13 Best Merchant Services of 2024 (Ranked and Reviewed)
For your business's sake, you want to be able to accept every type of credit card payment, which is something you can ensure by choosing the right merchant service provider.
Depending on how much you process monthly and how much these amounts change in the future, you will need a merchant account solution to accommodate these needs while providing transparent pricing, competitive rates, and obligation-free contracts.
Adhering to these qualities, we have researched the best-reviewed and highest-performing merchant account providers on the market.
Read on, and find out all about the features, pricing & costs, contract terms, and how it all relates to your type of business in full detail.
Best Merchant Services
1. Merchant One
Best Merchant Service for Easy Approval & Full-Service Credit Card Processing.
Merchant One is a full-service credit and debit card processing company that boasts an approval rate of 98% and operates with all businesses, regardless if you have a bad credit score or you operate in a risky industry.
Part of what makes it one of the best merchant services is the capability to get you approved and up and running quickly, with a turnaround time of fewer than 24 hours, which allows you to begin accepting online and in-store payments sooner.
The software re-sells a variety of third-party hardware, software, services like the Pax S80, Pax S500, VeriFone VX520, and Fiserv FD – 130 credit card processors that support EMV and NFC-based payments while charging you $35 – $40 per month for its hardware.
Other available methods for credit card processing in this merchant service include
- Point-of-Sale systems – Complete suite of Clover POS systems, including the fully-featured Clover Station and the smaller-scale Clover Mini
- Mobile payments – iOS & Android-supported Clover Go, Magtek ADynamo, BBPOS Chipper, and the Swift B250 SwipeSimple
- Payment gateway – Virtual terminal for manually keying in transactions, which includes a customer database, recurring billing support, customizable API, QuickBooks integration, and 175+ popular online shopping cart integrations
- Next-day funding – Ensures that your transaction funds are deposited into your account within 24 hours of submission
While primarily being one of the well-known merchant account solutions, Merchant One still lets you sell gift cards and create loyalty programs, as well as craft text marketing campaigns.
Merchant One is one of the best merchant services for small businesses with comprehensive mobile capabilities that lets you accept payments from your mobile device anywhere.
Offering merchants to choose between free hardware or flexible contract terms, Merchant One empowers you to sign an agreement with a standard initial term of three years for the free equipment option.
One unique feature of this merchant service provider is that they do not include an automatic renewal clause in their contracts that would otherwise extend your contracts for successive one-year periods at the end of each term.
While there are no early termination & PCI compliance fees, the monthly fee is $6.95.
- 98% approval rate
- Turnaround time of fewer than 24 hours
- Works with companies with bad credit scores and operating in risky industries
- Free shopping cart for card-not-present and eCommerce transactions
- Online account management tools
- Remote access to sales data
- The software assigns a dedicated account manager that provides set-up assistance and proactive payment acceptance support
Best for businesses needing a quick and easy approval, Merchant One delivers a full line-up of Clover terminals and POS systems without automatic renewal clauses bounding you for obligations.
Best Merchant Service for POS & Simple, Flat-Rate Processing.
Boasting an incredibly intuitive system that is simple to set up and learn, Clover provides feature-rich POS software and hardware, including stationary and portable devices, robust third-party apps from the app market, and more.
Accept credit, debit, and gift cards, as well as NFC and mobile wallets, offer digital receipts and one-touch tipping, process refunds, returns, and exchanges quickly while enabling online ordering and applying the service and delivery charges automatically.
Along with being able to manage your staff and their schedules, set individual employee permissions, and view your employees' sales, tips, and refunds, you can foster a quality customer base by capturing the customers' feedback privately, rewarding them through loyalty programs, and sending custom promotions.
By adding PayPal and Venmo to their merchant service, Clover has enabled small business owners to accept PayPal and Venmo QR code payments at checkout.
Clover's virtual terminal allows you to accept and process payments without needing POS hardware, and the company will charge the keyed-in rates for the virtual transactions, but the service can save you money.
One of the most industry-specific merchant account solutions, Clover offers specific functionality for restaurant and retail customers.
The work-simplifying features for busy restaurants enable the workers to send orders directly to the kitchen, send orders to printers by food type with designated label printing, connect weight scales, track products, and manage staff.
The Clover Payments subscription will cost you $0 monthly, but you will encounter processing fees of 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person transactions and 3.5% + $0.10 for keyed-in transactions.
- Sync your POS software with the cloud to access sales, refunds, deposits, reports
- Open tabs, split bills and combine multiple orders
- Ring up and track item-level sales, discounts, taxes
- Maintain your customer through loyalty program rewards
- Manage shifts & schedules, customize administrative functions, and oversee register activity
- Return for a full refund within 60 days while paying only for return shipping
- Pay the same low rates for all cards including AMEX and rewards cards
- Take orders & payments with the Station Duo and Station Solo + Flex POS systems and serve at the fastest tempo
- Access your credit card and debit card sales quickly with Rapid Deposit
- Reduce the time it takes for customers to finish the checkout process with QR code paymentsS
While providing an all-in-one POS functionality, along with payment processing, ordering, and employee management capabilities, Clover will deliver you access to a large app store with an abundance of integrations and unrivaled aesthetic appeal.
Best Merchant Service for Growing Businesses.
Stax provides a variety of card readers and POS systems while integrating with a selection of payment gateways and systems that handle online payments, as well as POS terminals, without any additional fees by the merchant service provider, though their providers may charge a fee for integrating with Stax.
Widely regarded among the best merchant services for small businesses, Stax provides you with a merchant account dashboard through which you can manage and analyze sales and adds a flat-rate fee instead of charging a markup percentage on each transaction.
Fattmerchant charges one monthly membership fee that includes everything from PCI compliance to account maintenance, but you need to process $7,000 or more in card payments.
When comparing merchant services, you will find that Fattmerchant provides many optional add-ons that range from card storing on file, sales activity tracking, branded websites & receipts creation functionalities to popular accounting software like QuickBooks.
For an additional cost, you can access many add-on services such as online stores with one-click shopping carts, digital gift card sales & insurance tools, along with packages that include the application programming interfaces (API), allowing you to integrate one of the best merchant account providers with a variety of other business software.
Stax's merchant service has been developed to accommodate different industries individually, with touch-free payments enabling your customers to pay quickly by tapping their contactless card or device on a smart terminal for a more unified checkout experience in retail.
If you are working in field service, Stax has got you covered with one of the premium merchant account solutions for instant credit card payment acceptance with a Bluetooth-enabled reader or through the iOS & Android mobile apps.
Being one of the safest online merchant services has made Stax an ideal choice in the healthcare industry with the capabilities it creates for you to quickly create customized invoices and send them to patients to get paid while protecting the patients' information with the highest level of PCI security.
The monthly fees start at $99 with the Growth plan.
- Beneficial for businesses that do a lot of monthly transactions
- Enrich your retail business with personalized website payment pages
- Send personalized payment links or embeddable web payment buttons
- Accept credit card and ACH payments from any smartphone or tablet
- Charge with automated payments, create digital invoices, and send payment links by email
- Track payment flow, manage service offerings & discounts and store customers' preferred payment methods
- Accept payment through a HIPAA-compliant platform and keep your patient data secure from fraud
For businesses willing to pay monthly fees for lower transaction costs and want to integrate with a variety of POS systems while processing payment on a higher volume, Staxx is the ideal merchant service provider.
Best Merchant Service for High-Risk Businesses.
Unlike many merchant account providers, ProMerchant is willing to work with businesses from any industry, which is why it attracts many volatile and highly regulated industries that other online merchant services avoid.
Regardless if you run a legal betting company, provide debt consolidation services, or sell hemp products via email, ProMerchant won't reject you just because your industry is deemed risky, and that's not the complete extent to which the software shows flexibility when considering applicants.
There is a good chance you will get approved even if your credit score isn't the best, and after that, you will immediately be assigned to a dedicated account representative that will help you choose the ideal pricing plan for you and remain your main source of guidance as long as you are a customer.
While you will need to contact the company for a free quote for pricing details, you can find the basic information about their two main pricing plans which include the Interchange Plus Fixed Rate for which you will pay flat fees and a fixed percentage on all transactions and the Flat Rate for All Transactions plan.
Some payment processing solutions ProMerchant offers include
- Terminals – Ideal for restaurants that need to process credit card transactions quickly, ProMerchant's useful features include the NFC-enabled contactless payment (great for retail businesses as well), inventory management capabilities, and a flexible API for third-party software integrations
- Bluetooth wireless credit card readers – ProMerchant's mobile solutions are EMV compliant and utilize NFC technology, allowing you to accept credit card payments behind a cash register or while moving throughout the store
- Phone & mail order – Accept payments over the phone or through mail order with virtual terminals that allow quick and secure keyed-in transactions
- POS systems – Operating under EMV compliance and utilizing the NFC technology, ProMerchant's reliable POS systems help you manage your customers, employees, and inventory
You will need to contact the company directly for a free quote.
- Month-to-month services, free to cancel at any time with minimal early termination fees
- NFC-enabled contactless payment
- Allow customers to make payments from their smartphones
- Accept payments over the phone or through email with virtual terminals enabling quick keyed-in transactions
- Shopping cart integration with flexible API for your eCommerce business
- Turnaround for the merchant account approval within the same day
- 24/7 phone/email personalized support team
- 92% Excellent ratings from users on Trustpilot & A+ rating for responsiveness from the Better Business Bureau
Boasting 92% Excellent ratings over 64 reviews on Trustpilot, ProMerchant is one of the best-rated merchant services that supports brick-and-mortar retail stores, eCommerce businesses, restaurants, as well as numerous high-risk industries.
Best Merchant Service for Low Transaction Rates & Cheap Credit Card Processing.
Covering merchants from a variety of industries, including retail, restaurants, B2B, eCommerce, healthcare, legal, accounting, and professional services, Payment Depot is one of the best merchant account solutions that allows you to accept payments online, on-site, and via mobile devices.
Without set-up or cancellation fees, you pay a flat rate each month and a small per-transaction fee, with Payment Depot being one of the best merchant services for small business with its transparent pricing, as the website clearly lists all pricing info with all the fees and processing equipment costs.
Sync your card payment data with other channels of your business and integrate with Shopify, QuickBooks, WooCommerce, 3dcart to gain greater insight into your operations and integrate with third-party hardware from brands like Clover, Poynt, Ingenico, as well as the official mobile app partner SwipeSimple.
As one of the most generous online merchant services, Payment Depot provides you with free credit card terminals and POS systems that range from basic or smart terminals to a Clover mini.
If you have issues with your terminal or only do a few transactions per day and don't want to invest in hardware, you can use a virtual terminal that lets you key in credit card numbers for transactions through a web browser.
You can use the free key entry virtual terminal for processing payments which allows you to key in credit card transactions on any device, which is suitable for businesses with fewer daily transactions or in cases when you lose connectivity or access to your hardware.
The Starter Membership is $79 per month + $0.15 per transaction fee.
- Great for companies that facilitate a lot of monthly transactions
- The same pricing for online and in-person payments
- Free terminals and free web app for keying-in card numbers for transactions
- Reprogram your current POS system for free in Payment Depot
- Key-in credit card numbers for transactions through a web browser with a virtual terminal
- Key-in credit card transactions on any device by processing payments through the virtual terminal
- PCI-compliant processing at no additional cost
- Dedicated account representative with 24/7 phone support
Payment Depot is in the top tier of online merchant services for businesses looking to trade monthly fees for lower processing rates, companies looking for low chargeback fees, and the cheapest credit card processing service for smaller established businesses.
Best All-Purpose Merchant Service Provider.
As an all-in-one merchant service solution, Square allows you to process payments in-store, via mobile, online, through a virtual terminal, and even with invoice payments.
What makes Square one of the best merchant services is its lack of fees, and this includes no setup, gateway, monthly, annual, PCI compliance, early termination, or chargeback fees.
Part of what places Square among the best-rated merchant services frequently is its mobile credit card processing app that allows Apple & Android phone and tablet users to accept payments on the go and utilize the POS software for tracking inventory, managing customer information, running sales reports, and more.
When comparing merchant services of similar stature, it is hard to find merchant account solutions that require such a small amount of fees and provide such a variety of business tools like payroll software, email marketing subscriptions, business banking & loans, website templates, and a ton of accounting integrations like Intuit QuickBooks.
The retail and restaurant-specific tools allow you to manage inventory & orders, set up a free online store that syncs with your inventory and your social media, and meet your business demands now and in the future.
Square is one of the best payroll companies associated with a high-level payment gateway solution, which is ideal for Square POS users who want to import time cards into their payroll accounts.
With no monthly or chargeback fees, you will only encounter the swiped, keyed, and online transaction fees.
- Five-minute setup with no commitment or cancellation fees
- No chargeback, refund, or inactive account fees
- Free-to-download, intuitive POS system
- Free magstripe readers for new customers with additional card readers for only $10
- Access money with the Square card, and receive an instant discount of 2.75% when shipping with other Square sellers
- Merchant cash advance with the Square Capital
- Manage your accounting with QuickBooks Online and Zoho Books
- 24/7 phone support for restaurant POS plans, Square Register & Square Terminal products
For small businesses looking for simple merchant account providers, brick-and-mortar businesses in search of an intuitive POS system, or sellers working frequently on the go, Square is among the most popular online merchant services for all use cases.
Best Merchant Service Provider for Retail Business Owners.
By charging its services on a month-to-month basis, Helcim relieves you of having to worry about an early termination fee if you decide to close the account, and they are also transparent when it comes to all their fees with the account maintenance, PCI compliance, online statements, customer support, Helcim commerce payment platform all included in the monthly subscription.
Among the many merchant account solutions it offers, Helcim's POS app enables you to track inventory, store customer information, record transaction history, display sales trends, generate varying reports with the app supporting an unlimited number of user accounts, and providing employee access controls.
Being one of the most well-rounded merchant account providers, Helcim lets you easily manage customer relationships with customer profiles, purchase histories, and credit card data, along with API capabilities that allow you to build custom integrations.
The merchant service includes a fully-hosted online store for your business with blogging and food ordering tools in its plan, with the capabilities to integrate the online ordering with your existing website and streamline your business's bookkeeping with QuickBooks.
As one of the best merchant services for companies looking for a payment processor without monthly fees, Helcim will charge a per-transaction fee that can vary depending on the card, with corporate cards, international, and rewards cards generally being more costly.
With no monthly fees and transaction fees varying depending on the card, Helcim leaves you with a chargeback fee ranging from $0 to $15.
- Windows, Mac, smartphone & tablet apps for payment collection
- Accept online payments through a virtual terminal
- Add a cash drawer, card reader, and a barcode scanner
- Issue refunds, void transactions, preauthorize credit cards and accept ACH payments
- Send invoices and set up recurring payments
- Integrate with shopping carts, eCommerce platforms, and accounting software
- Set up a free, fully-hosted online store with Helcim
- Equipment pricing includes shipping, 24/7 tech support, and a one-year replacement warranty
Excellent for businesses that can benefit from volume discounts and retailers who seek access to a free, fully-hosted online store within one of the best-rated merchant services, Helcim is one of the best credit card payment processing companies for fast, simple, and affordable transactions.
Best Merchant Service for Budget-Conscious Merchants in Search for Fixed Transaction Rates.
Often listed among the best merchant services for small businesses, National Processing serves you with interchange-plus rates below many of its competitors and offers a rate-lock guarantee that ensures your fees can't increase during your contract.
For a simple countertop terminal, National Processing can let you choose the wireless Clover Flex or the Clover Mini, with both devices being able to accept EMV and NFC-based payment methods.
Restaurants and other businesses needing a merchant service provider that can equip them with more robust processing devices can also turn to National Processing and its Clover Station POS systems.
Small businesses in search of an affordable mobile processing system can find their solution in the Clover Go mPOS system, which can be accessed on iOS & Android smartphones and tablets, and accept magstripe, EMV, and NFC-based payment methods.
Being so convenient and generous has made National Processing one of the best online merchant services for years, delivering online invoicing, virtual terminals for online & telephone payments, QuickBooks integration on top of all the stellar processing features.
With many merchant account providers displaying complaints from customers about their customer service, it is notable that National Processing has mostly accumulated praises for its 24/7 telephone & email support, as well as the website live chat.
There are three plans, all of which cost $9.95 per month plus interchange.
- Full line of Clover terminals and POS systems
- Low-cost e-check/ACH payment processing
- Exclusive interchange-plus and membership pricing
- Rate-lock guarantee
- No annual fees, monthly minimum charges, early termination fees, or long-term contracts
- Authorize.net, ACH, cash discount
- Dedicated account representative & 24/7 tech support and live chat
An ideal option for budget-conscious merchants looking for low processing rates from a reliable company with an excellent online reputation, National Processing will help you accept credit & debit cards and ACH payments.
Best Merchant Service for Favorable Month-to-Month Contract Terms.
The best choice among merchant account solutions when looking for flexible contract terms in tiered and interchange-plus pricing plans, Flagship offers month-to-month billing and doesn't charge a cancellation fee.
Flagship allows you to accept credit cards in a multitude of ways, including a Verifone credit card terminal with a built-in printer and PIN pad, a mobile card reader that attaches to smartphones and tablets, a mobile app that lets you accept credit cards on the go.
A POS system gives retailers and restaurants access to the Clover POS line, along with the payment gateway letting you accept credit card payments online via a shopping cart for your eCommerce website and the virtual terminal equipping you with phone and mail orders.
Offering interchange-plus and tiered rates, Flagship allows you to select the best pricing model for your business, along with attempting to meet or beat the rates of your current processor.
There are no fees for the application, set-up, or payment gateway set-up, and the credit card processing rates will depend on the type of your business, payment acceptance methods, and average monthly sales volume, which can influence your ability to negotiate lower processing rates and fees.
When comparing merchant services of a similar pricing range with Flagship, you will often find merchant account providers that nudge you towards three-year term contracts with a small cancellation window of 30 – 90 days and automatic renewals where Flagship differs from its competitors.
To acquire your tailored fees, you will need to write a free quote request on Flagship's site.
- Month-to-month terms with no long-term obligations
- Interchange-plus and tiered rates
- No application, set-up, and payment gateway set-up fees
- Negotiate for lower processing rates and fees
- Accept payments on the go and online
- Accept payments made with contactless cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay
- 24/7 phone support & dedicated support agent
Flagship ensures flexibility in every sense, allowing you to choose the best pricing model for your situation and freeing you from any long-term obligations or a narrow cancellation window, and lets you choose the best-fitting payment acceptance methods.
Best Merchant Service Provider for Powering Payment Processing and Receiving Bank in Transactions.
Offering a great alternative for any business looking to work with a traditional bank, Chase will deliver speed & security when used as both the payment processor and the receiving bank in transactions, which removes the intermediary.
The best merchant services for small businesses will offer a variety of plans that can accommodate those with more budget constraints, and Chase delivers several flat-rate and interchange-plus pricing models.
As far as POS systems go, you can opt for the Verifone VX680 or Ingenico iCT250, along with mobile solutions, user-friendly standalone terminals, POS tablets, or virtual web portals for payment.
The Bluetooth card reader with the app can integrate with iPhones, iPads, and Androids, along with the standalone terminals that can process the EMV chips, magnetic stripe cards, mobile payments such as Apple Pay with allowed tip adjustment and reporting.
Chase's mobile credit card processing service allows you to accept payments through the mobile app or the mobile checkout app, with additional functionalities like the product catalog, tip acceptance, refunding, text & email receipts, transactions voids, and more included.
It is great news when one of the best-rated merchant services like Chase allows you to use its services if you run an eCommerce store, enabling integrations with many popular eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, Volusion, Spreedly, and more.
The online & offline banking services combination Chase offers with a $300 joining bonus and no minimum opening deposit makes Chase one of the best small-business bank accounts.
Chase Retail Checkout monthly fee is $9.95.
- Two-in-one payment processors and an acquiring bank
- Several flat-rate and interchange-plus pricing models
- Integrate your eCommerce platform with the Chase processing and collect payments
- A tablet-based payment system allows you to access customer information, inventory & employee management, and sales tracking
- An annual review enables you to identify and cut costs
- Integrate with numerous eCommerce solutions and utilize Authorize.net as a payment gateway
- Check what options, software integrations, and eCommerce solutions are the best for you
- Chase's own Orbital payment gateway
Providing both the processing and acquiring bank services in transactions, Chase provides a seamless two-in-one experience that streamlines your payments successfully and equips you with a full suite of services and top-notch support.
Best Merchant Service Provider for Online Businesses.
With unmatched flexibility when working with different payment types like ACH & e-check payments, WeChat, Klarna, Alipay, BECS Direct Debit, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more and the ability to connect a Stripe checkout at any website or software, Stripe software is one of the ideal online merchant services.
You can easily send invoices and manage monthly subscriptions, with the subscription management tools allowing you to bill customers and create plans based on the usage, the number of users, flat fees, or anything else, with the software supporting both the tiered and usage-based subscriptions.
Some neat additional features in Stripe include a corporate credit card that allows customers who spend $5,000 on the card to get $50,000 in free payment processing and the functionality to generate physical & virtual cards that can allow a company to create employee expense cards.
Supporting many currencies from all over the world, Stripe enables you to avoid exchange fees by specifying presentment currencies, so that the software can accumulate separate balances for each currency for then to route to different bank accounts.
As an all-encompassing merchant service provider, Stripe allows you to generate custom reports with Sigma, letting you identify which customers are least likely to churn this year, which geographies contribute the most revenue, which products are the most popular in specific months, and more.
As one of the merchant account solutions with the best eCommerce fraud protection system, Stripe has designed Radar to identify and prevent credit card fraud through machine learning while tracking the stream and volume of data preceding a likely fraudulent transaction, including the card's previous transaction history.
The Integrated pay-as-you-go subscription stands at 2.9%.
- Connect a Stripe checkout to any website or software with pre-built integrations
- Configure subscriptions, recurring billing, or one-time payments for per-seat pricing, metered billing, coupons, free trials, pro-rates
- Update expired or renewed customer card information automatically
- Includes a pre-built embeddable checkout form, PCI compliance at no charge, and financial reconciliation tools
- Identify and stop credit card fraud with Stripe Radar
- Utilize the Payouts automation toolset to send mass payouts to sellers and simplify compliance requirements with third parties
- Sync the detailed reporting features with the accounting software
- Short-term loans & merchant cash advances
Covering everything from predictable flat-rate pricing, superb developer tools, as well as advanced reporting, marketing, and subscription tools, Stripe is an ideal international solution for small and large merchants alike.
Best Merchant Service Provider for E-Cash Payments.
Enabling online businesses to accept digital, mobile, ACH payments, and cash online, Paysafe not only lives up to its name as one of the most reliable merchant account providers, but it supports your sales across all channels, allows you to make recurring payments and send invoices.
Paysafe sells a variety of software products that integrate with your POS so you can accept different payment methods while selling their POS solution and loan products, including POS devices such as the discounted Clover POS hardware.
Loans, as provided by Paysafe, are a great way for startups to meet their financial goals, but you want to make sure that you don't end up paying high interest in addition to the principal amount.
To figure out your monthly payments, interest costs, and the affordability of your Paysafe loan, you can use the business loan calculators to generate the amount you're expected to pay back
Along with supporting in-person and online credit & debit card payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover), this merchant service allows you to save customer payment information, create scheduled payments, track data on your transactions, and integrate a custom payments page onto your website through the Secured Checkout feature.
One of the best merchant account solutions for non-card online payments, Paysafe enables you to utilize the Paysafe Card physical voucher to load funds onto and complete online purchases and pay for purchases after placing online orders with Paysafe Cash.
Equipping you with all the tools to run your business online and offline from your mobile devices, Paysafe lets you transform your mobile device into a POS system and provides an e-cash service that allows you to accept cash as an online payment method.
Depending on the services you need and the transaction volume of your business, the quotes will vary.
- Customizable checkout platforms come with risk-reducing security capabilities
- PCI protection for POS
- Make recurring payments and send invoices
- Make and accept electronic payments through digital wallets such as Venmo and Square Cash
- Pay instantly from online banking account funds with Rapid Transfer
- Load funds onto the Paysafe Card physical voucher and pay for your online orders with Paysafe Cash
- Sample products from your online store without initially paying for them with Paysafe Pay Later
- Merchant cash advances of up to $500,000 with approval in under 48h
Among many other benefits, Paysafe's e-cash acceptance functionality enables you to expand your customer base and gives the opportunity to online businesses to avail themselves of one of the best merchant services for eCommerce & digital payments.
Best Merchant Service Provider for Retail Credit Card Processing.
Providing versatile options for in-person and online transactions at affordable rates, it is no wonder PaymentCloud is consistently among the best-rated merchant services that specializes in providing payment processing solutions for eCommerce, mail/telephone order, and other high-risk businesses.
Partnering with numerous banks & processors such as BMO Harris Bank, Chesapeake Bank, Esquire Bank, Merrick Bank, and EMS, Elavon, EVO Payments, Global Payments, Paysafe to maximize your odds for quick approval and account stability, PaymentCloud provides payment gateways, virtual terminals, shopping carts, e-check, credit card terminals, POS, and mobile payment solutions.
Supporting a variety of high-risk industries like adult websites, nutraceuticals & supplements, credit repair businesses, electronic cigarette vendors, debt consolidators, CBD vendors, PaymentCloud is accepting of any field and ready to empower you with personalized deployment through test transactions & detailed guidance.
The contactless credit card terminals, which include the wireless models, are the non-direct charge terminals like Verifone VX 520, Ingenico iCT 220, Ingenico iCT 250, and Ingenico iPP 310 models PaymentCloud advertises, all of which are EMV-compliant and support NFC-based payment methods.
As one of the most generous online merchant services with several options for each payment method, PaymentCloud delivers Bluetooth and audio-jack readers that are iOS & Android compatible, included with EMV, and contactless payments in its mobile payments offer.
The processing rates and account fees will vary depending on your business's type, processing history, sales volume, credit history, and more, with the Low-Risk pricing monthly fee starting at $15.
- Serves a variety of high-risk industries
- Merchant cash advances through a partnership with Wisco Capital
- Tablet-based systems and full-sized POS terminals with EMV payments support
- Customized application guidance & personalized deployment
- Send customers a QR code for secure payments through Paysley
- Specializes in data migration for your recurring billing customers from platforms like Stripe to Authorize.net
- Chargeback management & fraud mitigation services
- 24/7 tech support
A high-risk businesses specialist with reasonable rates & fees, PaymentCloud delivers fast applications and approvals for in-person & online transactions for all companies working in a high-risk industry and businesses looking for the lowest rates.
Processing Fees, Account Fees, and Equipment Costs
For you to accept credit card payments, you need to pay interchange fees, assessment fees, and processing fees as a merchant, with these going to the card's issuing bank, the card's payment network, and the payment processor.
You will come across four types of payment processor pricing models, which include interchange-plus, flat rate, subscription, and tiered, with the payment processing fees being the only negotiable credit card transaction fees.
While the typical credit card processing fees range from 1.3% to 3.5%, plus the payment processor's cut, which varies depending on the card processor and the subscription you choose, American Express cards indeed have the highest average fees, while Visa tends to have the lowest.
Types of Credit Card Processing Fees
Interchange happens when the card payment transaction passes between the merchant and the merchant service provider, between the merchant service provider and the payment brands such as Visa & MasterCard, and between the payment brands and the bank that issued the card.
For every transaction you process, the payment processor pays the interchange fee to the issuing bank through the payment brands, covering the cost to issuing banks that offer credit and fraud mitigation.
The payment brands will determine the interchange fees with the rates you pay for transactions varying depending on the card type (debit, credit, rewards), transaction type (with a card, phone order, online order), and your average transaction volume.
The level of risk of the transaction will also influence the interchange fee with the lower-risk transactions generating lower rates.
Alongside the interchange fees, the individual payment brands may charge a separate assessment fee, covering the operating costs of managing their network, which will be mandated by the individual payment brands and not the payment processor.
Chase Merchant Services, for example, charges 2.60% + $0.10 per transaction for card-present transactions and 3.50% + $0.10 per transaction for card-not-present/keyed-in transactions.
ProMerchant‘s swiped rates will go at interchange + 0.5% + $0.15, while other merchant services like Paysafe state that the rates of their interchange & scheme fees will be the flat debit interchange rates of 0.2% and credit interchange rates of 0.3% for consumer cards.
Not only do many available credit card processors have their varied pricing strategies, but the possibility for negotiation of these rates allows you to acquire affordable subscriptions as a merchant.
The interchange-plus pricing model keeps all your fees separate, with the payment processor charging you exactly what the payment network charges on the transactions while adding its separate markup and requiring a flat fee per month.
In Helcim, for example, you would be charged 0.30% + 8¢ on top of the transaction, with the margin reducing the more you process.
Due to its affordability for all business types and a transparent fee structure, this pricing model has become quite popular and has enabled merchants to know exactly how much the card network and the credit card processor charged on every sale.
The flat-rate pricing model sets up a payment system through which you are charged the same rate on every transaction, allowing you to easily predict your payment processing costs while not having to pay a monthly fee.
One advantage of this structure is simplicity, but it can come at the price of much higher credit card fees.
You can benefit from using a merchant service like Square or Helcim that have no monthly fees if your business has a low sales volume and wouldn't save enough in credit card transaction fees to offset the monthly cost of an interchange-plus processor.
If you want to sign up for a membership with a payment processor and pay a monthly fee, a subscription model is the right choice for you, as it gives you the option to pay the base cost for each transaction plus a very small payment processing fee.
Compared to the interchange-plus pricing, the subscription structure gives you much more expensive monthly fees in exchange for much cheaper transaction fees, which makes this model best suited for businesses with a high sales volume ($10K + per month).
Payment Depot Merchant Services is a one merchant service provider that groups its membership offers into three different plans, with the Starter Membership costing $79 per month.
With the tiered pricing model, each transaction falls under one of the payment processor's tiers, with each tier having its set fee amount and the payment processor categorizing the transactions into different tiers.
The tiered model tends to be the least popular choice because it is usually more expensive than the other options, with many types of transactions grouped into a limited number of tiers having much higher processing fees than they would on their own under different pricing models.
Account Fees & Costs
Processors make a profit by marking up the fees or by charging both a subscription fee and a small transaction cost, which leads to abuse by some providers who are not upfront about additional charges.
As backed by the experts from the quote generator & credit card processing review websites such as Cardfellow, you should be cautious when considering bundled/tiered pricing plans which include qualified and non-qualified rates.
Under these pricing structures, certain types of transactions can cost more, and it can be not easily transparent how much or which types of transactions will have these spikes in pricing.
You should carefully read your merchant agreement for hidden fees, including the cancellation fees, and ask for an amendment or a separate cancellation fee waiver to ensure you don't get damaged by new trends.
With wholesale rates offered in providers such as Payment Depot, you will be able to pass the interchange fee without markup and be charged a monthly subscription fee plus a small transaction fee.
As recommended by Cardfellow, you should factor in the number of transactions you'll process each month to choose the best-fitting plan type, as well as the average amount of your transactions.
After this, it is best to acquire the complete list of fees and ensure that the agreement doesn't permit the processor to increase the fees or charge new ones without notice.
If you are a merchant that accepts in-person transactions, you will need to purchase the hardware equipment, which costs vary significantly depending on your needs.
In most cases, it is a profitable and efficient choice to buy your payment processing equipment, which is convenient as many payment processing companies sell their own equipment or partner with hardware providers.
What's great about these partnership bundles is that the basic equipment comes at only a few hundred dollars, but you can even find some great discounts for the more advanced hardware like the intelligent POS systems that communicate with back-end accounting, supply chain, or cloud apps.
You can find basic mobile readers as low as $20 to $50, with some payment processors like Square offering free ones.
Terminals and registers are more expensive, with standard terminals costing around $150 and advanced registers going for up to $1,000.
How to Choose the Best Merchant Service
Do Your Research and Find a Provider to Meet All Your Needs
If your business sells goods and services online, you will need credit card storage, a payment gateway, a virtual terminal, and risk & fraud management, which means you will need to opt for a merchant service provider that is more specific-industry focused and less of a generalist solution.
The services you will need will depend on your acceptance channels such as website, phone, fax, mail, and in-store, so you should ensure that your provider provides all of the functionalities at a high level.
You won't have the time to keep up with all the trends and changes in the payment processing industry, so it is pivotal that you work with a company that won't take advantage of your limited knowledge, and you can do this by evaluating whether or not they are upfront with their prices and functionalities.
Other things you should check are if
- They disclose all fees when listing them on their website or if it is bait and switch
- The lowest rates mean the lowest overall cost
- The payment processor provides you with the quickest access to the money you earn from online sales
- You can offer several trustworthy payment options in addition to credit cards
- There is protection against fraudulent transactions
- Data security is in safe hands
- Customers' data is secure and not a burden to your workload through PCI compliance
- You can expect an easy set-up and round-the-clock technical support
A Proven Track Record & Excessive Features
While it is good to help another startup grow, you can't afford to trust a company with something as important as merchant services at your expense.
There are too many risks, including the financial risks and the reputation of your business, when choosing an untrusted vendor for merchant services, so it is best to work with merchant service providers with a proven track record of excellence.
However, you should never forget that you are the one choosing and that you should never be pressured into anything, which means avoiding providers that try to force you to purchase equipment and services you don't want.
Additionally, keep in mind the trajectory of your business and look for merchant service providers that offer products that meet your current needs, as well as the functionalities that will allow your business to grow and expand without you having to change a provider.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Merchant Service Provider
- Do you understand the terms of the contract thoroughly?
- What are the provider's support options (24/7, email & phone, in-person, chat, dedicated representative, etc.)?
- What kind of rates does the provider offer, and are they all disclosed on the pricing info?
- How easy are the rates to understand, and how do they relate to your business?
- Does the provider include monthly, flat-rate, transaction, and other fees?
- Are you required to be locked into a long-term contract, or can you operate on a month-to-month basis?
- What are the penalties for canceling early?
- Is the equipment free, or does it have to be purchased or leased?
- Does the provider offer training for your staff, for how long, who are the instructors, and what methods do they use?
- Is the provider PCI compliant, and what type of fraud protection do they offer?
- How do they respond to outages?
Once you have answered all the questions, you need to have gathered all the documents, basic details, and certificates and managed to open a business bank account if you want to open your merchant account.
Merchant Services FAQ
A merchant account is a type of commercial business bank account that enables a business to accept and process electronic payment card transactions.
Merchant accounts operate by partnering a business with a merchant acquiring bank that facilitates all communications in electronic payment transactions.
These accounts include added costs that some brick and mortar businesses may choose not to pay by accepting only cash for deposits in a standard business deposit account.
In short, no, you do not need a merchant account to accept credit cards.
Specifically, it is possible to accept credit card payments without a dedicated merchant account (a merchant account that is unique to your business).
Unlike the payment facilitator alternative, a merchant account may cost less per transaction, offer a more flexible transaction volume, advanced payment processing tools u0026 services, in-depth dedicated customer support.
This makes it more fitting for businesses with higher sales volume or may need more customer and business support.
A payment gateway is a technology used to capture and transfer the payment data from the customer to the acquirer and then transfers the payment acceptance or decline back to the customer.
Acting as an interface between the merchant's website and its acquirer, a payment gateway validates the customer's card details securely, ensures that the funds are available, and allows merchants to get paid.
Operating as the middleman between your customer and the merchant, a payment gateway ensures that the transaction gets carried out securely by encrypting sensitive credit card details.
When a customer decides on the product/service they want to purchase, a payment gateway offers different options for the payment page they proceed to, such as the hosted payment page, server-to-server integration, and client-side encryption.
The customer enters their credit or debit card details on the payment page, which includes the cardholder's name, card expiration date, and CVV number.
The payment gateway tokenizes and encrypts the card details and performs the fraud checks before sending the card data to the acquiring bank.
After the acquiring bank sends the card information to the card schemes (Visa, MasterCard) securely, the card schemes perform an additional layer of fraud check and send the payment data to the issuing bank.
After performing fraud screening, the issuing bank authorizes the transaction, after which the approved or declined payment message gets transferred back from the card schemes to the acquirer.
The acquiring bank sends the approval or decline message back to the payment gateway that transmits the message to the merchant.
If the payment is approved, the acquirer collects the payment amount from the issuing bank and holds the fund into your merchant account.
Depositing of funds into the merchant account is the process known as settlement, and the time it occurs will depend on the agreement the merchant has with their payment gateway.
Depending on the message, a merchant can display a payment confirmation page or ask the customer to provide another payment method.
To process payments, you need both a merchant account and a payment gateway.
A payment gateway facilitates online transactions and allows you to process them, while a merchant account serves as a holding account where those payments first go through before being deposited into your regular bank account.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to lower or avoid credit card processing fees.
You can pass the credit card processing fees to a customer through a surcharge program when they choose to use a credit card instead of cash or a debit card.
If your business pays 3.5% processing fees in a $10 transaction, you will pay $0.35 in processing fees without a surcharge program, which means you will collect $9.65 from the actual transaction.
Through a surcharge program, the cardholder pays $10.35 for the transaction, and your business collects the full $10.
Other methods include capturing more customer data, including the cardholder's full billing address to avoid more expensive interchange costs for the eCommerce and phone-based transactions, offering ACH payments, becoming PCI compliant, reviewing your statements routinely, or asking your payment processor for the nuanced details of your fee schedule.
First off, you will need a business bank account.
You should choose a bank that fits your business needs, meaning that a financial institution offering small business loans would be the best if you anticipate needing funding or a bank that can provide payroll services if you have a staff.
Next, you'll need to provide bank statements, as well as the processing and personal statements, which show how much you typically process and whether your business is dependable.
Out of business licenses, you will most likely need to provide a general business license, sales tax registration, professional/occupational license, and worker's compensation.
A physical address where forms can be mailed along with an accurately filled out application, as well as the Employer Identification Number (EIN) for financial, tax, and other legal forms are all an important part of the equation as well.
Lastly, you will need to submit the articles of incorporation, PCI compliance, and other supporting documents like the marketing materials, business plan, voided check, return, shipping, and other customer policies, forecasts, and inventory reports.
Merchant services generally include online and in-person credit card processing, a payment gateway software that works in tandem with your website or eCommerce store to help you accept payments, an online transaction processing database software for managing customer orders, processing payments, and updating stock levels.
Also, merchant services will usually offer POS systems that include hardware required to take payments, a check-processing system, loyalty programs for customer rewards, and credit card terminals.
The merchant account providers that charge their services through a flat-rate pricing model can charge you a flat rate fee for each transaction, a fixed percentage on each transaction, or a mixture of the two for each card swipe.
The fixed percentage rates usually fall between 1.75% – 3%, and they include a per-transaction fee.
Which Merchant Service Provider Should I Pick?
- Stax by Fattmerchant – An ideal solution if you are a merchant looking for a subscription-based pricing model within a provider that will make your costs more stable and predictable, and save you significant amounts of money on credit card processing of more than $10K.
- Clover– For merchants looking for an intuitive and easy system within a provider that offers a free plan with no monthly software fee, and access to a variety of countertops, portable smart terminals, and mobile readers, as well as a wide variety of apps from any industry.
- Merchant One – The perfect provider for merchants in need of a surefire all-in-one credit card processing solution that offers a full lineup of Clover terminals and POS systems, interchange-plus pricing, quick & easy approval, no equipment leases or automatic renewal clause.