Helcim: Best overall option
Payment processing: In addition to the interchange rate — which is set by the card issuer and generally ranges from 1% to 3% — you also pay a processing fee (hence the term “interchange plus”). For a monthly card processing volume of up to $25,000, the markup is 0.3% plus 8 cents per in-person transaction and 0.5% plus 25 cents per keyed and online transactions. Lower rates are available for higher volume levels.
Hardware: Card reader is $109. Stands, printers and other equipment available through Helcim Shop. 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 11 a.m. to 7 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: Flat-rate pricing model that charges 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction, 3.5% plus 15 cents per keyed transaction and 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction.
Software: Free option.
Hardware: Free card reader. A terminal costs $299 or $27 per month for 12 months and a register costs $799 or $39 a month for 24 months.
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: In addition to the interchange rate, a processing fee — or margin — is charged. For Visa, Mastercard and Discover, that’s 0.15% plus 8 cents per in-person transaction. Dharma’s margin for American Express in-person transactions is 0.25%, and 0.30% for keyed and online transactions.
Software: $25 monthly fee.
Hardware: Terminals start at $295 and a Clover Mini standalone device can be purchased for $899.
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: Flat-rate pricing model that charges 2.7% plus 5 cents per in-person transaction and 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction.
Software: Free option.
Hardware: Card readers cost $59 and up. A POS register is $249.
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 rate per transaction.
Software: Membership pricing plans with monthly fees of $59, $79 or $99 per month that are based on your annual processing.
Hardware: Free and up. Terminals and POS systems from Clover, SwipeSimple, First Data and other brands available for purchase.
Payment Depot 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 through the bank. 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: Rates determined on a case-by-case basis.
Software: $10 and up monthly.
Hardware: A card reader and terminal included with the account. Mobile POS systems, terminals, POS registers, and other devices can be purchased.
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: In addition to the interchange rate, fees based on business type are charged. For example, 0.14% plus 7 cents per transaction for restaurants, 0.18% plus 10 cents per transaction for retail businesses and 0.29% plus 15 cents per transaction for e-commerce business are applied.
Software: $9.95 per month or more based on industry.
Hardware: 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. 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: Pricing varies. QuickBooks Online users pay 2.4% plus 25 cents per in-person transactions; 3.4% plus 25 cents per keyed transactions; and 2.9% plus 25 cents for invoiced transactions.
Software: Free and up.
Hardware: A PIN pad costs $389 and a hardware bundle that includes a cash drawer, receipt printer, wired barcode and PIN pad is $900. Additional devices available.
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.