Best Credit Card Processing for Small Businesses
Small businesses need credit card processing just as much as large businesses, but they also have unique business needs due to their smaller size and limited resources. That’s why merchants need to try and find the best credit card processing for small businesses, with affordable rates and customized services that startups need for success. For large-volume businesses, payment gateway processing systems are the norm; but for small startup businesses with a much lower sales volume and a tighter budget, credit card processing fees can be prohibitive. And for some high-risk merchant accounts, there’s the added complication of high chargeback rates, which are a chronic problem for certain industries.
However, today’s consumers prefer using credit and debit cards to all other types of payments, and as e-commerce businesses become even more prevalent, this trend is sure to continue. According to a 2022 study from Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (FIS), 49 percent of the world’s total e-commerce spending in 2021 was made through online transactions using digital or mobile wallet payments via a virtual terminal. With numbers like these, it’s not surprising that 58 percent of small businesses report that their customers have asked them to start accepting credit card payment options on a regular basis. Whether paying by mobile credit card or in-person payments, customers want the supreme convenience of paying by credit card.
Even for the smallest mom-and-pop business, the benefits of taking credit card payments far outweigh the cost of transaction rates. And a good merchant services provider can equip you with the best credit card machine for small businesses, so your credit card transactions will go through safely and securely yet be customized with a pricing structure for your sales volume levels.
As a national leader in providing merchant services for businesses in high-risk industries, Zenti can provide you with the credit card processing services you need for your small business. No matter whether you do high-volume or low-volume sales, Zenti can help you get approved for all types of credit card processing and payment options to boost your sales and increase customer retention.
Best credit card machines for small businesses: What do merchants need?
For small business owners, the best credit card processing for small businesses will offer features such as:
- Affordable transaction fees (no matter how small the transaction volume),
- Transparent pricing
- Reasonable monthly fees
- Variety of payment methods
- Ability to take all popular debit cards and credit cards, including VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover
- Ability to take online payments (if the business has an online store)
- Capability to handle other currencies
- Easy-to-use card readers
- Ability to take contactless payments
- Ability to take mobile app payments
- Stellar customer support
The best credit card machines for small businesses will offer these streamlined features customized for a smaller sales volume. And likewise, a good payment processing company will make these procession solutions available at pricing plans and affordable processing rates to suit small business budgets.
If you’re looking for the best credit card machines for small businesses, Zenti specializes in helping high-risk small businesses get approved by payment processing companies. With Zenti, you’ll be able to accept credit cards, debit cards, and e-checks, as well as mobile payments, all at rates you can afford.
Three Types of Credit Card Processing Systems
Before looking at how to choose the best credit card processing for small businesses, it’s a good idea to first look at the three common ways that merchants accept credit card payments:
Standard POS systems
This traditional system enables you to accept credit and debit cards and is typically used in brick-and-mortar stores. A standard POS system is ideal for small businesses because, when integrated with credit card machines for small businesses, it offers all the features you need, with multiple payment options for your customers.
Mobile POS systems
These are integrated with a mobile card reader that’s installed on smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. They enable you to accept customer payments from just about anywhere.
Online payment processors
Some of the most popular online payment processing companies are Paypal, Stripe, Square, and Venmo. These payment processors enable merchants to receive payments online in a seamless transaction managed by their third-party platform. Online payment processors offer a convenient option for small e-commerce businesses and their customers. Their only drawback, however, is that sometimes the payments can get delayed by a day or two since a third party is involved in the transaction.
Whether you’re using a standard or mobile POS system, Zenti can help you choose the best credit card processing for small businesses. Plus, Zenti can help ensure that every transaction meets all safety protocols, including PCI compliance, so you and your customers are protected against data and privacy breaches.
Benefits of using a credit card processing company
For small business merchants, a credit card processing company can enable you to do a great deal more than just accept credit cards. By equipping you with the best credit card machine for small businesses, a merchant account provider can offer you an array of other benefits and functionalities as well. For example, in addition to being able to accept all popular credit cards, you’ll be able to:
- Accept mobile payments
- Accept Apple Pay, Google Pay (G Pay), and other types of contactless payments
- Accept phone orders via a virtual terminal
- Accept e-checks
- Accept all types of online payments
In addition, as you’ll see below, many merchant account providers can offer multiple features, including invoicing and bill tracking, that can help streamline operations for small businesses with fewer resources. For example, Zenti offers a variety of high-risk merchant account services for small businesses, including payment processing solutions for everything from credit cards and e-checks to crypto and ACH payments, over a wide range of payment applications.
Can credit card processing fees be reduced?
Interchange fees are the transaction fees that merchants have to pay whenever a customer uses a credit or debit card, and unfortunately, they’re unavoidable. They’re part and parcel of owning a business, and there’s no way to eliminate them. However, if you’re using the best credit card processing for small businesses, you’ll be able to mitigate these interchange rates, so they’re more affordable.
Typical credit card processing fees
Essentially, credit card payment processors make their money by tacking on extra fees to those already charged by VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. This markup means that you have to pay more than the original credit card rates so the payment processors can make a profit. Ultimately, the merchant has to pay an interchange fee, an assessment fee, and a processing fee for every transaction. Respectively, these fees go to the bank that issues the card, the payment network (VISA, Mastercard, etc.), and the payment processor. In 2021, typical credit card processing fees averaged from around 1.3 percent to 3.5 percent, depending upon the credit card and not factoring in the payment processor’s add-on fees.
Another problem for small business owners is that they often can’t afford to pay the extra staff necessary to deal with invoicing, bookkeeping, and other payment issues. Toward that end, the best credit card processing for small businesses will also offer a streamlined platform that’s user-friendly, even if your business is a one-person operation.
When looking for the most affordable and best credit card processing for small businesses, it’s important to find a payment processor that can reduce these interchange fees, eliminate the markup, and provide a roster of services that don’t require extra bookkeeping staff or accounting software.
Four picks: Best credit card processing for small businesses
If you’re looking for a complete roster of payment processing services and your business is in a high-risk industry, Zenti can connect you to the best small business payment processors for your industry. Whether you’re looking for the best credit card machines for small businesses or trying to get approved for credit card processing, Zenti will help you find comprehensive payment processing services to fit your sales and budget. In addition, Zenti will help you through the application process so you can get approved right away, even if you’ve been denied merchant processing services in the past.
If you are looking to dive into some of the research yourself versus letting the team at Zenti set you up with the best fit, here’s a look at four top picks for best credit card processing for small businesses:
Stax by Fattmerchant
Thanks to the ease and simplicity of their model, one of the most popular small business payment processors are Stax by Fattmerchant. Stax features an all-in-one single payment platform that offers flat-rate pricing. This single platform model makes it easy for small business owners to accept all types of payments, including all major credit cards, Apple Pay, and G Pay, in a simple, streamlined fashion that benefits both your business and your customers.
Another popular option for small business owners is Payment Depot. Like Stax, Payment Depot takes VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, as well as Apple Pay and G Pay. Payment Depot doesn’t mark up credit card processing rates, so you’re basically just paying the wholesale interchange rates set by the credit card companies. Both Payment Depot and Stax operate on a monthly subscription model, with full transparency on their prices and no hidden fees.
Clover is another all-in-one system that enables you to run your payments on a single streamlined platform. Using your point of sale system, clover tracks sales and accepts and processes all popular forms of payments. Plus, it enables you to send professional invoices and provides a virtual terminal that allows you to accept payments from anywhere you happen to be. Clover advertises that all you need is a mobile device and its Clover Go app to start running your business at a low monthly price.
Helcim is ideal for large and small businesses that do a lot of global business because, in addition to credit/debit card and online payment methods, it offers a suite of international payment options that merchants can use worldwide. Helcim also works with Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank transfer processing (which you can learn about here) for its US customers and provides invoicing and virtual terminal services. Helcim has no monthly fees and no hidden charges and advertises low processing rates with full transparency in its pricing.
A word about security: PCI compliance
When it comes to choosing the right credit card machines for small businesses, it’s important to look at another factor: PCI compliance.
PCI compliance refers to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a set of security protocols and regulations that were created so companies can accept, process, transmit and store credit card information in a secure environment. These protocols are managed by the PCI SSC, an independent organization created by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
If you use a reputable payment processing company, the credit card machine for small businesses that you use will be protected by PCI compliance, so you won’t have to worry about security breaches that could compromise your privacy or the privacy of your customers.
Choosing the best credit card processing for small businesses
Credit card and remote payment processing is a must for any business today, whether it’s a huge corporate megastore or a one-person e-commerce site. Without credit card and mobile payment processing, it’s impossible to keep up with the competition and reach the customers that your business needs for growth and success.
If you’re looking for the best credit card machines for small businesses, Zenti can help. Our team of experts can connect you with the best payment processor for your high-risk industry or small business and work with you so you can get fast approval for a full roster of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, mobile apps, and e-check payments. Plus, our support team will be there to guide you through all your payment processing issues, so you’ll know that you’re covered in every transaction.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Contact Zenti to find out how we can get you the payment processing services you need, so your business can grow and prosper.