Choosing the Right Payment Processor: A Comparative Analysis

payment processor

We get it. Choosing the best payment processor for your business can get complicated. And you don’t have extra minutes “lying around” for comparing top payment processors for SMBs. That is why we put together this quick, scannable comparative analysis for you.


Whether you are considering switching payment processing providers or need one for a new business you are about to start, this easy-to-understand guide is all you need. 


3 Top Things To Compare With Payment Providers


1) Fee structures and pricing 


2) Customer support you can depend on long after you sign your contract


3) Top-of-the line systems and hardware for secure, reliable transactions


*Look for our insights below from a JD Power small business survey highlighting crucial issues with payment processing currently.


The Best Payment Processing Solution For Small Businesses?

Like your business, National Processing is a fully transparent company. So, we are letting you know upfront that we included our pricing and features in this payment processor comparison. 


Once you see what we offer, you can compare that to other popular processing companies below. 


National Processing’s Top Features:


  1. Transparent fee structure using interchange-plus pricing (eliminates hidden fees)
  2. Industry-topping customer support (see our reviews)
  3. We offer the latest hardware, plus spartan-level security via SOC 2 compliance
  4. Industry experience: In business since 2007


Our fees are easy to understand because interchange-plus pricing is meant to benefit the merchant through transparency. Not to mention, we offer flexible plans that fit your unique business situation:


Basic In-Person Package:

Transaction pricing: 2.5% + $0.10

Monthly fee: $9.95


Basic eCommerce Package:

Transaction pricing: 2.9% + $0.30

Monthly fee: $9.95


Advanced Package:

Transaction pricing: 2.41% + $0.10

Monthly fee: Starts at $19 


Premium Package:

Transaction pricing: Custom


Note: all payment processors charge a fee on each payment transaction (each sale). Also, a fee for chargebacks is an industry standard (ours is just $15). 


Before we go any further, just know that most payment processors like to promote that they offer the lowest pricing. However, National Processing is the only processor that offers $500 to business owners if they find a lower rate than ours.


So before moving on to other providers’ pricing and features for comparing top payment processors for SMBs – here are other points where National Processing shines.


  • Provides you a dedicated account representative


  • Private company versus a faceless corporation


  • Huge numbers of our 5-star reviews praise the customer support team by mentioning the helpful rep by name


  • Being a people-first company, we pour the highest levels of training into our staff 


  • Honored by Forbes Advisor Best of 2022 and Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies


Let’s keep moving with five more options for guidance on how to choose a payment processor for your business. Just remember, National Processing has your back when it comes to payment processing and our prices will not and cannot be beat – you get $500 if you prove otherwise! 


Get started with National Processing.


Square (Started in 2009)


Square’s payment processing fees are as follows:


In-person transactions: 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction


Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction


Invoices: 3.3% + $0.30 per transaction


Manually entered transactions: 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction


Helcim (Opened U.S. operations in 2013)

In-person transactions: Interchange plus 0.4% and 8 cents per transaction (if $50,000 or less in monthly card volume)


Online transactions: Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per transaction


Some additional fees may apply:

Returned or rejected ACH or EFT/PAD transactions: $5


Chargebacks: $15 (Helcim will reimburse this if you win the dispute)


Now for those JP Power insights on payment processors we promised. Find them below then we’ll get to the final three processors for your comparisons.


JP Power Survey Of 4,825 Small Business Customers Of Merchant Services Providers

Enjoy these bite-sized highlights:


  • 30% of low satisfaction reported by businesses was due to processing costs
  • Biggest satisfaction declines were in restaurant industry
  • Similar dissatisfaction among businesses with revenue under $1-million 
  • Fewer than 43% of credit/debit card transactions “always completed” without assisting the customer (card present)
  • Just 47% “always completed” without problems online (card not present)


*Common problems noted: frozen screens, tap/dip/swipe issues, receipt malfunctions.


Generally, business owners were frustrated…

“Satisfaction decline is driven by a combination of a tough economy, cost of service, and chronic customer support difficulties with payment processing technology.” ~JD Power


As you can see, finding the best payment processing solutions for small businesses will save you from major headaches. So look for a company with solid experience and a desire to assist their customers. Any processor can sign you up, but it takes a company interested in long-term relationships with their customers to truly serve small businesses.


Alright, it’s time to get to those other processors and their fees.


Stripe (Launched in 2010)


Stripe’s payment processing fees:


In-person transactions: 2.7% + $0.05 per transaction


Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction


Additional fees may apply:

International and currency conversion transactions: An additional 1% fee


Chargebacks: $15


ACH credit transactions: $1 per ACH credit payment


ACH direct debit transactions: 0.8% per transaction (maximum fee $5)


Wire transfer transactions: 0.5% on recurring charges


Stripe Invoicing (Starter plan): 0.4% per paid invoice


Stripe Invoicing (Plus plan): 0.5% per paid invoice


Stripe does not charge monthly or setup fees.


Shopify Payments (First offered in 2013)

This payment processor offers tiered plans:


Basic Shopify Plan:

In-person transactions: 2.6% + $0.10

Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30


Shopify Plan:

In-person transactions: 2.5% + $0.10

Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30


Advanced Shopify Plan:

In-person transactions: 2.4% + $0.10

Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30


Shopify charges $15 per chargeback.


Clover (Began in 2012)


Clover offers various payment processing plans with different fee structures:


Standard Plan:

In-person transactions: 2.6% + $0.10

Online transactions: 2.6% + $0.10

Keyed transactions: 3.5% + $0.10

Monthly fee: $14.95


Advanced Plan:

In-person transactions: 2.3% + $0.10

Online transactions: 2.6% + $0.10

Keyed transactions: 3.5% + $0.10


Clover also charges a $25 fee for chargebacks.


Payment Processor Points To Consider Before Signing That Contract

The above fee structures give you a concrete comparative analysis of six payment processors. Now, we will wrap up with other points to consider when comparing processors. Why? Because small business owners like avoiding problems as much as they like avoiding overspending!


These pain points were curated from hundreds of online reviews, business forums, and third-party comparisons. These are good topics to bring up when talking with a processor representative before signing a contract.


Poor communication. A common problem noted when businesses couldn’t reach customer service. Or the instructions given were unclear.


Limited payment devices. It pays to have updated and flexible payment equipment. Sadly, businesses often only find this out when their payment processing provider leaves them stuck with outdated terminals or clunky handheld devices.


Integration issues. Accounting and sales reporting can be complicated by payment systems that don’t work well with software/platforms a small business already uses.


Unexpected and hidden fees. Small businesses are often hit with fees they feel were purposely hidden by the payment processing company. In addition, there are unexpected fees due to poor communication by the processor sales rep.


Feel better informed about choosing the right payment processing company now? Great! 


National Processing is eager to partner with you. Please test our $500 guarantee, so you truly get the lowest payment processing fees. 


Sign up today and start saving money immediately.


FAQ on Choosing The Right Payment Processor


What are two ways small businesses can reduce payment processing fees?


1)Review the contract closely before signing to spot any gotcha fees or statements that are unclear. 2)Focus on fraud prevention to lower your risk profile, which may help you get a lower rate.


How much are payment processing fees for sales of $10,000 monthly?


$150 to $350, as Forbes reports the average fees range from 1.5% to 3.5%. Those fees are charges from card issuers (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) and don’t include processing provider fees.


What is something any business can do to overcome credit card processing fees?


Know your processing costs so you don’t underprice your offerings. All costs of doing business must be calculated before pricing your products and services. Otherwise, you will price them too low to make a real profit. 

Picture of Shane McLendon

Shane McLendon

Job Title, Author

Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.

Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.