Best merchant account rates in Australia

what is a merchant account

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer | Published: 28 January 2019

If you’ve ever tried to compare merchant account rates, you’ll know it’s not the easiest of tasks. Transaction rates, monthly fees, chargeback rates… trying to get to the bottom of what it all means, and then trying to figure out the best deal for your business, can be a long and tedious process.

Fortunately, it’s also what Expert Market does best. We’ve saved you some time by finding the best merchant account rates in Australia for small businesses and startups, for high-risk industries, and for businesses on the move. We’ve also crowned our best all-round merchant accounts provider.

Read on for our in-depth reviews of the top providers, or skip straight to our FAQ section. Alternatively, fill in our short form to take the hassle out of comparing prices, and receive quotes directly from top merchant account providers.


Best merchant accounts in Australia

The best merchant accounts in Australia are: Smartpay, Square, Mint Payments and Payline.

1
SmartpayBest all-round merchant accountRead Review
2
SquareBest merchant account for small businesses and startupsRead Review
3
Mint PaymentsBest merchant account for mobile businessesRead Review
4
PaylineBest high-risk merchant accountRead Review

Smartpay

Best all-round merchant account

When it comes to accepting EFTPOS payments, nobody does it better than Smartpay. With both mobile EFTPOS machines (for tradies, or those taking payments on-the-go) and countertop terminals for retailers, Smartpay offers unfettered flexibility. You also won’t get tied into a lengthy contract – Smartpay offers short-term deals to suit any business or budget. Better still, Smartpay is an independent, locally owned-and-operated merchant account provider already trusted by over 25,000 merchants – so you can be sure it understands the unique needs of your small business.

Pros:

  • 24/7 customer support available
  • Allows you to accept Alipay payments, and boost business from Chinese customers
  • Free point of sale (POS) system included

X Cons:

  • Smartpay’s fees could be more transparent

Square

Best merchant account for small businesses and startups

Square is like an EFTPOS system and a merchant account rolled into one. What sets Square apart? It’s incredibly easy to get up and running with. Start taking payments on the move from day one, and only pay when you get paid. Square’s flat-rate transaction fees are simple and clear; you pay between 1.9% and 2.2% of the transaction (depending on if it’s in person or online) – and that’s it.

This makes Square perfect for small businesses taking a low volume of payments, say $5,000 a month or less. Larger businesses will still appreciate Square’s ease of use, but may find a better deal with a traditional merchant account.

Pros:

  • Only pay when you get paid; easy-to-understand transaction fees, with no ongoing monthly charges
  • Affordable and sleek-looking card readers available
  • Ideal for low-volume merchants looking for an on-the-go solution

X Cons:

  • Not the best deal for high-volume industries
  • Not suitable for high-risk industries

Mint Payments

Best merchant account for mobile businesses

In many ways, Mint Payments offers a very similar product to Square. You get one compact card reader free with every account, which makes taking payments on the go a breeze.

Unlike Square, however, Mint charges a monthly fee with some plans. However, its Mobile EFTPOS (mPOS) plan has no monthly charge, and the transaction fees are slightly lower than Square’s at 1.69% (plus an extra $0.25 for EFTPOS cards). Plus, Mint is willing to offer better rates to businesses turning over more than $20,000 each month. The downside? A hefty cancellation fee if you want to switch providers before the end of your year contract.

Pros:

  • Sleek and portable mPOS reader
  • No monthly fees with the mPOS plan, and a low transaction fee of 1.69%
  • More competitive rates negotiable for businesses turning over $20,000 a month or more

X Cons:

  • Additional charge of $0.25 per transaction for EFTPOS cards
  • Hefty early cancellation fees if you wish to switch providers

Payline

Best high-risk merchant account

If you have a bad credit rating, work in a riskier industry (think travel agencies, online gambling businesses, or pharmacies), or are just pretty new in business, you might be considered ‘high-risk'. But don't fret – there are merchant account providers that specialise in servicing higher risk businesses – and Payline is one of them. Always ahead of the technological curve, with honest and transparent pricing and discounted rates for non-profits, Payline has a lot to offer Australian businesses. High-risk merchant account providers might be subjected to higher rates and stricter contract terms, but are likely to be offered an account – even if other providers have turned them down.

Pros:

  • Fair, transparent pricing and contracts
  • High-risk merchants stand a good chance of being offered a contract via Payline’s partner, SMB Global
  • Free terminal equipment with some plans
  • Interchange-plus pricing for all merchants
  • Discounted rates for non-profits

X Cons:

  • The equipment comes free with some plans, but otherwise prices are not provided unless you inquire

Expert verdict

Australia is fortunate to have a whole range of great merchant account providers to choose from, but these are the four that are really pushing the boundaries in their chosen niche.

That said, whether you’re a new business looking to set up a merchant account, or an existing business coming to the end of your contract, the best way to find your ideal merchant account is still to compare quotes from providers using your basic business information. It only takes a few minutes, and could save you money. What’s not to love? Fill in this short web form now to get started.


FAQs

How does a merchant account work?

When a customer pays you, this is the journey your money goes on before it reaches you:

what is a merchant account

Check out our complete guide to merchant accounts for an in-depth breakdown of each step in this process.

What does EFTPOS stand for?

EFTPOS stands for Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale. Confusingly, it can refer to both the physical card machine used to take payments, and to a type of card used exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.

Rob Binns
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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