Are you thinking about managing finances for your business? It’s about time you took matters into your hands and did something about it. In this article, you’ll discover the best credit card processing company for almost every business need. On top of that, consumers can find the best credit-building credit card providers even for a bad credit score. So, it’s worth every minute you spend reading this article since it contains a lot of valuable information to help you make an educated decision.
The digital transformation changed the landscape for many businesses across different industries. Companies must keep up with the rapid changes. Providing more payment options is a quick step to attract more customers. Furthermore, it helps you get more market share in your industry.
A cashless society is becoming part of the reality as the digital transformation advances. Credit card payment is the most preferred payment method for many customers, and it’s second only to mobile payments, which are growing like wildfire.
Whether online or offline, credit cards are the fastest payment option. A business that’s not accepting this form of payment is losing more customers than it should. Understandably, companies shy away from installing a credit card processing service.
It’s a complex process with a lot of moving parts. As a business owner, you might feel like it isn’t worth the trouble. At the same time, the bottom line might be suffering the lost revenue, and your customers might be leaving you for a competitor.
If you’re a merchant, know that credit card products are more advanced than ever, and they now offer more transparent policies, reasonable fees, and excellent customer support. If you’re a consumer, you should know that you can get a credit card to cover your expenses even with a low credit score. These companies offer low-interest rates, unsecured, and quick approval.
We’re about to give you a bird’s eye view and make your life much easier and profitable. So, don’t stop reading here.
Top 5 Best Credit Card Processing Companies
We put together a quick shortlist of our top choices. These are the fastest, safest, and best credit card processing companies:
- Helcim – Best Overall Credit Card Processor
- National Processing – Best Monthly Subscription Provider
- Surge Mastercard – Best Unsecured Credit Card
- First Access Card – Fastest Qualification Processor
- OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card – Best For Credit Score Builders
#1. Helcim– Best Overall Credit Card Processor
Helcim checks all the boxes for being the best credit card processing company in the industry. It provides one of the best interchange-plus pricing structures without monthly account maintenance fees. Furthermore, The customer service is flawless, and merchants don’t need to get into unreasonable contracts. The company is also crystal clear about all its offerings on its website.
The interchange-plus pricing structure of Helcim favors a high volume of transactions, and it, and you, and it means active merchants that sell more will have lower fees to pay. In other words, it’ll stimulate your revenue because when customers use their credit cards more, Helcim will reduce the interchange-plus rates.
Although the company will offer an army of tools that stimulate sales, merchants must buy the hardware. Helcim doesn’t provide free terminals, and their hardware can be much better. It also offers a mobile application that works on smartphones and tablets as Point of Sale (PoS). Furthermore, the features include support for e-commerce with the necessary tools for selling online.
Customization Options: Helcim helps merchants brand the buying experience for their customers. You can customize invoices, reports, and emails with your marketing materials as well. The Helcim virtual platform lets you manage your account in real-time. You control and manage authorization, checkout, online stores, and much more.
Quick Approval: Merchants can create a Helcim account in a few minutes and get approval within 24 hours. The application process is online. Once approved, you can set up your payment gateway yourself and start receiving payments. Furthermore, you can order the Helcim card reader directly from the dashboard.
Mobile App: A versatile mobile app that lets merchants accept payments 24/7, even without Helcim card reader. It’ll make cashless transfers much easier on-premise and elsewhere. You’ll also access your inventory, generate receipts, and get analytic reports from the app. So, you can also connect your other devices and keep them in sync.
Easy Integration: Third-party integration with Helcim is more than possible. Helcim will fit your upstanding billing, accounting, and other business systems. It integrates with software like QuickBooks. So, it’ll be easier for you to track your bottom line. Furthermore, you can connect the payment gateway for online sales with Woocommerce integration.
PCI-compliant: Helcim is a PCI Level-1 compliant credit card processor. It processes at least six million transactions every year, which features the highest PCI DSS security level. Furthermore, you can also apply for PCI compliance for free through your account dashboard. Helcim also uses separate servers for storing your data to protect against power outages.
- Best payment processing rates
- In-house customer service
- Thorough reports
- Highest security measures
- No free terminal
- Limited hardware options
#2. National Processing– Best Monthly Subscription Provider
Our second best credit card processing company is National Processing. We chose this company based on positive reviews from merchants, customers, and professionals. Furthermore, National Processing offers more perks than competitors at the same level. Although it’s not a multinational company, it has a stellar reputation in the industry.
The company is unbelievably honest about its interchange-plus rate, and that’s what we like the most. They provided a comprehensive explanation of how much they charge with a breakdown of every fee. We noticed that many credit card processing companies don’t provide clarity. So, we can recommend National Processing with a clear conscience, and you may want to verify it for yourself.
Another point that made us choose National Processing is they’re more budget-friendly for small and medium businesses. The company will go as far as providing counter-offers to competitors to keep its customers. However, our only complaint is the company enforcing an early termination fee with the exceptions of closing your business or selling it.
No Hardware Required: Install National Processing to accept credit card payments without a card reader. You’ll get a virtual terminal that you can run on your computer at work and accept payments that way. It also works online, and customers can insert their card information on your website. So, you don’t need to install new hardware to accept credit cards as a payment option.
Automated Clearing House (ACH) Processing: It’s like having a virtual bank account that you can use to transfer funds and accept payments, and it lets you fulfill these transactions within 24 hours. Furthermore, you can pay salaries by depositing them directly to your employees’ accounts. So, you’ll reduce your business expenses because National Processing offers the lowest ACH rates in the industry.
Batching: Accountants love National Processing for the batch file processing feature. Furthermore, it makes it easier to process recurring transactions. It saves a lot of time because it can process tons of transactions in one go instead of spending hours submitting them individually.
Ecommerce-ready: National Processing lets merchants with online stores accept online payments easily. The payment gateway is one of their best features that provide secure terminals for safe online transactions. Whether you already have a website or want to build one, National Processing will cover online payment processing like no other.
Robust Billing: National Processing can also help you set up recurring payments from customers. Whether you want customers to pay in installments or you’re a subscription-based business, this feature will cover you. So, you’ll never have to chase your customers to pay their bills; they can set up their paying schedule and let it run on auto-pilot.
- Lowest credit card processing prices in the industry
- Low ACH prices
- Custom pricing available for a large volume of transactions
- Monthly subscription without binding contracts
- Early termination fee
- Hardware requires long-term contracts
#3. Surge Mastercard– Best Unsecured Credit Card
Let’s shift gears to credit card providers with Surge Mastercard from Celtic Bank. Surge Mastercard is one of the best credit cards for consumers with a poor credit history, and it offers an above-average high approval rate for unsecured credit cards. Thus, it’s an unsecured credit card you can use to cover small expenses between $300-$1000.
Although it comes with a hefty annual interest rate, Surge Mastercard offers a reasonable payment plan. So, you can build your credit history or fix a low credit score. Furthermore, it can stimulate credit utilization with on-time payments. So, if you’re looking into getting an affordable credit card, Surge Mastercard is a worthy candidate.
Credit Bureau Reporting: The company will report your transactions to TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax every month. So, it’s a viable way to raise your credit score because on-time payments reports can be in your favor. Eventually, you can improve your credit score and apply for a higher limit credit card. Not all companies will report to credit bureaus, but Surge Mastercard will.
Limited liability: Surge Mastercard has standard security features that protect you against fraud. For example, you won’t be responsible for stolen card usage or other types of unauthorized purchases on your credit card.
Cost-free Access: It means you’ll get unlimited access to your monthly credit score from Experian. Sign up for e-statements, and the, and you to keep track of your Vantage 3.0 score. That way, you can glimpse how your credit score is doing, which helps you plan accordingly.
Six Months Limit: When you pay on time for six months, you can push the credit limit. In theory, you can raise your credit limit, but you must make on-time payments for six months. It means you can get more money on your credit card to cover more of your living expenses.
Low Credit Score Approval: Anyone can apply for a Surge Mastercard regardless of credit score. Whether your credit score is high or low, you can still apply. However, we found that more low-credit consumers use it as a credit-building credit card to qualify for other financial products.
- Potential to improve credit score
- Credit limit of $1000
- Third-party reporting
- Higher credit limits after six months
- High annual interests rate
- Higher APR than secured cards
- No additional bonuses
#4. First Access Card– Fastest Qualification Processor
First Access Card is the best credit card for consumers with a low credit score. If you can’t get a secured credit card, First Access Card might be your next best choice. The card caters to low credit score users in specific. So, it offers a simple application process and the fastest approval.
On the other hand, it has a complex fee structure at almost every turn. You can expect to pay a one-time initiation fee and a high annual fee for the first year. Afterward, the yearly fee decreases with time, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. There’s also a monthly fee that you must pay starting the second year.
You can also apply for another credit card for a spouse, but there are fees to pay as well. Furthermore, even requesting a credit limit increase requires additional fees. First Access Card is still a good option despite all the charges. Why? Because it offers the most guaranteed qualification of all the unsecured credit card providers that we examined.
Fast Online Application: Anyone with a low credit score can still apply for First Card Access, and the approval is also within a few minutes. So, you don’t need to visit a local branch or negotiate your rates, and the online application eliminates the need for any physical effort.
Quick Qualification: With online applications come painless qualifications. It’s a plus for First Access Card because other providers require a lengthy investigation before approving your application. With First Card Access, you don’t need to worry about checking your credit score. Once you get approval, you’ll get a $300 credit limit, and you don’t have to deposit security. You only pay a one-time account setup fee.
Mobile App: First Card Access provides an online portal you can access on a web browser or the mobile app. So, you’ll get unrestricted 24/7 access to your account to track your transactions in real-time. You can also receive customer support straight from the app.
Low Eligibility Requirements: First Access Card requires the most workable eligibility requirements, and you only need to be an adult US citizen with a 550 credit score to apply. So, it’s the plainest unsecured credit card to obtain with a low credit score.
- Without an introductory monthly fee
- No transaction fee
- No need for a security deposit
- Fast approval
- High annual fees
- Low credit limit
#5. OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card– Best For Credit Score Builders
Surge Mastercard and First Access Card are our recommendations for unsecured credit cards, but what about secured credit cards? Here’s where OpenSky can help. It’s the best option if you don’t have a bank account and don’t want a hard credit check. So, we recommend it to you if you aim to improve your credit utilization.
The positive point for OpenSky credit cards is the relative simplicity of obtaining them. Other than that, you’ll have to pay an annual fee, unlike most secured credit cards we researched. You can’t upgrade to an unsecured credit card even with responsible use. So, to get back your security deposit, you’ll need to close your account.
Then again, it’s one of the best ways to raise your credit score. An OpenSky credit card may also help you establish your credit score if you don’t have one. The annual credit card processing fees are also lower than most secured credit cards. So, this credit card is worth your while.
High Credit Limit: The credit limit of the OpenSky credit card is $3,000. It’s an adequate credit limit compared to other credit cards in this category. If you keep a stable balance on your credit score while increasing your credit limit, you can significantly improve your credit score. That’s why this credit card is the best option for credit-builders. It also has a low credit limit at $200, which is lower than its competitors.
No Credit Check: As you know, hard credit checks harm your credit score temporarily. The OpenSky credit card is different from competitors because it requires no credit check. So, application and qualification are safe for your credit score.
$0 Fraud Liability: One of the best features of OpenSky and credit cards, in general, is their safety compared to debit cards. If someone steals your credit card and uses it to make an illegal purchase, you’ll be in the clear. You only have to report any fraudulent activities when you detect them.
Reasonable Annual Fee: OpenSky’s $35 annual fee is average compared to other secured credit cards. In other words, it’s not expensive or cheap. At the same time, some secured credit cards don’t come with an annual fee, but they come with hard credit checks. So, weigh your options and choose what’s best for you.
- Refundable security deposit
- No credit check required
- Reasonable annual fee
- No bank account required
- Credit bureau reporting
- Adjustable credit limit
- Inactive account fee
- Late fees apply
How We Made This List
We understand how reviewing credit card processing companies is all about objectiveness. As a result, we researched through a mountain of public data to create our list. Initially, the list grew to around twenty companies, but we aim to offer the best of them.
During the research, we identified common threads that made some companies stand out against others. We paid close attention to things like pricing, fees, and deals. We went in-depth to find companies that comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI). Furthermore, we also looked for the best equipment deals, simple integration, mobile application availability, and a host of other factors. In addition to those data points, we researched more specifications to ensure our readers get the best information.
What We Looked For
- User-Friendliness: Our main concern was to confirm that these companies are easy for average users to use and understand. Thus, we put simplicity and ease of access as a top priority for every company on the list.
- Pricing: As we said above, pricing can get complex quickly. So, we did our best to select the companies that provide clear pricing structures for an average person to understand. That’s why we chose the credit card processing companies that offer transparent transactions and fixed monthly fees. Plus, we looked for practical features and transaction fees that justify a high monthly subscription fee.
- Customer Service: We examined the companies for friendly customer service. Furthermore, we considered communication methods they provide, such as live chat, email, phone calls. We also looked for the educational content they provide on their website to ensure its usefulness to our readers.
- Extra Features: As you’ll see below, these companies offer more than credit card processing. It’s because we picked companies with a holistic approach that deliver extra features. That way, our readers will get all the necessary tools they need to run their business successfully. At the same time, consumers with low credit scores can get the best deals.
- Finance Reviews: We took advantage of the wealth of public data from trusted government agencies to do our research. Furthermore, we looked into professional ratings and reviews by highly authoritative financial resources. These data included consumer complaints, third-party analysis, and expert opinions. Then, we compared it to our data to develop unbiased, non-contradictory reviews.
In short, we did our homework because the readers’ trust is our highest priority.
Whether choosing a credit card processing company or a credit card provider company, it’s a complex decision. These financial matters require more research than other purchases as they have long-term effects. Furthermore, they’ll affect other aspects of your personal and professional life. So, we have summarized a few points to consider when buying these financial products.
Spend enough time understanding the fees and how they work. Understand the differences, frequency, and sizes. When it comes to credit cards and their processing, fees are the most crucial factor to look into with your two eyes open.
That way, you can be on the safe side and avoid debts, miscalculations, losses, and a host of other tight spots. Next, you want an alert mind to understand the interchange fee-plus pricing structure.
We have done our part by introducing you to the best credit card processing companies. Now, it’s your turn to choose one after confirming they have the lowest fees you can afford. National Processing is friendly to small and medium businesses, but you may want to look at their charges and rates.
- Third-Party Integration
Companies like Helcim and National Processing are more than credit card processing platforms, and they also connect with other business apps you might be using. Plus, you might have established systems in place, so you don’t want to change them to add credit card processing capability.
The best credit card processing service should fit with your system. That way, you can get the most out of them to manage inventory, billing, scheduling, and other business tasks. Those integration capabilities will help run your business smoothly and generate more revenue as a result. So, look for companies that support your current systems.
Furthermore, consider the size of your operations and what they need. If you’re a mom-and-pop store, perhaps you should look into mobile payments. If you’re a large company with many branches, look into connecting all of them through one payment gateway. Integration is crucial because it’s like the glue that keeps your operations together.
Credit card companies seek to make the most profit from their customers. They may charge additional fees, raise the interest rate, or penalize you. As a high-risk consumer, you can expect it until you improve your finances. However, it’s never acceptable to use manipulative tactics to pressure you into a binding contract.
So, before you sign anything or agree on any terms, read the fine print. You don’t want to skip the terms and conditions regarding finance and credit card products, and that’s why you should look for transparent policies, terms, and best practices.
We examined many credit card companies, and 99% of them have hidden fees somewhere. Again, do your research to avoid these situations. With some patience and planning, you can get the best deals. So, don’t rush it.
Adding another payment option can be a profitable business upgrade. Likewise, a credit card can help you get out of the low credit score zone. So, choose wisely.
Q1. What is credit card processing, and how does it work?
Credit card processing is the process of transferring money from a credit card owner’s bank account to a merchant’s bank account. It’s a complex process that happens in a few seconds. Briefly, when you enter the credit card information by swiping it through the PoS, it requests authorization from the credit card network. The buyer’s bank will check the balance and authorize the transaction.
Next, the bank sends the authorization back to the credit card network. The network sends the authorization code to the PoS and confirms payment. In the end, the merchant account providers sends all transactions to the processor in a batch. Then, the processor will transfer the money to the merchant’s bank account. At last, the buyer’s bank will send the bill to the buyer.
Q2. Should you add credit card processing to your business?
Adding other payment options for your customers is a good idea. Plus, customers spend more when they pay with their credit card than with cash, which potentially increases your revenue. All in all, as society moves towards cashless payments, it’s only considerate of your business to provide more payment options. However, it should come as a piece of a bigger digital transformation plan.
Q3. How will credit card processing help you increase your revenue?
Yes. At least, customers who like to pay with a credit card only will prefer to buy from your business. So, you won’t lose them to competitors. Furthermore, you’ll get a wealth of data to analyze and potentially find areas where you can improve. Credit card processing services like Helcim will connect with your accounting software, so you’ll save time doing all that manual work.
Q4. What are the benefits of credit card processing?
It’ll let you accept credit card payments in your store. You can also accept in person payments outside the store with a scannable QR code or mobile application. Furthermore, you can receive payments over the phone using a virtual terminal. Most of all, you can get more orders on your website by integrating a payment gateway. In short, you give your customers more payment options, which may stimulate your sales and increase your revenue.
Q5. How to start using credit card processing in your business?
You can create an account at a credit card processing company, then get the hardware. Install the hardware and software, and you’re good to go. It’s that simple. Next, you can start promoting your new payment methods on social media. It’s also possible to send payment processor links to your customers through email, text, and WhatsApp.
Whether you run a franchise or an online store, you can pick one of the best credit card processing companies we reviewed above. We did the homework and chose the best companies with top features. On the other hand, they provide a competitive pricing structure, unambiguous terms, and an economical setup.
They work similarly by connecting bank accounts, processing payments, and providing support. However, they differ in the quality and depth of services. Each has its strong points. So, it’s up to you to choose the one that fits your business needs.
If you’re interested in a credit card processing company, take a look at Helcim. It’s the most popular choice in the USA, Canada, and globally.
In conclusion, we hope you found our comparisons helpful. We recommend that you don’t look outside these companies. Then again, do your research and choose the best for your finances. We hope you find the best credit card processing company soon.