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Best Merchant Services For Small Businesses of 2024
Simplify payments & save on rates
These top merchant services are the best in the industry. Compare these top-rated
credit card processing companies to grow your business today!
Best Payment Processors For
Small Businesses of 2024
Compare the best credit card processing companies and easily
accept credit card payments. Choose the best provider and grow
your business today!
Best Merchant Services For Small Businesses of 2024
Compare top-rated payment processing services, find
the best for you and easily accept credit card payments.
1
Top Payment Processor
9.8
Outstanding
Based on 32 Reviews
1.5
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • FREE card payment equipment included
  • Industry-low rates starting at 0.15%
  • Save on processing fees or get $200 back
  • 98% application approval rate in 24hrs
  • 24/7 top-rated customer support
2
9.0
Excellent
Based on 705 Reviews
1.3
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • A simpler, smarter way to process payments
  • Competitive rates & next-day funding
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Customized account for your business
3
8.9
Very Good
Based on 14,013 Reviews
2.4
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • Wireless terminals for mobile payments
  • No monthly fees, 24/7 support
  • Integrates with major cards & banks
  • Continuously upgraded features
4
9.2
Excellent
Based on 4,703 Reviews
4.1
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • Compatible with multiple devices
  • Contains stacks of e-commerce feature
  • Standard rate: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Sleek, high-quality equipment
5
7.4
Fair
Based on 687 Reviews
2.6
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • Create and share simple payment links
  • Generate quotes & invoices quickly
  • Automate recurring invoices and payments
  • Extensive customer support options
6
8.9
Very Good
Based on 1,010 Reviews
4.2
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • Seamlessly accept every payment type
  • 0% markup payment processing
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Trusted by 30,000+ merchants
7
8.7
Very Good
Based on 1,256 Reviews
3.6
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • Simple and clear credit card processing
  • Pricing customized for your business
  • Accept all payment types
  • Best for minimizing fees
Our Top Choice
1
High Approval Rating
9.8
Outstanding
Based on 32 Reviews
1.5
TrustPilot is an open, global platform where users write product reviews and assign products a star rating. If a brand does not have a TrustPilot score, its score will be based solely on the User Engagement score (see below).
  • FREE card payment equipment included
  • Industry-low rates starting at 0.15%
  • Save on processing fees or get $200 back
  • 98% application approval rate in 24hrs
  • 24/7 top-rated customer support

What is a Merchant Services Provider?

A merchant services provider (MSP) is a business that offers credit card processing and other merchant services. MSPs are also commonly referred to as credit card processors or payment processing companies (or online payment processing companies when they also cater to e-commerce). While credit card processing is the primary service offered by MSPs, the top merchant services companies also offer a range of other useful services.

Here’s a breakdown of what the top merchant services providers offer:

Credit card processing. Service that enables your business to instantly and securely accept credit card, debit card, and other payments (e.g. gift card) through a range of channels, e.g. in-store, online, phone, mail order. Obtaining a high-risk merchant account is crucial for ensuring smooth operations for businesses in high-risk industries. Additionally, using swipe pay merchant services can enhance transaction efficiency.

Business financing. Many top merchant services companies offer a type of business financing known as a merchant cash advance. This is a product where the MSP loans you a lump sum of cash and you pay it back from a pre-agreed portion of your daily or weekly credit/debit card transactions. This service can be especially beneficial when coupled with host merchant services or advance merchant services.

Gift card programs. Gift cards can help you expand your customer base, particularly if you’re in the retail or restaurant business. Some top merchant services providers offer gift card programs – from design of branded gift cards through to seamlessly accepting gift cards through your payment terminal. Using best high risk merchant processors can ensure that even high-risk businesses can offer such programs effectively.

Loyalty programs. Similar to the gift card program, your MSP can design a custom loyalty program that seamlessly integrates with your payments. Integrating high-risk credit card merchant services can enhance the functionality of these programs.

Other features. Other common features offered by MSPs include email marketing, newsletters, and website design. Utilizing virtual merchant services can also streamline various aspects of online business operations.

What is Credit Card Processing?

As discussed above, MSPs typically double up as payment processing companies. In this respect, the merchant services provider acts as an intermediary between your business and your customer’s credit card / debit card provider (e.g. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex), enabling you to seamlessly and instantly collect payments. For businesses considered high-risk, obtaining a merchant account for high risk is essential to avoid interruptions in payment processing.

At the very least, all credit card processors charge a per-transaction fee. This consists of an interchange fee (the fee charged by the credit/debit card issuer, plus the credit card processing company’s own mark-up) plus a flat fee. Interchange fees can range from 1-5% of the transaction while flat fees range from $0.10 to $0.25. Transaction fees are charged per each transaction – whether you make 10 transaction per month or one million.

Your merchant services provider may also charge one or more of the following CC processing fees:

  • Monthly maintenance fee
  • Monthly minimum fee
  • PCI compliance fee
  • Equipment rental/purchase
  • Setup fee
  • Termination fee
  • ACH fee
  • International payment fees
  • Statement fee
  • 1099-K fee
  • PCI non-compliance penalty
  • Chargebacks

If you take e-commerce transactions, then there will be separate fees associated with online credit card processing. This includes a fee for setting up and maintaining your online payment gateways. For high-risk merchants, ensuring compliance with merchant processing statements is crucial to maintaining service continuity. Utilizing electronic merchant services can also help streamline online transactions.

The Different Types of Merchant Services Provider

Although merchant services providers offer a range of services, what really defines each of them is the way they do credit card processing. Broadly speaking, there are two types of MSPs: acquiring banks and independent sales organizations. The difference between the two depends on their relationship to the credit card companies. These distinctions are important because they can help you make sense of the CC processing fees (acquirers tend to be more straightforward, while ISOs charge lots of fees). However, there’s no difference when it comes to processing speed (both let you process payments instantly and securely).

Acquiring banks (or acquirers). These are banks or financial institutions that process credit or debit card payments on behalf of a merchant. The acquirer allows merchants to accept payments from the card-issuing banks within credit card associations like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. The best-known acquirers include First Data and Square. Visa merchant services are crucial for businesses handling a large volume of Visa transactions.

Independent sales organizations (or ISOs). These are smaller MSPs that provide services on behalf of the acquirers. Because of their low bulk rates and high rates of approval, ISOs tend to be better for merchants with lots of transactions or merchants in high-risk industries. The best-known ISOs include Leaders, PaymentCloud, Flagship, and CreditCardProcessing.com. For businesses needing a high-risk merchant account, ISOs often offer the best solutions. Always compare merchant services to find the best fit for your business needs.

Getting Approved by a Merchant Services Provider

In order to use a merchant services provider’s services, you first need to get yourself approved for credit card processing. With most MSPs, this is fairly straightforward. As long as you can show you’re a legitimate, lawful business, you shouldn’t have too much trouble opening an account. The merchant account sign up process typically requires basic business information and documentation.

If your business falls in the high-risk category, then the best credit card processor for you is probably an ISO. Although acquiring banks like Square and First Data are cheaper to get started with, you run the risk of having your account closed if the acquirer notices a high number of chargebacks from your customers. Therefore, best high risk merchant account providers are often ISOs that can handle such risks.

High-risk businesses include:

  • Online gambling or casinos
  • Advance bookings in travel and tourism
  • Magazine or other subscription-based businesses
  • Online dating services
  • Debt collection
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • E-commerce

For these businesses, what is a high risk merchant becomes a pertinent question as it defines the level of service and approval process required. Looking into high risk merchant account reviews can provide valuable insights into the best options available.

How to Find the Best Merchant Services Provider

Every business is different, so it stands to reason that there’s no one-size-fits-all merchant services solution. The best payment solutions for small business vary from the best payment processing companies for large enterprises. If you have an e-commerce site, then you’ll also want to look out for merchant services providers that offer online payment gateways, including ach merchant account services for efficient transactions. For low-cost solutions, seek out lowest rate merchant services.

Here are some rules to follow when comparing merchant services providers:

  • Experience serving your industry
  • Ability to service all your transaction needs, e.g. bricks-and-mortar, remote, online
  • Transparent and straightforward fee structure, including average merchant processing fees
  • Minimum monthly transaction requirements that you can uphold
  • No contracts or setup fees (unless these things don’t bother you)
  • Offers add-ons that suit your business (e.g. web development if you’re looking to set up a website)
  • Additionally, having access to visa merchant account services can be crucial for businesses dealing with international customers. For those in the e-commerce or high-risk sectors, finding best card merchant services is essential to maintain operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Also, consider direct to debit card payment options for more flexibility in managing funds.
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