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10 Best Payment Processing Companies of March 2024

Payment processing companies facilitate card transactions — in-person, online or both — and often provide POS solutions, too.
By Hillary Crawford, Karrin Sehmbi
Last updated on January 2, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 6 minutes

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The best payment processing companies offer some combination of fair rates, useful features, helpful customer service and integrations with the rest of your business software ecosystem. Factor in your small business’s industry, monthly sales volume and average transaction size, as well as whether you accept credit card payments in-store or online.
Here are our top picks for the best payment processing companies.

Best Payment Processing Companies

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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
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Payment processing fees
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Helcim

Learn more

on Helcim's secure website

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

Best for Overall payment processor

In-person: 0.4% + $0.08

Online: 0.5% + $0.25

Plus interchange

$0.00

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
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

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

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

In-person: 2.7% + $0.05

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Stax by Fattmerchant

Learn more

on Stax by Fattmerchant's secure website

4.0/5

Best for High-volume sales

In-person: 0% + $0.08

Online: 0% + $0.15

Plus interchange

$99.00

and up.

Learn more

on Stax by Fattmerchant's secure website

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for POS hardware options

In-person: 2.3% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.10

$14.95

and up.

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Shopify Payments

Learn more

on Shopify Payments' secure website

4.5/5

Best for E-commerce platform integration

In-person: 2.7% + $0.00

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$29.00

Basic plan; $79 Shopify plan; $299 Advanced plan.

Learn more

on Shopify Payments' secure website

Chase Payment Solutions℠

Learn more

on Chase Payment Solutions℠'s secure website

4.5/5

Best for Direct processor

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.25

$0.00

Monthly fee in some instances.

Learn more

on Chase Payment Solutions℠'s secure website

PayPal

Learn more

on PayPal's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Alternative payment methods

In-person: 2.29% + $0.09

Online: 2.89% + $0.49

$0.00

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

Learn more

on PayPal's secure website

Payline

Learn more

on Payline's secure website

4.5/5

Best for High-risk merchants

In-person: 0.4% + $0.10

Online: 0.75% + $0.20

Plus interchange

$10.00

in person; $20 online.

Learn more

on Payline's secure website

Dharma Merchant Services

4.5/5

Best for Nonprofits

In-person: 0.15% + $0.08

Online: 0.2% + $0.11

Plus interchange

$15.00

for most industries; $12 for nonprofits.

Our pick for

Overall payment processor

Learn more

on Helcim's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

All-in-one payment processor

Learn more

on Square's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

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

Our pick for

Online, international transactions

Learn more

on Stripe Payments' secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

High-volume sales

Stax by Fattmerchant

Learn more

on Stax by Fattmerchant's secure website

Monthly fee
$99.00

and up.

Our pick for

POS hardware options

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$14.95

and up.

Our pick for

E-commerce platform integration

Shopify Payments

Learn more

on Shopify Payments' secure website

Monthly fee
$29.00

Basic plan; $79 Shopify plan; $299 Advanced plan.

Our pick for

Direct processor

Chase Payment Solutions℠

Learn more

on Chase Payment Solutions℠'s secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Monthly fee in some instances.

Our pick for

Alternative payment methods

Learn more

on PayPal's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

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

Our pick for

High-risk merchants

Payline

Learn more

on Payline's secure website

Monthly fee
$10.00

in person; $20 online.

Our pick for

Nonprofits

Dharma Merchant Services

Monthly fee
$15.00

for most industries; $12 for nonprofits.

Our picks for best payment processing companies

Helcim: Best overall payment processor

Pricing:
  • Interchange plus 0.4% and 8 cents per in-person transaction (if $50,000 or less in monthly card transactions).
  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per online or manually keyed transaction (if $50,000 or less 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.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • 3.3% plus 30 cents for 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 POS hardware options

Pricing:
  • 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions for most plans, though rates may also vary by hardware type.
  • 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 sleek POS hardware and multiple software plans for small businesses in various industries, including retail, restaurants, personal services and professional services. While it’s a convenient option, Clover's software plans do come with a monthly fee. Read NerdWallet’s Clover review.

Stripe: Best for online, international transactions

Pricing:
  • 2.7% plus 5 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 3.4% plus 30 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • 4.4% plus 30 cents for international card transactions.
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 integrations 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:
  • 2.29% plus 9 cents for in-person credit and debit card payments.
  • 2.89% plus 49 cents for online credit and debit card payments.
  • 3.49% plus 49 cents for PayPal Payments transactions (PayPal, Pay Later, Pay with Rewards, Venmo).
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 accept payments in person using PayPal Zettle, and customers can 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 e-commerce platform integration

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 and online payment processing service 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 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.
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.
  • Interchange plus 0.75% and 20 cents for online transactions.
  • 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 January 2, 2024

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.
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