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Retail Credit Card Processing Companies

Credit card processing is essential for any company that sells products. However, not all payment processors are created equal. Before you do so, make certain that you are working with someone who is a good fit for your retail business.

Our Top Picks for The Best Retail Credit Card Processors

  1. Easy Pay Direct
  2. Dharma Merchant Services
  3. Helcim
  4. Mynt POS
  5. PaymentCloud

1. Easy Pay Direct

Easy Pay Direct provides a variety of POS (Point of Sale) Systems as well as business loans. They make choosing a transaction processing system easy. They take the time to get to know you and your business to set you up with the exact services you need. With EPD you can accept payment online, in store, or through a mobile device. 60,000 different merchants have been served by EPD's platform.

2. Dharma Merchant Services

Dharma provides you with great rates along with exceptional customer service. Dharma provides interchange plus pricing without requiring long-term commitments or hidden fees. They offer 24 hour priority funding along with their 24 hour exceptional customer service. They require no contracts and there are absolutely no hidden fees. Dharma passes 100% of credit card processing fees to credit card paying customers.

3. Helcim

Helcim is in the business to help you feel good about your payments. Individuals can use the company's merchant platform to access tools like customer management, online stores, and inventory management. With just one Helcim account you get unlimited access to all of the latest tools to accept payments without issues. Their pricing is 100% transparent with no hidden fees. You won't have to worry about any monthly payments as well in order to keep your account with Helcim.

4. Mynt POS

Mynt has everything for your point of sale. Their equipment is high quality and they can accept every form of modern payment. With every Mynt account, you get a lifetime warranty along with free service whenever you need it. When you sign up with Mynt you also receive free remote setup and training with your membership. Mynt is optimized for your business's needs.

5. PaymentCloud

PaymentCloud works with low, medium, and high risk businesses. They will tailor any of their services directly to fit your specific business needs. Their trained representatives will guide you through the setup process so you won't have to worry. PaymentCloud will also offer you protection against any chargebacks or fraud against your business. PaymentClous is your full suite merchant provider.

What is Retail Credit Card Processing?

Credit card processors are required if you want to accept credit card payments in person or online, and as such, you must obtain one. The credit card processing company acts as a liaison between your company and the credit card company of your customers. A credit card processor is typically involved in three stages of a transaction.

  • Authorization: The payment processor sends the cardholder's data and transaction details to a card network, which forwards the request to the issuing bank. The issuing bank decides whether to authorize or deny the transaction.
  • Settlement: At the end of each business day, transactions are "settled," and the issuing bank charges the customer's card, remitting the funds to the payment processor less the interchange fees paid by the bank.
  • Funding: Following the completion of transactions, the payment processor transfers funds to the merchant's bank account, less any fees charged by the payment processor.

It's a service that allows businesses like yours to accept credit cards, debit cards, and other non-cash forms of payment, such as checks. You will eventually be able to deposit all of your earnings into your business bank account.

Naturally, it must then go through the proper channels. When you accept it, you make a payment. Following that, the funds are transferred to your merchant account, from which fees are deducted, and then to your business bank account. When you arrive, it is immediately available to you. 

Why Would I Want Retail Credit Card Processing?

While cash remains the primary method of payment, credit cards continue to account for an increasing percentage of transactions. Customers should be able to pay with their credit cards. It makes no difference whether your store is physical or online; you must be able to accept payments in order to run a business. Otherwise, you risk losing them to competitors who do. Payment processors can be used by businesses to do the following:

  • Debit cards
  • Major credit cards including American Express, Visa, Discover, and Mastercard
  • Bank transfers/Automated Clearing House (ACH)
  • eChecks
  • Digital wallets and mobile payments including Apple Pay and Google Pay 

Payment processors can also add value to your business by utilizing proprietary technology tools. Because hardware and software are constantly improving, you can acquire one-of-a-kind tools for your business. Today's systems include a plethora of additional features that can help you run and grow your business, and they can be extremely beneficial. A good example: For example, you can keep an eye on:

  • How your customers are paying for what they buy. 
  • What items you have sold. 
  • Who purchased items from your store. 

You must select the appropriate credit processor to accept non-credit card payments such as PIN debit cards and ACH.

What to Consider Before Choosing a Retail Payment Processor

The type of store you own, as well as your personal preferences, may make selecting a method of payment for your goods easier. That is not to say you should be an expert in everything.

Transaction Patterns

It is critical to consider how your own business operates when selecting a payment processor. Do you have a lot of small sales? Or do you have a high volume of large sales? When there are numerous small transactions, you may be more concerned with the costs associated with each. People may think your business is risky if you make a lot of sales, but those sales are worth a lot of money.

They are referred to as high risk businesses because they pose a greater risk to the buyer. When a customer cancels a transaction or requests a refund, it has a significant impact on the business and raises the processor's costs.

You should also think about how your customers will react to it. How do they complete their transactions? Are they primarily conducted online or in person? Is there only one location for card processing in your store, or do you need the ability to process cards on the go?

If you conduct a high volume of in-person transactions, make sure your point of sale system is set up with robust software. Otherwise, a simple card reader may suffice. Which software and hardware will work best for your company will be determined by your customers' habits and your own preferences as the owner.

Pricing Models

Payment processors charge in a variety of ways. Each has its advantage and disadvantage. 

  • Interchange-Plus: This model includes interchange fees in addition to payment processing costs. This offer also includes a percentage and a small flat fee. Nonetheless, some business owners may struggle to keep up with the numerous details contained in a statement.
  • Flat Rate: This is the price. The credit card processor charges you a flat rate percentage and a fee every time you use your credit card. They will not receive any reductions in interchange fees for specific transactions because the business owner will not use them.
  • Tiered Pricing: It categorizes various payment methods as qualified, intermediate, or non-qualified, depending on how the processor defines the rules. The qualified rate is the standard rate, but it may increase if factors such as the card not being present during the transaction cause the rate to rise. Individuals who run businesses may have difficulty determining how much their processing costs will be if they use this method of pricing.
  • Subscription: In this case, the company will pay a monthly membership fee to Interchange Plus and then only a small transaction fee on each transaction. The percentage has vanished. Depending on the monthly membership fee, this format might be preferable.

Certain processors may offer your company a discount if you make a large number of purchases. It is critical to carefully read your contract to determine the charges that will apply. Determine whether there are any cancellation fees associated with terminating the processor's service prior to the contract's expiration date.

POS Systems and Credit Card Terminals

Many businesses prefer to use traditional point-of-sale systems and credit card terminals because they are more familiar with them. These systems have been around for a long time and are now capable of performing tasks that were previously unattainable. Use today's point-of-sale systems for more than just payment processing:

  • Manage payroll
  • Clock employees in and/or out
  • Track and manage inventory

POS systems can be as simple or as complex as the user desires. They can be as simple or as complex as you want. Despite the fact that you should seek out a merchant service provider capable of customizing your hardware to your specifications.

Online Shopping Cart Integration

As a business owner, you may need shopping cart integration. This can also be accomplished by using a credit card processing company that sells to customers in-store. There are also various types of shopping carts, such as:

  • White label checkout pages. 
  • Checkout buttons that can be added to your website with just a few lines of code. 
  • Hosted checkout pages. 

There are even companies that will help you create your own ecommerce website with an integrated shopping cart. It will be ready, and all you have to do is direct your customers to that location.

Virtual Terminals

Virtual terminals are easy to use and can accept a wide range of payment methods. A virtual terminal can be used to process payments via a web-based application. When you choose to accept payments in this manner, any computer, phone, or tablet you have at home instantly becomes a point of sale system.

Mobile Card Readers and Apps

Customers are more likely to pay with their phones if your store is primarily mobile. In this case, you may want to use a mobile card reader or an app to complete tasks. It makes no difference where you are as long as you can accept money from others.

Choosing the Best Retail Payment Processor for your Business

When choosing a payment processor, you want to make sure you're getting the best tools for the job at the best possible price.

Software with Benefits

Using a Point of Sale (POS) system can help you increase the effectiveness of your retail business. There are two kinds of point-of-sale systems: front-of-house and back-of-house. What are your motivations for wanting or needing to use better software?

The days of performing inventory will come to an end. Inventory management can be difficult, especially in a store with a wide variety of products and frequent inventory changes. Employees can quickly determine whether a product or service is available and then notify the customer.

Keeping a digital inventory reduces human error and improves accuracy. Advanced software also allows you to analyze your customers' data to see if there are any trends or patterns in the way they previously purchased items. This can help with business decisions. Managing this type of data manually would be extremely time-consuming.

Certain systems even keep track of birthdays and emails, which you can use to market to your customers. There are numerous types of software available for various businesses, and the retail industry is no exception.

Hardware that Fits Your Business

There are numerous methods for configuring a computer system. A typical setup might include the following:

  • Digital Register Screen: Employees can access information about inventory or customers via this digital register screen, which is a representation of the POS system.
  • Barcode Scanner: Reads the barcode on a product, looks up pricing information, and updates inventory levels in your system after transactions are completed.
  • Receipt Printer: Customers receive paper receipts from Receipt Printer that detail their purchase, where they purchased it, and how to contact your company. Even if they can get one electronically, many people still prefer to get a paper receipt.
  • Cash Drawer: When you finish a transaction, the cash drawer automatically retracts. It's a safe place to keep your cash and coins.
  • A Card Reader: If you want to accept credit cards, you must have a card reader! There are numerous reader types available for reading magstripe cards, as well as chip and tap-to-pay technologies. It is more secure and advantageous in this case.

Integration

If your company is already established, you can add or change payment processors. Individuals who require the ability to take their data with them will want to do so in this case. Numerous systems integrate with other systems, such as QuickBooks, or can import data from other sources, eliminating the need to start from scratch when starting a new business. You don't want to lose customer sales data that you've been storing for a long time.

Another factor to consider is the system's complexity and the time required to get it up and running. You should look for a processor that is compatible with your system and will not cause your business to go down for an extended period of time. The majority of retailers will be unable to devote significant time to training their employees on new technology. Many of them are simple to use and do not require extensive practice.

If you need help learning how to use your new processor, some processor manufacturers will provide free training and support after you've configured it. There are numerous point-of-sale systems available today, so make a list of the features you want before starting your search for a payment processor!

Contracts

Nobody wants to end a business relationship, but you want to know what your contract says. Is it necessary to pay to leave? Do you have to stay for a certain amount of time? Certain processors require month-to-month contracts, while others do not. Make sure to carefully read any contract to see if there are any hidden fees.

Additional Tips & Considerations

Security

Credit card fraud increased 44 percent between 2019 and 2020, so choose a PCI-compliant company over a non-compliant one. Payment Card Industry Standards are constantly evolving. Payment processors must follow a set of rules. While a company may exceed these standards, they represent the current best practices. Inquire about the security measures in place at your payment processor.

Customer Service

You want to work with a company that will help you grow your business. If you run into problems, your processor should be able to assist you in resolving them. What can you do to help them? Is the company open 24 hours a day? If you need to contact them, there should be several ways to do so.

Certain processors may include a chat feature, a help form, or a separate email address for customer service. It is critical to repair your system as soon as possible if it does not function properly or at all.

Reputation

You want to work with a company that has a good reputation. Individuals who work for other companies can be of the most help to you by providing feedback. It's important to remember that people are more likely to write a negative review than a positive one. A positive review indicates that the company goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Another way to find out if a company is a member of the Better Business Bureau or if it has received any complaints is to look it up in the BBB's online directory. Even if a company is not a member, it may have a profile.

Furthermore, this profile can provide information about the company's history. If a company is not well-known, you may be hesitant to sign up with them for fear of them going out of business.

What’s the Difference Between a POS System and a Virtual Terminal?

While both POS systems and virtual terminals are used to enter and accept payments, they are not interchangeable. However, with a point-of-sale system, the hardware remains consistent. A tablet could be linked to a cash register and a printer, among other things. There is a way to get a virtual terminal on any device that has a WiFi or data connection.

What Should be Included in Your Retail Payment System?

People who process credit cards must think about the features they want in their hardware and software. There are numerous optional features to think about, and any of the following can help your business.

A Gift Card Program

Most retail stores have gift card programs, and most people can get them from them. Many people enjoy giving gift cards to people who want to buy something from a store as a gift but don't know what to get. When you work with a retail merchant services company, you may be able to get white label gift cards with your company's logo on them.

A Loyalty Card Program

Customers are more likely to return to your store if they have a loyalty card. They allow you to reward customers for purchasing from you and can be customized to meet your specific requirements. For example, you could give a 20% discount to customers who buy ten items in a 12-month period.

The Ability to Accept SNAP/EBT Payments

If you own a grocery store, you should think about accepting SNAP/EBT funds. It's similar to having a credit card, except the government gives you one that works similarly. There is no difference as long as the funds come from a government account: It's a good idea to check with your merchant account provider to see if this is a viable option for your company.

Mobile Wallet Payment Capabilities

Other than using a credit or debit card to pay for something, you have a number of other options. Many payment methods, such as using a mobile wallet, are still in their infancy. Mobile wallets such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay are extremely secure.

Payments can be made using a mobile wallet account using a near-field communication (NFC) reader. Simply place the reader in contact with the user's phone.

Things to Know Before Choosing Your Retail Payment Processing Company

Following your logic, there are a few more things to think about before deciding how to accept credit cards at your store.

  • It is advantageous to you if your customers have a variety of payment options. Numerous people use alternative credit cards, such as Diners Club. You may also want to think about ACH, checks, and electronic checks, as well as other credit cards that a lot of people use.
  • It's possible that your payment processor will help you create a store credit card, but it's not guaranteed. That is something to think about, as well as an idea that could lead to increased customer loyalty.
  • A lot of things can happen in the future if you own a store. What if you want to grow or spread your company? Should you start a web-based business as well?
  • Young people are more likely than any other demographic to use mobile wallets to make payments. It's a good idea to double-check that your equipment can handle this.

When you're ready to conduct research, the following pointers will be useful:

  • Read reviews - Find out what other businesses have said about the companies with which they've worked in the past.
  • Seek help whenever you are unsure about something! When you ask a company for help, they will gladly help you.
  • Before deciding which company to choose, compare the quality of customer service provided by each! In general, having someone to whom you can turn when you need help is advantageous. Do you think you'll be able to get it? Or do they provide 24-hour customer service?

Beware of Lengthy Contracts

You will almost certainly be required to sign a contract when you begin processing payments. It is possible, however, that you are signing two contracts rather than one. Your payment processor will almost certainly require you to sign a contract outlining the services they provide. The contract could state:

  • PCI Compliance fees and information
  • A term length
  • Any setup and ongoing fees

Avoiding long-term contracts is the best course of action. Many payment processors require you to sign a contract for 3-5 years, and you may be subject to significant early termination fees if you cancel early. Furthermore, if you rent payment processing equipment, this may be covered by a separate contract. Before signing, please read the fine print and make sure you understand what you're agreeing to.

Your equipment lease could last up to five years, which means you could end up with a lot of expensive equipment even if buying it outright would only cost a few hundred dollars. It is preferable to have a month-to-month contract with no early termination fees.

Shop Around to Find the Best Prices and Rates

Certain credit card processing companies may try to persuade you that their rates are consistent across the country. This is untrue. Depending on the prices they charge, that could be true. True, each merchant account provider has their own set of rules to follow. It is the most transparent way to price items.

Credit card companies set rates twice a year. You may also come across tiered pricing and flat-rate pricing as additional payment options. While this is not the most important consideration, do not be misled by promises of low transaction fees. There are even businesses that charge a fee and then reimburse customers who pay in cash if you want to make money. Only the lion's share of transaction fees are passed on to your customers.

Avoid Working with Payment Aggregators

We are aware of our alternatives. Retail credit card processing can be difficult, especially when companies such as PayPal and Stripe compete for your business. From the outside, payment aggregators may appear to be a good idea. They are easy to obtain and do not necessitate a lengthy underwriting process.

However, if you have an excessive number of chargebacks (disputes or returns), your account may be closed. This could cause your funds to stop moving for an unknown period of time. You can avoid this by using a merchant account provider instead of a company such as Stripe or PayPal.

Final Thoughts

When opening a retail merchant payment processing account, there are numerous factors to consider. It is critical to choose a processor that meets your company's needs while remaining simple to use. Furthermore, it should have a positive reputation for service and security, allowing people to trust it. You should choose a processor that adds value to your business by incorporating the necessary hardware and software.

It can be difficult to choose from so many options, but having a clear idea of what you require will help. Compare payment processors. Keep in mind that this company will have an impact on your business on a daily basis. It is better for your company to stick with the same processor now rather than switching later.

Take a look at our list of the top retail payment processors:

  1. Easy Pay Direct
  2. Dharma Merchant Services
  3. Helcim
  4. Mynt POS
  5. PaymentCloud

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