Payment processing can seem a complex issue for small businesses; but, it may be easier- and cheaper- than you imagined.

Taking payments and paying vendors can be tough, but these payment platforms help to make life easier for the small business owner

One of the first necessities of setting up your small business is to choose a payment platform, but with so many options out there, picking one can be a hassle. To get you started, we’ve rounded up five of the top payment processing platforms so you can compare and contrast to find one that’s the right fit for your small business.

PayPal

The granddaddy of payment processing sites, Paypal is a tried and true choice for accepting and sending payments. The big drawback when you use Paypal, however, is that you’re restricting yourself to its userbase, and you won’t be dealing directly with the credit card companies should disputes occur. Paypal has no initial startup fees and no monthly/yearly fees, and instead takes a small portion of each transaction (2.9 % + $.30, with discounts based on volume). Set up is easy, and only requires that you imbed a Paypal button on your site using simple HTML.

2checkout

2checkout allows you to accept credit and debit cards and PayPal payments globally, no Paypal or merchant accounts of your own necessary. They offer both standard (a checkout display that adapts based on user device while maintaining brand settings) or inline (checkout that appears to remain on your site but is actually a hosted checkout process). 2checkout doesn’t charge monthly nor setup fees, and takes the standard 2.9 % + $.30 transaction fee.

WePay

Though currently only available to the US, WePay offers a quick set up time and an interface that allows you to accept cards with your phone. Sellers can instantly accept payments, and buyers never need to leave your site or app to process theirs. WePay charges similarly to PayPal and 2checkout: while there are no monthly or gateway fees, they take a 2.9% + $.30 fee per transaction.

Square

With the ability to accept payments from mobile devices, Square’s reader is free, secure, and charges 2.75% per swipe for most major credit cards. Square services also include iPad checkout stands, online stores, analytics, gift cards, and the ability to connect your apps to the service. One of the major bonuses to using the Square service is that payments appear in your account usually within 24 hours of the transaction. The card reader is completely free to try, and requires no fees and no contract.

Stripe

Stripe is unique, being focused on helping you to develop your own payment infrastructures for marketplaces, mobile, and online stores. Stipe allows you to customize your payment experience both on the consumer and business side, and takes care of important details like card storage, security, and processing for you. Strip charges the same 2.9% + $.30 transaction fee, and has no monthly fees, no refund costs, and no startup or card storage fees. You don’t need a merchant account to work with Stripe, and the service accepts all major credit cards.

Merchant Driven

Our latest and greatest credit card processing program is Merchant Driven’s Cash Discount Program- a FEE- FREE payment processor. You got that right; no credit card processing fees for you. Doesn’t that sound nice? Designed for brick and mortar businesses that swipe credit cards, or take them over the phone and key in the transaction, this payment processor will save you thousands of dollars in payment processing fees, and send those savings straight to your bottom line.