Every business needs credit card processing, especially as more customers opt to shop online or make an in-store purchase using their contactless payments. Finding a credit card operator is the first step for small companies who wish to take credit cards.
According to recent research done by business technology company Weave, over 30% of small business customers have been unable to make a physical store transaction because their payment method was not accepted. However, not to accept credit cards reduces profit, and many business owners are concerned about paying high payment processing fees.
So if you are interested in finding a great credit card company, this article is for you. All you need to do is relax and continue reading. We will provide you with the essential features you need to know when looking for the best credit card processing companies.
List Of Best Credit Card Processing Companies
There are many companies that provide additional credit card processing services, and we have made a comparison in order to get the top five. So, according to our research, the following companies are the best credit card processing firms:
- Helcim – Overall Best Credit Card Processing Company
- First Access Card – Best All in One Option
- Open Sky – Best For E-Commerce Businesses
- National Processing – High Rated For Merchant Account Providers
- Continental Finance – Premium Services For Small Business Owners
#1. Helcim : Overall Best Credit Card Processing Company
Helcim has been in operation since 2006, growing from a payment processor to a financial technology firm that provides various management services. If you are a small business owner, Helium is an excellent pick with plenty of options such as no monthly costs and a feel plan that compensates you for more extensive sales, which is why it is our number one on the list.
Their team’s mission is to provide you with more innovative, more accessible, and affordable payment solutions to help your business grow. Their success depends on your small business growth.
Moreover, the cost includes an interchange rate plus Helcim’s markup of 0.3 percent plus 8 cents transaction for business processing in-person retail payments with monthly sales of $25,000 or less. If the interchange rate were 1.5 percent, a business paying this rate would pay a total of 1.8 percent + 8 cents.
Helcim is a typical merchant account providers that offers established small companies low-cost interchange rates. There are a few things that distinguish Helcim: It has no monthly fee and is the only payment processor on our list that automatically lowers transaction fees as your monthly processing production increases.
With a free POS system, virtual terminal, invoicing software, subscription management, recurring billing, customer portal, online store, and more, it provides terrific value for small businesses. They are completely transparent about all fees, and they have no hidden costs.
Helcim offers excellent customer service as well as a wealth of assistance resources on its website. As your business expands and your transactions increase, you will enjoy automatic volume discounts. Overall, Helcim is one cost-effective solution for companies with big monthly sales.
Helcim is used by business owners to take payments such as:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Pin Debit Cards
- Transparent and honest
- Discounts based on quantity
- Quick setup
- For a fee of 1.5% of the amount, funds are available immediately
- Seven days available customer support, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT
- Throughout a third-party app, they integrate with Xero accounting and QuickBooks online software
- Signing up is simple with online approval
- You can sign up for e-commerce, customer portal, and hosted checkout
- Numerous ways for obtaining assistance
- Tools for customer relationship management are included
- Tools for inventory management are included
- Only works with established businesses
- No other major cons
The users are satisfied by this easy-to-use and reliable platform. They are thankful to the customer support representatives that were completely professional, user-friendly, and resourceful. Many users recommend this platform since it is rapidly growing and provides the best services.
#2. First Access – Best All In One Option
The Bank of Missouri operates the First Access Visa Card under license from Visa U.S. Inc. The First Access Visa Card is not a secured credit card. Therefore applicants are not required to put down the total amount of their credit limit as a deposit.
Also, the company has the reputation of being one of the best credit card processing companies. So, if you have a small business, this company can provide you with an easy and fast application method. Meaning, you have to fill out a simple form, and it will be instantly approved.
Moreover, they clearly state their fees and rates in the Rates & Fees action at the top of the application page. It also emphasizes its program fee on the primary application page to increase awareness.
They provide you with a fast and easy-to-fill-out online application. All you have to do is visit their official website, and the application will immediately pop up on your device. You can put your first name, middle initial, last name, address information, and some additional information such as your phone number, SSN, etc.
They have an excellent customer care support team. So, if you have trouble with filling out their form or you have questions about their credit card processing terms, you can always contact them. They will be eager to help you out and provide you with answers to all of your questions.
Also, your payment is due at least 21 days following the end of each billing cycle. If you pay your entire balance before your due date, they will not change their interest fees on your new purchases.
- The minimum interest charge is $1
- Utterly transparent about their fees
- Great customer care support
- Easy online application
- Quick and easy setup
- Fast approval
- Cashback guaranteed
- Tools for customer relationship management are included
- APR is 34.99% and is higher when compared to other sites
- Annual fee
- Monthly servicing fee
- No other significant cons found
Many users are happy with the overall services that this online platform offers them. They will continue using First Access, and they recommend it to anyone searching for a good credit card processing company. Also, they provide the best customer care service that is super friendly.
#3. Open Sky – Best For E-Commerce Businesses
Open Sky is one of the most famous companies that has been in the business since 2018. Even though they are new to the business, they are becoming more and more popular each day. Their main goal is to provide you with the best online service and also to provide you with great affordable deals.
They can be of great help if you want to expand your business. So, no matter if your business is small or big, they are able to provide you with all types of services. Starting from their credit card that can be used anywhere, it lets you purchase all types of products such as home goods, clothes, foods, and so on.
Moreover, they want to help you increase your credit score. So, when you request their credit card, you will get the benefits of an increased credit score, and you can always check your credit balance. Their easy-to-fill-out online application is completely secure, so you don’t have to worry about providing personal information directly to their platform.
One of the best things is reporting to all three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This is of great importance since getting their credit card and making annual payments on your due date can improve your credit score in no time.
Open Sky provides outstanding value for small businesses, with a free POS system, virtual terminal, invoicing software, subscription management, recurring billing, customer portal, online marketplace, and much more.
Also, it takes around 12 to 14 days for your request to be processed. Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours. If you are in immediate need of approval, you can always contact their customer care representatives, and they will provide you with answers to all of your questions.
- APR is 17.30% which is much lower when compared with other platforms
- Great customer care
- Transparent about their fees
- No credit check
- You can set your credit limit
- You can use their card for everyday purchases
- Low-Security Deposit
- Free POS system
- Online Marketplace
- User-friendly website
- Completely secure online site
- Many additional fees
- No other significant cons known
Their users are happy with the customer care support since the representatives were always helpful and fully described their offers. Moreover, they will continue using this platform since it provides complete safety, and the site is not sharing any personal information with third-party companies. Overall this is a great online platform with excellent security and excellent customer care.
#4. National Processing – High Rated For Merchant Account Providers
One of the most trusted companies on the market is National Processing. They can handle all major credit cards and electronic checks, and online transactions.
National Processing, founded in 2007, has received positive feedback from small and medium-sized business owners for its pricing transparency and dependable service. They guarantee 100% satisfaction, and they state that they will never raise the low rates they have.
Their team’s primary goal is to provide your small business or a large business with great tools in order for you to expand your business and succeed. They provide you with the best (award-winning) merchant processing solutions.
National Processing can assist your client in making on-time payments on their invoices. Rather than relying on the postal service to deliver your customer’s money to your office, they may log into your website and make their payments directly there. You will make your clients happy if you decide to offer this option to them.
National Processing has an easy and user-friendly website. So, all you have to do is open their official website, and you can download their simple app in order to get the best support. You can quickly sign up for payment processing through their app.
Another great feature is their fast approval time of 24 hours. Overall provides the fastest approval time compared to the other platforms.
Also, they collaborate with Clover, and their goal is to deliver a complete line of Clover equipment such as the following:
- Clover Station – POS full-size system
- Clover Mini – POS small system
- Clover Flex – All in one portable register and printer
- Clover Go – Comes free and works with your mobile device
- Transparent about their prices
- Different plans are available
- Lowest fees on the market
- No minimum monthly fees
- Great customer care support
- Early termination fee
- No equipment prices listed on their official website
National Processing has many positive five-star ratings. Many users are satisfied with their services and their customer care representatives. Also, many users recommend this site for your small or big business since they have no hidden fees and can provide you with excellent service.
#5. Continental Finance : Premium Services For Small Business Owners
One of the leading marketers and servicers of credit cards, founded in 2005, is Continental Finance Company. Their Surge Mastercard Credit Card issued by Celtic Bank is their credit card that you can get if you have poor credit or limited credit. This company specializes in providing credit cards to people with a less-than-perfect credit score.
They have a simple application that you need to fill out in order to be approved for the card. It usually takes 24 hours for approval. Also, it takes around two weeks for your approved card to be shipped to your home address. Currently, they manage more than 2.6 million credit cards.
Continental Finance reports to the three major credit bureaus, allowing you to improve your credit score on time. So, as long as you pay on time, you can easily increase your credit score. So no matter how low your credit score is, you will always be able to get a Surge card and improve your credit score simultaneously.
The Better Business Bureau has proudly awarded them an A+ rating. The company has helped thousands of people get their credit scores higher. Also, they provide great services that are available for everyone to use.
Moreover, we need to mention that they have one of the best customer care support teams. They provide 24/7 assistance, and they are always ready to answer your questions.
They are dedicated to protecting your privacy and providing you with a safe and secure user experience. Since they deal with personal information and financial information about you and all of their users, their main goal is to maintain your confidence and trust.
Also, when you activate a Surge Mastercard, you must set up an account. When you enroll in e-statements, you will receive a free monthly credit score, which is one of the account’s most appealing benefits. You can check your credit score once a month.
- They report to all three major credit bureaus
- Transparent about the fees
- User-friendly platform
- Instant approval
- Easy online payment management
- They provide authentic Mastercard
- 128-bit encryption technology is used to protect personal information
- Continental app available for both Android and iOS devices
- APR ranges from 24.99% up to 29.99%
- Late fees might be added
- No other major cons
Many Continental Finance customers are pleased with all of the company’s services. In addition, their customer service employees were quite kind and helpful. Furthermore, they recommend this website to anyone who needs a credit card processed quickly.
How We Made this List
We looked into the processing cost, setup time, flexibility, payment efficiency, and customer support service. These features are essential to your business, and they determine which credit card processing firm is ideal for you.
All credit card processing companies come with different price systems. The cheapest option is determined by your industry, average transaction size, and sales volume. It is crucial to figure out what tools and skills your business requires before making a final selection.
A new credit card can take up to 10 business days to process, package and ship. So, the setup speed depends on the company’s policy, and also some of the companies provide fast shipping methods.
We have looked into more details when it comes to payment flexibility. Meaning whether the companies accept payments online or just in-person payment.
Customer Support Service
Their customer support service is another factor that we took into consideration. Customer service is an essential factor because customer service representatives can answer all of your questions. We have made sure that we chose the best companies that offer the best customer service.
Checking through customer reviews is one of the finest ways to see if an internet company is really legitimate and can supply you with what you need without scams. This section should not be skipped because it can supply you with more legitimate information than the company can.
What you Should Know When Looking for the Best Credit Card Processing Companies
Cost of Transactions
The payment processor collects the fees for each transaction from the merchant’s sales and distributes the remaining to the numerous brokers. The entire cost, known as the merchant discount rate, is typically 2% to 3% of the entire purchase and includes interchange fees, assessment fees, and processor fees.
- Interchange-plus pricing
These fees make up most of all costs payable during a card transaction. The rates are determined by the card networks, and the fees are paid to the issuing bank. For instance, if the customer used a Citi Mastercard, then Mastercard would establish the interchange fee, which would be reimbursed by Citi.
The cost for each transaction depends upon a number of criteria, including the merchant’s business, the type of card used, and whether the card was used in person payments or online. You need to know that over 700 interchange rates with variations are as minor as a single percent.
- Flat-rate pricing
Flat-rate pricing charges a single charge for all transactions accepted in a specific manner, regardless of the interchange rate. For instance, the in-person transaction may charge a fee of 3.3% plus 15 cents, whereas internet transactions may incur a fee of 3% plus 30 cents.
- Processor fees
Payment processors are compensated by processor fees. A payment processor is a vendor that many businesses use to manage their backend logistics of accepting credit card payments.
It transports card data from wherever users swipe or tap their credit card information to the payment networks and many banks that participate in the transaction like Mastercard, Visa Discover, and so on.
- Tiered pricing
Tiered pricing mixes both interchange pricing and flat-rate pricing aspects. Exchange rates are classified into several major categories. Payment processors charge various fees for each tier. For instance, a debit card may charge 1.7% plus an additional 25 cents, whereas a high-end rewards card may charge 3 % plus additional 30 cents.
The costs are more predictable than the interchange-plus costs, and the rates for certain types of transactions might be more competitive than flat-rate pricing.
- To account for the greater risk of fraud, several credit card processors charge a higher fee for online transactions.
- Terminals can raise your overall expenses. Some businesses allow you to use your own device (phone or tablet), while others require you to use theirs. Also, some businesses allow you to purchase the gadgets altogether or use a payment plan, while others allow you to borrow the equipment.
Type of Business
You should ask yourself what your field is, what your business is about. Many payment processors refuse to provide services to businesses due to the regulation of financial risks associated with accepting payments.
Industries that are often prohibited from payment processors’ terms of credit card processing service include
- Gas stations because they have a high rate of fraudulent card transactions.
- Marijuana or Firearms businesses that are governed by federal or state laws.
Difference Between Merchant Accounts vs. Payment Service Providers
There is a significant difference between a merchant account and payment service providers. So let us see the difference in more detail.
- Merchant Account
A merchant account is a sort of commercial bank account that allows you to take credit, debit, and other electronic payments in a safe manner. Most merchants rely heavily on merchant accounts to run their businesses. When you are selecting a merchant account service, you will meet several options.
Merchant acquiring banks, which work with merchants to facilitate electronic payments, give merchant accounts. There are hundreds of banks that offer merchant accounts.
- Payment service providers
Payment service provider or PSP is a third-party organization that helps many businesses to get access to online payments, including credit cards, debit cards, cash cards payments, online banking, e-wallets, and others. They make sure that customer transactions get from one point to another securely and safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to lower credit card processing fees?
If you want to lower your credit card processing fees, then you can use the following five simple lowering credit methods:
- You can simply make a deal with the credit card processor.
- Make sure you reduce the possibility of credit card fraud.
- Make use of an address verification service.
- Set up your account and terminal correctly
- Speak with a credit card processing specialist or contact the customer care support
What is the average credit card processing fee?
The regular credit card processing cost runs between 1.3 and 3.5%, plus the payment processor’s percentage, which varies depending on the card processor and the plant that you select. Merchants must pay interchange fees. Processing fees and assessment fees in order to accept credit card payments.
Is it acceptable to charge or accept credit card payments processing fee?
When you use your credit card in order to make a payment, you will be charged a surcharge. A surcharge is a fee charged by a business for accepting a method of payment, whether in person, over the phone, or online. Also, you need to know that the convenience fees are acceptable in all 50 states, but they must be explained properly at the time of purchase.
What determines my interchange fees?
There are various factors that influence where your interchange fees fall within the above ranges for each payment network. Let’s review the most important ones
- Merchant type – Each merchant has a merchant type or merchant category code MCC that corresponds to the type of business it operates in. Payment networks offer varying interchange fees according to the MCC of the business. A grocery, for example, has different fees than a restaurant and a cafe.
- Type of credit card – Networks provide a variety of credit cards, each with its own set of features. Cards with additional perks, such as travel rewards or purchase protection, typically have higher interchange costs.
- Processing method – Merchant fees vary depending on whether the card was swiped, inserted. Typed in or was not present (in case of online or phone transactions). The payments made with contactless credit cards are also included in the class for transaction fee reasons. This is due to the fact that the risk of fraud varies depending on the processing technique. Card-not-present (CNP) transactions have a higher risk of fraud and chargebacks, and interchange costs are frequently higher.
What is online payment?
Let’s go through a transaction from beginning to end to have a better understanding of how online payments function. To begin with payment processing, you would normally require a merchant account, a payment service provider account, and a web page with a transaction initiating button.
Website visitors will be able to pay for your online items and service once you set up your website and once you link it to an online payment system. When one of your customers visits your website, they will be able to pay for online membership fees and also registration fees.
How does credit card processing work in practice?
Credit card processing is divided into three steps:
First, let’s take a look at the authorization step.
In return for goods or any type of services, you (the cardholder) need to show your card (or other secure means) to the seller. The request could be from a credit card terminal or POS system at the physical store, mobile or in-app, and eCommerce payment acceptance.
Then the merchant submits a payment authorization request to their payment processing company. And the payment processor forwards them to the appropriate card association, which then forwards them to the issuing company.
Then, the authorization request is sent to the missing bank, with parameters such as AVS. CVV validation and expiration date included. The transaction is approved or rejected by the issuing bank, and the status is directly sent to the association, merchant bank, and lastly, the merchant.
The next step is a settlement, or when the merchant delivers authorization transactions in batches to their payment processor. The payment processor forwards transaction information to card associates who communicate the required debits to the issuing banks in their network.
Then the sum of your transaction is charged to your account by your bank. The issuing bank then transfers funds to the merchant’s bank with fewer interchange costs. And finally, the money is deposited into the merchant’s account by the merchant bank.
Is there a difference between payment gateway and payment processing?
A payment getaway and a payment processor are not the same things, yet they are both required to complete a debit or a credit card payment. A payment gateway creates a secure link in order to encrypt your credit card information. Also, it securely transmits data while the payment processor transfers funds.
A payment service manages debit and credit card transactions on behalf of merchants, and they basically acti as a broker. Also, payment processors acquire transaction approval, interact with the issuing banks, and deposit payment into the merchant account.
If you wish to accept credit card payments in your business, you must first obtain the necessary gear and software. Also, all you have to do is choose one from all of the above-mentioned best credit card processing providers and get your business running and expanding in no time.
We hope that we have provided you with the essential information about each company and what they have to offer you. Also, we hope that you have understood each step of the payment process and the parties involved. As a result, you will be able to select the finest provider for your requirements.