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Compare UK merchant account and card payment service providers

We compared over 25 companies that provide card payment services to UK businesses so you don’t have to — fill in the form at the top of the page to request tailored quotes

compare uk merchant account providers and card payment services

With so many to choose from, we know how hard it can be to find the right merchant services provider for your business.

To help narrow down your options, we compared 25 companies that offer card payment services.

Scroll down to read our reviews and compare merchant accounts, or fill out the form at the top of the page to request quotes.

▶ Read: What is a Merchant Account?

What's on this page?

Best UK merchant account providers

Let’s take a look at five UK merchant account providers that dominate the card payment industry thanks to the range and quality of their products. Use our comparison chart below to compare credit card merchant services at a glance, or scroll down for in-depth reviews.

▶ Find out more: What are PDQ machines?

Compare merchant services

Worldpay merchant servicesFirst Data merchant servicesPayzone merchant servicesPaymentSense merchant servicesLloyds Cardnet merchant services
Minimum rental contract 18 months36 months12 months18 months48 months
Card machine rental
Smart till rental
Virtual terminal
Payment gateway
24/7 support
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Worldpay merchant services

The numbers don’t lie. Worldpay is one of the largest merchant account providers in the world, processing an impressive 400 card transactions every second. The company offers flexible price plans — including a ‘pay-as-you-go’ option for small businesses — as well as both credit card machine and smart till (EPOS) rental.

Supplier Rating: Worldpay review >
Worldpay transaction fees
Credit card fees:1%
Debit card fees:2%
Authorisation fee: 4p
Monthly minimum: £15
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  • Flexible price plans
  • 24/7 support
  • Card machine and till rental

X Cons:

  • £15 minimum service charge
  • No dedicated account manager
  • 18 month minumum rental contract

First Data merchant services

First Data is a global merchant service provider. And with a minimum monthly service charge of just £5, theirs is one of the cheapest merchant accounts for small businesses. In 2013 the company partnered with manufacturer Clover and now offers both the Clover Station till and Clover Flex card machine on a standard rental contract.

Supplier Rating: FirstData review >
First Data transaction fees
Credit card fees:10p
Debit card fees:1.25%
Authorisation fee: 2p
Monthly minimum: £5
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  • £5 monthly minimum
  • Clover smart-till and card machine
  • £150 cashback for switching to First Data

X Cons:

  • 36-month rental contract
  • No 24/7 support
  • No dedicated account manager

Payzone merchant services

Payzone is a UK-based merchant service provider specialising in merchant accounts for small businesses. The company boasts competitive rates, transparent pricing and a minimum contract of just 12 months — one of the shortest in the industry. Payzone is rated “Great” from over 1,000 reviews Trustpilot, which speaks volumes for its customer service.

Supplier Rating: Payzone review >
Payzone transaction fees
Credit card fees: 0.65% + 1p
Debit card fees:1.3%
Authorisation fee: 3p
Monthly minimum:£10
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  • 12-month rental contract
  • Four star rating on Trustpilot
  • UK-based customer support

X Cons:

  • No till rental
  • Auto renewing contract
  • No 24/7 support

PaymentSense merchant services

PaymentSense is what’s known as a payment service provider (PSP). Rather than opening a dedicated merchant account for each customer, they pool transactions in a shared account to negotiate the best rates. This allows them offer some of the cheapest merchant services for UK small business owners of any provider. Be sure to take advantage of their price match promise to get the best deal on card payment services for your business.

Supplier Rating: PaymentSense review >
PaymentSense transaction fees
Credit card fees:0.75%
Debit card fees: 0.96%
Authorisation fee: 3p
Monthly minimum: £24.95
Request Quote


  • Low transaction fees
  • Price match promise
  • UK-based customer support

X Cons:

  • £24.95 monthly minimum
  • Auto renewing contract
  • No dedicated account manager

Lloyds Cardnet Merchant Services

Lloyds Cardnet is one of the leading UK merchant account providers. They offer a full complement of merchant services, including smart till and card machine rental. Existing customers are eligible for cheaper rates, so if you have your business bank account with Lloyds it pays to go with them as your merchant account provider too.

Supplier Rating: Lloyds website>
Lloyds Cardnet transaction fees
Credit card fees:0.75%
Debit card fees: 0.96%
Authorisation fee: 3p
Monthly minimum: £15
Request Quote


  • Cheaper rates for existing customers
  • Online management tool
  • Clover hardware

X Cons:

  • 48-month rental contract
  • £50 setup fee
  • £200 termination fee

Merchant services UK — the best of the rest

Merchant services UK

Not convinced by any of the the top merchant account providers in our list? These five companies all provide a full range of merchant services:

Barclaycard merchant services

Barclaycard offers a full complement of card payment services, including solutions for accepting card payments face-to-face, online, and over the phone. The company offers some of the best merchant account rates of any provider.

Elavon merchant services

Elavon is one of the leading payment service providers for UK businesses. As well as all the usual merchant services, Elavon customers benefit from deep-dive reporting and analytics tools as standard.

Global Payments merchant services

Global Payments is one of those merchant account companies that goes the extra mile for its customers. Offering tailored packages for industries ranging from education to retail, you can be sure of finding a card payment solution to suit your business.

Retail merchant services

Retail Merchant Services promise low cost card payment solutions with same-day settlement of funds. They offer card terminal rental, as well as a virtual terminal for accepting card payments over the phone and a payment gateway for ecommerce businesses.

Fidelity Payment merchant services

Fidelity is one of the largest merchant payment processors in the world, handling over £1 billion of credit card transactions in the UK alone. Customers benefit from a dedicated account manager and 24/7 support, with Fidelity promising to answer 90% of calls in under 10 seconds.

Coolest card machine providers for small businesses

Card machine providers

The following companies offer some of the coolest mobile card payment solutions in the business. They’re perfect if you’re a merchant just starting out and looking to take your first, tentative steps into the world of merchant accounts.

“How much does it cost to have a credit card machine?”, I hear you ask. Well, simply fill in this form to compare card machines for your business.

iZettle card machine

iZettle is one of the coolest card machine providers around. Their award-winning mobile card reader is small enough to fit in your pocket. It can be bought outright for as little as £29.00 and transaction fees are fixed at cool 1.75%. Taking card payments has never been easier for small businesses than with iZettle.

PayPal card machine

Paypal is a merchant service provider that specialises in helping micro-businesses to grow. Applying for an account requires you to enter just a few details online and, once approved, your PayPal Here mobile card payment machine will be dispatched to you immediately.

▶ Read: Paypal Card Machine Review

Square card machine

The Square reader is a cost-effective card payment machine designed with small business owners in mind. Costing just £39, it pairs a free app, allowing you to take card payments on the go via your smartphone or tablet.

SumUp card machine

If you’re looking for the cheapest card payment machine for your business, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the SumUp card reader, which can be bought outright for just £29. Applications are 100% online — and the whole process takes less than five minutes.

WorldPay Zinc card machine

The Zinc is WorldPay’s reaction to the likes of iZettle and PayPal. But with a built-in virtual terminal for taking phone payments, it’s more than just a mobile card terminal, it’s one of the best merchant services for UK businesses processing a low volume of monthly card transactions.

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What type of merchant account do you need?

Specialist online payment processing providers

Online payment processing providers

An online payment service provider helps ecommerce businesses to process card transactions securely through a piece of software called a payment gateway. Below is a list of five of the best payment gateway providers in the UK.

Remember, to make a fair payment gateway comparison it’s important ask about transaction fees, as these tend to be a little higher than with a traditional merchant account.

Stripe payment gateway

Stripe is one of the UK’s leading online card payment processing companies. They offer a flexible pay as you go price plan, with transaction fees fixed at 1.4% plus 20p for European cards and 2.9% plus 20p for non-European cards.

Shopify payment gateway

Shopify claim to offer the best online payment gateway for small business owners in the UK. And it’s hard to argue with them. They offer a simple three-tiered price plan available to try on a free 14 day trial, fixed fees, and 24/7 customer support as standard.

Braintree payment gateway

Braintree is one of the UK’s leading online payment processing companies. Standard merchant account fees with Braintree are fixed at 1.9% + 20p per transaction. And as a subsidiary of PayPal, you can integrate your online merchant account seamlessly with the PayPal card machine to take face-to-face payments to.

Amazon Pay payment gateway

No payment gateway providers list would be complete without Amazon Pay. Because, simply put, the retail giant is one of the best online payment processors for small businesses. Their simple application form takes minutes to complete, and you can start trading on the same day.

Cardstream payment gateway

Cardstream offers an online payment solution that can be fully customised to suit your business’ branding. That means no logos, no off-site transaction page. Just a smart, secure, and scalable online payment gateway fully integrated into your ecommerce platform.

High risk merchant account and payment service providers

high risk merchant accounts

A high risk merchant account provider caters for businesses that typically have either a high number of chargebacks or incidents of fraud in their industry. Below are five of the best high risk merchant account providers for UK businesses.

Instabill high risk merchant services

Instabill is one of the UK’s leading high risk payment processors. The company specialises in providing high risk merchant card services to businesses that may already have been turned down by mainstream providers. Rates are competitive, and there are tailored packages for ecommerce and MOTO businesses.

Merchant Scout high risk merchant services

Merchant Scout promises “credit card processing for any business”. And they meant it. The company has partnered with over 40 merchant banks to offer high risk merchant accounts for businesses in industries ranging from adult entertainment to gambling, and more.

Verotel high risk merchant services

Verotel is the leading internet payment service provider and the first high risk payment processor to be awarded Payment Institution status. Verotel operates a payment service provider business model, which allows them to pool transactions in a shared merchant account to negotiate the most competitive rates for their customers.

CutPay high risk merchant services

CutPay are specialists in high risk merchant services. The company offers a high risk payment gateway and virtual terminal, as well as high risk merchant accounts for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

Merchant account costs

If you’re looking for the best merchant services for your business then cost is bound to be an important factor.

UK merchant account fees vary depending on the volume of card transactions processed. Generally speaking, the more you take in card payments, the less you pay in merchant account fees.

▶ Read: Compare 2019 UK Merchant Account Fees

To ensure you're getting the best deal for your business it's important that you compare merchant accounts from multiple providers. And Expert Market can help you do this.

Click on one of the icons below and fill in our webform to find the cheapest merchant services for your business.