Best Payment Processing in Canada

It’s a tough choice, so we’ve highlighted the best credit card processors in Canada to make it easier for you to get a Merchant Account. These payment processors also provide payment technology like payment terminals, virtual terminal, mobile payments, and payment gateway.

How to use this payment processing guide

Here is your guide to choosing the best payment processor in Canada.  Knowing the top payment processor options means a better decision. There are many options, so you will not have a problem finding one. However, finding the best payment processing in Canada is difficult. 

Payment processors are sometimes called different names: merchant services providers, payment gateways, merchant acquirers, and merchant accounts. This guide goes through the top things to look for in choosing a payment processor (the criteria), then lists the top payment processors in Canada, attempting to call out the facts. 

Criteria to choose a payment processor

  • Methods you use to accept credit card payments

    Your business may have more than one way it needs to accept payments: eCommerce, terminals, mobile, virtual terminal, recurring billing, invoicing, and API integration. You'll want to be sure you choose a payment processor that offers the payment methods you want.

  • Types of credit cards you can accept

    You many want to accept different types of cards: Debit, Visa, MasterCard, China UnionPay, JCB, Diners, American Express, and Discover. Some credit card processors only accept certain cards and some do not accept international credit cards. In addition, you may want to accept debit cards.

  • Pricing and contracts in payment processing

    Pricing is a big factor in payment processing. There is a wide range in pricing for different business sizes. Contracts can range from simple acceptance of terms to a lengthy multi-year contract.

  • Customer service in payments

    The availability of customer service and how you can reach them whether by phone, email, twitter, etc. The bigger your business is, the more mission critical it is to have good customer service.

Types of merchant accounts

There two main types of merchant accounts. You can either get a dedicated merchant account for your business or a shared merchant account that is used by many businesses at once. If you want to have some quick background information, read our Payment Processing Guide. It will cover the range of topics you must know in payment processing and merchant accounts in Canada. 

When evaluating the best payment processors in Canada, there are a several things to keep in mind. If you are going to accept credit cards, you will need a merchant account in one way or another. When you have your own merchant account, it is customized for your business and considers things like your annual processing volume, average transaction size, and types of cards you accept. Shared merchant accounts generally called payment aggregators.

Payment aggregators

Some payment processors offer a shared merchant account. In this scenario, you are sharing a merchant account with thousands of other businesses. After a transaction, the funds are deposited into the master merchant account rather than your own business bank account. 

Because there are so many merchants and transactions on this account, it is much more likely that a hold would be put on your account preventing you from accepting credit cards if there is unusual activity. For this reason, shared merchant accounts are typically for small businesses that have lower than $50,000 per year in credit card processing. Even though the transaction fees are higher, such as 2.9% and $0.20 per transaction, they generally have low monthly fees. 

These types of processors are called payment facilitators, aggregators, or 3rd party processors. Paypal, Square, and Stripe are examples of these. Furthermore, when you don’t have your own merchant account, the processors name may appear with your business name on customer credit card statements. This can confuse some customers. Having another name besides your business name on statements might also not be the type of branding you want. This is another reason why shared merchant accounts are typically for small or micro businesses

List of the best payment processors in Canada

Clearly Payments Logo for Payment Processing

Clearly Payments

  • Founded in 2018 
  • Based in Vancouver, Canada 
  • Merchant account provider 
  • Best for lowest payment fees

Clearly Payments aims to be the best payment processor in Canada with the lowest fees and excellent service. It has no cancellation fees and uses membership pricing or interchange plus pricing, which is known as the most transparent pricing. This pricing is recommended by the Canadian Code of Conduct for merchant services. They also were the first in Canada to launch membership pricing where merchants pay a flat monthly fee to get access to wholesale payment processing rates. Friendly customer support is available by phone and email. 

Clearly Payments focuses on Canadian, USA, and cross-border businesses.

www.clearlypayments.com

First Data Payments Logo

First Data

  • Founded in 1969 
  • Based in Atlanta, USA 
  • Merchant account provider 
  • Largest payment processor in the world
  • Best for traditional payment terminals

First Data is best known selling and reselling hardware terminals. They do not display pricing on their website, so your rates are highly dependant on the sales person you are working with.

First Data does have variable cancellation fees and contract term. You should make sure you review them in detail. There is 24/7 customer service available. Customer complaints focus on customer service, billing disputes, and fine print in the contracts.

www.firstdata.com

Global Payments Logo

Global Payments

  • Founded in 1967 
  • Based in Atlanta, USA 
  • Merchant account provider 

Global Payments is a large payment processor and predominantly uses the tiered pricing model. It’s important to watch out for your rates. 

Global Payments generally has a 3 year contract with cancellation fees. You should make sure you review the contract in detail. There is 24/7 customer service available. Customer complaints focus on fees related to cancellations.

www.globalpaymentsinc.com

Moneris Logo

Moneris

  • Founded in 2000 
  • Based in Toronto, Canada
  • Generally a large setup fee 
  • Owned by RBC and BMO

Moneris is the largest payment processor in Canada and predominantly uses the tiered pricing model. It’s important to watch out for your rates. Moneris has been known to gradually increase your rates every year.

Moneris generally has a 3 to 4 year contracts with cancellation fees of around $250. You should make sure you review the contract in detail. There is 24/7 customer service available. Customer complaints focus on poor customer service or long waits to get a hold of someone.

www.moneris.com

Square Logo

Square Payments

  • Founded in 2009 
  • Based in San Francisco, California
  • Shared merchant account (aggregator)
  • Best for small businesses processing below $50k per year

Square has no sign up fees, no cancellation fees and flat rate pricing, depending on how you’re taking the payments.  Credit card rates range from 2.75% to 3.4%. Because of no monthly fees, this pricing works well for small merchants. Once you process above $50k per year, it’s best to get your own merchant account from another provider.

They have very little customer support. Customer complaints focus on poor customer service or accounts being closed without warning. The flat rate pricing makes Square great for businesses that process less than $4,000 per month.

www.square.com

Stripe payments logo

Stripe Payments

  • Founded in 2011 
  • Based in San Francisco, California
  • Shared merchant account (aggregator)
  • Know for internet payment processing
  • Best for small software companies

Stripe has no sign up fees, no cancellation fees and flat rate pricing, depending on how you’re taking the payments. Stripe has flat 2.9% rates with $0.30 per transaction.

They have customer support via email and Twitter. Customer complaints focus on poor customer service or accounts being closed without warning. The flat rate pricing makes Stripe great for businesses that process less than $4,000 per month otherwise it starts to get very expensive.

www.stripe.com

Chase Merchant Services

Chase Merchant Services

  • Founded in 1985 
  • Based in Dallas, Texas
  • Merchant account provider
  • For large businesses and enterprises
  • Best for large enterprises with custom deployments

Chase Merchant Services is the payment processing and merchant acquiring business of JPMorgan Chase. The company also provides business analytics, payment fraud detection and data security solutions.

It is known for services larger businesses. Smaller businesses have noticed not the best support, likely because of the focus on enterprises.

 merchantservices.chase.com

Clearly Payments Logo

Stop paying 2.9% and more. Join our mission to lower credit card processing fees today.

Clearly Payments offers a one-stop-shop for a merchant account and credit card processing. We’ll get you up and running in less than 24 hours.