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10 Best Payment Gateways: Easy Setup & Low Fees in 2023

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist November 20, 2023
November 20, 2023
Using a popular payment gateway like Apple Pay and Authorize.Net as your primary processor sounds sensible but can become problematic in the long run. That’s because they limit your payment methods, can often be costly, and don’t offer much in terms of customer or tech support.

The best solution is to access these payment gateways through a fully featured credit card processor. But finding a processor that offers the best payment gateway can add to the complexity.

Over the course of my month-long research, I found the best options to suit every type of business. Whether you’re dealing with e-commerce and subscriptions or are working in a high-risk industry, I’ve got a payment processor for you. My top recommendations also support international processing and integrate seamlessly with all major e-commerce platforms.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS), in particular, made my inner finance critic happy with its suite of payment processing features and easy onboarding. It’s a certified reseller of Authorize.net, an exceptional payment gateway known for its powerful e-commerce software. Combining these two gives you the best of both worlds – all at an affordable price.

Unless you’re a micro business that’s exclusively online, my research shows you can get the best deal on payment processing by using a payment gateway through LMS or any other of my top recommendations.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Payment Gateways in 2023

  1. Leaders Merchant Services – Features a trusted payment gateway, low fees, and top-notch support.
  2. PAYARC – Offers the best payment gateway for processing international transactions.
  3. ProMerchant – Provides the best zero-cost processing bundle program for retail and restaurants.

See 7 More Great Options | Comparison Table

What We Look For in the Best Payment Gateway

While researching various payment gateways, I specifically focused on these features and benefits to determine the best options for your business:
  • Ease of use. I sifted through thousands of customer reviews to ensure my top recommendations provide a seamless payment experience. My suggestions can easily integrate with all major e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and WordPress. My picks also offer APIs for a customizable payment setup.
  • Security. Merchants that accept card-not-present transactions can open themselves up to fraud. I looked for payment processors that provide advanced tools for fraud detection and protection, as well as prevention and risk management.
  • Pricing. I found the best deal for every type of business and processing volume. My list has the best prices for small businesses that process low volume. High-volume businesses can save significantly with my subscription-based recommendations. I also tracked down the lowest fees for high-risk merchants and non-profit organizations.
  • Analytics and reporting. Most of my recommendations have built-in or third-party business management software that allows you to monitor the performance of your business, manage transactions, and access reports that help you make better business decisions.
  • Support for international transactions. All the payment processors on my list provide payment gateways that support international transactions in multiple currencies for US-based businesses.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is a certified reseller of Authorize.net, one of the most trusted payment gateways on the market with web, retail, mobile, and mail order/telephone order (MOTO) payment solutions. Although Authorize.net has stellar e-commerce features, its pricing plans don’t offer much value and it has terrible support. But you can get the best of all words when you pair it with LMS.

Authorize.net’s flexible API caters to different customization requirements. If you want greater control over the transaction journey, including custom payment forms and receipts, I’d suggest implementing the Advanced Integration Method. For basic customizations and minimal development resources, you can go with the Simple Integration Method or Certified Shopping Carts.

Getting Authorize.net through LMS will cost you less because you’ll avoid the 10¢ per-transaction and batch processing fee that Authorize.net typically charges. LMS’s low subscription fee at $9.00/month includes valuable e-commerce features and responsive support. Its flexible contracts and custom pricing allow you to pay only for what you need, which makes it ideal for low to mid-volume businesses.

Features and Benefits

  • International payments. As long as you’re a US-based business, you can accept payments from anywhere worldwide for a small additional fee.
  • Subscription tools. For an additional fee, LMS offers excellent recurring billing tools to ensure your customers never miss a payment.
  • Take payments on the go. Authorize.net’s free mobile app can process credit card payments anywhere. This is a great option if you sell at remote events like fairs. You can connect a card reader to your device or key in transactions directly on your mobile phone.
  • Payment links. You can use these payment links everywhere – on your website, social media accounts, and in direct messages with customers. You can customize them with your logo, special offers, ads, and more. They’re great for fostering repeat business, too.
Read our Leaders Merchant Services review for our expert opinion.

Payment Gateway Authorize.net
Payout Time 72 hours
Accepted Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, ACH, digital wallets, bank transfers
Transaction Fees on Cheapest Plan ~2% + 0¢
Monthly Fee on Cheapest Plan $9.00

PAYARC’s selection of payment gateways include its proprietary gateway, the widely recognized Authorize.net available at a discounted rate of $12/month, and a range of international gateways.

While it may not be as user-friendly and affordable as other options like LMS, PAYARC’s robust support for international payments makes it the best choice if you cater to customers worldwide. Third-party Integrations include RS2 and TSYS, which enable you to expand your business globally and tap into new markets while ensuring a smooth payment experience.

With PAYARC’s security and risk monitoring, you can block transactions by customer profile, country, and IP address. Advanced protocols like end-to-end encryption and real-time verification ensure secure transactions. PAYARC’s monitoring tools minimize disputes and chargebacks and include a customizable chargeback mitigation plan.

Features and Benefits

  • Third-party payment and business integrations. You can easily add useful business apps such as Verifi for dispute management, Ethoca for fraud and chargeback prevention, and Magento and WooCommerce for e-commerce.
  • Advanced dashboard. From tracking transactions to managing refunds and chargebacks, PAYARC’s advanced dashboard offers a centralized hub where you can efficiently monitor and manage your business activity.
  • PAYARC mobile app. With this app, you can create and personalize invoices, automate tax collection, send invoice reminders, correct prices to accommodate promotions and accept payments, all from the convenience of your mobile device.
  • Discounted rates for charities. PAYARC offers discounted charity rates, including wholesale payment processing, to registered 501c3 non-profits. In combination with its international processing capabilities, charities can maximize their fund-collection potential while saving on payment processing.
Read our detailed PAYARC review to learn more.

Payment Gateway PAYARC payment gateway, Authorize.net, NMI, USAePay, and Planet Payment
Payout Time 24–48 hours as standard, same-day payout available for $20/month
Accepted Payment Methods Credit cards and debit cards, selected digital wallets, ACH
Transaction Fees on Cheapest Plan 3% + 10¢ (credit)
Monthly Fee on Cheapest Plan N/A

If you run a restaurant or retail business, you can save big with ProMerchant’s zero-cost processing program. Its minimalist approach is perfect for cost-conscious businesses seeking affordable payment processing solutions. That said, you might find it limiting if you don’t qualify for its zero-cost program or are looking for additional processing features.

If you sign up with ProMerchant you’ll have access to Authorize.net and its robust set of features while having a dedicated account manager by your side. If your business sells over the phone or by mail (MOTO), you can also use its Payments Hub Virtual Terminal to manually key in transactions. There are no extra monthly fees, which is ideal if you’re on a budget.

If you’re in a high-risk industry or simply lack a credit history and haven’t had any luck securing a processor, consider contacting ProMerchant. Its high-risk accounts include all the features available to low-risk merchants, plus additional fraud prevention and protection tools that can help you minimize chargebacks. Authorize.net also comes with advanced fraud protection features for high-risk merchants.

Features and Benefits

  • Quick approvals. ProMerchant typically approves applications within 2-24 hours, making it an excellent choice if you want to accept payments ASAP.
  • Next-day payouts. ProMerchant will release every payment settled by 8:30 p.m. EST the next day. Most competitors charge extra for this feature, but it’s free at ProMerchant.
  • Free POS device. You can get a free Verifone, Payanywhere, PAX, or Ingenico POS terminal without rental or maintenance fees. You can also use the Payanywhere app mobile terminal to accept payments on the go.
  • No extra fees. You can save hundreds of dollars annually as ProMerchant doesn’t charge for a lot of things that might cost extra elsewhere. You won’t have to pay for account set up or PCI compliance. You also won’t have to pay any cancellation fees if you decide to cancel the service.
For more features, read our expert ProMerchant review.

Payment Gateway Authorize.net
Payout Time Next day
Accepted Payment Methods Digital wallets, credit and debit cards, ACH, bank transfers
Transaction Fees on Cheapest Plan 3% + 10¢ (credit)
Monthly Fee on Cheapest Plan $7.95

If you’re a new business without a credit history or have bad credit, Flagship Merchant Services will likely accept your application. You’ll get limited access to Authorize.net’s payment gateway for only $7.95/month. If you want in-house support and Authorize.net’s powerful software, you’ll have to pay an additional $7.95/month. Flagship’s pricing model means you won’t pay for things you don’t need, but fees can add up if you want extra features.

Flagship provides an API that you can use to add a shopping cart to your site without jeopardizing your gateway’s security. It’s secure thanks to the Address Verification Service (AVS), Card Verification Value (CVV), PCI DSS compliance, and specific restrictions you can set to prevent fraudulent activity in your online shop.

Flagship also has powerful business management software. iAccess 3.0 allows you to access transaction history, invoicing tools, recurring billing options, detailed reports, and more features that can help streamline your payment processes. It can also generate insights and analytics to evaluate how your business compares to the competition.

Features and Benefits

  • Dedicated point of contact. You’ll have a personal account manager assigned who will guide you through the payment process, answer your questions, and provide ongoing support when needed.
  • Free premium quality POS. Flagship provides a Clover Mini or Verifone terminal for free. Clover Mini, which retails for around $600–$800, is a highly rated POS device that’s typically not offered for free.
  • Price matching. If Flagship fails to match the quote you got from a competing payment processor, you’ll receive a $200 gift card through its Meet or Beat Guarantee.
  • Flexible contracts. On top of its affordable rates, Flagship offers monthly plans, making it ideal if your business still doesn’t have a stable cash flow.
Read our detailed Flagship review for more benefits.

Payment Gateway Authorize.net
Payout Time 48 hours as standard, same-day payout available as an add-on
Accepted Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, bank transfers, digital wallets, ACH
Transaction Fees on Cheapest Plan 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Monthly Fee on Cheapest Plan $7.95

5. CreditCardProcessing.com: Best Payment Gateway for Growing Businesses

If you opt for CreditCardProcessing.com’s Interchange Plus pricing plan, you’ll get limited access to Authorize.net’s payment gateway for $7.95/month. Like Flagship, this pricing model means each feature costs an additional fee, including customer support.

CreditCardProcessing.com also offers flat-rate pricing with lower-than-usual per-transaction fees starting at 0% + 30¢ (Starter). This might not be the best deal for businesses with very high processing volumes. Still, it’s an excellent option if your business is starting to gain momentum but your sales numbers aren’t as stable, or if your sales fluctuate with the seasons (e.g., you operate in a tourist location).

Its versatile pricing plans allow you to access a reputable payment gateway for less through interchange-plus pricing. You can upgrade to a flat pricing model as your processing volume grows, whether steadily or seasonally.

Features and Benefits

  • Free equipment. CreditCardProcessing.com offers a free PAX A920 POS terminal if you commit to using its services for at least one year. You can also get a free Clover terminal if you select the Premier Flat Rate plan or above.
  • High-converting e-commerce buttons. With CreditCardProcessing.com’s API, you can integrate a flexible HTML form into your payment process. This allows you to place “Donate” or “Buy Now” buttons throughout your site to allow customers to check out in just a few clicks.
  • Subscription management. CreditCardProcessing.com integrates with the leading subscription management platform Vindicia. Vindicia lets you set up recurring payments and access analytics to make more informed business decisions. You’ll also gain access to Vindicia Retain, a payment recovery solution that automatically tries to fix failed transactions.
  • Complimentary training. You’ll get free training on POS terminals and e-commerce solutions to ensure you get the most out of its platform. Once you become a customer, the support team will contact you and help you get familiarized with the platform.
To learn more, see our in-depth CreditCardProcessing.com review.

Payment Gateway Authorize.net
Payout Time 72 hours
Accepted Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, ACH and bank transfers, and digital wallets
Transaction Fees on Cheapest Plan 0.30% + 0.10¢
Monthly Fee on Cheapest Plan $15.00

6. Stax: Best Payment Gateway for High-Volume Businesses

A fixed monthly fee and the industry’s lowest transaction fees makes Stax ideal for high-volume businesses and those processing multiple microtransactions. Starting at $99.00, its subscription fees can be high, so you’ll need at least $8,000+/month in credit card payments for this payment model to work in your favor. You can save up to 40% with Stax if you process even more.

Stax offers Authorize.net’s payment gateway for only $10/month – a bargain compared to Authorize.net’s own $25/month fee. Stax also provides advanced API and developer-friendly tools to customize the checkout flow, add branded elements, and implement advanced fraud prevention measures. It integrates seamlessly with various e-commerce platforms, shopping carts, and other business apps.

Stax also gives you access to real-time transaction data and powerful analytics. You can monitor sales, view detailed reports, and manage transactions efficiently from one centralized platform.

Features and Benefits

  • Stax mobile app. This app allows you to manage every aspect of your business on the go at no additional charge. You can also turn any handheld device into a POS system. If you’re an online business but hold in-person events occasionally, this feature will save you from investing in dedicated POS equipment.
  • Invoicing tools. Stax makes it easy to set up recurring payments. It also provides branded payment links, allowing customers to make quick payments. With Text2Pay, your customers can conveniently respond to texts to initiate payments. Best of all, these tools are included in your monthly fee.
  • Free POS device. Unlike competitors with one model on offer, Stax allows you to choose between a SwipeSimple, Pax, or Dejavoo terminal. This way, you can select the device with the capabilities and features your business needs the most.
  • One-click checkout. Your customers can complete their purchases in just a click, reducing friction and increasing spending.
Read our expert Stax review for more features.

Payment Gateway Authorize.net
Payout Time 72 hours as standard, same-day payout for an extra fee
Accepted Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, digital wallets, bank transfers, ACH
Transaction Fees on Cheapest Plan 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly Fee on Cheapest Plan $99.00

Other Notable Payment Gateways

7. Chase Payment Solutions℠

Small e-commerce businesses facing cash flow challenges will find Chase Payment Solutions ideal. You’ll get access to Authorize.net and a one-stop integration with popular platform BigCommerce. If you sign up for a Chase Business Checking account, you can enjoy same-day deposits for in-person, mobile, and e-commerce sales.

However, it has limitations when it comes to POS offerings and doesn’t widely support third-party devices. Unlike most processors, Chase doesn’t offer free equipment and leans toward higher transaction fees. Despite these limitations, its various instant funding options make it a reliable choice if your business faces unpredictable sales volumes.

8. POS Pros

POS Pros is a great option if you’re primarily a brick-and-mortar business and need a reliable payment gateway. You’ll get access to dozens of POS brands, including tailored solutions for industries like retail, hospitality, restaurants, and healthcare. A specialist will be on hand to offer free virtual demos so you can choose the best POS solution for your needs. Additionally, POS Pros gives you access to the trusted Authorize.Net at a discounted price.

While it excels for POS support, POS Pros offers minimal e-commerce features. Competitive card-present transaction fees and a wide range of POS devices make POS Pros great for businesses selling in person. However, if you prioritize e-commerce, I recommend checking out Leaders Merchant Services’ high-converting features.

9. Square

Square is popular with small online and in-store businesses because it’s easy to use. You can quickly start taking payments with Square’s proprietary payment gateway solution and POS devices. It even offers a free online store, making it affordable to set up shop online. Whether your business is offline, online, or both, Square has something to offer.

However, Square doesn’t cater to high-risk merchants. Because of the lack of proper vetting, Square is known for terminating accounts or freezing funds without prior notice if it deems a merchant high risk. Also, you might find its customer support hard to reach, posing potential troubleshooting challenges.

10. Helcim

Helcim gives you access to its payment gateway solutions at no extra cost, including a virtual terminal, online checkout, hosted payment pages, and the Helcim Pay.js integration. Helcim offers a fully hosted e-commerce system and an intuitive online store builder, making it ideal for new and low-volume e-commerce businesses. It’s also a good option for restaurants thanks to its proprietary food ordering system.

However, Helcim doesn’t serve high-risk merchants, which can be a roadblock for certain business types. Also, it doesn’t integrate with third-party POS devices, which can be limiting, especially if you’ve already invested in other equipment. Despite these constraints, Helcim simplifies e-commerce complexities for startups.

Select the Best Payment Gateway for Your Business

Bundling your payment gateway with a reliable payment processor is a winning combination as you’ll get more benefits, including better features, lower fees, and additional support.

If you’re a low- to mid-volume business, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) and Authorize.net make the best bundle. LMS balances affordable pricing, exceptional customer support, and valuable e-commerce features like payment links and subscription tools.

With a wide range of international payment gateways and dedicated support for global transactions, PAYARC offers the best international processing solutions and is the ideal choice for expanding your business worldwide.

If you run a retail or restaurant business, ProMerchant’s zero-cost processing program can reduce your processing expenses. It offers Authorize.net, a free virtual terminal, and over 50 POS devices, making it a reliable processor for processing both online and in-person payments.

Take a look at my bite-sized table for a quick comparison of my top recommendations that offer payment gateway solutions:

Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Affordable pricing and excellent support Low- to mid-volume businesses $9.00 ~2% + 0¢
PAYARC International payment gateway integrations Online businesses selling to an international client base N/A 2.49% + 30¢ (in-person)
ProMerchant Zero-cost processing program for retail and restaurants Businesses on a tight budget and merchants considered high risk $7.95 3% + 10¢ (credit)
Flagship Merchant Services The lowest price for limited access to Authorize.net New businesses without credit history or businesses with bad credit $7.95 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
CreditCardProcessing.com Versatile pricing structure to accommodate different business models Businesses that anticipate growth or deal with fluctuating sales volume throughout the year $15.00 0.30% + 0.10¢
Stax Fair subscription-based pricing model with an advanced payment gateway API Established, high-volume businesses processing $8,000+/month $99.00 0% + 10¢ (in-person)


Which is the best payment gateway for international transactions?

PAYARC integrates with various international gateways that offer advanced support for processing transactions globally. Its risk monitoring, chargeback mitigation, and privacy features, such as end-to-end encryption and fraud detection, guarantee secure transactions.

Which is the cheapest payment gateway?

Flagship Merchant Services provides the cheapest payment gateway. By partnering with Flagship, you can get limited access to the popular Authorize.net gateway for only $7.95/month rather than purchasing it directly from Authorize.net for $25/month. In combination with its affordable monthly fee, Flagship is an excellent choice for businesses seeking a budget-friendly payment gateway.

What is the best payment gateway?

Powered by the trusted Authorize.net payment gateway, Leaders Merchant Services offers a winning combination of reliability, robust features, and affordability. It’s an ideal option for low to mid-volume businesses that want to provide high-value services at competitive prices.

What are common payment gateway costs?

Common payment gateway costs include setup fees, monthly gateway fees, transaction fees, and additional fees for specific features or services. Setup fees can range from zero to a few hundred dollars. Monthly gateway fees are around $10 to $30/month. Transaction fees are typically a percentage of the transaction amount, ranging from 1% to 3% or more.

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