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Unless you plan on receiving cash via messenger pigeon, credit card processing is crucial to your online business. It’s not just about accepting credit cards, either. You can put all the time in the world into perfecting your products and web design, but it will largely be in vain if your payment method is inconvenient. Without an easy way to pay, many customers will simply bounce to another site.
A good payment processor, then, should offer a frictionless payment experience for your customers. The best processors, though, will also make your life easier. Sadly, tons of credit card processors out there are riddled with hidden fees, have ridiculous markups, or just don’t provide the tools that an e-commerce business needs to thrive.
That’s where I come in. After scouring hundreds of reviews and carefully researching what all of the major payment processors offer, I found the very best credit card processors for e-commerce. My top recommendation for e-commerce businesses is Stax. You’ll get a payment gateway, virtual terminal, shopping cart integrations, and more included in your monthly fee, helping you to save money on software fees.Keep on reading to see our other top recommendations for e-commerce payment processing.
What We Look For in the Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Ecommerce
Besides offering a high-quality service in general, the processors on this list had to meet meet the following criteria to be considered an ideal fit for e-commerce businesses:
Shopping cart integrations. There is (practically) no way to create an online store without shopping cart features. The processors on this list offer shopping cart integrations with the most popular website builders and e-commerce platforms. It’s also preferable that they include APIs to give web developers even greater flexibility.
High security standards. E-commerce businesses are more likely to be deemed high-risk because card-not-present transactions are vulnerable to a slew of security threats. I only included processors that meet the highest security standards for you and your customers. Double points if they offer PCI-compliance assistance.
Fair pricing. No business can afford to throw away money on subpar features. I only included processors that offer benefits and features that justify their rates.
Ease of setup and use. E-commerce businesses can’t afford to wait weeks or have to jump through an endless procession of hoops to set up credit card processing. The processors on this list offer quick and simple onboarding and an easy-to-use service.
Out of all the processors I researched, Stax offers the longest list of specialized tools for e-commerce. The Stax gateway provides shopping cart integrations with popular platforms like Bigcommerce, WooCommerce, and SalesForce. It also offers a dizzying array of analytics and reporting tools to help you track product performance, customer tendencies, and more.
Something else that impressed me is that Stax charges no percentage markup on transactions. If you typically process a large volume of sales, Stax’s pricing model can save you up to 40%on your card processing bill.
Stax does charge a monthly fee that might be a little steep for some merchants. If you process less than $5,000 a month or your revenue mostly comes from a few costly orders, you’ll likely save money using a processor with an interchange-plus pricing model. Still, when it comes to helping online businesses thrive, Stax’s e-commerce tools are second to none.
Features and Benefits
Developer tools. If you’re a more tech-savvy merchant or you can afford to hire a professional developer, Stax’s easy-to-use API will let you create custom integrations, shopping carts, and more.
Dashboard software. Stax is one of the few payment processors to offer proprietary software for managing all of your processing information from one place. The Growth plan gives you a simple dashboard where you can monitor your sales and get basic customer analytics, while the Pro and Ultimate plans give you more advanced analytics.
Useful integrations. Stax offers integrations with a wide variety of business software to help you keep things running smoothly. These let you do things like sync with QuickBooks and automatically send important updates to your team via Slack.
Digital invoicing. Stax gives you the tools to create, customize, and keep track of digital invoices in real time. You can also set up recurring invoices, which are ideal if you offer subscriptions or ongoing services.
Payment Depot is another processor that offers a 0% markup on transactions for a small monthly fee. Not only is this simple pricing structure ideal if you don’t want to deal with the variable costs of interchange-plus pricing, the monthly fees are even lower than those of Stax, its parent company.
So, why isn’t Payment Depot at the top of this list? Well, because with Stax, you get more features for your money. That’s not to say that Payment Depot’s e-commerce tools aren’t good (you still get access to a top-tier payment gateway and custom shopping carts), but you won’t get the advanced developer tools and detailed analytics that help take Stax to the next level.
On the other hand, this makes Payment Depot a more affordable solution if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, plus its top-notch customer care means you can count on the service working month to month. If you’re looking for reliable credit card processing with e-commerce tools, then Payment Depot is the way to go.
Features and Benefits
Quick and simple onboarding. Applying for a merchant account with Payment Depot is remarkably straightforward. And once you’re vetted, you can start receiving payments the very next day.
Easy-to-use sales dashboard. Payment Depot’s sales dashboard allows you to send custom invoices, monitor sales, and more – all from the same user-friendly platform.
Risk monitoring. Payment Depot includes risk monitoring tools that can help you prevent chargeback fraud. Not only that, but you won’t have to pay any incidental fees.
Plenty of integrations. Though you only get the essential e-commerce features as standard, Payment Depot offers integrations with more advanced e-commerce software and platforms like NCR, QuickBooks, and Shopify.
Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is a great option if you process both in-person and e-commerce transactions. For card-present payments, they offer the full range of Clover’s products and a couple of more traditional EMV readers. You’ll also get the Authorize.net gateway and CartManager shopping cart integration for e-commerce.
That might not sound like a lot for businesses that operate mainly (or only) online, but the truth is that a payment gateway and shopping cart integration will be enough for most small businesses. What’s more, CartManager and Authorize.net are some of the most popular and trustworthy e-commerce apps available.
This isn’t LMS’s biggest advantage, though. The reason it’s so high on this list is that LMS gives you plenty of room to negotiate what fees you’ll pay on your plan. When you sign up with LMS, you’re able – even encouraged – to negotiate for the best possible price based on the unique characteristics of your business. This flexibility means that LMS can give you the best deal possible, freeing up extra cash in your budget that you can invest back into your business.
Features and Benefits
Cash advance options. If your business is just getting off the ground, LMS offers merchant cash advances – a type of loan where you receive a set amount of cash that you pay back via a small commission on your credit card sales.
Instant Accept. If you use QuickBooks for your bookkeeping, LMS offers Instant Accept as a paid add-on. This lets you receive custom invoices directly from your QuickBooks dashboard and automatically updates your info accordingly.
Personalized plans. When you sign up, LMS offers tools specific to your industry, such as gift card programs and subscription services.
Outstanding POS Variety. This will matter less if you conduct your business solely online, but hybrid businesses will appreciate the wide range of point of sale devices LMS has available.
On the surface, Flagship Merchant Services’ offering might seem pretty basic. Like some others on this list, Flagship offers reliable online payment processing via the Authorize.net gateway. In addition, you’ll get a virtual terminal, subscription management tools, and a developer kit that’ll allow you to build custom integrations and shopping carts.On top of that, Flagship stands out for its fast and easy application process. In some cases, you’ll be able to start processing payments as soon as a couple of hours after sign-up. Its pricing information could be clearer, and it doesn’t offer the most advanced analytic tools out there, but Flagship is the best option if you need to start processing online payments quickly.
Features and Benefits
Custom security restrictions. Besides the usual security features, Flagship allows you to set custom security restrictions like setting a maximum number of charges per card or even excluding specific IP addresses.
Loyalty program. Flagship offers an optional digital loyalty program powered by Pirq. This app-based loyalty scheme rewards customers for each purchase in store or online when they scan the associated QR code. It’s a great, low-cost way to encourage repeat business on your e-commerce store.
iAccess portal. When you set up a Flagship account, you also receive the iAccess software. iAccess allows you to create daily, weekly, and monthly processing activity reports. It also gives you access to custom analytics, such as comparing your sales performance to other businesses in your area.
Same-day funding. For a small fee, you can receive payouts within 12 hours of making a sale.
Luminous Payments was created with small businesses firmly in mind. While this means it doesn’t offer the barrage of features or 24/7 support you get with some other processors, it makes up for it with personalized care for each of its merchants.
For e-commerce, Luminous Payments offers the NMI payment gateway, which comes with advanced security, customer analytics, and over 125 shopping cart integrations. To use the NMI gateway, you’ll need to pay a fixed monthly fee of $6.
This extra cost is unlikely to break the bank considering that Luminous offers 5 affordable payment models, including a custom model that you can set up with your account representative. No matter your e-commerce transaction volume or size, you can save money with Luminous Payments. The variety in pricing models means that you’ll almost certainly be able to find something you’re comfortable with.
The downside is that if you need a different gateway, more specialized tools, or if you process too much annually, Luminous might not be able to meet your needs. For small e-commerce businesses, however, Luminous is an incredibly flexible choice.
Features and Benefits
Guaranteed savings. If you’re already using another payment processor, Luminous promises to save you money on your processing costs or give you $1,000.
Same-day funding. If you’re in a hurry to get your funds, you can pay a small monthly fee to receive all of your payments within 12 hours of completing your transactions.
125+ shopping cart integrations. The NMI gateway offers integrations with over 125 popular website builders and e-commerce platforms like Wix, WordPress, and BigCommerce.
Quick set-up. Luminous Payments aims to get all new applicants set up within 24 hours of signing their application, which is ideal for new e-commerce businesses that need to get up and running quickly.
CreditCardProcessing.com’s flat-rate fees are ideal for luxury e-commerce businesses that make a relatively small number of high-value sales per month. On the other side of the spectrum, e-commerce businesses that make a lot of low-value sales each month can save a lot of money with this processor. If your business sits between these two extremes, then you may not see the same amount of savings.
Another perk it offers is a dedicated account manager to help you with any issues that might arise. This means you’ll always have personalized assistance that’s tailored to you and your business. Besides its Authorize.net integration, CreditCardProcessing.com doesn’t offer too many additional e-commerce features, but sacrificing some fancier features might be worth it for a pricing model that could save you a significant amount of money.
Features and Benefits
Vindicia pairing. CreditCardProcessing.com has a special partnership with Vindicia, which is a platform that allows you to administer recurring payments and get client analytics.
Free training assistance. If this is your first time setting up credit card processing, CreditCardProcessing.com offers free training on all its POS and e-commerce services.
Customizable checkout. CreditCardProcessing.com allows you to customize your checkout page to better match the tone of your brand. It’s a small thing, but small details can make all the difference.
Automatically fixes failed transactions. Thanks to the Vindicia integration, CreditCardProcessing.com can automatically detect and fix up to 30% of failed transactions.
Make the Most Out of Your Business With the Right Processor
A great e-commerce credit card processor should do much more than just process credit cards. The right processor will offer you the tools to keep your data secure, save you money, and expand your business (and process credit cards – that’s pretty important too).
If you’re tech-inclined, Stax offers the most advanced features for e-commerce. Its advanced analytic tools in particular make it a great choice for optimizing every part of your business.
For a simpler but reliable option, you can’t go wrong with Payment Depot. Its intuitive features and simple pricing plans make it a good option if you want to avoid any headaches.
Finally, if your business takes both in-person and online payments, Leaders Merchant Services providesa great service at a negotiable price.
You can see how my the top ecommerce processors stack up against each other in the table below.
Monthly fee on cheapest plan
Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Advanced analytic tools
Merchants looking for advanced tools and analytics
Both PayPal and Stripe offer a comparable service as they’re both e-commerce focused interchange-plus payment processors. However, neither are ideal for taking more than one-off payments due to the high per-transaction rates. It’s difficult to say which payment processor is the definitive best for e-commerce as that depends on your business model. To find a good option for you, check out our list of the best credit card processors in 2022.
How can I set up credit card payments on my website?
The answer to this can go two different ways. Most payment processors offer shopping cart integrations with a variety of website builders. These integrations make it simple to accept payments on your e-commerce website. If you didn’t build your website using a website builder, however, some payment processors like Stax offer custom APIs to help you accept payments on any site.
What is the best payment processor for e-commerce?
The ideal payment processor will vary from merchant to merchant. It all depends on your transaction volume, which features you need, and what kind of business you run. In general, though, Stax offers the best range of features and integrations for e-commerce.
What is the safest online payment system?
Every payment processor featured on this list offers highly secure e-commerce software, so it’s difficult to say for certain which is the most secure. Stax and Payment Depot have never suffered a data breach, so you can be sure your data is safe with this company. Leaders Merchant Services offers Authorize.net which has offers end-to-end encryption, discounted SSL certificates for customers, and advanced fraud detection and prevention tools.
Andrés Gánem is a Colorado-born, Mexico-City-raised freelance writer and content creator. He’s been doing that for a while. When he’s not writing, he should be, but you can find him reading adventure novels, playing video games, or drinking frankly unhealthy amounts of coffee. If you see him, tell him to put down that coffee. He’s shaky enough as it is.