Being able to take credit card payments is now a necessity for any company, no matter what size they are. People carrying cash is rarer and rarer, as everyone prefers the quicker, safer, and more convenient process of being able to swipe a card.
Choosing the right card reader for your small business is no small thing, however, as there are endless options, with different price structures and fees. Where do you even begin to look?
Fortunately, this article is a pretty good place to start as we are going to go through what we consider to be the ten best credit card machines for small businesses to give you a head start in your research. But first…
What should you be looking for from your credit card processing?
There are a few things to consider when looking for a credit card reader for your small business.
First, you want to work out what your basic needs are. How many payments do you expect to receive each month? How much in monthly turnover?
There is a fairly wide range of prices and services on offer from the various card reader suppliers, and knowing your needs and the amount of business you think you will be putting through the reader makes a difference.
For a small business that processes less than $5,000 a month, for example, you’ll probably be better off finding a card process that offers a flat rate for each transaction. Over $5,000, however, and you’ll want to be looking for a card machine that offers interchange-plus pricing.
Don’t worry, we have an option for both on the list!
Ideally, you are looking for credit card machine providers that offer the following as a minimum:
- Transparent pricing
- Little to no monthly fees
- Flexible terms
- The ability to grow with your business
- Get the funds into your bank quickly
- E-commerce and reporting is a bonus too
Best credit card machine providers
Each of the credit card machine providers on our list is perfect for small businesses.
Let’s dive in…
1. Helcim – Recommended
Headquartered in Alberta, Canada, Helcim is great for businesses of all sizes as they do not charge a monthly fee and they offer interchange-plus pricing. Its rates are low and can be easily seen on their website too which we really like as it’s very transparent.
You can get volume-based discounts and it is one of the very few accounts that guarantee that its margin will not increase over time. It is great for in-person and online, and also offers more in-depth features like recurring payments and invoicing.
There are also no early termination fees, and your contract is month to month so you are not locked in either.
Square is incredibly popular and very well known in small business circles for credit and debit card machines. And for good reason. There are no monthly or annual fees for their credit card processing or machine, and its transaction rate is a nice low 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person payments.
In fact, they don’t charge for setup, PCI compliance, early termination, or even a chargeback fee. Very simple.
They also have a great app too, and their integration with an online store is fantastic.
Stripe is similar to Square and is challenging them directly with their low fees and no monthly fees.
They offer customizable pricing for companies that have a larger amount of credit card payments they need to process, but their starter rates are very good at 2.7% + 5 cents per transaction.
Its seamless unification of your in-person selling and online store is also fantastic.
Whether you are just starting out, or an established small business looking for a credit card machine that can grow with your company, we are confident that you’ll find what you are looking for from this list of providers.
4. Merchant One
Merchant One is a great provider that is very lenient on its acceptance criteria, which means you can join if your company is brand new. They don’t just look at your credit score for approval, which is great! They boast a 98% approval rate.
They also offer very clear flat-rate pricing plans, which is great. The credit card machine is $6.95 per month plus 0.29%-1.99% per transaction depending on your plan.
They don’t charge a PCI compliance fee either!
They also support e-commerce and have a very quick payout of just 24 hours.
All in all, this is a great option if you are just starting out.
There are some industries that many credit card machine providers deem too high risk. In those instances, ProMerchant is your option. They offer full-service credit card processing for any industry.
They offer fixed rates and interchange plus, which means you have the flexibility to grow with them too and make sure you are always getting the best rate for the amount of business you do.
They also boast a high approval rate that considers more than just credit rating. Their approval process is also quick and can be the same day in some cases.
Their billing is also month to month which means you aren’t tied into long contracts either which is a real plus.
Clover is a fantastic option not only for its great low rates but also for its robust POS system. They are ideal for in-person and online sales, which is becoming more and more necessary these days.
They offer two pricing plans; Register Lite and The Register Plan.
Register lite is great for companies that run less than $50,000 in credit card sales each year. It costs $9.95 per month for the terminal, and you pay 2.7% + 10 cents for each in-person transaction.
The Register Plan is great for a larger turnover in credit card sales with fees of 2.3% plus 10 cents for each in-person transaction and is $39.95 per month to run.
They also off a virtual terminal which allows you to take payments without their hardware, though the rates for this are a bit higher at 3.5% plus 10 cents.
Clover is a great all-around option, and they have many loyal fans.
Payment Depot has very clear pricing and is very competitive with them! If your company does high volume credit card sales then they should be a very strong contender for you!
They have several pricing plans, which is great, ranging from the basic plan which is ideal for processing less than $25,000 per year. It costs $49 per month and has a transaction fee of 17 cents per transaction.
As your sales increase and you move up a plan so too does your transaction fee decrease. Processing up to $75,000 will cost you $79 a month plus 10 cent transaction fee, and this is their most popular plan. They also have an unlimited processing plan which costs $199 per month and only 5 cents per transaction.
You also get a merchant account with Payment Depot, which links well with software like QuickBooks, WooCommerce, and 3dcart.
If you’re looking for low interchange-plus rates the National Processing is a great choice! They have some of the lowest and most competitive rates and are specifically geared towards retailers, restaurants, and e-commerce.
They have three plans that cover these sectors. Each plan is $9.99 per month with retailers paying 0.18% + 10 cents per transaction, restaurants paying 0.14% + 7 cents per transaction and e-commerce only paying 0.3% + 15 cents per transaction.
It does charge a PCI compliance fee, however, which is a bit of a shame but doesn’t draw away too much from their great rates.
Fatterchant has a slightly different pricing method. They use interchange-plus pricing but adds a per-transaction fee to the rate instead of a markup percentage. This makes their rates incredibly competitive, particularly for small businesses.
They also have a number of other great features including an in-depth analyst of your sales.
They have two plans, the first is for businesses that have less than $80,000 in credit card sales and they charge 2.9% per transaction plus 8 cents for swiped cards or 15 cents for keyed-in cards. The second plan is designed for companies that have more than $80,000 per year in credit card transactions.
Chase is another credit card machine that offers both a flat rate and interchange-plus depending on your sales volume. Which is great for a scaling business.
The flat-rate plans are ideal if your business has less than $5,000 in credit card transactions each month and comes with a fee of 3.5% plus 10 cents.
For credit card processing of over $5,000 per year then you will want their interchange-plus rates, which are also very competitive.
The chase Orbital Gateway is great, but they also allow you to use partner payment gateways if you prefer.
They also let merchants accept payments through the Chase mobile app for ultimate flexibility.