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Whether running a small e-commerce business or operating a large, multi-channel enterprise, getting payment processing services to accept your customer’s card payments, bank deposits and electronic checks is vital.

Politics aside, we’ll explain the benefits of choosing different merchant accounts and payment processing services for your e-commerce business.

First, let’s explore some of the top merchant accounts & card payment services today.

Card Payment

Our Top Picks of Best Merchant Accounts & Card Payment Services (UK) ๐Ÿ’ต

We’ve percolated some of the internet’s most relevant data to bring you this post as efficiently as possible - but your level of awareness will be the most important factor when choosing between these leading merchant accounts & card payment services.

Top Merchant Accounts & Card Payment Services 2024 ๐Ÿ“ฑ โ€“ Reviews ๐Ÿ“ก

Service ProviderRating
1. Worldpayโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Open Account
2. Zettleโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Open Account
3. Squareโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Open Account
4. Stripeโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Open Account
5. Cardstreamโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Open Account

1. Worldpay โ€“ Overall Top Merchant Accounts & Payment Services Pick

Worldpay is one of the most popular payment processing services for online merchants. 

They handle billions of dollars in financial transactions every year, which makes them a great choice for businesses that need access to card processing services.

However, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of using Worldpay before signing up your business. This article covers everything you need to know before choosing a Worldpay merchant account. Let’s take a look...


Worldpay got its start in the mid-1980s, when it was started by William M. “Bud” Hermanson as a direct-mail marketing company. As the company grew, they began offering their services to online merchants, and in 2000, they launched their Merchant Account Services division. Today, they process billions of dollars in transactions every year, and they’ve grown to become one of the largest payment processors in the world.

Worldpay helps online merchants send and receive payments. If a customer makes a purchase on your website and places an order with a retailer, you’ll receive the proceeds of that sale. This is where Worldpay comes in. They help you process the payment. You sign up for their merchant account and then link it to your website. 

Customers who want to make purchases simply enter their credit card information and click “Send.” Then, Worldpay transfers the funds from the customer’s account to pay you. If you’re selling goods that don’t come with a receipt, like tickets to an event, then you’ll also have to provide Worldpay with a ticket. This is so Worldpay can track the sale. 

You can either print out and sign the ticket or have a digital ticket uploaded to your account. When a customer makes a purchase with a credit card, Worldpay updates their billing information with the merchant address, amount, and payment method.


A merchant account provides the infrastructure you need to accept credit cards as a business and other forms of payment. As a result, these accounts often come with higher fees than other payment systems. However, Worldpay is one of the more affordable merchant account providers, with fees typically around 2.9% + £0.25 per each transaction.

If you have a high volume of sales, then you may want to consider a more expensive provider, like First Data or Mercurynet. However, if you have a low volume of transactions, then using a more affordable provider like Worldpay could save you money.

What Sized Business Should Use It?

Worldpay has low rates for most businesses. This means that even small online retailers can use it. However, there are some things to keep in mind, depending on the size of your business. Worldpay does have higher rates for businesses that have a high volume of transactions (more than £1.8 million per year). If your sales volume is this high, then you’ll want to look at First Data or Mercurynet instead.

Worldpay is a great choice for businesses that accept debit cards, credit cards, and electronic payments. As long as your business fits this criteria, you should be able to use Worldpay. However, if your business doesn’t fit the criteria above, you shouldn’t use Worldpay.

While Worldpay is a great payment processing service that many merchants use, you should use a payment processing company that meets your specific needs and requirements. Worldpay is a good choice for businesses that accept electronic payments, but it’s a bad choice for businesses that can’t accept electronic payments. For example, a restaurant with a limited number of tables or a car dealership with limited inventory shouldn’t use Worldpay. Overall get: 

  • โ˜‘๏ธ Wide variety of payment options - This is often the top reason why businesses choose a payment processing service. With Worldpay, you get access to a variety of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, and electronic funds transfers. 
  • โ˜‘๏ธ Easy Monthly Reporting - Many businesses choose a payment processing company because they’re able to easily report their sales and expenses with the monthly statement. Worldpay provides easy-to-understand reports that help you keep track of your business. 
  • โ˜‘๏ธ Quicker Escalation Service - If you deal with sales that are high risk, or if you want to quickly escalate a problem, Worldpay has a service that can help you with this. It can be useful if you deal with sales that are high risk, or if you want to quickly escalate a problem with a customer. 
  • โ˜‘๏ธ No surcharges - Another pro that many businesses like about Worldpay is that they don’t add any surcharges to your credit card processing fees.


  • Wide variety of payment options
  • Easy monthly reporting
  • No surcharges
  • Quicker escalation service


  • Monthly fees
  • No free trial

2. Zettle โ€“ Great Merchant Accounts & Payment Services for Mobile & Hospitality

You want a wireless system that works no matter where you go. One that suits the always-on-foot nature of hospitality. All while still being able to take customer payments. 

That’s what Zettle is designed for… It’s a payment processor that aims to compete with more well-known processors like Authorise, Stripe and PayPal.

It has a lot of competition in this industry space and that could prove to be a challenge for them in the long run. It’s an online e-commerce payment processing tool that lets you accept payments from customers on your website without having to worry about anything else. It handles everything from setting up your store through managing your money. You can even set up multiple storefronts using the same account.

History of the Company

Zettle was founded in 2011 by three Swedish entrepreneurs. The company began offering e-commerce services for online retailers after their initial investors were unable to find a bank that would offer banking services to SMBs.

The founders of Zettle were seeking to offer a better payment solution for small businesses. Zettle focused on offering low cost carrier services for accepting credit cards, as well as a variety of payment options for e-commerce stores. What Sets Zettle Apart? Zettle offers online payment services. All you have to do is setup an account and you can start accepting payments online. Zettle charges a one-time fee of £81 per month to get started and then charges a low fee of 2.9%.


The main difference between Zettle and other payment processors is that they don’t charge transaction fees or monthly fees. The only fee you will have to pay is a £81 setup fee. After that, you only have to pay 2.9% + 25 pence per transaction. This is very low compared to other payment processors that charge anywhere between 3.5% – 5% per transaction. This makes Zettle one of the best payment processors for e-commerce.

What Sized Business Should Use It?

Zettle is a great choice for startups, businesses that need to accept just one credit card, and small businesses that don’t expect to make a lot of revenue. Zettle is more about giving you a low cost solution for accepting payments online than about being the best for large-scale ecommerce.


  • Low cost payment processing
  • Easy to use software (no monthly fees or transaction fees)
  • No chargeback or chargeback prevention issues
  • Low transaction rates


  • No support for recurring payments
  • No data import for importing data from other sources like Excel

3. Square โ€“ Excellent Merchant Accounts & Payment Service for Ongoing Compatibility

When Square launched in 2010, it was a breath of fresh air for the financial industry.

It made it easy to accept credit card payments, no matter who you are or what your budget is. But in less than two years, however, that initial excitement has given way to growing pains.

The company is struggling to keep up with increased competition and changing customer needs using secure encryption protocols. Whatever progress the company’s been making feels like it’s backfiring on them at this point. Here’s why:

History of the Company

Square was founded in 2010 by a team of engineers who were frustrated with the banking industry’s incompatibility with the rapidly changing technology sector. As any half-decent business person will tell you, however, it’s hard to be led by your ideals when you’re also trying to be a real, money-making business. 

At this point, Square is in a challenging position – its rivals are already closing in, and it’s in the midst of an existential crisis.

How It Works

A merchant can sign up for an account with a Square terminal and get it connected to an app on their smartphone. This app can read an account number from a customer’s credit card, store the transaction details, and give the merchant the funds from the customer’s bank account, all with just a few taps. It’s what’s known as “cash-free” checkout and it’s something that’s next-level cool.


The service is free for the merchant, and the actual credit card processing is handled by a company called Acquia. Square, on the other hand, gets a 2.75% transaction fee, which is higher than the industry standard. The company has said that they’re working to reduce that fee, but they’re unlikely to beat the 3.5% they were charging back in 2010.

What Sized Business Should Use Square?

Small offices, such as a freelance writer’s, can save a ton of time with a Square setup. It can also be useful for a restaurant that does a lot of take-out orders. And for a home business like teaching a martial arts class, it’s a game changer.


  • No cash or credit card fees
  • No deposit required
  • All the data is securely stored on the phone
  • Customer service is available 24/7
  • Automated reporting


  • Setup is cumbersome for some
  • Linking is easy for some, difficult for others
  • Receiving funds can be delayed

4. Stripe โ€“ World-Leading Merchant Accounts & Payment Services for Trust

Stripe is one of the most popular payment solutions available today. With over 100 million users, this company offers a risk-free way to accept credit card payments online.

Stripe was founded in 2011 by Patrick Landeros, John Collison, and ErikFG. The founders had a vision of creating an online payment system that was easy to use and extremely secure.

When they launched Stripe, they were the first company to offer a risk-free method for accepting credit cards online. Today, the business has over 100 million users and is available in 100 countries. The popularity of Stripe has grown exponentially over the years. 

The company has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Small Companies and has been included in Inc. 500 and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500. Stripe has also been featured in publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. In addition, Stripe was named a Cool Vendor by Zion Market Research, a Recognized Vendor by VAR Insight, and a Fast Growth Company by Gartner.

How It Works

When someone makes a payment using Stripe, the payment gateway and payment processor work together to handle the transaction. The payment gateway is the part that receives payments from customers. The payment processor is the part that handles the transaction and handles your financial information. 

There are multiple payment processors that you can use to accept payments on your website. The most popular includes Stripe. With over 100 million users and more than one hundred countries where the payment service is available, this is a truly global platform. To begin using Stripe, you’ll need to get a Stripe account. 

After you have an account, you can then create a Stripe account on your website. You can then link the account to your bank account to begin accepting payments.


The fees to use Stripe depend on your country and the type of account you are using. For example, if you are accepting payments in the United States, Canada, and most other countries, the fee is 2.9%. In addition, if you are using a corporate account, the fee is slightly lower at 2.74%.

What Sized Business Should Use It?

While you can use Stripe for both e-commerce and subscription businesses, it is primarily used for online payment solutions. Although it can be used for many different types of business, Stripe is primarily used for two main things: accepting payments and collecting subscriptions. 

For accepting payments, Stripe is a great option for small and medium-sized businesses. It’s a cost-effective solution for businesses with fewer than 100 transactions per month. The low monthly fee makes it a great option for small and medium-sized businesses looking to start accepting credit card payments. 

For collecting subscriptions, Stripe is also a great option. For example, if you’re running a fitness or wellness brand, Stripe can help you easily collect payments from customers. In addition, Stripe has several subscription solutions, so you can choose the one best suited for your business.


  • Easy to set up and use
  • Unlike many other credit card payment systems, Stripe is free to get started
  • Accepts almost any type of credit card


  • Not recommended for e-commerce sites

5. Cardstream โ€“ Best Merchant Accounts & Payment Services for Small Businesses

In the digital age, businesses that want to stay competitive now have to operate like a digital business. That means being nimble, agile and able to respond quickly.

And that’s where card reading software company Cardstream comes in. Their digital payment processing solution is designed for small businesses that need an effective way to accept payments from customers and grow their business.

This blog will take you through everything you need to know about using the Cardstream API. You’ll learn how the API works, what kinds of data you can access via it, as well as some common pitfalls that you should watch out for when using the API.

History of the Company

Cardstream was founded in 2006 by a team of online payment veterans. The company was founded with one goal in mind: to make it easier for small businesses to accept credit cards online. It was created by a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to create an easy digital payment solution for their own small business, which is why it was founded at the time.

Where it's been - Cardstream's core aim has always been to make online payment processing easier for small businesses. In the early days, the company initially operated out of the founders’ home. After growing rapidly and reaching profitability, the founders then recognised the opportunity to help other small businesses grow and expand their customer bases. 

In 2010, Cardstream made the decision to build its own processing platform, rather than rely on a third-party processor. This was to ensure complete control over every aspect of its business, and to also ensure that there were no quality issues with any outsourced technology.

How It Works

Cardstream’s API allows you to process credit cards and bank transfer payments through the card reading software. The process is fairly straightforward: You go through the same steps you go through to process a card payment with your customer. 

Credit Cards - The customer approves the payment and encrypts the card details before sending it to you for processing. The information you need to process a payment are the customer’s name, customer number, expiry date and the amount. 

Bank Transfers - A payment is made through a bank transfer. Once you receive the payment, you’ll have the same data you need for processing a credit card payment.


Cardstream’s pricing model is straightforward and transparent. You pay a transaction fee every time a payment is processed through the platform. There’s also a per-transaction rate that you pay per card read. This is what it costs you to receive information on each card read.

What Sized Business Should Use It?

Small businesses that need to accept digital payments. If you run a small business and want to accept credit card payments, you’ll need to use card reading software. Most business credit cards come with reward programs that can offer your business an advantage over customers who use debit cards. You can also use card reading software to accept recurring payments, such as subscription payments or recurring advertising fees.


  • Free to try
  • Low rates
  • Flexible payment options
  • Easy to set up


  • App implementation - If you want to integrate Cardstream with an existing software solution, youโ€™ll need to write some code

Buying Guide

Before landing on your perfect choice of merchant accounts & payment services, we’re going to give you more information to go with. Information isn’t power - awareness is. But this section is designed for those who just want a bit more context.

What is a Merchant Account?

A merchant account is the gateway that funds your business’s financial transactions. It will allow you to accept credit card transactions and bank transfers as payments, and it’ll also allow you to receive paper checks for items you sell, or to write your own checks. 

A merchant account gives a business access to the banking system, so it can accept credit card payments, as well as cash and paper checks. It also allows you to set up automatic payments with a merchant account.

Merchant Account

Why Do You Need a Merchant Account? 

A merchant account is useful for businesses that want to accept credit card, bank transfers, and paper checks as forms of payment. A merchant account provides a way for banks to process your transactions, and charge you a fee for doing so.

What is a Payment Service?

A payment service is the merchant account + ATM network + online banking + fraud monitoring + transaction reporting + data analytics + payment card network + payment card reader combination. 

There are dozens of different payment services available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks: 

  • Google’s AdWords, Bing, and Doubleclick ads service
  • Paytm shopping and recharges
  • Alibaba’s Alipay and Yu’e Bao online e-commerce payments
  • Amazon’s AWS cloud computing, S3 storage, and EC2 server-based services.

Co-operative Payment Systems

The co-operative payment system is a network of over 2,500 credit unions in India that offer money transfer services to their members. These cooperatives are owned by the members who are part of them, and they charge small fees for their services. 

Co-operative credit unions are owned by their members, and many of them offer small-business loans, cash transfers, and insurance among other services. They are governed by a democratic board of directors, and they offer a wide range of financial services to their members. Co-operative credit unions in India are owned by their members, and offer a wide range of financial services.

Top Merchant Accounts & Card Payment Services ๐Ÿ“’ โ€“ FAQs

What is the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

The UPI is an open platform that enables instant money transfer between mobile phone numbers. It’s used by many  mobile wallet providers, and it’s supported by almost all mobile phone networks. 

This payments service enables you to transfer money to and from your bank accounts and mobile phone numbers, and it’s easy to manage and secure. You can send and receive money at any UPI-enabled merchant, bank, or service provider. The UPI is an open banking standard platform that enables instant money transfer between mobile phone numbers. 

What Are ‘Card not present’ Pros & Cons?

Card not present payments are the fastest growing type of payment, but they’re also the most vulnerable to fraud. These are payments made with credit cards that are not presented at the time of purchase. 

Card not present payments are the fastest growing type of payment. They’re also the most vulnerable to fraud, as they’re most likely to be targeted by criminals. These payments are made with credit cards that are not presented at the time of purchase. 

These payments are often made online, but they can also be made by phone. Card not present payments are a growing payment method, but they’re also the most likely type of payment to be targeted by criminals.