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Reviews

Best Credit Card Processing Companies

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Isn’t it embarrassing when your credit card doesn’t work? Sometimes it’s not your fault at all. But that doesn’t stop you from wanting to hide your face from everyone around. Don’t put your customers through this. We researched the top providers in this category finding Square to be the best for most. It’s free, you get the best infrastructure for handling payments and flexible hardware options that make you a veteran at taking payments, overnight.

The Best Credit Card Processing Provider for Most

Square

Square

Best For Most

Square supports in-person and online payments plus digital invoicing and paid online scheduling for service providers. There are no monthly fees, but you will have to pay 2.9% + $0.20 per transaction for online payments and 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person payments.

It’s one of the top names in this category and it’s also our pick for the best credit card processing for most people. You likely already know Square, but did you know they consistently offer some of the friendliest processing rates around?

Plus, they allow you to use their platform for free and you get to reap the benefits of Square’s reliability and speed . With their hardware and software, you can accept credit card payments from anywhere on any device and easily integrate it with your web store.

The 10 Best Credit Card Processing Options to Consider:

  1. Square – Best for most
  2. Payment Depot – Best for high-volume merchants
  3. Helcim – Best for growing small businesses
  4. Fattmerchant – Best flat-rate pricing structure
  5. PaymentCloud – Best for high-risk industries
  6. Stripe – Best for ecommerce credit card processing
  7. Dharma Merchant Services – Best for B2B merchants
  8. QuickBooks Payments – Best for online invoicing
  9. PayPal – Best for low-volume processing
  10. Payline – Best for medical practices

When It Makes Sense To Invest In Credit Card Processing

You need to take credit card payments if you want to increase your selling power. If you only take cash and your customer doesn’t have it you miss out on a sale.

Nowadays many of us make quick purchases with our credit or debit cards because it’s easier. So if you have a small business and you want to make more sales you want to give your potential customers the flexibility to use credit. Yes, there are fees that arise with that.

But you can include the fee into the pricing and most people are clear about credit card processing fees so it won’t be a big deal.

Bottom line, if you run a business of any kind where you are accepting payments. And you want to increase the ease of how your potential customers pay for your services or products. You need to include credit card processing.

#1 – Square Review — Best For Most

Square

Square

Best For Most

Square supports in-person and online payments plus digital invoicing and paid online scheduling for service providers. There are no monthly fees, but you will have to pay 2.9% + $0.20 per transaction for online payments and 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person payments.

Square is one of the most popular payment processors on the market today.

It’s trusted by more than two million businesses of all shapes and sizes because there are no monthly fees and free hardware options.

There are no long-term contracts, set-up fees, termination fees, or monthly fees associated with your Square account.

You can accept swiped cards, tap payments, online payments, digital invoices, keyed-in payments, and set up paid appointments 100% online for clients to book your services.

So, you’re covered regardless of how and where you sell.

On top of that, Square is an industry leader in hardware. From an all-inclusive digital register and a full-fledged POS system to a handheld card reader for your phone, you get access to everything you need.

Plus, you can get your first mobile card reader for free.

All you have to do is install the Square app, plug the card reader into your charging port or headphone jack, select the amount you want to charge, and swipe the card.

Furthermore, there’s not much of a learning curve for you, your staff, or your customers, even if you need a robust setup. So, you don’t have to worry about spending days or weeks learning something new.

Plus, you get access to a ton of features, including:

  • Store payment details on file
  • Send custom invoices
  • Free transfers in 1-2 business days
  • Simple refunds
  • Dispute management
  • Fraud protection
  • PCI compliance
  • Customization

While Square is free to use, you pay a small amount based on usage through processing fees applied to each transaction. Essentially, it’s a pay-as-you-go service with your payments automatically taken out of each transaction.

Square POS starts at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction.

Online transactions are 2.9% + $0.20. However, card-not-present transactions, on-file transactions, and keyed transactions are subject to higher rates. 

Sign up for a free account to get started today!

#2 – Payment Depot Review — Best For High Volume Merchants

Payment Depot

Payment Depot

Best For High Volume Merchants

Membership style pricing structure. Processing rates as low as $0.05 + interchange. Free equipment available.

Payment Depot is an industry leader in the credit card processing space, especially for high-volume merchants.

And like some of the other merchant service providers on our list, this processor utilizes a subscription-style pricing structure. By paying this monthly fee, you get lower processing rates.

However, this business model is the most beneficial and cost-effective for high-volume merchants.

With that said, you can also benefit as long as the $49-$199 monthly price tag is accessible for your business. It may not be for many small businesses, so keep that in mind.

There are four pricing tiers to choose from, including:

Payment Depot has a plan suitable for most businesses. But the savings really start at the high-volume tiers, since $0.05 + interchange is one of the lowest rates you’ll find.

Plus, you get unlimited processing and a ton of free hardware to help make the checkout process as easy as possible for your customers. On top of that, you also get a dedicated account manager and advanced breach protections.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes currently use Payment Depot, including industries like:

  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Automotive
  • Hair and beauty
  • Pet grooming
  • B2B
  • Healthcare
  • Professional services

Overall, Payment Depot is one of the best credit card processors on the market. But high-volume merchants stand to benefit the most from the discounted processing rates and monthly subscription model.

Get started now.

#3 – Helcim Review — Best Processing For Growing Small Businesses

Helcim

Helcim

Best For Small Business

Transactional fees based on monthly volume. Deposits in 1-2 business days. Helcim reimburses chargeback fees if you win the dispute.

Helcim has credit and debit card processing solutions designed for small businesses. Whether you’re selling online, in-person, over the phone, or sending invoices, Helcim can accommodate your needs. The processor can even help small businesses set up recurring payments.

In addition to processing payments on the back end, Helcim provides you with the hardware required to accept payments at your storefronts. 

The Helcim card reader can process swipe, chip, tap, and PIN payments.

Small businesses in the following industries are all viable candidates for Helcim’s solutions:

  • Retail
  • Wholesalers
  • Food and beverage
  • Online sellers
  • Professional services
  • Software and apps
  • Contractors
  • Beauty and wellness
  • Healthcare

Helcim offers volume discounts, deposits in 1-2 business days, and no extra fees for PCI. Chargeback fees are just $15, and Helcim will reimburse the fee if you win the dispute. 

Transactional fees are based on monthly volume and payment methods.

#4 – Fattmerchant Review — Best Flat-Rate Pricing Structure

Fattmerchant

Fattmerchant

Best Flat Rate Pricing

Affordable monthly fee provides access to flat-rate pricing for every transaction. Starts as low as $0.06 + interchange for swiped cards.

Fattmerchant offers subscription-style credit card processing to merchants across a wide range of industries. For a monthly fee based on your annual volume, you’ll pay a flat rate for each transaction.

This pricing model gives you access to the direct cost of interchange, imposed by the credit card companies. Fattmerchant members can save up to 40% on processing rates. 

Here’s a closer look at those monthly fees and cost per transaction:

Fattmerchant provides merchant services to businesses in the following industries:

  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Food and beverage
  • Professional services
  • Field services

This processor has tools and hardware for in-person processing with POS payments. They also have solutions for ecommerce websites and online processing. Fattmerchant makes it easy for merchants to get paid from anywhere with mobile payments using iOS or Android devices.

Small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and multi-location organizations are all viable candidates for Fattmerchant credit card processing.  Learn more.

#5 – PaymentCloud Review — Best For High Risk Industries

PaymentCloud

PaymentCloud

Best For High Risk Merchants

For businesses that fall into a high risk category and can’t get approved by other processors, try PaymentCloud.

PaymentCloud isn’t the most popular or well-recognized name in the credit card processing industry. But for merchants in high-risk categories that are struggling to get approved by other processors, PaymentCloud could be your saving grace. 

From small businesses to Fortune 100 enterprises, thousands of high-risk merchants across the country trust PaymentCloud.

Some examples of the high-risk industries served by PaymentCloud include:

  • Digital downloads
  • Guns and firearms
  • Credit repair
  • Debt consolidation
  • Adult businesses
  • Vaping and e-cigarette
  • SEO and SEM services
  • CBD and hemp
  • Cigars and tobacco
  • Sports betting
  • Web design
  • SaaS

PaymentCloud has POS systems, mobile terminals, virtual terminals, and ecommerce shopping cart solutions. If you’re a high-risk merchant, this will be the best option for you to consider. Learn more.

#6 – Stripe Review — Best For Ecommerce Credit Card Processing

Stripe

Stripe

Best For Ecommerce

For ecommerce websites, online marketplaces, and subscription services, Stripe is ideal for selling online. It’s a robust, flexible, and developer-friendly solution.

Stripe is an online payment processing company designed for ecommerce websites and online businesses. If you want to get paid online, Stripe will be the best option for you.

It’s a top solution for subscription-based services, on-demand marketplaces, traditional ecommerce shops, and crowdfunding platforms. 

Millions of businesses across 120+ countries use Stripe to process payments online. It’s trusted by startups, as well as larger organizations like Microsoft, Salesforce, Zillow, Slack, Expedia, and Spotify. 

Stripe is a developer-friendly payment processor. By eliminating the complexity surrounding the Stripe API, you can get up and running in a matter of minutes. The solution is robust, scalable, and fully flexible to meet your unique needs.

If you’re not a developer, you can simply use a partner app to get started; no coding required.

Stripe’s processing rates start at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. 

It’s worth noting that the processor does have solutions for in-person sales as well. However, the ability to process payments online is Stripe’s standout service. 

#7 – Dharma Merchant Services Review — Best For B2B Merchants

Dharma

Dharma Merchant Services

Best For B2Bs

Level 2 and Level 3 processing. High-ticket and high-volume discounts for B2B merchants. No long term contracts.

Dharma Merchant Services has credit card processing solutions for retail storefronts, restaurants, and B2B organizations. But this merchant provider is best known for its B2B services. 

With Dharma, your B2B will benefit from Level 2 and Level 3 credit card processing capabilities. Merchants with B2B MCC’s (merchant category codes) will access lower interchange rates.

B2Bs that process more than $100k per month will be eligible for even more savings with high-volume discounts. Large ticket processing discounts are also available for B2Bs using Dharma.

All new Dharma merchant accounts include:

  • Online reporting
  • Virtual terminal
  • Mobile processing
  • Customer payment links
  • Customer database with credit card storage

There are no long term contracts, and next-day funding is available for card-present merchants. 

For B2Bs that want transparent pricing, 24-hour tech support, exceptional service, and access to the lowest processing rates, Dharma Merchant Services will be a top choice for you to consider. 

#8 – QuickBooks Payments Review — Best For Online Invoicing

QuickBooks

QuickBooks Payments

Best For Online Invoicing

Great for existing QuickBooks users. Get online invoices paid faster. Set up recurring payments.

QuickBooks is best known for its bookkeeping and accounting software. But the company also has solutions for credit card processing.

If your small business is already using QuickBooks for accounting, QuickBooks Payments should be on your radar. This payment processing service allows you to get paid faster for online invoices.

With QuickBooks Payments, it’s easier for your clients to pay directly online when they receive your invoice. This is much more convenient than writing a check. 

You can also get paid by phone, on-the-go with a mobile card reader, and set up recurring payments for repeat customers. 

Here’s a look at the QuickBooks Payments processing rates:

  • ACH Transfers — 1% ($10 max)
  • Swiped — 2.4% + $0.25 per transaction
  • Invoiced — 2.9% + $0.25 per transaction
  • Keyed — 3.4% + $0.25 per transaction

Merchants processing more than $7,500 per month can save up to 40% with volume discount pricing. 

#9 – PayPal Review — Best For Low Volume Processing

PayPal

PayPal

Best For Low Volume Merchants

PayPal makes it easy to accept credit cards online. Manage invoices, estimates, and subscriptions. Flat fee of 2.9% + $0.30 for most transactions.

PayPal is a name that we’re all familiar with. I’m sure the vast majority of you have used PayPal to send or receive money at one point or another. Maybe you’ve even used it as a secure way to pay for something online.

But PayPal is also an excellent way for low volume merchants to accept credit card payments online. 

PayPal does offer POS solutions for in-person payments with a PayPal card reader. But it’s definitely a better option for selling online.

PayPal supports recurring payments, subscriptions, invoices, estimates, and selling via social media. You can also give your customers the ability to pay over time with installments. 

With the PayPal virtual terminal, you can accept payments over the phone as well. 

Online transaction rates in the US cost 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. It’s not the cheapest rate on the market, but will be fine for low-volume processing. 

#10 – Payline Review — Best For Medical Practices

Payline

Payline

Best For Medical Practices

HIPAA compliant processing. Special rates for the medical industry. Accept payments online, in-person, and over the phone.

Payline is a credit card processing company that supports a wide range of business types and industries. With that said, they are an industry leader for processing medical transactions.

Add an additional layer of security to your payment processing solution with HIPAA compliant software, devices, and virtual terminals with Payline.

The processor seamlessly integrates with your medical practice. The virtual terminal and reporting dashboard sync in real-time. You’ll benefit from a centralized billing solution with unlimited users and an administrative hierarchy. 

Payline has mobile readers, apps, countertop devices, and card-not-present solutions. This processor offers special rates for businesses in the medical field. 

In addition to medical practices, Payline has solutions for nonprofits and high-risk merchants. They also offer business loans, which you might want to leverage down the road.

When Does It Make Sense to Invest In Credit Card Processing?

Every business that wants to accept credit card payments needs credit card processing capabilities. Otherwise, you can’t accept credit or debit card payments.

Which… is what most people use in today’s world.

Essentially, it’s impossible to start a business without one, if you plan to sell products or services. This is true whether you’re selling solely online or a combination of online and in-person.

Some brick-and-mortar retailers or small businesses in the food service industry might be able to get away with a cash-only system. But most people don’t have cash handy, anymore.

So, you run the risk of turning customers away if you don’t have a way to accept credit or debit card payments. Ouch.

Methodology For Choosing The Best Credit Card Processing Company

How can you find the best credit card processing company for you? This is the methodology that we used to narrow down the top picks on our list. 

Take these factors into consideration as you’re evaluating prospective options.

Your Industry

Every merchant is assigned a merchant category code (MCC) when they sign up for credit card processing. This code impacts your interchange fees and other factors associated with accepting credit cards.

Some processing companies specialize in specific merchant solutions, such as B2Bs, medical practices, or high-risk industries. 

Online and In-Person Security Measures

Fraud is a massive problem for businesses that accept payments online.

Card-not-present fraud is increasingly common for online stores and fighting fraudulent charges gets expensive if it happens a lot.

Some providers have built-in tools to help detect fraud and decline suspicious activity before it happens to help protect your business.

Furthermore, you should choose a credit card processing company that helps protect your customer’s information when they enter it online with end-to-end data encryption.

There are also inherent risks with in-person transactions as well, with the rise of tap payments and online wallets.

Protecting your business and your customers isn’t something to take lightly, and it’s paramount that your credit card processing company goes to great lengths to do so.

Your Processing Volume

If you process a high volume of payments every month, you may qualify for discounted processing rates.

However, it depends on the processing company you choose.

Those discounted rates may come with a higher monthly fee, but the money you save in transaction fees will more than makeup for your added monthly expenses.

On the other hand, low processing volumes typically equal higher processing rates.

In this case, the processing company has to charge more to actually make money since you’re handling a small number of transactions.

Unfortunately, it’s standard across the industry. But you may be able to find slightly cheaper rates, depending on your needs and the provider you decide to go with.

Pricing Structure

Every provider on this list has to pay interchange fees imposed by credit card networks. However, the markups on top of those fees vary depending on the company you choose.

Some processors charge a low flat rate, such as $0.06 or $0.08 per transaction on top of the interchange fee. But to access these “wholesale” type prices, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription.

In most cases, it’s well worth paying these monthly fees to access better transaction rates.

Other processing companies don’t charge a monthly fee, but you’ll have to pay higher transactional fees. 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction is the industry standard and most “free” credit card processors offer similar rates. 

Aside from transaction fees, it’s not uncommon for providers to charge setup fees, early termination fees, and equipment usage or rental fees.

So, make sure you read all the fine print before making any decisions.

Accepted Payment Methods

Not all credit card processors accept every major credit card. Most do, but some don’t, so it’s important to make sure you choose a provider that does.

On top of that, you may want to consider whether you can accept gift cards, PayPal payments, online wallets, and other payment methods. Credit cards aren’t the only way people pay, so you should pay close attention to the types of payments you can accept with any given provider.

The last thing you want is to have to turn customers away because you can’t process their credit cards or their preferred payment method.

Hardware and Software

How are you going to accept credit card payments? 

If you’re selling in-person, you need card readers, terminals, and POS solutions. If you’re selling online, you need a shopping cart solution. Merchants taking orders over the phone need a virtual terminal. 

Make sure that the processing company you’re considering has the right software and hardware to accommodate your business model.

Square

Square

Best For Most

Square supports in-person and online payments plus digital invoicing and paid online scheduling for service providers. There are no monthly fees, but you will have to pay 2.9% + $0.20 per transaction for online payments and 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person payments.

Summary

Every business needs a credit card processing company to accept debit and credit cards.

What’s the best credit card processing company on the market today? Square is our top recommendations. But there are plenty of other choices to consider, based on the factors and methodology described above. 

Use this guide to find the best credit card processor for your business.


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