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Top card payment solutions for small businesses

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Last editedFeb 20233 min read

Is your business equipped to take credit card payments? If not, you’ll need to compare the top card payment solutions for small businesses to find the right fit. There are dozens of card processors out there to help small businesses, with some better suited to ecommerce and others to brick-and-mortar stores. In this guide, we’ll give you a rundown of some of the best options on the market today as well as what to look for in a processor.

What are credit card payment solutions for small businesses?

Though customers can check out with a quick swipe or tap of their card, there are several parties involved with credit card processing. The best all-in-one credit card payment solutions combine multiple features into one user-friendly platform. This includes:

Some card payment solutions for small businesses will include physical card readers to facilitate POS purchases, while others simply focus on an online presence that you can integrate into your ecommerce site.

Top credit card payment solutions for small businesses

Businesses in the United States have a multitude of options when it comes to payment processors. The best gives you room to grow as well as the necessary infrastructure to facilitate credit card payments online and/or in person. Here are our top four choices when it comes to credit card payment solutions.

1. Square

We’ll start with Square, which is known for its POS features including a compact card reader and user-friendly hardware. Combined with an online interface, it’s useful for a wide variety of small businesses. It charges a flat rate per transaction, with additional features including complimentary phone apps and a virtual terminal for accepting payment over the phone. However, its level of customer service isn’t as comprehensive as some others on this list.

2. Stax

The second solution on this list is Stax, which offers 24/7 customer service and plenty of tutorials to help you get started. This makes it a good choice for small businesses that are just getting started. Rather than charging a flat rate, Stax uses a subscription pricing model that goes up depending on your transaction volumes. If you have low volumes, it might not be the most cost-effective solution. Like Square, it comes with a free mobile reader and virtual terminal.

3. Helcim

Transparent per-transaction fees and free merchant software are two features that make Helcim stand out from other card payment solutions. It also comes packed with features to help you manage your customer relationships, transactions, and inventory. Like Stax, it’s not a great choice for smaller businesses with low monthly sales because rates depend on these volumes. However, there’s no monthly fee or contract involved. While Helcim doesn’t come with a card reader, you can convert your mobile phone into a virtual terminal using the corresponding app.

4. PayPal

You’re probably already familiar with PayPal, one of the most recognizable names when it comes to online payment processing. It’s a good choice if you want to offer additional payment methods at checkout beyond card payments. For example, it can handle international payments as well as cryptocurrency and other alternative payment methods. PayPal fees are high, and it doesn’t come with any free hardware.

What to look for in credit card payment solutions for small business

There are pros and cons to all the card payment solutions mentioned above. Some are better suited to small start-ups while others are beneficial to established companies with larger sales volumes. Choose Stax or Square if you have a brick-and-mortar presence and need a physical POS. For online-only sales, PayPal might be sufficient. 

Processing fees can sneak up on you. In addition to the per-transaction and monthly subscription fees, be on the lookout for additional costs such as:

  • Chargeback fees

  • Batch processing fees

  • Gateway set-up fee

  • PCI compliance charges

Which card payment solutions are right for your business?

While cards are a popular, common payment method, they’re not always the best option. No matter which card payment solution you choose, you’ll have to contend with high transaction costs. Cards also have higher rates of payment failure than other payment methods. This is because details on file often expire without being updated, along with other reasons.

A lower cost alternative to card payments is a banking solution like GoCardless. We enable businesses to collect payment directly from customer bank accounts, all with lower transaction costs than cards. Because money’s taken directly on the day it’s due, this also reduces the chances of failed payments and customer churn. Quick, easy, secure - collect recurring payments with GoCardless and get paid on time, every time. Say goodbye to failed payments and fraud with our intelligent features.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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