If you’re the type of person who doesn’t care about features, how you swipe, the quality of customer service, etc., and just wants the cheapest price, this is the article for you. Or maybe, you care about those things a little bit, but you figure, “show me the cheapest few options and I’ll pick the best match on the other stuff by myself.” In either case, you’ll find the cheapest credit card processing companies we’ve found below, along with links to detailed reviews so you can see just how much you’re trading in terms of service, features and startup costs to get those cheap rates.
PayLine Data Pro Plan:
- Eligibility: Must process in excess of $5,000 per month and be low risk.
- Price: Interchange + .20% and $0.10 per transaction, with monthly fee of $20 per month.
- Summary: PayLine Data offers a Pro plan for merchants who process over $5,000 in credit card sales per month. If you fit into that category, their minimal monthly charge ($20) is inclusive of almost all mandatory fees. Interchange + .20 is dirt cheap, and $0.10 per transaction charge is also really low.
- What’s the Catch?: You’ll discover extra fees for all optional services and equipment. For instance, if you want to accept payments online, you need a gateway (extra monthly charge), and if you don’t already own a terminal (the little machine you use to physically swipe cards) you have to buy one. But if you’re looking for just the cheapest way to accept credit cards and could care less about any features, this offer is pretty great. In terms of the overall business, customer service is pretty good, services are limited but sufficient for most normal businesses.
PCS Merchant Services:
- Eligibility: Must process in excess of $75,000 per month and be low risk.
- Price: Interchange + .05% and $0.05 per transaction, with monthly fee of $20 per month.
- Summary: PCS offers literally the cheapest rates we’ve ever seen by a long shot. With interchange plus 0.05% and $.05 per transaction, this scenario is a clear case of an extremely low margin operator that makes profit on volume. If you are accepted, their customer service is very hands on, and has an excellent reputation. They can handle even the most complex / custom installs.
- What’s the Catch?: Because they have such cheap pricing, you can only get that pricing if you’re extremely low risk and have a large business doing in excess of $75,000 per month in credit card processing. Consequently, the company primarily provides processing services for gas stations, restaurants, and other very high volume low risk businesses. If you meet that criteria, their pricing is literally almost impossible to beat (because they have almost no profit margin), and they have a good customer service reputation. But if you’re a small or mid-sized business, don’t bother applying.
Flagship Merchant Services:
- Eligibility: Any size. Must be low risk.
- Price: Nothing up front & free equipment. Tiered at 0.38% debit, 1.58% qualified credit + $0.18 per transaction, and $6.00 per month.
- Summary: If by “cheapest” you mean, lowest startup cost, Flagship is about as cheap as it gets. There is no setup fee, and you get free equipment. That’s an ideal situation for businesses that are cash-strapped, that are going to process just a few hundred dollars a month, or that are in startup mode. Their customer service, and features are pretty robust, so you aren’t losing much there, either.
- What’s the Catch?: Because they require you to pay basically nothing up front, Flagship charges more on a per transaction basis than some other discount providers. You have to decide whether the upfront cost you’ll pay with some companies is worth it, to get long-term cheaper rates, or whether this combo of nothing up front and cheap (but not cheapest) rates is better for you.
- Eligibility: Any size. High-risk businesses.
The cheapest high-risk merchant services is really a misnomer, as they’re all expensive. That said, NBS is about as cheap as we’ve found for dedicated high-risk merchant services.
Their rates vary significantly depending on the particular sub-niche applicable for your business (e.g. Collection Agency v. Firearms v. Telemarketing), but on the low end are 1.89% + $0.14, and on the high end are 7.95% + $0.14 for qualified transactions. Again, those rates don’t sound cheap, but if you want cheap high-risk merchant services, that’s about as good as we’ve seen.
- Summary: NBS is a subsidiary of iPayment, a huge processing company. As such, the features and services they offer are more than most independent high-risk providers. And their customer service is above average. So, no huge tradeoffs there.
- What’s the Catch?:
The catch is, it isn’t that cheap.
Unfortunately, by operating in a high-risk industry from a credit card processor’s perspective, you’re never going to find truly cheap, so ‘cheaper’ is about as good as it gets. The good news, is that this company understands high risk transactions, so you’re less likely to get frozen transactions. Their customer service ratings are relatively good compared to other high risk merchant account providers.
As you can see from the list above, there are a few ways to define ‘cheapest merchant services’. And so, depending on the size and category of your business, or your tolerance for upfront costs, the answer to the question of “who is cheapest?” varies.
If you have additional questions about selecting a merchant account services provider, call us, or use our match tool, to search 40+ providers. That tool can provide you with a more complete picture of the best fit for your company.