Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Your Business in 2022
- Most small businesses accept credit cards as a standard payment option, but as technology advances, customers expect other convenient payment options like digital wallets, mobile payments, card payments debit, etc.
- Credit card processors, or merchant service providers, act as third-party intermediaries between a business and a credit or debit card network for payment processing, and may also handle other forms of digital payment.
- Choosing from the many credit card payment processors available means defining your specific business needs, such as budget, hardware and software integrations, and customer service requirements.
- Learn more about credit card processing and how to choose the right one for your business.
How do I choose a credit card processing company?
Whether you have a completely online e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll need a payment processor to handle credit and debit card payments. This is because accepting credit card payments is not as simple as interacting directly with the credit card issuing company or network. Networks such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express work with third-party service providers, also known as merchant account providers, merchant service providers, or aggregators. These service providers operate payment processors that push transactions through payment gateways, which communicate payment information to your bank account.
As a small business owner, you have a choice of which credit card processing company you want to use to handle your credit card transactions. In general, most companies provide you with everything you need to process credit card payments. This includes hardware such as point-of-sale (POS) systems for physical scanning, chip reading, or contactless payments, and software for accepting online payments.
Choosing the right processing company for your business means considering a few factors alongside your business needs, such as:
- What kind of fees do they charge? Credit card companies already charge transaction fees (usually a percentage of fees), but there are also interchange fees, processing fees, monthly fees, and even early termination fees to consider. . Do your research thoroughly to make sure you don’t miss any hidden fees or monthly minimums.
- What type of POS system do I want to use? If your customers are making in-person payments, you’ll need a credit card reader where they can swipe, insert the chip, or use contactless payment methods. This credit card terminal is called point of sale system or point of sale system, and you will need to consider its functionality in your business. For example, do you need iPads to make on-site sales? Just want a virtual terminal? Do you want to accept digital payments via Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal?
- What kind of integration does their proprietary software have? Depending on your business, you’ll probably want POS software to integrate with your back-office accounting software like Quickbooks. You may also have your own hardware that you want to use, which may limit the credit card processing companies you can work with.
- What kind of customer support do they offer? Even the best credit card processing companies will have holidays when it comes to customer service, but if the company you’re considering consistently has low reviews, you probably won’t want to work with them.
- What kind of security do they offer? All merchant service providers should handle PCI compliance (standards set by the payment card industry) for you, but you’ll want to see what other types of security they offer. If they have a reputation for committing data breaches, avoid them.
What are the credit card processing fees and costs?
Although there are credit card processing companies that offer flat rates, most of them make their money by charging transaction fees. All of this should be outlined in your initial contract, but you can ask the company for a sample monthly statement to see what types of fees they charge.
Here are some common processing fees:
- Initial Application Fee: You may be charged a fee for processing your application.
- Installation fees: If the company sends a representative to install the equipment, they may charge a fee.
- Statement Fees: These are incurred on a monthly basis and will be mailed to you.
- Gateway Access Fee: Another monthly cost, this covers the data transaction between the payment processor and the financial institution issuing the payment.
- Interchange Fees: These are fees pinned to each transaction as it is processed by the system. Look for companies that have interchange-plus pricing, which tells you exactly how much each credit card company charges for each interchange, as well as how much the payment processor charges.
- Chargeback fees: If a customer disputes a charge, you may be charged a fee for the ensuing chargeback, which is essentially a refund.
- Minimum monthly fee: This is an agreed amount that the processor will collect from you each month, even if you do not meet your sales targets, especially for high-risk businesses.
- Unqualified Fees: Some credit card processors charge fees for specific transaction types, such as if a customer pays over the phone. This is something you should watch out for, as they can be very high.
- Early Termination Fee: If you terminate your contract early for any reason, including because you have gone out of business, some credit card processing services may still charge you the full contract amount.
How can I get a credit card machine for my business?
Most credit card processing companies will provide you with the necessary hardware and software to accept credit card payments. This can be as simple as providing you with a credit card reader that plugs into your tablet or mobile phone, but can also include printers, barcode scanners, computers or monitors. Note that some may charge setup fees.
Best Credit Card Processing Options for Startups
With 100% transparent pricing, no monthly fees, and a host of payment options, including invoicing, in-person and online, Helcim is ideal for startups. Moreover, they offer 24/7 customer support.
A customizable POS system, mobile card reader, and easy setup make Clover a great choice for new businesses. They don’t charge based on your number of employees, so they’re great for growing with them too.
Best credit card processing options with no cancellation fees
In addition to having no cancellation or early termination fees, Payment Depot uses a subscription-style pricing model and does not charge markup or other hidden fees. Simply put, you pay the same amount every month, which can be helpful if you go from low-volume sales to high-volume sales throughout the year.
Payline Data offers online and in-person payment solutions, integrations to manage online transactions, and next-day funding. They offer a simple pricing structure and a number of solutions to meet your business needs. You can also check interchange rates directly on their website.
Best Credit Card Processing Options for Established Businesses
Stax by Fattmerchant
Stax offers an all-in-one processing solution and membership pricing well-suited for high-volume businesses. They charge monthly subscription fees for processing transactions up to $500,000 per year and can create custom solutions for anyone with a processing volume above that.
With transparent pricing and a willingness to work with high-risk industries, National Processing is a good choice for established businesses. They will reprogram your existing hardware for free and offer a free mobile card reader among other add-ons. They also integrate with many popular software, including accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and online store programs.
Best Credit Card Processing Options for Restaurants
Square offers a number of options for restaurants, including an all-in-one POS system, free online sites for mobile ordering, delivery or pickup, and more. They adapt to the size of your restaurant and integrate with applications to help you manage inventory, accounting and CRM.
CDGCommerce provides POS terminals and systems, integrations with your reservation system, options for loyalty programs and CRM options, in addition to their membership price and no cancellation fees.
Best Credit Card Processing Options for Ecommerce
PayPal is everywhere in online shopping carts, and they’ve made a name for themselves in helping people accept payments online, whether for personal or business purposes. It’s as simple as creating an account and copying and pasting the PayPal button on your site to start receiving payments.
Stripe presents their company as a “payment infrastructure for the Internet”. They integrate with mobile apps through easy-to-use APIs and accept 135 different currencies, making it easy for you to scale your business across the globe.
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