The Complete Guide to Best Restaurant Credit Card Processing

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best restaurant credit card processing options available. In this article, we will explore various aspects of credit card processing for restaurants, including rates, merchant account types, POS systems, delivery apps, gratuities, and more. Whether you’re a small neighborhood joint or a fine dining establishment, finding the right credit card processing solution is crucial for enhancing the customer experience and streamlining your financial transactions. So, let’s dive in and discover the best options for your restaurant!

How Can Restaurants Take Credit Cards?

Accepting credit cards is a vital part of modern-day dining. Without this capability, you risk losing potential customers who prefer paying with plastic. To take credit cards, restaurants need a credit card processing solution that enables them to securely process payments. There are a few ways restaurants can take credit cards:

1. Traditional Credit Card Machines: These countertop devices are a common choice for restaurants. They allow swiping, dipping, or tapping of credit cards, ensuring seamless transactions. Some machines even print out receipts for your customers.

2. Mobile Credit Card Processors: With the rise of smartphones and tablets, many restaurants are opting for mobile credit card processors. These devices transform your phone or tablet into a portable point-of-sale system, allowing you to accept payments from anywhere in your restaurant.

Restaurant Credit Card Processing Rates

Credit card processing rates can vary significantly depending on the provider and the services you require. As a restaurant owner, it’s crucial to understand the different types of fees commonly associated with credit card processing:

1. Interchange Fees: These fees are charged by the card’s issuing bank and are typically a percentage of the total transaction amount. The specific rate varies based on factors such as the type of card used (e.g., Visa, Mastercard), the transaction method (swipe, chip, or contactless), and the risk associated with the transaction.

2. Processor Fees: Processors charge various fees for their services, including application fees, monthly service fees, and per-transaction fees. It’s essential to compare different processors to find the one with reasonable rates aligned with your restaurant’s needs.

Merchant Account Types for Restaurants

When it comes to credit card processing, restaurants have two primary options for merchant accounts:

1. Traditional Merchant Accounts: These accounts are typically offered by banks or independent sales organizations (ISOs). They provide a direct relationship between the restaurant and the processor, allowing for more control over fees and customizations. However, they often involve longer application processes and higher setup fees.

2. Aggregator/Third-Party Processor: Aggregators or third-party processors act as intermediaries between restaurants and payment processors. They offer a quick and easy setup process, making them ideal for small or new restaurants. However, they tend to have higher transaction fees and less flexibility in customizing services.

Restaurant Types

Credit card processing requirements can vary depending on the type of restaurant you operate:

1. Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs): QSRs, commonly known as fast-food chains or takeout establishments, have high transaction volumes and require speedy payment processing. Efficient point-of-sale (POS) systems and mobile payment options are crucial for these restaurants to minimize customer wait times.

2. Full-Service Restaurants: Full-service restaurants typically offer table service and may require added features such as tipping options and split billing capabilities. Advanced POS systems that integrate with other restaurant management tools, like inventory and employee scheduling, can streamline operations.

POS Systems for Restaurants

Point-of-sale (POS) systems play a vital role in restaurant credit card processing. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the right POS system for your restaurant:

1. Features: Look for POS systems that offer the specific features your restaurant requires, such as menu customization, table management, staff scheduling, and reporting capabilities. The ability to integrate with other systems, like accounting software, can further streamline your operations.

2. Ease of Use: In a fast-paced restaurant environment, your POS system should be intuitive and easy for staff to learn and navigate. Look for user-friendly interfaces and systems that offer training and support.

GrubHub and Delivery Apps for Restaurants

In an increasingly digital age, delivery apps like GrubHub have become indispensable for many restaurants. These apps allow customers to order food for delivery or pickup through a user-friendly platform. Integrating your credit card processing with these apps can enhance convenience and expand your customer reach.

1. Seamless Integration: When considering delivery apps, ensure that they seamlessly integrate with your chosen credit card processing solution. This integration allows for automatic order processing and payment, reducing the potential for errors and streamlining your delivery operations.

2. Pricing and Fees: Pay attention to the pricing structure and fees associated with each delivery app. Some apps charge a percentage of each transaction, while others may offer fixed monthly rates. Consider the volume of delivery orders your restaurant expects to receive to find the most cost-effective solution.

Gratuities and Credit Cards

Gratuities are an essential part of the restaurant industry, and credit card processing should seamlessly accommodate tipping options. Here are a few considerations:

1. Tip Percentage Options: Ensure that your credit card processing solution offers customizable tip percentage options. This allows your customers to easily select the desired tip amount based on their satisfaction with the service.

2. Automatic Tip Distribution: Some POS systems and credit card processors allow for automatic tip distribution among your staff members. This feature simplifies the process of distributing gratuities and ensures fairness among your team.

Merchant Account Rates for Restaurants

When evaluating merchant account rates for restaurants, it’s important to compare multiple providers and consider the following:

1. Transaction Volume: Some processors offer tiered pricing plans based on the transaction volume. Analyze your restaurant’s expected transaction numbers to determine the most cost-effective rate structure for your business.

2. Additional Fees: Besides the transaction fees, be aware of any additional fees charged by the merchant account provider, such as monthly fees, statement fees, or chargeback fees. It’s crucial to factor these fees into your overall decision-making process.

Table Breakdown of Credit Card Processing Options

Credit Card Processing Option Merchant Account Type Key Features
Traditional Credit Card Machines Traditional Merchant Account Secure transactions, receipt printing
Mobile Credit Card Processors Aggregator/Third-Party Processor Portable, accept payments anywhere
Online Ordering with Delivery Apps Aggregator/Third-Party Processor Expand customer reach, seamless integration
Integrated POS Systems Traditional Merchant Account Advanced features, streamline operations

FAQs about Best Restaurant Credit Card Processing

1. What factors should restaurants consider when choosing a credit card processing provider?

Restaurants should consider factors such as pricing, customer support, POS system compatibility, integration with delivery apps, and the ability to handle tipped transactions.

2. How can I compare credit card processing rates for my restaurant?

To compare rates, request quotes from multiple providers and consider the interchange fees, processor fees, and any additional fees charged by each provider. Compare the overall cost based on your expected transaction volume.

3. Are there any credit card processors specifically designed for small restaurants?

Yes, several credit card processors cater to small restaurants by offering easy setup processes, affordable rates, and user-friendly POS systems. Square and PayPal are popular choices for small restaurant owners.

4. Can restaurants accept contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay?

Most modern credit card processing solutions support contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Google Pay. However, ensure that your chosen processor and POS system are compatible with these payment methods.

5. How can I ensure the security of credit card transactions at my restaurant?

To ensure security, choose a credit card processing provider that complies with PCI DSS standards and offers encryption and tokenization for sensitive data. Additionally, train your staff on best security practices to prevent fraud or data breaches.

6. Can I integrate my credit card processing system with my restaurant’s loyalty program?

Yes, many credit card processors offer loyalty program integrations. This allows you to reward customers for their repeat business and encourage them to choose your restaurant for their dining needs.

7. What are the advantages of integrating my credit card processing with delivery apps?

Integration with delivery apps allows for seamless order processing and payment, reducing manual errors and streamlining your restaurant’s delivery operations. It also opens up your restaurant to a broader customer base by leveraging the app’s user base.

8. How can I ensure smooth processing of gratuities with credit card payments?

Choose a credit card processing solution or POS system that offers customizable tip options for customers. Additionally, opt for systems that allow for automatic tip distribution among your staff members to simplify the process.

9. Can I negotiate merchant account rates for my restaurant?

While negotiation possibilities may vary, it’s worth discussing rates with potential merchant account providers. Highlight your restaurant’s sales volume and inquire about any available discounts or promotions that can help lower your rates.

10. How often should I review my credit card processing rates?

Industry rates and processor offerings can change over time, so it’s wise to review your credit card processing rates at least once a year. Stay informed about new technologies and advancements that may benefit your restaurant’s operations and bottom line.


Choosing the best credit card processing solution for your restaurant is an important decision that can greatly impact your customer experience and financial operations. By understanding the various aspects, such as rates, merchant account types, POS systems, delivery app integration, and gratuity handling, you can make an informed choice that suits your restaurant’s unique needs. Take advantage of technology and explore the available options to enhance the efficiency and convenience of credit card processing in your restaurant. Feel free to explore our other articles for further insights into streamlining your restaurant’s operations and providing exceptional customer service!