What to Know Before Getting Started
Choosing the best Canadian merchant account provider for your business can be just as tricky as finding a credit card processor based in the United States. The Canadian government may place tighter restrictions on its credit card processors, but merchants still need to be careful to avoid hidden fee scams, deceptive rate quotes, and poor customer service. The good news is that there are some great providers headquartered in Canada, and many American processors can also provide merchant services for Canadian merchants. With the possible exception of greater customer service availability, there isn’t necessarily a benefit to using a Canadian company over an American company. Providers in both countries utilize Visa and MasterCard’s processing networks, which are available across the globe.
To help you find a quality processor, we’ve put together the following list of the best merchant accounts for Canadian businesses. The companies on this list are capable of serving both Canadian and American businesses, but only some of them are headquartered in Canada. More importantly, they are all known to provide fair, transparent pricing and helpful customer support to merchants. Each provider has different specialties and merchant types that they are unable to service, so it’s best to contact multiple providers on this list to compare pricing and services.
Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers
Based in Calgary, Alberta, Helcim has been providing traditional credit card processing, mobile payment solutions, virtual terminals, and online payment gateways since 2009. The company is rare among merchant services providers in that it fully discloses its pricing on its website for anyone to view. Helcim uses interchange-plus pricing, which adds a flat markup of .18% on all card-present transactions (while a rate of .36% is applied to virtual terminal and online transactions).
Helcim also does not charge monthly minimum fees, statement fees, application fees, or PCI compliance fees, and it rents terminals out for a monthly rate rather than tying merchants into long-term equipment leases. The company offers month-to-month contracts and does not charge early termination fees. Helcim offers 24/7 support for merchants and has numerous positive testimonials across the internet, including in the comment section of our “A+” review. Helcim also maintains an “A+” rating with the BBB.
For more information, see the Helcim Website.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Vantage Payments is a merchant account provider that can serve retail merchants in Canada. The company’s products and services include point of sale equipment, remote deposit capture, European direct debit, call center services, multi-currency support, web design, and SEO assistance. Vantage Payments can handle Canadian businesses with physical storefronts without issue, but it is less likely to be able to board high risk or e-commerce Canadian merchants.
Vantage Payments currently has a clean complaint record across all review websites, which is an impressive feat for a company specializing in offshore merchant accounts. Our review of Vantage gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives Vantage an “A+.”
Secondary Merchant Account Options
Founded in Vancouver in 2005 but currently based in Toronto, VersaPay is a merchant account provider that offers in-person, mobile, and online payment solutions for small businesses. VersaPay’s diverse service offering includes traditional credit and debit processing options, electronic invoicing, integrated shopping carts, and a virtual terminal for swiped and keyed-in transactions. The company also offers a proprietary accounts receivable management system that integrates with a merchant’s accounting system and assists with online invoicing.
VersaPay offers month-to-month agreements with no early termination fee and has maintained an impressively low complaint rate since it was founded a decade ago. Despite significant growth in its eight years of doing business, including expansions into Toronto, Montreal, and New York and partnerships with with Chase Paymentech, Heartland Payment Systems, and MasterCard International, VersaPay has managed to maintain a near-spotless complaint record. VersaPay offers 24/7 phone and email support to all of its merchants. Our review of VersaPay gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives VersaPay an “A+.”
Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Beanstream is a merchant account provider specializing in online payment processing for e-commerce merchants. Beanstream’s services include recurring billing, a virtual terminal and payment gateway, online shopping carts, Interac support, and a newly launched mobile processing option for iPad, iPhone, and Android. The company provides phone support during normal business hours and during limited weekend hours.
Beanstream offers a tier of service exclusive to Canadian merchants that it calls its “Standard” account. This plan charges 2.65% per swiped transaction and 2.8% plus $0.30 per keyed-in transaction in addition to no setup fees, no monthly minimum fees, no statement fees, no long-term contracts, and no cancellation fees. The company offers two other plans (its “SproutPOS Processing” account and its “Customized Pricing” account) to U.S. and Canadian merchants with similar fee structures, optional features, and custom pricing for each merchant. Our review of Beanstream gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives Beanstream an “A+.”