Tips to Compare Merchant Services Providers


Much like how you would shop around for the best value on a big ticket item like a new car or television, it is essential that business owners research and compare merchant services providers (MSP). Before you make a commitment to a particular MSP, you should carefully consider who you would like to work with going forward.

Make sure you thoroughly understand what your business requires from your MSP, and use that to guide your decision. The following are some of the most important areas to evaluate when it comes time to compare merchant services providers to determine if they can meet your needs:

Setup Fees

Most payment processing companies will have some sort of set up fees, ranging from a nominal cost to hundreds of dollars. Ask any MSPs you are evaluating to give you a breakdown of their set up fees. Do they charge individually to set up for debit cards, Visa, MasterCard & Amex? Will they charge fees to program your POS terminal and train you on how to use it? Since set up fees can vary greatly, ensure you clarify what these charges do and do not include.

Transaction Fees

Compare the cost of an individual transaction across all merchant services providers you are considering. How will the costs of a POS terminal transaction compare to transactions completed online or via mobile device? These transaction fees can vary greatly between MSPs, so ensure you are choosing a provider whose fees make sense for the volume of transactions your business will be handling.

Minimum Processing Fees

Some merchant services providers charge minimum processing fees if you do not do enough business to make up a pre-determined minimum. If the total of your transactions does not reach this minimum, you may be required to pay the difference. Clarify what your minimum processing fees will be before you sign any contract.

POS Terminal Costs

Consider how many payment terminals you need and whether you will rent or purchase them outright. Look for an MSP who can supply you with terminals that meet your needs – they should offer both wired and wireless POS terminals. Ask potential MSPs if their available terminals accept chip and pin technology, “tap” payments and if they are prepared to accept NFC (near-field) payments in the future.

Value-Added Services

A good MSP will provide a range of services aside from simply processing debit and credit card transactions. Look for a provider who can offer additional services to help you streamline your business. This can include anything from around the clock customer service to transaction data reporting, online payment solutions, terminal replacement policies and more. Look for a merchant services provider who includes these as part of your contract, rather than charging extra for them as add-on services.

Cancellation Policy

Some MSPs require merchants to lock into a contract for extended periods of time and have complex cancellation policies. If you do want to cancel, ask providers what notice must you give and if any cancellation fees apply.

Taking the time to compare merchant services providers and choose the right one is crucial to the success of your business. At Swift Payments, we’re here to help you discover how our services can meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our payment processing options.



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Swift Payments is a registered MSP/ISO of the Canadian branch of U.S. Bank National Association and Elavon. New applicants are subject to conditions and approval of the application by Swift Payments and its partnering banks.



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