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The Best Credit Card Payment Processing Companies For Small Business

These credit card payment processors offer merchant services with reasonable costs, accessibility, transparency, and good overall value.

    Frank Kehl
  • UPDATED

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

Credit card processing for small businesses is essential to boost overall sales and offer convenient payment methods for your customers. Unfortunately, finding a great credit card processing company can be very challenging. Finding a provider that fits your business comes down to more than just overall cost. Hardware and software compatibility, flexible contract terms, and high-quality customer support are also essential features to look for.

This article will show you how to find the best provider for your business and review our top recommendations for your consideration.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanySummaryNext StepsSummary
Square

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Best for low-volume merchants.
Best for low-volume merchants.

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PaymentCloud

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Best for high-risk & eCommerce merchants.
Best for high-risk & eCommerce merchants.

Visit Site

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National Processing

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Best for low-cost ACH/echeck processing.
Best for low-cost ACH/echeck processing.

Visit Site

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Clover POS

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Best for POS integration.
Best for POS integration.

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Host Merchant Services

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Best for mid-sized high & low-risk businesses.
Best for mid-sized high & low-risk businesses.

Visit Site

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Stripe Payments

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Best for eCommerce.
Best for eCommerce.

Visit Site

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Dharma Merchant Services

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Best for nonprofits & charitable giving.
Best for nonprofits & charitable giving.

Visit Site

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Helcim

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Best for international businesses.
Best for international businesses.

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CDGcommerce

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Best for eCommerce startups.
Best for eCommerce startups.

Visit Site

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Payment Depot

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Best for low-risk US businesses.
Best for low-risk US businesses.

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Stax by Fattmerchant

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Best for high-volume US businesses.
Best for high-volume US businesses.

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

What Is Credit Card Processing?

Credit card processing is the broad term for all the steps necessary to make credit card payments. Merchants can accept payments from customers in person, online, or remotely, such as over the phone or by mail. Most credit card processors can accept various payment types, including debit cards and ACH transfers.

Learn More About Small Business Credit Card Processing

For a small business, finding a good online credit card processor means balancing affordable costs, reasonable contract terms, robust features, and reliable customer support to get the best overall value for a reasonable price. Focusing too much on any one of these variables — particularly pricing — can hurt you in other ways. You should also be aware that the best processor when you have a small business or are just starting out might not be the best choice later on. As your business grows, your processing volume increases, and your day-to-day needs change.

Credit card processing is a complex topic with a lot of moving parts. If terms such as interchange fees and contactless payments sound completely alien to you, we recommend checking out some of these resources:

The 11 Best Small Business Credit Card Payment Processing Companies

The best payment processors for small businesses offer a combination of affordable costs, flexible contract terms, transparent sales practices, and high-quality customer support that sets them apart from their competitors. Unless you’re in a high-risk industry, our top choices offer monthly billing with no long-term contracts.

1. Square: Best For Low-Volume Merchants

Square



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

Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Ideal for low-volume merchants
  • All-in-one payments system

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Does not accept most high-risk industries

Square Features

Small-business favorite Square has long been a great choice for small or newly-established businesses, including those that only need to take an occasional non-cash payment. Square has evolved from a basic, mobile-only processing solution to a full-featured payments ecosystem and now includes the following major features:

  • Aggregated account for credit and debit card processing
  • Mobile card reader (magstripe-only) included with an account
  • EMV and NFC-capable card readers are available
  • Square Register POS system available
  • ACH processing included with every account
  • Square Online Store 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
  • No monthly fee for a basic account
  • 2.6% + $0.10/card-present transaction
  • 2.9% + $0.30/online transaction
  • 3.5% + $0.15/manually keyed-in transaction
  • 2.9% + $0.30/invoice paid via credit or debit card
  • 3.5% + $0.15/invoice paid via card on file
  • 1%/ACH transaction (minimum $1 charge)
  • No ACH reject or chargeback fees
  • Square Contactless & Chip Reader — $49 each
  • Square Stand With Contactless & Chip Reader — $169
  • Square Terminal — $299
  • Square Register — $799 (or $39/month for 24 months)

Where Square Really Shines

With its free card reader that you can plug into a smartphone or tablet, mobile app, and simple pricing structure, Square is one of the most popular processing services for small businesses. Square’s pay-as-you-go billing system allows businesses that ordinarily couldn’t afford a merchant account to accept credit and debit cards.

Square keeps costs low by aggregating accounts together rather than issuing each user a unique Merchant ID number. Because of this, you won’t get a true full-service merchant account, but you will likely be quickly approved for an account. The trade-off is that there’s a higher chance that your account will be frozen or terminated without notice if fraud is suspected.

Square’s product lineup today offers far more than just a simple, mobile processing solution. The company covers all the bases for retail and eCommerce businesses, although some features aren’t as customizable or advanced as you can find elsewhere. Also, be aware that Square’s flat-rate pricing system can actually be more expensive than a full-service merchant account at higher processing volumes.

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2. PaymentCloud: Best For High-Risk & eCommerce Merchants

PaymentCloud



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

Pros

  • High-risk specialists
  • Few public complaints
  • No account setup fee
  • No monthly minimums

Cons

  • No publicly disclosed pricing
  • Low-risk merchants can probably find a better deal

PaymentCloud Features

PaymentCloud is primarily a high-risk specialist but offers a full range of services to low-risk businesses as well.

Highlights include the following:

  • “Free” credit card terminal available with each account
  • Mobile processing solution available
  • Virtual terminal included
  • Authorize.Net or USAePay payment gateways are available
  • ACH and echeck processing are available
  • Paysley QR-code payment service available

PaymentCloud Pricing

  • No account setup fee
  • No monthly minimum (low-risk accounts)
  • Interchange + 0.05%-0.30% + $0.08-$0.10 per transaction (low-risk accounts)
  • Processing rates vary by acquiring bank/back-end processor (high-risk accounts)
  • $15/month account fee (low-risk accounts)
  • Account fees vary by the acquiring bank/back-end processor (high-risk accounts)

Where PaymentCloud Really Shines

PaymentCloud specializes in setting up merchant accounts for high-risk businesses with a network of back-end processors and acquiring banks. While it can’t always place every merchant, the company has a higher success rate than many of its competitors. Best of all, PaymentCloud does the extra work required to accept a high-risk account without charging you any application or account setup fees. Like most high-risk specialists, the company doesn’t disclose any standardized processing rates. You’ll have to get a quote from the sales team and do a little negotiating to see how the company’s offer stacks up against other providers.

PaymentCloud provides its retail merchants with an EMV-compliant credit card terminal that’s free to use for as long as you keep your account open. It also offers the Authorize.Net or USAePay payment gateways, although its processing system is compatible with other third-party gateways. You’ll also have access to a free virtual terminal with your account. The company enjoys a great reputation in the industry, and other providers, such as Dharma Merchant Services, refer their high-risk applicants to PaymentCloud.

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3. National Processing: Best For Low-Cost ACH/eCheck Processing

National Processing



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Get a free Clover Go card reader from National Processing when you sign up. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • Full line of Clover terminals and POS systems
  • Excellent online reputation
  • Low-cost echeck/ACH payment processing
  • Interchange-plus and membership pricing are offered exclusively

Cons

  • “Free” equipment may require a long-term contract
  • May charge an early termination fee for “free” equipment

National Processing Features

National Processing is one of the few Fiserv resellers that offer great service and pricing to small businesses. Key features include the following:

  • “Free” credit card terminal available
  • Offers ACH and echeck processing as an add-on
  • Offers mobile processing with a Clover Go card reader
  • Offers a choice between either interchange-plus or membership pricing plans
  • No long-term contract if processing hardware is purchased outright

National Processing Pricing

  • $9.95/month account fee (interchange-plus plans)
  • $59.00-$199.00/month subscription fee (membership plans)
  • $7.95/month PCI compliance fee
  • $39.95/month for the cash discounting program (optional)
  • $15.00/month + $0.48/transaction for ACH and echeck processing (optional)
  • Interchange + 0.18% + $0.10/transaction (interchange-plus plans)
  • Interchange + $0.09/transaction (subscription plan)
  • Interchange + $0.05/transaction (subscription-plus plan)

Where National Processing Really Shines

National Processing provides some of the most extensive pricing disclosures we’ve found on its website, exhaustively detailing its interchange-plus and membership pricing models to prospective customers. Plans are tailored to specific industries, each of which has a different processing rate (restaurants, in particular, make out well here). It’s a very affordable option for businesses looking for a stable, full-service merchant account and access to more sophisticated features. The company also has a great reputation for customer service, a rarity in the payments industry.

One point of caution with National Processing is that the “free” equipment offerings come with long-term contract obligations, so make sure you know what you’re getting into if you decide to go that route. Fortunately, the company offers many exceptions to its early termination penalties as long as you promptly return any “free” equipment. You usually won’t have to worry about getting hit with an ETF if you close or sell your business. In fact, National Processing will usually only charge you an ETF if you cancel service to switch to a competitor.

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4. Clover: Best For POS Integration

Clover POS



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Pros

  • Excellent POS hardware
  • Expandable via Clover App Market
  • Available directly or through a large network of ISOs

Cons

  • Requires monthly software subscription fee
  • Hardware cannot be reprogrammed
  • Expensive for most small businesses

Clover Features

Clover is one of the best and most well-known point of sale (POS) system providers in the payments industry. While most users obtain Clover hardware through their existing merchant account provider, the company also offers basic payment processing services.

Primary features include the following:

  • Flat-rate pricing for credit/debit card processing
  • Mobile processing solution (uses Clover Go card reader)
  • Wireless processing (uses Clover Flex terminal)
  • Point of sale (POS) systems (Clover Station Solo and Duo)
  • eCommerce solution (through BigCommerce)
  • Virtual Terminal available
  • Clover Web Dashboard for analytics and reporting
  • Clover App Marketplace for expandability (inventory management, employee scheduling, and much more)

Clover Pricing

  • $0-$69.95/month software subscription fee
  • 2.6% (or 2.3%) + $0.10/in-person transaction
  • 3.5% + $0.10/online or keyed-in transaction
  • $49 for Clover Go card reader
  • $499 for Clover Flex wireless terminal
  • $749 for Clover Mini countertop terminal
  • $1,349 for Clover Station Solo POS system (no customer-facing display)
  • $1,649 for Clover Station Duo POS system (includes customer-facing display)

Please see our Clover POS pricing guide for a more detailed explanation of Clover’s pricing. Also, note that pricing for Clover products obtained through your merchant account provider will vary from those shown above.

Where Clover Really Shines

A subsidiary of mammoth direct processor Fiserv (formerly First Data), Clover offers a very popular line of credit card processing devices, including mobile terminals, smart terminals, and fully-featured POS systems. Clover’s hardware lineup features the latest in payments technology, including wireless connectivity, color touchscreens, and an app market that allows you to expand the capabilities of your Clover device.

While the Clover ecosystem is one of the most feature-laden products on the market, it doesn’t come cheap. Expensive hardware costs and high monthly fees make it unaffordable for many small businesses. We’d also caution you that Clover terminals and POS systems are proprietary and cannot be reprogrammed to work with any other processor’s payment network.

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5. Host Merchant Services: Best For Mid-Sized High & Low-Risk Businesses

Host Merchant Services



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Pros

  • Transparent interchange-plus pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no early termination fees
  • No monthly minimums
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • It can be expensive for some low-volume merchants

Host Merchant Services Features

Host Merchant Services tends to fly under the radar due to its small size but offers a full range of products and services and fully transparent pricing. Here are the highlights:

  • Full-service merchant accounts
  • Accepts most high-risk industries
  • Full line of countertop and mobile credit card terminals
  • Free terminal available to merchants processing over $20,000/month
  • Vital and SwipeSimple mobile processing solutions
  • Proprietary Bonsai POS system available
  • Clover and Vital POS systems are available
  • Authorize.Net payment gateway
  • Proprietary Transaction Express payment gateway
  • Virtual terminal included
  • Web hosting included with an account
  • Cash discounting program available

Host Merchant Services Pricing

  • No application or setup fees
  • $14.99/month account fee
  • Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10/retail transaction
  • Interchange + 0.20% + $0.09/restaurant transaction
  • Interchange + 0.35 + $0.10/eCommerce transaction
  • $5-$10/month gateway fee
  • $15 chargeback fee
  • No PCI compliance fee
  • No early termination fee

Where Host Merchant Services Really Shines

Host Merchant Services offers a robust variety of proprietary and third-party services for just about any business. The company fully discloses its pricing on its website, eliminating the need to negotiate these terms when setting up your account. Host’s transparent interchange-plus pricing rates will save most high-volume businesses a significant amount of money if they use a Clover system. Prominent third-party features include the popular Authorize.Net payment gateway and the full line of Clover terminals and POS systems.

Like most of our top choices for small business credit card processing, Host Merchant Services doesn’t require a long-term contract or charge an expensive early termination fee to close your account. That allows you to switch to a different provider without penalty if you have to.

Note that while the company also accepts high-risk merchants, your pricing and contract terms might be different (and, ultimately, more expensive) if you fall into a high-risk category. Nonetheless, it’s still a great choice for high-risk merchants looking for a company with honest, transparent sales practices and great customer support.

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6. Stripe: Best For eCommerce

Stripe Payments



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Pros

  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Excellent developer tools
  • Exceptional subscription tools
  • Advanced reporting tools
  • Multicurrency support

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Does not accept high-risk merchants
  • May need technical skills to implement

Stripe Features

Stripe has long been one of the dominant payment processors in the eCommerce world but has recently begun making inroads into retail payments.

Here are the major features that Stripe has to offer:

  • Stripe Payments integrated payments platform
  • Stripe Virtual Terminal
  • Stripe Radar anti-fraud protection
  • Stripe Terminal for card-present transactions
  • ACH processing included with every account
  • Extensive library of APIs and developer tools
  • Broad support for international payments and local payment methods
  • Many ancillary services for establishing and running your business

Stripe Pricing

  • No monthly fees for a basic account
  • 2.9% + $0.30/online credit/debit transaction
  • 2.7% + $0.05/in-person credit/debit transaction via Stripe Terminal
  • +1% for international cards
  • +1% for currency conversion (if required)
  • 0.8%/ACH direct debit transaction ($5.00 maximum)
  • 1.2%/ACH direct debit transaction (two-day settlement)
  • $1.00/ACH credit payment
  • $1.50/instant bank account validation
  • Additional fees for optional add-on services

Please refer to our full breakdown of Stripe’s pricing for additional details.

Where Stripe Really Shines

Stripe is a dominant player in the world of eCommerce payment providers and now offers retail processing through Stripe Terminal as well. Stripe’s advanced and exhaustive list of features seems to grow every year, providing everything that US-based and international businesses need to accept virtually any type of payment. Stripe’s à la carte pricing system can sometimes be complex, but it’s also very predictable. The company’s website lays out all fees, so there should be no surprises.

Like other payment service providers (PSPs), Stripe uses a pay-as-you-go billing model with flat-rate pricing and a general lack of monthly account fees for basic services. As with any PSP, you won’t have a full-service merchant account, potentially leading to account stability issues in some cases. Nonetheless, Stripe offers one of the most advanced, customizable solutions for eCommerce merchants we’ve found anywhere — without charging a premium price for it.

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7. Dharma Merchant Services: Best For Nonprofits & Charitable Giving

Dharma Merchant Services



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Pros

  • Interchange-plus pricing is offered exclusively
  • No annual fee or monthly minimum
  • Discount pricing for qualified nonprofits

Cons

  • Not recommended for businesses processing less than $10,000/month
  • Not available to high-risk industries

Dharma Merchant Services Features

In addition to being one of the most ethical and transparent providers in the processing industry, Dharma Merchant Services offers a complete line of services for small and large businesses.

Here are the highlights:

  • Full-service merchant accounts through Fiserv or TSYS
  • MX Merchant integrated payment platform
  • Choice of Authorize.Net or MX Merchant payment gateways
  • QuickPay virtual terminal
  • Full line of credit card terminals, including Verifone Engage V200c, Fiserv FD-150, Ingenico Desk/5000, and Dejavoo Z11 models
  • MX B2B app for B2B processing
  • Full line of Clover POS systems
  • Credit card surcharging (no-fee, zero-cost credit card processing) program available

Dharma Merchant Services Pricing

  • $25/month account fee ($20/month for nonprofits)
  • Interchange + 0.15% + $0.08/card-present transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Interchange + 0.10% + $0.08/card-present transaction (qualified nonprofits)
  • Interchange + 0.20% + $0.11/card-not-present transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Interchange + 0.10% + $0.11/card-not-present transaction (qualified nonprofits)
  • No gateway fees with MX Merchant
  • $10/month for recurring billing (MX Merchant)
  • $20/month for B2B processing (MX Merchant)
  • No annual fee
  • No PCI compliance fees
  • No monthly minimum
  • $49 account closure fee

Where Dharma Merchant Services Really Shines

Dharma is unique in the world of credit card processing companies because it donates a significant percentage of its profits to charity. Related to that, Dharma provides discounted rates for nonprofit businesses. Our guide for nonprofit payment processing discounts has more information for charities looking to save money on credit card acceptance. While many believe nonprofits get the best rates with a software specialist such as Blackbaud Merchant Services, Dharma provides much lower discount rates and better service.

However, you don’t have to have a qualified nonprofit to benefit from Dharma’s features or prices. The company offers a complete line of services that can meet the needs of almost any business, regardless of size. You’ll enjoy true month-to-month billing, exclusive interchange-plus pricing, a minimum of (fully disclosed) account fees, and top-notch customer support. Be aware, however, that the company doesn’t recommend its services to businesses processing less than $10,000/month and doesn’t accept high-risk merchants.

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8. Helcim: Best For International Businesses

Helcim



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Pros

  • No long-term contracts
  • Exclusive interchange-plus pricing
  • No monthly fees
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • Does not accept high-risk businesses
  • Not suited for very low-volume businesses

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

Helcim Pricing

  • Interchange + 0.30% + $0.08/card-present transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Interchange + 0.50% + $0.25/card-not-present transaction (volume discounts available)
  • Helcim Card Reader — $109/unit
  • No monthly or annual account fees
  • No PCI compliance fees
  • No monthly minimum

Where Helcim Really Shines

Helcim distinguishes itself from many other providers by offering no long-term contracts, exclusive interchange-plus pricing, and no monthly account fees — all of which the company fully discloses on its website. It also offers numerous perks for merchants who do a lot of their sales remotely, including overseas. Helcim’s interchange-plus pricing rewards higher volumes of transactions, saving you even more money on your credit card processing costs.

Helcim keeps fees to a minimum, and it’s just about the only full-service merchant account provider that doesn’t charge a monthly account fee. That makes it a great choice for very low-volume and seasonal businesses. The proprietary Helcim Card Reader, while basic, offers every feature you need to accept in-person transactions. Smartphones and tablets can also use a mobile application. Helcim also provides an excellent suite of features for eCommerce, including hosted payment pages for secure online checkouts, menu embedding, and buy-now buttons.

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9. CDGcommerce: Best For eCommerce Startups

CDGcommerce



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Pros

  • Transparent pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no early termination fees
  • Free payment gateway and virtual terminal
  • No early termination fees

Cons

  • Only available to US-based merchants
  • Some high-risk industries may not qualify (including CBD and cannabis products)

CDGcommerce Features

CDGcommerce has focused on merchant account services for small and medium-sized businesses for over twenty years. While the company’s services are geared more toward eCommerce businesses, it also provides a full range of offerings for retail merchants.

Key services include the following:

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

CDGcommerce Pricing

  • $0.00 monthly fee (Simple, One Rate plan)
  • 2.75% + $0.30/in-person transaction (Simple, One Rate plan)
  • 2.9% + $0.30/online transaction (Simple, One Rate plan)
  • $19-$49 monthly fee (Interchange-Plus plan)
  • Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10/in-person transaction (Interchange-Plus plan)
  • Interchange + 0.30% + $0.15/online transaction (Interchange-Plus plan)
  • Interchange + 0.20% + $0.10/transaction (qualified nonprofits)
  • + 0.25% for American Express cards
  • + 0.15% for keyed-in transactions
  • 0.75% + $0.15/ ACH debit
  • $79/year terminal insurance/maintenance fee
  • $15/moth for cdg360 security package (optional)

CDGcommerce also offers a choice of four membership pricing plans for high-volume businesses. Rates are as follows:

Plan Monthly Fee Transaction Fee Volume
Basic $49 interchange + $0.10 Up to $25,000/month
Standard $79 interchange + $0.10 $25,001-$75,000/month
Plus $99 interchange + $0.07 $75,001-$200,000/month
Premium $199 interchange + $0.05 Over $200,000

Where CDGcommerce Really Shines

CDGcommerce offers some of the most transparent, flexible pricing of any provider we’ve found. Depending on your monthly processing volume, you can choose between flat-rate pricing with no monthly fee, interchange-plus pricing, or four membership pricing options. The company uses an online application process that can get you onboarded very quickly, which can be very handy for a new startup. (Note that if you’re in one of the high-risk industries that CDGcommerce accepts, you’ll want to undergo the more lengthy traditional underwriting process to avoid suddenly having your account shut down later.)

All of CDGcommerce’s pricing plans come with month-to-month contracts. There’s no long-term commitment and no early termination penalty if you close your account. The company also offers a proprietary POS software service called PastePay that keeps all your business data in the cloud and includes numerous expandability options.

CDGcommerce also keeps account fees to a minimum. You won’t have to worry about account setup fees, PCI compliance fees, or a monthly minimum.

The company also offers top-notch customer service and support after you’ve signed up and started processing transactions.

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10. Payment Depot By Stax: Best For Low-Risk US Businesses

Payment Depot



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Pros

  • Transparent membership pricing
  • Free gateway and virtual terminal
  • Next-day funding available
  • No application or setup fees

Cons

  • Available to US merchants only
  • Does not accept high-risk merchants

Payment Depot Features

Recently acquired by the company behind Stax, Payment Depot (now Payment Depot by Stax) offers membership pricing and a complete line of products and services for most businesses. Highlights include the following:

  • Credit card terminals from Ingenico, Dejavoo, PAX, and SwipeSimple
  • Full line of Clover and Vital Select POS systems
  • Mobile processing solution (uses the SwipeSimple card reader)
  • Free virtual terminal with each account
  • Payment gateway (Authorize.Net or other compatible gateways) available
  • ACH and echeck processing are available

Payment Depot Pricing

  • $59-$99/month subscription fee
  • Interchange + $0.07-$0.15/transaction (depending on the plan selected)
  • No application or setup fees
  • No PCI compliance fees
  • No early termination fee

Here are the details on the three membership plans offered by Payment Depot:

Plan Monthly Fee Transaction Pricing Max Volume Misc.
Starter $59 Interchange + $0.15 $125,000/year Includes virtual terminal and payment gateway
Starter Plus $79 Interchange + $0.10 $250,000/year
  • Everything from Starter
  • Data breach protection
Growth $99 Interchange + $0.07 $500,000/year
  • Everything from Starter Plus
  • Dedicated account manager

Where Payment Depot Really Shines

While it isn’t the only provider to offer membership pricing, Payment Depot’s reputation for open, honest sales practices and excellent customer support puts it ahead of many of its competitors using this relatively new pricing model. The company offers some of the lowest monthly subscription fees we’ve seen, making it an attractive option to smaller businesses. Even with all the features that you get with a Payment Depot membership plan, you’ll still enjoy month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts or early termination fees.

It’s a great choice for established, low-risk businesses that want to save money on credit card processing without compromising features or contract terms.

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11. Stax By Fattmerchant: Best For High-Volume US Businesses

Stax by Fattmerchant



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Pros

  • Transparent membership pricing
  • Month-to-month billing
  • Offers Stax Pay integrated processing platform
  • Next-day funding available

Cons

  • Available to US merchants only
  • Not suited for low-volume businesses

Stax By Fattmerchant Features

Stax by Fattmerchant is a great choice for most businesses, but the company particularly shines in eCommerce and card-not-present transactions. All Stax merchant accounts include the following standard features in the price of your monthly subscription:

  • Stax Pay integrated payments platform
  • Free terminal or mobile card reader
  • Virtual terminal
  • Stax Pay mobile processing app
  • Stax API for developers
  • Invoicing
  • ACH payment processing
  • Customer information database
  • Basic analytics and reporting features

Stax By Fattmerchant Pricing

  • $99-$199 monthly subscription fee (based on plan selected)
  • Interchange + $0.08/transaction (card-present)
  • Interchange + $0.15/transaction (keyed-in)
  • 1% per ACH transfer ($10 maximum)
  • Additional fees for optional add-ons (same-day funding, terminal protection, etc.)

Stax offers three standardized monthly subscription plans, which come with the following features:

Plan Monthly Fee Features
Growth $99/month
  • Free terminal or mobile reader
  • ACH processing (1% per transaction, max $10)
  • Free surcharging program
  • Lite dashboard & analytics
  • Quick Payment/Backup processing
Pro $129/month
  • All Growth Plan features + digital invoicing
  • Text2Pay; web-hosted payments
  • Card on file
  • Accounting reconciliation lite synch (QuickBooks online)
  • API key integration
  • Enhanced dashboards & reporting
Ultimate $199/month
  • All Pro Plan features + recurring invoices & scheduled payments
  • Account updater for card-on-file
  • 1-click shopping cart management
  • Advanced dashboard & reporting
  • Data exports
  • Access to premier support

Businesses processing over $500,000/year will receive a custom pricing quote.

Where Stax By Fattmerchant Really Shines

Stax by Fattmerchant is one of a handful of companies offering membership pricing, which tends to be an excellent choice for high-volume businesses. With this type of pricing, you’ll pay a single monthly subscription fee instead of numerous miscellaneous fees for individual services. You also won’t pay a percentage-based markup on your transactions, which can save you a lot of money if you process a lot of high-ticket sales.

Stax adds even more value to your account with high-quality invoicing and billing tools, customer management, a virtual terminal, a POS app, inventory management, detailed reporting analytics, and more. Everything works with the Stax Pay integrated payments platform, eliminating compatibility issues. Be aware, however, that Stax doesn’t accept high-risk merchants. Also, the cost of its monthly membership fees is high enough that it won’t be cost-effective for very small or seasonal businesses.

Get Started With Stax by Fattmerchant

Read our in-depth review

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How To Choose The Best Credit Card Payment Processing Company

Determining the best credit card processing company for your business involves evaluating a number of factors to narrow your search down as much as possible before reaching out to a provider’s sales department. Here are the primary factors to consider when choosing a credit card processor, along with brief explanations of how they will affect your final choice:

Account Stability & Type Of Merchant Services

The first (and perhaps most important) factor to consider will be whether your business needs a full-service merchant account for payment processing or if you’d be better served by signing up with a payment service provider (PSP), such as Square. For very small or newly-launched businesses, PSPs offer an easy and affordable way to begin accepting credit cards without the confusing pricing and extensive onboarding requirements of a full-service merchant account. At the same time, account stability is a concern, as you’re more likely to experience a sudden account hold, freeze, or termination.

Full-service merchant services for small businesses are more stable and offer many additional features, but they tend to be more expensive and take longer to set up. Your monthly processing volume will be the main factor in choosing between these two options. Generally, PSPs are a better choice if your processing volume is less than $5,000 per month. However, this “tipping point” can be anywhere from $1,500/month to $10,000/month, depending on the nature of your business and the processing rates your merchant account provider offers.

Fees & Pricing For Credit Card Processing

The credit card processing industry is notorious for charging merchants a bewildering variety of rates and fees for their services, often making it nearly impossible to estimate your costs in advance. Payment service providers almost always offer a combination of flat-rate pricing and no monthly fees for basic services.

Merchant account providers, on the other hand, may use either tiered pricing, interchange-plus, or membership pricing and usually charge some recurring and incidental fees that can come as an unpleasant surprise if you haven’t thoroughly reviewed your contract in advance.

Tokenization & Card-Not-Present Processing Rates

eCommerce sales have surged in recent years, and incidents of fraud have surged with them. One critically important way to protect yourself is to implement credit card tokenization as a security feature on your website. You’ll reduce your chances of letting a fraudulent transaction slip through, and interchange rates and fees for tokenized payments are significantly lower than for other forms of card-not-present transactions. Tokenization also works with card-present transactions but requires a payment gateway to implement.

Speed & Flexibility Of Setup

New merchants are frequently frustrated with the time it takes to get their merchant account approved and set up. Onboarding can take as long as several weeks, during which you’ll be unable to process any credit or debit card transactions. Technology and automation have improved this process dramatically in recent years, and in some cases, you can apply online and have your account approved overnight.

Payment service providers typically offer the quickest approval time, but they usually only take low-risk businesses. Fast approval also increases the risk of account instability, as the detailed underwriting process is deferred until you start processing transactions. At the other end of the spectrum, high-risk merchant accounts can take as long as two or more weeks to approve and require much more information about you and your business.

Funding & Deposit Times

Getting the funds from your credit card sales deposited into your bank account as quickly as possible is very important to any business — particularly if you’re dependent on a steady, day-to-day cash flow coming in. Unfortunately, the standard deposit time in the payments industry is two to four business days, meaning that you might have to wait nearly a week for some transactions to settle.

Many providers now offer next-day (or even same-day) funding but usually charge an additional fee for this service. You’ll want to carefully evaluate whether you really need this option before signing up for it.

Selling Online, In Person, & Everywhere In Between

While most businesses have traditionally been either retail-only or eCommerce-only, today, it’s more common for a business to have both in-person and online sales channels. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to start taking orders over the internet to stay afloat during lockdowns, and now customers expect to be able to continue using this option. Regardless of how you make your sales, you’ll want the appropriate hardware and software to process transactions, provide analytical data, and help you run your day-to-day business operations.

While some small businesses can still get by with just a payment gateway or countertop credit card terminal, more and more merchants are upgrading to an integrated payments platform that supports in-person and online sales. These systems offer enhanced security, additional features such as scheduling and inventory management, and the ability to manage your business remotely from any internet-connected device with a browser.

The Bottom Line On The Best Merchant Account Services For Small Business

Whether you’re trying to juggle multiple retail locations or just sell products online, one of the providers we’ve highlighted above will likely be a “best match” for your business. While each company has its own standout features, they all offer competitive rates, transparent pricing, and an easy, low-cost setup. They also enjoy a great reputation among users for honest sales practices and top-notch customer support after the sale.

Of course, running a business today involves much more than just getting set up with basic credit card processing. For more in-depth information on the key products and services you’ll need to run your business, you’ll want to check out some of our other small business resources. These resources include our posts on top POS systems for small businessestop accounting solutions, and the best small business banking solutions.

In Summary: The 11 Best Small Business Credit Card Payment Processing Companies

  1. Square: Best for low-volume merchants.
  2. PaymentCloud: Best for high-risk & eCommerce merchants.
  3. National Processing: Best for low-cost ACH/echeck processing.
  4. Clover POS: Best for POS integration.
  5. Host Merchant Services: Best for mid-sized high & low-risk businesses.
  6. Stripe Payments: Best for eCommerce.
  7. Dharma Merchant Services: Best for nonprofits & charitable giving.
  8. Helcim: Best for international businesses.
  9. CDGcommerce: Best for eCommerce startups.
  10. Payment Depot: Best for low-risk US businesses.
  11. Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for high-volume US businesses.
Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Frank Kehl has been researching and analyzing merchant services, payment gateways, and international money transfer services since 2015. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from the Ventura College of Law.
Frank Kehl
View Frank Kehl's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

We recommend Square Credit Card Processing 🏆 Get a free credit card reader when you sign up! Square Payments is a secure and reliable credit card processing platform. Its advanced solutions and broad feature-set makes it a great fit for most businesses. Get Started No credit card required

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