How We Rate Merchant Services Providers

We review and rate merchant services providers on six different factors, including price, payment options, ecommerce functionality, customer support, analytics, and ease of use.

We also take a few other things into consideration, such as online reputation, provider advertising fees, and our in-house conversion rates. Our formulaic rating system and secondary criteria both impact ratings and the order we display providers on our site.

With that said, our goal is to provide accurate, honest, and helpful reviews.


When we can, we carefully take each provider’s pricing structure into consideration. This includes evaluating their monthly membership fees, per-transaction rates, software fees, the cost of hardware, startup fees, and cancellation fees.

We always prefer providers that help merchants keep processing costs as low as possible.

Where and How You Can Accept Payments

The best merchant services providers give you complete flexibility and all the tools you need to accept virtually any type of payment online, in person, via virtual terminal, or on the go.

This includes accepting chips, swipes, dips, taps, and digital wallets. Some providers also support other payment methods, like PayPal, Klarna, Venmo, and more.

The more versatility you have take payments, the better.

We look closely at all of the potential solutions from each company, reaching out to customer service for clarification if needed—those that don’t check (at least) most of the boxes don’t make it onto our site.

Customer Service

Just about every company we review advertises 24/7 customer support through various channels. However, that’s not always the full picture. We do the heavy lifting for you to get to the bottom of what “any time support” actually means.


Analytics and reporting are often overlooked when it comes to merchant services providers. However, these details are crucial for making fast business decisions and keeping an eye on the health of your business.

We look closely at what each provider gives you, from an interactive visual dashboard to regular scheduled reports and everything in between.

In some cases, it depends on the hardware and third-party tools you end up using. When that happens, we do our best to look into those third-party tools and let you know what to expect so you have a better understanding of what you’re signing for.

Ease of Use

Payment processing and merchant services aren’t known for being straightforward. However, the best providers make it as simple as possible for you. From filling out your application and getting approved to ordering hardware, setting up your new system, troubleshooting, and everyday use, we dig into what the process looks like from start to finish.

Current and Previous Merchants

As with any business, each company’s reputation and experience in the industry tell a story about its customer satisfaction and retention rates. As such, we carefully consider what current and previous merchants say about their experiences over the last few years.

Our In-House Conversion Data

We leverage our own click tracking and conversation data to understand which providers are the most interesting to our readers.

Since our goal is to help our readers make the best choice, we may move providers around depending on which offers, services, and products our audience prefers most.

Provider Advertising Fees

We have paid partnerships with many of the merchant services providers we review. While we always aim to deliver honest reviews, advertising fees along with our own rating formula can play a role in our ratings, top picks, and the order in which we present providers.

Scroll to Top