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10 Best Payment Processing Companies of March 2023

When weighing payment processing companies, consider if you want an online, all-in-one solution or a niche product.
By Hillary Crawford, Karrin Sehmbi
Last updated on March 8, 2023
Edited bySally Lauckner

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NerdWallet selected these top payment processing companies based on a variety of key factors including fair rates, transparency, customer service, useful features, ubiquity and global reach. The best choice for your small business depends on your industry, average sales and transaction sizes, as well as whether you're prioritizing in-store or online sales. Here are our top picks.

Best Payment Processing Companies

Product
Payment processing fees
Learn more

Helcim

Learn more

on Helcim's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Overall payment processor

0.30% + 8¢

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

$0

Learn more

on Helcim's secure website

Square

Learn more

on Square's secure website

5.0/5

Best for All-in-one payment processor

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

$0

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

Learn more

on Square's secure website

Stripe

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

5.0/5

Best for Online, international transactions

2.7% + 5¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

$0

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Accounting and software integrations

2.3% + 10¢ or 2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 3.5% + 10¢ online.

$15

$14.95 and up.

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

PayPal

5.0/5

Best for Alternative payment methods

2.99% + 49¢

credit and debit cards; 3.49% + 49¢ digital payments.

$0

Standard; $5 Payments Advanced; $30 Payments Pro.

Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Shopify e-commerce users

2.70%

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online (Basic plan).

$0

POS Lite; $89 POS Pro. (Paid Shopify plan is required for POS use.)

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Chase Payment Solutions℠

Learn more

on Chase Payment Solutions℠'s secure website

3.5/5

Best for Direct processor

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 25¢ online.

$0

Monthly fee in some instances.

Learn more

on Chase Payment Solutions℠'s secure website

Stax by Fattmerchant

Learn more

on Stax by Fattmerchant's secure website

4.5/5

Best for High-volume sales

0% + 8¢

plus interchange in-person; 0% +15¢ plus interchange keyed.

$99

and up.

Learn more

on Stax by Fattmerchant's secure website

Payline

Learn more

on Payline's secure website

4.5/5

Best for High-risk merchants

0.4% + 10¢

plus interchange in-person; 0.75% + 20¢ plus interchange online.

$10

in person; $20 online.

Learn more

on Payline's secure website

Dharma Merchant Services

4.5/5

Best for Nonprofits

0.15% + 8¢

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

$25

Our pick for

Overall payment processor

Helcim

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Helcim's secure website

Payment processing fees

0.30% + 8¢

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

Monthly fee

$0

Our pick for

All-in-one payment processor

Square

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Square's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee

$0

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

Our pick for

Online, international transactions

Stripe

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Payment processing fees

2.7% + 5¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee

$0

Our pick for

Accounting and software integrations

Clover POS

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.3% + 10¢ or 2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 3.5% + 10¢ online.

Monthly fee

$15

$14.95 and up.

Our pick for

Alternative payment methods

PayPal

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Payment processing fees

2.99% + 49¢

credit and debit cards; 3.49% + 49¢ digital payments.

Monthly fee

$0

Standard; $5 Payments Advanced; $30 Payments Pro.

Our pick for

Shopify e-commerce users

Shopify Retail POS

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.70%

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online (Basic plan).

Monthly fee

$0

POS Lite; $89 POS Pro. (Paid Shopify plan is required for POS use.)

Our pick for

Direct processor

Chase Payment Solutions℠

3.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Chase Payment Solutions℠'s secure website

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 25¢ online.

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee in some instances.

Our pick for

High-volume sales

Stax by Fattmerchant

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Stax by Fattmerchant's secure website

Payment processing fees

0% + 8¢

plus interchange in-person; 0% +15¢ plus interchange keyed.

Monthly fee

$99

and up.

Our pick for

High-risk merchants

Payline

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Payline's secure website

Payment processing fees

0.4% + 10¢

plus interchange in-person; 0.75% + 20¢ plus interchange online.

Monthly fee

$10

in person; $20 online.

Our pick for

Nonprofits

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

Helcim: Best overall payment processor

Pricing:
  • 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.
Why we like it: With its volume discounts, transparent interchange-plus pricing and quick setup, Helcim is one of the best payment processors for small businesses. Businesses aren’t locked into a contract, and the merchant account provider doesn’t come with a monthly subscription charge. There are no setup fees or PCI compliance fees. Read NerdWallet’s Helcim review.

Square: Best all-in-one payment processor

Pricing:
  • 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.
Why we like it: Like Helcim, Square has no cancellation fees, PCI compliance fees, setup fees or monthly subscription charges. With its own hardware options, free point-of-sale software, free mobile card reader and accounting integrations, the platform is an excellent choice for business owners who value convenience and want an all-in-one system. Read NerdWallet’s Square review.

Clover: Best for accounting and software integrations

Pricing:
  • 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions for most plans.
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions on Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter and Professional Services Standard plans, as well as Home & Field Services Standard and Advanced plans.
  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for online or keyed-in transactions.
Why we like it: In addition to handling payment processing, Clover also offers POS hardware and software. The large suite of apps and software that in Clover's App Market may be of particular interest to business owners looking for a POS that integrates with their existing accounting, payroll and tax platforms. While it’s a convenient option, its software plans do come with a monthly fee. Read NerdWallet’s Clover review.

Stripe: Best for online, international transactions

Pricing:
  • 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.
Why we like it: Stripe's payment processing services are a good fit for businesses that conduct most of their sales online. It supports over 135 currencies and offers customizable payment forms, 24/7 support and integrates with more than 450 platforms and extensions. Similar to Square, the service has a flat-rate pricing structure, no monthly subscription fees and no setup fees. Read NerdWallet’s Stripe Payments review.

PayPal: Best for alternative payment methods

Pricing:
  • 2.99% plus 49 cents for standard credit and debit card payments.
  • 3.49% plus 49 cents for digital payments (PayPal Checkout and Pay with Venmo).
  • 2.29% plus 9 cents for card-present or QR payments through PayPal Zettle.
  • 2.89% plus 49 cents for online card payments through Payments Advanced or Payments Pro.
Why we like it: PayPal’s payment processing services stand out because they allow businesses to accept alternative payment methods like Venmo or consumer PayPal accounts. You can also accept payments in person using PayPal Zettle. Customers can also choose to buy now and pay later if they want. It also has a simple flat-rate pricing structure. Read NerdWallet’s PayPal Business review.

Shopify Payments: Best for Shopify e-commerce users

Pricing:
  • 2.4%, 2.6% or 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments for Advanced, Shopify or Basic plan, respectively.
  • 2.4%, 2.5% or 2.7% for in-person payments for Advanced, Shopify or Basic plan, respectively.
Why we like it: Shopify is a comprehensive e-commerce solution that helps businesses build online stores, host them and process payments for them, among other functions. For business owners who already use the company for e-commerce, taking advantage of the payments platform makes sense, in part because an additional fee applies if you use an outside processor. Businesses get 24/7 customer support, POS software, fraud analysis, shipping discounts and the ability to sell products in dozens of currencies. Read NerdWallet’s Shopify Payments review.

Chase Payment Solutions: Best direct processor

Pricing: 
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 2.9% plus 25 cents per transaction for online transactions.
  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for keyed transactions.
Why we like it: Chase Payment Solutions is a direct processor, meaning it operates as both the payment processor and the acquiring bank that establishes the merchant’s bank account. So, this may be a good choice for existing Chase business customers. Additionally, Chase offers 24/7 service and has no monthly fees. It has payment processing solutions for service-based businesses, health care companies, restaurants, retail stores and e-commerce shops. Read NerdWallet’s Chase Payment Solutions review.

Stax (formerly Fattmerchant): Best for high-volume sales

Pricing:
  • Interchange plus 8 cents for in-person transactions.
  • Interchange plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • $99 per month and up for software.
Why we like it: Instead of charging a percentage markup per transaction, Stax charges businesses interchange plus a fixed amount of money per transaction, plus a monthly subscription fee. Although the $99 per month is steep, it could be worth it for businesses that would otherwise pay more than that in percentage markups. The merchant account provider doesn’t make its clients sign contracts, and its plans include 24/7 customer support (via an online ticketing system) and PCI compliance. Read NerdWallet’s Stax review.

Payline Data: Best for high-risk merchants

Pricing:
  • Interchange plus 0.4% and 10 cents for in-person transactions, and $10 per month.
  • Interchange plus 0.75% and 20 cents for online transactions, and $20 per month.
  • Pricing varies by card type for manually keyed transactions.
Why we like it: Payline Data is a great solution for businesses in high-risk industries that can’t get merchant accounts from more traditional payment processing companies. Businesses that aren’t high risk, however, have to pay for two plans if they want to accept payments in-person and online. Read NerdWallet’s Payline Data review.

Dharma Merchant Services: Best for nonprofits

Pricing:
  • 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.
Why we like it: With 24/7 customer support, no long-term contracts and no PCI compliance fees, Dharma Merchant Services is a solid choice for small businesses that process at least $10,000 of card transactions each month. The company also offers lower monthly fees and processing rates for nonprofits, which makes it a strong choice for these organizations. Read NerdWallet’s Dharma Merchant Services review.
Last updated on March 8, 2023

Methodology

NerdWallet’s ratings of payment processing providers rewards companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including overall cost, hardware and software options, system capabilities, customer service, contract requirements and integrations. Learn more about how we rate payment processing providers.
These ratings are a guide, but fees, hardware, software and contract requirements can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.