Credit Card Systems: The 5 Best Credit Card Processors & Top Solutions

Credit Card Systems
Credit Card Systems

If you are going to set up a business in this day and age, you need to ensure that you have all the facilities that a modern clientele demands. These include things like:

  • A website
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    A social media presence
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    Excellent customer service

One of the most important services to have and offer your clients is a convenient payment method. What that method is will greatly depend on the kind of business you intend to run and the clientele you intend to attract. Suffice it to say, however, that being able to accept and process credit cards at your business entity is almost mandatory nowadays. With good reason:

  • 73% of consumers would walk out of a store without making a purchase if the business did not offer credit card processing
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    42% of all American consumers prefer to use credit cards
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    35% of all consumers choose to use their debit cards
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    Only 11% prefer using cash

These numbers show that trying to do business the old-fashioned way where cash was King is all but dead and gone now. Not very many people carry paper money anymore, especially not the Millennials who currently have a whole lot of disposable income to spend.

What this means for every forward oriented entrepreneur is that they need to find ways to ensure that they offer the best and most convenient payment method to their customers and that means dealing with the best merchant service providers.

What Is a Merchant Service Provider?

Anybody who is serious about opening their own retail store, whether land-based or online has come across the term 'Merchant Service Provider' at one point or another. These are the people who act as the gatekeepers between you and your customers who want to use their debit or credit cards to pay for your goods or services. They are usually financial institutions like banks and card processors.

Because these people determine whether or not you can provide a convenient method for your customers to pay you, they are some of the most important people in your entrepreneurial career. Mostly because:

  • They allow you to accept and process debit and credit cards
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    They help you to maintain the necessary security standards that come with dealing with sensitive data such as clientele credit card details
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    They help you resolve any disputes that may arise as you offer goods and services for sale

It is therefore important to find one that not only offers you the necessary services that your business needs but also does so while offering you those services at an affordable rate.

Who Is the Best Merchant Service Provider with Excellent Credit Card Processing for Small Businesses?

Credit Card Systems

Credit card processing is a billion dollar industry with a considerable number of players and stakeholders. As such you would rightfully expect it to be highly competitive. This means that there are going to be so many players offering you a wide array of services that all center around helping you process payments at your store.

That being said, here are five of the most popular and most reliable credit card processing companies for small business owners:


We have already touched on SQUARE. This credit card processor is quite popular with small business owners for a few excellent reasons. One of the biggest selling points is that it does not believe in a 'one size fits all' approach to its clients. Square goes a different way and tries to mold several solutions to fit each merchant. As soon as you contact them, they will try to find out what your specialty is and direct you accordingly.

It has a clean interface that can be used on your desktop, or you could log in through the app. It is simple to understand, and it offers you a flat rate for every transaction as opposed to a sliding scale. You can also order a SQUARE reader if you have a brick and mortar store where you would like to process credit cards directly.

Square Pros:

  • It is free to use
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    It focuses on coming up with specific solutions for your type of business
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    It offers you a physical point of sale reader
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    Offers you same day deposits
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    Easily integrates with Magento

Square Cons:

  • Doesn't have as many features as some merchant service providers

The service has no monthly charges, and the firm is always coming up with new innovative ways to make your life as a small business owner a lot easier.

Intuit QuickBooks Payments

Intuit QuickBooks Payments comes from one of the most respected brands as far as accounting software is concerned. As is the tradition with their products, the Intuit QuickBooks Payments is of the utmost quality and focuses on fast invoice payments by allowing you to add a simple yet effective 'pay now' button that acts as a call-to-action for your customers to pay you quickly.

Being that Intuit mostly errs to the accounting side of things, you can expect to find a whole lot of automated functions that make bookkeeping much easier for you and your business administration staff.

Intuit QuickBooks Payments Pros:

  • Offers you a fast invoice payment processing
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    Perfect for those who already signed up for the Intuit ecosystem
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    No monthly charges

Intuit QuickBooks Payments Cons:

  • It is not suitable for every business
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    It is more accounting oriented

With no monthly charges, it only makes sense to sign up for this payment service if you already use their accounting products at your business. In fact, even if you do not use their accounting service but are in the market for a software that can help you with bookkeeping, you might want to sign up to both and see how it goes.


This is probably the youngest merchant service provider on the list. Established in 2011, Stripe is not only slick, but it is designed in a way that appeals to the modern entrepreneur. What it lacks in years of experience it makes up for in substance and service delivery.

As a merchant service provider, Stripe focuses on delivering fast service. It is so fast in fact that they claim you can start receiving payments with the first 10 minutes of signing up to their platform. It is one of the most straightforward card processing services. It is very stripped down and simplified to make it easier for its customers to use.

Stripe Pros:

  • It very easy to set up
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    It is quick and can be installed and initiated within 10 minutes
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    They offer reasonable fees

Stripe Cons:

  • Doesn't have as many features as most merchant service providers
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    Fairly new in the industry and therefore still has some growing pains

One of the best features about this service is that it goes a very long way to help developers to integrate it to any website. It has lots of clearly illustrated guides and very easy to navigate suites. It is very focused on new developers and even added a 'new developers section' to their dashboard. This allows you to monitor your integration as well as API usage.

Stripe is free to sign up, but it charges commission on each transaction.


Worldpay has labeled themselves the 'leaders in modern money' with good reason. It is a payment processing service that allows you to accept payments from the across the globe. This is, in fact, one of their most valuable selling points: you can accept payments from well over 100 different currencies from across the world. We are talking Rands, Pesos, Sterling Pounds and even Rupees.

An additional feature that would be interesting for most online business owners is that Worldpay accepts payments from PayPal members as well as standalone card payments from people who do not use PayPal. Furthermore, it includes highly effective reporting tools that go a long way to make invoice and transaction tracking so much easier for you.

Worldpay Pros:

  • Accepts over 100 different currencies
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    Accepts all common credit and debit card types
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    Easily integrates with PayPal, Oracle, and Magento
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    Offers you reliable fraud screening services
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    Has excellent reporting tools

Worldpay Cons:

  • Does not have clear-cut pricing plans
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    Might be too big for local small businesses

Worldpay is built for large corporation and small businesses that are focused on growing as well. Early 2018, Worldpay was acquired by Vantiv which means that this processor can now accept more than 300 different payment types from well over 146 countries. Also, their currency count grew to 126 different currencies across the globe. If you are looking for a payment processing company that is more focused on international business opportunities and card processing, then Worldpay is the answer.


Probably the biggest player on this list, PayPal has been in the payment processing industry for the last twenty odd years. It is safe to assume that PayPal is the most recognizable payment or card processing brand in the world. It is used by millions, if not billions of people from private citizens to retailers and service providers all across the globe.

The standard package is absolutely free to sign up for and is excellent for small business who are just trying to find their feet in this big credit card processing world. One of the biggest selling points for this processor is that it is always looking for innovative ways to make life easier and more convenient for their clients.

Just last year (2017) PayPal added a new 'Global Sellers' service that is focused on helping SMBs to greatly increase their presence in the international market. The service includes such useful features as translation tools, payment localization, international shipping and even international returns.

PayPal Pros:

  • It is a well-established brand that has been highly performing for decades now
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    It offers you a whole lot of useful features
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    It has a free option that can easily be upgraded
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    It offers you one-click purchasing
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    It has an excellent mobile optimization feature
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    Can be easily integrated with Shopify and Magento

PayPal Cons:

  • It has varying costs with every transaction
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    It is very strict and can easily disable your account

PayPal has different payment plans that suit a wide array of businesses. You can easily upgrade from the free standard package as your business grows and go PayPal Payments Pro for as little as $30. This service allows you to easily customize the checkout options for your clients as well as ensuring that your customers do not leave your website when they want to pay you.

What to Look for When Choosing a Merchant Service Provider for Your Small Business

Credit Card Systems

The one thing you have to realize is that merchant service providers handle a lot of sensitive information. For that reason alone, you need to find someone who is very good at making sure that all the transactions you process every day are secure. You should also ensure that:

  • They are registered and in compliance with all the regulatory guidelines
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    They are reasonably affordable
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    They focus on helping your business grow and aren't very rigid
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    They have an easy to use interface
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    They can easily integrate into your website or platform
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    They have clearly stipulated charges and terms on their contacts
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    They are easy to setup and start using

The best credit card processing companies all focus on helping your business capture more of the market. That is why some of the merchant service providers mentioned on this list have gone global and have integrated portals that make it easier for you to follow suit.

It is all about convenience, ease of use and security. When you find the right merchant service provider for your small business you will instantly see all the ways through which they can make your commercial life and entrepreneurial career much easier and even encourage you to get better and bigger at what you do.

The five mentioned on this list are some of the most popular, most secure and most trusted brands in the online credit card processing industry. Any one of them would be an excellent partner to have when it comes to your credit card processing needs.

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