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9 Best Health Club Payment Processing: Save More in 2024

Stephen Wright Stephen WrightFinance Specialist January 20, 2024
January 20, 2024
Managing a health club can be a headache, especially when dealing with recurring payments, confusing POS systems, and a “high-risk” label from payment processors. Being considered high-risk by payment processors can impede your health club’s growth, as many credit card processors won’t work with you – and if they do, they’ll charge excessive fees that eat into your profits.

As a startup or SME fitness center, choosing the wrong payment processor can be costly. It can lead to inefficient business and client management due to poorly designed apps and integrations, reduced revenue caused by unsystematic membership management, and unprotected financial and medical information as a result of weak security features.

After researching dozens of payment processing solutions, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) emerged as the best payment processor for health clubs. LMS excels by providing industry-low rates and negotiable pricing. It offers features to help your gym flourish, including 3 mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) apps for managing payments and cataloging products like headphones.

If you can’t find a payment processor that works with health clubs or are looking for better rates, I suggest you check out LMS. Or keep reading to explore other processors well-suited for health clubs.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Credit Card Processors for Health Clubs in 2024

  1. Leaders Merchant Services1 – Industry-low rates and free POS equipment for budget-conscious health clubs.
  2. ProMerchant1 – Zero-cost processing for health clubs that sell merchandise or have a snack/juice bar.
  3. PAYARC1 – Advanced security features keep your customers’ financial and medical information secure.

See 6 More Great Options | Comparison Table

What We Look For in the Best Health Club Payment Processing

In my search for the best health club payment processor, I focused on features and benefits that directly impact your club’s efficiency and profitability.
  • Low rates. This entire list of credit card processors offers budget-friendly solutions for high-risk membership-based businesses like health clubs. Better yet, you won’t run into unreasonably high fees when opening an account, even if your business is new or has poor business credit.
  • Recurring billing. All my recommendations offer automated membership billing, meaning you won’t have to worry about sending invoices or contacting clients due to unpaid fees.
  • Powerful e-commerce integrations. Every processor on this list offers a user-friendly payment gateway. Plus, some processors partner with e-commerce platforms to give you access to specialized health club software that oversees employee and class scheduling, fitness class bookings, and membership information.
  • Advanced security. Each health club payment processor protects your customers’ financial information with PCI compliance, advanced fraud detection and prevention, end-to-end encryption, and tokenization. If you offer medical treatments, a few processors are also HIPAA-compliant and will protect your customers’ medical information.
  • Gift cards or loyalty programs. Digital loyalty programs are an excellent way to acquire and retain clients. You can offer discounts to incentivize loyalty, leverage the interest in health clubs during seasonal holidays like New Year, and use your customers’ buying behavior to make informed decisions.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) excels due to its industry-low rates and offers the opportunity to negotiate your plan. You can open a merchant account for as little as $9.00/month and you’ll pay ~0.15% + $0 per in-person transaction and ~2.9% + 30¢ for keyed-in transactions. Plus, if it can’t beat or at least meet your current processing rates, you’ll get a $200 gift card, making it a great choice for existing health clubs that need to maximize profit.

LMS offers 3 free mPOS apps that can help you save money on POS hardware: Authorize.net, Clover Go, and SwipeSimple. The most featureful is the Clover Go app, which allows you to take offline payments and capture credit card information using your phone’s camera. Better yet, you can set employee permissions and can view every transaction they’ve taken, enabling you to identify your highest-performing trainers and instructors.

If you use QuickBooks to manage your health club’s accounting, you can simplify billing with Instant Accept as it syncs your financial data with QuickBooks in real-time. What’s more, you can set up a separate sign-up and monthly fees, create flexible billing cycles, and configure your billing terms. It’s useful for health clubs with a large number of subscriptions as it reduces the costly mistakes and stress of navigating a subscription-based business model.

Features and Benefits

  • Dedicated account manager. With a dedicated account manager, you’ll have someone who understands the needs of your health club and won’t have to explain your situation to a new customer service representative whenever you need help.
  • High approval rates and same-day setup. LMS boasts a 98% approval rate for registered businesses and 24-hour onboarding for new and established health clubs alike. If you’re switching payment processors, LMS will ensure no interruptions to your payment processing.
  • Strong security. PCI compliance, advanced fraud detection and prevention, tokenization, and end-to-end encryption protect your members’ financial and medical data. Plus, its chargeback team is there to help guide you through the dispute process.
  • Free POS equipment on long-term plans. If you choose a long-term plan rather than negotiating for a month-to-month contract, you’ll be eligible to get free POS equipment. If you process a minimum of $8,000/month, you can negotiate for a free HIPAA-compliant Clover device.
To find out more, read our full Leaders Merchant Services review.

Integrations Authorize.net, CartManager, and Instant Accept
Security features PCI compliant, advanced fraud detection and prevention, end-to-end encryption, tokenization
HIPAA compliant  (through Clover POS)
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~2.9% + 30¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

ProMerchant’s zero-cost processing plan is exclusive for restaurant and retail businesses, meaning it’s a great option for health clubs that sell merchandise or have a snack/juice bar. You’ll pay a fixed monthly fee of $7.95 and have the option to pass some or all (up to 4%) of your processing fees to card-paying customers. If you can’t take advantage of this plan, ProMerchant also has a competitive fixed interchange-plus fee of 3% + 10¢ (credit).

Offering health clubs the choice between 50 POS systems, ProMerchant is a versatile payment processor that can accommodate the transaction needs of your health club. Whether you’re processing cash or contactless transactions, ProMerchant provides credit card terminals, Bluetooth card readers, and cash drawers. Better yet, you can get a free Verifone, Ingenico, PAX, or Payanywhere terminal with no rental or maintenance fees when you open an account.

You can process membership payments using the free Payments Hub virtual terminal as it enables you to process card-not-present (CNP) transactions. This tool allows you to key in payments using your phone, tablet, or computer. Payments Hub also lets you set up automated billing for cards on file so you can focus more on building client loyalty and less on administration.

Features and Benefits

  • Payanywhere mobile app. Payanywhere’s mobile app allows you to send receipts, view 3 years of transaction history, customize tips, and add sales tax. Because of this, it’s ideal for health clubs looking for efficiency and simplicity in their payment processing.
  • Fitness integrations. If you want to provide an enhanced customer experience, you can access e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce through Authorize.net. This integration will give you access to Zen Planner, which helps your customers plan and track their fitness goals.
  • Free next-day funding. Unlike other health club payment processors, ProMerchant offers free next-day funding with both its pricing plans. All payments processed by 8:30 p.m. EST are available the next day, ensuring you have consistent access to cash.
  • Extra fraud mitigation for high-risk businesses. ProMerchant provides advanced fraud mitigation tools for high-risk businesses to minimize the chance of chargebacks. For example, you can set up filters and decline transactions based on an IP address.
To learn more, check out our comprehensive ProMerchant review.

Integrations Authorize.net and QuickBooks
Security features PCI compliant, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
HIPAA compliant
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 3% + 10¢ (credit)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95
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PAYARC is my top recommendation for health clubs with spas and treatment centers due to its advanced security features. It’s level 1 PCI compliant and ensures the safety of transactions with tokenization, end-to-end encryption, and fraud monitoring. More importantly, PAYARC is HIPAA compliant through its Rectangle Health integration. You can protect your customers’ medical information, send appointment reminders, and remotely manage aftercare.

A rare feature on this list, PAYARC offers a proprietary gateway that seamlessly integrates with e-commerce solutions like WooCommerce, WordPress, and Magento. You can gain access to robust gym management software like the WordPress Gym Builder plugin, which allows you to manage your clients, classes, and trainers in one place. As a result, you streamline business management while enhancing your members’ experience.

There are three competitively priced payment plans offered by PAYARC: a membership plan based on monthly sales volume, a flat rate plan ideal for small health clubs processing less than $7,000 per month, and a cash discount plan. During my research, I found that PAYARC’s rates are best suited to health clubs processing less than $25,000 per month. You’ll pay $69.00/month with interchange-plus fees of 0% + 15¢ (in-person & online).

Features and Benefits

  • Reporting and analytics software. A user-friendly dashboard gives you access to all your business and transaction data, allowing you to pull reports, issue invoices, and manage your business and member engagement effectively.
  • 24/7 customer support. You can reach PAYARC anytime via phone, email, or social media, making its support team much more accessible than other payment processors.
  • Free demo. PAYARC offers a free demonstration and POS training no matter your payment plan, enabling you to fully take advantage of its features and services.
  • PAYARC mobile app. Currently only available on iOS devices, PAYARC’s mobile app allows you to access your dashboard, manage and process transactions both at the front desk and on the gym floor, add tips, and send receipts by email or SMS.
Read our expert PAYARC review for more details.

Integrations 10+ including QuickBooks, WooCommerce, Verifi, and more
Security features Level 1 PCI compliant, AVS/CVV, tokenization, and velocity filtering
HIPAA compliant  (through Rectangle Health Integration)
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 15¢ (in-person & online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $69.00

Stax is ideal for large US-based health clubs requiring robust e-commerce integrations. This processor connects with popular platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, Shift4Shop, Salesforce, BigCommerce, and Magento. Plus, you’ll be able to use pre-built shopping cart templates to instantly accept online payments without requiring coding or configuration.

If you process more than $8,000/month, Stax can cut your credit card processing fees by up to 40% with its straightforward subscription model. It offers three processing tiers that accommodate up to $500,000 in annual processing, starting at $99.00/month for its Growth plan. Each plan has a 0% markup on interchange and a flat fee of 0% + 10¢ (in-person) and 0% + 10¢ (online), making it a good option for high-income health clubs. If you own a small health club, Stax may be too expensive.

Every Stax plan includes integration with Zapier, granting you access to a vast array of business management software including QuickBooks, Trello, Bamboo HR, and more. Plus, you’ll get access to gym management software like Exercise.com and Fitr, which allow you to manage classes, oversee your members’ personal training, and track habits and fitness goals. While integrations are free, you may have to pay additional subscription services.

Features and Benefits

  • Third-party POS systems. Stax integrates with 90% of third-party POS systems, meaning you probably won’t have to replace your current equipment when opening a merchant account with Stax.
  • Digital loyalty program. Stax’s digital loyalty program offers gift cards and discounts, encouraging repeat memberships and gifting. Plus, with customized gift cards, you can maintain consistent branding to boost your gym’s brand recognition.
  • PCI compliance support. Stax assists you in becoming PCI compliant in less than 30 days at no extra cost. This ensures your payment processes adhere to security standards and protect your customer’s data.
  • Responsive live chat. Most payment processors don’t have a live chat, making Stax a great option if you require timely assistance, even outside of standard business hours.
For more information, read our expert Stax review.

Integrations 10+ including QuickBooks, Xero, BigCommerce, Magento, and more
Security features Level 1 PCI compliant, tokenization, end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
HIPAA compliant
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $99.00

5. Flagship Merchant Services: Digital Loyalty Program to Encourage Long-Term Memberships1

Flagship Merchant Services helps to differentiate your health club by offering exclusive discounts and physical gift cards that your members can give to their friends and family. Plus, its digital loyalty program also allows you to offer reloadable gift cards at any of your health club locations. You can opt out of the program at any time without a cancellation fee, adding flexibility to your health club’s business operations.

A common challenge for health clubs is the ability to get funds quickly, with payment processors often taking two or more days to release money into your account. But with Flagship’s same-day funding program, you can expedite payments for an additional monthly and per-transaction fee. This feature is useful for maintaining a steady cash flow, allowing your health club to cover regular expenses and payroll obligations​​.

Flagship offers custom and negotiable pricing through a tiered pricing plan and an interchange-plus plan. The specific rates aren’t listed on their website, but after contacting its customer support, I learned that its monthly fees start at $7.95. However, several additional fees like a monthly minimum fee, ACH fee, gateway fee, PCI compliance, and non-compliance fees can significantly increase the cost of a Flagship account.

Features and Benefits

  • iAccess business management portal. Every merchant account comes with iAccess 3.0, a comprehensive reporting tool. It provides daily, weekly, or monthly sales summaries, generates statements, manages customer reviews, and analyzes industry statistics.
  • Month-to-month contracts. Flagship offers flexibility with month-to-month contracts, ensuring you’re not tied down. There are no cancellation fees, providing peace of mind and adaptability for your health club’s changing needs​​.
  • Wireless mobile payments. Once you’ve opened a merchant account, you can receive a free MobilePay wireless swiper to take payments on the go. Simply plug it into your smartphone using its headphone jack to accept both EMV and magnetic stripe payments.
  • Security and compliance. Flagship conducts regular security scans to maintain PCI compliance and charges a non-compliance fee to incentivize adherence. If your health club also accepts payments online, you can set up AVS and CVV2 checks, as well as specific filters to mitigate fraud.
To learn more about Flagship, see our expert review.

Integrations Authorize.net
Security features PCI compliant, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
HIPAA compliant  (through Clover POS)
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

Health clubs will appreciate CreditCardProcessing.com’s (CCP.com) partnership with Vindicia, a subscription management platform. Vindicia allows easy setup of recurring payments and provides analytics to optimize your membership plans and avoid churn. Additionally, Vindicia Retain automatically corrects up to 30% of failed transactions by analyzing errors in credit card information.

CCP.com offers a Flat Rate subscription-based plan, an interchange plus plan, and a cash discount plan. Transaction fees under its subscription plan have a 0% markup and start from 0% + 30¢ (Starter) for $15.00/month. While this rate may seem low, you’ll have to operate a high-volume health club with higher-ticket memberships to really benefit from CCP.com’s Flat Rate plan. Otherwise, Leaders Merchant Services or PAYARC can offer you better rates.

With data breach insurance of up to $100,000, CCP.com covers any financial losses you may incur. Plus, it offers end-to-end encryption on all payments to reduce the risk of data breaches and fraudulent activity. CCP.com is a great option if you own a health club focused on protecting your customer’s financial data.

Features and Benefits

  • Free training. CCP.com’s e-commerce solutions and POS systems come with free training, ensuring you’re well-equipped to process payments efficiently, troubleshoot effectively, and use online tools to boost revenue.
  • High approval rating. If you own a health club and have a lower credit score, CCP.com may accept you. Unlike many other credit card processors, CCP.com won’t increase the cost of its services based on your credit score.
  • Free portable PAX A920 or Clover terminal. Committing to a year-long contract with CCP.com gives you access to a free PAX A920 terminal, an Android-based terminal with impressive battery life and business apps designed specifically for PAX.
  • Onboarding in under 24 hours. If you’re thinking of making a switch, CCP.com’s quick and streamlined onboarding process will allow you to accept memberships without disruption.
Take a look at our expert CCP.com review for more on pricing.

Integrations Authorize.net and Vindicia
Security features Level 1 PCI compliant, data breach insurance, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
HIPAA compliant (through Clover POS)
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 30¢ (Starter)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $15.00

Other Notable Health Club Payment Processors

7. POS Pros1

POS Pros is particularly beneficial for health clubs that primarily process in-person payments. It offers a free consultation with a POS Pros specialist who will recommend industry-specific equipment tailored to your health club’s needs. Additionally, free virtual system demos allow you to test the interface and features beforehand, ensuring you choose a system that seamlessly integrates into your club’s operations.

POS Pros aids in managing your health club memberships using Rhinofit, a client management software designed specifically for fitness centers. It allows your members to use its mobile app to access your gym 24/7 using a barcode, track their workouts, monitor progression, and check into classes. However, having read some customer reviews, the app’s support response times are quite slow, suggesting that solving problems can be hard.

8. Square Payments1

Square Payments is an excellent choice for up-and-coming health clubs that want to increase memberships. Its Square Fitness solution allows you to set up recurring classes, assign instructors, and automatically create client profiles. Moreover, the ability to take payments at the time of booking reduces financial losses from no-shows while the inclusion of unlimited staff calendars enables efficient scheduling.

Square offers various plans, including a surcharge program that allows you to offset the cost of payment processing by passing the fee to your card-paying customers. While its flat fee rates of 2.6% + 10¢ for online payments and 3.5% + 15¢ for recurring/card-on-file payments tell you exactly how much you’ll pay per transaction, these rates can significantly lower your profits if you offer gym memberships or sell products online.

9. Paysafe1

Paysafe’s MobilePay app is ideal for low-budget health clubs that require a POS system. By transforming your smartphone into a POS terminal, Paysafe offers a cost-effective solution that eliminates the need for expensive hardware. The app’s capability to manually key in card information, send digital invoices, view sales history, and prepare receipts makes it a versatile tool that can help your health club run smoothly without the need for expensive POS equipment.

Better yet, you can open a Paysafe merchant account for as little as $16.00/month. It offers a tiered pricing plan based on the card type (debit card, credit card, specialty/rewards credit cards, and foreign credit cards) and a cash discount plan. Tiered plans often lack transparency when it comes to credit card categories, so I’d recommend Paysafe if your members mainly pay via debit card.

The Best Health Club Payment Processing Will Keep Your Bottom Line Fit

Not all health clubs will have the same needs, meaning certain credit card processors will stand out due to their specialized features. However, a great payment processor for health clubs should offer competitive rates, easy-to-use POS systems, e-commerce integrations, reporting and analytics software, and advanced security features.

If you’re seeking flexibility in contract length with industry-low rates and negotiable pricing, I recommend Leaders Merchant Services1. It also provides 3 free mPOS apps that enable efficient gym management from anywhere, making it an excellent choice for health clubs that can’t afford advanced POS systems.

If you’re a health club that sells merchandise or has a snack/juice bar, consider ProMerchant1. You may be eligible for its zero-cost processing plan exclusive to retail and restaurant businesses. Plus, the choice between 50 POS systems ensures tailored equipment for your needs.

Or, if your focus is security and compliance, choose PAYARC instead1. It stands out for its HIPAA compliance through its Rectangle Health integration. It also offers a proprietary gateway that seamlessly integrates with e-commerce solutions like WooCommerce and Magento, letting you gain access to dozens of health club software solutions.

To help you make an informed decision, I created a summary table for comparison:
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Industry-low rates, flexible contracts, and negotiable pricing New or recently established health clubs looking for budget-friendly payment solutions $9.00 ~0.15% + $0
ProMerchant A zero-cost processing plan that allows you to pass your retail or restaurant transaction fees to credit card-paying customers Health clubs with an integrated snack bar or juice bar $7.95 3% + 10¢ (credit)
PAYARC HIPAA compliance through its Rectangle Health integration Small health clubs with a spa or treatment center that need to protect its client’s medical information $69.00 0% + 15¢ (in-person & online)
Stax Seamless Integration with several top e-commerce platforms Large US-based health clubs that primarily sell memberships and classes online $99.00 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Flagship Merchant Services Digital loyalty program and reloadable gift cards that members can gift to family and friends SME health clubs with a limited number of franchises or locations $7.95 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
CreditCardProcessing.com Manage your members and rectify failed transactions with Vindicia and Vindicia Retain High-volume health clubs managing a large number of monthly subscriptions $15.00 0% + 30¢ (Starter)

FAQ

What is the best gym POS system?

For startup and newly established gyms, I recommend Leaders Merchant Services for its industry-low rates. It also offers three free mobile POS (mPOS) apps to help you manage equipment costs and an integration with Instant Accept for automated accounting and subscription billing. If your health club has a snack bar, ProMerchant is an ideal option as you may save money with its zero-cost processing plan for restaurants.

Can I manage gym memberships with a merchant account?

Yes, you can manage recurring payments and memberships with a merchant account. For large health clubs with a broad member base, I recommend CreditCardProcessing.com. Through its Vindicia partnership, you’ll be able to manage membership, receive insights into how to expand and retain your client base, and recover failed credit card transactions.

Why do fitness centers need a payment processor?

Fitness centers need a payment processor to offer their clients multiple payment options, including ACH transfers, credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets. Plus, payment processors like PAYARC allow you to accept online payments and process virtual terminal transactions, meaning you can also receive payments over the phone, by SMS, and email.

How do I find the best payment processor for my fitness center?

To find the best payment processor for your fitness center, you should consider several factors, including e-commerce integrations, advanced security, cost, legal and regulatory compliance, and customer support. If you’re a smaller fitness center, I suggest you check out Leaders Merchant Services due to its industry-low rates, negotiable plans, dedicated fraud team, and cost-saving features like 3 free mPOS apps.

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