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What is a payment service provider and how to pick the best one

17 December 2018 Product Information

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve had an exciting business idea, but are wondering how to turn doing what you love into money in the bank.

However, a bank is just one part of the equation. Sitting at the heart of is a payment service provider.


What is a payment service provider?

A payment service provider handles all aspects of a card transaction. After all, people want to bring their ideas to life, not worry about PCI DSS compliance, transaction fees or payment gateways. So we do it all for them. Each year, we process £10Bn in payments for over 70,000 small businesses, handling everything from the initial transaction to sending cleared funds to their bank accounts. We take care of compliance, security, fee processing and more – leaving owners free to focus on their passion.


What to look for when choosing a payment service provider

  • Ideally, a payment service provider should be able to handle multiple payment types.
  • Some specialise on in-store or online payments, but using separate processing services just creates more work for you. You’ll need to deal with each separately, pay for each separately and hope that their software can integrate easily.
  • Whether a transaction happens online, in store over the phone of by email, we offer our customers all the services they need under one roof.


What types of card machines can you get with your payment service provider?

Our card machines can take payment using Chip & PIN and Contactless, including Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also use them to take payment over the phone and even on the road. There are three kinds:


  • Countertop machines are suited to businesses with fixed points of sale – a till on a countertop.
  • Portable machines use wifi and Bluetooth to let you take payment to your customers, making them ideal for cafes, bars, B&Bs, and restaurants.
  • Mobile card machines feature a built-in SIM and ideal if you travel to trade shows, markets or events. Wherever you find a mobile signal, you can take payment.


Do they offer integrated payments?

38% of small businesses report weekly revenue loss. That’s not a small figure.  It happens because few connect their card machines to their till. So transaction figures must be keyed in twice: once in the machine, again at the till. This is where mistakes happen, especially if you’re rushed off your feet. When your figures don’t match, income is lost (and sometimes tempers, too). Integrated payments keep your card machine and till connected via the cloud, so you only enter figures once, eliminating loss completely. Some payment service providers charge for integrated payments, but not us. We include it at no extra cost: all our customers stand to lose is loss itself.

How much do they charge for payment services?

There are regular costs you’ll need to consider when taking card payments. These include:


Card machine hire. Renting has many advantages and ensures you’ll always receive the latest model with up-to-date software and security features. Should it develop a fault, we’ll have a replacement with you within 24 hours.


Payment Gateway services. A payment gateway is like a virtual card machine that lets you

take payments online, over the phone and even by email. It’s handy if your business doesn’t have any premises, and a great backup for businesses with premises. Our payment gateway service starts at £8.30 a month. Click here for more details.


Transaction fees. These are a percentage of the value of each card transaction and help cover processing costs. The precise cost depends on your business’s turnover.


PCI compliance fees. If you’re taking card payments, you’ll need to comply with industry-wide security called PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to protect your customers’ data. We can take care of this for you for £4.95/month (billed quarterly). Even better, for an optional, annual cost of £27.95, we can take care of all 300 compliance questions for you with a single phone call.


Do they offer 24/7 support?

We believe people starting their own businesses deserve all the help they can get which is why we won’t charge you any set-up fees, saving you up to £100.

And we won’t charge you for opening a merchant account, either. (A merchant account acts as a halfway house between your business bank account and your customer’s bank account, and is where transaction fees and processing costs are taken from.)

Superb customer service is a given: our technical support team are on call 24/7 to help with queries or issues with your card machine. And should your card machine stop working, we’ll have a replacement with you in 24 hours.


Find out how much it costs to take card payments in 3 minutes.

We can’t publish across-the-board costs simply because no two businesses are alike. The kind of business you’re starting, the number of card machines you need, your turnover and transaction volume all affect the price you’ll pay.

However, we can give you an accurate quote in moments. We just need a few details from you and a quick call.

Click here to get started, and find the right payment system for your business.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.