To save you the worry and repetitive strain injury from Googling ‘what merchant service should I use?’ we have done the job for you and researched over 100 merchant services providers/ merchant accounts and/or card payment processing services, which are active in the UK.
The 10 Most Popular Card Payment Providers & Suppliers
Encompassing some of the most well-known payment processing companies in the world, the companies in this first list all accept card payments. For the most part, they are household names for the simple fact that they are so easy to use that even your biggest technophobe would need minimal training. In no particular order…
1) PayPal UK
Pretty much everyone has used PayPal checkout. If you’ve ever sold or bought anything on an auction site or partaken in some online shopping, there’s usually always an option to use PayPal for payment purposes.
- Easy to set-up
- It has the ability to remember customer debit/credit card details, so there’s no need to re-enter every time
- 25 currencies covered
- High transaction fees: over 1.9% + £0.20
- Most of consumers favourite shopping carts are supported including shopify and WooCommerce
- They have something called PayPal Here.M – their own mobile credit card machine!
Another popular online payment processor, Stripe is built for developers. If you’re looking for something a little techier or have big dreams for where you want to go with your internet business, Stripe can offer you eCommerce, mobile commerce, SaaS and subscription payments.
- Advanced functionality
- Fees are 4% + 20p for European credit and debit cards
- Fees are 2.9% + 20p for non-European credit and debit cards
- More than 135 currencies covered
- Returning customers pay with a single click
- Comply with PCI-DSS easily
Only need to process transactions with face-to-face card payments? iZettle may be the one for you, with its super affordable price-point and flexibility between iOS and Android.
- iZettle card readers can cost as little as £19
- Monthy fee free and contract free
- Fees are just 1.75%
- Includes a merchant account
With its UK network consisting of more branches than supermarkets, banks and Post Offices combined, PayPoint is a household name. It offers in store payment services for consumers, retailer services as well as secure mobile & online multi-channel payment solutions for businesses.
- Pay for online subscriptions with eVouchers
- Pay for prepaid utilities
- Payment can be made via cash, card and contactless payments – online, on the phone and in-store
- Use eMoney to pay for online purchases in-store
- Through Lloyds Carnet, customers can use terminal-based card payment services
5) First Data
With their full merchant accounts and solutions for financial institutions, First Data may have higher fees, but the service they offer aims to help every customer gain more from every transaction.
- Up to 36 currencies covered
- Offer terminals & POS management services
- Exchange rate risks are covered by their frequently updated currency rates
- Solutions for incentive cards and gifts
- Hosted payment pages and API integration for eCommerce
There are reasons why Square is the world’s most loved and used card reader. Not only is it the cheapest card reader on the market, it also has lots of other features which set it apart from its competitors.
- Take business from face-to-face to online with their POS software
- Fees are just 1.75% for face-to-face card payments
- Comes with a convenient POS app which is compatible with both Apple and Android
- Suppliers can pay by card with Square’s free invoicing software
- Monthly fee-free
7) Sage Pay
Based in Newcastle, Sage offers businesses a complete range of merchant account services, including accepting payments over the phone, online, via invoice or in person.
- All payment types, including PayPal are covered
- 25 currencies covered
- It takes just two working days for money to appear in your bank account
- Invoice payment fees cost as little as £0.59 per transaction
Aptly named, Worldpay reigns as a global big-wig in payment processing. In the UK it is renowned for being the go-to for merchant services.
- Over 40% of UK transactions are facilitated by Worldpay
- This includes 16,000 hairdressers, over 24,000 restaurants and more than 9,000 pubs
- Price plans are flexible
- Transactions can be processed in-store, online and via mobile
Originally one of the world’s most recognizable e-commerce platforms, customers can now use Shopify to purchase both on and offline, making it even more accessible to all kinds of businesses.
- Get the Shopify POS to process transactions online
- Add ‘buy’ buttons and accept payment through your Facebook store and Messenger
- Enjoy a bespoke online store to facilitate all your selling needs
- Fees start at 1.6%
Streamline is actually a sector of Worldpay, but has made a name for itself in its own right and is popular for its 24/7 UK customer support.
- All major debit and credit cards are supported
- Customers can pay online, over the phone or via card machine
- Streamline will come and replace broken card machines the following day
- Their services include staff training and installation of products
The 28 Best Full-Service Merchant Accounts & Credit Card Processing Providers
What about if you want to find an all-singing, all-dancing card payment provider to sync with your business and offer you and your customers a higher level of flexibility when it comes to card payments online, face-to-face or over the phone? Read on, because the following companies are a one-stop-shop for full range merchant services.
For over a quarter of a century now, Payzone has been providing businesses with payment solutions.
- Zero setup or canceling fees
- Businesses can give it a go with a short 12-month contract
- Over £1.2 Billion worth of transactions are handled by Payzone in the UK, yearly
Their marketing claims that they are the leading merchant service provider in Europe and that’s not too hard to believe, considering the service they provide businesses.
- Broken card terminal? They’ll replace it the next day
- 60,000 small/medium business use their services in the UK alone
- Card rates are capped for their customers
3) Retail Merchant Services
Retail Merchant Services offer some great packages with no hidden fees and a whole host of membership benefits.
- Rated 9.7 out of 10 on Trustpilot
- Over 45,000 small UK businesses benefit from their services
- Membership benefits include: Merchant cash advance, legal advice and discounted utilities
Processing payments is Monek’s forte and they have been offering a safe, secure service since 1998.
- Protection from fraud
- Over 30 payment types across the world are supported
- A simple platform offering one product and one contract
- Managing your account is simple
Part of the Worldpay family, CardSave offer effective payment solutions.
- CardSave has countertop, portable and mobile card machines available
- Businesses can opt to pay monthly or pay as they go
- Enjoy professional advice on choosing the right shopping cart software for you
6) Global Payments
No matter the size of the business, Global Payments has a solution available and the company specialises in offering its services worldwide.
- Face-to-face, online and mobile payments are accepted
- Leading bank, HSBC, use Global Payments as their preferred card payment processor
- Work in education, hospitality, retail or transport? Global Payments has a solution especially designed for you
Elavon has acquired some unique accolades over its 20-year history and is renowned for utilising the latest technologies to benefit businesses of all sizes.
- Prefer to take transactions via Apple Pay? Every Elavon card machine is compatible with this service
- Loyal customers get to take advantage of special offers
- Elavon is the preferred payment processor for airlines, because of their business-tailored solutions
Low-cost is Handepay’s speciality and whilst their services are affordable, their reputation is equally impressive.
- Their Trustpilot rating is 9.7/10
- If they can’t save your business money, Handepay will present you with £1,000
- You won’t be surprised by joining fees, minimum monthly service charge or authorisation fees
9) Lloyds Bank Cardnet
One of the highstreet’s most popular banks, Lloyds, has been providing businesses with card payment services since 1997. Their main aim of Cardnet is to make card payments simple.
- Rated 94% for customer satisfaction
- Sign up for a Lloyds Bank Business Account pay just 1.25% on all MasterCard and Visa Card transactions
- An incredible £61.3 billion a month is processed through card transactions
Another popular bank choice for UK residents, Barclaycard is Barclays Bank’s payment processing division.
- Businesses can use a virtual terminal to take payment in non-face-to-face situations
- Barclaycard card machines can be used anywhere
- The process of accepting cards and digital payments is really simple
11) Intelligent Merchant Services
This company was built by a team of industry professionals, each with an abundance of experience in payment processing.
- Get money landing in your account the following day
- Ever-adapting currency conversion
- Top of the range payment terminals
12) Card Cutters
This company can help your business save money on merchant fees like it has done so for 5,000 UK merchants so far.
- Simple, clear, competitive pricing
- No hidden fees
- Accommodates face-to-face, phone and online payment
13) EVO Payments
Playing a longstanding part in the processing payment world, EVO Payments look after $80 million worth of business each year.
- Cost effective plans for all-inclusive options
- Accept payment in store, in app, online or over the phone, easily
- Software developers can work with an integration
14) AIB Merchant Services
Have you considered the Allied Irish Bank (AIB)? They are big name in Irish payment solution business and also work extensively in Britain.
- Accept online payments with Authipay
- In 2014, AIB reached the heights of processing 30 billion Euros in payments
- In-store payments can be processed using Clover POS
15) HSBC Merchant Services
This payment processing service is the partnership between HSBC and Global Payments, which we have already explored.
- Fraud protection is taken seriously, with award winning services
- Foreign transfers and payments are simple to receive
- Global Payment’s Global Iris is used to accept payment securely
16) Clydesdale Bank Merchant Services
Using their friends at Worldpay, Clydesdale Bank offers effective merchant services.
- Pre-authorisation via payment terminals
- 21 currencies supported
- A range of face-to-face, online and telephone-based payment solutions
- Cashback payment available
17) Axcess Merchant Services
To ensure that your business receives the service that it needs, Axcess Merchant Services work with a variety of banks, which they are partnered with.
- 179 currencies supported
- 391 banks connected and supported
- An extensive 51 different methods of payment available
18) Natwest Merchant Services
Similar to other popular highstreet banks, Natwest offers their merchant services in partnership with Worldpay.
- Money will reach your account within two working days
- No hidden charges
- Full support is offered with a helpdesk available 365 days a year
19) Independent Merchant Services
This company acts as an agency and helps you to find the merchant service, which is right for your business.
- They maintain 100% independence
- Rated 9.8/10 on Trustpilot
- Offer support throughout your whole payment provider search
20) Santander Merchant Services
Evalon, previously discussed, facilitate Santander Merchant Services.
- Apple, Android and Samsung Pay are all supported
- In-person, online, over the phone, mobile and contactless payments compatible
- Money will arrive in your Santander Business Current Account the following day, free of charge
21) BOI Payment Acceptance (Bank of Ireland Merchant Services)
The Bank of Ireland UK and EVO Payments International formed a partnership and created BOI Payment Acceptance.
- No hidden fees
- Flexible pricing plans, which you can change as you see fit
- Services start as just £36.99 per month
22) RBS Merchant Services
WorldPay and Steamline make up the ever-popular payment solution, RBS Merchant Services.
- Fraud prevention is a top business priority
- Funds land directly in your account
- Incredibly, up to 500 transactions are purchased each second
23) Yorkshire Bank Merchant Services
Another Worldpay merchant service, Yorkshire Bank offers the latest technologies.
- Broken terminals will be replaced the following day
- Customer data is kept safe with free security updates
24) Metro Bank Merchant Services
Acceptcards are Metro Bank’s partner when it comes to merchant services.
- Multiple different ways to pay online and in-person
- Apple Pay supported
- Payment methods from around the world are supported
25) Co-operative Bank Merchant Services
The Co-operative Bank partners with First Data Merchant Solution to offer reliable methods of card payment.
- All major credit and debit cards accepted
- Compliant with PCI DSS
- Bespoke product options
26) Bank of Scotland Merchant Services
Cardnet supports the Bank of Scotland’s merchant services.
- Online, phone and face-to-face payments are supported
- Fast and efficient system
- Eco-friendly, paperless options
27) Halifax Merchant Services
This company may not offer merchant services itself, but it does work alongside Lloyds Bank, Cardnet and Bank of Scotland to provide excellent support for businesses.
- Text alerts are sent straight to your phone
- A business management team is on hand to support you
- Businesses can access their accounts online, in branch or over the phone
Instead of going straight to your bank, try using Acceptcards, who can help you get a better rate.
- Assistance with business needs including: chip and pin machines, mobiles payments and payment gateways
- Complimentary price review
- Explore your options with multiple providers
The 10 Best Card Machine Providers
When it comes to card machine providers, iZettle may reign as most popular, but there are a whole range of alternatives that shouldn’t be overlooked. The following companies offer card payment processing terminals which are ideal for making face-to-face transactions.
1) WorldPay Zinc
This is WorldPay’s answer to a budget-friendly mobile card payment processor.
- Phone-payment compatible
- Card payment fees range from 1.95% – 2.75%
- Pay just £39.99 for a chip and pin keypad
2) PayPal Here
One of the features which makes PayPal Here so popular, is its ability to integrate with one’s own online PayPal account.
- Free from set-up fees
- Card payment fees range from 1.50% – 2.75%
- A card reader will cost around £75
Veriphone has a card payment machine to suit your business. Choose from countertop PDQ machines to fully mobile and portable solutions.
- Enterprise Payment Software allows online payment
- Go global and accept Alipay, China’s most used payment app
- Choose from PDQ machines, multimedia and unattended payment solutions
Own a business which operates in different countries? Ingenico can process transactions in 170 countries across the globe, supporting over 300 types of payment.
- Desktop, portable and wireless terminals, integrated POS, mobile payment and unattended terminal payments are supported
- Online payment solutions are also available
5) Shopify POS & Card Reader
After conquering the e-commerce world and assisting online businesses all over the world, Shopify now offers face-to-face payment solutions.
- Card reader and POS options available
- A Tap and Chip Reader costs just £59
- Card payment fees start at 1.5%
- Manage and train inventory across all channels
Need a simple, mobile card machine? SumUp has a solution for your business.
- Card payment fees stay flat at 1.69%
- All UK credit and debit cards are supported
- A card reader costs as little as £29
- Built-in merchant service account
Transax’s two million daily transactions give businesses piece of the mind that their payment solution is effective. In the UK, Ireland and France alone, they support over 18,000 businesses.
- Enjoy their services from just £4.75 a week
- Latest technology supported, featuring contactless and Apple Pay
- Next day payment option, no matter who you bank with
8) Smarttrade App
Innovative and forward thinking, Smarttrade App are the first company in the UK to accept smartphone payments, with no need for a card reader.
- Card payment fees start at 1.75% + £0.20
- Fees can be passed onto the customer
- Try it out with a 30-day free trial
9) PB (Pitney Bowes) Payment Solutions
This card machine is a hybrid of services from Pitney Bowes and First Data Merchant Solutions.
- Terminals are supported by Bluetooth and GPRS
- E-commerce terminals are supported
- Set up virtual terminals using a web-enabled device
Recently purchased by SumUp, Payleven is still a popular mobile card machine and is still available to buy through their new owner.
- Purchase on Amazon from £70
- Contactless payments supported
- Card payment fees start at 1.50% – 2.75%
The 25 Best Payment Gateways & Online Payment Processing Providers
If you are planning on selling primarily online, the following companies will help you fulfil your business needs, with their payment gateway and processing options.
Easily set up your online store with e-commerce platform EKM.
- Choose from integrated payments or use your own merchant account
- Receive a 14-day trial
- Plans start at £24.99 a month
- Klarna-powered payment rates start at 1.99%
This is a part of the Mastercard brand and covers their payment gateway services.
- Airline, telecommunications, retail, gaming and entertainment industries receive tailored solutions
- All payments are covered including online and offline transfers, gift cards, cash alternatives and international credit cards
- PCI compliant with hosted checkout pages
3) Amazon Pay
A household name, Amazon Pay is the website’s payment method, which customers will be familiar with when it comes to their checkout experience.
- Fees remain flat at 4% + £0.20.
- Adding Amazon Pay to your checkout is simple
- Customers are protected by Amazon A-to-Z for no extra charge
4) Secure Trading
Secure Trading has been operating for over 20 years and is one of the world’s most influential independent payment service providers.
- Get set-up with a merchant account
- PCI DSS compliance assistance
- A payment gateway with a variety of payment options
5) Global Iris
We’ve covered Global Payment and this is their online payment solution.
- Simple to take telephone payments
- Can be linked to PayPal
Now a popular way to purchase online through their ‘buy now, pay later’ method, Klarna also has a number of checkout and payment options for businesses.
- Pay after delivery
- All popular payment methods supported
- Works with a range of partner solutions including EKM and WooCommerce
If you don’t want a traditional merchant account, Nochex may be the solution for you.
- Fees start at 2.9% + £0.20 per transaction
- Their MyInvoice service allows you to get paid
- Tailored solutions for online food ordering
8) Braintree Payments
Customers can enjoy a variety of services which are designed to serve online businesses.
- Fees remain flat at 1.9% + £0.20
- 130 currencies are supported
If you are wanted to incorporate direct debit into the transaction options that you offer as business, SmartDebit is one to explore. They currently hold the highest industry Trustpilot score and work with all types of organisations, from schools and colleges, to subscription businesses.
- Don’t hold your own Service User Number? SmartDebit will manage your Direct Debits for you
- Hold your own Service User Number? You will be supported by SmartDebit’s bureau service
- Transaction fees depend on the size of transaction
- Cheque processing and imaging supported
- No need to handle customer card details yourself
- Your business name will appear on your customers’ bank statements
- Collect regular recurring payments for products and services within Europe.
The option is perfect for businesses who want to accept mobile and online payments from buyers worldwide.
- Fees are 4% + 30¢ for customers in the UK
- Reoccurring billing supported
- 8 payment types, 15 languages and 87 currencies supported
11) Realex Payments
One of the world leaders in payment technology services, Realex Payments offer an affordable option to businesses.
- Rated 9.5/10 on Trustpilot
- Businesses pay £19 a month, with 1.75% per transaction
- Embedded, lightbox and redirect are all embedded
A solution for e-commerce, web and mobile businesses.
- No hidden fees
- Switch to BlueSnap and they will offer the same rates as your previous provider or better
- 180 countries, 110 payment types, 100 currencies and 29 languages are supported
13) Allied Wallet
If your business needs to accept online payments, Allied Wallet has a global payment solution.
- Fees start at 1.95%
- 164 currencies are supported
- Fraud prevention is taken very seriously
- PCI Level 1 compliance supported
The fact that Cardstream is an independent payment gateway provider, makes it unique amongst its peers.
- Payment platform can be completely rebranded according to business needs
- PCI DSS Level 1 certified
- Features simple integration with APIs and SDKs
Need payments for platforms? This is exactly the service which WePay offers.
- Zero checkout redirects
- Provides an adjustable user experience
- Offers high levels of protection against fraud and retains liability
If you have a business which needs to process credit card transactions over telephone, through mail order or via website then Authorize.Net may work for you.
- No hidden, renewal or cancellation fees
- Costs £19 per month
- Fees are 2.49% + £0.15
- Option for free automated recurring billing
Small businesses will find a variety of payment solution options with iPayment.
- Its functionality is built with a developer in mind
- Contains Built-in DDoS protection
- Includes access to iPayments powerful Expinet payment gateway
18) London & Zurich
Although their forte is direct debit processing, London & Zurich do offer payment gateway services too.
- Transaction rates are low
- Businesses with their own Service User Number can have their own branded direct debit collections
- Security is a priority, with adherence to Level 1 PCI:DSS compliance
Payworks provides businesses with Pulse, the payment gateway technology of the future.
- Android, iOS and Windows compliant
- Supports rapidly growing businesses
- Developers can integrate Pulse SDKs and APIs
21) QuickBooks Payments (formerly Intuit Pay)
QuickBooks buddies up with PayPal and GoCardless to offer online payment options to businesses.
- Standard PayPal fees apply
- Returning customers can set up direct debits
- QuickBooks automatically records payments and fees
22) Planet Payment
Innovative and global, Planet Payment offers PCI compliant payment solutions.
- 188,000 merchants have been assisted so far, in 22 countries
- International payments are supported
With over twenty years of experience, CCNow helps to build a relationship between shopping and selling online.
- Fees are flat at 4.9% + $0.40
- Pay weekly
- Try a demo account for free
Checkout.com will assist your business by handling every step of your payment processes.
- Zero long-term contracts
- Multiple settlement currencies
- The most popular shopping carts on the market are supported
Accept online payments as smoothly as possible with PayLane.
- Fees are flat at 2.8% + £0.20
- More than 160 currencies and 30 payment methods are supported
- Customers can purchase with a single click
The 11 most popular High-Risk Merchant Account & Payment Processing Providers
If your business has poor credit history or you are a part of an industry which is deemed ‘high-risk,’ you will have to opt for a merchant service which accepts high-risk clients. The following options are suitable candidates.
Over 50,000 high-risk businesses currently use Verotel to build their online businesses.
- Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Discover and Diners Club supported
- Bitcoin is also accepted
- Premium users can take advantage of a sliding scale
CCBill process more than a billion dollars’ worth of transactions annually.
- Fees range from 9%+ $0.55 to 14.5%.
- Online businesses, dating platforms, non-profit organisations, high-risk, live entertainment and subscriptions all acquire bespoke plans
- Support is available online, 24/7
Businesses can accept Bitcoin payments anywhere with BitPay.
- Transactions carry a flat rate charge of 1%
- Covers any amount, from any country and device
- Bank deposits in 38 countries, settled in US Dollars, Euros and GBP
High-risk businesses mainly work with ccNetPay for help arranging merchant accounts with banks in Asia, Europe and US.
- Fees range between 7.5% – 9.0% + $0.75 – $1.00 for offshore high-risk clients
- A direct EU merchant account is available
- Rolling Reserve of 5%-10% required for 180 days
Want to start accepting Bitcoin as payment? Spectrocoin can help you set-up the mechanics needed to do so.
- Accept Bitcoin in store or online
- Use API or e-Commerce plugins to integrate into your business easily
- No Bitcoin price risk involved
- Receive local currencies, including USD, EUR and GBP straight into your bank account
6) Epoch Payment
Epoch provides online billing to companies all around the world.
- Fees range from 13.25% to 15%
- Fees are based on volume and automatically adjust for you
- No security deposit
Instabill is a company specifically designed to help high-risk businesses process payments.
- Multiple currencies supported
- Offshore and international banking available
- Satisfies Visa, MasterCard and American Express requirements
8) Web Merchant Services
Web Merchant have been a reliable payment processing provider since 1997.
- Fees range between 3% – 6%+ 30p
- Offers a PCI DSS Compliant payment gateway
- 95% of high-risk businesses which apply are accepted
If you have an online content or entertainment business, Zombaio specialises in payment solutions for you.
- Fees range from 4.9% to 10.9%
- Registration fees are covered
- You do not need a merchant account
International businesses benefit from GSPAY’s offshore merchant account and third-party merchant account payment solutions.
- Zero set-up or monthly fees
- Fees range between 4% and 10%
- Weekly pay-outs
GSpay Merchant Account Website
PayWorld is an IT solution company which has been offering solutions to businesses since 1989.
- Fees start at 1.8% for low-risk merchants
- Offshore payment accounts available
- Applications approved quickly
The 10 most popular alternative payment providers
If you want to add further value to your business, the following payment processing services are also excellent options to consider.
Want to allow for payments without a bank account or credit card? Paysafecard does just that.
- Over 500,000 merchants around the world use Paysafecard
- Segment your customers and generate incremental revenue
- Can be used directly or through a payment service provider
2) Payline Data
If your business needs a flexible payment company then Payline Data offers services to fit that bill.
- start at 0.5% + $0.20
- No hidden fees or long-term contracts
- E-Commerce and enterprise plans are available
Paysafe are an ever-evolving payment platform.
- Invoices can be ‘paid later’ with special payment solutions
- Choose from a variety of payment processing solutions
- Digital wallet and stored value solutions
4) Google Payments (Wallet)
Google Payments, commonly known as ‘Google Wallet,’ is the well-known brand’s answer to quick and convenient payment.
- Can be used to pay friends and family
- Store credit and debit cards in your account, which can be used for fast payment
- Currently working on introducing effortless checkouts for customers via app and website
Skrill specialises in facilitating quick, simple payments.
- Pay with one-tap
- Supported by over 80 banks, globally
- More than 20 local payment methods
6) Groupon Merchant
Groupon is known mostly for its voucher discount and voucher website, but it also has a merchant option which allows businesses to sell using their platform.
- Customers can redeem Groupons through mobile apps
- One Million merchants worldwide use Groupon Merchant
- Use your Groupon page to showcase full-priced offerings and drive revenue
Keep your online business activities secure with WebMoney, a global settlement system.
- Payments can built-in for online and mobile games
- WebMoney can be accepted on your website via a widget or button
- Get paid straight to your bank account using a payment gateway
Ogone has been a part of Ingenico since 2014.
- Instant approvals through phone and mail payments
- Payment can be accepted through a mobile app or website
- Creates a smooth onlinecheckout experience
Grow your business with Payzer, an all-in-one financial tool.
- Fees start at 1.39%
- Pay fellow Payzer users simply
- Make bill payments to anyone
- Credit cards, debit cards and electronic cheques are accepted
Choosing to work with Neteller will allow your customers the option to purchase in a variety of ways.
- Choose from multiple currency accounts
- With only a single integration, businesses can choose from over 100 payment options
- No-chargeback guarantee.