Written by Lucas Pistilli Reviewed by Ruairi Shirlow Updated on 29 August 2023 On this page The best merchant account services in Australia 1. Smartpay 2. Square 3. Mint Payments 4. Payline How does a merchant account work? Expert verdict How we test merchant services FAQs Expand 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.With interest rates steadily rising in Australia in the last 12 months (as of July 2023, the rate set by the Reserve Bank is 4.1%), saving on merchant account rates when shopping for the best EFTPOS machines in the market is paramount for you to stay afloat. Fortunately, we've been analyzing and recommending merchant account services for nearly 15 years, and have the market knowledge necessary to recommend the best merchant account rates in the country.To help you out, we've picked the companies with the best fees 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.For our in-depth reviews of the top providers, just keep on reading. Alternatively, use our free quote comparison tool to take the hassle out of comparing prices, and receive quotes directly from top merchant account providers. The best merchant account services in AustraliaThe best merchant accounts in Australia are: Smartpay, Square, Mint Payments and Payline. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Smartpay Square Mint Payments Payline Best For All-round merchant account Best For Small businesses and startups Best For Mobile businesses Best For High-risk businesses Monthly Fees Free Monthly Fees Free Monthly Fees Free Monthly Fees From $10/month EFTPOS machine cost From $0/month EFTPOS machine cost From $65 EFTPOS machine cost From $0/month EFTPOS machine cost Custom In-person transaction fees From $0/month In-person transaction fees From 1.6% In-person transaction fees From 1.86% In-person transaction fees From 0.25% + 10¢ Online transaction fees From $0/month Online transaction fees 2.2% Online transaction fees From 1.86% Online transaction fees From 0.35% + 20¢ Ready to find the best merchant account rates for your business? Get started 1. Smartpay: Best all-round merchant account When it comes to accepting EFTPOS payments, nobody does it better than Smartpay. In Smartpay Portable, this provider has one of the best EFTPOS machines in the market. Also, you 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 Cons Smartpay’s fees could be more transparent Smartpay pricing and ratesMonthly fees: Free.EFTPOS machine cost:PlanYour monthly turnoverPriceZero Cost EFTPOSLess than $10,000$34,95 + GST/monthFrom $10,000FreeSimple Flat RateLess than $15,000CustomFrom $15,000FreeTransaction fees: On the Zero Cost EFTPOS plan, free. On the Simple Flat Rate plan, there's a custom simple flat rate for Visa, Mastercard, Alipay and WeChat Pay, and a custom fixed flat rate for debit card payments. Our experts' take Smartpay's charges vary according to the plan you pick and your monthly turnover. This means that, depending on how much you process in card payments in a month, you might get access to some of the best merchant account rates in the market. If you take over $10,000 per month in card payments, picking Smartpay's Zero Cost EFTPOS plan means no transaction fees nor EFTPOS machine rental costs — simply one of the best deals around. 2. 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 1.6% and 2.2% of the transaction – and that’s it. 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 Cons Not the best deal for high-volume industries Not suitable for high-risk industries Square pricing and ratesMonthly fees: free.EFTPOS machine costs:DevicePrice (inc. GST)Square Reader$65Square Stand$149Square Terminal$329Square Register$1,099Transaction fees: 1.6% on the Square Terminal and Square Register; 1.9% on the Square Reader and Square Stand. Our experts' take When it comes to the best merchant account rates, Square's main draw is its lack of monthly fees. Unlike other providers on this list, it allows you to buy its EFTPOS machines outright, which means, once you pay that upfront sum, you'll have a card reader to own for as long as it works. Also, Square's transaction fees are advertised, which means business owners can avoid surprises. 3. 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 Payments binds its users to 12-month contracts – which, should you cancel early, incur a hefty $110 termination fee. That said, its EFTPOS machines don't come with monthly costs and connect to the provider's app, through which you can access your transaction history. 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 Cons Additional charge of $0.25 per transaction for EFTPOS cards Hefty early cancellation fees if you wish to switch providers Mint Payments pricing and ratesMonthly fees: free.EFTPOS machine cost: $11 per month for businesses with a monthly revenue of less than $2,000. Free for businesses with a monthly revenue of $2,000 or more.Transaction fees: 1.86% per transaction (plus $0.33 for EFTPOS cards). Our experts' take Mint Payments has the best merchant account rate for small businesses that operate on-the-go. If your monthly turnover is over $2,000, you're already eligible for an EFTPOS machine with no rental charges. That's a much lower turnover than providers such as Smartpay require you to be making in order to claim their free EFTPOS machine. Also, Mint Payments packs one single, advertised transaction fee of 1.86% for Visa and Mastercard transactions, the certainty of which offers business owners a great way to plan ahead for their merchant account expenses. Plus, if your monthly turnover is over $20,000, the provider also offers custom, negotiable transaction fees. 4. Payline: Best merchant account for high-risk businesses 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 Cons The equipment comes free with some plans, but otherwise prices are not provided unless you inquire Payline pricing and ratesMonthly fees: $10 per month for in-person payments; $20 per month for online payments.EFTPOS machine costs: Custom.Transaction fees: From 0.25% + 10¢ to 2% + 20¢, depending on the type of card used and whether the transaction was swipe or keyed-in.Interchange fees: Base varies according to the type of card used and whether the transaction was swipe or keyed-in. On top of that, the provider charges a percentage of the transaction amount: 0.4% for in-person payments and 0.75% for online payments. Our experts' take By charging monthly fees, Payline doesn't have the best merchant account rates out there — but what it doesn't have in affordability, it compensates for in transparency. The provider is incredibly granular with its fee information and provides long lists and tables on its website for you to check how much you'd pay for each plan and each different transaction type. Also, by taking on high-risk businesses, Payline allows companies such as travel agencies to benefit from the services of a merchant account. How does a merchant account work?When a customer pays you, this is the journey your money goes on before it reaches you:Check out our complete guide to merchant accounts for an in-depth breakdown of each step in this process. Expert verdictAustralia 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. To do that quickly and efficiently, head to our free comparison service. Through it, we can match you with trusted providers and they'll then reach back to you with custom quotes for you to compare. How We Test Merchant Account Products and Services for BusinessesWe tested 11 market-leading merchant account products and services to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, regulatory compliance, customer support, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to Australian businesses.Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in six main categories of investigation and 25 subcategories – in fact, we covered 36 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!Our main testing categories for merchant account products and services are:Compliance: the adherence of the merchant account product to relevant regulations and standards, such as data security, anti-fraud measures, and legal requirements.Customer Support: the assistance and resources provided by the merchant account provider to users in resolving issues, answering questions, and providing guidance.Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular merchant account – the market position and reputation a merchant account holds.Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the merchant account product. This can include online payment processing, payment gateway integration, and fraud prevention.Taking Payments: the process and options available for accepting payments through the merchant account product.Price: the cost associated with using the merchant account product, including transaction fees, setup fees, monthly fees, and any additional charges. FAQs 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. Written by: Lucas Pistilli Business Services Expert Lucas is a Brazilian-born journalist and Expert Market’s go-to writer for all things EPOS systems, merchant accounts, and franking machines. Having covered business, politics and technology for many years, he’s driven by his passion for the written word and his goal to help people make well-informed decisions. Reviewed by: Ruairi Shirlow Business Services Researcher Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.