A merchant processor, or a merchant service, offers your business an account that lets you accept any credit/debit card payments for your goods or services. Nowadays, it has become a natural gesture to take out your card and pay with it, but there is a very complex process behind it. The entire concept relies on a secure network that allows the information to circulate between the merchant processor, the credit card network, as well as the bank that issued the card and the bank account of the business. Today we are going to look at the best merchant services for small business you can use this year and see their pros and cons.

Best Merchant Services for Small Business to Help Your Company

1. Square

best merchant services for small business Square interface

Square interface. Courtesy of Quora.

Square is one of the most popular credit card processing companies for small business. It was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey, the same entrepreneur that had founded Twitter. Moreover, it was the first service ever to allow merchants to take credit card payments simply by using their own smartphones. Even though you can process the transactions and have a functional eCommerce website with their help, you won’t get a full-service merchant account. As such, you don’t receive a unique Merchant ID number, nor the 24/7 customer service you might need. However, it’s a great choice for small businesses.

It comes together with an EMV-compliant reader for cards that plugs into the headphone jack of the smartphone. This one costs $29, but there is also another upgraded card reader that works through NFC and supports contactless actions (Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.) that costs $49. At the same time, every card swipe will come with a 2.75% fee.

2. Payline Data

best merchant services for small business Payline Data interface

Payline Data interface. Image source

This is one of the best merchant services for small business this year because it offers transparent pricing. Payline is simple and affordable, offering small companies the same low rates as the bigger corporations. It covers everything you need, from online and mobile payments to sales in your store. Many people love Payline because they have a corporate philosophy of charitable giving, as well as offering support for non-profits.

They offer 4 standardized plans, all of them offering free software and hardware, as well as interchange-plus pricing. You also get a virtual terminal with which you can process a credit card transaction from any computer that has an Internet connection. The minimum price is $25 a month and there are no long-term contracts or other early termination fees. They also offer a free virtual terminal, and the rates consist of interchange + 0.50% + 0.20$.

3. Vantiv

best merchant services for small business Vantiv interface

Vantiv interface. Image source

Integration is the keyword when it comes to this entry on our list of the best merchant services for small business. Vantiv integrates with more than 500 programs, plenty of accounting and POS systems. The downside to it is that it offers a 3-year contract. Indeed, it is negotiable, but this is something many small business owners avoid. Moreover, there is also a $295 fee for early cancellation.

There is an additional fee of $30 a month, and the in-store credit card processing rate is of 2.25% +$0.10 or even more. Just like Payline, Vantiv offers 24/7 support through phone, email and live chat.

4. Dharma


Dharma is a concept often found in Eastern religions. Though there’s no fixed meaning to it, it relies on the idea of a right way of living. Perhaps in connection to this, the team there offers the full array of services regarding credit card processing. Moreover, their prices are fair and reasonable. There are no annual, early termination or setup fees, and you don’t have to pay a monthly minimum either.

You can find the fees you must pay on their official website. If you want eCommerce and storefront accounts, you need to pay a fee of $10 a month. They also use the interchange-plus cost model. An in-person transaction will be charged 0.25% above the cost, plus an extra $0.10 for each payment. On the other hand, an eCommerce transaction costs 0.35% above cost and an extra $0.10. Besides merchant accounts, you can get a variety of wired or wireless terminals for your stores.

5. CDG Commerce

best merchant services for small business CDG Commerce interface

CDG Commerce interface. Image source

Being one of the best merchant services for small business, CDG Commerce has been on the market since 1998. They have no hidden fees, which is very much appreciated by business owners. Like the previous service, they charge no account setup fees, no monthly minimums, no early termination fees or PCI compliance ones.

A standard merchant account you set up with CDG Commerce costs a mere $10 a month. This amount also allows you access to the free use of the Quantum virtual terminal/payment gateway. There is also a security package available for $15 a month. A wireless terminal costs $20 a month, plus an extra $0.05 for each transaction.

6. Flagship Merchant Services

best merchant services for small business Flagship interface

Flagship interface. Image source

Ideal for high-volume sales, Flagship Merchant Services is a great choice for small businesses. It’s been on the market for 15 years already and famous brands, such as Verizon, Avon, and Subway, have used it. They have a system that divides various types of business cards into three types:

  • Qualified;
  • Mid-qualified;
  • Non-qualified.

Each tier has a different fixed cost, besides other fees, that doesn’t consider the sales volume. For example, qualified debit cards have a price starting at 0.38%, while credit cards have 1.58%. To this, add the 19 to 21 cents fee per transaction. They also use the interchange-plus model, having a rate of 0.30% + $0.10 for each transaction. Besides, you will also have to pay a $7.95 monthly fee and an equal amount as a monthly gateway fee. The monthly minimum charge is $25.


All the merchant services presented above are great options. However, choosing the right partner for your needs is entirely up to you. How good a service is for your needs can depend on your volume of sales, type of payments, funds you are willing to invest in this and so on. It’s extremely important to be informed about the credit card processing fees and monthly plans each of them offers, so check out their official websites for more information.

Disclaimer: This article has been last updated in November 2017. The fees and plans presented above were officially presented as such on the companies’ websites at the time.

Image source: depositphotos.com