small business merchant account

Getting the right merchant account for a small business can be a tricky task. There are so many options to choose from and all seem to be offering different yet similar products. To help you make the right choice, we’ve compared the best merchant accounts in the UK for small businesses. Below you’ll find a a comparison table that highlights key features as well as short overviews of the benefits each company can offer you.

Prices for merchant accounts can vary and tend to be cheaper for more established businesses with lower credit risks. This makes it a good idea to review your merchant account annually to see if you can reduce your fees. BMA can help you secure the best merchant account deals for your small business or SME by helping you to compare offers for free!

In this article we’ll compare the best merchant accounts for small businesses in 2017 as well as taking a quick look at how you can reduce the cost of merchant account fees.


  1. Merchant account provider comparison
    1. World Pay
    2. Payment Sense
    3. First Data
    4. Payzone
    5. Sage Pay
    6. Global Payments
  2. How to reduce merchant account fee
  3. What if my small business is considered high risk?
  4. Next Steps: Getting a merchant account for your business

Compare the Best & Cheapest Merchant Accounts in 2017

There are numerous companies that offer merchant services throughout the UK, which can make it difficult to find the right merchant account for your business.

To help you make the right decision for your business, Best Merchant Accounts has compared the UK’s leading merchant service providers into a handy table. You can quickly compare key features and then read more detailed reviews below.

For free, no-obligation price quotes from the suppliers below, just fill in the form at the top of this page.

ContactlessFraud Risk
24/7 SupportJoining Fee?
World PayYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Payment SenseYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
First DataYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Sage PayYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Global PaymentsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Cheapest UK Merchant Account Providers in 2017

Worldpay Merchant Account

worldpay merchant account
Worldpay is the UK’s leading provider of merchant accounts, offering secure and reliable transactions to businesses of any size. Worldpay currently work with over 300,000 small businesses and offer a range of ultra-competitive services.

Worldpay can provide any kind of PDQ machine needed by your business, whether its a roaming GPRS model or a static desktop one. They are also ideal partners for eCommerce businesses, as virtual terminals can enable card payments online, by phone or by email link.

Worldpay also offers additional ways to sell, which include linking your shopping basket to a secure payment page hosted by Worldpay or integrating the payment gateway directly into your website and managing the payment experience yourself.

Costs are kept down by flexible pricing plans that are tailored to your situation and there is no joining fee, which is a major plus point over many of its rivals. Monthly fees are determined by the package you opt for and range from £0.00 to £49.99 per month plus transactions fees.

To maximise peace of mind for both you and your customers, Worldpay has highly regarded fraud risk management services and a customer support line available 24/7.

Worldpay fees

Note: as most merchant account providers offer flexible fees on a ‘by business’ approach, we can only provide an overview of potential costs – these vary by the package you choose:

  • One off £150 terminal admin fee (face to face transactions)
  • Gateway fee, 10p per transaction (online transactions)
  • Take card payments over the phone for £9.95 per month (optional)
  • Take payments by email for £9.95 per month(optional)
  • Risk manager is 10p per transaction (optional)
  • Worldpay Benefits Club is £5.99 per month (optional)
  • My Business Dashboard is £4.99 per month (optional)
  • PCI Annual Management fee is £29.99 (optional)

Read more about: World Pay Merchant Accounts

Paymentsense Merchant Account

payment sense merchant account
Paymentsense is a UK based merchant account provider that specialises in working with SMEs. They are currently partnered with over 50,000 small businesses.

As you’d expect, Paymentsense offers the full range of face-to-face and online terminals you’ll need to reach your businesses potential. They also work quickly to get your transactions processing, with a card machine sent out to you within 3 days of application. If you need to take payments online, Paymentsense can have you ready to go within 24 hours.

Low card rates keep Paymentsense competitive when compared to their competitors, while the fact these rates are fixed means you won’t be surprised with price hikes at any point during your contract. In fact, Paymentsense are the only UK provider to offer capped contracted rates.

With all their packages, Paymentsense can offer you both a merchant account and payment gateway, online tools for fraud screening and reporting, digital invoices, more than 40 shopping carts and – best of all – no fixed contract.

Security is important too with all accounts being Tier 1 PCI DSS compliant.

Paymentsense fees

Note: most account providers negotiate rates with each individual business. The fees below represent potential costs – which can vary by the service you choose:

  • Starter Package
    • £8.30 per month
    • Process up to £50k per year
  • Basic Package
    • £12.45 per month
    • Process up to £250k per year
  • Pro Package
    • £16.60 per month
    • Process up to £1.2m per year

Read more about: Paymentsense Merchant Accounts

First Data Merchant Account

first data payment gateway

First Data has over 20 years of experience in the UK card acceptance and processing business, combining worldwide and localised knowledge to offer a service ideal for businesses of any size.

Their merchant services can cover mobile, contactless and portable card terminals, as well as online e-commerce solutions including the Clover EPOS system.

In fact, First Data’s e-commerce service is very in-depth, offering the ability to integrate payment gateways into your own website, which can help you collect more customer data through an API (application processing interface). First Data also make data management easy with highly functional and intuitive reporting tools that help you manage your business. Their ‘Global Choice ™’ service allows customers to make payments in their home currency.

First Data provide a highly secure merchant account service with a Data Vault storing secure data for future payments, as well as a dedicated team

First Data fees

Note: most providers arrange fees by the client, which makes it hard to be accurate with fees. The fees below are accurate as of the time of writing:

  • Monthly Gateway fee of £15 per merchant identification number (includes 500 online payments)
  • Variable transactions fees (for volumes over 500 transactions)
  • The cost of the Data Vault can vary for Corporate clients depending on volume

Read more about: First Data Merchant Accounts


Payzone Merchant Account

payzone merchant account

With no setup or exit fees and short-term, 12 month contracts, Payzone are a great choice for SMES looking for a new merchant account provider. As you’d expect, they can cover your card transaction needs by supplying you with countertop, portable, mobile or PDQ terminals. They can also facilitate online and phone payments, giving you maximum versatility with which to convert customers.

Payzone are quick to set up merchant accounts, with some card terminals up and running in minutes. Likewise, replacements are quickly shipped if an issue arises so that you don’t miss out on transactions. The latest security technology is used by Payzone, which helps to guarantee the safety of your customers.

If a query or issue does arise, then rest easy as Payzone offer UK-based support 7 days a week and if the problem can’t be resolved over the phone then they have local specialists who will be able to drop in and help you out.

With more than 25 years experience behind them, Payzone are a reliable and affordable choice for SMEs looking for a fast-processing merchant account.

Payzone fees

Note: merchant account fees vary by business and so the following are ony potential fees. These will be affected by the package you opt for:

  • There are no fees for set up or exit

Payzone have no other fees displayed on their website.

Sage Pay Merchant Account

sage pay
Sage Pay offer users a merchant account that will accept debit and credit card payments. They have various fees based on the different types of transactions users make.

Credit cards are charged a 2.5% transaction fee, debit cards 40p per transaction, business cards attract a 2.5% premium charge, AMEX cards have a 1.68% transaction fee and cards processed without 3D secure have a 0.5% charge for credit cards and 0.10 p for debit cards.

On an £1,500 per month sale split between debit and credit cards, transaction fees would be around £24.75, however on top of this there is a £10 per month PCI compliance fee and a charge for a payment gateway. Sage Pay have a three month notice period on their merchant accounts.

Read more about Sage Pay fees and reviews.

Global Payments Merchant Account

global payments merchant account

Global Payments is an American company listed on the Fortune 1000, whose UK headquarters are situated in Leicester. It acquired HSBC Merchant Services in 2009 and boasts a 20% market share in the UK based on transaction value.

For face-to-face transactions, Global Payments can supply any of the above mentioned terminals through one of two service offerings: Global PAY Now and Global POS Link.

Both offer rapid card processing and excellent security features. The key difference is that GPNow integrates terminals with an existing EPOS system via bluetooth, while GPLink connects desktop or fixed terminals straight to the till, so there’s no duplication of information.

For digital transactions, Global Payments offers GP Webpay and the more integrated Global Iris Solutions Platform. Both support all major credit cards.

GP Webpay may be more preferable to most businesses due to its flexible pricing, rapid processing and support for recurring payments (FastPay). In-depth reporting tools are also included.

Global Payments fees

Note: Fees are flexible and therefore we can only highlight potential additional costs you might expect to pay on top of transaction or monthly fees.

Global Payments does not list any fees on its website.

Read more about: Global Payments Merchant Accounts

How to reduce merchant account fees

If you are looking to reduce the amount your small business spends on a merchant account then are a a number of ways in which you can try and reduce your fees.

Federation of Small Businesses

Some merchant account providers offer users a discount if they are members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). In some cases, for example with NatWest, the reduction can be significant (up to £250) whereas other providers may offer less than this.

If you do opt for FSB membership it costs around £100, so make sure the savings you achieve will outweigh this investment.

Have a good credit rating

More established businesses are often charged less as they are perceived to be lower risk, so if you can prove your trading history to the account provider, they may well cut your costs.

Likewise, having a good credit rating, both personally and in terms of your business, can also reduce the amount you are charged.

Many providers will negotiate their fees so it is always worth contacting them to discuss the issue as many will be prepared to consider a reduction.

Shop around

As with many other contract services (phones, bank accounts, etc), you should always review your small business merchant account annually as better rates may be made available to new customers than existing ones.

To compare merchant account providers quickly and easily, just fill in the form at the top of this page.

Merchant accounts for high risk small businesses

A small business is usually considered high risk for one of two reasons:

  1. It conducts business within a risky industry, e.g. the high cancellation rates of an independent travel operator
  2. It has an unreliable cashflow, e.g. a debt collections agency

These two factors determine the health and viability of your small business in the eyes of merchant account providers.

If your small business is considered high risk then it may prove harder or more expensive to secure a merchant account. However, this isn’t to say that you definitely can’t get one – of course you can, just with the following strings attached:

  • Higher costs
  • Higher set-up fees
  • Higher transaction fees
  • Must be able to hit a minimum transaction target per month

These may seem touch, bu the as you might have guessed ,the advantages of having a merchant account and being able to process transactions, far outweighs the requirements noted above.

Once your business becomes more successful and you can prove its viability to your merchant service provider, then you could even try to renegotiate your rates to secure a better price for your small business.

Read more: High Risk Merchant Accounts

Next Steps: Getting a merchant account for your business

To compare the best merchant accounts for small businesses, you jsut need to complete the form on top of this page or click the button below.

Once we know complete the form, one of our team will contact you to find out a bit more about your unique business needs and then match you to the best merchant accounts for your requirements – it really couldn’t be simpler.

So, what are you waiting for! Fill in the form now!


Author - Nigel Vaughan

Nigel has over 10 years experience in digital marketing, and loves tech and all kinds of electronics. A keen cyclist and cycle-tourist, he has cycled through 25 countries worldwide.