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10 BEST Credit Card Processing for Restaurants in 2024

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist April 05, 2024
April 05, 2024
The restaurant industry is fiercely competitive, so it’s easy to assume the cheapest credit card processor is automatically the best. However, while keeping costs low is crucial, choosing the right card processor for your restaurant goes beyond just looking for the lowest transaction fees.

To stay competitive, you’ll also need to look out for specialized features like check-splitting, POS (point of sale) devices with table-tracking, and more. A smooth onboarding process and excellent customer service can’t hurt, either.

That being said, in an industry filled with vague promises and sales jargon, how do you choose the right card processor? That’s where I come in. After days of meticulous research – including a deep dive into hundreds of merchant reviews – I found the very best credit card processors for helping all kinds of restaurants to thrive.

Overall, I recommend Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) for your restaurant. Not only are its services affordably priced, but with negotiable rates, you can create a flexible plan tailored to your needs. Furthermore, it gives you access to plenty of restaurant-specific apps and integrations that will help you run your business more efficiently.

Short on Time? These Companies Offer the Best Credit Card Processing for Restaurants in 2024

  1. Expert’s Choice
    LMS_Monogram Leaders Merchant Services
    Leaders Merchant Services is a popular choice with our readers
    Plenty of specialized features and custom plans for every restaurant.
  2. promerchant-logo ProMerchant Zero-cost processing program and free POS devices provide restaurants with big savings.
  3. logopayarc PAYARC Diverse pricing plans to ensure there’s a fit for every stage of your restaurant’s growth.

What We Look For in the Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Restaurants

Being able to process all major credit and debit cards efficiently is the bare minimum – restaurateurs have unique needs that set them apart from other business owners. Specifically, I made sure to only include processors on this list that meet the following criteria:
  • Value for money. Although some processors on this list are more expensive than others, I only included companies that score highly on customer satisfaction and offer a variety of useful features for restaurants.
  • Reliable service. Though reliable payment processing is important in every industry, it is paramount for restaurants. With the large number of daily transactions you’ll likely be handling, you’ll want to avoid any unpleasant surprises at inconvenient times.
  • Quality POS devices. Most (if not all) of your transactions will be card-present, so I made sure to only include services that offer top-of-the-line POS devices. Double points are awarded if the hardware comes with features uniquely tailored for restaurants.
  • Outstanding customer support. Though I made sure only to include reliable credit card processors, hiccups can still happen from time to time. That’s why it’s important your processor can resolve any issues in an efficient and friendly manner.
  • Specialized restaurant features. It’s a great bonus if a credit card processor includes specialized plans or features such as table tracking, customer analytics, and loyalty programs to help you run your restaurant as smoothly as possible.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) offers tailored plans for your business. Its sign-up process is more detailed than most, allowing you to discuss your business’s needs from the get-go and create a plan that includes only the tools you actually need. LMS even encourages negotiating on rates, meaning you can walk away confident you secured the best possible deal. Its rates are affordable, starting at $9.00/month and ~2% + 0¢ per transaction.

LMS’s equipment offering is equally impressive, featuring a full range of Clover products and the First Data FD150 wireless terminal. You may qualify for a free Clover terminal and get it programmed for your restaurant at no additional cost. Clover is one of the highest-quality and most expensive POS brands on the market. This is just one way LMS can significantly reduce your upfront costs.

LMS offers numerous restaurant-specific features, like loyalty programs and custom gift cards. If you use Clover equipment, you’ll also get access to 100+ restaurant apps to streamline your operations. OrderOut, for example, integrates with third-party food delivery sites and sends orders directly to your Clover POS and accounting system. Apps for table reservations, waitlist management, digital menus, and kitchen operations are also available.

Features and Benefits

  • 98% approval rate. LMS accepts almost all applicants regardless of business experience.
  • Merchant cash advances. If you need a little help getting your business off the ground, LMS offers merchant cash advances you pay back through an additional percentage commission on your credit card sales until the loan is covered.
  • Cash discount. With LMS’s cash discount program, you can save up to 4% per transaction by prompting customers to pay in cash. LMS will configure your equipment to automatically apply a discount to cash transactions.
  • Advanced security. Every piece of hardware LMS offers comes with advanced security features like end-to-end encryption. You can also purchase Clover Security Plus for your Clover POS devices, which gives you a slew of security tools to ensure that your transactions are always protected.
For more on LMS, read our expert review.

Specialized restaurant plan
Payout times 1–3 business days
POS pricing models
  • One-time purchase options
  • Free leasing of equipment with long-time contracts
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~2% + 0¢
Monthly subscription on cheapest plan $9.00

For high-volume restaurants, Stax is ideal it, offers savings of up to 40% for restaurants processing over $8,000 in card payments per month. Instead of charging a percentage fee on each transaction, you pay a set monthly amount for all your processing. This gives you stability in an industry with potentially fluctuating month-to-month earnings. Additionally, the more you earn, the more you save due to Stax’s low per-transaction fees of only 0% + 10¢ (in-person).

Stax integrates smoothly with almost all third-party POS hardware, but you can also purchase your equipment directly if you prefer. Stax offers a wide range of mobile and countertop terminals with unique tools for restaurants like the Clover station or Dejavoo terminals.

Stax’s pricing model isn’t for everyone. Slower-paced restaurants might find the monthly subscription starting at $99.00 a bit steep, and you’ll still have to pay the interchange rates set by various card brands (usually around 1% + 15¢ per transaction). Still, if you run a bustling dining business, Stax could significantly reduce your processing and software costs.

Features and Benefits

  • Analytics dashboard. Stax provides a powerful analytics dashboard you can use to keep track of everything from your most popular menu items to your busiest business hours. Its built-in software includes advanced finance, customer, and employee monitoring features that give you actionable data for running your restaurant as efficiently as possible.
  • Bookkeeping software integrations. Stax seamlessly integrates with popular bookkeeping and accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero, making it easy for you to keep your accounts up to date.
  • Secure credit card storage. Do you have any regulars? Stax gives you the option to securely store customers’ credit card details on file, which is ideal if you want to open tabs for your loyal clientele.
  • Gift Cards. Stax lets you create custom digital gift cards. If happy customers can give gift cards to friends and family, you’re bound to see more customers walking through the door.
Read our expert Stax review for more details.

Specialized restaurant plan
Payout times
  • 24–72 hours
  • Same-day funding available (for a fee)
POS pricing models
  • Quick and easy integration with existing devices
  • Wide range of POS hardware available for purchase
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly subscription on cheapest plan $99.00
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3. POS PROS: Best POS Equipment for Any Restaurant

POS Pros stands out for its personalized approach to POS equipment. You can receive a free consultation and free virtual POS demos with a POS Pros specialist to help you test different POS systems and select the best for your needs. This approach ensures you won’t waste resources on the wrong hardware.

This processor has an impressive selection of 25+ POS brands, including Lightspeed, Aloha, Bevo, Lavu, Focus, and Aldelo for restaurants. These systems offer helpful features like table-side ordering and kitchen printing to expedite orders, custom menu builders, and control over permissions for managers and waitstaff. You can also provide added convenience for customers with check splitting and for employees with tip sharing.

POS Pros has plans tailored for different types of restaurants such as fast food places, food trucks, wineries, microbreweries, and pizza shops. Monthly fees start at $5.00 for interchange-plus and tiered pricing, making it one of the most affordable options for restaurants that I’ve seen. However, its cash discount plan with a monthly subscription of $30.00 is pricier than ProMerchant and PAYARC’s zero-cost processing programs.

Features and Benefits

  • TouchBistro software. This software allows you to turn your iPad into a POS solution for your full-service and quick-service restaurant. If you’re a full-service restaurant, you can use it to build a visual menu and a map of your restaurant for accurate order delivery. It also features a line-busting efficiency function and an option to add one-touch modifications to expedite operations.
  • Features tailored to specific restaurant niches. POS Pros offers an unmatched level of specificity for every niche within the restaurant industry. For example, if you run a pizza restaurant, POS Pros will probably match you with Lavu POS for its pizza-builder feature.
  • Free hardware. You may qualify for a free Clover Mini LTE or Clover Flex, allowing you access to additional restaurant features from the Clover App Market. POS Pros also provides a free Dejavoo Z11 terminal.
  • Franchise solutions. For franchise restaurants, POS Pros offers tailored plans and POS solutions to support your franchise operations.
See our detailed POS Pros review to learn more.

Specialized restaurant plan
Payout times Next day
POS pricing models
  • One-time purchase options
  • Free equipment
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly subscription on cheapest plan $5.00

4. ProMerchant: Best Zero-Cost Processing Program for Restaurants

ProMerchant offers a zero-cost processing program for a small monthly fee of $7.95. That’s all you’ll pay if you decide to pass the processing fees to your customers. If you’re reluctant to charge customers a bit extra for using their cards instead of cash, ProMerchant has an interchange-plus fixed rate option for the same monthly fee, and per-transaction fees of 3% + 10¢ (credit).

ProMerchant provides POS solutions tailored to diverse restaurant needs. For fast-food establishments, it offers a free Ingenico Desk 3500 credit card terminal known for its fast transaction processing, ensuring minimal downtime between sales.

If you need a more sophisticated POS system, ProMerchant provides a PAX A920 terminal. This compact device accommodates various payment methods and delivers robust reporting, from transaction history to inventory management. It has an integrated tip function, which allows customers to input tips and confirm them via e-signatures. The device also supports gift card processing.

Features and Benefits

  • High-risk merchant accounts. ProMerchant is likely to work with you if you operate a hookah lounge or other high-risk enterprise. If you operate a standard restaurant but are deemed high-risk due to poor or no credit history, ProMerchant remains a trustworthy option – and what’s best, you’ll have access to all the same features and benefits as low-risk merchants.
  • Flexible month-to-month contracts. ProMerchant lets you utilize its services flexibly, imposing no cancellation fees if you choose to discontinue your partnership.
  • No set-up fees. ProMerchant will program your restaurant equipment at no extra charge. With zero application and setup costs, you’ll be able to save whether you’re a new restaurant or switching processors.
  • Restaurant add-ons. As a certified Clover reseller, ProMerchant offers access to over 100 restaurant apps when you choose Clover POS systems. Some free apps, like Fortune Receipts, can generate unique quotes on customer receipts so you can add a unique touch to your slips.
Read our expert ProMerchant review for more details.

Specialized restaurant plan
Payout times Next day – 2 business days
POS pricing models
  • One-time purchase options
  • Free leasing of equipment without contracts
Transaction fees on cheapest plan Custom
Monthly subscription on cheapest plan $7.95

5. PAYARC: Best for Restaurants With High and Low Seasons

PAYARC offers varied pricing, making it ideal if you anticipate growth but still experience some low seasons. If you currently process a lower volume, its flat-rate plan with no monthly fees and transaction fees of 2.49% + 30¢ (in-person) will suit you best. As your volume increases, you can shift to subscription plans. Although these have higher monthly fees starting at $69.00, you’ll enjoy a lower per-transaction fee of 0% + 15¢ (in-person & online).

PAYARC also provides a cash discount plan with no monthly fees, enabling you to pass transaction fees to customers using cards for payments. Unlike ProMerchant, where you can receive a free terminal with a zero-cost processing plan, PAYARC doesn’t guarantee free equipment. But depending on your processing volume and other criteria, you may qualify for a free PAX A920 terminal.

If you process a lot of online orders, you’d benefit from PAYARC’s proprietary payment gateway. It’s significantly cheaper than popular options, saving you hundreds of dollars annually.

Features and Benefits

  • All-in-one dashboard. PAYARC provides a robust dashboard for business management that allows you to monitor transactions, oversee sales, and access data-driven reports to inform your business decisions. It also integrates seamlessly with many third-party apps so you can keep using any existing software.
  • Multiple support channels. Unlike many processors that only offer phone support, PAYARC is also accessible via email, live chat, and social media around the clock.
  • Custom plans. If the available plans don’t meet your needs, PAYARC can personalize one for you. Contact its sales team to negotiate the best arrangement for your restaurant.
  • Quick funding. For an additional fee, PAYARC will release your funds to your bank account as soon as the same business day.
Check out our detailed PAYARC review for more features.

Specialized restaurant plan
Payout times
  • 24–48 hours as standard
  • Same-day payout for $20/month
POS pricing models
  • One-time purchase options
  • Free PAX A920 terminal with some plans
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 2.49% + 30¢ (in-person)
Monthly subscription on cheapest plan N/A

6. Flagship Merchant Services: Best for Quick Set-up

If you want to quickly start accepting cashless payments, Flagship’s fast-and-easy onboarding makes it a great choice. Once you sign up, Flagship will assign you a dedicated account representative to assist with the setup and answer any questions.

Applying for a Flagship merchant account requires far less documentation than other services. To begin, you only need to provide your name, a phone number, an email address, and an estimated monthly processing amount. Unlike other processors, Flagship doesn’t require void checks, bank statements, or EIN numbers.

Flagship offers reliable processing at very reasonable monthly rates ranging from $7.95, whether you choose an interchange-plus or tiered pricing plan. You can negotiate these to get the best possible deal. While Flagship advises new merchants to consider tiered pricing, I recommend avoiding it because you won’t know the exact amount you’ll owe each month in credit card processing costs

Features and Benefits

  • iAccess Business Management. When you sign up with Flagship, you’ll get access to the iAccess Business Management portal. This specialized software provides useful analytics and custom activity reports.
  • Free equipment. You have the option to choose between a free Clover Mini POS or an EMV Certified terminal. Through Clover, you can use restaurant-specific apps to power your business.
  • Loyalty programs. Flagship comes with the option to create loyalty programs for your business, which gives you a tremendous advantage for attracting regular clientele.
  • Gift card program. Flagship’s simple-yet-effective gift card program can increase traffic to your restaurant and help build customer loyalty.
See our expert Flagship review for more details.

Specialized restaurant plan
Payout times
  • Around 2 business days
  • Same-day funding available (for a fee)
POS pricing models
  • One-time purchase options
  • Free equipment for the duration of your contract
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Monthly subscription on cheapest plan $7.95

Other Notable Credit Card Processing Companies for Restaurants

7. CreditCardProcessing.com

Restaurants with high customer turnover will find CreditCardProcessing.com to be a great choice. Several plans cater to busy establishments, with the Premier plan and higher offering a free Clover Mini. If you sign up for a contract, you’ll also get a free PAX A920. These high-end devices can greatly improve restaurant operations with their fast performance and advanced features.

CreditCardProcessing.com’s subscription plans offer notably low transaction fees. Keep in mind that if your restaurant is on the lower end of the volume spectrum, the transaction fees might be higher compared to other subscription-based processors like Stax. Evaluating your average sales volume is essential to determine if this fits your financial model.

8. Chase Payment Solutions

Chase Payment Solutions is a good option for small- to mid-sized restaurants dealing with unpredictable volumes. With no monthly fees, Chase doesn’t penalize you for quieter periods. Additionally, it offers free next-day deposits with a Chase business checking account that can improve your cash flow.

Partnering with Chase gives you access to TouchBistro software at a significantly discounted rate, provided you sign a two-year contract. Tailored for the food industry, it helps you streamline orders, payments, and more. Chase’s POS selection only offers five models, making it unsuitable for businesses with more comprehensive needs. Even so, it’s still a solid solution for restaurants with straightforward operational needs and fluctuating sales.

9. Square

Square is a good alternative for new restaurants with basic requirements. It stands out for its simplicity and speed. Its instant approval process lets you accept payments minutes after setting up. You also get instant access to funds, allowing efficient cash flow management. With Square Online, you’ll receive a free restaurant website, so you can establish an online presence without extra costs.

While Square offers plans specifically for restaurants, it’s not for everyone. Because Square doesn’t vet its applicants, it might terminate your account unexpectedly if it deems your business high-risk.Such unpredictability can be challenging for a restaurant that’s trying to stabilize its operations. However, Square is a viable option for new restaurants with simple needs.

10. Helcim

Small, low-volume restaurants should consider Helcim. Its inventory management tools ensure that you’re always aware of your stock levels to minimize waste and maximize profits. With this processor, you’ll also receive free web hosting and a store builder. This eliminates the need to build a digital space from scratch.

Helcim’s limited compatibility with third-party POS hardware is quite a stumbling block if you’re primarily a brick-and-mortar restaurant. You must purchase its proprietary card reader, which can be limiting if you’ve already invested in or prefer another POS system. But for take-out restaurants that lean heavily on online orders, Helcim is a good match due to its emphasis on a seamless online experience.

The Right Processor Can Help Your Restaurant Succeed

Many credit card processing companies offer quality services, but to best serve your restaurant’s needs in this fast-paced industry, the ideal processor should excel in crucial areas. You’ll find success in your restaurant with reliable service, competitive rates, and tools customized to your specific requirements, as are the key ingredients.

Whether you’re a new or established restaurant owner, LMS’s negotiable rates will save you money. It offers many restaurant-specific features to optimize your operations, from the front-end to the kitchen to your online ordering system and beyond.

If you want to save on credit card processing fees, ProMerchant offers affordable zero-cost processing. For a small monthly fee, you can ask your card-paying customers to cover your card processing fees. You also receive a free terminal tailored for your restaurant business. This allows you to save on both ongoing and upfront costs.

If your restaurant has fluctuating processing volumes or you plan to expand in the future, PAYARC has plans to meet every need. You can also use its proprietary, low-priced payment gateway for online orders.

If you want to see how our top processors stacked up, take a look at the table below.

Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Custom, bargaining rates, tailored plans and plenty of restaurant-pecific features Various types of restaurants that want to optimize their operations and are looking for the best deal on credit card processing $9.00 ~2% + 0¢
ProMerchant Affordable zero-cost credit card processing with free terminal Restaurants looking to save on upfront and month-to-month processing costs $7.95 Custom
PAYARC Diverse pricing structure with plans for every need and affordable payment gateway Restaurants that have differences in processing volume throughout the year or anticipate growth N/A 2.49% + 30¢ (in-person)
Flagship Merchant Services Lighting-fast set-up and no cancellation fees New restaurants in need of immediate and affordable processing $7.95 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
POS Pros Plans tailored to restaurants and the widest range of POS equipment with restaurant-specific features Restaurants that need advanced, niche-specific software and hardware for their business $5.00 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
Stax Low transaction fees and powerful analytics High-volume restaurants processing over $8,000 of card payments per month $99.00 0% + 10¢ (in-person)


How much do restaurants pay in processing fees?

The price that a restaurant pays in processing fees will vary considerably depending on its credit card processor. While different restaurants will have different needs, PAYARC has different pricing structures for both high and low-volume restaurants.

What’s the best credit card processor for restaurants?

It depends on the kind of restaurant you’re running, your experience in the industry, and your particular needs. Leaders Merchant Services negotiable pricing is ideal for getting the best deal for all types of restaurants. If, on the other hand, you’re a busy, established restaurant, Stax is worth considering because of its subscription-style pricing.

Can restaurants pass processing fees onto customers?

As long as you choose a credit card processor that offers this, you’ll be able to pass on your processing fees. ProMerchant has a zero-cost processing plan, that effectively lets you pass on your processing costs to your card-paying customers. This option isn’t for everyone, though. Many restaurants will benefit from paying a small fee on credit card transactions if it means every customer pays the same price for a given menu item.

Do I need to accept credit cards in my restaurant?

If you live in the US, you don’t have any legal obligation to accept credit cards at a food establishment. However, over two-thirds of restaurant customers prefer to pay with credit cards, so you stand to lose a significant amount of business if you don’t. If you want to start accepting credit cards, check out Leaders Merchant Services or our best restaurant processing recommendations.

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