After much research and analysis of credit card processors, we recommend Payline as the best credit card processor for small business.
Why Payline Data?
We like Payline because it offers simple, affordable pricing for all types of small businesses. It also uses interchange-plus pricing, which gives small businesses access to the same low rates as larger corporations.
Although many credit card processors offer low rates, Payline stands out because its pricing is very transparent and gives you discounts based on your sales volume. Its pricing terms are also widely available and spelled out on the company's website, which is a breath of fresh air compared to many credit card processors that aren't very clear about their pricing structures.
Ready to choose a credit card processor? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- How to Choose a Credit Card Processor
- Best Credit Card Processors
- Payline Review: Best Credit Card Processor for Small Business
- Flagship Review: Best High-Volume Credit Card Processor
- PayPal Review: Best Low-Volume Credit Card Processor
- Stripe Review: Best Online Credit Card Processor
- Square Review: Best Mobile Credit Card Processing Solution
- TSYS Review: Best Credit Card Processor for Medical Practices
Payline offers several plans designed for businesses that are just starting out as well as for established businesses with higher sales numbers. Many of its plans include a free terminal.
- Payline Start. This starter plan is for businesses that process less than $5,000 per month. Rates are interchange plus 0.5 percent and 20 cents per transaction, and there are no monthly, setup or PCI fees.
- Payline Surge. If your business is growing and you want to accept credit cards multiple ways (in-store, on the go and over the phone), this is the plan for you. It has a lower transaction rate, costing interchange plus 0.3 percent and 20 cents per transaction. There is, however, a monthly service fee of $9.95 per month.
- Payline Shop. Established in-store businesses wanting to accept credit cards simply can do so using this plan. Rates are interchange plus 0.3 percent and 20 cents per transaction, and it has a monthly service fee of $19.95.
- Payline Connect. This plan is for ecommerce businesses. It can be integrated with your website and also includes subscription billing tools. Rates are interchange plus 0.65 percent and 20 cents per transaction, and there are no monthly, setup or PCI fees.
- Payline Medical. Designed specifically for medical professionals, this plan is HIPAA and PCI compliant, and you can accept payments in the office, on the go, and in installments. Rates are interchange plus 0.4 percent, and there are no per-transaction, monthly or PCI fees.
- Enterprise pricing. Businesses that process more than $80,000 per month can qualify for significant discounts from Payline. When you call the company for a quote, its account executives work with you to design a plan customized to fit your business's processing needs.
Editor's Note: Looking for information on online credit card processors for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:
In addition, businesses that already accept credit cards and are switching to Payline can avail of custom pricing to fit their business's needs. We were told that the process is very simple: A sales rep will go over your current statements with you and determine where and how you can save on transaction fees, and then provide a custom quote. This is a complimentary service that is not available with many credit card processors.
We also like that Payline has a fast and easy application process. It takes just a few minutes to complete the application form, and a Payline representative tells us that many accounts can be set up the same day.
Service terms. Whereas most credit card processors require a long-term service agreement, Payline works on a month-to-month basis with no contracts or hidden fees. This means you won't be locked down for years, then get hit with a hefty early termination fee if you decide Payline is not right for you. (The industry standard is at least a three-year contract with an early termination fee of $250 or more!)
Multichannel credit card processing
One aspect we liked about Payline is that it offers a wide range of ways to accept credit cards for different types of small businesses. Whether you own a retail business or a restaurant, or provide a service or sell online, Payline has a credit card processing solution for you.
In-store credit card processing
Payline can set you up with just a credit card machine or a cloud-based iPad point-of-sale (POS) system. Both services come with an EMV-enabled credit card chip readers as well as NFC capabilities so you can accept mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Android Pay. [See Related Story: Credit Card Machines: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions]
The POS system, called Payline Checkout, comes complete with a credit card swiper, cash register and receipt printer. It is powered by the Vantiv Mobile Checkout app and NCR Silver, so it comes with advanced features like inventory tracking, email marketing and customer insights.
Mobile credit card processing
In addition to the iPad POS system – which you can detach to process payments away from the checkout aisle – Payline also lets you accept credit cards anytime, anywhere using a mobile phone. Just plug download the app and plug in the credit card swiper to get started. This is a great option for processing credit cards anywhere in your store or out on the field.
Online credit card processing
Do you own an online store? Payline Gateway makes it easy to accept credit cards online. Its ecommerce solution comes with a shopping cart and payment for fast, easy online checkout.
A Payline representative also told us that this service can be easily integrated with most ecommerce website providers using the Payline checkout API. Another benefit is that it works very well with QuickBooks for easy data syncing and accounting. Other perks include subscription billing, store analytics and ecommerce security compliance.
Use this option for card-not-present transactions. Virtual terminals are particularly useful for accepting credit cards by phone, email or mail order.
Another reason we like Payline is that it offers a regular merchant account and a high-risk merchant account, covering a wide range of businesses.
The beauty of having a merchant account is that all of your funds go to a single place, whether they come from in-store sales, online or mobile. We also like that you don't have to use Payline's merchant account service if you don't want to, but it's nice knowing that the option is available to make it easier for your business. (You can learn more about the perks of merchant accounts at our credit card processing buyer's guide: How to Accept Credit Cards Online, In-Store or Anywhere.)
Although many credit card processors come with merchant accounts, what makes Payline stand out is that it also offers high-risk merchant accounts. Typically, merchants who have bad or low credit scores, have online stores, do business overseas or operate in industries with high fraud or chargeback rates are considered high-risk merchants and thus have difficulty obtaining merchant accounts.
Whereas most credit card process reject applications from high-risk merchants, Payline does not discriminate. Even if you have been rejected by other credit card processors, Payline offers flexible solutions without breaking the bank. The Payline representative we spoke with said their sales team is well versed in high-risk businesses and its financial requirements, so they can help you come up with a custom solution, regardless of why you have been or likely will be rejected by other vendors.
We like that Payline offers a multichannel customer support system, so there is always help when you need it. This includes:
- 24/7 phone support
- Email support
- Helpdesk ticket-based support
- Live chat
Payline also gives customers a dedicated sales rep, so there's always a point of contact who is on top of your business's communication with the company and knows of any issues you've come across.
In addition to one-on-one support, Payline gives customers access to a comprehensive database of self-help resources, such as a getting started guide, a searchable knowledgebase of help articles and community forums. There are also how-to guides for integrating Payline with different sales channels, such as your online store. A special Credit Card Processing 101 section is also available, which comes with tips, advice and educational resources for running a business, staying compliant and saving money with credit card processing.
We chose Payline from a pool of dozens of credit card processors we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of credit card processors, visit our best picks page here.
Editor's Note: Looking for information on credit card processors for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need: