In the app economy, small business owners have more options than ever when it comes to transaction processing. Online payment solutions offer wide scalability in the number of transactions, meaning they can grow with your business.
Thanks to the wide variety of payment processing apps and card reading peripherals available for smartphones and tablets, it has never been easier to set up shop and start accepting credit cards.
Often, these online payment gateways charge a smaller fee for each processed card. For some businesses, being able to take credit cards on the go through a mobile device could change their approach to the market.
Whether you’re in the market for a way to accept payments in person, online, or with the added help of accounting support, check out our list of the top payment platforms.
In days past, some smaller retailers and entrepreneurs may have found it difficult to find an accessible and affordable credit card processing partner. Today’s online payment system providers know they need to provide solutions to brick-and-mortar retailers who are tired of high processing fees and inflexible technologies. Many of these solutions can be taken out of your storefront and on the road.
Chase offers several online payment solutions that are used by over 222,500 businesses worldwide. Their Orbital Payment Gateway allows for web transaction processing, while their Chase Mobile Checkout app integrates with a card reader and your Chase account so you can take physical card payments. Within two business days of the transaction being settled, the funds should appear in your Chase account. Plus, partnering with Chase for these solutions means you’re supported by their seasoned experts in areas like fraud prevention and compliance support.
Standard Fees: Chase Pay’s Orbital® Virtual Terminal has fees starting at 1.99% + 25¢ per transaction.
Talech is another mobile-based payment system, but what many business owners love is that it’s also much, much more. The software allows for you to integrate functions like powerful inventory management, check splitting for restaurants, digitized employee timesheets, and analytics to both monitor sales trends and track cash flow. With all this information in easy-to-access dashboards, business owners can simplify their operations while gaining more insight into their business. Talech also offers a wide range of point-of-sale, EMV chip card reading, and receipt printing hardware options.
Standard Fees: Monthly membership starts at $62 per month for the first device and $35 per month for each additional device.
Square has won the hearts of many business owners as an easy way to take both mobile and in-store payments. The credit card reader plugs right into an auxiliary port, meaning that your phone just became a cash register. New subscribers can get a free credit card reader. The Square app allows you to create a list of inventory that you can see change in real-time, meaning if you have multiple locations processing transactions, you’ll have an overall picture of what’s being sold. A countertop stand even empowers you to turn a mobile tablet into a point-of-sale system.
Standard Fees: No membership fees, but they charge 2.75% per swipe, dip, or tap with a physical card; 3.5% + 15¢ per keyed-in charge
Some businesses thrive online, selling anything from large volumes of physical goods to services utilized by customers around the world. Many payment processing tools have emerged that can help make getting paid easier for these businesses, offering intuitive e-commerce integrations as well as client invoicing that lets customers pay via credit card online.
For those small businesses who are ready to start selling online, but not quite prepared to build their own custom e-commerce solution, Shopify is a great option that combines payment processing with customer-facing online shops. Shopify allows you to build your online store, accept credit card payments, and offer discounted shipping rates, all from within one software. You can even integrate with third party sites like the Facebook Marketplace to expand the reach of your products without dedicating lots more time. For those who aren’t purely digital businesses, or who grow beyond online into brick-and mortar, you can add a point-of-sale system and retail hardware, making this one of the more scalable solutions on the list.
Standard Fees: Basic plans start at $29 per month, plus a 2.9% + 30¢ fee for online transactions, or a 2.7% fee for in-person charges.
PayPal pioneered easy and secure digital payments, and continues to be one of the most widely-used payment platforms for customers and business owners alike. Integrating PayPal into the checkout form on your e-commerce site is easy. Offering customers the option to click through to their own PayPal accounts and finish paying, or simply enabling PayPal Express Checkout, conveys to shoppers that the transaction is secure. Using PayPal also gives business owners peace of mind with support on matters such as fraud prevention and dispute resolution.1
Standard Fees: Base rate is 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
Stripe is an excellent payment processing option for those online retailers who have software engineers and developers on staff. Stripe is designed to work in whatever code language you use, meaning you and your team can develop a custom checkout solution for your store, or use their pre-developed version. You can also manage and accept multiple currencies through Stripe, including Bitcoin, making this a great solution for those with an eye on international expansion. You can also automate tasks that might be manual in your existing system, like reconciliations, handling disputes, and more.
Standard Fees: They charge 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge.
For those businesses looking for help tracking cash flow for accounting purposes, there are several more robust payment processing options. These tools integrate easily with accounting software, or offer the one-two punch of providing an integrated payment processing and bookkeeping solution.
Payline’s Connect program is designed specifically to integrate with payroll and accounting applications like QuickBooks, to give business owners a one-stop shop for managing cash flow from the moment cash comes into the business via a purchase to the second it leaves. A “customer vault” built into the software also saves customer information securely so they don’t have to re-enter it when they make a return purchase. Plus, Payline donates 10% of the processing fees they collect to a dozen charities, making this a great choice for the civically-minded business owner.
Standard Fees: The Payline Connect package has fees starting at 0.65% + 20¢ per transaction.
Due’s online payment platform was designed with time-tracking in mind, making it a good option for freelancers and the owners of small, service-based companies. The time-tracker tool allows you to keep track as you’re completing the order or project, then translate that time directly to an invoice that can be sent to the client. Some users have testified that this feature has relieved tension on internal teams where time tracking is just one more menial task, and also between themselves and clients who are looking for more clear billing statements.2
Standard Fees: Rates start at 2.8% per transaction.
If you already use QuickBooks for your accounting, this software from their parent company Intuit makes it easy to integrate online payments into your system. In fact, when you send an invoice through the software, the recipient will be able to simply click and pay from within the invoice itself, or they can choose to pay via credit card portal or an ACH bank transfer. The ACH transfer option is especially attractive for businesses looking to limit their overhead; there is no processing fee when clients pay via bank transfer. And once the payment is received, QuickBooks automatically transfers the money to your bank and updates your books, saving you lots of time when it comes to reconciliation.
Standard Fees: QuickBooks Online subscribers pay no monthly fee, and pay the following rates: ACH payments are free; Swiped card charges are 2.4% + 25¢; Invoiced card charges are 2.9% + 25¢; Keyed-in card charges are 2.4% + 25¢.
Of course, just because we’ve categorized these apps this way, that doesn’t mean you have to limit your perspective on how different pieces of payment processing software can support your business. For some small businesses, these out-of-the-box solutions will make it easy and efficient to accept credit card payments. For others with more specialized needs, a custom blend of these platforms might allow even more freedom in giving customers options to pay how they prefer. As you consider potential online payment systems, think closely about how each option might fit in with your processes to make payment something your customers never have to fuss over.