Finding the right payment processor for your business can be a challenge, regardless of its size or which industry you’re in. We break down the best providers for a range of business types to help you narrow down your options.
Payment Depot is one of the big names in merchant services for good reason. This California-based provider sets itself apart with transparent, membership-based pricing and monthly billing. The icing on the cake? It gets excellent reviews across the board. It earns an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and a superb TrustScore of 4.9 out of 5 based on 811 reviews.
While Payment Depot is a viable option for both large and small businesses, it’s exceptionally well suited to businesses processing between $10,000 to $25,000 monthly. Smaller businesses can take advantage of wholesale rates, won’t be saddled with a lengthy contract and have the option to upgrade their service as their business grows.
Payment Depot offers an attractive balance of fair rates, practical services and good business practices — a solid, well-rounded option for small- to mid-sized businesses.
All-in-one processor. You’ll receive payment processing, a merchant account, a payment gateway and access to a range of POS hardware options.
Wholesale rates. Payment Depot’s membership-based pricing allows merchants to avoid markup on processing rates.
No cancellation fees. Memberships are available month-to-month, with the option to pay annually at a discounted rate.
Transparent marketing. Payment Depot doesn’t resort to the misinformative marketing many of its competitors use. You’ll easily find its membership tiers, prices and transaction fees on a dedicated pricing page on its website.
Like Payment Depot, Stax also offers markup-free rates — rare in the industry, and one of the reasons Stax makes the cut. But we also like Stax for its next-day funding, robust full-service merchant account and 24/7 ticket-based support.
You won’t encounter PCI-compliance, batch or statement fees with this provider. Stax’s monthly fee takes care of that. Businesses pay $99 a month along with per-transaction fees — that’s it.
If your business has over 100 employees or processes over $500,000 annually, consider Stax. For SaaS companies and enterprises processing over $5 million annually, Stax offers custom packages and rates.
Monthly billing. There are no cancellation fees associated with a Stax account, so you can leave at any time without penalty.
Low per-transaction processing. Stax’s flat-rate pricing ranges between $0.06 to $0.15 a transaction, plus markup-free interchange means high-volume businesses can save.
Feature-rich service. In addition to payment processing and a POS system, you’ll also get a virtual terminal, shopping cart and mobile processing.
Developer tools. Customize your software with Stax’s API documentation and mobile SDK for iOS and Android.
Best all-in-one business provider: Chase Merchant Services
There’s a lot of setup involved in processing customer transactions and it’s nearly impossible to get the job done with a single provider. In fact, most businesses rely on two or three providers to cover all their processing needs.
Chase Merchant Services offers everything a business needs to process payments — and we do mean everything. From dedicated payment processing to a range of business checking accounts, Chase Merchant Services handles it.
No cancellation fees. Chase’s processing is available monthly with no setup or cancellation fees.
Next-day funding. Chase business checking account holders gain access to next-day funding.
Business banking products. Under an extensive umbrella of financial services, Chase offers a number of business credit cards and line of credit options.
Few complaints. Considering its size, Chase’s collection of just 38 BBB complaints is impressively low.
Businesses that contend with off-seasons need a processor as flexible as they are. And the last thing a seasonal merchant wants to worry about is being locked into a contract or getting gouged on monthly fees for a service they don’t use when business is slow.
Luckily, Square’s in-person and online payment processing has no setup fees, no monthly fees and no monthly minimums for off-peak months. Businesses that don’t require year-round processing and prefer a pay-as-you-go processor should consider Square.
No ongoing fees. With Square, you pay for the service on a per-transaction basis, with no monthly minimums during the slow season.
No contract. You’re free to leave Square whenever you’d like with no contract or cancellation fees.
Free features. New accounts receive a free card reader and gain access to Square’s online store-building software.
Speedy onboarding. Square advertises a quick, online signup process.
Restaurateurs not only need the right payment processor, they also need the right point-of-sale (POS) hardware. And that’s where a provider like Toast really shines.
Boston-based Toast offers POS systems for restaurants with integrated payment processing: a one-stop-shop for all you need to get service up and running. But, you’ll need to sign a one-year contract to access the service, so make sure Toast’s niche offerings are for you.
From quick-service establishments to upscale eateries, Toast has something to offer those in the restaurant business.
All-in-one processing. Processing comes standard with each account — unlike other POS systems.
Niche restaurant software. Access online ordering, kitchen productivity reporting and multi-location menu management, along with the standards like payroll, inventory and team management.
Kitchen-specific hardware. Toast’s hardware lineup includes spill-resistant portable card readers, self-service kiosks, kitchen-display systems and more.
Offline payments. Don’t let Internet lapses disrupt the flow of service: Toast is equipped to handle offline credit card payments.
Takeout-focused solutions. The Toast Now software package helps equip your restaurant for takeout-driven business with online ordering, contactless delivery and email marketing tools.
Micro merchants find plenty to celebrate with online payments giant, PayPal. And that’s because, despite PayPal’s massive customer base of 267 million account holders, it offers one of the most affordable pricing models for low volume merchants.
PayPal reaches beyond online transactions to offer in-person processing with its PayPal Here card reader and app, supporting credit, debit and contactless mobile payments on the go. PayPal also integrates into most online stores, is quick to set up and offers flat-rate fixed processing fees. For these reasons, PayPal is a solid choice for micro merchants processing less than $5,000 monthly.
Easy setup. It’s free to sign up for PayPal and requires some basic information about your business. To begin accepting payments, copy and paste a piece of code to your website to add a payment button.
No monthly fees. There are no monthly fees associated with PayPal’s processing — you only pay a fee when you make a sale.
Rapid access to funds. Payments are typically available in your PayPal Business account within minutes of making a sale.
Lots of integrations. PayPal integrates with a sweeping range of services and softwares, including Shopify, Shift4Shop, BigCommerce, eBay, QuickBooks, Eventbrite and more.
Stripe’s repertoire of big-name customers like Amazon, Kickstarter, Wish and DoorDash make it attractive for online businesses. But this processor isn’t just for e-commerce heavyweights.
While you get all the advantages of a well-established processor, including 24/7 tech support, and comprehensive API client libraries, this cloud-based processor’s transparent rates include the cost of service so you don’t have to pay a monthly fee.
Not sure you can wield Stripe’s developer-focused toolset? Stripe’s startup launching platform, Atlas, can help you build your company from the ground up for a one-time fee of $500.
24/7 support. Stripe offers round the clock support by phone, email and live chat.
Developer-focused. Stripe’s dizzying suite of developer tools offers access to APIs, SDKs, webhooks and code samples with libraries in every language.
Software integration. Worried Stripe won’t integrate with your preferred shopping cart or accounting software? Stripe integrates with over 200 accounting, e-commerce, inventory and shopping cart software providers.
International payments. Stripe supports payment processing in over 135 different currencies.
High-risk merchants operate in industries that experience frequent chargebacks, like travel agencies, adult products, online tech support, online gaming and credit repair. If you operate in one of these fields, you know first hand that finding a payment processor willing to take you on can be a challenge. Payline Data is a processor that specializes in high-risk merchants.
But Payline Data didn’t make the cut just for accepting high-risk merchants. We choose Payline because it also offers a solid lineup of practical features, including numerous payment gateway integrations, a chargeback prevention platform and flexible API tools.
Chargeback prevention platform. Payline’s chargeback prevention platform monitors your merchant account to help you dispute chargebacks and combat fraud in real-time.
Shopping cart integrations. Payline boasts over 175 online shopping cart integrations along with customizable developer APIs.
Payment gateway options. It offers two gateway solutions and suggests the ideal option for your business.
Wide range of accepted businesses. From the adult industry to online casinos, Payline supports an impressive range of nontraditional businesses.
Not many processors offer unique options for nonprofits. And even fewer offer nonprofit-specific rates. Sure, you could saddle up with a standard processor — but you don’t run a standard business.
CDG Commerce offers features designed to help your nonprofit blossom, including discounted rates, dedicated donation pages and no required contracts.
Discounted rates. Nonprofits receive a discounted rate of 0.20% + $0.10 plus interchange — a discount of 0.10% plus $0.05 from its standard rates.
Monthly billing. No contract and no cancellation fees.
Campaign management. Using the PastePay customer relationship management software, track visits, views and conversions for each of your campaigns.
Charitable giving reports. Help patrons see how their donated funds are allocated.
How we picked these payment processors.
We considered a handful of key factors that separate the best payment processors from the rest. We looked at rates, account fees, services offered, customer reviews and perhaps most important of all — transparency.
Transparency matters in the merchant services industry because many providers don’t disclose their rates or disguise contracts and hefty termination fees with misleading marketing lingo. While we considered many aspects of the processors, providers with reputations for transparency were given preference.
Interchange fees are fees paid to credit card issuers, like Visa and Mastercard, to handle the cost of processing the payment. These fees are expressed as a percent of the sale and typically range from 0.3% to 1.8%.
A payment gateway is a piece of technology that processes debit and credit card payments for in-person and online merchants. It encrypts sensitive banking information and sends an authorization request to the credit card issuer.
Shannon Terrell is a senior writer for Finder who has written over 400 personal finance guides. With a focus on investments and personal finance, she breaks down jargon-laden topics to help others make informed financial decisions. She studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto.
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