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Josh Phillips
By
June 26, 2018

Payment Processors: The ultimate shootout comparison guide (2018 version)

The payment processing world is a bit of a minefield, that’s for sure.
There’s all sorts of different providers out there, offering different payment methods and different card rates — and that’s to say nothing of different contracts.
But who’s best?
We’ve compared the five biggest players in the payments game, just for you.

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Paymentsense

Paymentsense

Our rating:

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Trustpilot’s rating:

8.2/10

At a glance:


Contract Length

Up to five years...

Credit Card Fees

0.75%

Debit Card Fees

0.96%

Authorisation Fees

3p

Monthly Fee

£24.95

Pros:

  • Very low card rates
  • Customers report prompt and helpful customer service
  • Install payment terminals within 3 days of purchase
  • Automatic till roll deliveries

Cons:

  • Comparatively high monthly fee
  • Customers have reported being roped into five-year contracts

What we think:

Paymentsense is one of the biggest payment providers in the UK, with 60,000 small businesses on its books.


This gives them considerable leverage when it comes to setting fees — their card fees are consistently below the 1% mark. That said, this may be because they try to sign new merchants up for five year contracts, with a monthly fee.


Customers report that you can knock Paymentsense’s contracts down to size pretty easily, though.


Paymentsense boast of a three-day lead time, meaning that once you’ve set up an account with them, they’ll come and install your hardware in three days.


And they calculate when you’re running low on till roll and automatically send you out a new one. That’s pretty handy.

Payzone

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Our rating:

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Trustpilot’s rating:

8.4/10

At a glance:


Contract Length

12 months

Credit Card Fees

Variable

Debit Card Fees

Variable

Authorisation Fees

3p

Monthly Fee

£10


Pros:

  • Very low card processing fees
  • Some of the shortest contracts around
  • No early termination fee

Cons:

  • Third-party service
  • Charges a flat fee on all transactions

What we think:

Payzone isn’t a merchant processor in the traditional sense — instead, they’re a third party provider who negotiate with payment processors to get you a better rate.


The good thing about this is that Payzone have much more leverage than pretty much any small business, so they’re free to negotiate really low rates.


The downside of this is that you can’t see rates upfront, and this makes it hard to compare unless you ring up and speak to a sales agent. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should be sure to get a good grasp on what other companies charge before speaking to Payzone.


Payzone offers one of the shortest contracts around — 12 months — and they don’t saddle you with setup or termination fees.


Payzone could be a good option for businesses on a budget, but you need to make sure you’re getting the best offer.

SumUp

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Our rating:

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Trustpilot’s rating:

7.5/10

At a glance:


Contract Length

Credit Card Fees

1.69%

Debit Card Fees

1.69%

Authorisation Fees

Monthly Fee


Pros:

  • No contract
  • No monthly fees
  • Card terminal works with phones and tablets over Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Comparatively high card fees
  • Very steep online fees
  • Need to sort out own receipt printers

What we think:


We think SumUp is a great choice for businesses that might only open periodically or that travel around, like market stalls or food trucks. This is because they’re one of the few merchant providers that doesn’t rope you into a contract, or charge you a monthly fee.


You just pay the processing fee — usually 1.69% — on any transaction you process. This is higher than some card processors, but it might be worth paying more for the flexibility that SumUp’s pricing strategy offers.


SumUp’s card machine is distinctive — it’s a sleek, white box, and it connects to phones and tablets over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, making it a good solution for businesses on the go, especially for those willing to exclusively use email receipts.


Businesses who aren’t ready to ditch paper receipts yet will have to source their own receipt printers, though.


SumUp also offers an online payment terminal for businesses who need a payment service for their website, but their fees are comparatively high. They charge 2.95% + £0.25 on every online transaction, which is much more than Stripe, the market leader.

Barclaycard

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Our rating:

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Trustpilot’s rating:

N/A

At a glance:


Contract Length

18 months

Credit Card Fees

Variable or 2.6%

Debit Card Fees

Variable or 2.6%

Authorisation Fees

Monthly Fee

£25


Pros:

  • High-end security and anti-fraud measures
  • Tiered fees mean busier merchants pay less
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • Strict about offering accounts to new businesses
  • Barclaycard doesn’t publish processing fees
  • Anywhere card reader has high fees

What we think:

Barclaycard has a lot to offer businesses, including some of the best security and anti-fraud measures on the market, as well as a highly-commended customer service offer — although they're not on Trustpilot so you'll have to do some digging.


But you might not be able to get on board — they’re cagey about offering merchant accounts to new and smaller businesses. That said, their services are tiered, so established businesses pay less for


They don’t tend to advertise their rates, which means you have to talk to Barclaycard directly to find out what you’ll pay. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should find out what other providers charge you before ringing up Barclaycard.


The notable exception to this rule is their Anywhere reader, which connects to an Android or iOS phone over Bluetooth, allowing you to sell anywhere you can find a phone line. They charge 2.6% for payments taken using this reader, which is comparatively high.


They also offer an online payments gateway for businesses looking to take payments over the internet.

WorldPay

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Our rating:

  • star full
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Trustpilot’s rating:

0.6/10

At a glance:


Contract Length

18 months

Credit Card Fees

1%

Debit Card Fees

2%

Authorisation Fees

4p

Monthly Fee

£15


Pros:

  • One of the largest payment processors in the world
  • Simple to set up online payment gateways
  • Low card processing rates

Cons:

  • Utterly abysmal Trustpilot ratings
  • Prone to freezing accounts and not paying out
  • Auto-renewing contracts and early termination fees
  • Resellers can charge much higher fees

What we think:

WorldPay is one of the biggest card payment processors in the world, and this gives them some real muscle.


They offer some of the lowest card fees on the market — 1% on credit cards and 2% on debit cards. And they’ve got a pretty solid online offer, with easy-to-set-up payment gateways.


But it’s very hard to recommend them due to their truly abysmal Trustpilot ratings. Customers have reported that WorldPay are prone to freezing customers’ accounts, and not paying them their money.


Customers also report that their fraud protection is pretty close to minimal, and WorldPay has left them high and dry when the worst happens.


They also have a tendency to put customers on auto-renewing contracts, and charge steep early termination fees to anyone who wants out.


WorldPay are big, sure, but we can’t really recommend them.