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Best Credit Card Processing For Small Business: A Comprehensive Guide

A picture of the best credit card processing for small business.

When it comes to your small business there is one aspect of running the business that is overlooked. Choosing the best credit card processor for small business can feel like a daunting task. 

As a small business owner, choosing the right credit card processing solution is crucial for your operations. With numerous options available, finding the best one can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll explore the top credit card processing solutions tailored for small businesses, helping you make an informed decision.

A survey by the Federal Reserve found that a significant percentage of businesses are increasingly adopting digital payment methods to meet customer expectations and enhance sales.

Table of Contents

Why Credit Card Processing is Essential for Small Businesses

Credit card payments have become more and more popular since the 1980s. According to a study by Capital One, 35% of customers prefer to use credit cards rather than cash for in-person payments. As business owner it is important to provide your customers with every payment option possible. 

It is important to choose the best credit card processing for small business to grow your business effectively. Choosing the best credit card processing for your small business will ensure that you have the tools and resources to grow effectively and reduce operational issues as you scale.

Credit card processing is not just a convenience but a necessity for small businesses aiming to thrive in today’s competitive market. Here are several reasons why integrating credit card processing into your business operations is essential:

  • Convenience for Customers: Accepting credit cards offers customers a convenient way to pay, potentially increasing sales.
  • Increased Sales: Customers tend to spend more when using credit cards compared to cash.
  • Business Credibility: Accepting credit cards enhances your business’s credibility and professionalism.

The days of cash only businesses are gone. If you own a business in the United States it is important to have the best credit card processing for your customers.

Key Features to Look for in Credit Card Processing

When it comes to choosing the best credit card processing for small business there are a number of key factors to consider.

While many businesses can survive with an out-of-the-box solution, many businesses need a custom payment system that has more features than just accepting a credit card payment. Now it is more important than ever to consider these factors for your credit card processing: 

  • Affordable Rates and Fees: Look for providers with transparent pricing, no hidden fees, and competitive rates.
  • Security: Ensure the provider offers robust security measures to protect your business and customer data.
  • Ease of Use: The system should be user-friendly for both you and your customers.
  • Customer Support: Reliable and accessible customer support is essential for resolving any issues quickly.
  • Integration: The solution should seamlessly integrate with your existing systems, such as accounting software and POS systems.
  • ACH capabilities: Depending on the type of business you run, it may be essential to offer customers the ability to pay with ACH. 

How to Choose the Right Payment Processing Provider for Your Business

Whether you run an established business or are starting a business for the first time, it is important to choose the best credit card processing for small business. 

There are a few things to consider when choosing the best provider for your business:

  • Evaluate Your Business Needs: Consider your sales volume, transaction types, and business model.
  • Compare Costs: Look beyond the advertised rates to understand the full cost, including any hidden fees.
  • Read Reviews: Check customer reviews and testimonials to gauge reliability and service quality.
  • Early Termination Fees (ETFs): Many credit card providers require three year contracts and have costly ETFs.
  • Customer Support: Contact customer support with questions to assess their responsiveness and helpfulness.

In most cases, switching providers is easy. It is important to read the fine print of your credit card processing agreement before moving forward. Some credit card processing companies have multi-year contracts with early termination fees that can be quite costly. Payment processing providers do this for a number of reasons but mainly to trap your business into working with them, even if you are unsatisfied with their service.

Top Credit Card Processing Solutions for Small Businesses

We have compiled a list of the best credit card processing for small business. In this guide we talk about the provider and their pros and cons. 

We looked over thousands of reviews when compiling this list to ensure you get the best credit card processing for your business.

Square

Square is a simple solution for businesses that are processing $5,000 or less per month. Square offers flat rate pricing, meaning you pay the same regardless of the card you accept.

In recent years Square has expanded to include additional services like business lending, checking and savings accounts, payroll services and more.

Square is the best credit card processing for small business that accepts less than $5,000 per month in payments. Square offers a full-suite of features for these businesses to run effectively.

Square has three primary hardware solutions for point of sale businesses – the mobile reader ($59), the Square Terminal ($299) and the Square Register ($799). You have to purchase Square hardware outright or use their in-house financing. Their are additional accessories available for an additional cost.

Pros

  • Easy Setup: Square offers a straightforward and quick setup process, allowing businesses to start accepting payments immediately with minimal technical knowledge.
  • Versatile Features: Includes comprehensive POS software with tools for inventory management, sales tracking, and customer relationship management (CRM).
  • Excellent for Mobile Payments: Ideal for businesses that need to accept payments on the go, such as food trucks, market vendors, and service professionals. The mobile card reader is highly portable and user-friendly.

Cons

  • Higher Fees for High-Volume Businesses: Square’s flat-rate pricing can become expensive for businesses that process over $5,000 per month. The percentage-based fees can add up, making it less cost-effective compared to providers with volume-based or tiered pricing models.
  • Limited Customer Support: While Square does offer customer support, some users report difficulties in reaching support quickly. There can be delays in response times, which can be problematic if you encounter urgent issues.
  • Potential Account Holds and Freezes: There have been instances where Square has placed holds on accounts or frozen funds due to perceived risk. This can disrupt cash flow and business operations.
  • Additional Costs for Advanced Features: While the basic POS software is free, more advanced features and integrations often come with additional costs. Businesses needing more sophisticated tools may find these extra fees add up.
  • No Custom Pricing for High-Volume Merchants: Square does not offer customized pricing plans for high-volume merchants, which can result in higher overall costs compared to providers that negotiate lower rates for large transaction volumes.
  • In-Person Customer Support Limitations: Unlike some other providers, Square does not offer in-person customer support. All support is handled online or over the phone, which may not be ideal for businesses that prefer face-to-face assistance.

PayPal

PayPal is one of the most well-known payment processing solutions globally, offering both online and in-person payment options. Its ease of use and broad acceptance make it a popular choice among small businesses. PayPal’s platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with various eCommerce solutions, providing a reliable and secure way to handle transactions.

PayPal is the best credit card processing for small business that is primarily eCommerce and is earning less than $7,500 per month. Businesses that are earning over $7,500 may face issues when using PayPal.

Pros

  • Trusted by Many: PayPal’s brand recognition and reputation for security make it a trusted choice for both businesses and customers. This trust can increase customer confidence and potentially boost sales.
  • Strong Online Payment Capabilities: PayPal excels in online transactions, offering features like one-click payments, recurring billing, and the ability to accept international payments. Its extensive global reach is beneficial for businesses looking to expand their market.
  • Ease of Use: For many businesses, PayPal is easy to use. There is no hardware involved in accepting payments. Businesses simply share their email with the customer and the customer can send the money to the business.

Cons

  • Higher Fees for In-Person Transactions: PayPal’s fee structure can be less competitive for in-person transactions compared to other providers. The standard fee for in-person payments is typically higher than the rates offered by some other credit card processors.
  • Account Holds and Freezes: Like Square, PayPal has been known to place holds on accounts or freeze funds without prior notice. This can be disruptive, especially for small businesses that rely on consistent cash flow.
  • Customer Support Challenges: Some users have reported difficulties in reaching PayPal’s customer support and resolving issues quickly. The reliance on online and phone support can be limiting.
  • Complex Fee Structure: PayPal’s fee structure can be complex, with different rates for various types of transactions (e.g., online vs. in-person, domestic vs. international). This complexity can make it challenging for businesses to predict costs accurately.
  • Limited Customization for High-Volume Merchants: While PayPal is excellent for small to medium-sized businesses, it may not offer the level of customization or discounted rates for high-volume merchants that other providers can provide.

Stripe

Stripe is a leading payment processing solution that stands out for its developer-friendly approach and strong focus on online transactions. Known for its highly customizable API, Stripe is an excellent choice for businesses that require extensive flexibility and integration capabilities. It’s particularly favored by e-commerce businesses due to its robust online payment features and global reach.

Stripe is the best payment processing for small business providers that need a robust API. Stripe has limitations for these payment providers that may limit the growth of the business.

Pros

  • Excellent for eCommerce: Stripe is designed with e-commerce in mind, offering features like seamless checkout experiences, recurring billing, and support for multiple currencies. It is particularly strong in handling online payments, making it a top choice for online retailers.
  • Extensive Customization Options: Stripe’s powerful API allows businesses to customize their payment processing to fit their exact needs. This includes integrating with various platforms, building unique workflows, and automating numerous aspects of payment management.

Cons

  • Complex Setup for Non-Developers: The extensive customization and developer-focused tools can be overwhelming for non-developers. Businesses without technical expertise might find the setup and integration process complex and challenging.
  • Higher Learning Curve: Due to its rich feature set and customization capabilities, Stripe has a steeper learning curve compared to more user-friendly payment processors like Square or PayPal. This can result in a longer time to get up and running.
  • Cost for Advanced Features: While Stripe offers competitive pricing, certain advanced features and integrations might come at an additional cost. Businesses need to be aware of potential extra expenses when leveraging Stripe’s full capabilities.
  • Customer Support Limitations: Although Stripe provides support through various channels, some users have reported that the response time and support quality can vary. Accessing dedicated support may require additional fees, especially for smaller businesses.

Shopify Payments

Shopify Payments is the default payment processor integrated with Shopify’s e-commerce platform, offering a seamless solution for Shopify store owners. It’s important to note that Shopify Payments is distinct from Shopify itself. While Shopify Payments provides a built-in payment processing option, Shopify store owners can still use third-party payment processors like Process Payments Now if they prefer or need different features and rates.

Shopify is the best payment processing for small business that is using Shopify Advanced as it offers the lowest rate at that tier. However, Shopify Advanced comes with a price tag of $299 per month and the savings is marginal compared to other providers.

Pros

  • Seamless Integration for Shopify Stores: Shopify Payments integrates effortlessly with Shopify’s e-commerce platform, eliminating the need for third-party payment gateways. This seamless integration streamlines the payment process and reduces the risk of technical issues.
  • Reduced Fees for Shopify Plans: One of the significant advantages of using Shopify Payments is that Shopify reduces the transaction fees when you use a Shopify plan. This can lead to substantial savings for businesses processing a high volume of sales.

Cons

  • Limited to Shopify Platform Users: Shopify Payments is exclusively available to Shopify users. Businesses using other e-commerce platforms or wishing to switch platforms in the future may find this limitation restrictive.
  • Regional Restrictions: Shopify Payments is not available in all countries. Businesses operating in regions where Shopify Payments is not supported will need to use an alternative payment processor.
  • Account Holds and Reserves: Similar to other payment processors, Shopify Payments may impose holds or reserves on funds if they detect potentially risky transactions. This can disrupt cash flow for businesses relying on timely access to funds.
  • Customer Support Limitations: While Shopify offers robust customer support, some users have reported challenges in receiving timely and effective assistance specifically related to payment processing issues. This can be particularly problematic during high-sales periods or when resolving urgent payment disputes.

Top Choice: Process Payments Now

Process Payments Now is a payment processing service specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses. With a focus on personalized service and competitive rates, it aims to provide a reliable and secure payment solution. Unlike larger providers, Process Payments Now offers tailored solutions and excellent customer support to ensure small businesses can manage their payments efficiently and effectively.

Process Payments Now offers the most comprehensive offering for eCommerce, retail and service based businesses. Process Payments Now is the best credit card processing for small business. 

Features

  • Tailored for Small Businesses: Process Payments Now understands the unique challenges faced by small businesses and offers customized solutions to address these needs.
  • Competitive Rates: The service offers transparent and competitive pricing, helping small businesses manage their costs effectively.
  • Robust Security: Process Payments Now prioritizes security, implementing advanced measures to protect business and customer data.
  • Excellent Customer Support: The company provides exceptional customer service, ensuring that businesses receive the support they need when they need it.

Pros

  • Personalized Service: Process Payments Now offers a high level of personalized service, working closely with businesses to tailor their payment processing solutions to specific needs. This can be particularly beneficial for small businesses that require more attention and customization than larger providers typically offer.
  • Seamless Integration: The service is designed to integrate smoothly with various in-person business systems and e-commerce platforms, making it easy for businesses to incorporate into their existing workflows.
  • Transparent Pricing: Process Payments Now provides clear and straightforward pricing without hidden fees. This transparency helps businesses budget and forecast their expenses more accurately.
  • Robust Security Measures: The service employs advanced security protocols to safeguard business and customer data, ensuring compliance with industry standards and protecting against fraud.
  • Dedicated Customer Support: Exceptional customer support is a hallmark of Process Payments Now. Process Payments Now provides customers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support is US based and available by email, phone or text.

Cons

  • Less Recognized Brand: While Process Payments Now may not be as well-known as larger, established providers like Square or PayPal, this can be seen as an advantage for businesses looking for a more personalized and less bureaucratic service. The company’s focus on building strong, individual relationships with its clients often translates to better, more attentive service.
  • Niche Market Focus: Being a smaller provider, Process Payments Now might have fewer marketing resources and industry presence compared to major competitors. However, this niche focus allows them to deeply understand and cater to the specific needs of small businesses, offering more specialized solutions.
  • Exclusive Focus on Small Businesses: While some may view the limited focus on small businesses as a limitation, it ensures that the services and solutions provided are highly relevant and tailored. This specialized focus can result in better outcomes for small business owners compared to more generalized services from larger providers.

Choosing the Best Payment Processing for Small Business

If you are still stuck trying to decide the best credit card processing for your small business, the choice should be clear. Process Payments Now provides the most comprehensive features of any of the payment providers listed. 

At Process Payments Now we believe in small business and are investing money in growing Main Street businesses in the United States.

Process Payments Now provides US based support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. No other payment processor on the list provides that level of support to its customers.

When it comes to choosing the best credit card processing for small business, you want to make sure you make the right decision for your business. We suggest you read the reviews of the processor you are considering to hear from other business owners what they think about the service.

Getting started with Process Payments Now is easy, simply give us a call or complete our simple merchant application. Once you reach out we will connect you to a dedicated member of our Customer Success team who will work with you to find the best solution.

Wrapping Up

Selecting the best credit card processing solution for your small business can streamline your operations and boost your sales. Consider your specific needs, compare the options, and choose a provider that offers the right balance of cost, features, and support.

While companies like Stripe and Square provide merchant making under $5,000 per month robust solutions for their business, if you are looking for the best credit card processing for small business, Process Payments Now is the best option. 

If you are ready to get started with Process Payments Now, simply give us a call or complete our merchant application to get started.

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