Choosing the best way to process credit cards can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never used a merchant account before. However, even seasoned business owners can get confused about selecting payment processing companies since they all do the same thing, more or less. One difference that can allow you to choose a payment processor more easily is to consider the types of transactions they specialize in.
These transactions can include ecommerce, mobile payments, or traditional retail purchases with a physical credit card.
Identifying the best company to process credit cards for your business becomes much easier when you follow a few simple criteria. It also helps to focus on a short list of credit card processing companies that have consistently earned high ratings from their customers (yes, those do actually exist!)
The following guidelines will show you how to process credit cards in your service business for 2020.
And if you’re a real paytech geek about this stuff, you’ll be salivating at what we’re about to serve up…
The best criteria for selecting a company to process credit cards for your business include the following:
- Sales pressure
A credit card processor shouldn’t have any hidden fees or other surprises in its pricing system. Full transparency also requires a merchant account provider to separate wholesale costs from markup costs, a practice known as interchange-plus, or pass-through pricing. The credit card issuer sets the interchange rate, which is the same for all credit card processors. However, the markup can vary greatly between companies.
The best companies have clear rates you can see on their website.
The best processors provide detailed fee disclosures up front, and many of them also offer to meet your current rate if it’s lower than their advertised rate. Both of these practices ensure that a new business starts out at a fair rate when using a new processor. That being said, if the processors rate is already lower than the rest of the mark, no need to negotiate further…just lock it in.
Companies that process credit cards use a variety of strategies to provide value for their customers. They can charge rock-bottom prices by providing only their own services, or they can charge more and provide additional services such as software. The best choice depends on your business and your budget, but you shouldn’t necessarily go with the lowest rate.
Additionally, value does depend on where you are in your business. Do you operate a small business or are you a giant retailer like TJ Maxx or Walmart?
Some of the salespeople for credit card processors will promise you anything to get you to sign on the dotted line, but fail to live up to those promises. Others offer low rates, but require a long commitment and charge a high fee to get out of it. The best credit card processors don’t use high-pressure sales tactics or require you to make long-term commitments.
Seriously, why would you even try to pressure customers in a B2B environment? It makes no sense, unless your product is sub-par…
A proven track record of providing good customer service is important for any business, but this is especially true for companies that process credit cards. All of these companies have some customer complaints against them, so it’s critical to determine the exact nature of the complaint and look for patterns. Merchant account providers with the best reputation will have low complaint counts and many independent reviews illustrating their good practices. That being said, when you do see complaints online…read the fine print. Complaints about pricing tricks and gotchas are BAD NEWS, run far, far away. Complaints about long hold times and some merchants not being approved to process on these platforms are surprisingly a good sign. It means they are a secure platform that only works with reputable merchants. There are lots of fraudsters and trolls out there masquerading as business people. You don’t want to processing alongside them on a platform. You want them shut out of any zone that your business is playing in.
Credit Card Processors
It’s difficult to make definitive claims about the companies in an industry as large as credit card processing, but the following providers are some of the best. This is especially true when it comes to setting up accounts, whether it’s online or over the phone. These companies also offer varying services, with varying policies as far as their sales and marketing practices.
Our top pick: PocketSuite
PocketSuite is our top pick and the best choice for folks who run a small business. What makes PocketSuite unique
PocketSuite brings the best of both worlds. You get all of the features of full fledged business management software, but conveniently packaged into an app – you can literally run your entire business from your phone! PocketSuite only charges a low 2.9% + 30¢ flat fee. The lowest in the industry with no additional markup or hidden fees and, of course, no long term commitment.
If you operate a small, service business, save yourself some time and just try PocketSuite now.
From their website:
“Whether you are independent and on-the-go or have the help of an admin and team, save time and never miss another appointment or lead again. You will also have access to online booking so clients can book you from your website, Facebook, and/or Instagram. There are so many ways for you to get booked and paid on PocketSuite. Download the app and get setup in minutes.”
PocketSuite has a free plan you can try right away. However, they also have paid plans that include Client Imports, Instant Cashout, and Rockstar Support. Check out these features from the Premium plan:
- Unique Business #
- Subscription Payments
- Customer Group Messaging
- Saved Message Templates
- Class Scheduling, Auto Check Ins & Attendance Tracking
- Overnight Reservations
- Tasks / To-Do’s
- Online Booking (Site/FB/IG)
- Data Importing
- Questionnaires / Forms
- Contract E-Signing
- Smart Campaigns
- Package Sales & Usage Tracking
- Add-On Products
- Lead Forms
Here are our Runners up:
Payment Depot was founded in 2013 and has its headquarters in Orange, California. This merchant account provider uses subscription-based pricing, which is a variant of the traditional interchange-plus model. Subscriptions are relatively new for companies that process credit cards, although other processors also use it. However, Payment Depot’s excellent customer services and open sales practices place it ahead of many of its competitors.
Interchange-plus pricing includes the interchange rate charged by the credit card issuer and the processor’s markup fee, which can include a flat fee for the transaction and a percentage of the sale. Many processors also charge additional fees for other services such as providing account statements and ensuring PCI compliance. Payment Depot bundles all of these charges into a single subscription fee that range from about $50 to $200 per month as of 2020, depending on the services the plan offers. The elimination of the markup fee means you only pay the interchange rate plus a flat fee for each transaction. This fee is currently between $0.05 and $0.15 per transaction, depending on the subscription plan.
You can pay Payment Depot’s subscription fee monthly, but you’ll save money by paying it annually. You also get a 90-day guarantee with annual payments, so you can get a refund on your subscription fee if you cancel your subscription within the first 90 days. This benefit can provide you with peace of mind that you won’t lose your annual subscription fee if you don’t like the annual payment option.
Fattmerchant can be beneficial for any type of business, but is best suited for merchants who don’t use physical credit cards such as e-commerce. This company uses a subscription model to process credit cards, with a transaction fee ranging from $0.08 to $0.15. The subscription fee is about $100 a month, which will usually pays for itself since there’s no markup fee. Fattmerchant is especially helpful for card-not-present businesses because it doesn’t charge extra for ecommerce and phone orders, as virtually every other provider of merchant services does.
Fattmerchant is one of the best all-in-one payment processors available due to the versatility and value it provides for a wide range of businesses. This method of processing credit cards is a good choice whether you run a standard retail business or are a service provider. The biggest reason to use Fattmerchant to process credit cards is the additional services it provides, which include billing, customer management, inventory management, virtual terminal and reporting. Fattmerchant’s available services already rival those of Square Payments, and it’s continually adding new services.
National Processing is our runner-up choice for merchants who run a small business, but still need the services of a larger business. It has a great reputation, with a lot of praise from its current customers and few complaints. This combination is rare among companies that process credit cards. National Processing uses an interchange-plus pricing model and offers the following four plans based on business type:
- ACH payments: $0.24 per transaction
- eCommerce payments: interchange rate + 0.30% + $0.10 per transaction
- Restaurants: interchange rate + 0.15% + $0.07 per transaction
- Retail: interchange + 0.20% + $0.10 per transaction
National Processing is a great choice for merchants who want a reliable company to process credit cards for a low rate. Its best selling points also include the versatility of its pricing models. However, National Processing doesn’t offer the large suite of free software that other processors provide. Bear in mind that National Processing could save you enough money to enable you to buy this software from any vendor you want, instead of just using the software that your payment processor provides.
So, which one are you going to choose?
At least one of the credit card processors reviewed here should be a great match for your business, whether you have multiple retail locations or only sell your products online. All three of these companies that process credit cards offer a competitive rate for their services, which essentially consists of connecting your credit card issuer’s bank with your bank. They also provide transparent pricing with an easy setup, although the specific pricing models and features of these companies that process credit cards vary greatly.
Make the right choice, and you might be looking like Jonah Hill…
Credit card processors tend to focus on a particular segment according to factors such as transaction volume or transaction type. For example, PocketSuite is best for businesses with small or medium volume while Fattmerchant is better for larger retail businesses like Walmart. In general, though, all of these companies have lower rates than those offered by credit card processors owned by the credit card issuers’ banks.