The Ultimate List of Credit Card Processing Companies for Small Business

Updated on October 27, 2020
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Deciding to become a credit card merchant is a huge step for a small business.

Whether you decide to take on credit card processing capabilities from the get-go, or you gradually build your way up to it, it’s certainly a valuable step toward preparing your business for major growth.

This exciting moment will come with a weighty question, though—which credit card processing companies are worthy of processing your business’s transactions? Moreover, what is the best credit card processing for small business?

With a market full of credit card processors vying for your business, these questions will be tough to answer on your own. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate list of credit card payment processing companies for small business.

The Top Credit Card Processing Companies for Small Business

Credit Card Processing Company What It Costs What It Offers Hardware Options Software Options
Starting at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
A powerful, customizable point of sale system with various credit card processing capabilities
Starting at $60 for hardware, plus 2.69% + $0.05 per transaction
A wide variety of credit card processing hardware that won’t require extra technology
Intuit QuickBooks POS
Lump sum payments for hardware and software, starting at $220 and $1,200, respectively, plus payment processing fees
A desktop credit card processing solution with no monthly fees
$25 monthly fee, $0.10 per transaction, and $0.10 daily batch fee
Straightforward, secure online credit card processing
No additional hardware necessary, though hardware is available through third-party partners

1. Square

Of the top credit card processing companies for you to consider, Square, is perhaps the most recognizable. In fact, you’ve probably seen Square all over simply because it’s such an ideal setup for credit card processing for small business.

If you’re a new credit card merchant looking for credit card processors that make things easy for you, your employees, and your customers, then we suggest you start your search with Square.

What It Costs

As with most of your credit card payment processing options, how much Square will end up costing your business will depend on multiple factors.

First, it will depend on how much you choose to spend on your credit card processing hardware. Square offers hardware ranging in price anywhere from $0 all the up to $799.

Additionally, Square’s cost will depend on how much you choose to spend on your credit card processing software, which will either cost your business $0, $60, or $299+/month depending on the plan.

Finally, Square will also charge your business credit card payment processing fees. Most of the time, each payment will come with a fee of 2.6% + $0.10 of the transaction value, unless it’s entered manually, in which case, it will cost your business 3.5% of the transaction value, plus $0.15.

Hardware Options

If you decide to opt for Square, then you’ll have your choice of a wide array of some of the very best credit card processing hardware on the market:

  • Their magstripe reader will allow your business to accept card payments through a smart device. Plus, it’s completely free.
  • If you need chip credit card payment processing, then a mere $29 will upgrade your business to a Square chip reader.
  • Square’s $49 chip and contactless credit card processor will be the next step up.
  • The Square Stand will cost your business $169 and will be able to perform every type of credit card payment process.
  • For $799, your business can access the Square Register and the lower credit card payment processing fees that come with it.

Software Options

You’ll have two options for Square credit card processing software.

  • Your default Square credit card processing software—Square Point of Sale—will be completely free and still manage to provide some of the best credit card payment processing capabilities on the market.
  • Square for Retail will be $0, $60, or $299+/month depending on your plan, and will provide a credit card processing capabilities powerfully tailored to the needs of retail businesses.
Sign Up for Square for Free

2. Clover

Another option from the best credit card processing for small business shortlist is Clover.

Just like Square, Clover will offer your business user-friendly credit card processors that will make being a credit card merchant one of the easiest parts of running your small business.

What It Costs

Again, much like Square, how much Clover’s credit card payment processing costs will depend on multiple moving parts. In addition to the credit card processing costs, the prices on Clover’s hardware options range from $59 all the way up to $1,199, depending on what you choose.

Hardware Options

If you decide to go with Clover credit card payment processing, you’ll be able to choose from four different pieces of software:

  • Clover Go, which costs $59, is the only Clover software that will require additional technology.
  • Clover Flex can print receipts and scan barcodes, all within a hardware about the size of a smartphone. It costs $449.
  • Clover Mini is a small countertop POS that performs all the credit card processing essentials—like receipt printing and barcode scanning—quickly and efficiently. It costs $599.
  • Clover Station is the most powerful of all Clover credit card processing software, and it has a price tag to match. The Clover Station provides the utmost security, support, and speed, and starts at $1,349.
Open a Clover Account

Software Options

Of all the credit card processing companies you have to choose from, Clover offers the most software options for you to choose from. That’s because they offer multiple plans for their credit card payment processing software:

  • The Payments Plus option will allow you to accept all forms of payment at the lowest price.
  • For a higher price, Register Lite will tack on extras like item-level taxes and inventory management.
  • For the highest price, the Register plan will come with enhanced inventory management and full access to the Clover App market.

3. Intuit QuickBooks POS

Next up on our list of the best credit card processing for small business is Intuit QuickBooks POS.

Though you might not recognize it as one of the top credit card processing companies on the market, you more than likely know the name QuickBooks, if only for its widespread accounting software.

If you’re a new credit card merchant trying to decide which credit card processors you should consider working with, why not opt for a familiar small business finance brand?

While QuickBooks Point of Sale itself is merely a desktop software, it still comes with features that allow for credit card payment processing, even without hardware add-ons.

What It Costs

Because QuickBooks POS is a desktop software, you’ll only have to pay a one-off price for it. This single price tag will absolve your business of any monthly subscription fees. That said, your upfront costs will be high with this software.

Depending on which plan you opt for, QuickBooks POS credit card processing software will be available to you at a rate of $1,200, $1,700, or $1,900.

These prices might seem steep (and they are), but as it reads on their site, “Once you buy QuickBooks Point of Sale, it’s yours.” So, you won’t have to worry about additional monthly costs beyond this sum.

Be sure to note that you will have to pay payment processing fees to use your Intuit QuickBooks POS, but you’ll have options for how you want these fees to be structured.

Hardware Options

The only hardware that’s completely necessary to run this credit card processing software is a computer or laptop.

However, you’ll be able to access add-on hardware like credit card terminals and cash registers through the QuickBooks hardware online store.

Software Options

Let’s take a look at the details on what each version of this credit card processing software can offer your business:

  • For $600, the Basic plan, you’ll be able to track customers, take payments, ring sales, and access basic reporting.
  • The Pro plan costs $850 and comes with add-ons like employee and payroll management, advanced reporting, gift card capabilities, and loyalty programs.
  • Finally, for $950, the Multi-Store plan can manage multiple stores and track and transfer inventory.

4. Authorize.Net

If you’re running an ecommerce business, then you’re probably just searching for credit card processing companies that will simply allow you to accept credit card payments online.

In which case, you’re really just searching for something called a credit card payment gateway. Credit card payment gateways allow online business to add secure credit card processors to their websites.

So, if you want to become a credit card merchant—but avoid all of the hardware typically associated with credit card payment processing—then we suggest you look to a credit card payment gateway.

Your best option for this type of credit card processing for small business online will be Authorize.Net.

Let’s see what the best credit card processing payment gateway can offer your small, online business:

What It Costs

The credit card payment gateway that Authorize.Net provides your business with will come with a few different costs.

First, you’ll have to pay a $25 monthly subscription cost for your Authorize.Net credit card payment gateway. Then each transaction processed through your credit card payment gateway will cost $0.10. You’ll also have to pay a $0.10 daily batch fee.

Hardware Options

Because your business’s Authorize.Net credit card payment gateway will live on your business’s site, no credit card processing will be involved.

Software Options

Authorize.Net credit card payment processing will only consist of a single software option.

What to Look for in Credit Card Processing for Small Business

As you read through all of the top options for credit card processing for small business, you might have been wondering what criteria you should keep an eye out for.

Though the search criteria will differ from small business to small business, there are a few core tenets that your search for credit card processing companies should rest on:

Transparent Fees

First and foremost, credit card processors should always come with straightforward, easy-to-understand fees and costs.

At any given moment, you should know how much your credit card payment processing costs and why it costs that amount.

Multiple Credit Card Payment Processing Options

Additionally, the best credit card processing options always come with multiple credit card payment processing options.

Whether your customers prefer to run their cards through a magstripe reader, a chip reader, or a contactless payment app, they should have their options open to them.

User-Friendly Software

Not to mention, the best credit card processing for small business will always be user-friendly and intuitive. Whether it’s you, your employees, or your customers who are dealing with your business’s credit card processing software, it should be easy for them to perform whatever action they need to for business to run smoothly.

Multiple Hardware and Software Options

Finally, the best credit card processing companies for small business will offer a wide array of hardware and software options.

In your initial search, this will allow to customize your credit card processing systems. However, later on in the game, it will make scaling and expansion much easier as your processing needs grow and evolve.

The Top Credit Card Processors for Your Small Business

Through this guide to all things credit card payment processing, you’ve not only learned the top options for credit card processing for small business, you’ve also learned what features all the best credit card processors typically boast.

Even as a new credit card merchant, you’re well-equipped to not only choose from the top credit card options out there but to also fend for yourself in future credit card processing endeavors, even as the industry inevitably shifts and changes.

Maddie Shepherd
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Maddie Shepherd

Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current contributing writer for Fundera. 

Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. She has reviewed and analyzed dozens of financial tools and providers, helping business owners make better financial decisions. 

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