credit card payments

All Payment Processors Are Not Created Equal

What To Look For

When deciding on a payment processor for your business, it’s important to consider several key factors, including:

Fees & Transaction Rates

  • All payment processors are going to have varying rates for different services like ACH transfers and credit card transactions.
  • Additionally, these rates may vary depending on if a card is swiped or keyed in, so it’s crucial to account for how you take customer payments.

Ability To Accurately Sync With Quickbooks

  • Tracking income for a business is vitally important so, if you have the option to choose a processor that will automate a portion of the bookkeeping process, we recommend that you take it. Some companies handle this better than others, which we will cover in a later section.

Transaction speed

  • If you’d like funds that you earn to hit your bank account sooner rather than later, you should be considering how quickly your payments are being processed and sent to your desired account. This can vary quite a bit among different payment processors.

The Main Players



  • Card Processing Fees: 2.9% + 30¢ for every transaction. An additional 1% applies for international cards, plus an extra 1% if the payment is taken in a different currency than USD.
  • Bank Transfers (ACH): 0.8% with a cap of $5.00.
  • Collecting of Sales Tax: 0.5% for every transaction in which tax is collected.


  • Instant Payout: Stripe allows you to instantly transfer funds to a debit account for a fee of 1% with a minimum of 50¢.
  • QuickBooks Online Integration: It is possible to connect Stripe to QuickBooks Online using the Stripe by Commerce Sync integration. This will automatically pull your Stripe data into QBO. The pricing for this service is $14.95 per month.

What’s Lacking

  • The fees for Stripe can be a bit convoluted, as they charge small fees (less than 1%) for various services such as sales tax collection, which is free on the two other platforms on this list.
  • While it is nice that an integration for QuickBooks exists, it’s important to note that this integration was designed by a third-party company.
  • No support for CBD vendors.
  • Stripe collects fees off sales tax collected, while Square and QuickBooks Payments do not.          



  • Card Processing Fees: 2.6% +10¢ for every transaction. This applies to contactless payments, swiped or inserted chip cards, and swiped magstripe cards. For processing manual keyed-in cards or using cards on file, a 3.5% + 15¢ fee applies.
  • Invoicing: 2.9% + 30¢ for every transaction. The same rule from above applies: a 3.5% +15¢ fee for every transaction processed using a card on file.
  • Bank Transfers (ACH): 1% per transaction with a minimum fee of $1.00.


  • Similar to Stripe, Square offers integration with QuickBooks Online. What makes Square’s integration superior, however, is the fact that it is developed by Square itself as opposed to a third-party creator.
  • Unlike the other processors in this list, Square will work with CBD vendors to process payments.
  • Square also offers an instant payout option at a fee of 1.5%.

What’s Lacking

  • While cheaper than Stripe, Square’s credit card transaction fees are still quite a bit higher than QuickBooks Payments.

QuickBooks Payments


  • Note: These rates are for the Online edition of QuickBooks only.
  • QuickBooks Payments credit card fees vary based upon method of payment, as follows:
    • Card – Swiped: 2.4% + 25¢
    • Card – Online Invoice: 2.9% + 25¢
    • Card – Manually Keyed In: 3.4% + 25¢
    • Bank Transfers (ACH): 1% with a cap of $10.


  • Similar to Stripe, QuickBooks Payments also offers a form of instant payouts. The fee for this service is 1% of the total amount.
  • QuickBooks Payments allows for invoicing directly through QuickBooks Online and records the payments and deposits directly as they occur.
  • This processor comes in as the cheapest processor across the board except for ACH transfers. QuickBooks Payments is highly recommended, especially if you’re accepting credit cards frequently.
  • Tracking contractors and their related tax documents is significantly more intuitive when working directly in QuickBooks Online.

What’s Lacking

  • No support for CBD vendors.

Venmo/Zelle/CashApp/PayPal – Not Recommended

These payment platforms are not recommended for business use. It is typically very difficult to track payments to contractors using these services, which means acquiring the proper tax documents come filing season can be a real headache. In addition, the IRS is cracking down on these platforms and their use in business transactions. It’s best to avoid any problems now by switching to another processing platform as soon as you can.

Key Takeaways

Given its cheap rates and ease of data import to QBO, Next Step Bookkeeping considers QuickBooks Payments as the top choice for businesses seeking a payment processing platform. However, it is important to note that Square is one of the only payment processors that allows CBD sales using their infrastructure. If your business does sell CBD products, Square is the platform we recommend for processing payments.

If you would like to meet with us to setup a new payment processor for your business, you can click here to see our availability and schedule a meeting. Or you can always give us a call at (512) 222-3204 and we’d happy to assist you!