Getting paid is a fundamental part of running a business. After all, this is how you award your and your employees’ hard work, acquire equipment, and pay your dues – all the things that keep your business operating smoothly and ensure its success.
Not too long ago, small business owners and managers had a rather simple choice for collecting payments – cash, checks, and credit cards. But now the digital age is changing the world as we know it, providing a lot more flexibility in this area, both for merchants and customers.
It has also made things a bit more complicated for small businesses which now have to carefully weigh costs and benefits to all sorts of different payment processing solutions before choosing the best one to proceed with.
On top of that, it doesn’t help that today there are literally thousands of payment processing solutions on the market. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff and find the right one? The answer is – with our help.
What are the most important features of payment processing solutions for small businesses?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that fits every single type of small business out there, some features are still in common among the best options. They include:
- Superior security: When dealing with money and payments, security should be your topmost priority. Choose the solution that offers encryption during checkouts and is payment card industry (PCI) compliant.
- Integrations with third-party software: If the payment processing solution doesn’t include some of the features you need, then it should allow integrations with third-party software that does include them. This way, you’ll get a complete business management service.
- Proper price-value ratio: It’s important that your payment processing solution doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet, but it also shouldn’t be cheap if it means sacrificing important features. So before deciding, make sure to carefully weigh the costs and fine print against the offered features and reviews of the people who have already tried it.
- Flexibility and accessibility: A good payment processing solution needs to enable easy payments for your customers whenever and wherever they are, covering today’s most popular payment methods. Additionally, it needs to allow you to easily track and manage those payments on multiple platforms (mobile and desktop).
What is the most common price range for payment processing solutions for small businesses?
The pricing models for payment processing solutions can vary dramatically. As the basis for calculating how much you’d need to pay for one, providers usually take indicators such as:
- subscription length
- required features and functionalities
- your team’s size
- amount of transactions over a specific period
Taking the above indicators into consideration, a small business would need to pay anywhere between $19 and $299 per month to acquire a solid payment processing solution (not counting the processing fees per transaction).
Which are the best payment processing solutions for small businesses?
Keeping all of the above considerations in mind, we carried out the market analysis and narrowed down the selection to several best payment processing options you should consider for your small business, starting with:
Price: Depending on the size of your team and the functionalities you require, vcita offers several pricing options. If you have a one-person team and need basic business management software, then your subscription can start at $19/month. Larger teams can choose between one of the two more advanced options, starting at $65/month for two users. vcita itself doesn’t charge any transaction fees.
Features: vcita is an all-around business management solution that includes (among other business-related features):
- payment processing from one place
- simple billing and invoicing
- invoice tracking
- recurring and one-time payments
- automated payment reminders and confirmations
- credit card and PayPal support
- support for wire transfers
- payment button
- email and SMS communication
- collecting online payments upfront or after the service
- accepting payments over the phone, email, or in-person
- charging and refunding from desktop or mobile
- saving credit card details on file for future use
- automatic recognition of returning clients
- client self-service portal
- support for customizable service bundles and packages
- multi-currency support
- customized reporting and statistics
- online coupons
- HIPAA compliant + BAA
Free trial: vcita offers a 14-day free trial.
User reviews: The majority of reviewers across different reviewing platforms have expressed positive experiences with vcita. They were mostly impressed by the platform’s ease of use, customer support, the wealth of features, customization options, affordability, CRM, and integrations. The less happy reviewers were mostly disgruntled with an occasional slow response from the customer support and the lack of certain features they expected.
Price: Authorize.net has an all-in-one option that includes a merchant account and a payment gateway, as well as a stand-alone payment gateway for those businesses that only require this feature. Both start at $25/month for the gateway with slight differences in charging per transaction.
The payment gateway alone charges 10¢ per transaction or a daily batch fee of 10¢. If you have the all-in-one plan, you’ll be charged 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. If you process more than $500,000 per year, then you need to contact the team for a specialized solution.
Features: This isn’t a merchant account provider or a credit card processor, per se. Instead, it is a payment gateway and an all-in-one solution that specializes in credit cards, contactless payments, and eChecks in person, online, and over the phone. It features:
- automatic payments
- advanced fraud protection
- virtual terminal
- website shopping cart
- customer information manager
- recurring payments
- eCheck payments
- account updater
Free trial: Authorize.net doesn’t have a free trial or demo.
User reviews: The reviewers have generally liked Authorize.net’s features like robust security protocols, flexibility, ease of use, and assistance that is available every step of the way.
However, they didn’t like that some features were missing or simply inconvenient, such as authorization time-outs, refund processing difficulties, and not showing payments upon credit number search after a few months.
Also, some found its heavy security check-ups annoying and suspicious, pricing expensive and limiting, and its interface ugly and counter-intuitive.
Price: Clover has several pricing options based on whether you also have its point of sale system and which one. Software alone starts at $9.95/month, on top of which it charges 2.3% + 10¢ per in-person transaction and 3.5% + 10¢ per keyed-in transaction.
Features: The platform includes all the basics, including:
- payments online, in-person, and over the phone
- sales tracking and reporting
- point of sale hardware
- virtual terminal
- mobile payments
- inventory management
- liability protection
- loyalty program support
Free trial: Clover has a 30-day free trial, after which it charges $9.95/month, so make sure to cancel before this period ends if you don’t want to continue.
User reviews: In general, users are either very happy or very unhappy with Clover. The former mainly praised specific people in the customer service team, ease of use, and reliability.
That said, the latter were less than impressed with disruptions and glitches in the service, incorrect charging, slow response times from the security team, poor experience with customer support, charging to close the account, and withholding payments from clients.
4. Payment Depot
Price: Depending on your processing limit, Payment Depot’s pricing plans start at $49 which covers up to $25,000/month. The platform also takes an interchange fee + $0.05 – $0.15 per transaction. Those who exceed the monthly transaction limit are automatically moved into the more advanced plan the following month.
Features: Users who opt for Payment Depot will gain access to features and functionalities such as:
- credit/debit card processing
- dedicated merchant account
- electronic payments
- PCI compliance
- back-end processing through First Data and TSYS
- virtual terminal
- reporting and analytics
- data security
- mobile access
- point of sale
- transaction history
- eCommerce management
Free trial: A 90-day free trial is on the table if you wish to try out Payment Depot before committing.
User reviews: Payment Depot has overwhelmingly positive reviews from users, focusing on helpful and speedy customer support agents, reliability of the service, pricing transparency, affordability, and successful troubleshooting.
The few negative reviewers complained over the pricing they considered high, missing deposits, and miscommunication with certain customer support members, which the firm’s management addressed directly.
Price: Chargebee’s pricing starts at $249/month (billed annually) if your monthly revenue doesn’t surpass $600,000. If it does surpass this amount, then the provider charges an additional 0.6% of the remainder. This amount is higher for the more advanced packages.
Features: With Chargebee, your small business will get:
- recurring billing, invoicing, and payments
- reporting and analytics
- PCI compliance
- subscription management
- checkout and self-serve portal
- support for multiple currencies
- trial management
- email notifications
- discounts and coupons
- customizable billing cycles
Free trial: Chargebee doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can schedule a demo to see if it’s the right fit for you.
User reviews: Users who had the experience with Chargebee were satisfied with its customer support and onboarding team, as well as the number of features and integrations it offers – at least at first.
The more recent reviews seem to be a bit more on the negative side, revolving around increasing costs per feature, poor setup experience, charging customers after cancelation, upselling, and generic responses (or lack thereof) from support.