Processing payments is an essential service for merchants. There is no way around it. If you are going to offer goods or services to the public, you need a merchant account with a reliable payment processor. With this in mind, it is important to select the best possible processor you can. There are also a number of things you should be aware of when deciding which processor to select. This includes the type of credit card, pricing, customer service, merchant account, and more. Let’s explore the most important factors to help you make an informed decision when in Canada.
When you are accepting payments as a merchant, there is more than one way to achieve this. For example, you can accept via counter terminals, invoices, recurring billing, virtual terminal, eCommerce and API. You should select a payment processor that provides the right payment method needed for your business. To give another example, you may bring in the majority of your sales through counter terminals and eCommerce. However, if a payment processor only offers counter terminal support, you know that processor won’t be the right fit because that is nearly half of all your sales.
Types of Cards
Accepting different types of credit cards is a great way to accommodate all your customers. However, not all payment processors accept all major credit cards. Furthermore, international cards may not be accepted by your payment processor. The most common credit cards used by customers are Debit, Visa, Discover, American Express, MasterCard, JCB and Diners. Accepting as many forms of payment as possible will help you cater to all customers. Finding a processor that is able to offer many forms of card payment is important for a diverse customer base.
Excellent Customer Service
Customer service is an essential component of any payment processor. Across all countries, support is paramount as things will break or questions will arise. Fortunately, for credit card processing in Canada, you have options. The ability to contact them when an issue arises is important for both the merchant and customer. They should be available via email, phone, or social media such as Twitter. The larger your business, the more important it is to have good quality customer service.
Contracts exist between the merchant and payment processor. As with every company, contracts and pricing will vary based on specifics. However, it is important to consider the contract you are agreeing to and read all the terms. Depending on the size of your business, payments and contract contingencies are subject to change based on the processor.
What You Should Know: Merchant Services Canada
Perhaps one of the most important factors to selecting a payment processor is the type of merchant account you have. You will want to weigh this for credit card processing in Canada. The two types are shared merchant accounts and dedicated merchant accounts. A shared merchant account is shared by many businesses while a dedicated account is only for your business.
Dedicated Merchant Accounts
- Customized to your business
- Considers annual processing volume
- Takes into account the type of credit cards accepted
- Considers average transaction size
Shared Merchant Accounts (Payment Aggregators)
- Sharing an account with thousands of other businesses
- Shared merchant accounts are also called payment facilitators and 3rd party processors
- Funds are deposited into a master account
- Holds can be placed on account if unusual activity occurs
- Ideal for smaller businesses with less than $50,000 annually in credit card processing
- Transaction fees can be 2.9% or $0.20 per transaction
- Low monthly fees
Some examples of shared merchant accounts are Square, Stripe, and PayPal. When a business does not have a dedicated merchant account, the processor’s name can appear on a customer’s credit card statements. Some merchants may not want a processor’s name on their customer’s statements. Due to this, shared merchant accounts are best for small businesses only.
The Absolute Best Credit Card Processing in Canada
- Square Payments
Square Payments is a popular San Francisco-based company with 0 cancellation fees and guaranteed flat-rate pricing. Rates for credit card payments are anywhere from 2.75% to 3.4%. Square Payments is ideal for small merchants. Customer service is lacking with this processor.
- First Data
First Data is primarily known for selling hardware terminals. Pricing for their services will be at the discretion of the salesperson you are engaging with. This processor has cancellation fees, as well as specific contract terms. A benefit of this service is their 24/7 customer service support. This service is based in Atlanta. They are currently the largest payment processor in the world.
Stripe offers flat-rate pricing without sign-up fees or cancellation fees. Their rate is set at 2.9% and $0.30 for each transaction. Their customer service is provided through Twitter and email. If a business processes less than $4,000 monthly, Stripe could be an option. They are based in San Francisco.
Chase Merchant Services provides business analytics, data security and payment fraud detection. It is ideal for large businesses because they focus on enterprises. Small businesses that have used their service have not received as much benefit as larger ones. They are based in Dallas.
- Global Payments
Global Payments is a large processor with a tiered model for pricing. It is important to monitor your rates with Global Payments due to their tiered pricing model. Their contracts are 3 years long and do include cancelation fees. They do provide 24/7 customer service. They are based in Atlanta.
Moneris is based in Toronto. They are currently the largest payment processor in Canada. They use a tier model for pricing. Monitoring your rates with Moneris is important because of their tier pricing. Rates can be subject to an increase annually. Contracts span 3 to 4 years. Cancellation fees can be as high as $250 with large step up fees. They are owned by BMO and RBC. They offer 24/7 customer service.