If you work as an independent contractor, then you’ve likely encountered some difficulty with finding reliable payment processing. Chasing down outstanding amounts owed can be a pain. An inconsistent income stream may increase your risk of fund withholding. And if you don’t pay attention to your credit card processing fees and terms, you can find yourself drastically overpaying for merchant services. Between negotiating your compensation, getting your work done, and soliciting new business, there’s very little time for you to focus on something like your merchant account.
To make the process easier for you, we’ve compiled the following list of the best merchant account providers for contractors. The companies on this list offer useful tools for contractors like mobile and online payment methods, sales tracking, client management, digital invoicing, and recurring billing. More importantly, though, they offer competitive per-transaction rates and low- or no-commitment contract terms, enabling you to keep more of your money and remain a competitive shopper. In order to find the best fit for you, be sure to compare multiple providers and contact the ones that look most promising.
Best Merchant Accounts for Contractors
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is well-suited for most general business types and some high risk merchants. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions (with specific packages for the restaurant, salon, professional service, and contractor sectors), online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, merchant cash advance, and offshore merchant accounts. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and email address to new merchants who require them.
Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. Host 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+.”
Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving standard to high risk business types. 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. These features allow merchants to accept payments on-site using mobile payment devices as well as through a virtual terminal. For those reasons, PaymentCloud is a good option for contractors as it allows them to process payments in-store or at the job site.
PaymentCloud provides a dedicated account rep to all new merchants for the life of the account. 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.”
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 contractors and offers a comprehensive dashboard for tracking all payments and customers.
Fattmerchant offers multiple pricing plans with different rates. Merchants can select either a plan that charges a flat fee on all transactions or a plan that charges a fixed monthly fee plus a fixed per-transaction dollar amount above interchange. In other words, merchants can choose whether or not they are charged a percentage markup on each transaction. Fattmerchant currently has an “A” rating on CPO and an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Located in Chesapeake, Virginia, CDG Commerce is a great option for contractors who need to collect payments via multiple channels. CDG has been privately owned since 1998 and offers a proprietary payment gateway (as well as a discount on Authorize.Net’s payment gateway), a virtual terminal, QuickBooks integration, mobile phone processing, sales reporting, security breach protection, and vulnerability scanning. CDG Commerce is ideal for businesses that require a simple, low-cost, integrated mobile or online processing solution.
CDG Commerce only charges a low, fixed fee per transaction and offers competitive contractual terms, including no annual fees, monthly minimums, or termination fees. CDG also offers next-day funding to most business types. CDG has earned an “A+” rating in our review as well as an “A+” rating with the BBB.
Shopify is primarily known as an e-commerce platform for online merchants, but the company recently launched a point-of-sale software solution for iPad and iPhone. The Shopify POS app can accept cards via a headphone jack card swiper or a $129 EMV reader and includes features like inventory syncing with a webstore, emailed receipts, automatic tax calculations, basic email marketing, and in-store refunds. The service can also be paired with a Shopify online store, which comes with numerous customization options. Shopify POS is a great fit for contractors who would like to accept payments on-site using their phones as well as through online billing.
Inner Fence, a joint venture with the processor Merchant Focus, offers the widest platform compatibility among the other providers in this list. Inner Fence can be used with both iPhone and Android devices as well as Windows and Mac computers, making it a versatile virtual terminal that can take payments on nearly any internet-connected device. The service is available to both U.S. and Canadian contractors and offers support via email and telephone.
Unlike most other mobile processors, Inner Fence charges a monthly service fee ranging from $39 to $49 based on a merchant’s location and preferred payment schedule. It also charges 2.9% plus $0.30 for all transactions, which may be a drawback for low volume and micro-merchants. Additionally, the service requires an Authorize.net account that will likely result in additional monthly fees. For these reasons, Inner Fence is best suited for high-ticket contractors that can make use of its broad cross-platform compatibility.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data is a consistently top-rated provider across all merchant services review websites. Payline is capable of serving merchants of all sizes and types, including contractors in most industries. The company offers traditional retail credit card terminals, mobile phone credit card processing (via Flint), an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, QuickBooks integration, third-party shopping cart integration, API integration, and various point-of-sale solutions. Payline Data is a great option for contractors of all volumes, but it will be best for contractors who process over $5,000 per month.
In addition to its wide array of services, Payline Data offers interchange-plus pricing with month-to-month contracts and no early termination fees. As a result, the company enjoys a large number of positive testimonials from its clients on this website and in other consumer protection forums. The Better Business Bureau currently assigns Payline Data an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives Payline an “A+.”