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You’ll almost certainly need to take a number of payment methods, including credit cards and digital payments, whether you operate a brick-and-mortar retail shop or an online-based company. Accepting various payment methods has become a requirement of conducting business, and the merchant services sector has expanded significantly to meet this need. As a result, if you want to take any kind of payment at your small company other than cash, you’ll need to check into various payment processing businesses to discover the one that best suits your needs.

However, with so many choices available, each with its own set of features and price structure, you may be unsure where to begin your search for the best payment processor for your small company. As a result, we’ve developed this guide to assist you in your quest. We’ll go through the top payment processing providers and explain which kind of businesses they’re most suited for, so you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

What Exactly Is a Payment Processing Firm?

First and foremost, let’s go over the fundamentals: What exactly is a payment processing firm?

Even while many businesses combine these services, some company owners may be surprised to discover that payment processing companies may be entirely independent from a point of sale system.

A payment processing business, on the other hand, is an organization that enables you to accept and process credit cards and other similar payments from your consumers. After your client submits their card information (whether in person or online) for a purchase, a payment processing firm performs all of the behind-the-scenes procedures.

So, whether your client swipes their credit card or manually enters their card information, the subsequent processes—such as encrypting their data, routing it to their own bank, and then back to your business’s bank—are what payment processing involves, and what payment processing firms handle.

Keep in mind, though, that payment processing may look quite different in practice depending on how you take payments, the kind of payments you accept, and, of course, the payment processor you use. In order to decide which of the top payment processing firms will be able to fulfill your requirements, you’ll want to examine not just cost—but also how your company works and how you’ll be accepting payments—as you search for the best payment processor for your small business.

Companies that Process Online Payments

Let’s get down to business with the top payment processing companies for online businesses, beginning with the finest payment processing companies for online businesses. If you operate an ecommerce company, you’ll discover that there are a number of alternatives for accepting payments online, including the following four main choices:

Veem

Veem is a free internet money wire service for commercial transactions.

Veem allows you to invoice any company or client and get money for free using blockchain technology. Without needing to create an invoice, you can easily create free, customized pay links and distribute them to consumers or companies. The only time you’ll have to pay a charge while accepting payments is if you accept an overseas payment and wish to retain it in USD—this will cost you $20.

On the other hand, sending payments inside the United States will cost only $1, while receiving international payments that need conversion from USD to local currency would cost a fixed charge of $20.

You’ll also get payment monitoring, a dedicated account manager, the option to connect with software systems like QuickBooks, Xero, and Netsuite, and no yearly transfer volume restriction if you work with Veem.

Veem is one of the most accessible, cheap, and easy alternatives for online payments of all the payment processing providers on our list.

Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net is another excellent payment processor for small companies who need online payment services.

Authorize.Net, unlike Veem, is a payment gateway provider, which means that instead of sending invoices or payment links, they will enable your company to accept and process payments from consumers directly via your website.

You’ll be able to provide your consumers with a variety of payment choices, including credit and debit cards, e-checks, and digital payments, all from inside your website or ecommerce platform, thanks to Authorize.Net. Authorize.Net, on the other hand, offers two ways to use their service: all-in-one or payment gateway alone.

If you already have a merchant account (the bank account needed to take credit card payments), you may sign up for their payment gateway alone plan for $25 per month plus $0.10 per transaction and a $0.10 daily batch charge. If you don’t have a merchant account (which you will need to set up for Authorize.Net), you may choose their combo plan, which includes both a merchant account and a payment gateway. In this instance, you’ll pay a $25 monthly charge plus 2.9 percent + $0.30 each transaction.

Stripe

Stripe, the next company on our list of top payment processing businesses, is one of the fastest-growing and now-largest payment processing firms in the internet world. Stripe is a payment processor that enables you to take payments online in a number of ways. It’s designed specifically for internet-based companies, especially tech-savvy ones.

You may take credit cards, digital wallets, and foreign currencies via Stripe by:

Developing a bespoke payment form for use on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone

Creating a payment form that can be embedded into your website

Invoice creation and distribution

Third-party systems like as Shopify, BigCommerce, 3dcart, and others may be integrated.

Stripe’s greatest advantages are not just their extensive customization options, but also their security, reporting, and support capabilities, as well as their straightforward, flat-rate pricing. Stripe, unlike Authorize.Net, does not charge monthly fees; instead, you’ll pay 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction, with an extra 1% cost for international transactions.

All of this being said, Stripe is without a doubt one of the finest payment processors for online companies, thanks to its customized online payment choices and connections with major platforms.

PayPal

While Stripe is a relatively young player in the payment processor market, PayPal is undoubtedly one of the largest and most well-known brands in the industry. As the long-time leader in online payments, PayPal has a variety of payment processor options for small businesses.

You may accept payments online, send invoices to clients, and even collect payments in person with PayPal Here. You may take debit cards, credit cards, digital payments, and, of course, PayPal payments via PayPal when it comes to online payment processing. PayPal Checkout may be used to enable consumers to check out on your website or to link it directly to your ecommerce platform. You may also utilize PayPal Payments Standard to add checkout buttons to your website, but they will be sent to an external payment experience.

Finally, PayPal allows you to take online payments in the manner that is most convenient for you. Furthermore, if you use any of their conventional solutions—PayPal Checkout, PayPal Payments Standard—you’ll just have to pay transaction fees of 2.9 percent + $0.30 for any online transactions inside the United States. PayPal, like Stripe, is one of the most adaptable and flexible payment processing providers for web-based businesses in this manner.

For simple invoicing, the best payment processor is

Although businesses like Veem, Authorize.Net, Stripe, and PayPal are well-known for online payment processing, you may be searching for companies that provide the most basic service that links straight to your accounting platform. Let’s take a look at the industry leader in payment processing for straightforward invoicing.

Payments in QuickBooks

You’ll be able to use QuickBooks Payments to access an online or desktop solution that works in tandem with the QuickBooks accounting software. Regardless of whatever option you select, you’ll be able to invoice clients and have them pay right on the invoice, as well as take debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, phone orders, and bank transfers, and link any payments you receive to your QuickBooks accounting.

As a result, you have two payment plan choices for both online and desktop as part of Intuit merchant services. To begin, if you choose QuickBooks Payments Online and choose to pay as you go, your payment processing fees will be as follows:

There is no monthly charge.

2.9 percent + $0.25 for online invoicing card payments

Keyed-in card payments are 3.1 percent + $0.25, with a limit of $10. Bank transfers are 1% with a maximum of $10.

If you want to pay monthly, the following fees will apply:

The monthly cost is $16.

Online invoicing card payments are 2.75 percent + $0.25; keyed-in card payments are 2.9 percent + $0.25; and bank transfers are 1% with a $10 limit.

If you use the desktop edition of QuickBooks Payments Desktop as your payment processor, however, you’ll have both a pay-as-you-go and a monthly payment option:

If you opt to pay as you go, your payment processing fees will be calculated as follows:

There is no monthly charge.

Bank transfers of one dollar

2.2 percent + $0.25 swiped card payments

3.1 percent + $0.25 for online invoicing card payments

3.1 percent + $0.25 for keyed-in card payments

If you opt to pay for QuickBooks Desktop on a monthly basis, your payments will be as follows:

Monthly payment of $16

Bank transfers of one dollar

Payments made with a swiped card for 1.5 percent plus $0.25

2.9 percent + $0.25 for online invoicing card payments

2.9 percent + $0.25 for keyed-in card payments

Finally, of all the payment processors on our list, QuickBooks Payments is the most specialized, catering to company owners who wish to take payments via their QuickBooks accounting software. In reality, QuickBooks isn’t the only accounting software that provides this kind of service; FreshBooks and Wave also have their own built-in payment processing systems. This being said, if you’re a service-based company that primarily bills clients, this may be the ideal payment processing option for you.

With Bundled POS Systems, the Best Payment Processing Companies

Although both QuickBooks Payments and Authorize.Net may be used with a POS system, if your firm will be using a POS on a daily basis, you’ll likely benefit from a company that, first and foremost, provides a point of sale system and payment processing services in one package.

In this instance, you’ll be able to get a more cheap and feature-rich alternative by looking into payment processing businesses that incorporate POS systems as part of their service. This will enable you to handle various business activities in one location with one provider.

Systems for Square Point of Sale

Square is one of the finest payment processing businesses on the market, providing all-in-one POS and payment services. The Square POS system is available in a variety of forms, sizes, and pricing. Regardless of whatever POS system you select, Square’s top-of-the-line payment processing will be included in every product. As a result, you’ll be able to accept a wide range of payment methods while also managing your orders, sales, and other operational operations using Square.

However, the cost of Square’s payment processing will vary depending on which POS software you use and how you take payments from consumers. To clarify:

You’ll get free access to the Square POS software if you use the basic version, and you’ll be able to use it on any iOS device. You’ll also get a free magstripe reader to use for credit card processing. If you decide you need different or more hardware, you will have to pay for it individually.

However, regardless of whatever hardware device you use with Square POS software, you’ll be charged the following transaction fees:

For magstripe, chip, or contactless payment transactions, 2.6 percent of the transaction amount plus $0.10 is charged.

3.5 percent of transaction amount + $0.15 for card payments manually entered

If you use one of Square’s specialist software solutions, however, your total expenses will be different. You’ll pay a monthly subscription for Square for Restaurants, as well as any related hardware expenses and the same transaction rates as mentioned above.

You’ll have to pay a monthly software fee and any related hardware expenses if you use Square for Retail, but your transaction fees will be somewhat different. In terms of Square fees, you’ll have to pay the following:

Per magstripe, chip, or contactless payment transaction, 2.5 percent of the transaction amount + $0.10

3.5 percent of transaction amount + $0.15 for card payments manually entered

General, having everything via Square may significantly simplify your business’s transactions and overall operations if you’re seeking for the entire package—not just payment processing.

Clover Point of Sale Systems are a kind of point-of-sale system

If you’re searching for a payment processing company with a POS system, Clover is another great choice.

Clover, like Square, is one of the most well-known payment processing businesses that provides all-in-one POS and payment processing services. Unlike Square, however, Clover offers a wider range of choices for self-contained POS systems. Many of Square’s POS systems, on the other hand, are dependent on smart gadgets in order to work. Furthermore, the majority of Clover’s POS systems will have a receipt printer, which will be critical for brick-and-mortar operations.

Clover is similar to Square in that it offers all of the tools you’ll need to manage your business’s sales as well as take a wide variety of payments from consumers. Clover, unlike Square, does not provide a free POS software option; instead, you must pick between their Register Lite and Register software, which cost $14 and $29 a month, respectively.

Your POS software will determine not just your POS features, but also your payment processing rates:

2.7 percent + $0.10 for in-person transactions and 3.5 percent + $0.10 for keyed-in transactions using Register Lite.

2.3 percent + $0.10 for in-person purchases and 3.5 percent + $0.10 for keyed-in transactions at the register

Last but not least, you’ll have to pay for the Clover hardware you’ll need. Clover has four distinct choices, all of which start at $69.

Finally, if you have a brick-and-mortar shop that needs a full-service POS system, you’ll find that the ideal payment processor for your small company is one that combines payment processing with a point-of-sale system, such as Square or Clover. Having said that, although Square and Clover are two of the most well-known choices on the market, there are a slew of additional options worth exploring for your company, including ones tailored to restaurants, salons, retail shops, and more.

Traditional Merchant Services Provided by the Best Payment Processing Companies

So far, the bulk of the payment processing businesses on our list have been payment service providers, which means that they collect all of their clients’ money from consumers into a single merchant account and disburse them as needed. Although this kind of payment processor has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages, the most prominent of which is that dealing with these providers puts your account at danger of being suspended or cancelled if the firm considers your business to be too hazardous.

As a result, you may want to think about using a more conventional merchant service provider. Working with a merchant account provider will need a more complex qualifying procedure and potentially more complicated pricing, but it will also mean greater security, perhaps more cost-effective transaction rates, and a more customized solution.

With that in mind, here are three excellent choices for payment processing firms that also offer merchant accounts:

Depot for Payments

Payment Depot is a merchant account provider that can provide a range of payment processing options, as well as reasonable and transparent pricing, based on what your company requires. To begin with, partnering with Payment Depot provides you with a specialized merchant account, which Payment Depot obtains through TSYS or First Data. You’ll be able to take credit cards, debit cards, ACH, and e-check payments with your Payment Depot account.

Payment Depot, on the other hand, allows you to accept payments via a number of methods, including your mobile device, a conventional credit card terminal, an ecommerce website, or a POS system. You’ll have to pay a monthly subscription charge as well as processing costs with this payment processor.

Payment Depot’s transaction costs, unlike those of the other payment processing providers we’ve covered so far, are not flat-rate. Instead, they charge costs based on the interchange (credit card network fee) plus model, which is probably one of the finest pricing methods available.

The most basic Payment Depot package will cost $49 per month, plus transaction costs, which are interchange + $0.15 per transaction in this instance. A free reprogramming of current equipment and a free online payment gateway will also be included in this package.

Despite the fact that this monthly cost is considerably more than many of the other processors on our list, Payment Depot will provide you with a better secure service while also saving you money on transaction fees. Additionally, when you upgrade your subscription plan, you’ll benefit from reduced interchange-plus rates and new equipment choices.

Data on the Payline

Next, Payline Data may be the ideal payment processor for your small company, particularly if you’re searching for a merchant account provider that has a cheaper monthly cost than Payment Depot.

You’ll have a specialized merchant account via WorldPay with Payline Data, and you’ll be able to select between two service options based on how you want to take payments. Payline Data’s Payline Start package, for example, allows you to take payments with an EMV terminal and key in transactions using a virtual terminal. This plan will cost $10 per month plus the interchange-plus charges shown below:

Per card-present transaction, add 0.2 percent extra $0.10.

Per virtual terminal transaction, add 0.3 percent plus $0.20.

Payline Data, unlike Payment Depot, does not include any equipment in its programs; you must purchase a mobile, wireless, or countertop terminal separately.

If you need to take online payments, however, the Payline Connect package is the way to go. This package will cost $10 per month + $10 for payment gateway access. Whether you utilize the payment gateway or the virtual terminal, you’ll pay interchange-plus 0.3 percent + $0.20 in processing costs with this package.

Payline Data, like Payment Depot, is one of the finest payment processors and merchant account providers, particularly with their interchange-plus pricing and lower monthly cost.

Fattmerchant

We’ve finally arrived at the last choice on our list. Fattmerchant is arguably the finest payment processor for medium or bigger businesses with high sales volumes, out of all the payment processing providers we’ve examined.

Fattmerchant, like Payline Data and Payment Depot, will provide you with a merchant account as part of your service, but you’ll also need to choose a subscription plan. Fattmerchant Starter and Fattmerchant Enterprise are the two subscription plans available. Your membership plan will determine not just your monthly subscription cost, but also your processing expenses.

To elaborate, consider the following:

The monthly fee for the Fattmerchant Starter plan is $99 per month. Fattmerchant’s processing costs are all flat plus interchange, however they will vary according on your membership plan and how you take payments. As a result, whether you take payments via the physical terminal or Fattmerchant interfaces, you’ll pay $0.08 plus interchange with the Starter plan. You’ll pay $0.15 plus interchange if you take payments via an online shopping cart, virtual terminal, mobile device, or Fattmerchant API.

Similarly, the Enterprise package, which will cost $199 per month, will be priced similarly. Accepting payments through physical terminals or integrations will cost $0.06 plus interchange under this plan.

Accepting payments via the shopping cart, virtual terminal, mobile device, or APIs will cost $0.12 plus interchange.

Despite their complicated pricing, they are some of the most inexpensive credit card processing rates you’ll discover, as long as you can afford the higher monthly membership price. Overall, Fattmerchant provides the same broad variety of payment options as its rivals, but distinguishes out due to its cheap processing rates.

Selecting the Most Appropriate Payment Processor for Your Small Business

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the options now that we’ve gone through the ins and outs of some of the finest payment processing businesses on the market.

What criteria do you use to determine which payment processor is best for your small business?

We’re afraid we won’t be able to help you make this choice. It will be up to you to decide which payment processing firm will be able to meet your requirements as the one who knows your business best.

Having said that, we can provide some guidance on how to approach the decision-making process. Ask yourself the following questions when you research various payment processors:

What is the location of my typical transaction?

What is the profile of a typical client for me?

Customers will want to pay for the products or services my company provides in a variety of ways.

You’ll be able to narrow down your choices by answering these questions, and you’ll be able to start evaluating other aspects like pricing, customer service, and extra features. Finally, we’re certain that with all of the information you’ve gained about the top payment processors for small companies, you’ll discover the one that’s perfect for you.