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9.8

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Compare and choose the best merchant service provider for your business.

Last Update: December 23’

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Most Recommended

1

Leaders Merchant Services

SAVE or get $200 Guarantee*

Highest approval and industry low rates for every business

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Exceptional

9.8

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2

ProMerchant

Free Equipment & Software

100% transparent & low pricing +Personalized support team

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Excellent

9.5

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3

Paysafe

Official Clover reseller

Trusted by over 200,000 merchants with their processing needs

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Excellent

9.2

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4

Stax

Average monthly savings of 40%

Merchant services for high-volume businesses

Read Review

Very Good

8.5

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5

Flagship

Free Clover & EMV Terminal Options

Cost-effective card processor with personalized low rates

Read Review

Very Good

8.2

Visit Site

Best Overall Merchant Service December 2023

Most Recommended

1

Leaders Merchant Services

SAVE or get $200 Guarantee*

Highest approval and industry low rates for every business

Call Now

Exceptional

9.8

Visit Site

Merchant Services: Everything You Should Know

Several studies show that over 70% of Americans have credit cards with most of them having an average of 4 credit cards. In total, there are over 1 billion credit cards in the US.

According to Statista, credit card was the most used form of payment in 2020. This means millions of Americans use credit cards daily to make purchases.

As a business owner, you must have a way to accept credit payments whether you have a physical or an online-based business.

And that is where merchant services come in.

The Best Merchant Services

Some of the best merchant services include:

Leaders Merchant Services

ProMerchant

Paysafe

What are Merchant Services?

Merchant services, also called credit card processing, refer to the resources needed by businesses to be able to accept card-based and mobile payment transactions. This includes the technology, software, and hardware required to facilitate these payments.

The company that provides transaction processing resources to businesses is known as a merchant service provider.

Components of Merchant Services

Here are the components that make up a merchant service.

Virtual Terminal

A virtual terminal is a crucial resource for businesses that support online card transactions.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is the software platform that encrypts and transmits transaction data when a customer buys from your business. For online businesses, it’s advisable to choose a gateway with advanced security features such as address verification, fraud detection, and multi-factor authentication.

Payment Processor

Once the gateway encrypts and transmits confirmed transactions, the payment processor secures and authenticates them. They work by sending the payment information from a client’s card to the merchant account and the issuing bank. If the customer has sufficient funds in their account, the processor confirms the transaction.

Merchant Accounts

Merchant accounts are special accounts that receive the funds from the purchases using your customers’ credit and debit cards. After the processor authorizes a transaction, the funds are deposited into this account. Here, they remain inaccessible until the predefined ‘settlement period’ elapses, after which they are transferred to your business bank account.

Get the Best of Our Merchant Services Advice

Use our Free Quote tool to get the best and fastest Merchant Services solutions for your business.

Monthly processing volume? (Average)

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Last Name

Company Name

Email

Phone Number

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How to Choose a Merchant Service Provider

Here are the factors you need to consider when choosing a merchant service provider.

Hardware Resources. As mentioned above, you need hardware to run merchant services in your business. This applies to all types of enterprises, while e-commerce platforms need hardware resources like computers. Above all, both need modems or routers to access the internet.

Despite the rise of online platforms, many businesses still use terminals because of their reliability. First, they use wired connections that are less likely to experience technical issues. Second, wired terminals are more compatible with platforms based on newer technologies like near-field communication (NFC), such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.

That said, virtual terminals installed on laptops are better suited for some types of businesses than card readers. These are mostly businesses that offer services that require them to go to the client, such as electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc.

Software Resources. The merchant service provider you choose must have a software platform that helps in keeping transaction records. This is vital for tracking the progress of your business.

Most merchant services have a cloud-based system that allows you to access your information from any device. However, you need the appropriate software resources to maximize these features.

For instance, if you run an e-commerce platform, you need a virtual terminal. This is software that processes credit card transactions on your computer using a USB card reader. Most of these terminals also allow you to key in card details in case of a hardware malfunction.

That said, it’s impossible to get a free merchant account. This is because, like other businesses, merchant service providers need to make profits to stay afloat.

When choosing a merchant service provider, pick the option that has reasonable and transparent charges. A reasonable rate is where the provider offers a useful service in exchange, and the fee is relevant to the value of that service. On the other hand, a fee is transparent if both parties involved in a transaction (customer and merchant) know the percentage of the funds that the service provider will receive before a transaction is confirmed.

The best way to know about a provider’s average processing times is by reading reviews from existing clients. Never trust what’s written on their website, as they might post fast rates to lure you into creating an account.

Payment Integration. Another important factor to consider when choosing a merchant service provider is payment integration. This function allows your current business management software to import incoming transaction records without you having to enter the data manually. By doing this, it reduces the chances of the errors that you would have otherwise made if you entered the data yourself.

Ensure that your existing hardware and software resources support the payment processing technology used by your merchant service provider. Without this, payment integration is impossible.

Payment Contracts. For a business to start supporting credit card processing, you must sign a contract with your service provider. It’s vital to ponder the following before signing an agreement.

Honest Advertising and Marketing. Nowadays, most companies use the internet as the primary platform for increasing brand awareness, and understandably so. After all, most people can now access the World Wide Web using their mobile devices and computers. The main problem with digital marketing is that it isn’t easy to differentiate truths from lies since you have to rely on what’s published on a website.

However, these are some of the qualities of an ethical merchant service provider.

Customer Support. If your business offers merchant services, issues like delayed transactions, network downtime, unexplained charges, and so on are inevitable. Even if you try your hardest, chargebacks will occur. For these reasons, you need a service provider that offers excellent customer support.

Self-service is a convenient option for solving minor issues. The provider’s website should also have a frequently asked questions page so that you won’t have to call or send an email for problems you can solve yourself. Such resources are helpful if the provider doesn’t operate 24/7.

Ideally, your merchant operator should be reachable throughout the day. Telephone calls are better than emails because you get an instant response. It’s also more likely to be honest, as the customer support staff doesn’t have the time to customize the message as they would when replying via email.

Budget. Ultimately, it’s your budget that determines the merchant service provider you choose to provide credit card processing capabilities for your business. That said, it isn’t wise to choose the company that offers the cheapest processing rates. This is because this is a trick used to lure business owners while the providers charge additional fees for maintaining your merchant account.

Instead of the processing rates, focus on the overall costs over time. This includes account maintenance fees, processing rates, and miscellaneous costs such as chargebacks.

Wrapping Up

All in all, it’s essential for businesses to integrate merchant services into their operations. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers were favoring cashless transactions over using cash payments. It’s apparent that businesses that stick to cash are likely to fall behind their competitors.

So, what are you waiting for? Use the tips mentioned above to help you choose the right merchant service provider for your business.

*Terms & Conditions apply. Please call 888-714-3515 for complete details.

What is EMV?

What information do you need to set up a Merchant Account?

What is a merchant account?

What is PCI Compliance?

What types of merchants needs a merchant service?

Last Update: December 23’

Advertiser Disclosure

Most Recommended

1

Leaders Merchant Services

SAVE or get $200 Guarantee*

Highest approval and industry low rates for every business

Call Now

Exceptional

9.8

Visit Site

2

ProMerchant

Free Equipment & Software

100% transparent & low pricing +Personalized support team

Read Review

3

Paysafe

Official Clover reseller

Trusted by over 200,000 merchants with their processing needs

Call Now

4

Stax

Average monthly savings of 40%

Merchant services for high-volume businesses

Read Review

Very Good

8.5

Visit Site

5

Flagship

Free Clover & EMV Terminal Options

Cost-effective card processor with personalized low rates

Read Review

Best Overall Merchant Service December 2023

Most Recommended

1

Leaders Merchant Services

SAVE or get $200 Guarantee*

Highest approval and industry low rates for every business

Call Now

Exceptional

9.8

Visit Site

Merchant Services: Everything You Should Know

Several studies show that over 70% of Americans have credit cards with most of them having an average of 4 credit cards. In total, there are over 1 billion credit cards in the US.

According to Statista, credit card was the most used form of payment in 2020. This means millions of Americans use credit cards daily to make purchases.

As a business owner, you must have a way to accept credit payments whether you have a physical or an online-based business.

And that is where merchant services come in.

The Best Merchant Services

Some of the best merchant services include:

CC Moolah Merchant Services

ProMerchant

Paysafe

What are Merchant Services?

Merchant services, also called credit card processing, refer to the resources needed by businesses to be able to accept card-based and mobile payment transactions. This includes the technology, software, and hardware required to facilitate these payments.

The company that provides transaction processing resources to businesses is known as a merchant service provider.

Components of Merchant Services

Here are the components that make up a merchant service.

Virtual Terminal

A virtual terminal is a crucial resource for businesses that support online card transactions.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is the software platform that encrypts and transmits transaction data when a customer buys from your business. For online businesses, it’s advisable to choose a gateway with advanced security features such as address verification, fraud detection, and multi-factor authentication.

Payment Processor

Once the gateway encrypts and transmits confirmed transactions, the payment processor secures and authenticates them. They work by sending the payment information from a client’s card to the merchant account and the issuing bank. If the customer has sufficient funds in their account, the processor confirms the transaction.

Merchant Accounts

Merchant accounts are special accounts that receive the funds from the purchases using your customers’ credit and debit cards. After the processor authorizes a transaction, the funds are deposited into this account. Here, they remain inaccessible until the predefined ‘settlement period’ elapses, after which they are transferred to your business bank account.

Get the Best of Our Merchant Services Advice

Use our Free Quote tool to get the best and fastest Merchant Services solutions for your business.

Monthly processing volume? (Average)

First Name

Last Name

Company Name

Email

Phone Number

By clicking 'Submit' I agree to the Privacy Policy and User Agreement.

SUBMIT

How to Choose a Merchant Service Provider

Here are the factors you need to consider when choosing a merchant service provider.

Hardware Resources. As mentioned above, you need hardware to run merchant services in your business. This applies to all types of enterprises, while e-commerce platforms need hardware resources like computers. Above all, both need modems or routers to access the internet.

Despite the rise of online platforms, many businesses still use terminals because of their reliability. First, they use wired connections that are less likely to experience technical issues. Second, wired terminals are more compatible with platforms based on newer technologies like near-field communication (NFC), such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.

That said, virtual terminals installed on laptops are better suited for some types of businesses than card readers. These are mostly businesses that offer services that require them to go to the client, such as electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc.

Software Resources. The merchant service provider you choose must have a software platform that helps in keeping transaction records. This is vital for tracking the progress of your business.

Most merchant services have a cloud-based system that allows you to access your information from any device. However, you need the appropriate software resources to maximize these features.

For instance, if you run an e-commerce platform, you need a virtual terminal. This is software that processes credit card transactions on your computer using a USB card reader. Most of these terminals also allow you to key in card details in case of a hardware malfunction.

That said, it’s impossible to get a free merchant account. This is because, like other businesses, merchant service providers need to make profits to stay afloat.

When choosing a merchant service provider, pick the option that has reasonable and transparent charges. A reasonable rate is where the provider offers a useful service in exchange, and the fee is relevant to the value of that service. On the other hand, a fee is transparent if both parties involved in a transaction (customer and merchant) know the percentage of the funds that the service provider will receive before a transaction is confirmed.

The best way to know about a provider’s average processing times is by reading reviews from existing clients. Never trust what’s written on their website, as they might post fast rates to lure you into creating an account.

Payment Integration. Another important factor to consider when choosing a merchant service provider is payment integration. This function allows your current business management software to import incoming transaction records without you having to enter the data manually. By doing this, it reduces the chances of the errors that you would have otherwise made if you entered the data yourself.

Ensure that your existing hardware and software resources support the payment processing technology used by your merchant service provider. Without this, payment integration is impossible.

Payment Contracts. For a business to start supporting credit card processing, you must sign a contract with your service provider. It’s vital to ponder the following before signing an agreement.

Honest Advertising and Marketing. Nowadays, most companies use the internet as the primary platform for increasing brand awareness, and understandably so. After all, most people can now access the World Wide Web using their mobile devices and computers. The main problem with digital marketing is that it isn’t easy to differentiate truths from lies since you have to rely on what’s published on a website.

However, these are some of the qualities of an ethical merchant service provider.

Customer Support. If your business offers merchant services, issues like delayed transactions, network downtime, unexplained charges, and so on are inevitable. Even if you try your hardest, chargebacks will occur. For these reasons, you need a service provider that offers excellent customer support.

Self-service is a convenient option for solving minor issues. The provider’s website should also have a frequently asked questions page so that you won’t have to call or send an email for problems you can solve yourself. Such resources are helpful if the provider doesn’t operate 24/7.

Ideally, your merchant operator should be reachable throughout the day. Telephone calls are better than emails because you get an instant response. It’s also more likely to be honest, as the customer support staff doesn’t have the time to customize the message as they would when replying via email.

Budget. Ultimately, it’s your budget that determines the merchant service provider you choose to provide credit card processing capabilities for your business. That said, it isn’t wise to choose the company that offers the cheapest processing rates. This is because this is a trick used to lure business owners while the providers charge additional fees for maintaining your merchant account.

Instead of the processing rates, focus on the overall costs over time. This includes account maintenance fees, processing rates, and miscellaneous costs such as chargebacks.

Wrapping Up

All in all, it’s essential for businesses to integrate merchant services into their operations. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers were favoring cashless transactions over using cash payments. It’s apparent that businesses that stick to cash are likely to fall behind their competitors.

So, what are you waiting for? Use the tips mentioned above to help you choose the right merchant service provider for your business.

*Terms & Conditions apply. Please call 888-714-XXXX for complete details.

What is EMV?

What information do you need to set up a Merchant Account?

What is a merchant account?

What is PCI Compliance?

What types of merchants needs a merchant service?

18+. T&C Apply. See operator websites for full T&C for each specific offer.

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This site is a free online resource that strives to offer helpful content and comparison features to its visitors. Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from certain companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented, and in some cases may also impact the scoring that is assigned to them. The scoring that appears on this site is determined by the site operator in its sole discretion, and should NOT be relied upon for accuracy purposes. In fact, Company/product listings on this page DO NOT imply endorsement by the site operator. Except as expressly set forth in our Terms of Use, all representations and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information which appears on this site is subject to change at any time. So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about, but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.

This site is a free online resource that strives to offer helpful content and comparison features to its visitors. Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from certain companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented, and in some cases may also impact the scoring that is assigned to them. The scoring that appears on this site is determined by the site operator in its sole discretion, and should NOT be relied upon for accuracy purposes. In fact, Company/product listings on this page DO NOT imply endorsement by the site operator. Except as expressly set forth in our Terms of Use, all representations and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information which appears on this site is subject to change at any time. So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about, but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.

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