The Best Credit Card Processing Companies of 2017

Accepting credit card payments is a great way to increase your business. But how do you know which credit card processing company is really the best? We’ve researched all the most popular credit card processing companies, looked at their customer approval ratings, transaction fees, monthly minimums, account setup time and more to make sure you can find a service you can trust that fits your needs and your monthly budget.

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BrainTree Payment Solutions Website
4.7Out of 5
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Customers say that BrainTree Payment Solutions is a flexible credit card processing company. BrainTree is a PayPal company and offers both mobile and online payments processing. Users say that, depending on the plan you select, your fees may be less than bank payment centers. BrainTree’s 24-hour customer support is important if any concerns or problems present.

BrainTree provides your business with access to credit and debit cards, PayPal, Android Pay, Venmo, Apple Pay, and Bitcoin digital cryptocurrency transactions. PayPal One-Touch is available for customers using PayPal. The customer logs-in once and completes purchases on your site or across multiple apps.

Users also like the following BrainTree features:

  • Hosted fields: These tiny iframes replace the need for card inputs at checkout, making your PCI security-compliant.
  • Android Pay, Apple Pay: Customers want convenience, and the digital wallet feature stores payment options for convenience.
  • User-interface (UI) integration: You won’t need computer skills or lots of time to accept payments via BrainTree.
  • International payments: Accept payments in 130 currencies to reach and exceed profit goals.
  • Fraud protection: Verify customers’ back of card security code in BrainTree’s Address Verification System (AVS) that’s customizable to you.
  • Capture recurring payments: If your customers pay monthly fees, subscription services, donations, etc., employee Braintree retry logic to capture past-due payments.

Users say that BrainTree is a simple, easy-to-use credit card and payments processing system that’s a good match for a large enterprise or online retailer. It’s a great interface to stay current regarding the latest payment options, too.

Dharma Merchant Services Website
4.6Out of 5
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Dharma Merchant Services offer payment solutions for nonprofit organizations (NPOs), brick-and-mortar retailers, and virtual stores. Dharma provides a “transparent pricing model”—the firm’s rates and fees are posted on the website. Several reasons users like Dharma include:

  • Transparency and rate comparison: Dharma Merchant Services’ website says the company is socially responsible. Dharma wants clients to use real rate comparisons to identify the best payment processing solutions for their needs.
  • Online signup: Dharma simplifies the signup process by allowing customers to submit documents online. There’s no need to fill out paper forms at any point in the process. According to users, account approval usually happens in about 48 hours. However, it’s possible to get next-day approval.
  • Sustainable practice: Dharma wants to work with socially-environmentally responsible customers and partners.
  • Nonprofit reduced rates: NPOs can access reduced rates. Dharma says it supports NPOs and other charitable organizations.
  • Equipment choices: Customers can select card processing equipment to meet their needs, including magstripe terminals, contactless payments, EMV cards, and mobile NFC payments.

Users say Dharma Merchant Services is a good fit for medium to large-sized businesses, either brick-and-mortar or online, that prioritize social responsibility and community orientation.

Payment Depot Website
4.3Out of 5
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Ranked #3

Payment Depot, based in California, says it removes middle man to offer clients bargain rates on credit card processing fees and costs. Some of the reasons users say they like Payment Depot include:

  • Custom payment plans: Depending on the client’s needs, Payment Depot offers Basic, Most Popular, Best Value, and Premiere Membership packages. Premiere Membership is an attractive plan for high volume businesses who need unlimited processing volume.
  • Transparency: Payment Depot’s Terms & Conditions are relatively easy for most customers to understand.
  • Ninety-day guarantee: Clients have 90 days from the account open date to receive a full refund.
  • Online application: Payment Depot’s online application is fast (usually about 10 minutes) and approval time is usually less than one day.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from Payment Depot’s wholesale rates. It’s possible to change payment processing plans if the business needs more or less card processing volume services.

Helcim Website
4.0Out of 5
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Ranked #4

Helcim was founded in Calgary, British Columbia in 2006. It offers payment processing services in the United States and Canada. Current clients include YMCA, Unicef, British Columbia School Districts, and Children’s Wish. Features users prefer include:

  • Payment platform choice: Choose Mobile, Retail, or Virtual Terminal.
  • No fees to cancel: If you try Helcim and don’t believe it’s an ideal payment processing choice, there’s no charge to cancel. Services are billed month-to-month, with no contract.
  • Online signup: No paper forms are required. Expect your new application to be approved in 24 to 48 hours.
  • Mobile payment modalities: Accept mobile payments through iPhone, Android, or IPad. You receive a free card reader to swipe customers’ cards.
  • Transparency: Clients pay the same costs/rates as per the website.
  • New technology: Select from contactless payment, EMV, and NFC payment options.
  • Co-signer capability: If the client’s product or service approval requires a credit check and the signer is declined, he or she can opt for a co-signer to obtain account approval.

Customers of all sizes like Helcim’s flexible merchant accounts and low, transparent fee structure.

Payline Data Website
3.8Out of 5
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Ranked #5

Payline Data credit card processing helps businesses and merchants with card processing needs. Payline Data can integrate with an existing platform or add new payment processing capacity for mobile payments.

Customers say the following features are some of the reasons they prefer Payline:

  • Make remote payments and schedule appointments: Payline’s partner, Occasion, is built into the interface to allow customers to book an appointment with your business without picking up the phone. The tool also simplifies customers’ payments. It’s so easy to use, Payline says that merchant conversion rates range from 65 to 80 percent.
  • Transparency: Payline’s price structure is available on the company website. It’s available in three basic types: retail, online, and enterprise accounts. Retail or online accounts cost $0.10 per transaction plus USD 15 a month. Retail accounts bear a rate of 0.2 percent and online accounts are charged at 0.35 percent. Enterprise accounts are structured for businesses with USD 80,000 or more in card payments per month.
  • Extra charges or fees: Payline doesn’t charge extra for your application submission or account cancellation.
  • Nonprofit organization (NPO) discount: NPOs and charitable organizations may qualify to use the Payline platform at discounted rates. Payline supports NPOs and charities and writes grants to eligible organizations.
  • Community: Payline’s online forum is an ideal way to find answers to most customer questions or to connect with other business users.

Customers say that Payline Data is the best fit for mobile merchants, brick-and-mortar businesses, and online retailers.

Credit Card Processing Buyer's Guide

We live in a very digital and technological world, so it makes sense that more than 70% of all purchasing transactions today take place with either credit or debit cards. Because so many people rely on their credit card to make purchases, if your business isn’t already set up to accept credit card payments, you’re really behind on the times.

Credit card processing can be a really confusing process. There’s a lot more to merchant credit card processing than simply swiping a card and having money magically appear in your bank account. So, if you’re looking for good credit card processing companies to help your business thrive, we’re here to help. But first, let’s take a look at how credit card payment processing works.

How Credit Card Processing Works

The first thing you need to know about credit card processors are the four different parties involved in each transaction. They are:

  • The Merchant – The person or small business receiving the payment
  • The Acquiring Bank – The bank that the Merchant has their account set up with
  • The Customer – The person who is paying for the goods or the services via credit card
  • The Issuing Bank – The bank that gave the Customer the credit card

The credit card process is actually a six step process that goes as follows:

  • The Customer submits his credit card (either in person or by manually typing the information on a website) for payment.
  • The credit card information is sent to the payment gateway via a telephone line (in person transactions) or the internet.
  • The payment gateway routes the payment to the Acquiring Bank while the credit card processors submit the payment to the credit card network.
  • The Issuing Bank is notified of the transaction after the payment is cleared. The Issuing Bank then validates the credit card number, expiration date and payment amount. A hold is placed on the Customer’s account for the payment amount.
  • Once the transaction is approved, the authorization goes back through the credit card network, the processor, payment gateway and back to the Merchant.
  • The Acquiring Bank receives the money for the goods/services, which completes the transaction.

Understanding Credit Card Processing Fees

Now you understand the basics of credit card processing, let’s take a look at some of the fees you’ll likely pay. The type of business you run will determine the type of credit card processing fees you’ll pay each month.

  • Interchange Fees – These are the fees the Issuing Bank charges. These fees cover the cost of things like the bank’s line of credit, credit card rewards benefits, cardholder statements, reporting, etc.
  • Discount Rate – These are the fees the Acquiring Bank charges
  • Chargeback Fees – These are fees you pay when a cardholder disputes a transaction and has their money refunded
  • Monthly Minimums – This is the minimum amount in fees your credit card processor will collect from you. If actual fees don’t meet the minimum amount, the processor will require you to still pay the minimum fee.
  • Monthly Fees – Most credit card processing  services charge a monthly flat fee to all their customers for using their service. This fee is usually between $5 and $15.
  • Equipment Fees – Some companies will lease equipment to you. Make sure you don’t pay for terminal features you won’t need.

You don’t need to understand every single detail of credit card processing to run a successful business, but it is helpful to have a working knowledge before you select a service. Take a look at our reviews to see which online credit card processing services are best for your small business. Most companies only take a day or two for account setup, so you can sign up today and start accepting credit cards tomorrow.

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