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Best Credit Card Processing Companies
The ability to accept credit card payments can make or break your company, which is why credit card processing services are an essential part of both online and offline business transactions. And refusing to accept credit cards will almost certainly reduce sales. Without a payment processor, you’re restricted to having a cash-only business.
While these services are essential, it is still important to look at pricing and other features that companies in this industry offer. Let’s take a close look at some of the best credit processing companies out there, so you can find one that’s a good fit for your small business.
Types of Credit Card Processing Services
There are essentially two options for credit card processing services. You will either find a monthly solution that offers a comparatively lower processing fee or an option that requires payment upon each transaction. The decision about which credit card processing company to use does not end there, however.
Some processors provide more than just the option of paying per transaction or monthly. They provide enticing discounts, allowing you to save money on each transaction. Furthermore, due to the competitive nature of the industry, you will have to narrow your search for the best service by taking into account the technology used by the company.
With the cloud now providing so many different business applications, it will be to your advantage to use a credit card processor that not only offers the lowest rates but also integrates with your company’s accounting software, saving you money in other ways.
Even with the considerations outlined above, selecting the right credit card processor for your business may not be as simple as recognizing the need for one. There is no general template or benchmark set for all businesses to follow when it comes to credit card processing because what a particular business requires is dependent on how it operates, thereby distinguishing it from the others.
Businesses, for example, differ in terms of the volume of sales made per period. A business with a high volume of sales each period and another with a lower total volume of sales will undoubtedly be best suited for different pricing structures. Similarly, when it comes to selecting a payment processor with the right processing fees, an e-commerce site, and a small-size physical store will have different priorities.
How Does Credit Card Processing Work?
To process credit cards and eventually process transactions, all credit card processors follow a nearly identical procedure. The steps are as follows:
- To begin, a customer makes a purchase, which could be done in-store with a card reader or online through an e-commerce site.
- A payment gateway handles the next step. A payment gateway is a tool that securely connects information sent from a customer’s bank to the merchant’s account via the payment processor. A payment gateway communicates the status of a payment, whether it is approved or declined.
- The payment processor verifies card security and enables payment transfer, moving funds from the issuing bank to the merchant account. The issuing bank is the financial institution that issues a customer’s credit card, whereas a merchant bank account is a bank account that allows a business to accept credit cards, debit cards, and online wallets. The payment processor enables the transfer of funds from the issuing bank to the merchant account.
What Qualities Should You Look for in a Credit Card Processing Company?
There are several factors to consider when selecting a credit card processing company for your business. There are:
- Pricing structure: When selecting a credit card processor, search for one that offers transparent pricing. For starters, you should definitely find out whether or not you will be charged a monthly subscription fee in addition to the cost per transaction.
- Extra costs: Some processors charge for statements, chargebacks, support, and PCI compliance in addition to transaction fees. To avoid these, learn more about each credit card processor you’re considering, as the best processors will usually provide these services without charging you extra.
- PCI-compliant: Ascertain that the credit card processor you select abides by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).
- Customer service: Make sure the credit card processor you choose has dependable customer service so that if you have a problem processing a payment, you don’t have to pay extra for assistance.
Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Small Business
Based on our analysis, here are some of the very best and most popular credit card processing companies that are out there today. You will find all of the information you need to make the right decision on which processor is best for your company in this article.
The most renowned of all usually provide transparent and low pricing, flexible terms, and low fees. Pricing, equipment, and other factors to consider when selecting a processor will also be examined. The recommendations below will also help you find a processor with dependable customer service and few to no long-term contracts.
Stripe is a well-known online-only credit card processing company that offers a free API to businesses looking to build a custom e-commerce experience on its platform. It is reasonably priced and is recommended for developers who want to create an e-commerce platform. Stripe distinguishes itself from the competition by allowing you to customize the online payment experience for your e-commerce business using a suite of developer-friendly tools. The platform accepts online payment methods such as Alipay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. However, unlike many of its competitors, Stripe does not accept PayPal payments.
Price: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.
- Setup is simple
- Phone, chat, and email support are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- It synchronizes with QuickBooks Online
- There is an instant payout option available for a 1% fee (minimum fee of 50 cents)
- Certain industries do not have access to services
- To fully utilize all features, some technical knowledge is required
- PayPal payments are not accepted
Swipesum is an American software company that publishes the Swipesum financial services software suite. Swipesum was started in 2016 by a group of payments technology experts who saw the inefficiencies of today’s payment system. Swipesum’s service package includes a wide range of services, from payment consulting to payment optimization and vendor evaluation. Swipesum’s extensive list of payment processing providers enables businesses to discover the perfect industry rates. Your company will gain immediate access to lower-cost wholesale transaction rates as well as AI-powered statement reading software after subscribing to Swipesum’s services. The objective is to guarantee that your company’s financial decisions are transparent.
Price: Swipesum’s prices start at $15.00.
- With functional and appealing features, the software is a powerful tool for small businesses
- Swipesum subscribers gain access to a network of providers
- Swipesum connects businesses with a trustworthy payment provider, ensuring a lower rate
- Solutions that are tailored to your company’s needs
- Periodic fees can be inconvenient and unpredictable, especially for small businesses that require fees based on transactions
Stax (formerly Fattmerchant)
Stax is another credit card processing company known for its transparent pricing and monthly subscription-based pricing. Businesses that use Stax benefit from a 0% markup on interchange fees as well as a low fixed fee per transaction. Although this pricing model saves businesses money, it is only available to medium and large-scale businesses, particularly those with high sales volumes. You will choose Stax over several others because of their same-day funding (for a fee) and in-house 24/7 customer support.
Price: Pricing module include:
- Growth: $99 per month.
- Pro: $159 per month.
- Ultimate: $199 per month.
The processing fee for in-person transactions is 8 cents per transaction plus the interchange fee; for keyed-in transactions, the fee is 15 cents per transaction plus the interchange fee.
- On top of interchange fees, the company doesn’t have any markup charges
- In-house customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Same-day funding is available for a 1% fee
- The most basic plan comes with a free terminal or mobile reader
- Does not provide services to certain industries’ businesses
- Increased setup time (typically 48 hours)
- A poor choice for businesses with low sales
PaymentCloud is a top credit card processing company, but its services are only available to high-risk businesses. PaymentCloud primarily serves small businesses in high-risk industries by providing POS systems and credit card processing solutions. Businesses served by the financial services company include those selling age-restricted products such as tobacco and firearms, as well as those with high chargeback rates, such as electronics resellers and finance companies. PaymentCloud also serves businesses that sell workout and nutritional supplements. Approval is usually granted within 48 hours, but it can take longer depending on how quickly you submit the necessary documents to them.
Price: Quote-based pricing: PaymentCloud does not provide pricing information, so you must contact the company directly for a quote.
- Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- The platform provides merchant accounts to high-risk businesses, such as those with a high rate of card fraud or credit card chargebacks, or those selling age-restricted products
- It is compatible with QuickBooks Online
- PaymentCloud provides a free online application for businesses
- Because pricing is not disclosed, it is not transparent
- Despite being promoted as simple to use, the site’s navigability is poor
Square, which began as Squareup in 2009, has grown to become one of the best credit card processing companies. The platform includes some advanced features and does not charge clients a monthly fee. Square, like Stax, offers same-day funding for an additional fee. And because of the predictable pricing it floats, Square essentially provides small business owners with value for a low price. Regardless of card type or transaction size, you will pay a consistent flat rate for the services rendered.
Square’s end-to-end payment processing solution handles the majority of the aspects of a credit card transaction, eliminating the need to purchase a payment gateway (a payment processing portal) or point-of-sale system from separate providers.
Price: The standard processing fee for in-person payments is 2.6 percent plus 10 cents per transaction.
- Flat-rate pricing that is predictable
- Ideal for low-volume retailers
- Customer service is available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT
- There are no monthly fees
- Through a third-party app, it integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero accounting software
- Does not offer services to businesses in specific industries
- Not appropriate for high-risk industries
- It is not compatible with Windows devices
Since 2013, Helcim has been in the credit card processing business, having been founded in Canada and doing business in the United States. Helcim, unlike most processors, does not charge a monthly fee. Helcim allows you to accept credit cards in-person, online, via an app, or over the phone; however, it does not provide services to certain high-risk industries such as Bitcoin dealers, adult entertainment, video arcades, and airlines.
Price: Determined by volume. Cost includes interchange rate plus Helcim’s markup of 0.3 percent plus 8 cents per transaction for in-person retail payments processing with monthly sales of $25,000 or less. For instance, if the interchange rate is 1.5 percent, a company will pay 1.8 percent plus 8 cents.
- No monthly fees
- Automatically provides volume-based discounts
- Seven days a week, in-house customer service is available
- Syncs with QuickBooks Online directly
- Does not provide services to businesses in specific industries
- Deposits are available within two business days; there is no same-day deposit option
- Card readers are not included in your plan and must be purchased separately for around $199 per unit
Helpful Business Links
Divvy Business Credit Card: Fast and flexible business credit when you need it.
Divvy Business Credit Builder: A program to help businesses build their credit.
Swipesum: Find the cheapest credit card processing solution that is best for your business.
Toptal: Hire ex-Google, Apple, and SpaceX freelancers online.
99designs: Create graphic design contests with top talent from around the world.
Carbon Easy: Grow your business by carbon offsetting with Paying Green®.
Choosing the best credit card processing company for your business can be difficult, especially given the industry’s growing size. The credit card processors discussed here are among the best and most popular for a wide variety of businesses. So, if you need a way to start processing credit card payments, start with these companies, and find one that is the best fit for you.
Compare Your Options With Swipesum
Find the best rates for your individual situation.
Thanks for reading about the best credit card processing companies.
You might also like our Swipesum Credit Card Processing Review.