What to Know Before Getting Started
Starting a New Business?
Selecting a credit card processor is often more complicated than most people expect. How much should you be paying in fees? Should you lease or buy equipment? Should you be locked into a service agreement for anything length of time? These considerations and several others are imporant to understand before signing up with any merchant account provider. Mistakes are easily made and can be very costly to your business. Along with seeing our top choices for payment services below, be sure to checkout this post to avoid common traps in the merchant services industry.
Considerations For Current Business Owners
Changing merchant accounts can be an expensive, complicated, and time consuming process. Are you really going to save as much as promised? Do you need to buy to new equipment or sign new lease agreements? Will there be other less accountable costs such as those associated with employee retraining? Before selecting one of our choices below, you may want to consider renegotiating your fees with your current payment processing vendors using the help of a contingency-compensated consultant. It can result in a dramatic decrease in costs without the pains of switching. In some cases business owner have also obtained substantial refunds of prior overcharges along with saving thousands in future processing costs. See this post to learn more about this little-known alternative to changing merchant account provider.
Different Country, Same Scammy Industry
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.
Trusted Payment Processors for Canadian Merchants
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.
Our unbiased articles are supported in part by helping you find highly reviewed merchant accounts. You can learn more here.
Why 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.
Other Merchant Account Options
The providers in this section may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them here to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Are you a decision maker with your company and believe that you should be listed below? Tell us here.
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+.”