Finding the best payment processing companies in Canada can quickly become a herculean task. Understanding your top payment processor options translates into a more informed decision for your finances. There are hundreds of payment processing companies in Canada, making it challenging to find the right one.
First things first, payment processing companies in Canada are known by many names: payment processors, merchant acquirers, payment gateways, and the list continues. Read on to find out the features to keep an eye on when choosing a payment processor in Canada.
How to Choose a Payment Processing Company in Canada
Method of accepting payments
Your business may have multiple ways of receiving payments like mobile, virtual terminal, e-commerce, API integration, recurring billing, and invoicing. Ensure you choose a payment processing company that provides the payment options you need.
Credit cards acceptable
It is more convenient to complete transactions where you accept multiple types of cards like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and more. While some payment processing companies only accept select credit cards, some don’t have the option for international credit cards.
Additionally, you may want to accept payments from debit cards. Choose a payment processing company that accepts diverse cards; after all, the more, the merrier.
Pricing is arguably the most significant criterion for selecting the best payment processing company in Canada. There’s a wide disparity in pricing for businesses of different sizes. Contracts can range from simple agreements to complex multi-year commitments.
The quality of customer service and their availability counts for something when choosing a payment processing company. Ensure you select a payment processor that’s reachable at all times of the day, whether by email, phone, chat, or social media.
Now you understand what to watch out for, let’s take a look at the best payment processing companies in Canada.
1. Helcim – Recommended
Based in Calgary, Helcim is arguably the overall best payment processing company in Canada and the United States. The payment processing company is as transparent as they come, disclosing its prices to ensure you know how much you’ll be paying upfront.
The company also provides comprehensive articles explaining the workings of the credit card process and exposing the many fraudulent tricks used by rival payment processing companies.
Although the prices may be slightly higher, Helcim offers affordable prices, including one of the most transparent pricing offers of any payment processing company in Canada or North America.
Helcim doesn’t have hidden fees embedded in the contract, unlike any other processors out there. The transaction price begins at interchange fees + 0.30%, including C$0.08 per retail transaction. Interchange + 0.50% + C$0.25 for e-commerce transactions.
Interac transactions carry an additional C$0.09 fee. Helcim does not charge any monthly fees and you’re not trapped inside a contract.
- Unique interchange-plus pricing for all clients
- Month to month charges with zero termination fees
- All-in-one payment portal
- Not ideal for high-risk businesses
2. KIS Payments
KIS Payments started in 2017 and is a 100% Canadian-owned and operated processing company based in Nanaimo, British Columbia. As a small payment processing company, KIS Payments offers improved payment solutions compared to the more renowned processing companies.
One thing to like about KIS Payments is its month-to-month billing policy which allows merchants to terminate at no cost. Moreover, you aren’t shackled by a long-term contract making your options more flexible. KIS Payments has special pricing that caters exclusively to your business size and transaction volume.
This interchange-plus pricing makes the company the ideal choice for small Canadian businesses with no use for PSPs but still need the stability and security of a full-fledged merchant account.
KIS Payments also has a solid reputation for providing personalized customer service and support after registering your account. The implication is that you’ll always be in contact with someone at the company with a genuine understanding of your business needs.
Although you’d struggle to find KIS Payments pricing on the website, you can count on the many confirmed testimonials from businesses that patronize its services.
- Unique interchange-plus pricing
- Month-to-month billing arrangement
- Topnotch customer support
- Pricing not fully disclosed on the website
- Likelihood of enrollment fees
Square isn’t a wholly Canadian payment processing company, but it’s still useful for smaller Canadian businesses.
Unlike any traditional payment processing company, Square is a third-party processor that enables you to share an aggregated account with other merchants on the company’s platform. Your business won’t have a unique merchant ID, but you’d also skip on the long-term contract and monthly fees.
Square has a straightforward pricing template which has slightly increased in recent years. Below is a quick summary of its most popular rates:
- Standard Point of Sale and Appointments (individuals): transaction charge 2.65% for credit cards, C$.0.10 debit cards
- Square Appointments (Team) 2.5% including C$0.10 per transaction
- Keyed-In plus Card-on-file: 3.4% including C$0.15 per transaction
- e-commerce: 2.9% including C$0.30 per transaction.
In addition, Square also has custom processing fees for businesses with payments over C$250,000 yearly.
- Upfront pricing
- Excellent for small businesses in Canada
- Zero monthly charges
- Comprehensive features
- Not recommended for high-risk businesses
- Account stability problems
Square is renowned for its online payment solutions. Still, many e-commerce merchants prefer a payment processor that’s more intuitive to their needs—introducing Shopify, an e-commerce platform with a glut of features that allow you to run your online store with ease.
Shopify also has features that enable merchants to accept credit card payments in Canada. The e-commerce giant has a diverse price range for its payment processing products, starting from a minimum of C$9 monthly to C$299 per month.
Merchants can opt for a third-party payment processing company or use the Shopify Payments credit and debit card processing feature.
The rates are slightly more expensive at a baseline of 2.9% + C$.30 per online transaction, including 2.7% for physical transactions. However, you can take advantage of discounts when you register for the more expensive monthly packages.
Merchants who go for a third-party payment processor will still receive a Shopify transaction fee that starts at 2% per transaction for the lowest tier and up to 0.5% monthly for the most expensive products.
- Simple to use
- Upfront pricing
- High-tech tools
- Unnecessary add-ons often make the platform feel bloated
- Extra charges
- Customer support is neither here not there
PayPal is a leader in payment processing and the global fintech industry. Hundreds of millions of people operate a PayPal account across more than 50 countries in the world. The company provides predictable pricing, so customers know what they’re paying for.
Moreover, you can expect a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go service without the shackles of a long-term contract. However, PayPal doesn’t offer a merchant account in the truest sense in that customers aren’t given a unique merchant ID number.
And while it remains the ideal choice for budding e-commerce shops, larger businesses will need a more specialized payment processor with inter-change-plus fees.
Like other payment processing companies in Canada, PayPal offers one transaction pricing at 3.1%, including a C$0.30 fee per virtual terminal transaction. Payments online cost 2.9% + C$0.30 each.
The company has no monthly charges for a basic account, but you’d still need to fork out C$30 per month to enjoy its virtual terminal. With many payment processing companies providing this feature freely, the cost isn’t an ideal choice from an economic standpoint for many small business owners in Canada.
PayPal leaves a lot to be desired, courtesy of niggling fees you might need to pay. That said, the fees are not hidden and shouldn’t come as a surprise. PayPal has a huge library of online resources serving as a DIY guide for technical issues.
The company also has live chat, telephone, and email options. Unfortunately, the online space is littered with complaints concerning the inconsistency of reaching the company via telephone.
- Month-to-month billing with zero termination fees
- No monthly charges (for many customers)
- Upfront pricing
- A diverse product line for individuals and e-commerce
- Costly virtual terminal charges
- Variable telephone support
- Flat-rate pricing not economical for medium and large scale businesses
Honourable Mention – Moneris
Moneris is a payment processing company headquartered in Toronto. It is a fintech giant that’s a joint venture of the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal – two of Canada’s Big Five. Moneris has a significant presence in Canada, but it doesn’t translate into the best services.
On the whole, the company is a decent payment processor for people who are willing to haggle for the best rates they can get while ensuring they read the fine print of the contract to prevent an unpleasant surprise in the future. Moneris operates exclusively in Canada, having sold its American division to Vantiv in 2016.
- Interchange-plus pricing is offered upon request
- An array of hardware available for purchase or rent
- In-depth online help guide
- Minimum three-year contract plus C$300 early termination charges
- Bad reputation for customer support
- Misleading sales tactics to lure customers
Who are the top payment processing companies in Canada?
Some of the best payment processors include Helcim, KIS Payments, Square, and Shopify.
How do I choose a payment processor?
When you want to choose a payment processor, find a payment processing company with a robust and secure service that denies and flags risky transactions.
Why are payment processors in Canada expensive?
The high cost of online fraud and lack of data has caused payment processors to either reject clients or charge an expensive fee.