The Best Payment Processors in Canada

Your Guide to Choosing Your Payment Processing

Knowing your payment processor options means a better decision

If you're looking for a payment processor, you will not have a problem finding one. Many exist across Canada. Payment processors are sometimes called many different names: merchant services providers, payment gateways, acquirers, and merchant account providers. Finding a good one is a different story.

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. Contact us if you have questions or see something that needs editing.

A guide to choose a payment processor

There are many things to consider when choosing a payment processor, but when it comes down to the bottom line, there are five main things you want to consider for your business:

The Criteria to Choose a Payment Processor

1. Ways you can accept payments
Your business may have one or more ways it needs to accept payments: eCommerce, terminals, mobile, virtual terminal, recurring billing, invoicing, and API integration.

2. Types of cards you can accept
You many want to accept different types of cards: Debit, Visa, MasterCard, China UnionPay, JCB, Diners, American Express, and Discover.

3. Pricing and contract
Pricing is a big factor in payments. There is a range in flexibility of the pricing for different business sizes and types along with the contract terms.

4. Customer service:
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.

5. Type of merchant account:
There two main types of merchant accounts. You can either get an individual merchant account for your business or a shared one that is used by many businesses.

If you want to have some quick background information, read our "New to Payments" guide. It will cover the range of topics you must know in payment processing and merchant accounts.

Individual vs shared merchant accounts

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. Some payment processors set you up with a dedicated merchant account. 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.

Some payment processors offer a shared merchant account. In this scenario, you are sharing a merchant account with thousands of other businesses. 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 revenue. But they are easy to sign up for and have minimal setup 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.

The List of Best Payment Processors in Canada


 

Overview

- Founded in 1969
- Based in Atlanta, USA
- Merchant account provider
- Largest processor in world

Best known for

- Hardware terminals
- Provides dedicated merchant accounts

Pricing

- Not displayed on website
- Typically tiered pricing
- Will customize pricing depending on your business

Customer service

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.


 

Global Payments Logo

Overview

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

Best known for

- Multi-currency acceptance
- Provides dedicated merchant accounts

Pricing

- Not displayed on website
- Typically tiered pricing
- Will customize pricing depending on your business size

Customer service

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.


 

Moneris Logo

Overview

- Founded in 2000
- Based in Toronto, Canada
- Merchant account provider
- Owned by RBC and BMO

Best known for

- Medium and large business customers
- Provides dedicated merchant accounts

Pricing

- Not displayed on website
- Typically tiered pricing
- Generally a large setup fee
- Typically $100/year PCI fee

Customer service

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.


 

Square Logo

Overview

- Founded in 2009
- Based in San Francisco, USA
- Shared merchant accounts

Best known for

- Micro to small businesses
- Mobile payments for iPhone

Pricing

- 2.65% per swipe
- 3.4% + 15 cents for keyed
- 2.9% + 30 cents for invoices
- $0.10 for Interac Debit Tap

Customer service

Square has no sign up fees, no cancellation fees and flat rate pricing, depending on how you're taking the payments. 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.


 

Stripe Logo

Overview

- Founded in 2011
- Based in San Francisco, USA
- Shared merchant accounts

Best known for

- eCommerce payments and great APIs
- Micro to small businesses

Pricing

- 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Customer service

Stripe has no sign up fees, no cancellation fees and flat rate pricing, depending on how you're taking the payments. 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.


 

Clearly Payments Logo

Overview

- Founded in 2018
- Based in Vancouver, Canada
- Dedicated merchant accounts

Best known for

- Small to medium/large businesses
- Friendly and pro-active customer service

Pricing

- Interchange Plus pricing
- Pass through pricing for transparency
- Rates around interchange plus 0.25%

Customer service

Clearly Payments has no cancellation fees and uses Interchange Plus pricing, which is known as the most transparent pricing. This pricing is recommended by the Canadian Code of Conduct for merchant services. Customer support is by phone and email. Clearly Payments focuses on Canadian, USA, and cross-border businesses.