5 Best Retail Payment Processors for 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Retail credit card processors let brick-and-mortar storefronts accept payments through a secure and reliable interface with low processing fees and fast deposits. The best processors offer flexible solutions so retailers can accept payments made curbside, on the go, throughout the sales floor, and via an online store. Small businesses need a system that is easy to use, works with popular point-of-sale (POS) systems, and offers quality customer support.
The best retail credit card processing companies are:
- Best overall: Square
- Best subscription service: Payment Depot
- Best for the lowest processing rates: Helcim
- Best for same-day deposits: Chase Payment Services
- Best for high-ticket items and B2B: CDGcommerce
Looking for a high-risk processor? If your business sells CBD/cannabis products, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms or is in a gambling, travel, or legal and financial service, you may need a high-risk merchant account provider. Our top recommendation is PaymentCloud.
Top Retail Payment Processors Compared
In-person processing rate
Online processing rate
Merchant services monthly fee
2.6% + 10 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
$0 (refundable up to $250/month)
Interchange + 8 cents
Interchange + 18 cents
Interchange + 0.10% + 5 cents to 0.30% + 8 cents*
Interchange + 0.20% + 10 cents to 0.50% + 25 cents*
2.6% + 10 cents
3.5% + 25 cents
2.75% + 30 cents**
2.75% + 30 cents
*Rates vary with sales volume. The greater your monthly revenue, the lower your processing rates.
**Prices based on CDGCommerce’s flat-rate pricing plan. See the CDGCommerce section for more details.
Square POS system and Square online store
Dejavu, First Data, and SwipeSimple terminals
Helcim POS system and Helcim online store
Chase Smart Terminal POS System
Walker 2.0, Dejavoo z11
Since our last update:
All of the payment processors on this list can accept all modern payment types including, contactless, chip, swipe, manual keyed-in, invoicing, mobile cards, tap, AHC, and mobile wallets.
Square: Best Overall Retail Credit Card Processor
- Flat-rate, transparent pricing
- Inexpensive payment terminal options
- Offers some of the best card readers on the market
- No long-term contracts
- Customer service is difficult to reach
- Not cost-effective for businesses processing over $250,000 annually
Square Standout Features
- No chargeback fee
- Easy dispute management
- Invoicing with ACH payment options
- Free POS system and online store
- Virtual terminal for billing and phone orders
- App marketplace includes QuickBooks integration
- Send payment links via text, email, or copy and paste
Square is our top pick for the best credit card processors for retail businesses. Not only does Square have a competitive flat-rate processing fee, but it also offers a free POS and online store, pre-integrated with Square payments. Additionally, every Square user gets a free magstripe reader. It also has additional affordable hardware options—the least expensive of any on this list.
Since our last update:
Square acquired Afterpay and launched several integrations in January 2022, including offering buy now, pay later (BNPL) for online and in-person sales. In addition, Square also recently held its sixth annual partner and developer conference where it announced its new omnichannel APIs, which include Cash App Pay, Bookings API, and Checkout API.
It received a 4.75 out of 5 in our expert evaluation, earning points for its transparent flat-rate pricing, lack of long-term contracts and chargeback fees, and free online store and POS tools. The merchant account lost points for its high processing rates for companies processing large sums each month and hard-to-reach customer service. If you don’t mind searching its comprehensive customer knowledge base, however, you can usually find the answers to any questions you have.
Continue reading about Square:
- Check out our full Square Payments review
- See why Square is the best POS system for small businesses
Payment Depot: Best Subscription Service
- Wholesale processing rates
- No contract required
- Supports SMS text payments
- Extensive POS and ecommerce integrations
- Can be pricey for low-volume merchants; processing limits on most plans
- Interface has a high learning curve
- Cancellation takes 30 days to process, so you pay an additional monthly fee after canceling
- All hardware pricing requires a custom quote
Payment Depot Standout Features
- Custom plan options available
- Accept mobile payments via SwipeSimple app
- Save cards on file
- Virtual terminal with manual card entry or Bluetooth-connected card reader
- Clover and Poynt POS systems available
Payment Depot reduced its pricing plans from multiple options to one option, which is $79 per month with a $250,000 annual processing limit. Customers processing more than $250,000 annually will receive a custom quote.
Payment Depot is a subscription-based payment processor where users pay a monthly subscription fee and a flat interchange-plus rate on each transaction. The end result is that most Payment Depot customers save hundreds of dollars per month on their transaction costs compared to other processors.
The required monthly subscription might be a bit steep for small merchants, but it is ideal for midsize to large businesses that process more than $15,000 per month.
In terms of hardware, Payment Depot operates on Fiserv and TSYS networks and supports a wide range of card readers. You’ll find hardware options from Clover, Poynt, SwipeSimple, Dejavoo, and First Data. You’ll need to contact Payment Depot for pricing, but whether you are looking for PIN pad readers, mobile readers, simple tap and swipe readers, or full POS systems, Payment Depot has you covered.
Payment Depot earned a 4.63 out of 5 on our payment processor ranking. The low rates, lack of a long-term contract, and $0 cancellation fee earned it high marks. The variety of available hardware and POS integrations also stood out. However, this processor took a hit in our evaluation because it lacks business management tools, like a POS system and ecommerce store, that Helcim and Square offer.
See more on this platform’s features by reading our full Payment Depot review.
Helcim: Best for the Lowest Processing Rates
- Lowest processing rates available
- No long-term contracts or cancellation fees
- Excellent 24/7 customer support
- Includes tools for an online store and recurrent billing
- Pricey card reader
- Does not support high-risk merchants
- Volume discounts only start for businesses processing over $25k per month
Helcim Standout Features
- Discount based on card processing volume
- Processing rates drop automatically as you increase your processing volumes
- Free POS app
- Free online store
- Invoicing and subscription tools
- Virtual terminal
- Recurring billing
- Subscription management
Helcim is a credit card processing and merchant services company that, like Payment Depot, offers interchange-plus pricing, with rates broken up into seven tiers, adjusted based on a three-month processing average of your card processing volume. This processor offers affordable interchange-plus processing rates to independent merchants and includes automatic volume discounts as you increase your sales volume, so you always get the lowest rate.
Merchants don’t need to contact Helcim to renegotiate rates; you will automatically receive the lowest rate you qualify for. It publicly lists in-person and online transaction costs for businesses that process more than $5 million monthly. So, no matter how big your business is, you’ll never need to haggle with a sales rep to know you’re getting the best rate.
Helcim earned a 4.51 out of 5 in our payment processor ranking evaluation. It received points for the sheer number of included free tools and its 24/7 customer support. It took some hits for limitations in offline payments and charging a $15 chargeback fee, which is low (the industry standard is $25). But processors like Square don’t have these fees, so our scoring system reflects that difference. Overall, Helcim is a great fit for any non-high-risk business.
Discover all that this processor has to offer and more on its pricing structure by reading our full Helcim review.
Chase Payment Solutions: Best for Same-day Deposits
- Chase Smart Terminal is highly affordable and often on sale
- Flat pricing structure, great for SMBs
- Direct processor
- Same-day deposits for Chase Business Banking customers
- Included POS system is very basic
- Limited native online payment tools (needs integration)
- $30 chargeback fee
- Must contact sales to create an account
Chase Payment Solutions Standout Features
- Account and hardware set up takes minutes
- Terminal is mobile- and cash wrap-compatible
- Virtual terminal
- Affordable hardware options
- Best-in-class business analytics
- Interchange-plus and custom pricing plans available
Chase Payment Solutions is Chase bank’s merchant account service. With Chase Payment Solutions, you not only get a flat-rate pricing structure, ideal for small and midsize businesses, but Chase also offers same-day deposits for Chase banking customers. That means money appears in your account on the same day you make your profit—there is no waiting around.
To sign up for Chase Payment Solutions you have to work with a sales representative, who will pair you with the best products for your needs, including hardware.
Every Chase Payment Solutions account comes with Chase Customer Insights, which combines Chase’s merchant account acquiring data and its card issuing data. The result is actionable insights not only based on your businesses’ transactions but how it compares against similar businesses in your area.
Chase Payment Solutions earned a 4.26 out of 5 in our evaluation. The service includes a basic POS system that is user-friendly and easy to set up, flat-rate pricing, affordable hardware, a good menu of integrations, same day-deposits, and all for no monthly fee.
However, Chase did lose some points as its POS option is very basic and doesn’t include many integrations. Additionally, its chargeback fee is the highest on our list, and it has limited native online payment tools. We recommend Square if you need a free credit card processing option that includes a POS system and affordable hardware for lower flat rates.
To learn more, read our full Chase Payment Solutions review.
CDGcommerce: Best for High-ticket Items & B2B Sales
- Both free and paid plans to support all the different business types
- Chargeback Collector tool includes dispute management and collections assistance
- Integrates with PastePay Cloud POS, Vital POS, and Harbortouch Echo
- Invoicing and card-on-file payments require enrollment in PastePay for an additional $79 monthly cost
- Wholesale subscribers must pay all monthly fees in an annual lump sum
- Must purchase POS hardware from a third party
CDGcommerce Standout Features
- No cancellation fee
- Lowest processing rates available for B2B and high-ticket businesses ($200,000+/month)
- Fraud detection and reimbursement services
- Virtual terminal
- Assistance pairing you with a payment gateway
- PayPaste CRM and invoicing tools ($199/year)
CDGcommerce is a payment processor that offers multiple membership types depending on your processing volume. Users can choose from a flat-rate model (similar to Square), an interchange-plus pricing model, or a wholesale model that pairs a monthly fee with low interchange-plus fees. The wholesale plan is really where CDGCommerce sets itself apart, offering the lowest rates for businesses that process lots of high-ticket sales and B2B sellers—even lower than Payment Depot’s.
We recommend businesses that process more than $200,000 use the paid, wholesale plan. Retailers that process less should consider another of CDGCommerce’s plans or Square for their processing needs.
CDG earned a 4.06 out of 5 based on our scoring criteria. It received excellent marks for its price and contract terms and lost some points because tools like card-on-file payments and invoicing require enrollment in PastePay.
See what else CDGcommerce has to offer and a breakdown of its pricing by reading our full CDGcommerce review.
How We Evaluated Retail Payment Processors
Retailers need a merchant services provider that offers low transaction rates, flexible payment options, and a responsive support team.
Take a look at our evaluation details and the team who did the evaluating:
We evaluated dozens of processors to rate their overall cost, in-person and online functionality, and available integrations to choose the best options for various retail businesses. We also considered customer support hours and deposit speed to ensure users have access to the tools necessary to grow and sustain a retail business.
Based on our evaluation, Square is the best overall retail credit card processor, earning a 4.75 out of 5 on our scoring system. It offers competitive, flat-rate pricing, an integrated Square POS system and online store, solutions for accepting nearly every payment type, and affordable hardware options. Plus, it doesn’t require long-term contracts, no cancellation fees, and works with many popular retail software products.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
25% of Overall Score
30% of Overall Score
25% of Overall Score
20% of Overall Score
The evaluation and selection of the payment processors that ended up on this list were performed by Fit Small Business’s top retail and restaurant experts. Get to know them below.
Mary King With more than 14 years of hospitality experience, Mary has used a wide variety of payment processors in both retail and restaurant applications. She has several years of experience advising bar and restaurant owners, and three-plus years evaluating payment processors.
Brigitte Hodge is a retail specialist with several years of retail management experience. Before joining Fit Small Business, Brigitte worked with a variety of payment systems to run a store in downtown Denver. Brigitte has since been writing as a retail expert, evaluating payment processors and other retail tools, working with them firsthand to learn their ins and outs.
Anna Dizon is a payments expert and writer for Fit Small Business. She has over five years of experience evaluating payment solutions and software for Fit Small Business.
Anna has completed courses in payment technologies and has a background in finance.
Meaghan Brophy has 10-plus years of retail experience, during which she has operated a variety of payment processors and POS systems in different settings and applications.
Since working in retail, Meaghan has 7-plus years of experience writing for retailers and 4-plus years of experience evaluating payment processors.
Square earned the highest score in our evaluation of the best retail payment processors. We loved its flat-rate, transparent pricing, and the number of free business-supporting tools it has to offer. The platform offers tons of a wide range of integrations and is consistently our top pick for POS systems, for retail and beyond.