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No matter its size, a part of every business is making money. Whether you sell online, in a boutique, or at farmer's markets, you will need to know the best way to accept credit cards for small businesses because most people don't always carry cash. This is where a credit card processing company comes in. The best way to accept credit cards for small businesses will depend on your business, but your decision will really boil down to services offered and the fees for those services.

​Some companies charge hidden fees or take advantage of small business owners, in particular, so we looked at ten popular credit card processing services in depth. When it comes time for you to decide, this review will help you to feel confident that you have chosen the best way to accept credit cards for small business.

ec-cash

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Product FAQ

​1. What Is the Best Way to Accept Credit Cards for Small Businesses?

​2. What Does a Credit Card Processing Service Do?

​3. What Does a Credit Card Processing Service Offer?

​4. Where Can You Find a Credit Card Processing Service?

 How We Reviewed

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Based on our research and the opinions of experts in the credit card payment processing field, we have compiled a list of companies that you can trust and looked deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of each. We looked at the features, support, fees, and upfront cost of each service. We also evaluated the benefits of each service for small businesses in particular because credit card processing selection is vastly different for small and big businesses, mostly due to the way fees are assessed.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Up front, you will usually pay a monthly fee for your credit card processing service as well as a transaction fee for each transaction. It is also really important to look at additional fees that will be charged and how often you expect those fees to apply to the types of transactions you will handle. Monthly costs can range from around $12 to $100 plus transaction fees. Paying a higher monthly amount will usually get you more features, service, and equipment and will often come with lower fees in other areas.

clay-banks

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What We Reviewed

  • ​Helcim
  • ​Fattmerchant
  • ​Intuit QuickBooks Payments
  • ​Dharma Merchant Services
  • ​Payline Data
  • ​CDGcommerce
  • ​Cayan
  • ​Square Point of Sale
  • ​Payment Depot
  • ​Flagship Merchant Services

Helcim

helcim

Features

Helcim is very transparent in their pricing and fees, which demonstrates a lot of integrity and saves you from surprises when it comes time for those fees to be deducted from your profit. They are a good choice if you generate at least $1,500 in transactions each month. If the value of your total transactions is lower than this, a flat fee may be more beneficial. If your transactions add up to $20,000 or more, you may want to choose a wholesaler, but Helcim is perfect for a medium-sized small business.

You can purchase all necessary hardware from Helcim including a wired or wireless card scanner or a mobile card reader. These include free shipping, 24/7 support, and a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • ​Transparency with pricing and fees
  • ​Accepts many payments types

Cons

  • ​Fees charged monthly which requires budgeting skills

Price

The monthly fee for Helcim is around $12. Online transactions tend to cost more due to a higher risk of fraud. If you have an online store, you will pay a monthly fee of about $25 instead of $12 for the ability to take payments online. With this higher price comes Helcim's Fraud Defender software. In addition to monthly fees, there is also a fee for each transaction.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Helcim's hardware comes with a one-year warranty.

​Fattmerchant

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Features

​One unique feature of the Fattmerchant service is their pricing. Rather than charging you a monthly fee plus variable fees for each transaction, Fattmerchant charges a monthly fee plus a flat fee for each transaction. This makes the cost per transaction much lower, but it comes with a higher monthly fee. This method of pricing becomes more valuable as you process a higher number of transactions, so we recommend it for merchants with a high volume of transactions each month.

​In addition to the typical services provided by a processor, Fattmerchant includes access to a free dashboard and tools for analytics and invoicing. The software will help with invoicing, billing, inventory, financial reports, and point of sale which is a huge value to you at no additional cost. The company continues to add new features which you will receive as they are rolled out, so the value of your Fattmerchant account will continue to grow over time.

Pros

  • Free dashboard and tools
  • ​Flat transaction fee

Cons

  • ​Pricing is only advantageous for merchants with higher volume
  • ​Does not offer POS hardware, so you need to purchase separately

Price

​The monthly fee for Fattmerchant is around $99. Each transaction will also include a fee of around $.08 for terminal accounts or $.15 for other accounts.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Fattmerchant does not offer POS hardware.

​Intuit QuickBooks Payments

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Features

​One of the obvious benefits of Intuit QuickBooks Payments is the fact that it is part of the entire Intuit system. You can use all of their features to easily share data and keep your financial records clean and simple. Intuit offers great customer support and cares about resolving any issues you may have. They also provide a free mobile card reader with some subscriptions.

​When it comes to pricing, Intuit makes your fees much more predictable by offering the same percentage in transaction fees regardless of the type of card used.

Pros

  • ​Part of the larger Intuit bundle
  • ​Free mobile card reader with some plans
  • ​Pricing is consistent regardless of the type of card used

Cons

  • ​Does not support multiple currencies

Price

​This service will cost about $20 a month plus a transaction fee of around $.25 cents and 3% of the transaction amount.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​The card reader provided by Intuit comes with a 60-day warranty.

​Dharma Merchant Services

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Features

​Dharma is a company who looks to do right by you and others. They are transparent and fair with their pricing, and they also donate a large portion of profits to charity. If you are a non-profit organization, Dharma will give you a discount on their services, making them a great option for you. Due to their pricing, Dharma makes more sense for a business with at least $10,000 in transactions per month. If you have a lower volume, a flat rate option might be best.

​You can purchase both POS systems and credit card terminals from Dharma.

Pros

  • Discount for non-profits
  • ​The company donates profits to charity

Cons

  • ​Pricing is not favorable for very small businesses

Price

​The monthly fee is around $20, and you will receive a discount if your sales volume is over $100,000 per month. Transaction fees are around .15% and $.10 per transaction.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Dharma offers a one year warranty on hardware and will swap it out for a new one if there is a problem.

​Payline Data

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Features

​Payline Data offers excellent service and is especially great for high-risk merchants. For a small business, Payline Data offers a payment plan option which is especially helpful in the early days of business when finances are especially tight. Payline does offer hardware, and the pricing is not listed upfront but is based on your business needs.

Pros

  • ​Good option for high-risk merchants
  • ​Payment plan available for small businesses

Cons

  • ​Hardware pricing not available online

Price

​The monthly cost can be free or go up to around $60 depending on your plan. Transaction fees range from around .3% to .65% plus $.20.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​No warranty information was available from Payline Data.

​CDGcommerce

CDG-Commerce

Features

CDGcommerce is a good option if you are worried about the cost of a credit card terminal. Usually, you will need to either buy your terminal outright or lease from the processor. Both of those are expensive options. CDGcommerce offers free use of a credit card terminal, two options are available, and all you pay is the insurance with is about $80 a year. They also include a free virtual terminal for accepting online payments.

​You can use the ProcessNow app and card reader from CDGcommerce to process mobile payments; however, the card reader doesn't recognize EMV. Like other interchange-plus processors, CDGcommerce might not be the most affordable option for a business with under $10,000 in monthly transactions.

Pros

  • ​Free terminal lease
  • ​Free virtual terminal

Cons

  • ​Mobile card reader doesn't recognize EMV
  • ​Pricing is not competitive for the smallest businesses

Price

​The monthly price is around $10, and the transaction cost will be about 1.8% plus $.25 per transaction.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Since you can lease equipment for free, CDGcommerce will send a replacement if the hardware is having issues.

​Cayan

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Features

​Cayan offers a more customized solution for your business, and this includes pricing. The pricing is not advertised, but Cayan will work with you to provide a personal quote based on the size of your business and your transaction volume. They offer different types of pricing and can be flexible, but they still might not be the best option for very small businesses.

​Their open API software means you can integrate it with other platforms for maximum functionality. If the technology is intimidating for you, this might not be valuable, but you can always seek help with setting it up if you want to take advantage of this feature. Unlike most other we looked at, there is a termination fee after 60 days of service with Cayan.

Pros

  • ​Customized pricing
  • ​Open API software

Cons

  • ​Termination fee after 60 days
  • ​Not the most affordable option for very small businesses

Price

​Rates vary based on your business and must be quoted by Cayan directly.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Cayan will repair or replace equipment within 30 days of purchase. After that, manufacturers' warranties apply. You can purchase extended warranties through Cayan as well.

​Square Point of Sale

sqaure

Features

​Square is one of the best and most popular options for those very small businesses with a low volume of sales. The pricing is flat and predictable which is beneficial for small businesses but could cost more money once the business grows too large. All customers with Square will receive a free card reader. You can also purchase higher quality chip readers if needed.

​If your business is growing very quickly, there is also the chance that you will experience some account freezes due to the appearance of fraudulent activity.

Pros

  • ​Flat fee
  • ​Free card reader

Cons

  • ​Could be more expensive for larger businesses
  • ​Must purchase higher quality card reader for more features like chip reading
  • ​Can be problems with account freezing if a business is growing quickly

Price

​Fees are straightforward with Square. The transaction fee is always about 2.75% in person and 3.5% plus $.15 for keyed-in transactions.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Square hardware is covered by a one-year limited warranty.

​Payment Depot

payment depot

Features

​Payment Depot, unlike many competitors, offers wholesale style pricing. This allows each business to pay only for what it needs and makes pricing fairly standard and predictable. However, this pricing structure is not the best for very small businesses who benefit most from a flat rate structure with lower pricing and fees.

Pros

  • ​Wholesale style pricing is predictable

Cons

  • ​Not financially beneficial for very small businesses

Price

​The monthly fee for Payment Depot ranges from around $49 to $99. The transaction fees range from around $.25 to $.05 per transaction. The higher monthly fees come with lower transaction fees.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Hardware sold by Payment Depot is not proprietary and is under manufacturers warranties.

​Flagship Merchant Services

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Features

​Flagship offers more than one pricing option, so you can get the best type of pricing for your business. However, the pricing is not as transparent as that of competitors, so make sure to read carefully to avoid surprising fees. If you are looking for a customized solution, this could be the company for you, but we also recommend looking into Cayan to see if their custom solutions will meet your needs. Flagship does offer free equipment use with some of its plans.

Pros

  • ​Custom solutions and pricing
  • ​Free equipment with some plans

Cons

  • ​Pricing is not transparent

Price

​Since pricing is customized, you will need to contact Flagship directly to obtain a quote.

Where to Buy

​Warranty

​Hardware from Flagship is not proprietary and is therefore under manufacturers warranty.

​The Verdict

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​Image source: unsplash.com

​This is truly a situation where one choice is not right for everyone. The best way to accept credit cards for small businesses is very individualized. Based on the information we laid out, you can see that each credit card processing service is a good choice for certain types of businesses, so the best way to accept credit cards for small businesses will be based on the type of business you are and your transaction volume.

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