Credit card processors are companies that operate like a middleman between you and your customer’s credit card companies. They process your customer’s credit cards, for a fee, so that you can accept many different payments. With today’s business world of using our cell phones, watches, and insert latest wearable technology here, to pay for just about anything – it’s important to have a credit card processor that you can trust.
In this article we’re going to talk about the three best credit card processors, what the cost is to use them, and what their customer experience is like. If you’re just looking for the best credit card processor without all of the nitty gritty details, we recommend Square. They have the most straightforward and cheapest cost per credit card swipe at 2.75%, and they offer full customer protection from the start. There’s no long term commitment and you can get a free Square card reader if you try them out today.
Best Credit Card Processing Solutions 2017 at a Glance
|Pricing||2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction||2.75% per swipe or 3.5% plus $0.15 for manual keyed cards||2.7% per swipe or 3.5% plus $0.15 for manual keyed cards|
|3rd Party Integration||Open integration through provided APIs||Integrates with specific apps through Square APIs||3rd party must ask for permission to partner with Paypal|
|Seller Protection||Only after clients contact bank||Yes||No|
Best Credit Card Processing in More Detail
We’re now going to go into more detail as to how each of the three best credit card processing providers stack up. We’ll look at what their cost is, how they handle customer service, and how to get started with each as quickly as possible. In today’s market, you need a solution that you can protect you, but you also need a solution that you don’t have to worry about. These are all good solutions for that, but we’ll explain when you might want to use each one.
Best Online Credit Card Processor & Cheapest Credit Card Processing: Square
Square champions when it comes to online credit card processing solutions for mobile phones and tablets. It’s easy to use, has the most integrations, and has an easy to calculate cost that is straightforward. Square is the best option to process your credit cards as a small business owner, whether you’re doing it in person or online.
What makes Square the best option for mobile devices is its flat rate of 2.75% per swipe or 3.5 percent plus 15 cents per transaction for manually keyed-in cards, and it accepts all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express). This makes it an ideal option for both mobile use on the go, and for online ecommerce stores. Even better, a merchant account is not needed, which for much of the competition can take days to setup. Anyone can open an account on the spot and start performing transactions immediately.
Square also offers tailored solutions for retailers, businesses operating in the hospitality industry, larger organizations, and different professional service providers. This is an extra layer of customer service that shows you just how much Square understands your personal business.
Doing business in an online world makes security a hot topic. Square servers have never been hacked, and they perform data encryption within the card reader at the moment a card is swiped. According to Square’s website, it meets Level 1 PCI Data Security Standards, and AFAIK. Square offers the best layer of security you need as a small business owner, without having to worry about it.
Square offers many different options to reach them with customer service issues. They have a phone line, e-mail support, and even a Twitter account where customers can ask questions. Their customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., PST.
If you’re ready to get the best credit card processing available to small businesses today, then you should try out Square right now. Signing up is free, and you can get a free card reader to help boost your sales. Your account can be fully ready to go in minutes, and you can immediately connect it to your online store, ready to process payments instantly. They’re the cheapest option on our list, and their service offering is the best. Try them out today for free to see for yourself.
Best Online Credit Card Processor Option for Internet Businesses: Stripe
Stipe is another good solution for small businesses, but their entire business focus is for online payments. If you’re running an online business today then Stripe may be your best option. They integrate easily with most online platforms, like Shopify, and aim to make your customer’s payment experience to be as smooth as it can be on your website.
Stripe is built from the ground up for online businesses, and their dashboard definitely shows that. From all of the online processors available today, Stripe has the most user-friendly interface. A lot is automated on the back end that makes it possible to run multiple businesses through as single Stripe account. You can also easily add customers manually via the dashboard by clicking on their add a customer feature.
Stripe’s costs are a flat rate of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents for each transaction. If any problem occurs with any transaction, Stripe offers chargeback fees of only $15. This is more expensive than Square, but it is very competitive throughout the rest of the industry.
Stripe is also packed with mobile features needed for any online small business today. Clients can automate payments to save time with recurring billing, creating flexible billing schedules, or save credit cards in a database to better manage subscription plans manually. They can do all of this from their mobile device.
Stripe handles security for its clients. Stripe processes transactions on its own network. That means that no sensitive data reaches the client’s server, thus there is little chance that anyone unauthorized will access a company’s or client’s credit card information unless Stripe is hacked directly, which hasn’t happened.
Unfortunately, Stripe does not offer phone support. Although their decision to not offer phone support seems unusual, it doesn’t mean that they are not interested in their clients’ problems. Stripe offers around-the-clock support via e-mail.
Another Best Online Credit Card Processor Option: PayPal
Probably the most known online credit card processing solution out there is PayPal, because they were first on the scene to transact business online about two decades ago. PayPal has an intuitive dashboard, which is easy to use regardless of your needs. When it comes to setting up PayPal, the process is somewhat similar to that of Square: you sign up, add personal and business info, and then link your bank account for easy to process transactions. After that, the user can start to process transactions immediately.
When it comes to business, PayPal is highly recommended for micro businesses, which mostly do transactions with small sums of money. Although it was meant for small sales volumes, PayPal comes with a variety of ways to process credit cards. Of course, it accepts all of the major credit cards, and can do it online or in person with the right technology (proper card readers).
PayPal’s fees are identical to Square’s: their rate is 2.7% for any swipe or card transactions, and 3.5% plus 15 cents for manual transactions.
For customer support, PayPal staff can be contacted via email or phone from 8.00 to 4.30 GMT Monday to Friday.
Benefits of an Online Credit Card Processing Solution
Since everyone has jumped online, businesses require new solutions for online credit card processing. Like the physical shops, the processing solutions for the online ones need to be tailored and customized for each individual business. Volume of sales is a crucial aspect to take into consideration when deciding to implement an online credit card processing solution. While Square is a good solution for all volume types, PayPal is typically better for smaller amounts.
Any online small business should take into consideration aspects that could make their life easier when searching for the right credit card processing solution. Does it make transactions easier? Is it time-cost effective? Will it save the company money? Luckily, all three solutions on this list do these things really well, and there is little separation between them.
Flexibility is another important aspect that any online credit card processing solution must have. Different credit and debit cards are available today, and different clients have different credit card providers. That’s why any small business needs to offer flexible services that can accommodate any type of credit card from any provider. Square is the best with integrations, but Stripe is catching up. PayPal seems to be more focused on their personal processing game than the other two, so their business integrations aren’t as strong, in our opinion.
No matter which online credit card processing solution a company opts for, it needs to tailor it to its own needs. If you’re an online business then you’ll want to use Square or Stripe. If you’re processing low dollar payments or personal payments, not through a store, then PayPal will work better.
The Smart Hack
The best credit card processing is difficult to pick without knowing your personal business situation, but we don’t think you can go wrong with Square or Stripe. PayPal is for very specific needs, that most small business owners won’t match. We recommend Square as the best overall choice. Their fees are cheaper and easier than Stripe’s, and they have the most types of readers that will help you regardless of your situation. Their mobile payment platform is the best of all the providers we’ve reviewed. Try them out today to see how they can help grow your business.