its developer tools to create custom integrations. It also has very competitive rates and a one-year contract that you can cancel without penalty when you provide 30 days' written notice. For these reasons, we selected FIS as the best direct processor for small businesses. 

 

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Visit our best picks page to see all of our recommendations for credit card processing companies. If you're looking for the processor with the lowest overall pricing, see our pick for the best credit card processing company for small businesses. 

Pricing and Terms

FIS doesn't post its pricing on its website, so you'll need to call the company and speak with a sales rep or fill out the "build a quote" questionnaire to receive a pricing quote via email. 

When we called FIS, posing as a small business owner with a retail store, the sales rep quoted us both interchange-plus and flat rates. We didn't have to specifically request interchange-plus, and the rep recommended this pricing model for us as it would be less expensive. This is impressive – especially from a large processor – as most prefer to set you up with tiered pricing. Industry experts recommend interchange-plus pricing because it is more transparent than other pricing models ‒ the markup percentage and per-transaction fee you pay the processor is the same no matter what type of credit and debit cards you accept. 

Here's what we were quoted. 

  • Interchange-plus rate: 0.20% + $0.10 above interchange
  • Flat rate: 2.75% + $0.15 

Credit Card Processing Fees

There aren't any additional fees for the flat-rate pricing model, but FIS charges a monthly fee for its interchange-plus plan, as do most full-service processors. The contract also notes a monthly chargeback service fee, which is somewhat irregular. If you have two or fewer chargebacks per year, your overall monthly fees are around $20 per month, which is an average dollar amount for total monthly fees. However, if you have more than two chargebacks each year, the monthly rate is higher than average. Most service providers don't charge this fee but instead have a chargeback fee – usually around $25 – that they charge on a per-incidence basis. 

Here are the recurring fees you'll pay if you choose the interchange-plus plan:

  • Monthly fee, which includes PCI compliance support: $5.95 (the rep said this was discounted from the regular amount of $24.95)
  • Monthly minimum: $25
  • Monthly chargeback fee: $10 to $50. The amount you pay for this fee is based on the number of chargebacks you have within a year. If you've had no chargebacks, it costs $10 per month. One or two chargebacks cost $15 per month. Three or four chargebacks cost $20 per month and so on up to $50 per month when you have 22 to 25 chargebacks within a year. If you have 26 or more chargebacks within a year, you're charged $25 each instead of the monthly fee 

Here are the fees you won't pay with FIS:

  • No application or setup fee
  • No early termination or account closure fee when you give 30 days' notice
  • No PCI compliance fee
  • No annual fee
  • No batch fee 

Like most processors, FIS charges some incidental fees on a per-occurrence basis. Here are some examples:

  • Voice authorization or voice address verification services (AVS) fee: $0.60 per occurrence. These are charged when you call the processor to authorize a charge or to verify that the address a cardholder gives you matches the billing address the card issuer has on file.
  • Retrieval fee: $2.50 per occurrence. This is charged when a customer's bank requests additional documentation for a specific charge, usually before initiating a chargeback.
  • Nonsufficient funds: $15 per occurrence. If there's not enough money in your bank account when the company withdraws your regular fees, you'll pay this fee.
  • PCI noncompliance fee: $19.95 per month. The sales rep noted that this is a fee you should never pay, as the company helps you achieve and maintain compliance with the Payment Card Industry's data security standards (PCI DSS). 

Payouts

FIS deposits the processed money from your transactions into your business bank account within one to three business days. The industry average is two business days. If you need to receive your money faster, the processor has a FastAccess Funding program for qualified merchants. With this program, your money is deposited daily – including weekends and holidays – and is accessible with a debit card that it provides. 

Terms

It's important to read through your contract (application, terms of service and program guide) to verify that the rates, fees and terms you were quoted are noted on the application, amended in the contract, or that you receive a written waiver. 

The initial term we were quoted in our testing is for one year, with no cancellation fee if we provide 30 days' written notice. The standard contract has a three-year term that automatically renews with additional one-year terms and requires 90 days' notice before the term expires to cancel your account. The standard contract also has an early termination fee of $495 per location plus liquidated damages (as stated, with the one-year contract, this fee is waived with 30 days' written notice). 

Features

FIS sets you up with a merchant account that lets you accept all major credit and debit cards wherever you do business, whether that's in a brick-and-mortar store or office, on the go at offsite locations or events, on your website, or over the phone.

Here are some of the features FIS offers. 

Processing Equipment Option

You can purchase a terminal or mobile card reader from FIS, and options include models from top brands such as Ingenico, Verifone and PAX. When we called, the sales rep offered us a free EMV-compliant Verifone terminal with no contractual obligations or additional fees. 

Payment Gateway

As one of the world's largest payment processing companies, it's no surprise that it has its own online payment gateway. FIS Gateway Services can be used for both mobile and online transactions. It supports more than 300 types of international payments so your customers can make online payments in their local currencies, which may be an important consideration for global e-commerce businesses. Hosted payment pages are available, as are integrations. 

Integrations

FIS has more than 1,000 software integrations, so chances are good that it will integrate with your accounting software, e-commerce platforms, shopping carts and point-of-sale systems. This payment processing company doesn't resell POS systems but integrates with hundreds of them, including popular options like Vend, ShopKeep and Lightspeed, so in most instances, you can continue using FIS as your processor. 

Virtual Terminal

You'll need FIS's virtual terminal if you want to process payments using your computer, such as for credit cards you key in when accepting orders over the phone, accepting ACH payments and setting up recurring payments. You'll also need virtual terminal access if you want to use a mobile card reader with your phone or tablet. 

Level II and III Payment Processing Solutions

Businesses with B2B and government customers that collect additional payment details – such as the information typically included on purchase orders and invoices – may qualify for lower interchange fees, which can save you money when you're accepting large payments on corporate credit cards. 

Reporting

FIS's reporting tools are available through Vantiv iQ, the processor's online self-service platform. With it, you can see your sales data in real time, displayed as colorful graphs on the dashboard. You can also generate reports, set alerts and have your sales data sent to you daily by text or email. 

Developer Tools

If you have developers on staff and want to create a custom payment integration for your website or mobile app, FIS offers multiple tools, including APIs and SDKs with documentation, sample code, developer sandboxes and simulated test environments. It also has a community forum and a developer's blog with payments technology articles, such as a how-to guide for adding Apple Pay to your mobile app and top trends for internet of thing payments. 

Additional Considerations

Here's some additional information about FIS to keep in mind as you look for the best credit card processor for your business. 

Application Process

After you call for a quote, the sales rep sends you a link to an online application. After you fill it out and submit a voided business check, it takes between 24 and 48 hours for the company to approve your application and set up your account. It then ships your terminal and can send it overnight, if needed. 

Security

Data security is a top concern for payment solutions providers. FIS has multiple security protocols in place to help you keep your customers' sensitive payment data safe. It uses point-to-point encryption that prevents hackers from accessing card data as it travels from your system to the processor and tokenization that replaces card details with randomly generated tokens. It requires you to be PCI compliant, and sells EMV-compliant credit card terminals so you can accept chip cards properly and avoid counterfeit fraud liability. 

To help you achieve and maintain PCI compliance, FIS includes its OmniShield Assure program as part of your monthly fee. The sales rep we spoke with explained that the company proactively helps its merchants achieve and maintain PCI compliance. Your rep can help you if you need assistance filling out the annual questionnaire, and the company provides quarterly scans to ensure your system complies with PCI data security standards. It also includes breach insurance that covers up to $100,000 of your liability, should you experience a data breach. 

Customer Service

FIS provides its merchants with 24/7/365 customer support across multiple channels, including phone, live chat, email and online contact forms. When we called the credit card processing company, posing as a small business retailer, the sales rep we spoke with was eager to work with us and offered interchange-plus rates and favorable terms. After our call, she followed up with us quickly, with a link to an application that included the rates she quoted us and terms of service for us to review. 

The company's website is searchable, and you can find educational articles about credit card processing and detailed information about the services FIS provides. You can also visit the subscription center to sign up for newsletters, product updates, promotions and information about events the company is hosting or attending. On its support page, you'll find phone numbers, login links and support guides for its online payment gateway. If you stumble across the old Vantiv support page, you'll find a searchable knowledgebase and a link to a merchant support video library. FIS merchants can also find guides and user training on the iQ reporting platform. 

Limitations

The company's online presence continues to be split between FIS and Vantiv websites, which is somewhat confusing – especially when you're redirected from one site to another. However, both sites appear to be maintained and up to date. Vantiv site's logo has been updated with the tagline "Now FIS," which is useful information for small business owners redirected from the FIS site. 

The chargeback service fee that the processor charges monthly instead of a per-incidence chargeback fee may be an extra expense for some companies. For example, if you average two chargebacks per year, you pay $10 per month, totaling $120 per year, which is more expensive than the $25 per incidence, totaling $50 per year, that most processors charge. 

The company doesn't post its rates, fees or equipment pricing. Although the sales rep we spoke with offered us competitive rates, favorable terms and a free terminal, we recognize that others may have a different experience, depending on the sales rep they speak with.

Editor's note: Looking for the right credit card processor for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Flagship Merchant Services can set you up with a merchant account and everything you need to process credit cards on and offline. It has month-to-month terms and offers a choice of interchange-plus or tiered pricing plans. It sells processing equipment, such as the popular Clover POS systems, offers value-added services likes gift cards and loyalty programs, and provides 24/7 customer support.
Fiserv, formerly known as First Data, 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.
FrontStream Payments, formerly known as FastTransact, is a division of fundraising solutions provider FrontStream. It provides credit card processing services to businesses in education, home healthcare, home services and nonprofit industries. The company has its own payment gateway, called ArgoFire, and sells POS systems like Clover Station.
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.com provides credit card processing services and equipment to retailers, restaurants 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 Merchant Solutions accounts.
Heartland, a Global Payments company, is a popular small business credit card processor that provides in-person, e-commerce 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.
Host Merchant Services offers interchange-plus pricing to all its merchants and is transparent with its rates, posting them on its website. It works with all business types, including those in restaurant, retail, construction, medical and fitness industries. It also works with high-risk businesses and 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.
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.
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 stores. 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, ecommerce, 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.
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Merchant One
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 also offers check processing, gift cards, loyalty programs and merchant cash advances.
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 and pay-as-you-go terms, though there is a monthly minimum. It integrates with hundreds of third-party apps, including e-commerce platforms and POS systems.
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 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.
NTC lets you process credit cards, debit cards, EBT cards, online payments, electronic checks and gift cards using your own phone, tablet or computer. If you prefer to use a payment terminal, the company offers this option as well. NTC works with businesses in a variety of industries, including travel agencies and healthcare businesses that process medical claims.
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 ecommerce 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 companies in some high-risk industries. Its features include email payments, subscription billing, multicurrency processing, API integration and an advanced anti-fraud system. Mobile credit card processing is also available from this company.
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 it 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 pay-as-you-go plan is for businesses processing less than $10,000 per month. It has flat-rate pricing, with no monthly fees or minimum. The custom plan is for businesses processing more than $10,000 per month and requires you to call for a quote. Card readers are available, including a Bluetooth option.
PayFrog, a PayJunction reseller, provides merchant services to businesses in many different industries, including auto, e-commerce, funeral, legal, medical and performing arts. With it, you can accept credit cards and checks, bill customers automatically with recurring billing, integrate with third-party shopping carts, and email receipts to customers.
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 transparently posted on its website. Custom solutions are also available. Payline offers in-store, online, mobile and ACH payment processing, subscription billing services and more. Read Review.

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.
Payment Portal, powered by Frontline Processing, works with nearly every type of business and offers a diverse portfolio of payment processing services and equipment. It has card readers for mobile credit card processing, payment gateways and shopping carts for e-commerce processing, and POS systems and countertop terminals for credit card processing at brick-and-mortar stores.
Payroc
Payroc, which acquired iTransact and Integrity Payment Systems, offers in-store credit card processing services that can be used with POS systems and stand-alone terminals. It resells merchant services from Chase Merchant Services, First Data, TSYS, and Worldpay and offers processing equipment from multiple major brands. It also has compliant surcharging and cash-discount programs.
Paysafe is a global payments company that recently acquired iPayment. It provides in-store, mobile, and online credit card processing, and it works with merchants as well as with platforms and ISO partners that resell its services. Other Paysafe brands include Skrill, Neteller, Golo and IncomeAccess.
PaySimple lets you accept payments online, in person and on the go. You can create and email invoices, and your customers can use the click-to-pay buttons to remit payments online. PaySimple supports recurring billing, can be set up to automatically email payment reminders and has a dashboard that tracks your accounts receivables.
Pineapple Payments offers a white-label processing solution to ISOs, integrators and banks. Its resellers can provide their merchants with a payment gateway, ACH processing, and merchant accounts for First Data, TSYS, and Worldpay. It also has value-added tools such as plugins for invoicing, subscription billing and QuickBooks.
Pinpoint Payments offers merchant services and credit card processing services for many business types, including those in some high-risk industries. The company has an easy-to-use platform and supports in-person and card-not-present processing, recurring billing, electronic invoicing, and next-day funding. Check processing, gift cards, loyalty programs and integrations are also available.
Planet Merchant Services 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.
Progressive Payment Solutions provides in-person and online payment processing to businesses in a variety of industries, including some that are considered high risk. It also offers check and EBT processing. It has next-day funding options as well as gift card, loyalty and cash discount programs.

Sam's Club Point of Sale by Clover provides small businesses with the flexibility to accept payments in store and on the go in a variety of forms, including via credit, debit, EMV chip and gift cards, as well as cash and checks. With Clover, you can accept contactless, curbside pickup, and online payments from customers. You can receive online reports of all your transactions. Clover offers equipment leasing and rental plans. Sam's Club members could receive exclusive payment processing rates with Clover. Rates could start as low as 1.29%, plus 15 cents per transaction, and apply to all major credit cards. Qualifying merchants could receive a free Sam's Club Plus membership. Clover offers 24/7 phone support. Conditions and restrictions apply. Please call for more details.

SecurionPay is an online payment platform that works with businesses incorporated in Europe, including B2B, SaaS, e-commerce and some high-risk online businesses. With it, you can accept online payments from your international customers in 160 currencies. It has flat-rate pricing and no monthly fees. It integrates with many e-commerce platforms and offers an API for custom integrations.
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.
Signature Card Services provides in-store, online and mobile credit card processing to businesses of all sizes. It can also handle multicurrency 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.
SpotOn is a payment processing and merchant software company. In addition to its in-store, mobile and online processing options, it offers solutions for appointment setting, marketing, review management, payroll, website creation, and customer loyalty. It also offers a rewards app for consumers.

SumUp launched in 2012 and is now a global mobile credit card processing company that works with thousands of small businesses in 31 countries. Its notable customers include Bosch, DHL and Staples. It has transparent, flat-rate pricing, and there's no long-term contract.

Like other top mobile credit card processors, SumUp has transparent, flat-rate pricing and no monthly or annual fees, so you only pay for the processing you use, making it a great option for new, small and seasonal businesses. There's no long-term contract, so you can close your account at any time without incurring any type of account closure fee, such as an early termination fee. 

Pricing and Terms

For small businesses that either haven't accepted credit cards before, that process less than $3,000 per month or that have small average sales tickets, working with a mobile credit card processing company or account aggregator like SumUp can be a good solution. Here's what you'll pay when you use SumUp as your payment processor. 

Processing Rates

No matter what brand of card your customer presents – American Express, Discover, Mastercard or Visa – you pay the same rate. There's also no rate difference based on card type. Whether your customers pay using debit or credit, regular or rewards, personal or corporate cards, the transaction fees you pay are the same. The only variable that affects the SumUp's credit card processing rate is how you accept the cards.

  • Credit and debit cards you accept in person using a card reader: 2.75%
  • Credit and debit cards you accept using the virtual terminal (card-not-present transactions): 3.25% + $0.15 

Fees

There are no setup or hidden fees with your SumUp account. There are also no monthly fees, monthly gateway, statement or annual PCI compliance fees. There is only one incidental fee to be aware of, which is the $10 chargeback fee. The only time you'll be charged for it is if you have a customer who disputes a transaction. 

Payout

SumUp deposits money from your transactions, minus its fee, into your bank account within two business days. You set the frequency of your payouts to daily, weekly or monthly. After it deposits money into your bank account, it emails you a list of transactions included in the payout. You can also track payouts using the SumUp app and your account dashboard. 

Terms of Service

Instead of a contract, SumUp has terms of service, and like every such document from a payment processor, you should read it before signing up for an account. The company provides its services on a pay-as-you-go basis, and you can close your account at any time without penalty. 

Like other mobile credit card processing companies, there are some types of businesses that SumUp doesn't support. To avoid having your funds held or your account closed without warning, read the terms of service to ensure you use your account in accordance with SumUp terms, and that your business type and the products or services you offer aren't listed as a restricted business. It's also worth noting that while SumUp can be used by individual sellers with even very small businesses – such as those who sell items at craft fairs a few times per year – it's not a P2P service like Venmo and can't be used to transfer funds from friends or family members. 

Getting started with SumUp is easy and takes less than five minutes. You will need to provide an email address, shipping address and your payment details. Next, you 'll create a password for your account. Then, before you begin processing, you'll need to provide some basic information about your business so the payment provider can verify that your business is legitimate. It will also need bank account information so it can deposit your payouts once you begin processing. 

As you're setting up your account, SumUp asks about your business structure. When you sign up for an account as a sole proprietor, you will be asked to provide the following information: 

  • Legal structure and business category
  • Business name and address
  • Home address, date of birth, Social Security number and mobile phone number
  • Bank account 

If your business is a partnership, LLC, cooperative or corporation, you're asked to provide the above information as well as

  • Your EIN
  • Names of beneficial business owners
  • Contact and personal information (address, date of birth, Social Security numbers and phone numbers) for authorized signatories
  • Business bank account 

SumUp Features

SumUp's mobile app is available for iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Its features are more basic than those offered by some of its competitors, like Square, but here are some of the things you can do with it: 

  • Accept credit and debit card payments, including Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Issue refunds
  • Print, email or text receipts
  • Create a product catalog
  • Add and edit sales tax rates
  • Track sales and payments in real time
  • Send customers SMS texts with a payment links 

Processing Equipment Options

SumUp offers only one card reader, but you can use it to accept magstripe, chip, and contactless credit and debit cards as well as mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. It connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, and the company says that with it, you can process more than 500 transactions on a single charge. It costs $19, which is the most affordable EMV/NFC card reader we've seen. Shipping is free, which is a nice perk, and it takes between two and three business days for the unit to arrive. 

Dashboard

When you access your SumUp account online, you can find your account details and a dashboard that gives you a graphical overview of your transactions. You can see your sales revenue by day or week, by amount or number of transactions, and by payment type (credit card, debit card, cash). It also shows the most recent payout to your bank account. Your sales history is filterable and downloadable, making it easy to search for specific transactions. It also allows you to drill down to the sales details for each transaction. 

Virtual Terminal

If you need to run a card-not-present transaction, such as when a customer gives you their credit card number over the phone or by email, you can use SumUp's virtual terminal. This feature isn't automatically provided with your account – you'll need to call the company and fill out an application that requests some additional information about your business before you can have it set up, but there is no setup fee and no monthly fee if your request is approved. 

Employee Accounts

From your SumUp account page, you can add employees to your account. Each employee has their own login credentials, and can accept credit card payments and view their sales histories. They can't access your account, add or organize products, or add a separate bank account – all payouts are transferred to your bank account. From your account, you can review the sales histories for all the employees connected to your account. 

Integrations

SumUp has an API and SDK, so your developer can integrate the service into your website or mobile app. Test accounts are also available for developers. 

Additional Considerations

Here are some additional points to keep in mind as you decide which mobile credit card processing company is the right fit for your small business. 

Security

SumUp is PCI-DSS certified, and its card reader is certified by PCI, EMV, Mastercard and Visa. 

Customer Support

This mobile credit card processor has multiple customer support channels. On its website, it has a searchable knowledgebase, a blog, and a chatbot that answers questions about how to set up an account, the documentation that is required, pricing, and how the service works. It can also answer common questions that SumUp merchants have about their account, card reader and payouts. 

Or, if you prefer to speak with a customer service rep, phone support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. The rep we spoke with said the company is looking at adding Saturday hours during the holiday season. When we called the company, posing as a small business owner as part of our testing, our call was answered promptly, and the rep we spoke with was helpful, friendly and answered our questions thoroughly. 

Limitations

SumUp is simpler than some of its competitors and lacks nicer features like recurring payments and inventory tracking. Still, for small businesses that want a solid, basic payment processing solution to accept in-person credit card payments and don't need advanced features, it's a terrific option. 

Like other mobile credit card processing services, some industries are prohibited, so you'll want to read the terms of service and make sure your business type is supported before you sign up for an account. If your business type isn't supported and you sign up anyway, you risk having your funds frozen or your account shut down without warning.

 

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