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Merchant services provide businesses with the ability to process credit and debit card payments from customers. They use payment technology to securely transmit your customer’s card info to payment networks and then they transfer funds into your bank account.

Many of the best merchant services go beyond payment processing and also include point-of-sale features like inventory management, loyalty programs, multi-location support, analytics & reporting, and marketing tools to help you run your business.

To find the best merchant services we reviewed dozens of payment providers, eliminating many, while focusing on important factors including:

  • Rates & Fees: Low rates and processing fees are most important.
  • Contracts: Providers that offer flexible contracts without long-term commitments are best.
  • Hardware Options: Support for in-person, mobile, online, and invoicing for maximum flexibility.
  • Integrations: Merchant services that integrate with bookkeeping software and online checkout systems.
  • Customer Support: Knowledgeable and friendly customer service staff that is available to assist when needed.

Best Merchant Services for 2024

Merchant ServiceMonthly FeeCard / NFC TransactionOnline Transaction
Stax$99 to $199IC + 8¢IC + 15¢
Dharma Merchant Services$25IC + 0.15% + 8¢IC + 0.20% + 11¢
Helcim$0IC + 0.30% + 15¢IC + 0.50% + 25¢
National Processing$10+IC + 0.18% + 10¢IC + 0.29% + 15¢
Stripe$02.70% + 5¢2.90% + 30¢
PayPal$0 to $302.29% + 9¢2.99% + 49¢
Square$0 to $792.60% + 10¢2.90% + 30¢
PaymentCloud$10+2.00% to 3.5%2.80% to 4.3%

* IC (Interchange Fee)

1. Stax

Stax Payments is designed to make payment processing easier and more cost-effective for small businesses. They are our top pick because of their no markup flat-rate subscription pricing for small business owners processing up to $500k annually.

Stax allows businesses to accept payments from customers with all major credit cards, debit cards, NFC, Apple Pay and Google Pay. They also have options to accept payment via invoice, subscription, and ACH.

Stax has a team of about 300 people, mostly based in Orlando, Fl.

Stax Merchant Services

Best Features

Our favorite feature of Stax is that they offer same-day funding, including on holidays and weekends. Most other merchant services take 2-3 days to receive payment.

Additional features of Stax include:

  • Store cards on file (Pro & Ultimate plans)
  • Custom branding
  • Terminal protection
  • Digital gift cards

Hardware Options

Stax is compatible with a wide variety of modern hardware from Clover, Dejavoo, First Data, and Ingenico. The terminals should be able to cover any use case from stand-alone or semi-integrated to mobile contactless.

Clover Station Duo

Dejavoo QD Series

View all Stax Equipment.

Stax Integrations

Integrations are important to enable automations, sync’ing Stax connects with many popular apps including:

  • HubSpot
  • WordPress
  • Calendly
  • QuickBooks® Two-Way Sync
  • Asana
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Slack
  • Zapier

View all Stax Integrations.

Customer Support

Stax has a US-based dedicated customer support team that can be reached by phone, chat, and email.

Technical support for Stax is available 24/7 through an online ticketing system. Just enter your merchant ID, choose a support category, and fill in relevant details about your question (including adding files and/or screenshots). Then the Stax team will follow up with you to help with a resolution.

Stax also has a self-service online knowledge base with detailed support articles covering everything from interchange optimization to terminals with multi-merchant capability.

Stax Processing Fees

Instead of adding a markup on the interchange rate charged by credit card companies, Stax charges a monthly subscription fee and a processing fee. This pricing model may be more cost-effective for some businesses, as their monthly savings from the lower interchange rates could offset the subscription cost.

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
In-person credit card, NFC, Apple Pay, Google PayIC + 8¢
Online, card not present, keyed-inIC + 15¢

* IC (Interchange Fee)

2. Dharma Merchant Services

Dharma Merchant Services offers a full-service payment solution and was founded on the principle that business can be a force for good. They aim to reduce frustration by using simple pricing and being up front about their practices. Happy merchants make for a happy workplace.

Dharma Merchant Services provides the most value for merchants that process at least $10,000 per month. If you process less, you are probably better off using a provider with no monthly fees like Stripe or PayPal.

After submitting all the required documentation, new merchant accounts with Dharma normally take 2 to 3 business days to get setup. They can also rush the approval process to complete it in one day.

Best Features

The best features of Dharma are their fully transparent policies and fair pricing. All accounts also come with free access to MX Merchant which includes a full set of tools to help you handle all types of payments and reporting.

MX Merchant Features

  • Virtual terminal
  • Online reporting
  • Mobile processing
  • Online payment links
  • Customer database
  • Credit card storage

Hardware Options

Verifone Engage V200c

Clover Mini

View all Dharma terminal options.


Since Dharma Merchant Services is a payment provider and not a POS system, they don’t have many integrations with third party software. They do integrate with many POS systems which will greatly expand your capability for integrations.

Supported POS Systems

  • Aloha
  • Breadcrumb
  • Lavu POS
  • Micros
  • NCR Silver
  • Revel
  • Shopkeep

View all Dharma supported POS systems.

Customer Support

Dharma Merchant Services provides dedicated customer support including detailed assistance with complex integrations and troubleshooting.

Hundreds of online reviews mention fair pricing, great service, and professionalism. After hours of research, we are confident Dharma is one of the best options.

During our research, Dharma’s customer service team picked up the phone quickly and was always friendly.

Dharma Merchant Services Fees

Dharma has a fee of $25 per month. Their pricing is interchange-plus based on the transaction types listed below.

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
Retail / Card Present (Visa/MC/Discover)IC + 0.15% + 8¢
Retail / Card Present (Amex)IC + 0.25% + 8¢
Online / Card Not Present (Visa/MC/Discover)IC + 0.2% + 11¢
Online / Card Not Present (Amex)IC + 0.3% + 11¢

For non-profits and high-volume businesses (processing over $100,000 per month or over 5,000 transactions), Dharma Merchant Services has special pricing with rates as low as interchange + 0.1% + 8¢.

Dharma also has no long-term contracts, no monthly minimums, no cancellation fees, no startup fees, and no hidden fees.

3. Helcim

Helcim is a no-fee all-in-one merchant service similar to Square, but uses transparent interchange plus pricing. With interchange plus pricing, Helcim passes the interchange fees from card networks to merchants, along with an additional fee. This type of pricing give you more control over your costs and makes it possible to understand the fees associated with each transaction.

Sign up with Helcim is free, then you’ll have access to a range of services such as credit and debit card processing, eCommerce solutions, point-of-sale (POS) solutions, mobile payments, and more. They offer competitive fees and no long-term contracts.

Helcim offers discounts for merchants processing $25k or more each month. As your business grows, you can qualify for lower rates and pricing tiers.

Best Features

Helcim offers a range of features and tools to help manage your business, including customer insights, analytics, fraud protection, and more.

  • Interchange plus pricing
  • Invoicing
  • Subscriptions & recurring payments
  • Virtual terminal
  • Card vault
  • SMS payments
  • Payment links
  • Point-of-Sale system

Feature for Trust Accounts

Helcim allows businesses like law firms requiring separate trust and operating bank accounts to configure deposits and fees go into the correct accounts.

Helcim Hardware

Helcim Card Reader

Lightweight Thermal Printer

Helcim is also planning to launch a new standalone terminal option later this year that combines POS features, inventory management, a card reader, and a thermal printer in a single device.


Helcim offers some integrations, but not as many as other providers.

  • QuickBooks
  • Xero
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • Foxy.io
  • Great Exposure

View all Helcim integrations.

Customer Support

Helcim support is available by phone or email 24/7. Each time we called for research and fact checking, we were greeted by friendly team members.

They also have an online learning center covering account management, fraud prevention, and creating invoices.

Helcim Processing Fees

Helcim pricing is based on Interchange Plus and they are known for being fair and transparent with their fees and pricing. They have no monthly fee, no setup fees, no cancellation fees, no deposit fees, no PCI fees… you get the idea.

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
In-person credit card, NFC, Apple Pay, Google PayIC + 0.3% + 15¢
Online, card not present, keyed-inIC + 0.5% + 25¢
ACH and EFT0.5% + 25¢
Chargeback (refunded if you win the dispute)$15

Helcim offers reduced rates for high-volume merchants. Discounts kick in at $25k per month and get progressively more affordable as you scale up to $5M+ each month (IC + 0.1% + 5¢).

4. National Processing

National Processing a a top-rated payment processor based in Orem, UT that’s been in business since 2008. Their financing department is known to be flexible and helpful in getting competitive rates, however they do require contracts.

NP Merchant Account

Along with getting some of the lowest interchange-plus rate, National Processing lets you process payments in person, online, or via mobile devices.

Best Features

  • Low rates
  • Virtual terminal
  • ACH processing
  • Fraud prevention
  • Chargeback prevention
  • API integration
  • Accepts high-risk merchants

Hardware Options

National Processing primarily relies on Clover hardware, but also works with other vendors like SwipeSimple and Dejavoo.

POS System

Smart Terminal

View all National Processing hardware options.


National Processing has native integrations with many popular platforms and CRM systems. They also have APIs and can help build custom integrations.

  • QuickBooks
  • WooCommerce
  • WordPress
  • BigCommerce
  • Ecwid
  • Zendesk
  • Shopify
  • Opencart

View all National Processing integrations.

Customer Support

Tech support is available 24/7.

Each client of National Processing also gets a dedicated account representative that’s available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

National Processing Fees

The standard contract for National Processing is two to three years with early termination fees of $495 or $595. In the event that your business is sold or closed, they will waive your termination fee.

IndustryMonthly FeeTransaction Cost
Restaurant$9.95IC + 0.14% + 7¢
Retail$9.95IC + 0.18% + 10¢
eCommerce$9.95IC + 0.29% + 15¢
Non-Profit$9.95IC + 0.12% + 6¢
High Volume ($200k+ / mo)$59IC + 9¢

For merchants processing $10,000+ per month, National Processing guarantees they can beat your current rates or they’ll give you $500.

5. Stripe Payments

Stripe is a full-featured merchant service and an innovator in the online payments arena. With a competitive flat-rate pricing model, Stripe has a low fee for each transaction, regardless of the amount. This can be beneficial for businesses that like consistency because the cost of processing is the same whether your customer uses Visa or American Express.

The Stripe dashboard is a valuable feature with a comprehensive overview of all your payment activity, including detailed transaction data, customer information, and more. It makes it easy to track payments and transactions, view insights about customer activity, and manage their accounting and billing.

Business owners like Stripe because it helps them stay on top of their payments and help them make informed decisions. Additionally, Stripe provides businesses with detailed analytics, making it easier to identify trends and areas of improvement.

Best Features

Stripe offers a range of features and services to help businesses maximize their revenue and limit risk, including fraud protection, subscription billing, and automatic reconciliation.

  • Low flat-rate pricing
  • Accept payments in over 135 currencies
  • Flexible API
  • Instant payouts
  • Sharable payment links
  • Recurring payments & subscriptions
  • Invoicing

Hardware Options

Stripe’s terminal hardware is designed to be user-friendly, secure, and reliable. Hardware includes card readers, mobile card readers, and point of sale systems that accept payments from customers via credit and debit cards. It is also compatible with many third-party services, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Stripe Reader M2

Stripe Terminal

View all Stripe hardware options.


Stripe’s integrations include a huge range of services, such as accounting and invoicing software, shopping cart services, and more.

  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Bench Accounting
  • Xero
  • HubSpot
  • Klaviyo
  • Wix
  • Mailchimp
  • Intercom

View all Stripe integrations.

Customer Support

Stripe’s platform is convenient and user-friendly, making it simple to set up and manage payments. Their customer service team is available 24/7 to help businesses with any questions.

Stripe also offers a range of educational resources, including tutorials, webinars, and FAQs, to help businesses get the most out of their payment processing.

Stripe Processing Fees

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
In-Person Transactions2.7% + 5¢
Online Transactions2.9% + 30¢
Bank Transfer / ACH0.8% ($5 maximum)
Chargeback Fees$15

6. PayPal

PayPal is one of the most popular flat-rate merchant services. While their service works for businesses of all sizes, PayPal is most competitive for low volume businesses that process in-person payments.

With PayPal you can accept payments in many different currencies, receive payments quickly, and track all transactions in one place.

Overall, PayPal is an efficient and secure online payment processing service. It is easy to use and provides customers and merchants with a convenient way to make and receive payments.

Best Features

  • By now, pay later
  • No setup fees
  • Easy to use
  • Support for over 25 currencies
  • Recurring payments
  • QR code payments
  • Venmo payments

Aside from the features listed above, PayPal also has a range of security features such as fraud prevention systems, encryption technology, and buyer / seller protection.

Hardware Options

PayPal offers a variety of hardware options ranging from handheld terminals, barcode scanners, printers, and full store kits.

PayPal also offers a free chip and magstripe card reader for new accounts.

View all PayPal hardware options.


PayPal integrates with a range of ecommerce platforms, shopping carts, payment gateways and other systems. This allows you to accept payments from customers with PayPal account balance, credit / debit cards, or bank accounts.

  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce
  • GoDaddy
  • Swappa
  • BIGcommerce
  • Depop
  • Jotform

View all PayPal integration partners.

Customer Support

PayPal’s customer service team is available via phone, email or live chat. They also have an online help center with FAQs, tutorials, and more. Additionally, PayPal offers a range of educational resources, such as webinars and videos, to help merchants understand how to use the platform.

PayPal also provides merchants with protection against fraud and unauthorized payments, as well as dispute resolution services.

PayPal Processing Fees

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
Magstripe, chip, EMV, ApplePay, Google Pay2.29% + 9¢
Online credit and debit card2.59% + 49¢
PayPal or Venmo Checkout3.49% + 49¢
PayPal or Venmo QR code payments ($10+)1.9% + 10¢
Chargeback fee$20
ACH processingN/A

Note that a 1.5% added fee is placed on non-US cards. 

7. Square

Square is a very popular payment processing platform that allows merchants to accept payments in person, online, and via invoicing.

With a wide variety of hardware designed to enhance your customer experience, Square is one of the best merchant services for restaurants and retail. The platform is designed to make it easier for businesses to accept multiple types of payment while keeping track of transactions.

With its versatile solutions, Square enables businesses to accept credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets. The platform also offers services such as analytics, invoicing, and virtual terminal.

Square’s payment processing fees are competitive and its customer support is top-notch. It is a great option for businesses that need a reliable, affordable payment processing solution.

Best Features

  • Buy now, pay later
  • Flexible and modern POS hardware
  • Card readers
  • Mobile app
  • Invoicing
  • Low fees
  • Excellent customer support

Hardware Options

Square offers a huge suite of products includes point-of-sale software, card readers, and a mobile app.

Square Stand

Square Register

Square Terminal

Free Square Reader

View all Square hardware options.


Square also offers many integrations with services such as accounting software, ecommerce platforms, and payroll. These integrations make it easy to manage multiple aspects of your business, from sales and customer data to payroll and inventory.

  • WooCommerce
  • Acuity Scheduling
  • Linktree
  • Printful
  • Jotform
  • Wix
  • Zapier

Square’s APIs also allow developers to create custom solutions that work with the platform.

View all Square integrations.

Customer Support

Square offers 24/7 customer support through email, phone, and live chat. They also provide extensive documentation and resources to help merchants get the most out of their payment processing setup.

Square Processing Fees

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
Magstripe cards, chip cards, contactless NFC payments, and swiped virtual terminal payments2.6% + 10¢
Online payments including invoices, Square online API payments, and eCommerce card-on-file payments2.9% + 30¢
Card-not-present payments, card-on-file payments, and keyed-in payments3.5% + 15¢
ACH ProcessingN/A

Note that processing fees will not be refunded if you issue refunds.

8. PaymentCloud

PaymentCloud is one of the best merchant services for high-risk businesses. They provide a reliable, secure, and cost-effective way for any type of business to accept payments from customers.

The platform offers support for a variety of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, e-checks, and ACH payments, as well as a host of additional features, such as recurring billing, virtual terminal, and loyalty programs.

PaymentCloud also offers businesses the ability to accept payment in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. This allows you to benefit from the lower transaction fees associated with these digital currencies.

PaymentCloud also offers a suite of tools and services designed to help businesses manage their finances, such as a dashboard with real-time analytics, reporting and reconciliation tools, and the ability to integrate with existing systems.

Best Features

  • Low rates
  • Accepts high-risk merchants
  • Accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
  • Chargeback and fraud mitigation solutions
  • QR code payments
  • 5-minute application

Hardware Options

Instead of providing their own hardware, PaymentCloud is compatible with a wide variety of hardware from popular vendors including:

  • Clover
  • Dejavoo
  • Magtek
  • First Data
  • Ingenico


  • Shopify
  • Volusion
  • WooCommerce
  • Zen Cart
  • Ecwid
  • Magento

They also offer secure API integrations with Authorize.net, USAePay, and NMI.

Customer Support

PaymentCloud’s customer service team is available 24/7 to answer questions and help customers with their payment processing needs. The team can be contacted by phone, email, or live chat. They also provides an online knowledge base with helpful information about payment processing and common payment processing issues.

We love how they display the number of agents online and the current wait time to reach customer service on their website.

PaymentCloud Processing Fees

PaymentCloud charges a one-time setup fee as well as a $10+ monthly fee based on the number of transactions processed.

Transaction TypeProcessing Fee
In-Person Transactions2.00% to 3.5%
Online Transactions2.80% to 4.3%

Transaction fees may vary based on the type of payment being processed. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with certain payment methods or card types.

Choosing a Merchant Services Provider

Choosing the right merchant services provider for your business is an important decision that could impact more than your finances. Be sure to take the time to review options and compare providers.

Understand Your Business Needs

First, consider the type of business you operate, the features you need, and the types of payments you accept.

For example, if you’re a retail business, a system that accepts credit cards, debit cards, and Apple Pay / Google Pay will probably work best. You will also the system to track inventory, monitor sales, and potentially for managing customer accounts.

If you’re an ecommerce business, you should choose a provider that integrates with popular checkout systems like Shopify or WooCommerce. In addition, a centralized system that manages shipping, customer service, and analytics will give you an advantage.

Compare Rates & Fees

Accepting credit cards is a must for most businesses, but it’s important to understand the fees that you’ll be charged. Compare different rates, fees, and other costs to find the best merchant services provider for your business.

When comparing, look at factors such as processing fees, markup fees, and monthly fees. Be sure to take into account rate tiers, as well as any additional fees that may apply.

Consider Contract Length

Look for a merchant services provider that offers flexible contracts without long-term commitments.

Many providers offer month-to-month contracts, which is beneficial for businesses that may need to change providers for any reason. Additionally, some providers offer incentives for signing up for a longer-term contract.

Check Hardware Options

Make sure that the provider offers the type of hardware you need. Determine if you want to accept payments in-person, online, or mobile.

For in-person payments, you may need a point-of-sale system, a payment terminal, or a mobile card reader. For online payment processing, a virtual terminal may be necessary.

Explore Integrations

Look for a provider that integrates with the other systems you use. For example, if you use accounting software, finding a provider that offers an integration will make bookkeeping easier.

Popular Merchant Service Integrations

  • WordPress
  • Shopify
  • Calendly
  • QuickBooks
  • HubSpot
  • Google Docs
  • Zapier

Talk to Customer Support

Speaking with customer service representatives from the different providers can help you understand the features and services they offer, as well as any additional costs or fees.

Additionally, talking to customer service reps can help you determine the quality of the customer service you will receive if you decide to go with that provider.

Merchant Services Alternatives


  • Pros: Immediate payment, no processing fees
  • Cons: Difficult to track, banks charge deposit fees


  • Pros: Low processing fees, reliable and secure
  • Cons: Cumbersome to set up


  • Pros: Low processing fees, secure and reliable
  • Cons: Transaction take several days to clear

RELATED: eCheck Payment Processing


  • Pros: Immediate payment, secure, low fee
  • Cons: Complex setup, volatile exchange rates, limited usage

Final Thoughts on Merchant Services

Merchant services are an essential part of any business that wants to accept credit and debit cards. Working with a merchant services provider can help you save money, increase sales, and simplify your payment processing.

If you have a restaurant or retail location, Stax is probably the best merchant service because of their low flat-rate pricing and wide variety of hardware options. If you have an ecommerce business, Dharma Merchant Services could save you in the long run with low rates for online transactions.

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