Skip to content

5 Best Payment Apps for Small Businesses of March 2024

Small-business payment apps don’t require additional hardware to accept payments from customers. There’s also often no monthly fee.
By Hillary Crawford
Last updated on January 18, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 5 minutes

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.

Payment apps, typically offered through payment processing companies, are convenient because they let small businesses accept contactless payments with just a smartphone. Businesses with a brick-and-mortar location will likely need a more complete point-of-sale (POS) system, including hardware, in addition to a payment app. But the apps alone can be sufficient for very small businesses with no physical storefront.
Mobile payment apps can simplify transactions on customers’ side, too. For example, Venmo uses QR codes that allow customers to send money using a saved payment method within the mobile app — no card needs to be present.
Here are our top picks for small-business payment apps.

Best Payment Apps for Small Businesses

Loan calculator icon

Calculate your monthly cost estimate

Input your business’s monthly transaction details and we’ll help you sort from the best value
Estimates assume an average interchange fee of 1.81% + $0.10, based on our latest available data. Estimates provided reflect online and in-person transactions, but exclude any keyed transactions. Estimates are based on the lowest monthly plan and processing fees for each provider.

Product
Cost Estimate
Payment processing fees
Cost Estimate
Learn more

Square

Learn more

on Square's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
5.0/5

Best for Pairing with a larger POS system

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Square's secure website

Stripe

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

5.0/5

Best for Online-first businesses

In-person: 2.7% + $0.05

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

QuickBooks GoPayment

4.5/5

Best for Invoicing

In-person: 2.5% + $0.00

Online: 2.99% + $0.00

$0.00

Venmo Business Account

4.0/5

Best for Accepting payments with a QR code

N/A

Per credit card payment; 1.9% + 10¢ between Venmo accounts.

$0.00

PayPal Zettle

4.0/5

Best for Variety of payment options

In-person: 2.29% + $0.09

Online: 2.89% + $0.49

$0.00

Our pick for

Pairing with a larger POS system

Learn more

on Square's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Our pick for

Online-first businesses

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Invoicing

QuickBooks GoPayment

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Accepting payments with a QR code

Venmo Business Account

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Payment processing fees
N/A

Per credit card payment; 1.9% + 10¢ between Venmo accounts.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Variety of payment options

PayPal Zettle

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our picks for the best payment apps for small businesses

Square: Best for pairing with a larger POS system

Why we like it: Square is a good fit for self-employed people who mostly take payments on the go and small businesses that require a more built-out POS system. Customers can pay using their mobile wallets and merchants can accept contactless payments through the app — no hardware (besides a smartphone) needed. For more details, read our full Square POS review.

Stripe: Best for online-first businesses

Why we like it: First and foremost, Stripe is a customizable online payment platform for e-commerce businesses. However, it also allows merchants to accept contactless in-person payments through the mobile app. If you need a slightly more robust in-person POS device, card readers are available. For more details, read our full Stripe Payments review.

QuickBooks GoPayment: Best for invoicing

Why we like it: The QuickBooks GoPayment app lets QuickBooks Online users accept invoice payments in person. And since QuickBooks Online and the payment app sync with each other, the payment gets transferred right into your books. For more details, read our full QuickBooks GoPayment review.

Venmo: Best for accepting payments with a QR code

Why we like it: Venmo isn’t an all-in-one payments platform and POS solution like Square, but its QR codes make it easy for customers to pay small businesses at pop-up events, festivals and farmers markets. Customers can transfer money from their Venmo balance or from a separate linked account. Rates are lowest for Venmo balance transfers, but merchants can also use Tap to Pay to accept contactless payments. For more details, read our full Venmo business account review.

PayPal Zettle: Best for variety of payment options

Why we like it: The PayPal Zettle app can be a great choice for mobile businesses that want to let customers make payments with Venmo, PayPal or their mobile wallets. Card-present transaction rates are more competitive, but you can also manually enter card information. For more details, read our full PayPal Zettle review.

What is a mobile payment app?

It’s common for credit card processing companies to offer mobile apps that are meant to be paired with POS hardware. But in order to make NerdWallet’s list of best payment apps for small businesses, the apps above must also turn smartphones into their own POS devices. In other words, you should be able to complete at least one type of transaction with just the app. Transaction types fall into at least one of the following categories:
  • Contactless payments via Tap to Pay. 
  • QR code payments.
  • In-person invoice payments. 
  • Manually keyed-in payments. 
  • Money transfers. 
There are payment apps geared toward customers, too. But instead of enabling you to accept payments with your phone, they let you make payments with your phone. Some examples include money transfer apps and digital wallets.

Need to pair your payment app with a card reader?

Portable card readers coupled with a mobile app can give your customers even more payment options.
Last updated on January 18, 2024
Close
Smart money moves for your small business

Create a free account to grow your business with tailored insights and explore small business products.

Close
Smart money moves for your small business

Create a free account to grow your business with tailored insights and explore small business products.