Best Retail Merchant Account Providers

What to Know Before Getting Started

Finding The Good Guys Can Be Tricky

Retail is the largest and most competitive sector of the merchant services industry. There are hundreds of payment solutions for every type of retail location, from traditional countertop terminals to tablet-based POS to mobile phone swipers. And since nearly every merchant account provider offers some kind of general credit card processing solution for retail, it can be difficult to tell good providers from bad.

We’ve Done The Research To Find The Best Ones

That’s why we’ve prepared this list of the best merchant accounts for retail. This list includes providers that offer complete payment processing solutions for pop-up stores, enterprise level corporations, and everything in between. More importantly, though, they all have well-deserved reputations for providing fair pricing, helpful customer support, and reliable service. In order to ensure that you find the best fit for you, click through the list and see what each provider has to offer before contacting a sales rep.

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Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers


Best Overall Option

Active since early 2014, Fattmerchant is a merchant account provider leading the industry’s move toward flat-rate, subscription-style pricing. The company’s products and services include EMV-compatible countertop terminals, a virtual terminal, an online payment gateway, an online shopping cart, mobile phone processing, QuickBooks integration, online invoicing, and recurring billing. Fattmerchant is capable of serving all standard-risk retail business types and offers free equipment for all accounts.

Fattmerchant Pricing

Fattmerchant offers multiple pricing plans with different rates, but all of its plans charge a fixed monthly fee and a fixed per-transaction dollar amount above interchange. In other words, none of Fattmerchant’s plans charge a percentage-based fee on each transaction, meaning that merchants will not pay more to process a large transaction than they will a small transaction. Fattmerchant currently has an “A” rating on CPO and an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.

For more information, visit the Fattmerchant website, or call (866) 397-9826.

Host Merchant Services

Retail & E-Commerce Combined

Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is well-suited for most general retailers. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, and merchant cash advance. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses but is able to serve retail businesses just as well.

Host Merchant Services Pricing

Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. The company offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to all of its merchants, meaning that users will enjoy the most transparent pricing model and can cancel service without penalty. The BBB gives Host an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives the company an “A+.”

For more information, visit the Host Merchant Services website or call (888) 727-4538.


Accepts All Business Types

Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving retail businesses of nearly any type. This includes “high-risk” retail industries such as CBD and Kratom businesses. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, mobile phone swipers, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, EMV-compatible terminals, and merchant cash advances. PaymentCloud provides a dedicated account rep to all new merchants for the life of the account.

Custom Pricing Plans

The company has not received any negative complaints on consumer forums, and it customizes its pricing according to each merchant’s business type and processing history. The BBB does not maintain a profile for PaymentCloud at this time, but CPO gives the company an “A.”

For more information, visit the PaymentCloud website or call (888) 506-7859.

Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers

Secondary Merchant Account Options

The providers below may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Please exercise greater due diligence.

Payline Data

Operating from its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data is the best payment processing option for retailers that we have reviewed. The company can supply point-of-sale solutions for traditional brick-and-mortar locations, small mobile merchants, e-commerce stores, MOTO businesses, and most other retailers including some high risk merchant accounts. Its products and services include merchant cash advance, an online payment gateway with QuickBooks integration, wireless terminals, EMV and NFC acceptance, and a USB swiper for desktop computers.

Payline Data earns the top spot on this list because it has received widespread praise from merchants for its interchange-plus pricing structure with no cancellation fee and its friendly, helpful customer support team. It is a solid all-around processor that will be a good fit for just about any retail business. Our review of Payline Data gives the company an “A+” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives Payline an “A.”

Chase Paymentech

Chase Paymentech is the payment processing division of JPMorgan Chase and is one of the largest direct processors in the world. The company can provide processing solutions for retailers of any size, including future-proof countertop terminals, online payment acceptance, mobile swipers, a virtual terminal, check acceptance, and recurring billing. Chase Paymentech also consistently distinguishes itself from its other major bank competitors by maintaining a remarkably low complaint rate relative to its size. Chase Paymentech currently has an “A” rating on and an “A+” with the BBB.

Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.

My Qualifications

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry to start my own a small business. From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to write about it, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this insider knowledge to myself, so decided to build this website to help you research which providers to use and how to save money on rates and fees. I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers here. Simply scroll to the top of the page to find the search bar. You can also message me if you need any guidance.

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13 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. Lynda says:

    I was told the only way to really get the best rate is to go to a direct processor, like
    First Data, Vantiv, Chase Paymentech, Heartland, WorldPay, Elavon, Global Payments and TSYS.
    Everyone else has to add on something for themselves, and then go to them.
    Is this true?
    Are these the only direct processing companies? How do I know who is one and who isn’t?
    Is there a list somewhere?

    1. Hi Lynda,

      Except in cases where a business is processing in the millions per year, it is rarely true that going with a direct processor is cheaper. This is because they do not want to alienate their resellers by undercutting their pricing. Along with that, the large direct processors are notorious for having poor customer service.

      A quality that is important, however, is to ensure that the company that is setting up your account is also the company that will provide customer support after it is activated. The companies listed above all provide direct support for their customers, even if a larger direct processor is handling the backend processing of the payments.

  2. clint says:

    Hello, do you know of a company like square, that only has that flat fee pricing, but also lets you set up a merchant account? I know interchange pricing is preferred but I do maybe only $800/mo (or less) so the interchange pricing won’t really benefit me all that much. I really like the simplicity of square, but dislike how they can hold your funds at any time. Not sure there is something out there that offers one flat rate but also uses a merchant account

    1. Hi Clint,

      Square and similar services are called “aggregators” in the industry because they combine the technology and merchant account into one package. Typically they also offer a flat-rate pricing structure as well. Most aggregators are going to have strict fraud prevention policies because they do not take their new customers through the same underwriting process that you would find with a traditional merchant account. Due to this, you will usually be subject to holds for any transactions that they deem to be suspicious. In the payments industry, transactions are often guilty until proven innocent.

      At your volume, you are correct that it doesn’t make sense for you to get a traditional merchant account because the fees will eat up a high percentage of your sales. As of the writing of this reply, Shopify is one of the top aggregators in the low-volume space. They have options for retail POS, ecommerce, and mobile, and would likely be a good fit for your needs.

  3. Ernie says:

    I have a question I’m looking to a backup for my ERP POS system for when our system is down or doing updates. Square doesn’t take refunds unless they process the transaction and it has to be within 60 days. Do you know of a similar service that doesn’t have monthly fees and accepts refunds?

    1. Hi Ernie,

      It is doubtful that you would find a fallback system that would also integrate with your ERP system if you already have a POS in place. If you are just looking to be able to continue accepting card payments, Square is the only option that comes to mind that is free of monthly fees.

      1. keith says:

        Heartland has a free phone app that you can just download and also a square for $60 to swipe cards if you don’t want to key in the numbers. They would both be free backup options without additional cost if you use Heartland for your processing. Depends if we link to your POS though.

  4. I am a new gym with close to 90 members. We have automatic withdraw. We do swipe only to start the new membership. We have little retail. I am currently with Bluefin. I have been hounded by Merchant Bankcard and so glad I came across your information. I already own a POS system, just looking for the best. I am not very familiar with this types of things so any information is appreciated.

  5. Hello, I was burned a few years ago, so I am very leery about CC Processors. I am in the middle of discussions with a company called Solitran (Powered by NPS) ther are pitching me a price of flat interchange with no points. There would be a flat $30 dollars a month and $o.o5 per transaction. Nothing else. No contract term, no cancellation fee and these prices would remain the same as long as I stay. They will reprogram my terminal or I can buy one for $200 (no equipment lease). IT THIS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

  6. Ally says:

    Hello, I am confused and need help! I own a small spa with about 9k in monthly sales. My current cc processing company is killing me in fees. I have heard Payment Depot, Flagship Processing, and Vantiv are good. Could you point me in the right direction?

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Ally,

      You can see our recommendations for spas in our list of the Best Merchant Accounts for Spas.

  7. Christine H says:

    Good to know. I signed up with Leaders Merchant Services who mislead, lied and stole money from me. Said no annual fee, no hidden fee’s, just 2.5 % of customer charges. I am still fighting to get almost $350. back from them. They flat out lied to me and stole money out of my account. I never had the chance to use them because Im just starting out a small business. I only did the 1 cent test with them to make sure the machine worked and they charged me for it. I was using square before and they talked me into using them so I switched over, boy do I regret it. Stay away from Leaders Merchant Services LLC.

  8. Caden says:

    You have to be careful when looking at processors. Almost ALL of them are working with other companies like First Data (who is a shady company too). Even banks do this. There are close to 4000 processors out there, but only about a dozen companies actually process credit/debit cards, ALL of the others are resellers – usually 3rd and 4th party resellers. There are a handful of direct processors that are very solid, transparent, and won’t lock you up in a long-term contract. I would suggest using a company like that. I found one about 4 years ago, and before that, processing was a nightmare. Couldn’t be happier now.

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