This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
While you can use native payment processing to process credit card transactions in QuickBooks Online, you can also opt to integrate a separate software for this purpose. This gives you more flexibility in terms of staying within your budget or adjusting to your particular business needs (such as how much business you do online vs in person).
In our evaluation, the best QuickBooks credit card processing integrations are:
- Helcim: Most affordable card processing integration
- Stax: Best for businesses using online billing or invoicing
- Square: Best for small or new businesses
- Dharma: Best for B2B processing
- PayPal: Best for occasional sales
- PaymentCloud: Best for high-risk merchants
Best QuickBooks Credit Card Processing Integrations Compared
In-person processing fee
Manually keyed-in fee
Read full review
Discounts and affordable rates
0.40% + 8 cents or less
0.50% + 25 cents or less
Automated processing discounts & free payment tools
Online billing or invoicing
Interchange plus 8 cents
Interchange plus 18 cents
Sophisticated invoicing and Text2pay software
Small businesses and proprietorships
2.6% + 10 cents
3.5% + 15 cents
Payments hardware and free POS
From interchange plus 0.15% + 8 cents
From interchange plus 0.15% + 8 cents
Versatility and occasional sales
From 2.99% + 49 cents
From 2.99% + 49 cents
Buy buttons, international payments
High approval odds, versatile solutions
Want to learn more? See our guide to the best QuickBooks integrations to see what other tools you may need.
Helcim: Most Affordable Card Processing Integration
Helcim is a credit card processing and merchant services company that offers interchange-plus pricing, online invoicing with low rates, subscription features, and automated clearing house (ACH) payments. This set of features in addition to the lack of any long-term contracts and cancellation fees makes Helcim a good choice of card processor for businesses looking to trim their expenses.
That said, users should note that Helcim doesn’t have many of its own integrations to choose from, and it also has a somewhat long and tedious approval process—this makes it more suitable for a growing business rather than a small startup that wants to be nimble.
Running a high-risk business and need options for merchant accounts? Examine some of the best high-risk merchant accounts for small businesses.
Why Helcim Works Well With QuickBooks
Helcim toes the line between flexibility and simplicity: It offers interchange-plus pricing with rates based on your average card processing volume, while also not having any fees for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance or cancellation. The ability to set up automatic recurring payments and subscriptions based on stored customer information helps streamline and optimize your income. The chargeback fee is fixed and transparent at $15 (but if you win the dispute, you’ll even get the fee back). All of these features make Helcim great for businesses trying to reduce costs and wanting to unify accounting tasks onto a single platform and automate many of them.
Helcim Standout Features
- Fee Saver: The Fee Saver option is essentially a convenience fee attached to an invoice. This option passes the entire credit card processing fee onto the customer, which will be reflected in the invoice—essentially removing the card processing fee for the business. Customers can also choose to pay via ACH payment, which carries a lower rate as well as avoiding the convenience fee.
- Automatic payments and subscriptions: Helcim lets you set up automatic recurring payments and subscriptions. Subscribed customers are automatically notified and billed using their stored information.
- Unified invoice management: Create invoices and purchase orders, calculate taxes, insert discounts, and more. Being able to do all this from a single platform also makes your accounting process easier.
Helcim uses interchange-plus pricing for its processing fees, with rates categorized into several tiers. Note that the fees get cheaper the more volume your business processes.
Monthly Sales Volume
Keyed and Online Rate
0.4% + 8 cents
0.50% + 25 cents
0.35% + 7 cents
0.45% + 20 cents
0.25% + 7 cents
0.35% + 20 cents
0.20% + 6 cents
0.25% + 15 cents
0.15% + 6 cents
0.15% + 15 cents
Did you know? Helcim tops our list of the cheapest credit card processors for small businesses.
Stax: Best for Businesses Using Online Billing or Invoicing
Stax is similar to Helcim in that it is also a merchant services company with interchange-plus pricing. Stax also offers advanced invoicing and billing functions, detailed reporting tools, and notably, an SMS text-to-pay feature that makes it easier for customers to make payments.
Its drawbacks include a somewhat complicated pricing structure, as well as somewhat steep monthly fees especially for a very small or new business. Users will also find that some functions, such as Level 2 processing, require additional fees.
Why Stax Works Well With QuickBooks
Stax prioritizes flexibility and convenience for both merchants and customers; the software lets merchants schedule recurring billing, send customized invoices via text messages, track payments, and accept multiple payment methods in person or with ecommerce.
Stax is particularly useful for high-volume businesses, as it uses wholesale transaction fees and offers intuitive invoicing tools. If you are using QuickBooks for accounting and struggling to keep track of everything in a high volume business, Stax’s tools will make it easier to schedule and monitor billing, payments, and multichannel reporting.
Stax Standout Features
- Surcharge capability: Similar to Helcim’s Fee Saver, you can also use Stax’s surcharge to pass all credit card fees (in person or online) to customers. This is done via CardX, a surcharging platform acquired by Stax, which makes these charges more transparent for customers and simpler for Stax to process. Customers will still have the option to use debit payments, avoiding the extra fee altogether.
- Customizable, recurring, and scheduled invoices: Within invoices, you can list products and services by individual item and let customers pay via their preferred method. Invoices can also be prepared ahead of time and sent out to customers on a schedule you set.
- Ecommerce tools: Build customized shopping carts that integrate into your online store, integrate with multiple payment gateways such as Bigcommerce and Magento, and view in-depth reports to spot ecommerce trends.
The monthly fee you pay for Stax is flat-rate, and will depend on your business’ annual processing volume. Stax also claims a 0% markup on direct-cost interchange for every subscription, and a fee of 8-15 cents per card transaction.
- Processing up to $250,000 per year: $99 per month
- Processing $250,000-$500,000 per year: $199 per month
- Processing over $500,000 per year: Custom pricing
Optional add-ons are available for online store set-up, hardware protection, custom branding for invoices, next-day funding, and more. Stax does not list any pricing for these add-ons, so you’ll need to contact them for details.
Square: Best for Small or New Businesses
Square Payments is the default payment solution for Square (including its excellent POS system). Square prioritizes transparency, simplicity, and immediate usability. It has many free features such as invoicing and mobile payments (including free hardware), a free plan that can also be upgraded for a reasonable monthly fee, transparent pricing, and an easy-to-learn and flexible interface.
Square does have a few downsides: you’ll need to use the Square Invoices add-on to process ACH payments, and users report that customer support can be somewhat inconsistent, with paid users receiving more assistance. Square also isn’t a great choice for high-risk or high-volume businesses, as it lacks the best tools and pricing needed for these.
Why Square Works Well With QuickBooks
Square Payments is exclusive to Square POS, so you must use Square itself to accept payments—QuickBooks Online, serves purely as a way to record transactions. New businesses will find Square Payments a great choice for integration with QuickBooks. Flat-rate software pricing and processing fees, automatic import of information (sales, fees, taxes, and tips), specialized invoicing tools, and multilocation capability all keep accounting simple and less error-prone for someone who is new to running their own business. All data and reports are viewable in just a few clicks from the user-friendly dashboard.
Square Standout Features
- Simple and affordable pricing scheme: One of Square’s strengths is how transparent everything is: all monthly software fees and processing rates are clearly listed on their website. This makes Square an excellent choice for a business owner who is just starting out and wants to keep things easy (or just for anyone who’s tired of complicated accounting).
- CBD Program: Though Square’s default version isn’t great for businesses selling regulated products like CBD, a solution for this exists: the Square CBD program. Users willing to pay higher processing fees (from 3.5% + 10 cents) will be able to accept payments for some hemp and hemp-derived CBD products.
- Square Invoices add-on: This invoicing-specific add-on nets you features that make accounting easier—recurring billing, automatic payment reminders, customized invoices, estimates, reports, and more. Square Invoices has a free plan, and the upgraded Plus version costs a mere $20 per month.
- Square monthly software fee: $0–$60
- In-person processing rate: 2.6% + 10 cents
- Manually keyed-in: 3.5% + 15 cents
- Ecommerce processing rate: 2.9% + 30 cents
- Invoices: 3.3% + 30 cents
Dharma: Best for B2B Processing
Dharma is another merchant services provider that uses interchange-plus pricing. It offers next-day funding for card-present transactions, a virtual terminal for increased flexibility, and good reporting tools. Like Stax, you can use surcharging to pass card processing fees onto your customers. But unlike Stax, Dharma provides Level 2 and 3 processing through MX Merchant, which also gives you additional features like a customer database and recurring billing.
Dharma’s downsides include a strict application process that can take longer than with other providers, as it will check your Tax Identification Number (TIN) with the IRS; this can take weeks to accomplish in some cases. You’ll also have to pay higher rates or fees for certain things, like closing your account or processing American Express transactions.
Why Dharma Works Well With QuickBooks
Dharma’s main strengths when it comes to integrating with QuickBooks are its easy Level 2 and Level 3 processing capability and the platform’s overall low monthly price—making it both more convenient and more affordable than Stax in these two regards. Getting access to your payments more quickly as well as being able to take advantage of interchange rate reduction will not only smooth your business budgeting and operations, but make it easier to track incoming and outgoing funds when you do your business accounting.
Dharma Standout Features
- Surcharging capability: Pass card processing fees onto your customers to improve profits and simplify accounting.
- Next-day funding: Retail, card-present merchants are eligible to receive payments more quickly.
- MX Merchant: MX Merchant, which is built into all Dharma accounts, offers a ton of useful functions: quick payments via virtual terminal, a customer database, invoicing, recurring billing, and Level 2/Level 3 payment processing.
- Monthly fee: $25
- American Express processing rate: 0.25% + 8 cents
- Other card processing rates: 0.15% + 8 cents
- >$100,000 per month processing rate: 0.10% + 8 cents
- Closure fee: $49
- MX Merchant add-on functions: $10–$49 per month
PayPal: Best for Occasional Sales
PayPal is an online payment processing solution with a generally good reputation among consumers. It is notable for being able to accept international payments and a wide array of payment methods in general (cards, Venmo, ACH transfers, mobile wallets). PayPal also boasts easy online checkout and a relatively simple sign-up process.
However, PayPal is unfortunately infamous for unpredictable freezing of funds, which can obviously be a big problem for a small business trying to get on its feet. Many users have also reported issues with account stability in general. This is why PayPal is best-suited for only occasional sales; merchants who do business and process transactions daily will probably want to go for a more predictable and stable solution like Square or Dharma.
Why PayPal Works Well With QuickBooks
Connecting QuickBooks with PayPal allows you to review transactions, gross and net sales, fees, and customer information in great detail. Your customers will also be able to use their PayPal business accounts to make online payment instantly via card or bank transfer—a simple “Pay Now” button makes this easy. Payments will be recorded in QuickBook automatically, with little or no manual entry required.
PayPal also allows you to accept payments from many different countries and currencies.
PayPal Standout Features
- Streamlined yet customizable checkout: The software’s checkout page can be customized to allow your customers to pay in the way that makes the most sense for them. This increases customer satisfaction while also upping conversion.
- Buy buttons: Add a PayPal checkout to any website or webpage.
- Social media selling: You can connect PayPal Business to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. The immediate benefit of this, besides the extra marketing, is that you can sell products and services via these channels, reaching more customers. You can do this via a shareable link; no need for a dedicated ecommerce platform.
- Virtual terminal solution: Process credit and debit cards even when sales are made via phone or mail. A website or POS system is not required.
PayPal’s rates for payment processing are somewhat complicated and varied:
- Standard credit and debit card payments: 2.99% + 49 cents
- PayPal checkout: 3.49% + 49 cents
- QR code transactions
- $10 and below: 2.40% + 5 cents
- Above $10: 1.90% + 10 cents
- Through third-party integrator: 2.29% + 9 cents
- Venmo: 3.49% + 49 cents
- Virtual terminal: 3.09% + 49 cents; $30 monthly fee
- Other transactions: 3.49% + 49 cents
PaymentCloud: Best for High-risk Merchants
PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider tailor-made to process high-risk transactions. It comes with hardware and software that includes a credit card terminal, a mobile card reader, and a full point-of-sale system. The software is versatile, able to accept payments from all major credit and debit cards, ACH payments, online payments, and mobile payments. It integrates with all payment gateway platforms, so you won’t have to worry about looking for a compatible one or switching away from your current one. Being custom-made for high-risk transactions, it also provides protections for fraud and chargebacks.
PaymentCloud’s disadvantages include a lack of public pricing information (due to being a high-risk processor), and customer support that is only available during business hours.
Why PaymentCloud Works Well With QuickBooks
Connecting QuickBooks with PaymentCloud immediately gives you all the advantages mentioned above. You’ll be able to accept payments from multiple sources and channels, and get paid more easily via recurring or subscription billing. PaymentCloud also offers a next-day deposits plugin, allowing you to receive funds faster and without interruption.
You can also set up email payment links and auto-pay schedulers, save customer profiles, record sales, track voids and returns, and review reports. Payments will integrate automatically, saving you time and headaches.
PaymentCloud Standout Features
- High-risk merchant services: PaymentCloud is designed specifically to serve high-risk industries that many other processors won’t accept. You’ll be able to process transactions for tobacco, vape and cigarettes, CBD, alcohol, and firearms.
- Chargeback and fraud prevention: PaymentCloud is PCI-compliant, and uses several layers of verification, encryption, and other digital security measures to make your transactions as safe as possible. If the system detects suspicious transactions, it will temporarily halt the payment process until verification can be completed. PaymentCloud is also partnered with Chargeback Gurus, giving you a heightened ability to track and resolve payment disputes.
- Versatile payment methods: When you integrate with PaymentCloud, you’ll be able to accept payments from credit and debit cards, ACH payments, online and mobile payments, and even cryptocurrency.
PaymentCloud does not publicly disclose its pricing information; you will need to contact them, review your business together, and then ask for a quote. That said, they are open to negotiate and adjust their pricing model based on client preferences. Here are some typical prices for mid-risk and high-risk merchant services; PaymentCloud’s rates will likely be similar.
- Monthly fee: $10 – $45
- Low-risk transaction rate: 2% – 3.1%
- Mid-risk transaction rate: 2.3% – 3.4%
- High-risk transaction rate: 2.7% – 4.3%
What to Look for in a Credit Card Processor
Before examining these integrations in-depth, it helps to know exactly what we should take into consideration when choosing a credit card processor.
Your foremost consideration should be the processing fees of each integration; this is something you’ll have to live with after you decide on a processor, and there are many fee plans available with different levels of flexibility.
Some integrations will give you simple flat rates (Square), some will become more affordable the more volume you process (Helcim), and some have many different rates depending on transaction type (PayPal). Be sure you have decided on a business model and know what fees you will be paying before you decide on a processor.
Business Type and Preferences
Not all businesses will get the same utility out of a given card processor. Sales volume, desired variety of integrations, and the presence of high-risk products (such as for liquor and vape businesses) will all affect how useful a given card processing integration will be for you. If you choose an unsuitable integration, you might end up paying unnecessarily high fees that cut into your profits, for example.
Finally, user reviews and experiences should be taken into account. Part of our evaluation when examining these integrations was to check the average scores users gave them on a variety of review sites.
Pay extra attention to commonly reported experiences; for example, PayPal generally has a good reputation and is trusted by lots of people worldwide, but many users also report incidents like freezing of funds and unstable accounts. You will need to decide whether the benefits of each provider are worth any reported issues.
How We Evaluated QuickBooks Credit Card Processing Integrations
While we examined the main features and benefits of each credit card processing integration on this list, our primary concern was how these features fit into the overall purpose of QuickBooks. We looked at why and how the standout features of each provider would make accounting via QuickBooks easier, simpler, and less prone to error. We awarded points for automation, speed and transparency of payment processing, and comprehensive invoicing tools, all of which improve the ease and accuracy of accounting.
Choosing the best credit card processing integration to add to QuickBooks ultimately comes down to what your current business priority is. Whether you need low rates, online transaction processing, advanced invoice features, or fast turnaround times, there are options available for you. Figure out your most pressing business need, choose a processor, and reap the benefits of easier and more accurate accounting.