How to Find the Best Credit Card Processor for Your Business

Finding the right payment processor for your business is no easy task. There are literally hundreds of processors to choose from, each of which offer slightly different features at slightly different prices. Considering all the available options and comparing them side-by-side can make the shopping process long and arduous. While it may take more time, businesses would be wise to search out the best credit card processor for their business. Doing so not only saves money, but also vastly improves customer experience and operational flow.

Finding the right payment processor for your business is no easy task. There are literally hundreds of processors to choose from, each of which offer slightly different features at slightly different prices. Considering all the available options and comparing them side-by-side can make the shopping process long and arduous.

As a result, many merchants make the mistake of taking the path of least resistance. That’s not to say that a bank or major payments aggregator can’t offer a good solution, but their one-size-fits-all solutions often don’t fit the needs of your unique business.

While it may take more time, businesses would be wise to search out the best credit card processor for their business. Doing so not only saves money, but also vastly improves customer experience and operational flow. Follow these six steps and you’ll be well on your way:

1. Create your dream payments solution.

We know that most businesses don’t really dream of great payments systems, but there are probably some features that you’ll need to run your business. Think about what your processor would do for you in an ideal world—go ahead, think big. This is just a starting point, after all.

Take into consideration how you would accept payments in this ideal world, adding in the features and specifics that you need to run your business your way. Consider where you are willing to make a few compromises and where there’s no room to negotiate. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to set a ceiling for how much you’re willing to pay. We recommend setting that limit as a percentage of your revenue. This allows you to compare processors with different pricing models against each other using your effective rate.

Using all this “ideal world” information, you can then create a payment processing blueprint that will be super useful during your processor search. It’s helpful to know your wants and needs before a salesman can tell you what they are.

2. Research possible providers.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. This process can take a lot of research, especially because there are hundreds of providers to choose from. But, you’ll quickly find that eliminating processors is easy when you follow your payments blueprint. If a provider’s offerings, customer reviews, pricing, etc. doesn’t fit your blueprint, toss them aside.

Start looking for processors that would actually meet your needs based on what they are offering and at what price. Once you find those, look into the reviews, read through their features, and determine if it’s a processor worth keeping on the short list.

3. Request quotes from your short list of payments providers.

The goal of your research should be to find three to five processors that fit your blueprint. Once you’ve narrowed your search, it’s time to put your payments plan into action. Present what you need to each of the processors and ask them to quote what you can expect to pay. We recommend asking all processors to quote with the same pricing structure to simplify the negotiation stage (see below).

By presenting all processors with the same plan and asking them to use the same pricing structure, you can ensure that you’ll be able to compare the solutions the processors create for you “apples to apples.”

4. Negotiate processor quotes down.

Even if negotiation isn’t your forte, this next step is fairly easy. You’ve got three to five quotes on your desk, all from processors who can offer what your business needs. That means that you have all the power. All you really have to do is present the lowest offer you receive to the other providers on the short list and see how they respond.

Some processors will negotiate lower prices with you, and others will hold true to their original offer. Luckily, this makes the decision making process easier for you because you already know that any of the remaining processors will meet your needs. It’s all about price at this point.

Repeat this process of presenting the lowest offer until only one processor remains. Congratulations, you’ve found your provider!

5. Complete a merchant application.

Once you have your processor all lined up, it’s time to sit down and complete the merchant application. Applications are notoriously long and complicated, but don’t sign on the dotted line without reading what you’re signing off on. Processors are known to sneak in hidden fees and fluctuating rates.

Luckily, we already have an article ready to go for you that will walk you through the merchant application process step-by-step. Follow those steps, and you can rest easy that you’re still getting the deal you negotiated for.

6. Get set up and start processing!

Your hard work is done, now it’s just time to get things up and running. You probably discussed hardware options with your processor while reviewing your payments blueprint. Processors are usually pretty helpful at this juncture -- they’ll want to make sure you’re happy with their service from the get-go, so leverage their expertise to get things running smoothly. Now all that’s left to do is swipe some cards and collect those funds!

If this process appears too time-consuming or stressful for you, SwipeSum has you covered. Our technology completes the above steps in a matter of minutes, soliciting bids from our network of 70+ processors. Skip the hassle, and let us take on the heavy lifting for you. Click here to get started!

Michael Seaman

Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Swipesum. A veteran of the payments industry, Michael and his brother Stephen have led Swipesum since its inception in 2016. In his free time, Michael likes to play with his two daughters and skateboard.

Read more
SCHEDULE a CONSULTATION

Meet one of our payments experts to see if working together makes sense.

We will schedule a quick consultation call to go over how you're currently handling merchant services at your bank, show you our menu of options, and plan for a successful launch.

Swipesum.Insights

SWIPESUM.CONSULTING

We help businesses make intelligent payment decisions.

Learn more about Swipesum
audit

Start with a free audit of your payments processing statements

Schedule an audit
consultation

Connect with a payments expert and get a free initial consultation

Book consultation