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Best Payment Gateways for Businesses for September 2023

best payment gateways

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Updated August 31, 2023

You need a method to get paid when you run a small business. Payment gateways are financial products enabling businesses to collect payment via debit or credit card. In the modern era, where many customers shop online and don’t carry cash in their wallets, finding an easy-to-use payment gateway is critical to your ability to sell to businesses and consumers alike.

To choose the best payment gateway for your business needs, it’s important to consider cost, features, and supported payment methods. Keep reading to learn about the best payment gateways for businesses seeking card-based payments.

Best payment gateways compared

Best Payment GatewaysBest forPayment processing feesMonthly or annual fees
U.S. Bank Merchant Services
Robust payment features
Swipe/tap/dip: 2.6% + $0.10

Key-in: 3.5% + $0.15

Online: 2.9% + $0.30
$0 to $99 per month for the first terminal, $29 per month for additional terminals
Simple online payments
Starts at $0.49 plus 3.49% for most online payments
None for online-only payments
Mobile payments
2.6% plus $0.10 for card present

2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments

3.5% plus $0.15 for keyed transactions

3.3% plus $0.30 for invoices
Starts at $0 per month
Online payments
2.9% + $0.30
Starts at $0 per month
Single-location businesses
Varies based on business type
$14.95 to over $100 per month
Digital wallet integrations
2.59% + $0.49
Omnichannel payment solutions
$0.13 plus varying interchange
Payment Depot
Monthly fee only
Interchange only
$79 per month for up to $250,000 in annual payments

Our recommendations for best payment gateways

Best for robust payment features: U.S. Bank Merchant Services

US Bank
Monthly fee : $0 to $99 per month for the first terminal, $29 per month for additional terminals.
Swipe/tap/dip: 2.6% + $0.10
Key-in: 3.5% + $0.15
Online: 2.9% + $0.30

If you’re looking for a payment gateway that can handle any combination of online and offline sales, you may be interested in the merchant services offered by U.S. Bank. This bank is one of the largest in the United States, and offers a strong combination of banking and merchant services for businesses of all sizes.

For mobile payments, there’s no recurring software fee. Cafes, restaurants, retail, and other brick-and-mortar businesses can access packages ranging from $29 to $99 per month, plus $29 per month for additional payment terminals. Each plan has varying limits and features, so the best option depends on the size and type of business.

For card-present payments where the card is tapped, dipped, or swiped, the business pays $0.10 per transaction plus 2.6%. For card-not-present keyed-in transactions, the cost is $0.15 plus 3.5%. Online payments cost $0.30 per transaction plus 2.9%. If you mix and match online and offline sales, this robust offering is reasonably priced and works very well.

As a bonus for new businesses to U.S. Bank Merchant Services, if you open a new Platinum Business Money Market account and meet other account requirements, you’ll get 2.50% back on transaction fees through 2024.

Best for simple online payments: Paypal

Monthly fee : None for online-only payments.
Swipe/tap/dip: 2.6% + $0.10
Key-in: 3.5% + $0.15
Online: 2.9% + $0.30

PayPal is a veteran in the online payments industry, making it easy for businesses to register and accept payments online quickly. PayPal also offers mobile and in-person payment solutions, among other financial services.

Online card payments typically cost $0.49 plus 3.49%. When paying through a QR code, costs drop to 1.90% for transacts above $10 or 2.40% for transactions of $10 or less, plus the $0.49 fee. Other qualifying “standard” card payments cost $0.49 plus 2.99%.

A major benefit of PayPal is that most businesses have no monthly recurring fee. In-person payments cost 2.70% for card-present or 3.50% plus $0.15 for keyed transactions. If you want to avoid recurring fees due to low card-processing volumes, or any other reason, PayPal may be a good fit.

Best for mobile payments: Square

Square is a pioneer in mobile payments and noteworthy for not charging recurring monthly fees for most card processing services. If you buy a Square register or terminal, you’ll have to buy the hardware or pay a monthly fee until the device is paid off. But for payments, you only pay a per-transaction fee.

Card-present transactions, whether in-store or at a mobile location, cost 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction. Online payments cost 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Keyed-in transactions cost 3.5% plus $0.15. When you send an invoice to a customer through Square, related payments come with a 3.3% + $0.30 fee.

In addition to its mobile and in-person payment products, Square offers payroll, banking, inventory, restaurant management, retail inventory, and other software and solutions for nearly any industry.

Best for online payments: Stripe

Stripe is a good choice for businesses with their own apps or existing websites wanting to integrate payment processing. Stripe features developer-friendly payment solutions that plug into many different marketplaces and online payment solutions using application program interfaces (APIs). If you use a sales platform optimized for Stripe, linking your app or website is as simple as copying and pasting a code from Stripe into your app.

The standard Stripe online payment processing service costs 2.9% plus $0.30 per payment with no recurring fees. High-volume sellers may qualify for discounts through customized pricing plans.

Best for single-location businesses: Clover

Clover is a major payment processing service offered directly to businesses and through several banking partners. Citi, PNC, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo are among more than 3,000 financial institutions offering Clover.

This payment processor offers terminals that are great for small businesses with a single location, including retailers and restaurants. Clover payment systems are a major up-front investment. While some businesses can start without upfront costs, systems can cost as much as $2,000 to $4,000 for many others. Monthly fees range from $14.95 to $114.85.

Payment charges vary by industry. Most pay 2.3% to 2.6% plus $0.10 for card-present and 3.5% plus $0.10 for card-not-present purchases. Depending on the features you need, those costs may be worthwhile.

As of this writing, some businesses may qualify for up to $1,400 off from startup costs, a major savings on card processing hardware.

Best for digital wallet integrations: Braintree

Owned by PayPal, Braintree is an integrated payment processor that works with credit cards, digital wallets, PayPal, and Venmo. It supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, and all major credit cards. It’s designed for website and mobile app payments.

Mobile wallet and card payments cost 2.59% plus $0.49 per transaction for standard payments. Payments processed through Venmo cost 3.49% + $0.49 per transaction. It also works with ACH (bank account) payments, with a 0.75% fee up to $5 per transaction. There is no recurring monthly fee.

Best for omnichannel payment solutions: Ayden

Adyen is an international payment processor supporting payments across many payment channels. Examples include ordering in-app and picking up in person, self scan and pay, buying in store, and shipping to home, QR code payments, and self-service kiosks.

For U.S. businesses, Ayden charges a $0.13 processing fee plus a varying interchange fee depending on the customer’s payment method. Interchange is generally around 2% to 4%, but can be more or less depending on the payment method.

As a global processor, it supports nearly any card or payment platform, including Affirm, Alipay, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Cash App Pay, Diners Club, Google Pay, JCB, Klarna, Samsung Pay, UnionPay, and WeChat Pay.

Best for monthly fee only: Payment Depot

If you don’t want to pay a percentage of every transaction, Payment Depot may be your best option. Payment Depot charges a flat monthly fee starting at $79 for unlimited payments up to $250,000 annually. According to Payment Depot, its fee structure saves businesses an average of $400 monthly in payment processing fees. 

However, you’ll still have to pay interchange rates set by Visa and Mastercard. Those cost around 2% + $0.10 or $0.22 per transaction.

Payment Depot works with Clover terminals and other brands. Depending on your processing volumes, Payment Depot could be a good choice.

Our methodology

To choose the best payment gateways for businesses, we reviewed gateway providers focusing on pricing and fees, supported hardware and software, and other payment processing features.

As processing costs can take a large chunk of business profits, particularly businesses on a thin margin, pricing was a main focus area while reviewing. We also looked for processes that work with diverse industries and are easy to set up and work with. The largest and most popular processors generally took precedence over small, niche payment gateways.

How to choose the best payment gateway

​​Picking the right payment gateway is critical for any business. Here are steps you might consider when choosing the best for your needs:

  • Assess business needs: The first step in picking a payment gateway is understanding your business requirements. Consider the types of transactions you expect (like one-time purchases, recurring subscriptions, etc.), your projected volume of transactions, the geographic locations of your customers, and the payment methods they prefer.
  • Compare pricing: Payment gateways typically charge per-transaction fees and may also charge setup, monthly, or incidental fees. Compare the pricing structures of different gateways to see which fit your budget and transaction patterns.
  • Evaluate security: The payment gateway will handle sensitive customer information, so it's crucial that it follows best practices for data security. Look for a gateway that is payment card industry (PCI) compliant and offers fraud protection measures. If your business deals with customers in the European Union, ensure that the payment gateway is also General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant.
  • Check integrations and compatibility: Ensure that the payment gateway easily integrates with your existing platform or website. Many payment gateways offer plugins or APIs for popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, but it's important to confirm this. Consider how well the payment gateway integrates with your other systems, such as your accounting software.

TIME Stamp: Choose the right combination

Payment gateways handle a critical task for your business, so it’s important to pick one that works well, is reasonably priced, keeps your data and customer data secure, and is available when you need customer support. When you take the time to pick the right payment gateway, or combination of gateway services, for your unique business needs, you can confidently move forward knowing each card payment will go through without any trouble. That’s a win for you and your customers.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do payment gateways work?

Payment gateways facilitate online transactions by securely transmitting information between a website or mobile application and the bank or payment processor. They encrypt sensitive data, like credit card numbers, to ensure that information passes securely between the customer, the merchant, and the bank.

Can payment gateways accept multiple currencies?

Accepting multiple currencies with a payment gateway allows businesses to offer a more localized shopping experience, enhancing customer satisfaction by letting them pay in their preferred currency. Depending on your business, selecting a payment gateway that supports multi-currency transactions is crucial, enabling your business to reach a global audience and increase sales.

Are there any transaction limits with payment gateways?

Some payment gateways may impose transaction limits based on such factors as your business type, transaction volume, or perceived risk level, potentially limiting the amount a single customer can spend in a specific timeframe. However, these limits can often be increased or lifted entirely once the business establishes a history of reliable, secure transactions and builds trust with the payment gateway provider.

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