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The Best Fiserv Competitors: 6 Great Alternatives to Fiserv (Formerly First Data) Payment Processing

Looking for a way to avoid Fiserv? We've got you covered with the top payment processing competitors to choose from instead.

    Jason Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Frank Kehl
  • REVIEWED BY

    Frank Kehl

    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.

Fiserv (formerly First Data) is one of the biggest payment processors in the world, operating as both a direct processor and as a back-end processor for many top credit card processors. However, the company tends to inspire a good deal of negative reactions among its users.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of top payment processors that either have nothing to do with Fiserv or that can be used with a different back-end processor upon request. From full merchant account providers to third-party processors, these Fiserv competitors offer honest payment processing with competitive pricing, useful business features, and helpful customer support.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square

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  • Best for startups & low-volume businesses
  • No monthly fee for a standard account
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per card-present transaction
  • Best for startups & low-volume businesses
  • No monthly fee for a standard account
  • 2.6% + $0.10 per card-present transaction

Visit Site

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PaymentCloud

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  • Best for high-risk businesses
  • Monthly fees vary by back-end processor
  • Processing rates vary
  • Best for high-risk businesses
  • Monthly fees vary by back-end processor
  • Processing rates vary

Visit Site

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Stripe Payments

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  • Best for custom payment & checkout support
  • No monthly fees
  • 2.7% + $0.05 per card-present transaction
  • Best for custom payment & checkout support
  • No monthly fees
  • 2.7% + $0.05 per card-present transaction

Visit Site

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Helcim

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  • Best for interchange-plus pricing with no monthly fees
  • No monthly fee
  • Starts at interchange + 0.40$ + $0.08 per in-person transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Best for interchange-plus pricing with no monthly fees
  • No monthly fee
  • Starts at interchange + 0.40$ + $0.08 per in-person transaction (volume discounts available)

Visit Site

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Chase Payment Solutions℠

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  • Best for low-cost full merchant accounts
  • No monthly fee for basic accounts
  • Starts at 2.6% + $0.10 per in-person transaction
  • Best for low-cost full merchant accounts
  • No monthly fee for basic accounts
  • Starts at 2.6% + $0.10 per in-person transaction

Visit Site

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CDGcommerce

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  • Best For eCommerce Startups
  • No monthly fee for basic accounts
  • Starts at 2.9% + $0.30 per in-person transaction
  • Best For eCommerce Startups
  • No monthly fee for basic accounts
  • Starts at 2.9% + $0.30 per in-person transaction

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

The 6 Best Alternatives To First Data Payment Processing (Now Fiserv)

Below are processors that either do not work with Fiserv or offer other back-end processing options. While that’s the primary reason they’re on this list, we’ve also assessed that their pricing structure, customer service, and everything else we typically pay attention to in our full reviews are top-notch as well.

How The Best Alternatives To First Data Payment Processing Compare

Account Type Monthly Fee Pricing Type(s)
Square Aggregated Account Starts at $0 Flat-Rate
PaymentCloud Merchant Account Varies Interchange-Plus, Tiered
Stripe Aggregated Account $0 Flat-Rate, Interchange-Plus
Helcim Merchant Account $0 Interchange-Plus
Chase Payment Solutions Merchant Account Starts at $0 Flat-Rate, Interchange-Plus
CDGcommerce Merchant Account Starts at $0 Flat-Rate, Interchange-Plus, Membership

Square: Best Fiserv Competitor For Startups & Low-Volume Businesses

Total Rating 4.8
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.7

Contract4.3

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.

Pros

  • Flat-rate pricing — great for low-volume merchants
  • No monthly fees
  • Affordable chip card readers
  • Expansive feature set

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Pricing isn’t suited to high-volume businesses
  • No high-risk business support (except CBD sellers)

What Makes Square Great For Startups & Low-Volume Businesses

Fiserv competitor Square is a third-party processor, which means it comes with all the good (quick signup) and the bad (account holds and freezes) of that business model.

Square's accessibility and its transparent flat-rate pricing model make it ideal for startups looking to get set up with credit card processing quickly and easily. Additionally, its feature set scales well with most business types. However, businesses processing over $10K/month may be able to find cheaper payment processing and greater account stability with a full merchant account provider.

Square Features

Square’s comprehensive and robust software helps you analyze your sales, manage your employees, keep up with your inventory, and more. If you like Fiserv’s Clover equipment, you should look into Square (in fact, Clover was probably inspired by Square, if you look at the product design.)

Some of Square’s features come with its basic service, others you’ll have to pay extra for. Square offers a variety of hardware options for mobile or store use. You can purchase the terminals and point-of-sale stations outright instead of dealing with equipment leases. However, Square hardware is proprietary, so you won’t be able to reuse it if you change processors.

Here’s some of what Square offers:

  • Payment processing with easy setup
  • Free virtual terminal
  • Online store builder
  • Money transfers
  • QR code payments
  • Online ordering for restaurants
  • ACH processing
  • Inventory
  • Invoicing
  • Industry-specific POS systems

Square Pricing

  • In-person (card-present) transactions: 2.6% + $0.10 (2.5% + $0.10 with an $89/month Square POS Plus subscription)
  • Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30/online transaction (2.6% + $0.30 with a $79/month Premium Square Online subscription)
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
  • Invoiced transactions: 3.3% + $0.30
  • ACH transactions: 1% (minimum $1 charge)
  • No monthly fees for a basic account

Square’s flat rates make it easy for a business to figure out profit margins for every sale. However, this simple pricing must cover Square’s costs for each transaction, so, depending on your monthly volume and average ticket size, you could be paying Square more than you need to and might be able to get a better deal from a merchant account provider.

In general, we find Square better suited for stores with physical locations than purely eCommerce businesses (particularly high-volume ones).

What To Watch Out For

Square’s third-party processing model means that you’ll need to do what you can to minimize the chance of an account hold or termination.

When To Use Square

  • You run a startup or a small business processing under $10K/month
  • You want to start selling CBD online (most third-party processors don't allow this)

Get Started With Square

Read our in-depth review

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PaymentCloud: Best Fiserv Competitor For High-Risk Businesses

Total Rating 4.1
Fees & Rates4.3

Products & Services5.0

Contract2.8

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.9

Customer Service4.2

User Reviews4.0



Exclusive Promo: PaymentCloud will give you $200 if they can't beat your current rate. Get Your Quote

Pros

  • High-risk specialist
  • No account setup fee
  • Reasonable rates and fees for a high-risk specialist
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • No publicly disclosed pricing for high-risk merchants
  • Lower-risk businesses can get cheaper processing elsewhere
  • High-risk businesses may need to accept tiered pricing

What Makes PaymentCloud Great For High-Risk Businesses

PaymentCloud is mostly a high-risk specialist, though it does take standard risk merchants. High-risk processors work a little differently than standard-risk processors. The company contacts a number of acquirers to find the ones willing to take the risk of working in your industry and picks from those to get you the best deal possible.

This means PaymentCloud may have a business relationship with Fiserv, but because it works with multiple back-end processors, it's likely that you can specifically ask that Fiserv be excluded.

PaymentCloud has excellent customer service, as you are assigned an account manager from the very start, and this person is your go-to for all questions/issues moving forward. Afterward, you receive intensive follow-up support, and the company advocates for you if you have issues with the acquirer.

Therefore, no matter which back-end processor you get matched with, you should have a very pleasant working experience with PaymentCloud.

PaymentCloud Features

Here’s some of what you’ll get with PaymentCloud:

  • Your choice of payment gateways
  • Virtual terminal
  • Numerous online store integrations
  • ACH/eCheck processing
  • Contactless payment requests
  • PCI compliance
  • Data migration
  • Dedicated account manager

PaymentCloud Pricing

PaymentCloud provides no pricing information for high-risk merchants on its website. High-risk processing rates are exceedingly variable and will differ from one merchant to the next, so it is impractical to disclose any numbers publicly. However, we do know that if your business is high-risk, you’re more likely to be offered tiered pricing.

If your business is standard-risk, you might be able to get transparent interchange-plus pricing from PaymentCloud.

What To Watch Out For

If your business falls in with the highest-risk categories, you may have to accept tiered pricing, and you might have to accept a multi-year contract with an early termination fee (ETF) as well. Unfortunately, these are the only terms under which most processors are willing to work with high-risk business types.

It never hurts to request interchange-plus pricing, however! Just keep in mind that you may not get it.

When To Use PaymentCloud

  • You're a high-risk merchant and you want the best processing deal possible from a reputable provider with great customer service

Get Started With PaymentCloud

Read our in-depth review

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Stripe: Best Fiserv Competitor For Custom Online Payment & Checkout Support

Stripe Payments

Total Rating 4.7
Fees & Rates4.7

Products & Services4.5

Contract5.0

Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.5

User Reviews4.1



Pros

  • Excellent developer tools
  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Advanced reporting
  • Ideal for international sellers — great multicurrency support

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Requires developer skill to implement
  • Not suited to high-risk businesses

What Makes Stripe Great For Custom Online Payment & Checkout Support

Stripe isn't the easiest processor to get set up with, so if you run a small retail store or you're looking to start a basic eCommerce site, Stripe may be overkill. However, if you have particular eCommerce needs and your team has the developer chops to take advantage of Stripe's industry-leading developer tools, APIs, integrations, and international sales support, Stripe may be your ideal processor.

Stripe's impressive feature ecosystem gives both US-based and international businesses everything they need to accept virtually any type of payment. Plus, it's a direct processor with no association with Fiserv.

Stripe Features

Stripe has long been one of the top players in eCommerce processing (international eCommerce in particular). As of late, Stripe is making inroads into retail payments as well with its Stripe Terminal.

With Stripe, you’ll get these features and more.

  • Industry-leading developer tools
  • Payment gateway
  • Cryptocurrency processing
  • ACH processing
  • Accepts payments in 135+ currencies
  • Dynamic currency conversion
  • Recurring billing and subscriptions
  • Invoicing
  • Mobile smart terminal for card-present sales

Stripe Pricing

  • Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 (+0.5% for manually entered transactions)
  • In-person transactions: 2.7% + $0.05
  • +1.5% for international cards
  • +1% for currency conversion (if required)
  • ACH direct debit transactions: 0.8% ($5.00 maximum)
  • No monthly fees for a basic account

High-volume businesses may be able to get a custom package with interchange-plus pricing.

What To Watch Out For

Stripe is a third-party processor, so you’ll need to do your due diligence to minimize the chance of an account hold or termination.

Additionally, if you think Stripe would be ideal for your business but your team lacks any kind of developer expertise, you should get some!

When To Use Stripe

  • You're looking for a custom online payments package designed around your particular business needs
  • You need an international processor with extensive multicurrency support

Get Started With Stripe Payments

Read our in-depth review

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Helcim: Best Fiserv Competitor For Interchange-Plus Pricing + No Monthly Fees

Total Rating 4.9
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.4

Contract5.0

Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.5



Pros

  • Interchange-plus pricing offered exclusively
  • No monthly fee
  • Extensive international sales support
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • No high-risk business support
  • Not cost-effective for low-volume merchants
  • US and Canadian businesses only

What Makes Helcim Great For Interchange-Plus Pricing & No Monthly Fees

Helcim is one of our favorite merchant services providers. With Helcim, you'll get a unique combination: interchange-plus pricing, no monthly fees, and the stability of a unique merchant account. Many providers offer one or two of these things -- very few offer all three!

Plus, Helcim sells its own branded card reader, which suggests that, even if the company works with Fiserv as a back-end processor, it likely also works with others, so you can request a non-Fiserv back-end processor.

With great customer support, a full feature lineup, and everything we described above, Helcim is an outstanding processing choice for a wide variety of merchants. However, it doesn't accept high-risk merchants, and its pricing isn't well-suited to businesses processing under $5K-$10K/month.

Helcim Features

With Helcim, US and Canadian businesses will get access to the following:

  • Interntional payments
  • Hosted online store builder
  • Hosted payment pages
  • Online food ordering
  • Helcim API
  • Virtual terminal
  • Recurring billing
  • Tokenization
  • Product/inventory management
  • Optional surcharging program available
  • A mobile card reader and an all-in-one smart terminal with a touchscreen

Helcim Pricing

Helcim’s pricing is similar to Square, with no monthly account fee, no monthly minimum, and no PCI compliance fee. Interchange-plus pricing is used exclusively, with discounted rates available to higher-volume businesses.

  • Online transactions: From interchange + 0.15% + $0.15 to interchange + 0.50% + $0.25
  • In-person transactions: From interchange + 0.15% + $0.06 to interchange + 0.40% + $0.08
  • ACH transactions: 0.5% + $0.25 ($6 maximum)

What To Watch Out For

Low-volume businesses probably won’t find the cheapest processing deal with Helcim. These sellers will often find the likes of Stripe and Square to be a better fit.

When To Use Helcim

  • You want a well-featured full merchant account that offers interchange-plus pricing and no monthly fee -- a rare combo!

Get Started With Helcim

Read our in-depth review

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Chase Payment Solutions (Formerly Chase Merchant Services): Best For Low-Cost Full Merchant Accounts

Chase Payment Solutions℠

Total Rating 4.4
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.0

Contract4.5

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.7

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews3.7



Pros

  • Large direct processor
  • Both flat-rate and interchange-plus pricing available
  • No monthly fee with a standard account
  • No terminal leases

Cons

  • Little pricing info disclosed on Chase’s website
  • “Free” credit card terminal requires a long-term contract
  • High chargeback fees

What Makes Chase Payment Solutions Great For Low-Cost Full Merchant Accounts

If you want to work with a big, direct processor that is not a Fiserv reseller, consider Chase Payment Solutions. Chase is almost as big as Fiserv, but it does have a good reputation and gives a fair price. It also seems to treat smaller companies better than Fiserv, offering several pricing structures and no termination fees if you don't need a "free" terminal.

Chase Payment Solutions offers flat-rate pricing to smaller businesses and interchange-plus pricing to higher-volume sellers, so no matter what your sales volume, Chase can offer you a processing package that fits your business.

Chase Payment Solutions Features

Chase Payment Solutions offers the following features. Note that some features require you to have a Chase business bank account.

  • Full merchant account
  • Authorize.Net payment gateway
  • Virtual terminal
  • Chase Point of Sale (POS) app and Chase Card Reader for mobile payments
  • Next-day funding for Chase business bank account holders
  • Choice of processing hardware, including Chase Card Terminal or Ingenico models
  • Level II/Level III credit card processing for B2B payments
  • Support for international payments

Chase Payment Solutions Pricing

  • Monthly fee: Starts at $0
  • Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.25
  • In-person transactions: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + $0.10

Again, interchange-plus pricing is available to higher-volume sellers. These rates are not disclosed.

What To Watch Out For

With Chase payment processing, you have the option of including a “free” terminal with your account, but you’ll have to sign a long-term contract in exchange. We recommend not doing this! We always recommend month-to-month agreements whenever possible.

When To Use Chase Payment Solutions

  • You want the stability of a full merchant account and a pricing scheme that fits your sales volume

Get Started With Chase Payment Solutions℠

Read our in-depth review

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CDGcommerce: Best For eCommerce Startups

Total Rating 4.7
Fees & Rates4.6

Products & Services5.0

Contract5.0

Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service3.5

User Reviews4.9



Pros

  • No monthly fee for smaller businesses
  • Pricing schemes that adapt to your business as it grows
  • Free payment gateway & virtual terminal

Cons

  • The processing rates of the flat-rate plan aren’t the lowest
  • US-based merchants only
  • Many high-risk business types not accepted

What Makes CDGcommerce Great For eCommerce Startups

CDGcommerce is a merchant account provider and eCommerce specialist that uses a hybrid business model. You can sign up with CDGcommerce and start processing quickly, just like with a third-party processor, but you can eventually get a merchant account through the company as well. CDGcommerce offers three types of pricing plans, each optimized for the size/growth stage of your business.

Smaller businesses processing less than $10,000 per month will be on a flat-rate plan that's similar to what Square offers but has the added advantage of giving you a true full-service merchant account that's far less likely to suffer a hold, freeze, or termination. That's why we love CDGcommerce as a solution for new eCommerce businesses.

CDGcommerce Features

  • Full merchant accounts
  • A hybrid risk structure lowers the chance of a held transaction
  • High-risk processing for some high-risk business types
  • Free terminal with each account (requires $79 annual maintenance fee)
  • Offers proprietary Quantum payment gateway or Authorize.Net
  • PastePay Cloud POS software
  • Virtual terminal

What’s more, CDGcommerce offers excellent customer service and will likely go above and beyond the service provided by its competitors to help you work through issues.

CDGcommerce Pricing

For merchants processing between $10,000 and $200,000 per month, CDGcommerce offers an interchange-plus pricing plan. Large businesses processing over $200,000 per month can get a membership-based pricing plan that eliminates the per-transaction percentage fee in exchange for a single monthly subscription fee. CDGcommerce does not charge account setup fees, PCI compliance fees, or monthly minimums.

New businesses just starting out won’t pay a monthly fee and will have access to the following rates:

  • In-person transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 (+0.6% for keyed-in transactions)
  • Online transactions: 3.5% + $0.30

What To Watch Out For

While we love that CDGcommerce offers a combination of simple flat-rate processing and full merchant accounts to new businesses, its rates are on the high side. Thankfully, for these sellers, there’s no monthly fee.

When To Use CDGcommerce

  • You're a new eCommerce business and you want simple pricing and a full merchant account
  • You're a high-volume eCommerce business and you want pricing that scales with your business growth

Get Started With CDGcommerce

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

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:

15

Years reviewing payment processors

100+

Providers evaluated

25

Attributes and features assessed per vendor

40+

Years combined experience


Love First Data Payment Processing, But Not The Service? You Have Options

What if you hate Fiserv/First Data but love its exclusive Clover products? Fortunately, there is a way to keep the Clover hardware and software without having to deal with Fiserv directly ever again.

Fiserv has a lot of resellers, and over the years, we’ve reviewed quite a few of them. These resellers tend to have better leverage when negotiating with Fiserv on things like early termination fees, and they are much better with customer service. As a result, merchants who work through them tend to have a better experience overall.

How do you know who these processors are? Look through their website to see if they carry Clover equipment.

We’ve done a lot of homework for you already. The best processors to get Clover equipment from include the following:

  • Host Merchant Services
  • Dharma Merchant Services
  • National Processing
  • Clearly Payments

The Bottom Line On Fiserv Competitors

Fiserv is big, and it dominates the payment processing industry. Fortunately, it’s not a monopoly, so if you never want to work with the company ever again, you have many great options.

However, if you still like Fiserv’s Clover equipment while preferring never having to deal with the company’s customer service ever again, you have options there as well. Several processors use Fiserv as their back-end processor and can “fix” typical Fiserv issues like indifferent customer service and long-term contracts. Sign up with any of these providers, and you’ll likely end up happy.

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Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Senior Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Jason has been writing about small business software platforms, services, and financing since 2015. Jason’s expertise has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Time/NextAdvisor, Home Business Magazine, CreditCards.com, GoBankingRates, TheLadders.com, and other publications. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from San Diego State University and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jason Vissers
View Jason Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.