Skip to content

8 Best Merchant Services of February 2023

These merchant services are at the top of our list based on overall cost, terms, customer support and integrations.
By Whitney Vandiver, Lisa Anthony
Last updated on January 26, 2023
Edited bySally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

What are merchant services?

Merchant services allow a business to accept credit and debit card transactions by transmitting the customer information to card networks and issuing banks, thus giving businesses access to the payments they receive from customers.
The companies that offer merchant services vary in the related products and services they offer, as well as in their pricing models (flat rate, interchange-plus, membership). Here’s our list of the best merchant services and what sets them apart.

Our Nerdy picks for

Best overall option

Helcim

Best flat-rate option

Square POS

Best for e-commerce

Dharma Merchant Services

Best flat rate for online sales

Stripe

Best for large transaction amounts

Payment Depot

Best for high-risk businesses

PaymentCloud

Best Merchant Services

Product
Best for
Payment processing fees
Monthly fee
Learn more

Helcim

Shop now

on Helcim's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Best overall option

0.30% + 8¢

plus interchange, in-person; 0.50% + 25¢ plus interchange, online.

$0

Shop now

on Helcim's secure website

Square POS

Shop now

on Square POS's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Best flat-rate option

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.6% + 30¢ or 2.9% + 30¢ online, depending on plan.

$0

Free plan; $29 Plus plan; $79 Premium plan.

Shop now

on Square POS's secure website

Dharma Merchant Services

4.5/5

Best for Best for e-commerce

0.15% + 8¢

plus interchange in-person; 0.20% + 11¢ plus interchange online.

$25

Stripe

Shop now

on Stripe Payments' secure website

5.0/5

Best for Best flat rate for online sales

2.7% + 5¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

$0

Shop now

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Payment Depot

Shop now

on Payment Depot's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Best for large transaction amounts

$0

plus interchange (no markup).

$59

and up

Shop now

on Payment Depot's secure website

PaymentCloud

Shop now

on PaymentCloud's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Best for high-risk businesses

Not disclosed

You have to call to get a quote.

$10

and up

Shop now

on PaymentCloud's secure website

National Processing

Shop now

on National Processing's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Best for customized rates

0%-1.5% + 0¢-48¢

plus interchange; varies by business and transaction type.

$10

and up

Shop now

on National Processing's secure website

QuickBooks Payments

5.0/5

Best for Best for QuickBooks loyalists

2.4% + 25¢

in-person; 2.9% + 25¢ online.

$0

QuickBooks subscription required.

Our pick for

Best overall option

Helcim

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Shop now

on Helcim's secure website

Payment processing fees

0.30% + 8¢

plus interchange, in-person; 0.50% + 25¢ plus interchange, online.

Monthly fee

$0

Helcim’s transparent pricing, lack of monthly fees and volume discounts are what pushes it to the top of the list. And without a contract or cancellation fees, there’s no penalty to close your account.

Our pick for

Best flat-rate option

Square POS

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Shop now

on Square POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.6% + 30¢ or 2.9% + 30¢ online, depending on plan.

Monthly fee

$0

Free plan; $29 Plus plan; $79 Premium plan.

Square is our top pick for flat-rate pricing with no monthly fees, low transaction rates and free virtual terminal.

Our pick for

Best for e-commerce

Dharma Merchant Services

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Payment processing fees

0.15% + 8¢

plus interchange in-person; 0.20% + 11¢ plus interchange online.

Monthly fee

$25

Dharma specializes in helping e-commerce businesses and has one of the lowest rates for card-not-present transactions.

Our pick for

Best flat rate for online sales

Stripe

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Shop now

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Payment processing fees

2.7% + 5¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee

$0

Stripe is best for online sales because it supports processing payments in multiple currencies, allowing customers to charge in their native currency and businesses to receive funds in theirs.

Our pick for

Best for large transaction amounts

Payment Depot

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Shop now

on Payment Depot's secure website

Payment processing fees

$0

plus interchange (no markup).

Monthly fee

$59

and up

Payment Depot offers membership plans that give businesses access to wholesale interchange rates at a set monthly fee.

Our pick for

Best for high-risk businesses

PaymentCloud

3.5
NerdWallet rating 
Shop now

on PaymentCloud's secure website

Payment processing fees

Not disclosed

You have to call to get a quote.

Monthly fee

$10

and up

PaymentCloud specializes in services for high risk industries, although they also offer services to low and medium risk businesses.

Our pick for

Best for customized rates

National Processing

3.5
NerdWallet rating 
Shop now

on National Processing's secure website

Payment processing fees

0%-1.5% + 0¢-48¢

plus interchange; varies by business and transaction type.

Monthly fee

$10

and up

National Processing customizes its fees based on industry and risk. For example, the rate a restaurant pays is less than that of a retail organization.

Our pick for

Best for QuickBooks loyalists

QuickBooks Payments

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Read Review
Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.4% + 25¢

in-person; 2.9% + 25¢ online.

Monthly fee

$0

QuickBooks subscription required.

For loyal QuickBooks users, QuickBooks Payments can process online, in-person and invoiced transactions.

Helcim: Best overall option

Payment processing:
  • Interchange plus 0.3% and 8 cents per in-person transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).
  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per online transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).
  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per manually keyed transaction (if less than $25,000 in monthly card transactions).
  • 0.5% plus 25 cents for ACH payments.
Monthly software fees: $0
Hardware cost:
  • $109 for a mobile card reader (with stand).
  • $79 for a mobile thermal printer.
Why we like it: It's easy to sign up for a Helcim account online by providing some basic information. Funds from your transactions are deposited within one to two business days. Customer support is available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time and on the weekends from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time. You can sync data with both QuickBooks Desktop and Online. Other integrations include WooCommerce, Magento and Zone 4.

Square: Best flat-rate option

Payment processing:
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.
Monthly software fees:
  • $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.
  • $29 for Square POS Plus and Square Appointments Plus plans.
  • $60 for Restaurant Plus and Retail Plus plans.
  • $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.
Hardware:
  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).
  • $49 for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.
  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).
  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.
  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system.
  • $659-$1,479 for various bundles of stands, cash drawers, printers and card readers.
Why we like it: Square can accommodate all types of credit card transactions. You receive your funds as fast as the next business day for free, or you can pay a fee to receive funds instantly. Square offers free dispute management for chargebacks and doesn’t charge processing fees for customer refunds. Free phone support is available during the week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time. Square integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, Stitch Labs and other popular apps.

Dharma Merchant Services: Best for e-commerce.

Payment processing:
  • Interchange plus 0.15% + 8 cents for in-person transactions.
  • Interchange plus 0.20% + 11 cents for online transactions.
  • Interchange plus 0.25% + 8 cents for in-person Amex transactions.
  • Interchange plus; 0.30% + 11 cents for online Amex transactions.
  • Interchange plus 0.15% + 8 cents for in-person transactions.
  • Interchange plus 0.20% + 11 cents for online transactions.
  • Interchange plus 0.25% + 8 cents for in-person Amex transactions.
  • Interchange plus; 0.30% + 11 cents for online Amex transactions.
Monthly software fees: $25 monthly fee.
Hardware cost:
  • $149 for Walker 2 chip, swipe and NFC card reader.
  • $295 for FD-150, Verifone Engage V200c or Dejavoo Z11 chip-and-pin card reader with printer.
  • $369 for Ingenico Desk/5000 card reader.
  • $480 for FD-150, or V200c or Z11 card reader with separate pinpad.
  • $599 for Clover Flex mobile card reader with printer.
  • $899 for Clover Mini POS device.
  • $1,649 for Clover Station Solo POS bundle.
  • $1,999 for Clover Station Duo POS bundle.
Why we like it: With Dharma Merchant Services, businesses with monthly card sales over $100,000 or more than 5,000 transactions may qualify for volume discounts, as well as restaurants with average ticket amounts of less than $25. Funding is guaranteed in two business days. Customer support to process your card transactions is available 24 hours a day. You can export data into an Excel file to import into QuickBooks.

Stripe: Best flat rate for online sales

Payment processing:
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 2.7% plus 5 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 3.4% plus 30 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • 3.9% plus 30 cents for international cards or currency conversion.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 2.7% plus 5 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 3.4% plus 30 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • 3.9% plus 30 cents for international cards or currency conversion.
Monthly software fees:
  • $0 for standard Stripe Connect.
  • $2 per account for Stripe Express (for marketplaces) or Stripe Custom (the white-label option).
Hardware cost:
  • $59 for Stripe Reader M2.
  • $249 for BBPOS WidePOS E card reader.
Why we like it: With Stripe, payments are typically processed in two business days. Stripe integrates with a large number of apps and automatically syncs with QuickBooks and NetSuite. You can use the developer tools in Stripe Terminal and pre-certified card readers to build your own in-person checkout system.

Payment Depot: Best for large transaction amounts

Payment processing:
  • Interchange + $0 per transaction, plus $59 month for Starter plan.
  • Interchange + $0 per transaction, plus $79 month for Starter Plus plan.
  • Interchange + $0 per transaction, plus $99 month for Growth plan.
Hardware cost: Sells card readers as well as countertop and mobile point-of-sale hardware from Clover, Dejavoo, First Data, Poynt and SwipeSimple, but prices are undisclosed. You have to request a quote.
Why we like it: Payment Depot, which is owned by Stax, is an independent sales organization that handles merchant accounts for Wells Fargo Bank. Automatic deposit of funds within one to two days. Support is available 24/7. Payment Depot integrates with Shopify, OpenCart, QuickBooks, PrestaShop, Shift4Shop, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, Zen Cart, Revel, NCR and Authorize.net.

PaymentCloud: Best for high-risk businesses

Payment processing: Undisclosed/quote only. You have to call to get pricing information. Monthly software fees: Undisclosed/quote only. You have to call to get pricing information.. Hardware cost: Undisclosed/quote only. You have to call to get pricing information.
Why we like it: PaymentCloud's payment processing is available for in-person, online, mobile, keyed and cryptocurrency transactions. It has multiple banking relationships that can be used to secure a merchant account for high-risk businesses. The platform integrates with QuickBooks and most shopping carts including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento.

National Processing: Best for customized rates

Payment processing:
  • Restaurant: interchange plus 0.14% and 7 cents per transaction.
  • Retail: interchange plus 0.18% and 10 cents per transaction.
  • E-commerce: interchange plus 0.29% and 15 cents per transaction.
  • Subscription: interchange plus 9 cents per transaction.
  • Subscription Plus: interchange plus 5 cents per transaction.
Monthly software fees:
  • $9.95 for Restaurant, Retail, eCommerce or Non-Profit plans.
  • $15 for ACH processing.
  • $59 for Subscription plan.
  • $199 for Subscription Plus plan.
Hardware cost: Undisclosed/quote only. A mobile reader is included with most plans at no additional cost. Based on the plan you select, a terminal and PIN pad may also be included. A large number of POS devices are available including Clover hardware.
Why we like it: National Processing offers processing services for some high-risk businesses. You can expect to receive your funds in two days with an opportunity for next-day deposits. Phone support is available 24/7. Integrations are offered for popular business apps including QuickBooks, WooCommerce, Ecwid, Zendesk, BigCommerce, OpenCart and Shopify.

QuickBooks Payments: Best for QuickBooks loyalists

Payment processing:
  • Pay as you go: 2.7% for in-person transactions; 3.5% per keyed transaction.
  • Pay monthly: $20 per month; 2.3% plus 25 cents for in-person transaction; 3.2% plus 25 cents per keyed transaction.
  • 1% for ACH transactions.
For QuickBooks Online users
  • 2.4% plus 25 cents for in-person payments.
  • 2.9% plus 25 cents for online and invoiced payments.
  • 3.4% plus 25 cents for manually keyed payments.
  • 1% for ACH transactions.
For QuickBooks Desktop users
Pay as you go plan (no monthly fee):
  • 2.4% plus 30 cents per swiped transaction.
  • 3.5% plus 30 cents per keyed-in transaction.
  • 3.5% plus 30 cents per invoiced transaction.
Pay monthly plan (monthly fee):
  • 1.6% plus 30 cents per swiped transaction.
  • 3.3% plus 30 cents per keyed-in transaction.
  • 3.3% plus 30 cents per invoiced transaction.
Monthly software fees:
  • $1,200 one-time fee for POS Basic.
  • $1,700 one-time for POS Pro.
  • $1,900 one-tine for POS Multi-Store.
Hardware cost:
  • $49 for QuickBooks card reader.
  • $79 for QuickBooks card reader with charging stand.
  • $389 for black pin pad card reader.
  • $900 for black or white hardware bundle (cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, pin pad card reader).
  • Other printer, stand and scanner accessories available.
Why we like it: You’ll need a QuickBooks Online account to use QuickBooks Payments. Funds are typically deposited the next business day when the cutoff time of 3 p.m. Pacific time is met. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. QuickBooks Payments integrates with Shopify, Amazon, eBay, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, Walmart and Etsy shopping carts.
Last updated on January 26, 2023