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A payment processor is some sort of transactor for financial calculations, typically a company (often a third party) appointed by a merchant to handle transactions from various channels such as credit cards and debit cards for merchant acquiring banks. They are usually broken down into two types: front-end and back-end. Front-end processors have connections to various card associations and supply authorization and settlement services to the merchant banks' merchants. Back-end processors accept settlements from front-end processors and, via the Federal Reserve Bank for example, move the money from the issuing bank to the merchant bank. In an operation that will usually take a few seconds, the payment processor will both check the details received by forwarding them to the respective card's issuing bank or card association for verification, and also carry out a series of anti-fraud measures against the transaction. Additional parameters, including the card's country of issue and its previous payment history, are also used to gauge the probability of the transaction being approved. Once the payment processor has received confirmation that the credit card details have been verified, the information is relayed back via the payment gateway to the merchant, who will then complete the payment transaction. If verification is denied by the card association, the payment processor will relay the information to the merchant, who will then decline the transaction.
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Contents 1 History 2 Modern implementations 2.1 Transaction processing quality 2.2 Network architecture 3 See also 4 References History In the 16th century, paper currency became a way to trade commodity resources, like tobacco leaves stored in a warehouse. A producer would deposit their crop with the depot, and the depot-keeper would give a bearer-demand note to the depositor which he could trade on the open market for other goods and services.[citation needed] Modern implementations Due to the many regulatory requirements levied on businesses, the modern payment processor is usually partnered with merchants through a concept known as software-as-a-service (SaaS). SaaS payment processors offer a single, regulatory-compliant electronic portal that enables a merchant to scan checks (often called remote deposit capture or RDC), process single and recurring credit card payments (without the merchant storing the card data at the merchant site), process single and recurring ACH and cash transactions, process remittances and Web payments. These cloud-based features occur regardless of origination through the payment processor's integrated receivables management platform. This results in cost reductions, accelerated time-to-market, and improved transaction processing quality. Transaction processing quality Electronic payments are highly susceptible to fraud and abuse.[1] Liability for misuse of credit card data can expose the merchant to significant financial loss if they were to attempt to manage such risks on their own. One way to lower this cost and liability exposure is to segment the transaction of the sale from the payment of the amount due. Many merchants offer subscription services, which require payment from a customer every month. SaaS payment processors relieve the responsibility of the management of recurring payments from the merchant and maintain safe and secure the payment information, passing back to the merchant a payment "token" or unique placeholder for the card data.[citation needed] Through Tokenization, merchants are able to use this token to process charges, perform refunds, or void transactions without ever storing the payment card data, which can help to make the merchant system PCI-compliant. Another method of protecting payment card data is Point to Point Encryption, which encrypts cardholder data so that clear text payment information is not accessible within the merchant's system in the event of a data breach.[2] Some payment processors also specialize in high-risk processing for industries that are subject to frequent chargebacks, such as adult video distribution. Network architecture The typical network architecture for modern online payment systems is a chain of service providers, each providing unique value to the payment transaction, and each adding cost to the transaction: merchant ↔ point-of-sale (PoS) software as a service (SaaS) ↔ aggregator ↔ credit card network ↔ bank. The merchant can be a brick-and-mortar outlet or an online outlet. The PoS SaaS provider is usually a smaller company that provides customer support to the merchant and is the receiver of the merchant's transactions. The PoS provider represents the aggregator to merchants.[citation needed] The PoS provider transaction volumes are small compared to the aggregator transaction volumes, so a direct connection to the major credit card networks is not warranted, because of the low traffic. Additionally, the merchant does not handle enough traffic to warrant a direct connection to the aggregator. In this way, scope and responsibilities are divided among the various business partners to easily manage the technical issues eCommerce gateway Web terminal Reporting Tablet POS Recurring billing Traditional terminals (most common) iWL252 Bluetooth VX 820 Duet Wired VX 680 WiFi Bluetooth or 3G Wireless Mobile credit and debit processing Ease of use First Data’s products are advanced, innovative, and on the leading edge of payments technology. Customer Service They have 24/7 support by phone, email, and live chat. First Data also has a strong social media presence and lots of resources, tools, and complementary services for customers. Customer complaints generally focus on customer service, billing and service disputes, and the omission of important contract details. Pricing First Data’s processing rates are not displayed on their website, and they charge fees for PCI compliance, customer service, chargebacks, and early termination. First Data contracts are generally 4 years. PROS Offers seasonal downtime. Provides a number of add-on tools that help with PCI compliance, reporting, fraud prevention, and chargeback dispute resolution. CONS Cancellation fees and contract conditions may vary whether you go direct or with one of their resellers. The hardware and software are proprietary so you must use the company’s products to operate. Global Payments Logo GLOBAL PAYMENTS www.globalpaymentsinc.com/canada Quick glance Founded in 1967 Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA One of the largest payment processors Merchant account provider Best for Businesses that are processing in the ballpark of $100 million or more. Product Scope Web terminal eCommerce gateway Recurring billing Tablet POS Reporting Traditional terminals (most common) IWL 255 3G VX 675 3G iCT250 Countertop Contactless iWL250B Short Range Wireless VX 820 Duet Mobile processing Ease of use Global Payments offers a wide range of easy-to-use products that cover in-person, online, and mobile transactions. Customer Service Global Payments has 24/7 technical support and general customer service. They have a FAQ section but their website lacks a knowledge-base and educational material in general. Poor customer service is a common thread in complaints about Global Payments, however, they have a fairly low volume of complaints given their size. Pricing Ease of use PayPal services are very easy to set up and integrate with just about any shopping cart, accounting application, or shipping software. Customer Service PayPal is very active on social media; they have a Twitter, Facebook, and AskPayPal account. However, the quality of phone support is reported to be inconsistent. Pricing They are very transparent with terms, and pricing has no contracts or early termination fees. They do, however, have a chargeback fee. The pro solution has a monthly fee of $35/month. There are volume discounts, with the lowest being 1.9% + $0.30. Process 0-3000/month, you pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction Process 3000-10000/month, you pay 2.5% + $0.30 per transaction Process more than 10,000, you pay 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction Process more than 100,000, you’re eligible for special pricing PROS The sheer number of users means that every time you encounter a problem, you can probably find the answer via web search. PayPal is widely accepted; it’s available in 203 markets. CONS They often hold/freeze seller’s funds and will not hesitate to shut down accounts if they suspect suspicious activity. There is limited seller protection. Square Logo SQUARE squareup.com/ca/ Quick glance Founded in 2009 Headquartered in San Francisco, California Credited with bringing mobile payments to the U.S. market Best for Small and/or seasonal businesses processing a low volume, infrequently, and/or those having low average tickets. Product Scope Mobile processing eCommerce gateway Invoicing Reporting Tablet POS NFC/EMV-enabled chip reader Ease of use Square is known for providing simple solutions for small businesses. Square’s account set-up is quick and their interface is extremely easy to use. They offer a great iPad application that includes an advanced inventory management system and a sleek online store that syncs with your in-app inventory. Customer Service There are many accounts of poor and often inconsistent customer service. Square has email and Twitter support and a vast self-serve knowledge base but offers no phone support. Square also has many complaints regarding funds held for extended periods due to high individual transactions or monthly processing amounts. Pricing Square offers 2.65% for swiped transactions, and 3.4% + $0.15 for keyed-in transactions. Their Square stand is $99 each, chip card reader is $49, and their mobile card reader is free at sign up. Square has no monthly fees or contracts. PROS Offers add-ons (inventory and customer management and appointments) and integrations (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.) Has a robust iPad POS system (kitchen display compatibility, tip functionality, receipt printing, etc.) CONS Their flat rate is higher than competitors so might not make sense for businesses processing at a high volume. Account instability and funding holds due to rigid fraud risk protection policies. Stripe Logo STRIPE stripe.com/ca Quick glance Founded in 2011 Headquartered in San Francisco, California Ideal for developers as they offer a highly customizable API Makes it easy for companies to do business online Best for Merchants looking for everything from in-app payments to online marketplace transactions, low-volume businesses processing less than $10k per month, developers, and tech start-ups. Product Scope eCommerce API (Stripe Checkout & Stripe Connect) Mobile processing Reporting Recurring billing Ease of use Stripe makes it simple to take payments online and within mobile apps. Integration is quick and easy between the Stripe payments platform using a variety of languages (Curl, Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Node, etc.) Customer Service While Stripe has no phone support, they do offer support via email and social media channels. Customers can also get updates on Stripe service uptimes via Twitter and at Status.stripe.com. Pricing Stripe has a flat fee structure; Customers get 2.9% + $0.30 until you hit the $1 million/year mark. There is a chargeback fee of $15 if it’s not decided in your favor. There are no monthly or early termination fees. PROS Available in 21 countries and has beta programs in a number of others. Offers 4-day payouts to Canada-based merchants. CONS Frequent account holds and lack of fraud protection. Powerful tools for a niche market (developers and large eCommerce enterprises), but not ideal for most everyday merchants or small to medium-sized businesses. TD Merchant Services Logo TD MERCHANT SERVICES www.tdcanadatrust.com/products-services/small-business/merchant-services/index.jsp Quick glance Headquartered in Toronto, Canada Only payment solution that is also a major Canadian bank Merchant account provider Best for Merchants who are existing TD customers. Product Scope Mobile credit and debit processing Traditional terminals (most common) TD Generation WiFi Wireless Terminal Freedom IV Countertop Terminal TD Generation: All-In-One Terminal eCommerce gateway Web terminal Reporting Ease of use As the only processor that is also a large major bank, TD Merchant services has a wide range of innovative payment solutions, including mobile debit capabilities. Customer Service TD Merchant Services offers 24/7 support online and on-site technical services within 4 hours. However, there are several reports of bad service experiences – particularly for smaller businesses. Pricing There’s no pricing mentioned on their website; they look at the client’s relationship with the bank and price merchants accordingly. There is a $150 set-up fee and monthly fee, as well as fees for chargebacks, PCI compliance, and early termination. PROS One-stop shop: merchants can get a bank account, a credit card, a loan, and payment processing, as well as many add-on services. CONS Costs may not make sense for small business merchants who are not TD customers. While pricing is not disclosed on their website, there are reports of large set-up fees (usually $250). Generally, their contracts are three years with subsequent automatic 1-year renewals if the merchant does not submit adequate written early cancellation notice. In addition, Moneris typically charges an early termination fee between $250-$300 as well as either monthly or quarterly PCI compliance fees. There is no public disclosure of rates and fees but typically, they have a 3-year contract with an auto-renewal clause, alongside an early termination fee of $100-$500. They have also been known to offer month-to-month contracts with no early termination fee. There are some reports of undisclosed fees such as cancellation, PCI, and monthly fees, and their transaction costs typically involve hidden non-qualified surcharges. PROS International processing: converts over 30 commonly transacted currencies. Can accommodate seasonal businesses. CONS Contract term and cancellation fee may vary depending on if you sign up with one of their resellers. There are multiple reports of difficulties with account closes. Moneris Logo MONERIS www.moneris.com/ Quick glance Founded in 2000 Headquartered in Toronto, Canada A business owned by RBC and BMO Merchant account provider Best for Medium-large businesses or small businesses looking to expand quickly. Product Scope Mobile credit and debit processing Web terminal Tablet POS Traditional terminals (most common) IWL 255 Vx 810 Duet iCT 250 eCommerce gateway Reporting Ease of use Moneris offers an array of innovative payment solutions and services that keep up with industry trends. Customer Service Moneris support is 24/7 via phone and includes a merchant direct secure message center, however, their customer service is frequently rated as poor, due to a lack of response to complaints and rude support reps. The most common complaints about Moneris focus on their poor customer service. Moneris is active over social media and has a wide range of resources like training tutorials on YouTube, manuals, troubleshooting guides, and installation instructions. Pricing PROS Accommodates seasonal businesses for up to 6 months. With partnerships with companies like Sage Accounting, RBC, and BMO, Moneris is able to provide additional services such as inventory and sales tracking capabilities. Offers additional product offerings like office supplies. CONS Frequent reports of technical issues and billing problems. Many reports of unexpected and excessive cancellation fees, hidden processing/monthly fees, and broken promises of refunds and rebates. Proprietary POS means their software is only compatible with their hardware. Payfirma Logo PAYFIRMA www.payfirma.com/ Quick glance Founded in 2010 Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada Merchant account provider Best for Businesses looking to take payments in multiple ways with a single platform. Product Scope Mobile processing Web terminal eCommerce Recurring billing Invoicing Reporting Integrations Ease of use Both their payments platform, PayHQ, and website are very user-friendly and intuitive. Payfirma has been regularly awarded for their product and platform innovation and for offering true omnichannel payment processing. Payfirma allows merchants to access all their payment data in a single dashboard. Payfirma was the first merchant service provider to bring mobile payments to the Canadian market. Customer Service Payfirma has industry-leading customer service with 24/7 phone support and was recently a winner in the Frost & Sullivan 2016 Customer Service Excellence Recognition Program. Payfirma offers support via social media channels, email, and live chat and provides many online resources as well as an extensive self-help support center, complete with videos. Pricing Payfirma’s businesses access to the entire suite of Payfirma payment and reporting tools. There are no cancellation fees for their cloud-based services (PayHQ) but for eCommerce and terminal accounts, the cancellation fee is $300-$500. PROS Seven different payment channels with just one account. Transparent pricing with no hidden fees. CONS May not be cost-efficient for smaller or seasonal businesses that process below $40,000 per year. Only available in Canada and the USA. PayPal Logo PAYPAL www.paypal.com/ca/ Quick glance Founded in 1998 Headquartered in San Jose, California Looked at as the default payment method for online business owners and eBay sellers worldwide Best for Smaller online merchants Product Scope Mobile processing Invoicing eCommerce gateway Recurring billing Reporting Web terminal

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Get to know your options for merchant service providers With a plethora of payment processors, it can be difficult to find the one that best suits your business before you sign on the dotted line. However, it’s important to make sure that your payment processor aligns with your unique business needs. This document highlights the Top Payment Processors in Canada to help you begin the process of choosing a provider that is best for you. The following criteria will be used to summarize the different capabilities of each processor: payment-terminal-colour-circle Range of products Features and functionality gears-colour-circle Ease of use Simple, intuitive, and modern products coin-colour-circle Pricing Fees, rates, and contracts life-saver-colour-circle Customer service Accessible, reliable, and quality support When evaluating the Top Payment Processors in Canada, there are a couple things to keep in mind. No matter the type or size of your business, you need a merchant account to accept credit cards. Some processors set you up with your own merchant account, while others add your business to a shared account. With your own merchant account, there will be different types of fees, but you will get customized – and often times more competitive – rates and plans. You will also have access to a wider range of payment channels/products which will enable you to do business in more ways and in more places. Businesses that are processing at least $40k per year from credit cards will almost always benefit from their own merchant account. Some processors group you together with thousands of other small businesses and allow you to process with a joint merchant account. What this means is that your funds are initially deposited into their merchant account instead of straight into your own account. This is important because these processors have aggressive fraud prevention measures in place meaning that when fraud is suspected, they will quickly hold your funds to investigate – which will lead to funding delays. Additionally, without your own merchant account, the processor’s name may appear alongside your own business name on your customers’ statements – which can both confuse your customers and limit your brand exposure. Top Payment Processors in Canada (in alphabetical order) Elavon First Data Global Payments Moneris Payfirma PayPal Square Stripe TD Merchant Services Summary Charts Elavon Logo ELAVON elavon.ca/ Quick glance Founded in 1991 Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA One of the largest payment processors Merchant account provider Best for Medium to large businesses. Product Scope Traditional terminals (most common) Ingenico Telium2 iCT250 + iPP320 VeriFone VX520 Ingenico iWL220B eCommerce gateway Tablet POS Web terminal Recurring billing Reporting Mobile processing Ease of use

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For a company as big as Elavon, they continue to innovate in the payment industry (eCommerce SDK and mobile POS system). In addition, their online reporting is competitive with industry standards. Customer Service The Elavon support team is U.S-based and available 24/7 (it’s also available in 13 different countries). They don’t have a strong social media support channel and have received a number of complaints about poor customer service. Pricing Elavon offers a wide range of pricing but the most common is their Costco offer of 1.56% for swiped, qualified transactions and 2.07% for non-qualified transactions. Elavon has a monthly fee of $10 and charges a PCI fee of $175. Their contracts are month-to-month agreements, but there have been some reports of termination fees that include liquidated damages (predicted losses when you cancel your contract early). PROS No cancellation fee. Has an informative website and seems to be transparent with rates. CONS Reports of withheld funds and termination of accounts. They have many ISOs reselling Elavon services, which means there is often inconsistent service and rates. First Data Logo FIRST DATA paper rolls www.firstdata.com/en_ca/home.html Quick glance Founded in 1969 Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA Helped create Google Wallet Merchant account provider Best for Larger businesses that are processing at around $100k or more Product Scope