It’s important to consider credit card processors for small business that will fulfill your payment needs. Accepting credit cards or touchless pay can be the make or break detail for small businesses. Few people carry cash on their person and prefer to pay for their things with Tap to Pay or debit transactions. It’s not unusual for a customer to choose to pass on a purchase because the merchant only accepts cash.
When credit card processors first became available to the small business owner, the fees associated with the machinery and the transactions were huge for small businesses. Large companies like department stores and grocery chains could afford the costs. Small business owners need to utilize card payments no matter how small they are to remain competitive. The accessibility of the technology has changed many marketplaces for the better. Now you can pay with cash or card in many places previously only on a cash standard.
Some examples of businesses that have grown using credit card processing are farmers’ markets and artisan booths at festivals and markets, small coffee or deli type shops, antique shops, trinket shops, and more. Even sole proprietors can afford credit card processing options for one-off commissions or contract jobs.
Credit Card Processors for Small Business – Compared
Today, we will review 12 of the best credit card processing options for small business:
- National Processing
- Payment Cloud
- Dharma Merchant Services
- CDG Commerce
- Payment Depot
- Intuit Merchant Services (Quickbooks Payments)
Helcim Merchant Services is one of the top-rated credit card processing options for mid-sized businesses. This company is best for businesses that are low risk and process at least $5000 per month to get a viable return on investment.
Many businesses participate in international sales through their website or their other business ventures. Helcim accepts all global sales, converting the currency from the customer’s money to the business currency.
No Cancelation Fees or Long-Term Contracts
Many businesses are hesitant to sign on with a credit card processor because of the long-term commitments or contracts with the processing company. With Helcim, you don’t need to worry about cancelation fees because there are no long-term contracts.
Many card processors have hidden fees or confusingly named prices in their itemized bills. With Helcim, if there’s a fee, you’ll know what it’s for without all the nebulous language.
Excellent Customer Service
Helcim is known in the industry for having some of the best customer service reps around. Quick action, attention to detail, and excellent problem-solving drive keep their customer happy and their business able to make leaps and bounds to better the industry.
Rewarding Tiered Fee Schedule
As your business grows and you begin clearing more payments, your fees decrease. This means that Helcim rewards you and your company for your success in your ventures.
Monthly Subscription Fee
While the fees are clearly outlined, they do charge a monthly service or subscription fee. This fee goes toward keeping your equipment and processing ability in tip-top shape.
PayPal got its start as a payment processing company when eBay became a household name. The reputation PayPal has gained is one of reliable protection of your investments and purchases. Now, this service is available for use by large and small businesses alike.
Great for Small Merchants
If you process less than $5000 per month in transactions, PayPal is perfect. Between the available card readers that link to your tablet, phone, or POS system and the full integration ability of their software into your e-commerce site, PayPal has small merchants’ needs covered.
Predictable Fees and Rates
With different merchant plans and different purchasable readers, you can know what to expect from each transaction regarding fees. The fees for each plan are flat-rate and outlined plainly at the beginning of your setup.
Full Service Trusted Reputation
You can count on PayPal to follow through with their agreements because they’ve built a reputation of trust amongst consumers. They are an all-in-one payment service, working for both merchants and consumers to ensure the safety of both party’s finances.
Partnership with USPS for Shipping Purchase and Tracking
You can buy shipping labels directly from PayPal through their partnership with UPS and USPS. When you purchase through PayPal, you get immediate tracking and can print and ship directly from your home for lower rates than you can get in the Post Office.
Inconsistent Customer Service
When customer service agents are inconsistently trained, the resulting customer care can be sporadic. While the training has been improving, a handful of times, a request or issue is unresolved or takes multiple attempts to fix.
Not Suitable for High-Risk or High-Volume Businesses
PayPal fees can add up on high-volume businesses, as they don’t reduce expenses on higher sales numbers. The same flat-rate fee schedule that benefits small business owners can be detrimental to larger enterprises. High-risk transactions can flag account holds and other issues; therefore, PayPal is best suited for low-risk ventures.
3. National Processing
National Processing is relatively unknown in the industry but carries quite the value punch. You’ll find a lot of information on their website is more straightforward than other similar companies. Their transparency is essential to them and helps them build a dependable business.
Several Terminal and POS Options to Suit Your Business from Clover
Your business needs will be different than those of the shop down the street. With a variety of systems, you’re able to find the right fit. Whether you’re looking for a small handheld payment system for the local farmers market or you’re opening a new boutique in your local downtown shopping center, National Processing will have a POS terminal to fit the bill.
No Long-Term Contracts*
While National Processing doesn’t require contracts on their services and offers month-to-month plans, they require rental or purchase of your equipment. If you choose to work with National Processing, you’ll be given options with or without contracts.
Low-Cost Check Processing
Most companies get charged extra by their card processing company to process eChecks or ACHs. With National Processing, this isn’t the case. They have low and transparent fees around this form of payment processing and don’t penalize your business for accepting these forms.
Free Equipment Comes with Contract*
When you sign up for using their “free” equipment, such as their POS terminals, it comes with a helpful contact that can result in an early termination fee. This is primarily to give them a chance to price match with other companies or fix issues you may be having. If you sell or close your business for good or are unable to price match, National Processing will waive the equipment return fees.
Square Payments is similar to PayPal in its capabilities and target merchant market. They offer small and medium-sized businesses a wide variety of options for POS systems and handheld chip and swipe readers.
Transparent Fee Schedule
Because Square doesn’t charge monthly fees, you know exactly what fees they’ll seize on each transaction, and those are flat-rate fees per transaction.
Opening up the option to process sales on multiple platforms gives your business an edge over single platform companies. Square integrates with numerous platforms to provide you with cohesive sales processes and revenue tracking.
This processing company is one of the few that are available in the US and Canada. Square doesn’t drastically change their fees and costs between US and Canadian markets.
Not Great for High-Risk or High-Volume Industries
This processing company isn’t an excellent choice for high-risk industries, as they are best used by and designed for smaller businesses. The costs of flat-rate fees can be detrimental when you begin high-volume sales.
Inconsistent Account Stability
In many cases, rather than sort through the details of disputes, Square will simply shut the account down. Customer service can help you restore the account, but Square has been known to deactivate an account until the situation is sorted out to protect itself from lawsuits.
Stripe is a credit card processing company that is looking further than just processing card payments. They’ve put a lot of focus and attention into international online merchants. Their services are meant more for the tech-savvy clients that work with online platforms.
Industry Leading Developer Tools
Because this is a more tech-savvy processing company, the tools they’ve built into the integration programs are top of the line. They’re set up to be seamlessly incorporated into your website build.
Avoiding variances in pricing is one way Stripe can keep its rates low and consistent and offer such excellent service. You’ll know exactly how much to expect to lose in fees because the rates stay the same and are explained from the very beginning.
Ability to Process Multiple Currencies
With such a strong focus on providing support for international sales, Stripe offers multi-currency support and 24-hour customer service options to ensure your needs are cared for, regardless of your physical location on the globe.
To best use the Stripe services, you need to be more than a little techy. The program runs fantastically so long as you’re able to appropriately implement the code to imbed the marketplace and subscription tools into your site.
Best for Low-Risk Industries
This company isn’t equipped to handle the legal fallout of high-risk industries. If your business is in a high-risk financial sector, this isn’t the best choice for you.
This processing company boasts a lot of great things and has an excellent reputation. It’s normal to be skeptical when things seem too good to be true. However, after digging in, there seem to be no attempts at deception.
Many payment processing companies operate with interchange-plus pricing. Fattmerchant has a membership approach. This means that your percentage markup is 0%. Instead, you’ll pay a flat monthly fee for the subscription.
You’ll be charged higher fees for transactions that don’t involve the card being present in most cases. These transactions could be phone orders or eCommerce sales and often have a significantly higher markup. With Fattmerchant, you’ll still have a slightly higher fee for these types of transactions, but the price is reduced from comparable processors by your membership costs.
Fattmerchant provides outstanding value for your investment in your business between the predictability of your membership costs and a transparent outline of your volume discounts. Whether you’re just starting or you’ve been in operation for decades, this processing company will be able to help you increase your sales and reduce your costs.
No Early Termination Fees | No Long-Term Contracts
With month-to-month service options, you don’t have to commit to a long-term contract just to find out this option isn’t the best for your business. Fattmerchant understands that it’s not the perfect solution for all situations and wants you, as their client, to be happy.
US Domestic Merchants Only
This company is based in and operates with US companies only. Therefore, if your business is based in or participates in sales outside of the states, you won’t be able to do it with Fattmerchant.
High-Volume Businesses Only
If you’re a low-volume business, less than $5000/month, the membership fees for Fattmerchant will be detrimental. Until you grow your sales volume to a point high enough to offset the sales fees, it’s best to work with a low-volume payment processing company.
In any industry, it’s nearly impossible to succeed without finding a niche to work your magic into. PaymentCloud has found its place with high-risk businesses and is out there to provide excellent payment processing options for those businesses that struggle to find reasonable alternatives.
When most payment processing merchants deny services to high-risk clients, PaymentCloud specializes in this portion of the merchant market. They’ll work with low-risk clients as well and even offer discounts to low-risk clients, but they focus their work on supporting high-risk businesses succeed.
High-risk clients move a lot of money. PaymentCloud runs with very reasonable rates and fees and doesn’t charge extra for some of the features that other companies charge a premium for. There are no fees on the credit card terminal rental and no account setup fee.
Pricing Not Available to the Public
To get an idea of the costs of doing business with PaymentCloud, you have to call and discuss your needs with a customer support specialist. Customer support representatives are trained to help you find what you need and talk up the sales side.
8. Dharma Merchant Services
In Hinduism, Dharma is the cosmic law underlying behavior and social order, correct and truthful. Dharma Merchant Services is known for its honest, ethical business practices and completely transparent pricing.
No Annual Fees | Month-to-Month Billing
When you can depend on a company to be consistent in billing and fees, you can plan around the costs more reliably. Dharma Merchant Services works hard to put all the details on the table, no annual or monthly fees, actual month-to-month billing, and no early termination fees if it doesn’t work for your company.
Your qualified nonprofit may qualify for discounted pricing, costing you less and adding more to the charity you represent.
Industry-Leading Customer Service
Proving through actions that you can serve your customers without price-gouging, Dharma shows its customers high quality and honest customer service through transparency and open communication.
No Nonsense Fees
Dharma doesn’t charge annual fees, application fees, monthly premiums, PCI compliant fees, or batch fees. There will never be a “convenience fee” or a “processing fee” on your invoice. If there is ever a question about the charges, you can call and explain or fix it.
Best for $10,000 or Higher in Payments per Month
This isn’t a great option for low-volume clients. While the fees are reasonable for larger companies, such as restaurants and large nonprofits, they aren’t as manageable for seasonal merchants or small start-up businesses.
Low-Risk Merchants Only
Dharma Merchant Services isn’t a compatible fit with high-risk sales ventures and cannot protect your sales in these types of transactions. Therefore, if your business is considered high-risk, you’ll want to consider other options.
In the ever-evolving payment processing industry, it’s nice to see some old hat companies. CDGcommerce has been in the game for more than two decades with an insanely high retention rate. This is a sure sign that this company is here to stay.
CDG can provide services for retail locations. However, they’ve found and perfected their niche of eCommerce merchants. They’ve assisted over 20,000 merchants, most of whom have a solid online presence.
True Month-to-Month Billing
When you sign up with CDGcommerce, you can rest easy knowing that if you close or sell your business or choose a different processor, you won’t be hit with a fee or penalty for terminating a contract. You’ll only be expected to pay for the months of service you’ve used.
Fee Free Equipment
There are no fees on equipment, and you can get a payment gateway and a virtual terminal at no cost. Hit the ground running with high-end payment processing equipment and the high-quality customer service you need to keep it running in tip-top shape.
No Application Fees or Account Setup Fees
Some companies just want to nickel and dime your business to death before it can even get going. Not CDG. There are no application or set-up fees for your account or equipment.
The US Only
This company can only provide service to US-based businesses. If you are based or operate primarily in other countries, you’ll need to search elsewhere for a payment processing company.
10. Payment Depot
Payment Depot takes the cake for the best public reputation when you’re looking for a dependable and predictable payment processing company. It is pretty high on the scale of customer service reviews.
Subscription Pricing System
Rather than paying a varying fee to credit card companies, processing companies, and additional fees for different types of cards, you pay Payment Depot a monthly membership subscription cost. You’ll see a minimal charge taken from every transaction to pay the wholesale interchange fees (those are unavoidable and not in Payment Depot’s control). The membership covers all the run-of-the-mill charges and markups you’d expect to see from traditional payment processors.
No Setup Fees
You don’t need to pay for applications for this company or setup fees for equipment. The customer service is top of the line and will walk you through the setup on your own.
Virtual Terminal and Free Gateway Included in Membership
Some companies charge obnoxious fees for the rental or purchase of their processing equipment. With Payment Depot, you don’t need to worry about the equipment because it’s included in the membership costs.
Not Ideal for Seasonal Vendors or Low-Volume Merchants
Because the fees are high, and you end up paying your membership regardless of your use each month, this program isn’t the best option for small vendors who process less than $5000 per month. Further, seasonal merchants would be better off with a different pricing system.
US Merchants Only
Payment Depot is a fantastic choice for high-volume US merchants, but if you are based out of the states or do a bulk of your transactions outside the US border, this company will be unable to provide service.
11. Shopify Payments
Shopify’s big selling point is the ability to link your payment processing options directly to your website and eCommerce inventory. Shopify Payments is just one branch of the Shopify business family. Stripe backs Shopify Payments.
One system takes care of all of your payment options. Whether you’re a vendor at a craft show, a business at a trade convention, or a strictly online boutique, Shopify Payments is a great option to keep your sales and inventory balanced.
Perfect for eCommerce
Because Shopify is known for its easy-to-build eCommerce sites and the easy-to-use sales templates, it would only be natural to use Shopify Payments for your online stores as well as in-person transactions.
Takes the Confusion Out of Multi-Currency Transactions
Not everyone ordering from your site will be paying US Dollars for their transactions. Shopify Payments takes care of the currency conversions for you before your requested payouts.
Flat-rate fees are far easier to plan and budget around than variable tiered pricing. Shopify specializes in simple. Knowing just how much you’ll pay each month makes your accounting easy.
Account and Funding Freezes
There have been reports of accounts being frozen and funds being held for processing before the payout is available. Further, suppose your business is found to sell or serve something against the sometimes confusing regulations, terms of service, or a complaint lodged against you by a customer. In that case, Shopify Payments may terminate your account.
12. Intuit Merchant Services (Quickbooks Payments)
This option is loved and recommended by accountants and bookkeepers across the country. This service has been known as Quickbooks Payments and integrates with one of the most commonly used bookkeeping software in the world.
When tax season rolls around, the last thing you want to be doing is digging for receipts and monthly revenue statements. We’re a long way past stashing our business receipts in a box under the office desk, and this program integrates perfectly with Quickbooks Accounting Software.
Affordable Card Readers
Chip and Tap to Pay card readers can be expensive. Intuit Merchant Services has worked with manufacturers to create highly efficient and low-cost readers for every business.
Great Option for Service Providers
This is a fantastic credit card processor for small businesses like salons, notaries, landscapers, and other service providers. The lack of monthly fees means that you won’t have horrendous charge fees to stay active if you have a slow month.
High Fees Per Transaction
The costs of service per swipe can be detrimentally high for users of this service. Many end up passing that fee along to the consumer through markups or discounts for cash payment promotions.
Inconsistencies in Support and Funds Transfer Times
The inconsistency in customer service is a case of trying to juggle too many plates at once. Quickbooks is accounting software that is now bridging a gap to provide payment processing hardware and integration. While the concept is sound, the execution can be less than ideal.
Find Your Fit
Looking at all the credit card processors for small businesses, you can easily get overwhelmed. However, breaking it all down to base components may help you find your perfect fit. If there isn’t an ideal fit, IdeaMaker may be able to help you create the ideal program, app, or service option for you and your business. Give us a call today to discuss your needs and requests.