Who are the Top Payment Processors in Canada?

Get to know your options for merchant service providers

With a plethora of payment processors, it can be difficult to find the one that best suits your business before you sign on the dotted line. However, it’s important to make sure that your payment processor aligns with your unique business needs. This document highlights the Top Payment Processors in Canada to help you begin the process of choosing a provider that is best for you. The following criteria will be used to summarize the different capabilities of each processor:

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Range of products

Features and functionality

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Ease of use

Simple, intuitive, and modern products

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Pricing

Fees, rates, and contracts

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Customer service

Accessible, reliable, and quality support

When evaluating the Top Payment Processors in Canada, there are a couple things to keep in mind. No matter the type or size of your business, you need a merchant account to accept credit cards. Some processors set you up with your own merchant account, while others add your business to a shared account. With your own merchant account, there will be different types of fees, but you will get customized – and often times more competitive – rates and plans. You will also have access to a wider range of payment channels/products which will enable you to do business in more ways and in more places. Businesses that are processing at least $40k per year from credit cards will almost always benefit from their own merchant account.

Some processors group you together with thousands of other small businesses and allow you to process with a joint merchant account. What this means is that your funds are initially deposited into their merchant account instead of straight into your own account. This is important because these processors have aggressive fraud prevention measures in place meaning that when fraud is suspected, they will quickly hold your funds to investigate – which will lead to funding delays. Additionally, without your own merchant account, the processor’s name may appear alongside your own business name on your customers’ statements – which can both confuse your customers and limit your brand exposure.

Top Payment Processors in Canada

(in alphabetical order)

Chase Paymentech

https://en.chasepaymentech.ca/
Quick glance
Founded in 1985
Headquartered Dallas, Texas, USA
A subsidiary of JPMorgan
Merchant account provider
Best for
Medium and large-sized brick-and-mortar retail businesses processing a higher amount and who want state-of-the-art technology.

Product Scope

  • Web terminal
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • Ingenico ICT220 with IPP320 PIN Pad
    • Ingenico IWL220 Short Range
    • VeriFone VX680 3G Long Range
  • Mobile processing
  • Reporting
  • Recurring billing

Ease of use

Chase has an award-winning payment gateway and web terminal.

Customer Service

There are a higher-than-average number of reviews regarding bad post-sales service and chargeback support, as well as long support wait times. They also do not have a substantial social media presence. On the positive side, Chase provides many instructional videos, training materials, as well as comprehensive how-to guides on reading Chase statements (one of the most transparent in the industry), and their customer service help desk is open 24/7.

Pricing

The published qualified rate on their site is 1.65% + $0.25 (with existing equipment). Chase has a 36-month contract with a $300 cancellation fee, and traditional terminals can be rented, leased, or purchased. They have a monthly fee of $9.95 and chargeback fees, and may charge set-up fees but do not charge any PCI fees.
PROS
  • Can accept payments in more than 130 currencies (settles in USD or CAD).
  • Offers seasonal downtime for most merchants.
CONS
  • Reportedly doesn’t give warnings about withholding funds or freezing accounts.
  • Inconsistencies with sub-ISOs who may charge PCI fees and not disclose contract agreement.

Elavon

https://elavon.ca/
Quick glance
Founded in 1991
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
One of the largest payment processors
Merchant account provider
Best for
Medium to large businesses.

Product Scope

  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • Ingenico Telium2 iCT250 + iPP320
    • VeriFone VX520
    • Ingenico iWL220B
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Tablet POS
  • Web terminal
  • Recurring billing
  • Reporting
  • Mobile processing

Ease of use

For a company as big as Elavon, they continue to innovate in the payment industry (eCommerce SDK and mobile POS system). In addition, their online reporting is competitive with industry standards.

Customer Service

The Elavon support team is U.S-based and available 24/7 (it’s also available in 13 different countries). They don’t have a strong social media support channel and have received a number of complaints about poor customer service.

Pricing

Elavon offers a wide range of pricing but the most common is their Costco offer of 1.56% for swiped, qualified transactions and 2.07% for non-qualified transactions. Elavon has a monthly fee of $10 and charges a PCI fee of $175. Their contracts are month-to-month agreements, but there have been some reports of termination fees that include liquidated damages (predicted losses when you cancel your contract early).
PROS
  • No cancellation fee.
  • Has an informative website and seems to be transparent with rates.
CONS
  • Reports of withheld funds and termination of accounts.
  • They have many ISOs reselling Elavon services, which means there is often inconsistent service and rates.

First Data

https://www.firstdata.com/en_ca/home.html
Quick glance
Founded in 1969
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Helped create Google Wallet
Merchant account provider
Best for
Larger businesses that are processing at around $100k or more

Product Scope

  • eCommerce gateway
  • Web terminal
  • Reporting
  • Tablet POS
  • Recurring billing
  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • iWL252 Bluetooth
    • VX 820 Duet Wired
    • VX 680 WiFi Bluetooth or 3G Wireless
  • Mobile credit and debit processing

Ease of use

First Data’s products are advanced, innovative, and on the leading edge of payments technology.

Customer Service

They have 24/7 support by phone, email, and live chat. First Data also has a strong social media presence and lots of resources, tools, and complementary services for customers. Customer complaints generally focus on customer service, billing and service disputes, and the omission of important contract details.

Pricing

First Data’s processing rates are not displayed on their website, and they charge fees for PCI compliance, customer service, chargebacks, and early termination. First Data contracts are generally 4 years.
PROS
  • Offers seasonal downtime.
  • Provides a number of add-on tools that help with PCI compliance, reporting, fraud prevention, and chargeback dispute resolution.
CONS
  • Cancellation fees and contract conditions may vary whether you go direct or with one of their resellers.
  • The hardware and software are proprietary so you must use the company’s products to operate.

Global Payments

https://www.globalpaymentsinc.com/canada
Quick glance
Founded in 1967
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
One of the largest payment processors
Merchant account provider
Best for
Businesses that are processing in the ballpark of $100 million or more.

Product Scope

  • Web terminal
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Recurring billing
  • Tablet POS
  • Reporting
  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • IWL 255 3G
    • VX 675 3G
    • iCT250 Countertop Contactless
    • iWL250B Short Range Wireless
    • VX 820 Duet
  • Mobile processing

Ease of use

Global Payments offers a wide range of easy-to-use products that cover in-person, online, and mobile transactions.

Customer Service

Global Payments has 24/7 technical support and general customer service. They have a FAQ section but their website lacks a knowledge-base and educational material in general. Poor customer service is a common thread in complaints about Global Payments, however, they have a fairly low volume of complaints given their size.

Pricing

There is no public disclosure of rates and fees but typically, they have a 3-year contract with an auto-renewal clause, alongside an early termination fee of $100-$500. They have also been known to offer month-to-month contracts with no early termination fee. There are some reports of undisclosed fees such as cancellation, PCI, and monthly fees, and their transaction costs typically involve hidden non-qualified surcharges.
PROS
  • International processing: converts over 30 commonly transacted currencies.
  • Can accommodate seasonal businesses.
CONS
  • Contract term and cancellation fee may vary depending on if you sign up with one of their resellers.
  • There are multiple reports of difficulties with account closes.

Moneris

http://www.moneris.com/
Quick glance
Founded in 2000
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada
A business owned by RBC and BMO
Merchant account provider
Best for
Medium-large businesses or small businesses looking to expand quickly.

Product Scope

  • Mobile credit and debit processing
  • Web terminal
  • Tablet POS
  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • IWL 255
    • Vx 810 Duet
    • iCT 250
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Reporting

Ease of use

Moneris offers an array of innovative payment solutions and services that keep up with industry trends.

Customer Service

Moneris support is 24/7 via phone and includes a merchant direct secure message center, however, their customer service is frequently rated as poor, due to a lack of response to complaints and rude support reps. The most common complaints about Moneris focus on their poor customer service. Moneris is active over social media and has a wide range of resources like training tutorials on YouTube, manuals, troubleshooting guides, and installation instructions.

Pricing

While pricing is not disclosed on their website, there are reports of large set-up fees (usually $250). Generally, their contracts are three years with subsequent automatic 1-year renewals if the merchant does not submit adequate written early cancellation notice. In addition, Moneris typically charges an early termination fee between $250-$300 as well as either monthly or quarterly PCI compliance fees.
PROS
  • Accommodates seasonal businesses for up to 6 months.
  • With partnerships with companies like Sage Accounting, RBC, and BMO, Moneris is able to provide additional services such as inventory and sales tracking capabilities.
  • Offers additional product offerings like office supplies.
CONS
  • Frequent reports of technical issues and billing problems.
  • Many reports of unexpected and excessive cancellation fees, hidden processing/monthly fees, and broken promises of refunds and rebates.
  • Proprietary POS means their software is only compatible with their hardware.

Payfirma

https://www.payfirma.com/
Quick glance
Founded in 2010
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada
Partnered with CIBC, one of the world’s strongest banks
Merchant account provider
Best for
Businesses looking to take payments in multiple ways with a single platform.

Product Scope

  • Mobile processing
  • Web terminal
  • eCommerce
  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • Vx 820
    • Vx 680
    • Wireless iWL 250
  • Recurring billing
  • Invoicing
  • Reporting
  • Integrations

Ease of use

Both their payments platform, PayHQ, and website are very user-friendly and intuitive. Payfirma has been regularly awarded for their product and platform innovation and for offering true omnichannel payment processing. Payfirma allows merchants to access all their payment data in a single dashboard. Payfirma was the first merchant service provider to bring mobile payments to the Canadian market.

Customer Service

Payfirma has industry-leading customer service with 24/7 phone support and was recently a winner in the Frost & Sullivan 2016 Customer Service Excellence Recognition Program. Payfirma offers support via social media channels, email, and live chat and provides many online resources as well as an extensive self-help support center, complete with videos.

Pricing

Payfirma’s monthly rate of $19 gives businesses access to the entire suite of Payfirma payment and reporting tools. They do not charge PCI fees. There are no cancellation fees for their cloud-based services (PayHQ) but for eCommerce and terminal accounts, the cancellation fee is $300-$500.
PROS
  • Seven different payment channels with just one account.
  • Transparent pricing with no hidden fees.
CONS
  • May not be cost-efficient for smaller or seasonal businesses that process below $40,000 per year.
  • Only available in Canada and the USA.

PayPal

https://www.paypal.com/ca/
Quick glance
Founded in 1998
Headquartered in San Jose, California
Looked at as the default payment method for online business owners and eBay sellers worldwide
Best for
Smaller online merchants

Product Scope

  • Mobile processing
  • Invoicing
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Recurring billing
  • Reporting
  • Web terminal

Ease of use

PayPal services are very easy to set up and integrate with just about any shopping cart, accounting application, or shipping software.

Customer Service

PayPal is very active on social media; they have a Twitter, Facebook, and AskPayPal account. However, the quality of phone support is reported to be inconsistent.

Pricing

They are very transparent with terms, and pricing has no contracts or early termination fees. They do, however, have a chargeback fee. The pro solution has a monthly fee of $35/month. There are volume discounts, with the lowest being 1.9% + $0.30.

  • Process 0-3000/month, you pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

  • Process 3000-10000/month, you pay 2.5% + $0.30 per transaction

  • Process more than 10,000, you pay 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction

  • Process more than 100,000, you’re eligible for special pricing

PROS
  • The sheer number of users means that every time you encounter a problem, you can probably find the answer via web search.
  • PayPal is widely accepted; it’s available in 203 markets.
CONS
  • They often hold/freeze seller’s funds and will not hesitate to shut down accounts if they suspect suspicious activity.
  • There is limited seller protection.

Square

https://squareup.com/ca/
Quick glance
Founded in 2009
Headquartered in San Francisco, California
Credited with bringing mobile payments to the U.S. market
Best for
Small and/or seasonal businesses processing a low volume, infrequently, and/or those having low average tickets.

Product Scope

  • Mobile processing
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Invoicing
  • Reporting
  • Tablet POS
  • NFC/EMV-enabled chip reader

Ease of use

Square is known for providing simple solutions for small businesses. Square’s account set-up is quick and their interface is extremely easy to use. They offer a great iPad application that includes an advanced inventory management system and a sleek online store that syncs with your in-app inventory.

Customer Service

There are many accounts of poor and often inconsistent customer service. Square has email and Twitter support and a vast self-serve knowledge base but offers no phone support. Square also has many complaints regarding funds held for extended periods due to high individual transactions or monthly processing amounts.

Pricing

Square offers 2.65% for swiped transactions, and 3.4% + $0.15 for keyed-in transactions. Their Square stand is $99 each, chip card reader is $49, and their mobile card reader is free at sign up. Square has no monthly fees or contracts.
PROS
  • Offers add-ons (inventory and customer management and appointments) and integrations (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.)
  • Has a robust iPad POS system (kitchen display compatibility, tip functionality, receipt printing, etc.)
CONS
  • Their flat rate is higher than competitors so might not make sense for businesses processing at a high volume.
  • Account instability and funding holds due to rigid fraud risk protection policies.

Stripe

https://stripe.com/ca
Quick glance
Founded in 2011
Headquartered in San Francisco, California
Ideal for developers as they offer a highly customizable API
Makes it easy for companies to do business online
Best for
Merchants looking for everything from in-app payments to online marketplace transactions, low-volume businesses processing less than $10k per month, developers, and tech start-ups.

Product Scope

  • eCommerce API (Stripe Checkout & Stripe Connect)
  • Mobile processing
  • Reporting
  • Recurring billing

Ease of use

Stripe makes it simple to take payments online and within mobile apps. Integration is quick and easy between the Stripe payments platform using a variety of languages (Curl, Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Node, etc.)

Customer Service

While Stripe has no phone support, they do offer support via email and social media channels. Customers can also get updates on Stripe service uptimes via Twitter and at Status.stripe.com.

Pricing

Stripe has a flat fee structure; Customers get 2.9% + $0.30 until you hit the $1 million/year mark. There is a chargeback fee of $15 if it’s not decided in your favor. There are no monthly or early termination fees.
PROS
  • Available in 21 countries and has beta programs in a number of others.
  • Offers 4-day payouts to Canada-based merchants.
CONS
  • Frequent account holds and lack of fraud protection.
  • Powerful tools for a niche market (developers and large eCommerce enterprises), but not ideal for most everyday merchants or small to medium-sized businesses.

TD Merchant Services

https://www.tdcanadatrust.com/products-services/small-business/merchant-services/index.jsp
Quick glance
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada
Only payment solution that is also a major Canadian bank
Merchant account provider
Best for
Merchants who are existing TD customers.

Product Scope

  • Mobile credit and debit processing
  • Traditional terminals (most common)
    • TD Generation WiFi Wireless Terminal
    • Freedom IV Countertop Terminal
    • TD Generation: All-In-One Terminal
  • eCommerce gateway
  • Web terminal
  • Reporting

Ease of use

As the only processor that is also a large major bank, TD Merchant services has a wide range of innovative payment solutions, including mobile debit capabilities.

Customer Service

TD Merchant Services offers 24/7 support online and on-site technical services within 4 hours. However, there are several reports of bad service experiences – particularly for smaller businesses.

Pricing

There’s no pricing mentioned on their website; they look at the client’s relationship with the bank and price merchants accordingly. There is a $150 set-up fee and monthly fee, as well as fees for chargebacks, PCI compliance, and early termination.
PROS
  • One-stop shop: merchants can get a bank account, a credit card, a loan, and payment processing, as well as many add-on services.
CONS
  • Costs may not make sense for small business merchants who are not TD customers.

SUMMARY CHART - FEATURES

 eCommerce APIInvoicingMobile App / Card ReaderRecurring BillingTablet POSTraditional TerminalWeb/Virtual TerminalReporting
Chase Paymentech  
Elavon 
First Data 
Global Payments 
Moneris  
Payfirma 
PayPal  
Square   
Stripe    
TD Merchant Services   

SUMMARY CHART - ALL

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