8 Top Credit Card Processing Companies
The expectations of consumers regarding credit card payments are on the rise. Businesses that accept card payments are now required to meet certain standards to satisfy modern-day customers. They not only need to provide a fast checkout experience but also need to ensure that it is easy, flexible, secure, and most importantly, affordable in terms of fees and costs. This means that only businesses using the best and cheapest card payment processors can outperform their competitors, attract more customers, and make sustainable profits.
If you are having a hard time finding the right payment processor for your business, then you have arrived at the best informative material online. In this article, we will be showing you the best credit card processing companies to use for your online commerce and physical store. This guide also contains information about card processing fees and costs, a description of how merchant services work, and tips for choosing a reliable payment processor.
Difference Between Credit Card Processors and POS Systems
Credit card processing companies, which are also called payment processors, are third-party fintech firms or electronic money institutions that assist small businesses and e-commerce merchants with the secure and reliable handling of all card transactions between them and their customers. These transactions include payments made with debit and credit cards online and in person.
What is a POS system? This term refers to a combination of software and hardware that integrate inventory management systems and loyalty programmes of merchants to enable the accurate processing of card payments. It accepts credit card payments, tracks sales and inventory, adds taxes, applies discounts, creates or prints receipts, records and reports transactions, and much more. Therefore, though a POS system is not a payment processor, it is often developed with payment processing capabilities. That is why most top payment processors, such as Square, Stripe, and Revolut, provide their own POS systems to their business account holders.
Your payment processor can mediate between all the different financial institutions involved in a card-based transaction in just a few seconds after a customer inserts their credit card into your point of sale (POS) system or card terminal. Depending on the payment processor you use and whether you are processing a purchase in person or online, there are often several parties involved in a transaction. Basically, the successful processing of credit card payments involves communication and cooperation between the customer's bank (which issued the card), the credit card network (probably Visa or Mastercard), and the merchant’s account.
How to Choose a Credit Card Processor
The credit card processor you choose can either make things financially easier for your business or complicate everything. You certainly do not want to experience the latter. Therefore, you need to take the factors discussed below into consideration when looking for the right credit card processing company for your business. Thankfully, none of the payment processors we have provided in this article is lacking in these critical areas.
Payment processing is obviously something you need your credit card processor for, but a competent processor should also provide other services, preferably with custom features that your business and customers will enjoy using. The best credit card processors, which have been listed in this article, give you management tools, thorough analytics, and integrable e-commerce and POS systems, which greatly simplify how you operate your business and handle your finances.
Security and safety
For businesses that want to accept credit cards, security should be of the utmost importance. Customers must be able to trust you in order to give you their money and personal information since a data breach may quickly bring an otherwise successful firm to its knees. Also, your company might be subject to significant penalties and class-action suits if your payment processor is unable to maintain PCI compliance. Another benefit to look out for is additional protection against chargebacks and fraud.
Ease of use
You should choose a credit card processor that will give you a solution that does not just work but works easily. Avoid a merchant service provider that will get you trapped in hours of coding to complete system setup and backend integration. You should spend just a few minutes on this and be good to go with accepting credit cards.
A timely support team that can assist whenever a problem arises is a must-have when choosing a credit card processor. Remember that this is about your company's finances—delayed technical help can be disastrous. Read reviews and honest overviews of your top three potential payment processors before making a choice. Look out for horrible stories and commendations to separate the good companies from the terrible ones.
Pricing (fees and costs)
We deliberately placed this factor last in our list of things to consider because you should not base your choice solely on the fees and costs of using a payment processor. Some payment processors may offer very low rates but deliver poor-quality services that will cost your business a huge loss later. Therefore, you need to examine other important factors before checking whether the full package is worth the fees and charges of the payment processor.
Try to arrive at a balanced view of everything your business and customers need before choosing a credit card processing company. However, do not choose a payment processor you cannot afford to pay. Fortunately, we have provided you with the most affordable merchant service providers to choose from.
Top 8 Best Credit Card Processing Companies
Millions of consumers, including private individuals and corporations, now prefer the convenience of using payment cards to carrying cash. As paper money and cheques are fast becoming less fashionable payment methods, all businesses worldwide must find ways to accept credit and debit cards, both the physical and virtual versions of them.
Below is our top selection of the best credit card processing companies to use for your online and in-person business. They provide the cheapest, fastest, and most secure payment processing services across the globe.
DECTA is a world-class payment processing service provider. The company is registered and duly authorised in the United Kingdom to offer an innovative range of products to its customers across the globe.
Merchants, fintech startups, and payment service providers can leverage the “Payment Acquiring” product of DECTA to obtain a broad variety of tools for accepting online payments in secure and customised ways. It supports fast transactions via major card networks, mobile wallets, and e-wallets with a flexible price policy to match your business requirements. Your business can use this service to accept and process payments in over 50 currencies, including EUR, USD, and GBP.
DECTA charges an interchange fee that is 2% in the United States and around 0.2% to 0.4% in Europe. However, this cost might vary depending on your location, industry, the type of transaction (in-store POS payments, online checkout, card-present or card-not-present), and the type of payment card (prepaid, debit, or credit).
Intergiro is one of the best payment processing companies in the world. It provides an all-in-one financial toolkit for you to be in full control of your financial ecosystem. This company is a principal member of Mastercard, Visa, SEPA, and SWIFT.
Businesses that want to accept credit cards but also save on transaction fees while receiving same-day funds can rely on Intergiro for their payment infrastructure. It provides a suite of APIs that enable merchants to easily handle all the complex details involved in card payment processing, all at a flexible price.
The monthly fee for Intergiro’s packages starts at €19. All other costs can be negotiated according to the requirements of your business.
Square is a popular payment processor for businesses of all sizes. You can use this service to synchronise all aspects of your business, integrating online and in-store inventory and sales for efficient funds management.
Square enables you to accept credit card purchases easily and quickly, offering you online solutions and card readers so that you never miss a payment. Besides, you can use Square’s QR codes and payment links to accept payments remotely via SMS or email.
Aside from seamlessly accepting debit and credit card payments, choosing Square brings many additional benefits for your business. You will get a free Square POS app, reliable fraud protection, litigation management support, real-time analytics, and expert customer service teams that can help you with sales and timely technical assistance.
Square charges a processing fee of 1.65% per deal for in-person payments, 1.4% + €0.25 or 2.9% + €0.25 per deal for online payments, and 2% or 2.5% per deal for remote payments via links. Businesses with annual sales that amount to over €200,000 can receive personalised pricing from Square.
Revolut is a neobank that also provides “super app” services. In terms of payment processing, this bank enables freelancers, digital nomads, e-commerce sellers, and small businesses to accept card payments easily and securely from anywhere. It supports online and in-person payments, enabling you to tailor your checkout experience through its Merchant API, plugins, and customisable widget.
You can use this service to get paid in up to 28 currencies at low costs. The fees start from 1% + €0.20. You pay only per transaction, and there are no hidden fees. Moreover, all your transactions are highly protected because Revolut is PCI DSS certified.
Connectum is a UK-licensed leading provider of global payment processing services. It is PCI DSS certified as a secure processor of card-based transactions. You can use this service to receive payments via Visa and Mastercard cards with multi-currency processing as well as request payment by invoice tech. It also allows you to collect and download real-time data with advanced statistical tools for informed decision-making.
After a free application review, every merchant who signs up on Connectum is entitled to a personal account manager for 24/7 friendly customer support. In addition, the customer will get a free merchant account for payment processing. However, expect to pay a monthly monitoring fee that starts at €10 and a chargeback processing fee starting from €30.
ConnectPay is another reputable company that provides card payment processing services to e-commerce businesses. It is based in the EU’s hottest fintech hub, Lithuania, and is authorised and regulated as an EMI by the Bank of Lithuania.
Through the pre-built Merchant API of ConnectPay, you can allow your customers to checkout using Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards, as well as accept payments in USD, EUR, GBP, NOK, SEK, and other currencies.
An application for a ConnectPay merchant account is processed free of charge, with no account opening fee and no minimum monthly service fee. But fees of €0.10 + 1% and €0.10 + 2.50% are charged for domestic (Lithuanian) and international card transactions, respectively.
Satchel is an electronic money institution and payment processor with a strong impact on diverse businesses across the globe. The company is registered in Lithuania and licensed by the Supervision Service Department of the Central Bank of Lithuania.
Satchel provides multiple solutions for different kinds of businesses with a common goal: to make money online securely and easily. It offers custom accounts and APIs for freelancers and merchants to accept domestic and international payments via cards and banks. These accounts are available at personalised pricing plans that start at €0.15 + 0.3% for domestic card purchases and €0.15 + 1.2% for international card purchases.
Customers of Satchel can receive technical support and answers to their questions via its FAQ page, email, in-app chat, and phone number.
Stripe is a fintech company that has established itself as a big and reputable brand when it comes to the provision of financial infrastructure for businesses of all sizes. It is a versatile online payment processor that adapts to the needs of a variety of merchants without compromising security. That is because it is PCI DSS Level 1 certified.
With its powerful APIs and software solutions, Stripe enables your business to accept and send all kinds of payments in more than 135 currencies. The supported payment methods include credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, and links. It also has a sophisticated tool that uses machine learning to protect your transactions from fraudsters.
Stripe’s payment processing service is available for a standard European card fee of €0.25 + 1.5% and a UK card fee of €0.25 + 2.5%. There are no setup fees and no monthly fees with Stripe. You can learn more about the advantages of using Stripe here.
Credit Card Processing: Fees and Costs to Expect
The services of a credit card processing company are available at a cost. You can see details of what a payment processor would charge you on the "pricing" page of its website. Usually, these payment processors charge different fees, which can include monthly or annual service fees, interchange fees, assessment fees, online transaction fees, swiped or chipped transaction fees, and processor markup fees. We will now give you the meaning of some of the most popular fees.
Many card payment processing companies charge service fees every month. This helps them cover the cost of providing statements, card terminals, online gateways, and any other services that have been agreed upon in the contracts that they have with their respective customers. However, Stripe, Square, and a few other payment processors do not charge monthly fees. Instead, they rely on transaction fees for revenues.
Interchange fees or rates are certain percentage costs set by payment card networks (or brands), such as Mastercard, Visa, and Discover. They typically range from 1% to 3% of the amount of a transaction. During payment processing, the interchange fees are paid to the credit card issuer or bank for providing credit.
Interchange rates vary depending on some factors, such as the card brand, card type (debit or credit, with the former being cheaper), and transaction type (card-not-present transactions cost more than in-store card-swiped transactions). This cost is at the core of every credit card transaction and is unavoidable.
The assessment fee is set by the card brands. It is also known as the per-transaction fee. Like the interchange rate, this fee is unavoidable since it is linked to the payment networks. Moreover, the assessment fee is normally added to the interchange rate to determine the total cost of a transaction and is paid to credit card associations.
Just as the interchange fee goes to the credit card issuer and the assessment fee is paid to the card network or brand, the markup fee is what the credit card processor gets in a transaction. This is what card payment processing service providers charge for their services. Its amount is determined by their respective pricing models and structures.
Accepting credit cards means that you will have to prepare for chargebacks. Here, we are referring to a situation where a customer disputes a charge on their card and the payment is refunded. Credit card processors usually impose a chargeback fee on merchants every time such an event occurs. But some businesses do not worry about that because they know how to prevent chargebacks.
How Merchant Service Providers Work
Merchant service providers work behind the scenes to ensure that their business customers are able to accept credit card payments safely and securely. They are payment processors that establish links with credit card issuers, card networks, and bank accounts.
Accepting a credit card payment takes just a few seconds. However, a complex background process of getting authorizations and authentications is involved in every transaction. So, in order to provide the highest level of security and apply cutting-edge encryption techniques, most credit card processors have become PCI-compliant.
Equipment for Accepting Credit Card Payments
Accepting payments via credit cards requires the use of robust software and hardware. So, both online and offline merchants must get the right equipment for smooth operations. These include online gateways or payment portals, physical or virtual terminals, POS applications, store registers, inventory tracking systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, self-serve kiosk checkouts, and mobile card readers.
Yes, credit card processing is secure. The reason is that most credit card payment processors, especially the examples we have provided in this article, are PCI DSS certified. In other words, they are compliant with the high international standards established for the safe and secure processing of card transactions.
The cheapest way to accept payments via debit or credit cards depends on some factors. They include the nature of the product or service you are offering to the market, where you sell (online or in a physical store), your customers’ preferred payment methods (debit cards cost less than credit cards), the price at which you sell, and the fees your payment processor charges. So, there is no single “cheapest way” for all merchants to accept card payments.
A merchant processor helps facilitate the secure transfer of cash between the customer and the business, while the payment gateway does the job of accepting correct or legitimate payment details and communicating approved or declined transactions, as the case may be. So, when you enter your card details on a merchant’s website, you are dealing with the payment gateway. It is when you have sent your payment that the merchant processor gets to work to complete the transaction after successful authorization from all intermediaries, which usually include banks and card networks.
Card processors make money by charging a variety of fees, which are paid by cardholders and merchants. This amount is usually between 1% and 4% of every transaction. So, the exact money they earn depends on their sizes, customer bases, and pricing models.
Credit cards have come to stay as a convenient and generally used payment method. Your online or in-person commercial establishment would ideally experience financial growth when you start accepting this payment option. That is because it will enable you to attract more customers.
So, when choosing the best credit card processor, ensure you take into consideration the demands of your customers and the requirements of your business. Next, you need to compare them with the total benefits and costs of choosing a particular payment processor before opening an account or signing a contract.
We have shown you the best credit card payment processors. They made our top selection because they offer flexible terms, charge affordable and clear pricing with a low or no fees, and are equipped with all the features you would need to grow your business. Take a closer look at them by visiting their websites for more information that would enable you to make the smartest choice.
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