A Merchant Account Comparison is the process experts use to weigh-up the services offered by merchant account providers. There are a number of factors to consider when comparing merchant accounts, that obscure a direct comparison of all UK merchant services providers. From the type of service to contract length and the card turnover of the applicant business. The current state of the payment processing industry in the UK is quite complex, with myriad companies offering “the best rates” often via a range of tiered options. From an economic point-of-view, how do these options add up in the real world?

Merchant Account Providers

Comparing fees, reviews and ratings for the most popular providers. Are they the best and do they offer the lowest rates applicable for your business to process card payments? You’ll need to take in costs, fees and the whole spectrum of merchant services that apply to you to find out. It’s a painstaking process, so most companies opt for a merchant services expert review, but it might help to understand the concept of merchant account provider comparisons.

Merchant Provider Features

Provider Features
  •  Point of Sale
  •  Online Payments
  •  Mobile Wallets
  •  Mobile Pay
  •  Unified Commerce
  •  Paylink
  •  Merchant Portal
  •  IoT Payments
  •  Accept Payments
  •  Make Payments
  •  Manage Risk
  •  Accelerate Growth
  •  Streamline Operations
  •  Online Store
  •  Point of Sale
  •  Buy Button
  •  Sales Channels
  •  70+ Themes
  •  Drag and Drop Store Builder
  •  Custom Domains
worldpay from FIS
  •  Card Machines
  •  Online Payments
  •  Phone Payments
  •  Email Payments
  •  No Joining Fee
  •  24/7 UK Support
  •  Flexible Pricing Plans
Face to Face Payments

Face-to-Face Payments

Face-to-Face payments are taken over-the-counter, at table or anywhere the customer, the payment card and merchant are present in the same location. Face-to-face payments are usually processed using card reader technology such as a PDQ, card reader attached to a till or payment terminal or via a mobile phone app and card reader.

Online Payments

Online Payments

Online payments or e-commerce transactions are made through a secure online store or online payment processing app where the customer and their card are not in the same location as the merchant at point-of-sale, a CNP or Card Not Present transaction. Email payments are offered by some providers but this is generally by providing a link to an online payment processing app that a customer can visit to enter their card details securely.

Payments over the phone

Payments by Phone

Payments by phone when the customer, their payment card and the merchant are not at the same location at point-of-sale, a card not present transaction usually facilitated by the customer telephoning the merchant while the merchant performs the card transaction using a virtual terminal or software program to send the payment details securely to the card processor.

Comparison by Monthly Card Turnover

Merchant account comparison by monthly card turnover is a quick way to narrow down your choice of merchant accounts. Using your estimated monthly card turnover, experts get an idea of which price tiers apply to you.

Providers usually offer a tiered fee structure for card processing, a ‘buy in bulk’ discount if you will. However, you should be aware that in most cases card processing fees are broken down into charges for individual card types – which you’ll see on your monthly statement if you already accept card payments. Merchant services experts make a fine-grained comparison of each of these card transaction fees and the volume of payments processed by each card type.

Merchant Services Provider Comparison Chart

Provider Payment Services

Paypal Paypal currently offer several solutions for taking customer payments aside from their well-known consumer buying/selling options. Aimed at both the casual business and those with regular monthly transactions.
Worldpay Worldpay offer a full-range of merchant services solutions at all scales of business including facilities for taking customer payments face-to-face, phone payments and online payments.
iZettle iZettle offer a range of options for taking customer payments face-to-face, via their e-commerce platform, iZettle Pro for Hospitality or bespoke configuration by arrangement.
Shopify Shopify offer three tiers of monthly plans together with options for online and in-person sales with additional fees for all payment providers other than Shopify Payments.
Square Square offer a simple pay-as-you-go setup with no monthly fees, however Square Reader, Terminal and Square Stand (without iPad) plus optional extras require a separate purchase.
Opayo by Elavon Opayo by Elavon offer simple pricing packages in three tiers, Flex, Plus and Corporate for online payments, with a range of Corporate or Small Business Solutions for virtual terminals. Opayo by Elavon also offer EPOS systems for face-to-face payments from customers.
Stripe Stripe offer a choice between integrated and customized packages for taking payments. The Customized option from Stripe is available for businesses with large payments volume or unique business models.
Paypoint Paypoint help over 28,000 retailers across the UK drive more footfall, save time, get valuable business insights and grow profitability. From EPoS to card payments, parcels to ATMs, we provide everything a modern convenience store needs with full support, training, free point of sale, great retailer deals and a freephone contact centre open 365 days a year.
Cardstream Cardstream is a global connector of payments with full end-to-end white label payment gateway to modular solutions, covering all your payment requirements.
Trust Payments Trust Payments provide intelligent omnichannel payment solutions to accelerate the growth of your business. Let your customers pay the way they want to. Trust Payments complete omnichannel payments solution has customer convenience at its core.


Merchant Account Comparison


Worldpay support more than 1,000,000 merchants worldwide and process over 40 billion transactions annually. With more than 300 payment methods.


Accepts traditional and alternative payment types anywhere, any time, on any device
Enhanced checkout experiences
Leading fraud intelligence tools


  • 24 Hour Support
  • Card Machines/Epos Available
  • Range of Flexible Pricing


  • 18 Month Contract Minimum
  • Does Not Include Dedicated Account Management


Paypal is a popular and well-known provider for online payments with an easy set up process for businesses in the UK. Often favoured as a starting-point for merchant services by small businesses Paypal also offer a full-suite of electronic payment options, scalable to any size.


Fast checkout for customers with a Paypal account
Fees from 1.5% plus 30p – standard rate at 2.9% plus 30p per transaction
Integrated with all the major shopping carts
Also supplies card machines


  • No Monthly Cost
  • Widely Adopted


  • Costs for Card Machines
  • Some Negative Reviews


Set up a free online store that syncs with your inventory and your social media. Get set up with the right solutions for you.


Accept payments anywhere
Offers the popular Square Card Reader
Provides virtual terminals, checkout links, invoicing and gift cards


  • 24 Hour Support
  • POS App/Software Included


  • Cost for Card Machines
  • Fees

Opayo by Elavon

Opayo by Elavon offer facilities for taking face-to-face card payments.
Opayo by Elavon offer simple pricing packages in three tiers, Flex, Plus and Corporate for online payments, with a range of Corporate or Small Business Solutions for virtual terminals. Opayo by Elavon also offer EPOS systems for face-to-face payments from customers.

Secure payments for merchants from the most reliable UK payment provider.


Trusted by thousands of businesses
Offers online payments, card terminals and POS
Virtual terminal and telephone payments available


  • 24 Hour Support
  • Integrations Available


  • Transaction Fees
  • Monthly Fees

First Data / Fiserv.

First Data / Fiserv. offer facilities for taking face-to-face card payments.
First Data are a global leader in merchant services with a full-range of facilities for small to multi-national business.


  • Stylish “Clover” Epos System
  • Small Monthly Fee


  • Limited Support Hours
  • Does Not Include Dedicated Account Management


Barclays offer facilities for taking face-to-face card payments.
Barclaycard Business offer a full-range of card payment solutions from a variety of card readers both contracted and informal, online payments and virtual terminals.

Barclaycard from Barclays Bank PLC provide business payments for UK merchants with a full-range of options for taking customer payment.


Flex mobile card reader with prices from just 1.1% per transaction and no joining or cancellation fees
Online payment gateways with active fraud filters
Take payments by over-the-phone or using the app


iZettle is now Zettle by Paypal make modern point-of-sale (POS) products designed to simplify every workday. Focused on POS and merchants making face-to-face transactions.


Offers Zettle card readers
Offers Zettle EPOS systems
Never miss a payment, speed through transactions and track everything automatically


Paypoint help over 28,000 retailers across the UK drive more footfall, save time, get valuable business insights and grow profitability.


Next generation EPoS with PayPoint One
Seamless card payments with PayPoint One
Ingenico PIN pad is included in the PayPoint One package at no extra cost

AIB Merchant Services

AIB or Allied Irish Bank are a payment solutions provider originating in Ireland but available to merchants in both Britain and Ireland.


Supplies POS for in-store payments from the Clover POS range
Provides Authipay to take online payments


SumUp offer facilities for taking face-to-face card payments.
The card reader without a contract, SumUp offer card processing with no fixed costs and quick sign up. SumUp offer bespoke rates for businesses with more than £250K annual turnover.

EVO Payments

Founded in 1989, EVO Payments process around $80 billion in payments pass through our systems around the world every year.


Accept payments in store, in app, online or over the phone
Integration for software developers
Various pricing plans


Elavon has the expertise to integrate emerging technologies, security and PCI DSS compliance for a payment solution that can mean the difference between satisfied customers and delighted ones.


Tailored online stores and e commerce solutions
Anytime, anywhere in-app phone payments
Same day funding


SimplyPayMe – Take payments anywhere, anytime with SimplyPayMe’s flexible, low-fee payment options.


Process card payments with your smartphone or tablet and a 3G connection
The SimplyPayMe Pay by Bank app allows you to send you invoices via text
PayLink with a 1.65% + 20p transaction fee