Our reviews are editorially independent, meaning that no company can dictate or influence our assessments and ratings. Whether or not we have a referral partnership with a company does not influence our reviews (see How we make money).
Our reviews look at certain standard criteria (listed below), but we also allow our writers to express their own opinions based on their experiences from testing the service or product. We believe there is no such thing as one objective rating, although we try to reflect the overall value of a service as much as possible through our star ratings.
At the end of the day, different businesses have different needs, so we encourage everyone deciding on a payment processor or POS software to look beyond the ratings and draw their own conclusions. Ask yourself: do the features and contractual terms suit your needs?
Ratings are not set in stone. As features are added, rates change, and the market develops, we may change our ratings accordingly.
Card machine and POS review criteria
- Time in business: The best providers in this space are newer companies. That said, if a company has been in business for less than a year, there are certain risks that will be reflected in our ratings.
- Rates and fee structure: We break down the costs to the merchant and compare with the market rates. Contractual terms are part of the picture, and so is deposit time to your bank account.
- Technology: Surprisingly, some providers are lagging behind with their card machine technology. Is the software regularly updated? Which contactless options are accepted?
- App features: For many merchants, this is critical. How good is the product library? What about tipping, split tenders and open tickets? How user-friendly is the touchscreen flow on an iPad? Can you add staff accounts with restricted access?
- Backend features: How good are the business analytics and accounting? Can you integrate with third-party services like cloud accounting software?
- Security: Needless to say, you want the highest level of security when dealing with people’s card details.
- Customer service: How quickly are issues resolved? How can you get in touch with customer service? Is there adequate phone support if you need to talk to someone?
- User feedback: We look for genuine feedback from merchants using a service and include their typical complaints and praise.
Why we look at fees and rates
Many review sites say they rely much on rates and fees when they set their ratings. We believe rates and fees are important – essential, in fact. We make a big effort to uncover any hidden fees and consider the total cost.
That said, fees are not the only thing that matters. If the service is unreliable and you lose customers because your POS system is down, or your payment provider just won’t let you process payments, low rates are not worth much.
Features are of critical importance as well. Many businesses can save lots of time and money with the right business analytics, integrations for accounting and payroll, and customer loyalty features, to name a few.