Want to accept credit card payments? Then your business needs a merchant account that comes along with a credit card processor. Merchant account services act as a middleman between you and the credit card companies’ banks allowing you to accept and process these payments. Regardless of the type of business you run and the hardware you use to get the job done a merchant account is essential. There are several types of merchant accounts available including local, high risk, offshore, and direct. There are also multiple types of merchant services that come bundled with the accounts such as check guarantee services, payment gateways, and cash advances. If the whole subject has got your head spinning, not to worry. From fees to additional services available, here’s everything you need to know about merchant services and credit card processing along with some of the best merchant account services available on the market today.
- Best forAdditional value-added services, low rates
- RatesFrom 0.15%
- Contract length3 years
Leaders is one of the best credit card processing services in the industry. It’s been around for 20 years, and its parent company is the reputable Paysafe Group Subsidiary. Leaders gives businesses a lot of reasons to love it, including some of the best credit card processing rates in the industry. We’re talking about rates that start at just 0.15%. Plus, Leaders has a 98% approval rating. So, businesses having a hard time getting the green flag will find Leaders’ process refreshing.
What’s more, Leaders offers a solid $500 Assurance guarantee. This states that if the company can’t save you money within the first 6 months of your contract, you’ll be awarded $500 in compensation. Leaders works with the reliable Clover point of sale system, and it also integrates with QuickBooks. New SMBs will appreciate the helpful glossary of terms and 24/7/365 customer service for troubleshooting any issues. Additionally, Leaders offers value-added services such as business cash advances, loyalty programs, gift cards, check guarantee services, and point of sale systems.
- $500 Assurance Program
- Integrates with QuickBooks
- Rates starting at 0.15%
- Long contract terms
- Pricey early termination fee
- Best forMobile, online businesses, short contracts
- RatesFrom 0.35%
- Contract lengthMonthly
The best credit card processing for small businesses offers the type of options you need for your store, and Flagship is all about options. Voted the #1 merchant account provider for 8 years running, Flagship has payment solutions for every type of business; online, in-store, mobile, MOTO, and payment options, including EMV, NFC, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. This means Flagship is one of the best mobile credit card processing solutions, too. The company offers no-commitment contracts and zero cancellation fees to boot.
Flagship lets businesses choose a free hardware option from Clover Mini point of sale system or the EMV certified terminal when you open a merchant account. You can also get same-day funding, merchant cash advances up to $150,000, and a solid business management portal to handle all of your merchant services digitally. Plus, Flagship has a processing rate guarantee. If the company can’t provide the lowest total processing costs, then you’ll receive a $200 AmEx gift card as compensation.
- Excellent reputation
- Lowest rates guarantee
- Month-to-month contracts
- No pricing info on the site
- Restocking fee applied to returns
- Best forHigh-risk, merchants, new businesses
- RatesOn average 0.30%
- Contract lengthVaries based on company
Offering a 98% approval rating, free cost comparison, gateway setup, and account setup, PaymentCloud is one of the best merchant services for small businesses, particularly if you are in a high-risk industry. This includes debt consolidation, tobacco companies, transport services, Ecommerce and diet programs. The PaymentCloud system supports EMV, NFC, swipe, and contactless payments, making it easy to use for all types of merchants.
Merchants appreciate PaymentCloud’s flexible user policies. Things like no cancellation fees, no setup fees, and next-day payments make it a popular choice. You can get expert same-day setup, and live tech support is available, as well. Additionally, PaymentCloud integrates with loads of business applications, including Volusion, Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WordPress Woo, and more, making it one of the best payment processors for businesses that want to have an easy, single-dashboard platform for all of their business needs.
- No application or setup fees
- Good for high-risk industries
- Loads of integrations
- No free hardware
- Need to call for pricing quote
- Best forFast funding, no commitment, SMBs
- RatesFrom 0.35%
- Contract lengthMonthly
CreditCardProcessing.com is another Paysafe Group subsidiary, giving it credence and street cred automatically. But the company stands on its own as well with free equipment programs, easy online application, and, most of all, same-day deposits with its same-day funding program. CreditCardProcessing.com also offers same-day approval. So, businesses can start taking all types of payments immediately, including DMV, NFC, and contactless payments.
You can reach tech support at any time of day or night via the toll-free number, or get a free quote for payment processing and merchant services. CreditCardProcessing.com also provides no long-term contracts and no cancellation fees, making it one of the best credit card processing companies for businesses that aren’t sure which CCP provider to choose.
- No long-term contracts
- Same-day approval
- Same-day funding
- Not locked into a monthly fee (so can increase)
- Rates can get expensive for large sales volume
- Best forReliable merchant services
- RatesFrom 0.50%
- Contract lengthMonthly
If you’re looking for the best payment processor for small businesses, ProMerchant might be a good place to turn to. That’s because it has month-to-month contracts and no cancellation or setup fees, so you can try it out without remorse. And ProMerchant even offers new businesses a free EMV terminal when signing up.
Businesses can choose between interchange plus fixed percentage rates and transaction fee or interchange plus flat monthly charge and transaction fee. This choice allows merchants to pick the type of plan that is best suited to their style of revenue. And since its monthly contracts, you can always change (good for seasonal businesses). ProMerchant offers same-day approval, and you can be processing payments within 72 hours of your initial contact. And what’s more, you can get the same rate structure for American Express as you can for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, making ProMerchant one of the best online payment processor options out there.
- Month-to-month contracts
- No public complaints
- Fast, same-day approval
- Not clear about leasing/selling equipment
- Not the cheapest processor
- Best forLarge businesses, business integrations
- RatesVaries based on services required
- Contract lengthMulti-year
CardConnect Paradise is a subsidiary of First Data and backed by Wells Fargo Bank, so you know you’re dealing with a reliable service provider. CardConnect Paradise also offers some of the most resilient security features in the country, including tokenization, P2PE, and full PCI compliance. So, CardConnect Paradise is one of the best credit card processing services for businesses that care about secure financial transactions.
- Lots of value-added services and features
- Strong security features
- Interchange plus pricing structure
- Long, multi-year contracts
- Very high termination fees
- Best forBrick and mortar stores
- RatesStarts from $279 per month
- Contract lengthVaries
Fivestars is more than a credit card processing company, letting small brick-and-mortar businesses leverage payments to drive participation in loyalty programs and build a customer database for hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.
Fivestars vows to match any rate, has no hidden fees and can integrate with your existing POS system. Fivestars is a great all-inclusive payments and customer retention platform that’s ideal for small, local businesses in fields like retail, salon and spa, and food.
- Integrated customer retention tools
- Will match any rate
- Integrates with your existing POS
- For brick and mortar stores only
- Can’t purchase Fivestars Payments as a standalone service
- Best forMobile payment processing, lightning-fast
- Contract lengthPer transaction (no-contract)
Square revolutionized the industry when it introduced a POS system that was mobile, convenient, and affordable, even for small businesses. Since then, the company continues to make additions and improvements, and the latest one has earned Square a reputation for being the best mobile credit card processing option out there. With a credit card processor that can process all types of payments, including EMV chip cards and contactless payments like NFC and e-wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, Square does it one better by packaging this handy reader into a pocket-sized and surprisingly powerful piece of hardware.
The Square credit card processor comes with a flat rate for both dip and tap transactions, zero additional fees, wireless connection, and the ability to process payments in just 2 seconds. The dock allows you to keep the Square reader on your countertop, and it’s also designed to easily come with you wherever you go. Plus, you get a free magstripe reader just in case.
- Extremely compact, mobile design
- Flat rate fees and no additional fees
- Fast processing
- Not a good fit for high-risk industries
- Merchant services are limited
Chase for Business
- Best forChase customers, large business
- Rates2.6% discount rate+$0/10
- Contract lengthMonthly
When it comes to reputation, you can’t get much better than Chase for Business. Processing a staggering $1+ trillion annually, Chase for Business is easily one of the best merchant services providers in the world. It offers solid solutions for every business size, from new startups to some of the largest corporations around the globe. Chase for Business provides secure transactions with built-in fraud protection features, 24/7 customer service, and next-day funding.
Chase for Business allows businesses to process payments in person, online, or over the phone. So, merchants can accept EMV chip, magnetic strip cards, mobile payments, contactless card payments, and PIN debit card transactions all from a standalone terminal. Chase for Business also offers virtual terminals for web-based payment options and flexible processing solutions for its Ecommerce customers.>
- Next-day funding
- No long-term contracts or monthly fees
- Large direct processor
- Doesn’t process NFC payments
- Free hardware comes with long-term contract
- Best forRetail, food, Ecommerce, mobile, large biz
- RatesVaries based on customer needs
- Contract lengthMonthly, 1-5 year contracts
While the company caters to every type of company, First Data is one of the best credit card processing for small business services. That’s because it focuses on giving SMBs big business tools to help them grow their offerings and get the most out of every aspect of their business. Features such as insights and reporting, real-time analytics, and built-in loyalty programs and gift cards help smaller merchants give a much bigger impression.
First Data works with the popular Clover point of sale system. You can choose from the full Clover Station, the Clover Mini, the Clover Flex, and the Clover Go, depending on your business needs. First Data also has merchant services, including cash advances, check acceptance, and business insights. You can also appreciate top-notch data security from a provider like First Data.
- Excellent real-time analytics
- Wide range of merchant services
- Competitive rates and interchange + pricing
- Have to lease equipment
- Pricey extras fees