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The Best Credit Card Processors For Canadian Small Businesses In 2024

Canadian business owners should check out these great merchant account options and learn which companies they should avoid at all costs.

    Frank Kehl
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Jason Vissers

    Jason Vissers

    Senior Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Finding the best credit card processors in Canada is complicated because there aren’t nearly as many processors operating in the country as there are in the United States. Canadian businesses will need one of the best credit card processors for small businesses that can handle both the big international credit card networks and local payment methods, such as Interac.

Whether you select a homegrown Canadian payment processor or an international company that operates in Canada, you’ll want to choose a service that provides the most overall value for the lowest total cost.

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  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • Uses interchange-plus pricing exclusively
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • Uses interchange-plus pricing exclusively
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

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  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

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  • $21+/month account fee
  • Uses cost-plus and membership pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • $21+/month account fee
  • Uses cost-plus and membership pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

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  • Variable monthly fees
  • Uses interchange-plus pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • Variable monthly fees
  • Uses interchange-plus pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

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  • $7-$517 CAD/month fee
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • $7-$517 CAD/month fee
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

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  • $0.00 CAD monthly fee (for basic account)
  • Primarily uses flat-rate pricing
  • Offers month-to-month contracts
  • $0.00 CAD monthly fee (for basic account)
  • Primarily uses flat-rate pricing
  • Offers month-to-month contracts

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  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

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  • Variable monthly account fees
  • Processing rate plans not disclosed
  • Usually offers month-to-month billing for most businesses
  • Variable monthly account fees
  • Processing rate plans not disclosed
  • Usually offers month-to-month billing for most businesses

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Table of Contents

The 8 Best Merchant Services & Payment Processors In Canada

Canadian merchant services providers accept both Canadian and international payment methods and have month-to-month plans with no early termination fees, comprehensive feature sets, and either flat-rate or interchange-plus pricing. Some of the best payment processing companies in Canada we’ve found include the following:

How The Best Canadian Payment Processors Compare

Company Application/Setup Fees Monthly Fee Processing Rate Plan(s) Contract Requirements
Helcim $0.00 Interchange-Plus Month-to-month billing
Square $0.00-$35.00+ CAD Flat-Rate Month-to-month billing
Clearly Payments $21 CAD (INT+) or $99 – $189 CAD (membership) Interchange-Plus or Membership Month-to-month billing
KIS Payments $99 – $299 CAD Not disclosed Interchange-Plus Month-to-month billing
Shopify $7 – $517 CAD Flat-Rate Month-to-month billing
Chase Payment Solutions Not disclosed $0.00 Flat-Rate or Interchange-Plus Month-to-month billing
PayPal $0.00 Flat-Rate Month-to-month billing
Durango Merchant Services Variable Variable Variable

Helcim: Best For Cost-Plus Pricing

Total Rating 4.9
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.4


Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.5


  • Exclusive interchange-plus pricing for all merchants
  • Month-to-month billing & no early termination fees
  • All-in-one payments platform
  • Excellent customer support


  • Doesn’t accept high-risk businesses

Why Helcim Is The Best Choice For Cost-Plus Pricing

Helcim is arguably the best merchant account provider available in Canada today. Helcim offers detailed pricing disclosures, so you won't need to negotiate to secure the best possible deal for your business. The company's website also includes in-depth articles explaining how credit card processing works and exposing other providers' deceptive advertising tricks. Everything is completely laid out on the table with crystal-clear fee disclosures, and you'll get transparent cost-plus (interchange-plus) pricing right out of the box with no additional hassle.

Helcim offers a proprietary payment gateway and POS software. Processing hardware options include the versatile Helcim Card Reader and the Helcim Smart Terminal, both of which are available for direct purchase.

Helcim Features

With no monthly account fee and no long-term contracts, Helcim offers one of the lowest points of entry to a full-service merchant account. Your Helcim account comes with a full range of essential payment processing features, including the following:

  • Full-service merchant account
  • Helcim Payments app for mobile processing
  • Virtual terminal included with each account
  • Helcim POS software (requires tablet, laptop, desktop, or Helcim Smart Terminal)
  • Access to Helcim API for customized credit card payments
  • Proprietary Helcim Card Reader or Helcim Smart Terminal for in-person payments (purchased separately)

Helcim Pricing

  • Interchange + 0.40% + $0.08/card-present transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Interchange + 0.50% + $0.25/card-not-present transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Helcim Card Reader — $129 CAD/unit
  • Helcim Smart Terminal — $399 CAD/unit (0r $82 CAD/month for 5 months)
  • No monthly or annual account fees
  • No PCI compliance fees
  • No monthly minimum

What To Watch Out For

While Helcim offers a great overall deal to low-risk businesses, it does not accept any high-risk merchants. We recommend checking the company’s policies on this issue before signing up for an account.

Choose Helcim If...

  • You want a full-service merchant account for your business that includes interchange-plus pricing and month-to-month billing, but you don't want to have to pay a monthly fee.

Get Started With Helcim

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Square: Best For Startups

Total Rating 4.8
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.7


Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.9

User Reviews4.9

Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.


  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Ideal for low-volume merchants
  • No monthly fees for basic account
  • Massive feature set


  • Account stability issues
  • Not available to high-risk merchants (except CBD)

Why We Chose Square As Best For Startups

Square has made waves in the US market as a convenient payment solution for small businesses and serves small Canadian merchants similarly well. How does Square work? Well, it's a third-party payment processor that offers simple pricing schemes and a wealth of business productivity software, often at no additional cost.

Square provides enormous value for a very low cost of entry. That makes it a great first payment processor for small businesses that may have infrequent transactions and want access to top-rated business tools as part of the package. Square also has great, affordable hardware.

Square Features

Square offers a full-featured payments ecosystem that includes the following major features:

  • Aggregated account for credit and debit card processing
  • EMV and NFC-capable card readers available
  • Square Register iPad-based POS system available
  • Square Online for eCommerce businesses
  • Basic Square Invoices feature included at no extra cost
  • Analytics and reporting available through Square Dashboard

Square Pricing

  • No setup or application fees
  • $0/month for Square Free account ($35+/month for Square Plus accounts)
  • 0.75% + $0.07/in-person Interac debit card transaction
  • 2.65%/card-present transaction
  • 2.9% + $0.30/online transaction
  • 3.4% + $0.15/keyed-in transaction
  • Square Contactless & Chip Reader — $69 CAD each
  • Square Stand — $249 CAD (or $21 CAD/month for 12 months)
  • Square Terminal — $399 CAD (or $34 CAD/month for 12 months)
  • Square Register — $899 CAD (or $75 CAD/month for 12 months)

What To Watch Out For

Square’s affordable card readers and terminals can only be used with a Square account, and cannot be reprogrammed to work with any other provider.

Choose Square If...

  • You're a first-time business owner looking for the easiest and most affordable way to accept credit and debit cards.

Get Started With Square

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Clearly Payments: Best For Membership Pricing

Clearly Payments

Total Rating 4.7
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.6


Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service3.6

User Reviews4.8


  • Pay-as-you-go billing
  • Interchange-plus & membership pricing
  • Good terminal selection
  • Good customer service


  • Monthly fees
  • Plans may not be suitable for low-volume businesses

Why Clearly Payments Is The Best Choice For Membership Pricing

There's a lot to like about Clearly Payments. The company claims its mission is to drive down the cost of cheap credit card processing. The option to choose between membership or interchange-plus pricing makes Clearly Payments an excellent choice for high-volume businesses that want to minimize their processing costs.

Clearly Payments offers a wide variety of products and services for online and eCommerce businesses. Processing hardware options include Clover products or a variety of universal credit card terminals and mobile card readers. The company's contracts are month-to-month, with no long-term commitment or termination fees. The company's website included extensive disclosure of processing rates and account fees.

Clearly Payments Features

Clearly Payments strives to meet the needs of any business, whether you’re a retail establishment, mobile business, or online enterprise. Major features include the following:

  • Full-service merchant accounts for low-risk and high-risk businesses
  • Accepts CBD and cannabis merchants (Canada only)
  • Uses Elavon’s Converge Mobile app + card reader for mobile payments
  • Offers a variety of Ingenico, Poynt, and Newland credit card terminals
  • Offers Clover terminals and POS systems
  • Clearly Payment Gateway (with virtual terminal) included with all accounts
  • Next-day funding included with all accounts

Clearly Payments Pricing

  • Month-to-month billing with no early termination fees
  • $21/month account fee (cost-plus pricing plan)
  • $99+/month account fee (Basic Membership plan)
  • $189+/month account fee (Pro Membership plan)
  • Cost + 0.38% + $0.08/in-person transaction (cost-plus plan; volume discounts available)
  • Cost + 0.48% + $0.23/online or keyed-in transaction (cost-plus plan; volume discounts available)
  • Cost + $0.08/transaction (Basic Membership plan)
  • Cost + $0.06/transaction (Pro Membership plan)
  • Custom pricing available (over $250,000/month processing volume)

What To Watch Out For

Clearly Payments offers high-volume businesses the chance to save a lot of money on credit card processing. However, the company’s pricing structure can be quite expensive for smaller businesses with a lower monthly processing volume. We’d also caution US-based merchants against renting their terminals. It will usually be more cost-effective in the long run to purchase them outright.

Choose Clearly Payments If...

  • Your business has a high monthly processing volume and you'd like to save money on your credit card processing costs with a membership pricing plan.

Get Started With Clearly Payments

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KIS Payments: Best For Cash Discounting

Total Rating 4.4
Fees & Rates4.2

Products & Services5.0


Sales & Advertising Transparency4.2

Customer Service4.4

User Reviews3.3


  • Exclusive interchange-plus pricing
  • Month-to-month agreements
  • Excellent customer service


  • Limited pricing disclosure online
  • There may be enrollment fees

Why KIS Payments Is The Best Choice For Cash Discounting

KIS Payments is a small company that offers Canadian merchants a better deal than what they've had to accept from traditional processors. The company has an excellent reputation for providing top-notch, personalized customer support and service after you've set up your account. Merchants are assigned a dedicated account manager for customer support, meaning you'll always be able to reach someone at the company who truly understands your business's needs.

While credit card surcharging is prohibited in Canada, KIS Payments offers a cash discounting program through its NET ZERO cash discounting app. Merchants looking to reduce their payment processing costs by passing them on to their customers may be interested in this program.

Although KIS Payments requires an account setup fee to get started, you'll have no long-term contracts or early termination once you've established your account. Billing is month-to-month, making it easy to close your account for any reason.

KIS Payments Features

KIS Payments partners with a variety of top-name direct processors, allowing it to offer a broad range of products and services for almost any kind of business. Highlights include the following:

  • Full-service merchant accounts underwritten by Elavon or Fiserv
  • High-risk merchant accounts underwritten by People’s Trust
  • Clover terminals and POS systems
  • Various payment gateway options (Authorize.Net, Cybersource, Pay Flow Pro, NMI, Bambora, USAePay, and others)
  • Invoicing and recurring billing features available
  • Cash discounting program offered through

KIS Payments Pricing

  • $99-$299 onboarding fee
  • Processing hardware may be purchased or rented on a month-to-month basis
  • Cost-plus pricing (rates not disclosed)
  • $25/incident for chargebacks
  • PCI compliance fee may be charged, depending on the backend processor

What To Watch Out For

The KIS Payments website offers very few specific pricing disclosures, so be prepared to negotiate every aspect of your merchant account contract, including recurring fees and processing rates.

Choose KIS Payments If...

  • You'd like to implement a cash discounting program to save money on your credit card processing fees.

Get Started With KIS Payments

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Shopify: Best For eCommerce Businesses


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  • Easy to use
  • Advanced design tools
  • Predictable flat-rate pricing


  • Add-ons are often necessary
  • Additional fees
  • Variable customer support

Why Shopify Is The Best Choice For eCommerce Businesses

Shopify provides just about every feature eCommerce merchants might need to run an online business, including accepting credit and Interac debit card payments in Canada. It's unusual to see a convenience-focused platform that simultaneously has so much depth while still being flexible. Shopify can scale effectively with your business as it grows.

In selecting which plan is best for your business, you'll want to carefully evaluate the processing costs associated with each plan and how important the additional features are to your business. The Shopify Lite plan, for example, doesn't include an online store or telephone customer support. You can sell in person, via Facebook, or using "buy" buttons on existing websites, but that's it. You'll also have to rely on email and chat for any customer service issues that come up.

Shopify is a month-to-month service that can be canceled at any time. A month-to-month plan is the best way to go, as you want to avoid a merchant agreement auto-renewal clause. One specific quirk to look out for is that if you cancel Shopify Payments but keep your Shopify account, you'll have to pay Shopify's 0.5%-2% markup.

Shopify Features

Shopify offers a host of features for online businesses and also provides some support for in-person sales as well. Highlights include the following:

  • Offers aggregated merchant accounts for payment processing
  • Uses flat-rate pricing
  • Includes Shopify Payments integrated payments platform
  • Card readers, terminals, and POS systems available
  • Shopify POS software available
  • Offers API documentation & other developer tools

Shopify Pricing

  • No application or account setup fees
  • 2.4%-2.9% + $0.30 CAD/online transaction
  • 2.4%-2.7 % + $0.00 CAD/in-person transaction
  • $0.10 CAD/in-person Interac debit transaction
  • Processing discounts available with more advanced Shopify plans
  • $7-$517 CAD/month account fee (if paid monthly)
  • WisePad 3 Card Reader — $69 CAD/unit
  • Shopify POS Go mobile terminal — $389 CAD/unit
  • Shopify POS Terminal (countertop version) — $459 CAD/unit
  • $15/incident chargeback fee (refunded if merchant prevails)

What To Watch Out For

Although Shopify offers a complete, out-of-the-box solution for any eCommerce or omnichannel business, its monthly fees can add up quickly — particularly if you choose to pay once a month instead of annually.

Choose Shopify If...

  • You're looking for an all-in-one sales and payments solution for your online business.

Get Started With Shopify

Read our in-depth review

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Chase Payment Solutions Canada: Best Large, Direct Payment Processor

Chase Payment Solutions Canada

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  • Usually offers month-to-month contracts with no early termination fees
  • Credit card terminals available for sale or rent
  • Next-business-day funding for business checking customers


  • A long-term contract may be required for some merchants
  • Reports of mediocre customer service

Why We Chose Chase Payment Solutions As The Best Large, Direct Payment Processor

For Canadian merchants running larger, more established businesses, Chase Payment Solutions is a surprisingly good choice for such a large company. You'll get a far more robust line of products and services than you will with a smaller provider, plus it's a direct processor.

Like most providers, Chase doesn't discuss contract terms in its advertising materials. However, the company doesn't appear to offer "free" terminals in exchange for a long-term contract to its Canadian customers. Be sure to discuss contract terms with your sales agent and read your contract documents thoroughly to confirm them before you sign up.

Chase offers competitive rates and low account fees -- something we don't often see in a large processor. If your scaling plans include the payment processing services of a large processor like Chase, Chase Payment Solutions provides a convenient on-ramp for small businesses with its QuickAccept program.

Chase Payment Solutions Features

Chase Payment Solutions offers a full range of products and services for most small online or retail businesses, including the following:

  • Full-service merchant accounts
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • Choice of proprietary Orbital payment gateway or Authorize.Net
  • Virtual terminal included with each account
  • Chase Mobile Checkout-PLUS + card reader for mobile payments
  • Chase Point of Sale (POS) app and QuickAccept card reader for mobile payments
  • Next-day funding for Chase business bank account holders
  • Choice of processing hardware, including Ingenico DX8000, Desk/5000, or Move/5000 models
  • Level II/Level III credit card processing for B2B payments
  • Support for international payments

Chase Payment Solutions Pricing

  • 2.60%/card-present transaction (Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
  • $0.08/Interac transfer
  • $0 monthly fee (for standard account)
  • Chase Mobile Checkout-PLUS + card reader — $0.00 CAD rental fee + $49.95 CAD one-time setup fee
  • Ingenico DX8000 wireless terminal — $33.95+ CAD/month rental fee
  • Ingenico Desk/5000 countertop terminal — $28.95 CAD/month rental fee
  • Ingenico Move/5000 wireless terminal — $40.95+ CAD/month rental fee

What To Watch Out For

Although Chase typically offers month-to-month billing to its small business customers, a long-term contract may be required in some circumstances. Be sure to read your contract documents thoroughly before signing up so you know whether you have a long-term commitment or not.

Choose Chase Payment Solutions If...

  • You have a business banking account with Chase and want to consolidate all of your business's financial services under one roof.

Get Started With Chase Payment Solutions Canada

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PayPal: Best For Seasonal Or Low-Volume Businesses

Total Rating 4.2
Fees & Rates3.8

Products & Services4.2


Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews3.3


  • Pay-as-you-go billing
  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • No monthly fees (in most cases)
  • Extensive eCommerce products & features


  • Flat-rate pricing is not suitable for mid-sized/larger businesses
  • Virtual terminal feature is an expensive add-on
  • Inconsistent telephone support

Why We Chose PayPal As Best For Seasonal Or Low-Volume Businesses

Hundreds of millions of people have a PayPal account, although you don't need one to make a purchase from a merchant using the company as their payment processor. PayPal is one of the biggest names in online payment processing and offers a vast assortment of additional services beyond simple payment processing. Additionally, PayPal's digital wallet is one of the more popular payment methods besides credit and debit cards.

As a payment service provider (PSP), PayPal offers predictable flat-rate pricing, pay-as-you-go billing, and a month-to-month account with no long-term commitment. Although it's not easy to decipher, PayPal provides a complete and thorough disclosure of all its numerous fees and additional charges on its website.

PayPal Features

PayPal offers a tremendous number of standard and optional services, including the following primary features:

  • Aggregated accounts for credit/debit card processing
  • Integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, and other eCommerce platforms
  • Advanced Checkout chargeback protection service (optional)
  • PayPal Virtual Terminal available
  • PayPal Invoices available
  • Advanced Fraud Protection Services available

PayPal Pricing

  • No setup or application fees
  • No monthly fee (for basic account)
  • 2.90% + $0.30 CAD/online transaction
  • 2.70% + $0.30 CAD/invoice payment
  • 2.40% + $0.05 CAD/QR code transaction ($10.00 CAD or less)
  • 1.90% + $0.10 CAD/QR code transaction ($10.01+ CAD)
  • PayPal Virtual Terminal — $30 CAD/month
  • 3.10% + $0.30 CAD/virtual terminal transaction
  • Advanced Fraud Protection Services — $10 CAD/month + $0.05/transaction
  • $20.00 CAD/chargeback

NOTE: These are only the most common PayPal fees. Please refer to our guide to PayPal’s fees and pricing for a more detailed breakdown of other fees you might encounter.

What To Watch Out For

While PayPal offers a very affordable credit card processing solution for most online merchants, its virtual terminal-only option is very overpriced and should be avoided. Most providers today offer a free virtual terminal with every account.

Choose PayPal If...

  • You run a seasonal or low-volume online business and want to avoid monthly fees.

Get Started With PayPal

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Durango Merchant Services: Best For High-Risk Merchants

Durango Merchant Services

Total Rating 4.8
Fees & Rates4.5

Products & Services5.0


Sales & Advertising Transparency4.9

Customer Service4.4

User Reviews5.0


  • High-risk processing specialist
  • No account application or setup fees
  • No early termination fee in most cases
  • Good customer service


  • Very few public pricing disclosures
  • $50,000 CAD/month minimum processing requirement for international accounts

Why Durango Merchant Services Is The Best Choice For High-Risk Merchants

High-risk merchants have fewer options for payment processing, but that doesn't mean they should settle for poor service. Durango Merchant Services is one of our favorite high-risk payment processors, offering reasonable rates and contract terms to industry segments that can easily be exploited.

Durango Merchant Services offers most clients a month-to-month contract, but some merchants in particularly high-risk industries may be stuck having to enter a contract. This contract will usually be for three years initially and one year after that. Your early termination fee will probably be somewhere around $500.

Durango also offers a broad selection of perks, including shopping cart integration, a proprietary Durango Pay gateway, and support for cryptocurrency payments. It's a particularly good choice for online-only businesses in Canada.

Durango Merchant Services Features

Durango Merchant Services offers a full range of products and services for eCommerce and retail businesses. Primary features include the following:

  • High-risk merchant accounts for Canadian businesses
  • Durango Pay payment gateway and virtual terminal
  • Mobile processing through the iProcess app and card reader
  • iSPY fraud protection service
  • eCheck processing available
  • A variety of universal credit card terminals are available
  • Cryptocurrency merchant accounts available
  • Dedicated account manager for customer support

Durango Merchant Services Pricing

  • No account application or setup fees
  • Highly variable processing rates (typically 1.95%-4.95% + $0.15-$0.25 CAD/transaction)
  • Highly variable account fees (typically $15-$60 CAD/month)
  • A long-term contract and an early termination fee may apply
  • Rolling reserve usually required (up to 10%)
  • $50,000/month minimum processing requirement for international accounts

What To Watch Out For

Durango’s requirement that your international business must process at least $50,000/month makes it unsuitable for smaller, low-volume businesses.

Choose Durango Merchant Services If...

  • You need a high-risk merchant account for your business, and the majority of your sales are in either Canada or the United States.

Get Started With Durango Merchant Services

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Payment Processing Rating Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching the payment processing industry since 2009. Our writers have reviewed hundreds of credit card processors, merchant account services, and mobile payment apps, evaluating each provider carefully on several different metrics.

When comparing different payment processing companies and applications to one another, we consider numerous data points. Our experts start by comparing credit card processing rates, the presence of additional fees, contract length, sales practices, and the presence or absence of additional features and services, like point of sale software. Each provider is judged on its own merits and how well it stacks up to industry standards; then it is weighed against the other providers on the list.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure every company or application included meets our internal standards for quality and reputation. Any list of recommended payment processors on our site might contain a mix of standard merchant accounts, third-party payment processors, mobile payment devices, and high-risk payment processors, depending on what our expert feels is the best fit for certain scenarios or business types.

For additional details about Merchant Maverick’s review and rating processes, please refer to any or all of the following methodology pages:


Years reviewing payment processors


Providers evaluated


Attributes and features assessed per vendor


Years combined experience

The Basics Of Payment Processing For Canadian Small Businesses

To process credit cards, you’ll need a merchant account or a third-party payment processor, which aggregates businesses into large merchant accounts. Your credit card processor will deduct various network, bank, and markup fees from each transaction before the remaining funds are deposited into your business bank account. Today, almost all merchant service providers also offer a host of additional features and services beyond basic credit/debit card processing.

Accepted Payment Methods

Credit and debit cards now make up more than half of all payments made in Canada. Unless you occupy a specific niche that can get by on cash or peer-to-peer wallet transfers, you’ll want to be able to accept major credit cards, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Diners Club. You’ll also want a processor that can handle Interac debit cards.

Those are the basics, but some businesses may want additional payment methods, including support for Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs), digital wallets, QR code payments, or cryptocurrency.

Credit/Debit Card Readers & Terminals

If you’re only selling online, all you’ll need is a payment gateway to accept payments from your customers. If you’re selling in person, you’ll need hardware that can handle the payment methods you’re supporting, including EMV chip cards and NFC contactless payments.

Canadian merchants face a unique issue: EMV-compliant terminals are not designed to be resold or reprogrammed. We usually recommend that American merchants buy their terminals outright as the best and most cost-effective way to outfit their businesses with processing equipment. However, the inability to resell an EMV terminal in Canada means you may want to consider an alternative. Many Canadian merchant service providers offer month-to-month terminal rentals. These rentals differ from leases in that you won’t be locked into a noncancelable long-term contract and won’t be responsible for every single lease payment as soon as you sign up.

Check out our article on credit card machine leases for more details on why leasing is never a good idea.

Credit Card Processing Fees

With convenience comes expense. Credit card processors charge a fee every time you dip, tap, or swipe a credit card. The tricky part is that not all payment processors use the same pricing model or charge the same fees. This can make comparisons between merchant account providers challenging.

The good news is that Canada’s Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry generally leads to relatively low payment processing fees for Canadian merchants, even if the processor charges more in other markets.

You can read about the subject in our in-depth guide to merchant accounts and credit card processing fees.

How To Find A Good Merchant Services Provider In Canada

Canadian businesses need most of the same things from their payment processors as businesses everywhere else. When choosing a merchant services provider, you’ll want to consider the following:


You don’t want to pay any more for your payment processing service than you have to. While there are free credit card processing options available, you’ll want a processor with a transparent pricing schedule so that you know what you’re paying in advance. For low-volume or newly established businesses, we recommend processors that offer flat-rate pricing. At higher monthly processing volumes, cost-plus (or interchange-plus) pricing is usually less expensive overall.


As important as pricing is, your contract’s terms are also critical. Unless your business is considered “high-risk,” you should avoid companies that lock you into a contract with early termination fees. Month-to-month billing allows you to switch to a different provider without incurring an expensive early termination penalty. In both the US and Canada, long-term contracts are gradually being phased out, and most of the best credit card processors now offer month-to-month billing as a standard feature.

Customer Service

Nothing is more frustrating than not getting the payments you expect deposited into your account… except having that happen and then having to navigate substandard customer service when you’re trying to resolve the issue. Don’t take good customer service for granted. Top-notch payment processors offer 24/7 customer support, and the best providers might even assign a dedicated account manager to help you with any problems you encounter.

Support For Sales Channels

Some credit card processing companies in Canada specialize in in-person transactions, while others specialize in online transactions. While there’s a lot of overlap, you’ll get the most value out of a payment processor that has a specialty that aligns closely with how you conduct your sales.

Bundled Services

The best credit card processors offer their customers additional software, integrations, and specialized features beyond basic credit card processing. These services can greatly increase the value proposition of a merchant services provider.

Hardware Options

If you’re going to be taking payments in person, you’ll want to choose a merchant services provider that either supports your existing credit card terminals and card readers or has attractive POS hardware options for Canadians.

Which Canadian Credit Card Processing Company Is Right For Your Small Business?

While there are fewer credit card processors in Canada than in the United States, there are still many excellent providers that will be a good fit for just about any type of business. As always, there is no best, one-size-fits-all solution. The best provider for your business is the one that best matches your needs and provides the most overall value for your money.

We strongly recommend that you shop around and come up with a reasonable estimate of your overall costs before deciding on a specific merchant services provider. Most of our top choices make this easy with transparent pricing disclosures. For providers with variable pricing, it’s always a good idea to obtain a customized quote and compare it to what your other candidates have to offer.

Good luck!

FAQs: Canadian Credit Card Processors

How does payment processing work in Canada?

The process of approving a transaction and disbursing funds to the appropriate parties is the same in Canada as it is elsewhere. However, Payments Canada is the sole network for processing credit card transactions, while debit card transactions are processed through Interac.

Both of these payment systems are overseen by the Bank of Canada.

Are payment processors regulated in Canada?

Yes. Regulation of payment processors in Canada is primarily accomplished through the Payment Card Networks Act, which all Canadian processors must comply with.

Regulation is also accomplished through voluntary compliance with the Canadian Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry.

Does Canada have ACH payment processing?

No. The Automated Clearing House (ACH) network operates exclusively in the United States. However, the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) network in Canada allows bank-to-bank transfers and provides very similar functionality to ACH payments. It’s also compatible with the ACH network for cross-border transfers.

Is it legal to charge customers for credit card processing fees in Canada?

Canada allows merchants to offer discounts for different payment methods, which isn’t exactly the same thing. So you can pass along your costs in theory, but it can’t be in the form of a direct fee for transactions in most instances.

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Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Senior Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Frank has been writing about payment processing and business services since 2015. He is a retired Air Force officer and a former practicing attorney. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the Ventura College of Law, and currently resides in Paso Robles, California.
Frank Kehl
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