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Best Credit Card Processing Companies Shortlist

Here’s a quick look at the best credit card processing companies I found and what makes them worth considering. Read on for detailed summaries of each.

  1. Stripe - Best for global online sellers
  2. Stax - Best for high-volume sellers
  3. Square - Best option with no monthly fee
  4. Chase - Best all-in-one financial solution
  5. Flagship Merchant Services - Best for small retailers
  6. Podium - Best for local trade businesses
  7. Helcim - Best for versatility, with included POS
  8. PayPal - Best for cryptocurrency and international transactions
  9. Clover - Best combination POS and payment processor
  10. Payment Depot - Best for low credit card processing rates
  11. Dharma Merchant Services - Most POS flexibility
  12. Intuit QuickBooks Payments - Best for QuickBooks users

Credit card processing is a complex series of operations to connect with bank accounts, maintain security, and transfer funds. That’s why I created this list of the best credit card processing companies for businesses. I’ll cover important features, integrations, payment types, and fees, as well as what type of business each processor best serves and how to make your choice.

What Are Credit Card Processing Companies?

Credit card processing companies are how money is moved from a customer’s bank account to a business’s bank account. It uses the customer’s payment information (reading a card or using credit card numbers) to send requests to the account.

They differ mainly based on pricing, processing time, and compatibility with hardware and other technologies. Most processors also support other payment types, such as ACH, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Venmo.

Overview of the 12 Best Credit Card Processing Companies

Let’s dive into these credit card processing companies. I’ll cover key features, strengths, weaknesses, and pricing.

1. Stripe - Best for global online sellers

Stripe Credit Card Processing Software
Stripe users can view individual transactions as well as overall sales trends from the dashboard. (Image Source)

Stripe is a payment platform and credit card processor that supports transactions in 46 countries, although China isn’t one of them. Stripe also offers products for invoicing, billing, fraud detection, and identity verification. It supports all major credit cards, including American Express.

Why I picked Stripe: Stripe is a great choice for e-commerce and other businesses that collect payments primarily online. It accepts 135 currencies, helping even small businesses go international. Stripe is also praised for its APIs and documentation, allowing businesses to build Stripe into their website or app however they like.

Stripe Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the option to sell subscriptions, an increasingly necessary feature for products and services alike. Stripe also allows you to create shareable payment links to streamline transactions on the go. Adaptive Acceptance uses machine learning to intelligently retry credit card payments when they fail.

Integrations include Capital One, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Postmark, Hubspot Data Sync, DocuSign, Xero, and Varos. Stripe has more than 80 pre-built integrations and offers APIs for businesses with development resources.

Pricing: Starts at 2.9% + 30¢

Free Trial: No free trial.

  • Wide range of payments
  • Subscription capabilities
  • Customizable with APIs
  • Limited in-person transactions
  • Too complex for small businesses

2. Stax - Best for high-volume sellers

Stripe payments transaction dashboard
Stax has a streamlined dashboard with metrics and graphics. (Image Source)

Stax, formerly known as Fattmerchant, is a payment processing platform that offers solutions for small businesses, large businesses, and software-as-a-service companies. It also offers Stax Bill for invoicing and maximizing revenue recovery. One of Stax’s biggest differentiators is that they don’t mark up interchange fees, which are the 1-3% charge businesses pay to banks for transferring the funds.

Why I picked Stax: Judging a credit card processor’s pricing is entirely dependent on your sales volume and your primary payment channels. Because Stax charges more for monthly fees but doesn’t mark up interchange fees, the more you sell, the more you save on processing costs.

Stax Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the choice to build your own custom e-commerce shopping cart or use Stax’s pre-built e-commerce carts. They reduce costly chargebacks by instantly verifying customer information. You can also set automated batch times to settle your sales.

Integrations include Slack, Asana, Atlassian,, Calendly, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, Xero, and Hubspot.

Pricing: Starting at $99/month + 8¢ per transaction

Free Trial: No free trial

  • Low transaction fees
  • No contracts
  • 24/7 technical support
  • High monthly fees
  • Limited integrations

3. Square - Best option with no monthly fee

Square payment transaction details
Square offers a range of hardware. You can also take payment from your computer. (Image Source)

Square now operates under a larger technology company called Block, which operates Cash App, Afterpay, and TIDAL along with the payment processor. From the beginning, Square aimed to combine merchant services with point-of-sale solutions and online payments. It was one of the first credit card processing companies to introduce card readers that plug into smartphones and other mobile devices.

Why I picked Square: For small or brand new-businesses, resources are usually limited. So Square’s “Free” plan, which comes with no setup or monthly fees, gives companies a way to start making money without spending upfront. As sales volume grows, businesses can move up to Square’s Plus or Premium plans.

Square Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include a virtual terminal, which allows you to use your computer to complete transactions (no additional hardware needed). Like Stripe, Square can also generate payment links, and you can choose from a range of formats (QR codes, buy buttons, text links, etc.)

Integrations include WooCommerce, Wix, Quickbooks, Uber Eats, Zapier, Groupon, Xero, Magento, Mailchimp, and Drupal Commerce.

Pricing: Starts at 2.6% + 10¢

Free Trial: No free trial

  • No monthly fee option
  • Flexible POS system
  • Range of compatible hardware
  • No high-risk businesses
  • Prone to frozen accounts and interruptions

4. Chase for Business - Best all-in-one financial solution

Chase for Business transaction records
On the Activity page, Chase for Business customers can filter by variables like card type. (Image Source)

Chase for Business is the payment processing arm of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States. Chase for Business differs from other companies on this list because it can function as both the payment processor and the acquiring bank. This means one less vendor handles your data (and takes a cut of revenue).

Why I picked Chase for Business: Credit card and payment processing is complex, and some businesses will appreciate the fact that Chase can directly process transactions and serve as their bank. Since Chase for Business’s rates are competitive, why not consolidate vendors?

Chase for Business Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include virtual, in-person, and online payment processing, all of which are covered by Chase’s PCI compliance. Chase also offers the QuickAccept mobile reader, which allows you to process payments through their mobile app.

Integrations include BigCommerce, Freshbooks, Invoiced, Fiskl, Keap, PayRent, and Fusebill.

Pricing: Starts at 2.6% + $0.10

Free Trial: No free trial

  • Faster access to funds
  • Advanced analytics
  • Direct processor
  • Limited currencies
  • Some features require a Chase business account

5. Flagship Merchant Services - Best for small retailers

Flagship Merchant payment processing hardware
Flagship Merchant Services offers a free terminal with contracts and supports Clover hardware. (Image Source)

Flagship Merchant Services is a payment processor that handles both online and in-store credit card purchases. Since its opening in 2001, it has served more than 25,000 business customers, highlighting its work with small and mid-sized businesses in the retail and restaurant industries.

Why I picked Flagship Merchant Services: Flagship works closely with potential customers to understand their needs and provide custom quotes. They also provide a custom gift card program to help small businesses grow.

Flagship Merchant Services Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the iPayment Mobile Pay swipe reader and mobile payment processing app. They are also compatible with (and a reseller of) Clover hardware, giving businesses a wider range of mobile solutions and POS systems.

Integrations are few and not transparently communicated. Businesses can, however, use the API to build custom integrations.

Pricing: Contact Flagship for custom pricing

Free Trial: No free trial

  • Same-day funding
  • Free terminal
  • Month-to-month contracts
  • Unclear pricing
  • Lack of PCI compliance

6. Podium - Best for local trade businesses

Podium payments dashboard
Podium has added payment processing to its suite of business tools. (Image Source)

Podium is a cloud-based technology company. Originally named RepDrive, the platform was initially focused on providing reputation and review management tools for businesses. They then added text-based marketing and web chat functionality. In 2020, Podium added payments to its repertoire of features.

Why I picked Podium: Many local trade businesses, like plumbers and electricians, rely on word of mouth and reputation to grow revenue. They also have to collect payment in the field. Podium is a powerful combination of mobile payments and review management.

Podium Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the ability to collect payment by subscription or even financing. With their text-based marketing, Podium also enables professionals to keep in touch with customers, collect payments, and solicit reviews, all from a smartphone.

Integrations include Lightspeed, ActiveCampaign, Freshbooks, Copper, Housecall Pro, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, ServiceTitan, Shopify, Squarespace, and Thumbtack. Podium offers 150 integrations as well as a developer portal to build new ones.

Pricing: Starts at $289/month

Free Trial: 14-day free trial

  • Numerous trade software integrations
  • Reputation management tools
  • Text-based transactions
  • High monthly fees
  • Poor customer service

7. Helcim - Best for versatility, with included POS

Helcim payment details form
Helcim offers a wide range of features, but the payment interface is straightforward. (Image Source)

Helcim is a payment solution that also offers invoicing and recurring payments. They tout their fee and rate transparency and give small businesses the tools to build and grow a database of customers.

Why I picked Helcim: Much more than a credit card payment processor, Helcim can function as an out-of-the-box business infrastructure. While it may not have the most advanced features, the combination of processor, POS, CRM, and online store gives new business owners a suite of tools to work with.

Helcim Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include a built-in POS system, as well as tools for inventory management. You can even use Helcim to build an online store, creating a centralized shopping and payment experience.

Integrations include Quickbooks, Magento, WooCommerce, and There are few pre-built integrations, although Helcim offers an API for customization.

Pricing: Starts at 1.86% + $0.08

Free Trial: No free trial

  • Included POS and inventory tool
  • PCI Level 1 service provider
  • Customer database
  • Many prohibited industries
  • Expensive at low sales volume

8. PayPal - Best for cryptocurrency and international transactions

PayPal for Business dashboard
The PayPal business interface, like the one for personal PayPal accounts, is simple and intuitive. (Image Source)

Founded in 1998, PayPal was a pioneer in online payments. It functioned as a digital wallet for online shoppers. In 2012, it launched its first mobile payment processor. Today, PayPal for Business processes transactions both online and in person.

Why I picked PayPal: PayPal has always been at the forefront of digital payments, so it makes sense they are the preferred payment processor for cryptocurrency users. The platform is also available in 202 countries.

PayPal Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include lower online transaction fees and discounts based on monthly sales volume. Businesses can also accept in-person payments by either card swipe or by offering the customer a QR code.

Integrations include BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Big Cartel, Etsy, eBay, Constant Contact, Quickbooks, and Zoho.

Pricing: Starts at 1.9% plus 5 cents

Free Trial: No free trial

  • Easy setup
  • Low online payment fees
  • Range of online wallets and currencies
  • $20 chargeback fee
  • No hardware

9. Clover - Best combination POS and processor

Clover payment checkout form
Clover is another payment processor that allows you to take payments from your computer. (Image Source)

Clover is a point-of-sale system, but it’s owned by payment provider Fiserv. Some other processors, including Flagship Merchant Services, are resellers of Clover hardware. Along with credit cards, Clover accepts Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Why I picked Clover: For small businesses, cutting down on complexity can save tons of time and frustration. A combined payment processor and POS can help get businesses up and running quickly.

Clover Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include processing not only credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets, but also Venmo and PayPal. You can even scan and submit paper checks.

Integrations include Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Yelp, Time Clock, Payroll, Xero, Quickbooks, and WooCommerce.

Pricing: Starts at $15/month and 2.3% + 10¢

Free Trial: 30-day free trial

  • Rapid deposit
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Reporting tools
  • No free options
  • Complex pricing

10. Payment Depot - Best for low credit card processing rates

Payment Depot transactions dashboard
Modules on the Payment Depot dashboard are clickable and take you to detailed analyses. (Image Source)

Payment Depot, a merchant services company, offers payment processing for in-person and online transactions. It accepts all major credit cards and digital wallets.

Why I picked Payment Depot: Like Stax, which acquired it in 2021, Payment Depot doesn’t mark up credit card interchange rates. What’s more, it doesn’t charge setup, cancellation, or chargeback fees.

Payment Depot Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include virtual terminals, standard terminals, smart terminals, and a mobile credit card swiper. And because Payment Depot is owned by Stax, it also doesn’t add a markup to interchange fees.

Integrations include, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Quickbooks, Opencart, Zencart, and Shopify.

Pricing: Starts at $79

Free Trial: 3-month free trial

  • No setup, chargeback, or cancellation fees
  • Range of hardware (+ virtual terminal)
  • Processes online wallets
  • Few support resources
  • High monthly fees

11. Dharma Merchant Services - Most POS flexibility

Dharma Merchant Services dashboard
With Dharma Merchant Services, customers get access to analytics in MX Merchant. (Image Source)

As its name suggests, Dharma Merchant Services is a merchant services provider for retailers, restaurants, B2B businesses, and other businesses. The company also offers discounted rates to nonprofits.

Why I picked Dharma Merchant Services: Dharma is compatible with a wide range of point-of-service systems, allowing you to keep yours if you like it.

Dharma Merchant Services Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the option to use surcharging to pass credit card fees to customers. Each Dharma Merchant Services contract also comes with MX Merchant to store data and run reports.

Integrations include Aloha, Revel POS, Shopify, Wix, Shopkeep, Groupon, Lavu POS, Breadcrumb, NCR Silver, and

Pricing: Starts at $25/month and 0.15% + 8¢

Free Trial: No free trial

  • Variety of hardware and POS options
  • Customer database
  • Discounts for nonprofits
  • Not for very small businesses
  • No high-risk businesses

12. Intuit QuickBooks Payments - Best for QuickBooks users

Quickbooks invoice form with payments
In Quickbooks, you can direct customers to pay from your invoices. (Image Source)

Quickbooks is an accounting software made by Intuit, which also owns TurboTax, Mint, and Mailchimp. Many small businesses use Quickbooks to manage their bills and invoices, but they can also use it as a credit card processor.

Why I picked Quickbooks: Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting softwares available. For small businesses who rely on it, adding payment processing is a simple and easy solution.

Quickbooks Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the ability to accept all major credit cards, digital wallets, Venmo, PayPal, and ACH. Payments are automatically recorded for bookkeeping, and customers can get instant deposits for a 1% fee.

Integrations include PayPal, Etsy, Shopify, eBay, HouseCall Pro, Mailchimp, Divvy, Bloomerang, Magento, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Quickbooks offers more than 700 integrations with tools for sales, marketing, shipping, and more.

Pricing: Starts at 2.4% + 25¢

Free Trial: No free trial

  • All-in-one accounting
  • Fast deposits
  • GoPayment Mobile App
  • No phone support
  • Limited hardware choices

Other Credit Card Processing Company Options

Along with my top picks, these are some other strong credit card processing options that didn’t make the list.

  1. ProMerchant - Best for highly regulated industries
  2. Host Merchant Services - Best for high-risk businesses
  3. Paysafe - Best for large-scale e-commerce businesses
  4. CDGcommerce - Best for B2B businesses
  5. Payline Data - Best no-contract processor
  6. National Processing - Best for low-volume sellers
  7. Shopify - Best for Shopify-based businesses
  8. CardX - Best for government and education organizations

Selection Criteria For Credit Card Processing Companies

Here’s a breakdown of the main criteria I used to evaluate these credit card processors.

Core Functionality

First and foremost, I researched what credit cards and other payment methods each company processes. Why sign up with a processor that can’t take a major credit card, or can’t accept them from a mobile wallet? You need one that covers all your bases in taking card payments, whether that’s online, in person, or mobile, regardless of the card used.

Key Features

Along with the functionality above, here are some valuable features I looked for:

  • Same-day and instant deposits
  • Mobile payment processing
  • Security and PCI compliance
  • Reporting and analysis tools
  • Point-of-sale functionality
  • Inventory tracking

Pricing and Fees

Because most processors charge a combination of monthly fees and transaction fees, I considered which pricing structures made sense for different businesses. I also researched other costs, such as setup fees, cancellation fees, and chargeback fees, as well as whether contracts required a long-term commitment.

Hardware Needs and Compatibility

In order to process in-person payments, most processors require some type of hardware to read credit and debit cards as well as to house a POS system. I considered what types of hardware each company was compatible with. I prioritized processors with a range of hardware price points.

Customer Support

Finally, I evaluated what customer services each credit card processor provided. I considered both the number of channels (phone, live chat, etc.) and how the service was rated in user reviews.

People Also Ask

Still trying to make sense of credit card processing? Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

In the End, Your Unique Needs Determine the Best Credit Card Processing Provider

If it were as simple as picking the single best credit card processing company and recommending it to everyone, this article would be much shorter. But choosing the right credit card processor can actually be a complex, multi-faceted decision.

When comparing vendors, you should consider not just the cost of a single transaction, but the overall processing costs, as well as your sales volume and channels. And, like any other technology, your processor needs to integrate with your other tools, be they hardware or software.

While different businesses have different needs, this list narrows down the field so you can focus on what matters to you.

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By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the Editor of The CFO Club, where he shares his passion for all things money-related. Performing research, talking to experts, and calling on his own professional background, he'll be working hard to ensure that The CFO Club is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay informed on the latest financial trends and topics in the world of tech.

Prior to editing this publication, Simon spent years working in, and running his own, investor relations agency, servicing public companies that wanted to reach and connect deeper with their shareholder base. Simon's experience includes constructing comprehensive budgets for IR activities, consulting CEOs & executive teams on best practices for the public markets, and facilitating compliant communications training.