Full Service Payment Providers (FSPs) are companies that eliminate the 'middle men' in the payment ecosystem and offer end-to-end services to their customers.
FSPs typically offer a wide array of services, including merchant onboarding and account setup, online payment gateway integration, risk and fraud detection, customer support, chargeback processing and dispute management.
We will take an in-depth look at the work of FSPs, their services and all related aspects.
A payment provider is an umbrella term used to describe companies that provide services related to digital payments. Under this umbrella are a variety of providers, including full service payment providers (FSPs), gateway providers, merchant acquirers and Independent Sales Organizations. Each provider offers its own set of services and is tailored for different types of businesses and customers.
Working with FSPs has a number of benefits for merchants. These range from better cost savings, faster setup times and a centralised support system since you are dealing with a single point of contact for the entire workflow.
An FSP is a single point of contact for all payment processing needs. This means, all support queries related to any problem that may arise, can be easily managed from a single portal, rather than dealing with multiple entities.
FSPs do not have any middle men or agencies in their payment infrastructure. So they are able to offer more competitive pricing than other types of payment providers.
Their terms and conditions are also generally more flexible.
Again, because there are fewer parties involved in the process, FSPs can offer faster account setups and onboarding times than other payment providers.
Application and processing times with FSPs are usually faster, since they only require a merchant to submit one application instead of dealing with multiple forms from different providers.
There are many different full service payment providers in the UK. Here's a look at the top 4 in the market currently.
Pros and cons
Worldpay is the fastest-growing full service payment provider in the UK. It is owned by FIS, one of the world's largest financial services providers headquartered in the United States.
From POS sales for retail outlets, to enterprise solutions for large brands, Worldpay offers tailored solutions to meet the needs of each customer.
They have a global footprint spanning 125 countries, which means merchants can accept payments from customers, from practically anywhere in the world in more than 300 payment methods.
Worldpay offers the full gamut of payment services, ranging from fraud prevention and risk management to online invoicing and analytics.
Their security platform called ‘Omnisheild Assure’ comes with a range of cutting edge security tools including easy PCI compliance and Breach Assist. The latter protects merchants from financial liability in case of a data breach.
Easy integrations, 24/7 customer support, and competitive pricing for Mastercard and Visa are some of the other features that make Worldpay a great choice for merchants looking to expand their payment processing services.
Pros and cons
Barclaycard is a full service payment provider offering merchant services, including credit and debit card processing, online banking and virtual payments. The brand is the trading name for Barclays Bank PLC headquartered in London.
Businesses can use Barclaycard to accept payments through a variety of methods, including Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover. They also offer point of sale solutions, including countertop terminals, mobile and tablet options, and EMV-enabled contactless readers.
Barclaycard's services can be tailored regardless of the size of the operation.
From one-man-bands to large chains, Barclaycard has a solution from basic card acceptance services and terminals to bespoke tailored solutions.
Merchants looking to expand will appreciate the 80+ currencies that they accept payments in, with seamless conversion at competitive prices. They also offer complete Omnichannel capabilities so that customers can pay easily and securely through any digital device, connecting the offline and online world.
Overall, Barclaycard is a great choice for businesses looking for a comprehensive payment provider with advanced features and superior customer support.
Pros and cons
Opayo is one of UK's top rated payment service providers with an extensive footprint that spans most European markets. They were formerly called Sage Pay and were acquired by Avalon in 2020.
The company offers a broad range of services including merchant accounts, card/bank payments, ecommerce solutions and fraud prevention tools.
From point of sale terminals, both countertop and mobile, to virtual terminals, payments on phone, via email and online, they help create tailored payment solutions that fit a business' needs.
Opayo's fraud prevention system is powered by AI and uses advanced analytics to help protect businesses from fraud.
They also offer a wide range of one-click integrations that allows merchants to customise the checkout workflow.
Opayo enjoys a stellar TrustPilot rating and this can be attributed to their top-rated customer support team. There are multiple UK-based support teams based in Leeds, London and Belfast, which ensures that local timezone coverage is available for customers.
Additionally, Opayo offers competitive rates and provides businesses with a single consolidated invoice that makes accounting easier.
Full Service Payment Providers for High Risk Industries
Merchants functioning in high risk industries find it difficult to get payment services from traditional providers. Specialized high risk payment service providers offer tailored solutions for such businesses and are a vital asset in navigating the complex world of payment processing.
These full service providers offer merchant accounts, chargeback mitigation strategies, fraud prevention tools and other services to high risk businesses.
Having said that, when it comes to selecting a full service payment provider, the most popular choice may not always be the best one.
Merchants may get locked into contracts with long-term commitments, high fees and limited customer support.
It is important to research and compare the offerings from different providers to make the apt selection.
Here's a look at some of the best options in this category.
Pros and cons
Trust Payments, formerly called Secure Trading, is one of the largest payment processors in Europe.
They provide comprehensive payment processing services for high risk industries such as Forex, gaming and gambling, pharmaceuticals, debt collection, and more. They have 6 licenses in the United States for online gaming and are steadily expanding into other key global destinations.
Their services include secure payment gateways, fraud prevention tools, chargeback mitigation strategies, merchant accounts and a range of easy integrations.
Support for over 160 payment methods including 25 local payment methods makes them an excellent choice for businesses that seek to expand and operate in multiple markets.
They are one of the few payment providers that are regulated by multiple international financial regulatory bodies, which gives them an edge over their competitors.
Trust Payments' omnichannel module called 'Wonderlane' is used by some of UK's top brands including Holland & Barrett, and Spar.
Overall, Trust Payments ticks all the right boxes to be considered as one of the best full service payment providers for high risk industries.
Pros and cons
Nochex is a full-service payment provider offering services to businesses in the UK, Ireland and Europe. The company provides a range of features to help businesses accept payments online and in-store.
This includes card payments, direct debit and bank transfer processing, fraud protection, automatic invoicing and more.
They are marketed as a leading alternative to mainstream payment providers like Stripe and PayPal, providing an easy-to-use platform for high risk businesses of all sizes.
Their payment gateway integrates with major ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento, and they support a wide range of payment methods.
However, they do not support digital wallets like Apple Pay which may be a deal breaker for some merchants.
With a UK-based customer service team, they provide quick responses to queries and can help businesses get up and running quickly.
Merchants who are willing to overlook the lack of digital wallet support should find Nochex to be a reliable payment provider.
Axcess Merchant Services is a full-service payment provider offering businesses the ability to accept all major credit and debit cards, as well as several alternative payment methods.
They are one of the few merchant services in the high risk business sector that offers support for over 179 currencies, making it ideal for international businesses.
Axcess' range of services include POS systems, virtual terminals, mobile payment processing, fraud prevention tools and chargeback protection.
A wide range of integrations, with simple copy/paste installation, make it easy to add their gateway and payment processing solutions to any website.
Robust security measures and PCI-DSS compliant solutions keep customer data safe, while their responsive customer service team is available to assist with any queries.
Axcess has a network of 391 international acquiring banks, giving businesses access to the highest number of payment gateway and processing options. They also have a wide range of reporting tools to help merchants understand their customers’ buying habits and manage sales better.
They offer 24/7 customer service with multiple channels open for communication.
However, they offer a bespoke quote, which means unless you contact them for a quote, you won’t know their pricing structure.
Pros and cons
Total Processing is a Manchester-based payment service provider that offers secure, PCI-compliant payment solutions for merchants. They specialize in eCommerce and international payments, offering a range of solutions including seamless integration and fraud protection.
As one of the top payment processing companies in the high risk sector, they bring flexibility and favourable terms to the table.
For instance, they have no lengthy contracts or set up fees or cancellation fees, something that's particularly useful for merchants that are just starting out. They also offer one-day settlements, which ensures that the cash flow remains uninterrupted.
The service is as feature rich as they come with a variety of options for payment acceptance, such as debit and credit cards, direct bank transfers, and 178 alternative payment methods. The company also provides access to traditional POS sale systems for countertop and mobile, like the Cloverflex and Ingencio.
Plus, their solutions come with the latest payment security protocols like 3D Secure and PCI DSS Compliance to help protect businesses from fraud and data theft.
Total Processing uses an Interchange Plus pricing model, which means merchants only pay for the cost of the transaction and no additional markups or hidden fees.
Overall, Total Processing is a great choice for merchants looking for an all-in-one payment solution that’s reliable, secure and cost-effective.
Best Payment Providers for Startups and Nano Businesses
Startups and Nano businesses may not require the fancy features of a full-service payment provider. Instead, an efficient and cost-effective way to process payments, and personalised attention can go a long way .
To this end, payment providers like Zettle, Stripe, Square and Sumup might be great options.
Zettle is PayPal's mobile payment system for small businesses. It allows entrepreneurs to accept payments using a smartphone or tablet, and offers an intuitive interface with easy-to-use features like invoicing, cash management and reporting.
Zettle is perfect for small businesses that need to accept payments on the go. It also offers flexible pricing and quick integration, making it ideal for startups.
There are no hidden fees, no long term contracts and no setup fees. It allows merchants to scale as they grow.
Sumup offers card readers, merchant accounts, invoices and POS systems to micro businesses, startups and SMEs. Their card readers are compatible with most major debit / credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
They also offer an integrated POS system that helps merchants manage their inventory, track sales and send invoices with just a few clicks.
Their rates are amongst the most competitive in the industry. They have a flat transaction rate of 2.75% for in-person payments, 3.25% + $0.15 for remote payments and 2.90% + $0.30 if you use their invoicing service.
They do not have monthly charges. Customer support is US-based and is available 7 days a week.
Sumup provides the tools that small businesses need to get paid quickly and securely.
Square might be a big brand in the financial services industry. But they offer a perfect set of features and products for startups and nano businesses.
With Square, you get a free POS system and no monthly charges. Hard to beat that. Merchants processing less than $120000 per year will find the value for money attractive.
They offer competitive rates and an integrated payment solution that includes a range of features like invoicing, recurring payments, virtual terminals and API access.
Square also provides advanced fraud protection to safeguard businesses from potential threats, and is PCI DSS compliant.
Their fees are simple and transparent. You pay 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction for in-person, mobile and gift cards, and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed-in transactions., 2.9% + 30 cents for e-invoice payments and 1% with a $1 minimum for ACH Bank transfers.
There are no hidden charges, no lengthy contracts and excellent customer support.
Square is the perfect choice for entrepreneurs and nano business owners in need of a reliable, secure and cost-effective payment solution.
Stripe is a great choice for startups and micro businesses. It’s one of the most popular payment providers, offering both online and traditional card processing services.
Stripe’s services are reliable, secure and simple to use with a range of integrations for popular ecommerce platforms, including Shopify and WooCommerce.
From POS and invoicing, to payment protection and analytics, Stripe provides an all-in-one solution for businesses.
There's an entire suite of value added tools like fraud prevention services, customer support and a range of analytics tools to help merchants better understand their customers and payment data.
Their fees are amongst the best in the industry. Stripe charges a transaction fee of 1.5% + 20p for standard UK cards, and 2.5% + 20p for EU cards.
The fees is 1.2% + 20p for Payment by link.
With support for 135+ currencies and 24/7 support, Stripe is a great option for businesses of any size. For larger companies and more complex payment requirements, they offer tailored plans.