What to Know Before Getting Started
Find the Right Payment Processor for Your Restaurant
Restaurant credit card processing is an incredibly specialized industry addressing a wide variety of merchant needs. From one-register food trucks to national chains, the diversity of restaurant payment processing means that there is no single best provider for all restaurant types. Some locations may need a single iPad POS, while others might require hundreds of traditional countertop terminals. The sheer number of possibilities can make it tough for you to settle on a single option for your business.
Here Are Our Top Recommended Options
To help with your search, we’ve compiled the following list of the best restaurant credit card processors. These providers offer restaurant POS software and hardware in addition to fair, transparent pricing and positively reviewed customer service. Some of them are ideal low-cost choices for small mom and pop locations, while others offer scalable options for large and growing food service enterprises. Be sure to check out each company’s product and service offerings before giving them a call to make sure they’re the best fit for you.
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Why 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 for restaurants include EMV-compatible countertop terminals, tablet-based POS integration for food trucks, a virtual terminal, an online payment gateway, an online shopping cart, mobile phone processing, QuickBooks integration, and an integrated dashboard for all payment methods. Fattmerchant is the exclusive payment processing partner for Dining Alliance, RestaurantLink, and Restaurant Purchasing Solutions.
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.
Host Merchant Services
Dine-In & E-Commerce Option
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is well-suited for most business types, including restaurants. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, online marketing tools, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, and merchant cash advance. Host Merchant Services also offers a wide array of e-commerce solutions for restaurants that cater to special events.
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+.”
Accepts All Business Types
Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving restaurant businesses of nearly any type. This includes “high-risk” dining establishments such as new and experimental restaurants. 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.”
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.
Shopify is an e-commerce merchant services provider that also offers a robust POS option for brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants. Shopify’s POS solution includes features like check splitting, gift card management, legacy terminal compatibility, offline processing, custom payment types, discounts, mobile checkout on iPad, cash float, QuickBooks integration, customer relationship management, inventory tracking, and add-on apps and plugins for a custom solution.
Restaurant owners should be aware that, as of this update, Shopify’s in-store POS solution does not support tipping. For this reason, it is best for restaurant locations that do not have a tip-based service element. Shopify currently has an “A” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com and an “A+” rating with the BBB.
For more information, see the Shopify Website.
Founded in 2007, SalesVu is an Austin, Texas-based software provider that has partnered with Mercury Payment Systems and Century Payments to offer a full POS system for iPad and iPhone. SalesVu’s free POS app comes with a free card reader and allows for Quickbooks integration, end-of-shift reports, labor tracking, social media promotion, recurring billing, barcode scanning, automated discounts, tip adjusting, split checks, and invoicing. The company’s service also comes with a free, customizable e-commerce website and telephone support. Merchants can either open a new merchant account with unique pricing through Mercury or Century or receive a match with their existing rates through SalesVu.
SalesVu currently receives an “A+” from CardPaymentOptions.com, and although the company does not have a Better Business Bureau profile at this time, the BBB profile for Mercury Payment Systems is showing an “A+” rating.
For more information, see the SalesVu Website.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data has consistently rated as one of the best merchant account providers on CPO since we first reviewed the company. Payline is capable of serving merchants of all sizes and types, including some high risk business 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 any restaurant, from small, single-register locations to large, enterprise-level chains.
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+.”
Dharma Merchant Services
Based in San Francisco, Dharma Merchant Services is one of the highest-rated providers on CardPaymentOptions.com and is an excellent processor for most restaurant types. Dharma offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees, annual fees, or monthly minimum fees, and it has consistently received positive testimonials from merchants since we first reviewed it in 2012.
To serve its restaurant merchants, Dharma is partnered with ShopKeep POS, a cloud-based iPad point-of-sale system that currently has an “A” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com. ShopKeep’s features include direct tableside service, order notes, check splitting, inventory management, employee management, customer relationship management, QuickBooks integration, and detailed reporting. By combining a Dharma Merchant Services merchant account with a ShopKeep point-of-sale system, you can enjoy excellent customer service and robust point-of-sale features at a very low cost. Our review of Dharma currently awards the company an “A+” rating, and the Better Business Bureau also assigns Dharma an “A+.”
If your company provides merchant account solutions for the restaurant industry, let us know in the comment section below or through our Contact page.