With so many options for credit card processing systems and providers, narrowing your choices can seem overwhelming. You may find it beneficial to start by learning about a few credit card companies that are recognized as highly-rated choices.
PC Mag recognized Square's Point of Sale service as an 'editors' choice' selection in its list of "the best credit card processing services of 2018." Reviews.com says it is the best option "for newcomers." Merchant Maverick indicates that is "ideal for low-volume merchants," but cautions that it isn't "suitable for high-risk industries." Square has a near-perfect user satisfaction rating on FinancesOnline.
With Square, you can accept all major credit cards. When you sign up, you will receive a "magstripe reader" at no cost that attaches to a mobile device to swipe credit cards. Devices that allow you to process chip or tap-and-go transactions are also available. You can also use their point-of-sale app to process transactions.
Square has a clear fee structure that varies based on transaction type. According to Merchant Maverick, Square's "predictable flat-rate pricing" is one of its top advantages. Transaction type impacts the fee.
- Tapped, swiped, or chip transactions: Either 2.75% with no transaction charge or 2.5% plus a ten-cent transaction charge (depending on type of device used to process transactions)
- Keyed-in transactions via the app: 3.5% with a 15-cent transaction charge
There are no monthly fees or other charges. Funds are deposited into your account the next business day. You can opt to pay an additional one percent for instant availability. Custom pricing is available for high volume accounts ($250,000 per year or more).
Helcim has a perfect editor's rating score on ValuePenguin and is also named as an 'editors' choice' selection in the 2018 PCMag list of the best credit card processing services. ValuePengin says that Helcim is ideal for "business owners looking for transparent credit card processing pricing." However, they indicate that it is not ideal for lower-volume merchants.
With Helcim, you can accept all major credit card brands and process transactions in multiple currencies. Funds are deposited within two business days. You can opt to pay a $10 per month fee in order to have your funds deposited in one day. Several card reader options are available, as well as a virtual terminal. Helcim offers a 30-day trial, so you can see if the service meets your needs without making a long term commitment.
There is monthly charge. Retail businesses pay $15 per month, and online firms pay $35. Helcim does not offer flat rate pricing, but fees are often lower than you would get from a processor that offers this option.
Beyond the monthly fee, pricing varies based on industry, whether transactions are ones where the card is present or not, and average transaction amount. To get information on processing costs specific to your situation, go to the pricing page on their website and select the option that most closely matches your situation. You'll get an average rate, and then an option to click through to see the full scope of pricing.
As an example, for a retail business with a monthly average of $20,000 and an average transaction size of $25, fees vary from 1.388% to 3.354%, depending on the type of card used to pay. In this example, the lower fee is for a swiped Visa debit card, and the highest fee is for a swiped corporate account MasterCard.
Both BrainSINS and Reviews.com indicate that PayPal is one of the best options for ecommerce. ValuePenguin describes PayPal as "a good solution for some online merchants looking for an easy way to start accepting payments" and expecting a low volume of credit card transactions. It is not ideal for those who want access to a virtual terminal. One is available, but a monthly fee applies.
All major credit cards can be processed through PayPal. Most transactions are deposited within two days. American Express can take longer. According to ValuePenguin, "PayPal offers good and quick solutions for integrating credit card processing into your company's website." It is easy to integrate PayPal into most websites, without a need for custom coding. This makes PayPal a good choice for those who are fairly new to ecommerce and want to start selling online quickly.
While PayPal isn't the cheapest credit card processing option out there, the fact that it is so easy to use makes it a top choice for some ecommerce businesses. There are no set-up fees, no monthly fees for ecommerce or mobile card reader options, no gateway fee, and no termination fee if you decide to close the account. (Note: If you want a virtual terminal, you will have to pay a $30 per month fee.)
When using PayPal to accept credit cards via an ecommerce site, the merchant fee is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction, assuming the transaction originates in the U.S. and does not require currency conversion. Higher transaction fees apply for out-of-country transactions and currency conversion.
PayPal isn't limited to ecommerce, as mobile card readers are also available for point of sale processing without a monthly fee. Fees for this option are:
- Swiped or checked-in: 2.7% with no transaction fee
- Keyed-in or scanned: 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction
International fees apply. There is a 1.5% percent charge to receive out-of-country-payments. Currency conversions require a 2.5% transaction fee.
Plastic Processing Options
There are many advantages of accepting credit cards, as customers often prefer the convenience of paying with plastic. These are only a few of the many companies you may want to consider. Start your research here, but investigate other options as well. Once you make a decision, you'll be ready to implement the next steps in processing credit card payments.