Updated on November 22, 2021
Top 3 Credit Card Processing Companies or Payment Processing Companies
Unless your small business doesn’t grow beyond your street, very soon you will need to accept credit as well as debit card payment so as to compete in the marketplace. Most customers are relying on the use of plastic for making payment and this makes them walk around with minimal cash. eCommerce is now the order of the day and is now competing with physical retail stores at a faster pace. The advent of smartphones as well as mobile payment features which are incorporated into them, promise to enhance this evolution by allowing the customers to leave their plastic as well as cash at home.
Although we are still far away from the truly cashless society but in the past few years the option for processing credit and debit card payments have increased dramatically and the setup cost has come down making it affordable to small business. While the acceptance of credit cards require a huge investment in card reading terminals as well as expensive point-of-sale (POS) systems, today’s credit card processors leverage smartphone technology and cloud-based data storage so as to provide the same capabilities in a lighter, more affordable, and more mobile package.
Square was introduced by Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey in 2009; this is the first service which allows the merchants to accept credit cards with the aid of their smartphones. A card reader was included by Square which, when attached to a smartphone, could read the magnetic strip information which is on the customer’s credit or debit card. The Square app serves as an interface between the card reader and the merchant’s account for the tracking of the transactions. While Square is still the leading player in mobile payment sector today, it has a lot more competition. Even just in the phone-based hardware department, there are various kinds of good-quality options. However, there are large varieties of providers to choose from for today’s business. While all offer the same major function (i.e., credit and debit card processing), each service provider likewise provide unique features as well as options which make them different from other competitors.
So, which one of the service provider is right for you? The answer to this question depends largely on the size as well as nature of your business. Do you operate out of traditional brick-and-mortar establishment? Do you sell online, either exclusively or in conjunction with a physical business location? Is your business a full time occupation with large volume of sales, or is it just a part-time side gig? Below are the top picks among the best card processing service provider as well as our likes and dislike about them. Some of the pricing information would also be compared so that we can have a better understanding and also pick the best one.
Regardless of whether you are running a large retail store or just selling fresh produce in the local farmer’s market, there is a card-processing service which is appropriate for you.
Table of Contents
- Dharma Merchant Services
- Payline Data
- Final Thoughts
#1. Dharma Merchant Services | Top Credit Card Processing Companies
The name Dharma was gotten from the term dharma, which is found in many Eastern religions. While it can have several meaning and there is no direct translation, it can be referred to as a “right way of living.” The folks at Dharma take this seriously, thereby offering a full range of credit card processing services at a reasonable price. They have a transparent fee structure, the interchange-plus pricing is used exclusively, and they do not charge annual fees. They likewise doesn’t charge any startup fees, early termination fees, or have monthly minimum. The fees which they charge (including PCI compliance fees) are fully disclosed on their website. Dharma is also unique in the world of credit card processing companies because they usually donate a significant percentage of their profits to charity, thereby living up to their motto “Commerce with Compassion.” In addition to that, Dharma likewise provides discount for business that are not profit oriented.
In addition to the merchant accounts, Dharma likewise offers various kinds of wired and wireless countertop terminals for in-store use. Their terminals are compliant with EMV and likewise support Apple Pay. Dharma also offers mobile swiping via Authorize.Net, and likewise uses ShopKeep which is one of the best iPad based POS systems. Authorize.Net can also support online and mobile payments, and integrate with QuickBooks.
Dharma easily offers the fairest as well as most transparent fee structure in the industry. In addition to a flat $10.00 on monthly basis for store front and eCommerce accounts, transactions are also billed according to the cost model of the interchange. In-person transactions are charged 0.25% above cost, plus $0.10 for each transaction, while eCommerce transactions are charged 0.35% above cost, plus $0.10 for each transaction. For restaurants, Dharma offers a special discounted rate of 0.20% above cost, plus $0.07 for every transaction. Other additional fees include PCI compliance fees which are stated clearly on Dharma’s website.
While there is no minimum monthly volume requirement, Dharma acknowledges openly that their full-service merchant accounts is not financially okay for a business processing less than $10,000 per month in transaction. Thus, if your business falls into this category, they recommend either PayPal or Square.
- Full range of services and equipment for both eCommerce and storefront businesses
- Great customer support
- Transparent pricing with no undisclosed fees
- Discounted rates for non-profits
- It is not fit for low volume (less than $10,000 per month) accounts
#2. CDGcommerce |Top Credit Card Processing Companies
CDGcommerce is also one of our favorite service providers and has been around since 1998, this is long enough to figure out what is required to run a successful processing company and satisfying the customers. CDG is unique among other service provider by not charging any of the hidden fees which is charged by some other companies in the industry. There is no setup fee for their merchant accounts, no PCI compliance fees, any monthly minimums, and month-to-month billing with any early termination fees.
A basic merchant account with CDGcommerce cost only $10.00 per month, and this includes free use of their proprietary Quantum payment gateway or virtual terminal (a free Authorize.Net gateway is also available as an alternative). You can also add additional features such as cdg360 security package, which provides $100,000 in data breach or theft protection, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts as well as some other features for only $15.00 per month.
While we usually recommend buying your credit card terminals rather than leasing them, we have made an exception for CDG. Rather than paying such an expensive four-year lease, CDG only charge $79 per year for terminal insurance. Wireless terminals will also require a $20.00 per month data plan as well as an additional $0.05 as processing fee for each transaction. This is a much better deal than a standard terminal lease, which may end up costing you thousands of dollars over the full term of the lease. CDG likewise offers very competitive processing rates. Currently, the company has two different kinds of processing rate plans: Simplifies (i.e., flat-rate) pricing which is available to any merchant and this does not depend on the monthly processing volume or processing history, and advanced pricing which is only available to established merchants. All the advanced pricing is interchange-plus and are disclosed on their website. Below are the current rates:
Online: 1.95% + $0.30 per transaction (2.95% + $0.30 per non-qualified transaction)
Retail (swipe): 1.70% + $0.25 per transaction (2.90% + $0.30 per non-qualified transaction)
Retail (POS): 1.70% + $0.25 per transaction (2.90% + $0.30 per non-qualified transaction)
Mobile: 1.70% + $0.25 per transaction (2.90% + $0.30 per non-qualified transaction)
Online: interchange + 0.30% + $0.10 per transaction
Retail (swipe): interchange + 0.30% + $0.10 per transaction
Retail (POS): interchange + 0.30% + $0.10 per transaction
Mobile: interchange + 0.30% + $0.10 per transaction
Note: The advanced pricing rates which are quoted above are only based on a monthly processing volume which falls within the range of $10,000 and $25,000. However, there are discounted rates for higher volumes.
With these features, CDGcommerce has not generated too many complaints from unsatisfied customers over the years. They are the only company where the CEO has been seen stepping in to address the few complaints that have tricked in. Thanks to the excellent customer service as well as support of CDG, however, he has not done this repeatedly.
- There is interchange-plus pricing for established merchants
- Month-to-month billing with short contracts or early termination fees
- Free payment gateway or virtual terminal
- Excellent customer service
- It is only available to customers that are based in US
#3. Payline Data | Top Credit Card Processing Companies
Payline Data cover the entire bases for small business transactions, from mobile and online to in-store payment. They likewise offer pricing plan which are very easy to understand, affordable and appropriate for low volume sellers. However, the company website explains in details other extra features as well as associated costs, so that you would know what you have to pay earlier. Payline is also unique because of their corporate philosophy of charitable giving as well as support for non-profit through discounted pricing and their “Commercial Co-Venture” program. There are four standard plans which are offered by the company, all these plans feature interchange-plus pricing and likewise comes with free hardware as well as software to get you started within the shortest possible time. A standard feature of all the four plans is a virtual terminal which would allow you to process credit card transaction from any computer which is connected to the internet. The transaction can be done manually or swiped with the aid of an optical USB card reader. All the plans likewise feature monthly billing with no long-term contracts as well as early termination fees. All these plans are great but you need to be aware that the monthly minimum for this plan is $25.00. For mobile or brand new businesses, Payline Start is the most affordable plan. This plan does not have monthly fee, and the processing rate are set at interchange + 0.5% + $20 per transaction. You will likewise receive a free Ingenico GX% card reader and the Payline Mobile app in addition to the free terminal.
If you want the best value, but likewise want better equipment as well as lower rates, the Payline Surgeplan might be the best choice for you. This plan has the same features with Payline Start plan, but upgrades your free card reader to EMV-compliant Ingenico RP457C model. The plan also cost $9.95 per month, and rates are set at interchange +0.30% + $0.20 per transaction. Mobile businesses as well as small to medium retailers will also benefit the most from this plan. Payline also has the appropriate account for high-risk merchants via partner banks which specialize in accounts which are difficult to place. Our list of the best high-risk payment processing options can help you make some comparison if you are having challenges with the approval of your merchant account. For larger retail outlet, the Payline Shop plan offers more bells and whistles. Rather than relying on a mobile processing solution, it includes a free countertop credit card terminal which can either be the Ingenico iCT220 or Verifone Vx520, both of which is EMV-compliant and support NFC payments. You will also get a free access to the Payline gateway, the company’s proprietary payment gateway. This is a perfect plan for medium-sized retail businesses as well as omnichannel merchants that have both online as well as retail presence. Enterprise pricing is also available; Payline Data doesn’t disclose the details about this pricing option on their website, so you can expect the processing rates, fees as well as included equipment will be negotiable. However, you should expect to pay a significant higher monthly fee in exchange for the discounted processing rates.
The Payline Connect pricing plan is specially designed for those in the eCommerce sector. With this plan, you will receive both the virtual terminal software as well as free access to the Payline Gateway. There is no monthly fee, and the processing rates are interchange + 0.65% + $0.20 per transaction. This plan is very good for online merchant, especially those that have just started and also want to keep their fees minimal, and it can also compete with Stripe for many businesses.
- It has a fair pricing, easy to understand pricing and no hidden fees
- Excellent customer service, including phone and email support
- You can integrate with Apple Pay and other mobile wallet services
- Monthly contracts with no early termination fees
- This service is only available in the United States
Regardless of whether you are trying to juggle multiple retail locations or selling goods online, one of the services which have been discussed should match your business perfectly. While each service has its own unique features, all of them offer a competitive rate, transparent pricing, and an easy, low-cost setup. Square is a solid contender for a small and low volume business, while Dharma, Payline Data and CDGcommerce are better for larger retail outlets. Dharma may be the best option if you are running a non-profit establishment. However, all these services will, in most cases, provide a better and more affordable service than you will get with a traditional, bank-owned credit card processing companies.