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When it comes to deciding which credit card processor will be the cheapest solution for your gas station, a key factor to consider is sales volume: do you process lots of smaller transactions for fuel, or do you also take higher-value payments for auto repair and maintenance services?
Some gas stations will save more by choosing a service with a monthly subscription and flat transaction fee, whereas others will find that an interchange-plus model lets them keep more of their earnings.
Furthermore, gas stations that have a thriving business selling replacement parts (batteries, tires, brake pads) or have an onsite convenience store may benefit from accounting and inventory management tools. Not all credit card processors offer these cost- and time-saving features, however.
After researching dozens of services and taking into account the payment processing needs of different types of gas stations, I’ve compiled this list of the best credit card processing companies servicing this industry. Keep reading to discover which one is best suited to your business.
Short on Time? These Are the Best Credit Card Processors for Gas Stations in 2023
Stax – Subscription-style pricing and integrated business tools can save high-volume gas stations up to 40% on their processing costs.
Payment Depot – Most affordable subscription-style pricing plans for lower-volume gas stations.
What We Look For in the Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Gas Stations
When researching credit card processors to find the most affordable options for gas stations, I focused on the features and benefits that will have the biggest impact on your bottom line.
Transparent pricing. With the credit card processors on my list, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be paying for every type of transaction. You’ll never have to worry about hidden fees with these processors.
Low processing rates. These credit card processors charge some of the lowest processing fees on the market. This makes them ideal for small businesses like gas stations that have razor-thin profit margins and process lots of small transactions.
Fast payouts. The credit card processors on this list have quick payout times, usually around 24-48 hours. Some even offer same-day payouts.
Fraud and chargeback protection. Settling disputed or fraudulent credit card charges can be costly. Every payment processor on this list helps you limit disputed charges. They also meet the highest level of Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard for payment processing.
Free or discounted terminals. Point-of-sale (POS) hardware is expensive. All these credit card processing companies offer free or discounted equipment. If you have existing hardware, you’ll also find options to integrate your existing equipment with the new processor of your choice.
If your priority is minimizing your credit card processing costs, Stax will help you save on credit card processing fees. All you’ll pay is a low $99.00 monthly membership fee and a small 0% + 10¢ (in-person) fee on each transaction. By eliminating the percentage markup other credit card processors typically charge on transactions, Stax makes it easier to project your monthly revenue and keep track of your business’s finances.
Another perk is Stax’s seamless integration with many of the most popular business management tools for things like inventory tracking, automatic low-stock alerts, and easy-to-understand sales data. This is a huge advantage for gas stations that also have a convenience store or offer maintenance and repair services and need to keep track of inventory and in-demand products.
Stax offers the best value if you process at least $5,000 in monthly transactions. The higher your transaction volume (up to a maximum of $500,000 per year), the more likely you are to save up to 40% on your credit card processing with Stax.
Features and Benefits
Free terminal. Stax offers a free POS terminal or mobile reader with any plan, though you’ll have to return the equipment if you cancel your plan. If you install Stax’s mobile app on your smartphone or tablet, you can use your device as a terminal.
Financial management. Another perk Stax offers is integration with QuickBooks accounting tools. Though you’ll have to pay extra for this feature, you’ll get all the tools you need to manage your finances in-house.
Secure payments. As well as being a level 1 PCI-compliant payment processor, Stax offers advanced fraud detection, payer verification, and end-to-end encryption, so you can be confident that your and your customers’ financial information is safe.
No-fee surcharging. Passing the cost of your credit card processing fees onto your card-paying customers can save your business a substantial amount. Just be aware that surcharging is not allowed in every state.
2. Payment Depot: Affordable, Subscription-Style Payment Processing for Gas Stations
Unlike many credit card processors that take a percentage of each transaction, Payment Depot charges a 0% markup on interchange rates. All you’ll have to pay is a monthly membership fee based on your transaction volume, plus a small flat fee on each transaction.
The entry-level Starter plan costs just $79.00 per month and allows you to process up to $125,000 per year. Payment Depot’s budget-friendly plan pricing and low 0% + 10¢ (in-person) transaction fee makes it a good choice for most gas stations. It doesn’t offer as many additional features as Stax, but Payment Depot could still save you hundreds of dollars in processing fees per month.
One thing to note is that Payment Depot doesn’t support high-risk merchants. This could be an issue if a large proportion of your revenue comes from selling tobacco or e-cigarettes.
Features and Benefits
Next day payments. If you get approval for quick payouts, Payment Depot will deposit credit card payments into your account within 24 hours. The maximum you’ll need to wait is 2 days for credit card transactions and 4-5 days for ACH payments.
24/7 risk monitoring. Payment Depot takes a proactive approach to fraud and chargeback protection. Its risk monitoring team will alert you to bank policy changes and potential scams, which can reduce your risk of fraud. Furthermore, all customer information is automatically verified and card data is stored using tokenization.
Exceptional customer support. Few credit card processors match this service’s helpful and responsive customer support. Technical support is available 24/7 via phone or ticket and sales support from 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM EST/PST. There’s also a live chat option.
Quick and easy setup. Payment Depot approves applications within 24 hours. Onboarding is also fast – you can expect to start collecting funds for processed payments within 48 hours.
While there might be a lack of pricing transparency on the website, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) claims there’s a good reason for that. LMS offers tailored plans designed for your industry and needs. In theory, you’ll pay less because you won’t pay for tools you don’t need. However, you will be charged an annual PCI compliance fee.
Other benefits to LMS’s interchange-plus model include its low monthly cost of $9.00 and affordable transaction fee of ~2% + 0¢ for chip, swiped, and contactless in-person payments.
If you’re just starting out or want to upgrade your gas station with new signage or state-of-the art gas pumps, LMS also offers cash advances that you’ll pay back through a small percentage of your future sales.
Features and Benefits
Negotiable rates. LMS promises to meet or beat your current payment processor’s rates or give you a $200 gift card for letting it try. And even if you’re just starting out, you may still be able to bargain for an attractive rate.
Flexible payments. In addition to all major credit and debit cards, LMS lets you accept payments from Google, Apple, and Samsung Pay. If you’ve purchased a Clover terminal, you can also accept PayPal and Venmo payments.
High approval rates. Not only is the application process easy, but approval rates are high and account setup is quick and easy. Once approved, you can begin processing payments within 24 hours.
Security. PCI compliance, end-to-end encryption, and tokenization ensures the security of your customers’ financial information and reduces the risk of fraud and disputed payments.
If your gas station has been flagged as high risk, you could find it more difficult to secure affordable credit card processing. That’s where PaymentCloud comes in. As well as offering competitive rates to low- and medium-risk businesses, it also provides merchant services to high-risk businesses, including those with low credit scores that might otherwise have trouble securing processing services.
Just be aware that PaymentCloud’s fees vary according to what level of risk its underwriters consider your business to be. While you won’t find any pricing information on its website, its sales support is pretty upfront about rates.
As a level 1 PCI-compliant processor, PaymentCloud is serious about helping you reduce fraud and chargebacks. All transactions are processed using end-to-end encryption and tokenization. Other fraud prevention services include IP tracking, automatic fraud alerts, and temporary payment halts. These steps can reduce disputed payments, improve your credit score, and save you serious money.
Features and Benefits
Varied payment options. PaymentCloud lets customers pay in-store with their preferred method – credit card, debit card, digital wallet (Apple, Google, Samsung Pay), and even by QR code.
Range of funding options. Bridge loans, asset-based loans, business lines of credit, and equipment financing are all funding options available to PaymentCloud customers.
No PCI compliance fee. PaymentCloud eliminates the annual PCI compliance fee many processors charge, which is one less fee to worry about.
Dedicated account manager. Having a personal rep who will guide you through the application and setup process is a plus, especially for higher-risk merchants who may need more upfront support.
National Processing earned a spot on this list for its competitively priced, industry-specific plans. When you sign up for the Retail plan, you’ll pay a low monthly fee, a small percentage markup on interchange rates, and a flat fee on every transaction.
While National Processing gets high marks for posting pricing on its website, it pays to read the fine print – you have to process at least $10,000 per month to qualify for the quoted rates. You’ll also want to factor in the annual PCI compliance fee and the cost of leasing or purchasing equipment, because National Processing only offers a free terminal if you sign a long-term contract.
That said, National Processing will re-program your existing equipment for free, which can save you big bucks in the long run.
Features and Benefits
No transaction limits. Unlike other merchant services, National Processing doesn’t set monthly or annual transaction limits on its plans.
Transparent pricing. With its handy online calculator, you can get an estimate of the rates and fees you’ll have to pay, along with how much you’ll save versus your current rates. Simply enter your industry, sales volume, and number of transactions in the appropriate fields.
Cash discount program. This popular program allows you to offer customers a 3.99% discount for paying in cash, effectively allowing you to pass on your processing fees to your card-paying customer. If you process less than $3,000 per month, you’ll have to pay a $30 monthly fee to use this program.
Free setup. National Processing is one of the few payment processors that doesn’t charge any fees for hardware and gateway setup.
Flagship Merchant Services offers two pricing models: interchange-plus and tiered pricing. Although tiered pricing might seem like the cheapest option, I advise against it – tiered pricing fees tend to be higher than interchange fees in the long run, especially for small businesses.
While Flagship has one of the lowest monthly fees at $7.95, it charges additional fees for PCI compliance, use of the payment gateway, and ACH processing.
Like National Processing, Flagship also doesn’t offer a free terminal unless you sign a long-term contract. I’d recommend purchasing your own equipment from Flagship – it will cost less in the long run because you won’t need to pay monthly insurance and maintenance fees.
Flagship doesn’t disclose any information about pricing and fees on its website because it encourages merchants to negotiate. Be sure to contact the company to get a custom quote for your business.
Features and Benefits
Custom account solutions. While the lack of pricing transparency on its site may be disconcerting, Flagship gives you the opportunity to negotiate a plan that’s right for your business. This means you don’t have to pay for features you don’t want or need.
Merchant cash advances. Flagship offers quick and easy funding for any business needs. It will provide cash advances of up to $150,000 that can be repaid via an additional markup on your future transactions.
PCI-compliant payment processing. Flagship is Level 1 PCI-compliant for credit card transactions, whether swiped, keyed in, or contactless. This processor also requires merchants to complete an annual PCI compliance assessment for a $99 fee.
Loyalty programs. Your Flagship plan comes with the option to create a digital loyalty program for your customers. This can help local gas stations stand out from the competition and the big discount clubs.
How to Choose the Right Gas Station Credit Card Processing Company for Your Needs
Choosing the best payment processor will vary depending on the services you offer, how established your business is, and the volume of transactions you typically process.
If you’re looking for the best rates and you process at least $5,000 per month, you could save up to 40% with Stax. That makes it my top recommendation for established gas stations that also offer maintenance and repair services.
On the other hand, if you process lots of smaller transactions, Payment Depot may be a more affordable option. You’ll save money with an affordable monthly fee and 0% markups – you’ll pay only a small flat fee on each transaction.
Or, if you’re comfortable negotiating for the best rates, get in touch with Leaders Merchant Services. It gives gas station owners the option to opt out of features they don’t need. And if you’re considering switching services, LMS promises to meet or beat your current processor’s rates.
I’ve put together a quick overview of each payment processor’s pricing and fees to make it easier to decide on the best service for your business.
Monthly fee on cheapest plan
Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Affordable monthly plans with no interchange markup fees
High volume gas stations that make more than $5,000 per month
Which credit card processor offers the best rates for gas stations?
It depends on the volume of your gas station’s transactions and the individual ticket amount. Multi-service stations that offer repair services will find Stax offers the best rates for their business, while gas stations that exclusively sell fuel may save with Payment Depot because of its lower monthly fee. That said, Stax may offer you a custom, lower-priced plan if your monthly transaction volume is low – it pays to ask.
How can I reduce the cost of credit card processing for my gas station?
Choosing a processor that offers a free terminal and setup or that will reprogram your existing equipment for free can save you money. If you have the option to lease or buy equipment, choose the latter – it will be cheaper overall. You can also save by choosing a service that doesn’t charge fees for PCI compliance. Lastly, be sure to weigh chargeback fees for fraudulent and disputed payments.
Which credit card processors are best for mid- and high-risk gas stations?
Both Payment Cloud and Flagship Merchant Services have high approval rates, even for high-risk businesses. Of the two, PaymentCloud is the better option for high-risk gas stations, offering month to month plans, no termination fee, free equipment, and processing of all payment types.
What are the best credit card readers for gas stations?
The best terminals and mobile card readers allow your customers to pay however they prefer: credit card, debit card, or digital wallet (Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay). Some processors, like Stax, also offer terminals and card readers that allow you to accept payments made with Venmo and PayPal. The more options you can offer the more likely people are to return.
Dawn is a freelance writer and editor specializing in developing strategic content for businesses. A lover of philosophy and the arts, she brainstorms with cultural educators to ensure all students have access to enriching learning opportunities.