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The world of credit card processors has always been confusing, with its lack of transparency and hidden fees scattered throughout the industry. Thankfully, Reviews.com spent over six weeks researching 116 credit card processors to find you the best ones. They were focused to find ones that offer straightforward fees, stellar customer service and won’t lock you into a long-term contract.

One size does not fit all for business owners, and the last thing you want to do is make an uneducated decision that could be costing you time and money. The team at Reviews.com consulted with CEOs, business experts and 30 merchants, along with scouring user reviews and publications to have a better understanding of the frustrations and needs of the people using these processors firsthand.

They created a comprehensive guide to help business owners choose the right credit card processor for their specific needs. Because businesses are vastly different, they examined which processor is best suited for large transactions, newcomers, online/offline integration, ecommerce and established nonprofits.

Here are their top picks…

Best for Large Transactions: Payment Depot impressed them with its solid selection of membership plans, pricing transparency, and customer support. Payment Depot is the go-to for some major national retailers: Super 8, Subway, Arco, Dominoes. It has a few different membership plans with monthly and per-transaction fees that vary depending on your volume of transactions: to process up to $20,000 each month, you would pay a monthly fee of $29 and a per-transaction fee of 25 cents + interchange. If you process more payments, you pay a higher monthly fee (as much as $99), but get a lower per-transaction fee (as little as 5 cents + interchange). 

All its other costs are referred to as “wholesale,” meaning they’re simply interchange costs set by the credit card companies and banks — no markups here. This type of structure, paying only an additional per-transaction fee, is especially attractive to sellers of higher-priced goods and services.

Best for Newcomers: Square is the most (and only?) name-recognized processor out there, with a full line of proprietary equipment that looks designed by Apple émigrés: sleek and hip. While its services can accommodate more robust businesses, it’s especially attractive to newer, smaller merchants that may not have the credit history and assets to get started with other processors.

Unlike Payment Depot, which charges interchange plus a set amount per swipe, Square builds the interchange into one flat rate and has no swipe fee. For merchants with low-priced goods (think coffee shop or farmer’s market), that 0 cent swipe fee has a huge effect on what percentage of your sale is going to your credit card processor. After all, 25 cents is 10 percent of a $2.50 muffin.

That flat rate is higher than interchange plus can be, particularly for merchants with a high average ticket price. But, merchant status availability often outweighs Square’s higher per-transaction fee (2.75 percent per swipe or the not-so-pretty rate of 3.5 percent + 15 cents per manually entered transaction). It also boasts a no-hassle, fee-free model for the rest of its services. That includes $250 in monthly chargeback protection — if a customer disputes a charge, as long as you followed Square’s best practices, it’ll cover the first $250 no matter the outcome. (With Shopify, you’ll be paying a $9 monthly fee, and it not only doesn’t cover your for chargebacks, but also actually takes a $15 fee for each one.)

Read the rest of their article and see the other top picks here: http://www.reviews.com/credit-card-processors/ 

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