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The 10 Best Retail Merchant Accounts

Your retail business needs a dependable processor with competitive services in order to reach more customers. However, finding the best one can be a huge undertaking. There are several merchant account providers in the UK and each one comes with a set of their own advantages and disadvantages.

When searching for the right processor, it’s important to consider account fees, available support, contract specifics in regards to duration, ability to cancel, fraud protection, high risk management and other services that can provide support for your retail business. You need to evaluate your company’s priorities, such as online processing, mobile card machines and more.

We’ve tried to take a bit of the work off of your shoulders by compiling a list of the 10 best retail processors in the UK, identifying pros, cons and specialty features to help you make an informed decision.

You should also never go with a processor that doesn’t provide multiple levels of security. All of the following processors are 3-D Secure, which includes a number of screening tools to keep your transactions safe from fraud.

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CardConnect is a merchant account provider that offers omnichannel solutions for in-store, online, and mobile sales. Their payment processing solutions are “out-of-the-box” and easily integrated into any existing software and POS systems.

The Pros

Great choice for businesses looking to integrate a payment processing tool into their existing software. They offer Clover, which is a POS system that is customizable and features over 425 applications. Month to month contracts are available to some users. This is a hybrid of both an integrated credit card processing tool that can also be transitioned into POS system.

The Cons

There is a lack of transparency in the application process as well as its contracts. Steer clear of  independent sales agents, they are notorious for charging high above market value and including hidden fees. Some merchants have reported being locked into contracts as long as 5 years, with an early termination fee of $750.

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FirstData serves a wide variety of smaller merchant clientele such as retail and food & beverage. It offers state of the art credit card processing tools and point of sales systems that are both effective and cost-effective.

The Pros

FirsData provides its merchants with not only credit card processing solutions, but also ecommerce, rewards programs, cash advances, security for data, insights and analytics tools, and much more. It offers a variety of terminals that will fit any business like wireless and wired terminals, EMV and NFC-based payment processors. Choose among the various ways to get in touch such as: live chat support, 24/7 phone support, or submitting a ticket online. 

The Cons

More than 500 complaints are listed in the comments section about “deceptive sales tactics” and “poor customer service” inflicted by resellers and agents.Some merchants have reported feeling confused as to who was managing their account.

0 3 offers its merchants offers a great credit card payment processing solution for small to medium-sized businesses. They will equip merchants with an iPad POS, mobile payment tools, website payments, as well as options for mail orders. There are no setup fees. This is the best solution for small or startup-type of businesses that are bootstrapping their enterprise.

The Pros

There are no setup or cancellation fees. Merchants have access to cash advances. Application process is quick and easy. Quotes are received shortly after submission, yet are “non-commital” and contract terms are open to negotiation. Free customer and tech support help is offered.

The Cons

Even though the standard contract does not include an early termination fee,  a merchant reported being charged a cancellation fee of up to $350. More complaints about contract terms were found like unexpected increases in fees and even holds on funds.

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Sam’s Club Merchant Services

In partnership with First Data, Sam’s Club offers marketing, ecommerce, point of sale, mobile as well as security solutions.  It offers two rate plans to benefit various types and sizes of businesses.

The Pros

Through Sam’s Club Merchant Services, Sam’s offers five different point of sales solutions. They are all wireless and equipped to take both credit and debit card payments. Depending on the device, they can also accept checks and gift cards. The plan comes with only a $5 monthly minimum and no early termination fees. Best of all, businesses have a dedicated support team at the ready, 24/7.

The Cons

The no early termination fee policy seems to only apply to the accounts that end up cancelling in the first ninety days. Other reports indicate that it offers tiered pricing plans, deceptive sales tactics, and a multi-year contract. 

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Merchant One

Merchant One offers credit card processing and other merchant solutions for businesses as varied as small eCommerce stores as well as restaurants and brick and mortar businesses. Merchants with less than perfect credit can apply as their approval rate is 98%. Within 24 hours of submitting an application, merchants can begin accepting credit cards.

The Pros

It offers the latest technology in POS systems and payment terminals. Merchant One provides 24/7 support. Month to month contracts are available for flexibility. More help is on the way with an assigned online account manager, and so much more.

The Cons

The most common complaints that merchants had about Merchant One was that agents did not disclose critical information related to contract terms or cancellation fees. One of those fees was a PCI Compliance fee of around $100. Pricing on virtual terminals and payment gateways are not disclosed.

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ProMerchant is good for small businesses that are not considered high risk. It offers e-commerce, retail, restaurant, phone/mail orders, and mobile services. It is associated with Fifth Third Bank.

The Pros

Month-to-month contracts and no cancellation fees means that trying out this processor is relatively risk-free. There are also no application fees and once you setup an account, you can start accepting payments within 24 hours. They also offer free equipment placement and EMV-compliant, Bluetooth-connected mobile card readers.

The Cons

No high risk management options. There is very little information on pricing disclosures and the company is relatively new. Also no online chat support available.

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Best for small or emerging businesses, but still competitive enough to accommodate medium-sized businesses. iZettle is a mobile credit card processing app and card reader similar to GoPayment, Square, and PayPal, which acquired it in 2018. However, unlike those other options, it was created to accept chip-and-PIN cards.

The Pros

The affordable and easy-to-use reader works with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices making it accessible for most merchants. Month-to-month contracts with flat-rate pricing lets you know what to expect. There are also no early termination fees. The software boasts many benefits, including easy integration with 3rd-party POS systems, in-app invoicing, and basic employee management.

The Cons

There is no 24/7 customer service available or online chat functions. There is limited scalability in place to support your company as it grows.

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Global Payments

Global Payments is a great option for businesses with complex needs as it handles everything internally. It is one of the largest merchant account providers and operates in several countries. It’s also one of the few processors to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, lending to its reliability and stability.

The Pros

Tailored pricing models ensure that all of your business needs are being met from their full line-up of products and services. Their relations in many countries also make it a good option for international merchants. High risk management and high level 3-D Security make it a solid option for businesses where fraud is rampant.

The Cons

Sign-on isn’t free and cancellation fees will be applied for early termination. Contracts can be lengthy with automatic renewals, so this is something to keep an eye on.

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Leaders Merchant Services

Serving businesses of most sizes, the company specializes in retail, home-based, mail-order and e-commerce accounts. Leaders Merchant Services was acquired by Paysafe Group and uses their software, allowing transactions to be processed via swiped (card present) and keyed (card not present) methods.

The Pros

Provides a wide array of hardware options and business packages to help owners drive business, including funding and website design. Packages also come with a free EMV credit card terminal. Same-day account approval allows you to start processing transactions faster.

The Cons

There have been complaints about the lack of transparency in pricing methods. There is also no high risk management options available. Early termination fees are also a deterrent when contract durations can be as long as three years. While boasting a low .15% rate, there are many complaints online that fees are much higher than advertised.



Flagship is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses looking to expand their revenue by adding credit card processing to their accepted payments. Their services also include mobile payment processing and secure payment gateways. Flagship is backed by BBVA Compass Bank and is partnered with Paysafe Group.

The Pros

This is a great “no strings attached option.” With no setup or cancellation fees, and month to month payment options, you can try this merchant processor out with little risk. It also comes with free Clover and EMV Terminal options.

The Cons

Due to the volume of accounts that Flagship services each year, there are bound to be bad reviews. However, there is a concentration of bad reviews that focus on the lack of fee disclosures. This can make it difficult to make competitive negotiations with them. There is also no live chat feature available through their website which can be inconvenient when you are trying to get information.

Provider of the Month

Why Card Connect

Simply add payment acceptance to your software, app, or eCommerce website, Customized Support, Optimized Processing Fees, Highlights: 24/7 Team Support, Payment Security Available. Beyond providing secure payment acceptance integrations, it’s our priority to give your business the best support and resources available, so you can keep growing.

See Our Full Review
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