What Are Credit Card Processing Services?
For a customer, unless their card is declined, paying for goods or services with a credit card isn’t terribly complicated. But the merchant’s end of things is complex, often deliberately confusing, and definitely a chore for new or small business operators. The credit card processing sector is rife with surprise fees, aggressive sales tactics, unfair contracts, and a lack of transparency. Small business owners who are new to accepting credit cards may be talked into all sorts of unnecessary services and may not know what their bill will look like until they receive it.
It’s an industry ripe for disruption. Luckily for merchants, in the last decade or so, fair-minded processors are emerging that tout transparency, fair fees, and good customer service. This is true especially for online “e-tailers,” but also for small brick-and-mortar operations. There are Silicon Valley startups, such as Square Point of Sale, and subscription services such as Helcim and Payment Depot, and even retailers such as Sam’s Club are getting involved.
Whether you need payment processing on the street or online, accepting credit cards and processing payments are still complicated, though. This is due to the sheer number of moving parts inherent in this aspect of merchant services and mobile payment processing. It’s also due to all of the various entities involved. Since rates and contracts vary by customer, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between these providers.
In this roundup, we researched some of the most popular credit card processors on the market, and consulted with experts in the field at CardFellow and FreedomPay to determine how to choose a provider. We also interviewed the 10 processors featured here—Cayan, CreditCardProcessing.com, Flagship Merchant Services, Intuit QuickBooks Payments, National Bankcard, Payline Data,Payment Depot, Sam’s Club Merchant Services, Square Point of Sale, and Editors’ Choice Helcim—to get demonstrations and clarify details about their fees and features. Finally, we looked at user reviews and ratings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to get a sense of customer service and reliability.
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