Quickbooks: Is It a Payment Processor?

The short answer is no. Quickbooks is not a payment processor. While it does have some payment processing capabilities, it’s not a full-fledged payment processor.

Quickbooks is a popular accounting software used by businesses to manage their financials. It’s known for its user-friendly interface and wide range of features, including invoicing, expense tracking, and reporting. But is Quickbooks also a payment processor?

A payment processor is a company that facilitates electronic transactions between merchants and customers. It handles the transfer of funds from the customer’s bank account to the merchant’s account, as well as the authorization and settlement of the transaction.

Quickbooks, on the other hand, integrates with payment processors to help you manage your transactions. You can connect Quickbooks to a payment processor like Authorize.net, and then use the software to track your transactions, reconcile your bank statements, and generate reports. But Quickbooks doesn’t process the transactions itself.

In conclusion, Quickbooks is not a payment processor, but a comprehensive accounting software that integrates with payment processors to help you manage your financials. If you’re looking for a payment processor, you can choose from a range of options, and Flat Creek Payments is happy to help find the best solution for your business needs.

For questions, email info@flatcreekpayments.com

How do I set up payment processing for a small business?

Setting up payment processing for a small business can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to help break down the steps. However, if you’re working with the right team you won’t feel overwhelmed!

Let’s get started…

  1. Choose a payment processor: Research and compare payment processors to determine which one is the best for your business.
    • This is the most important step and it can cause the most anxiety. Many business owners choose a payment processor because their friend has a friend who is using a particular system, so it should be good. There is nothing wrong with asking what other business owners are using, but do your research and make sure their business needs match your own! What works for the local coffee shop might not work for a landscaping company.
    • Another great resource is the Better Business Bureau. They have the ability to help connect you with a local payment processor with a proven track record.
    • We also recommend working with a local payment processor. NOT a company with a local rep, but a truly local processor. Some companies will tell you that they don’t exist, but that’s not true! Working with a local company can ease so much of the stress simply because they’re right down the street. They can come to your aide within minutes rather than placing you on hold for hours.
  2. Apply for an account: Fill out an application and provide the necessary information to open an account with the payment processor.
    • If you’re thinking of going with a company that doesn’t have an application process such as Square, Stripe, or PayPal then please beware. Not only will you pay higher fees, but you’ll also be working with an unprotected account.
    • When a payment processor asks you to fill out an application so they can submit it to their underwriting team, you know you’re getting a protected merchant account. This involves a little patience on your part, but the peace of mind that comes with it will be worth it!
    • We would like to add a side note that not all application processes are created equal, so it’s important to do your homework here, too! NOTE – not all payment processors force you to sign a contract! If you’re not comfortable with a contract, walk away. There are plenty of payment processors out there who can protect you without making you feel stuck.
  3. Integrate payment processing into your website or Point of Sale (POS) system: Most payment processors offer APIs and plugins to integrate payment processing into your website or POS system.
    • This step might not apply to you depending on your business model. If you’re simply using a countertop terminal then you would skip to Step 6.
  4. Securely store customer payment information: Make sure that you follow best practices for securely storing customer payment information, such as PCI DSS compliance.
    • If you followed Step 2 properly, then you can rest easy knowing that you have a PCI Compliant account.
    • If you’re currently processing with a company such as Square, Stripe, or PayPal then you do not have a PCI Compliant account. To take this a little deeper, those companies are compliant to protect their own, but you personally do not have a compliant account.
    • Having a PCI Compliant merchant account not only protects you, but it also protects your customers. After all, their trust in you is what will help ensure that they become repeat customers.
  5. Set up payment methods: Choose the payment methods you want to accept, such as credit cards, debit cards, and others.
    • Many credit card companies will provide you with window stickers to display for your customers to see. If you do not have stickers, feel free to ask your payment processor. It’s a great way to show off how easy it can be to purchase from you!
  6. Test the system: Before going live, test the payment processing system to make sure that everything is working properly.
    • Your payment processor should help you install your new POS system and/or credit card reader.
    • Once the installation is complete, it’s important to make sure that the system is working properly before you open your doors. This will allow you to correct any issues before possibly facing an embarrassing situation in front of your customers.
  7. Start accepting payments: Once you have set up payment processing, you can start accepting payments from customers!

In summary, setting up payment processing for a small business requires choosing a payment processor, applying for an account, integrating the payment processing into your website or POS system, securely storing customer payment information, setting up payment methods, testing the system, and then starting to accept payments.

Still have questions?

Feel free to email us your questions and we’re happy to help you navigate the world of credit card payment processing. We know it can be a lot to take in!


Avoid Credit Card Processing Contracts

Reading the fine print is CRITICAL when choosing a credit card processing service and your best option is to go with a provider who doesn’t have contracts at all!

Salespeople rarely disclose all of the fees and take the time to explain the terms in depth. In fact, legally they’re not required to. Salespeople are there to do one thing, sell you something and move onto the next victim customer. This is why it’s so important to read the fine print before signing a contract.

It’s ok to say you want to take a little time to read it before signing. If you get any kind of pushback or smooth talking like “why wait, let’s start saving you money today” then you should know that’s a red flag. If their contract is on the up and up they shouldn’t be bothered by you reviewing the details.

Always know what you’re getting yourself into!

Credit card processing companies with no contracts.

Yes, they do exist!

You may have to put in a little extra work to find these companies, but they’re out there. Start with a simple Google search of merchant services near me or payment processor near me. Read the reviews and ask around to other business owners who they’re using.

Side note – if you’re going to talk with other business owners about their current payment processor, be sure to ask detailed questions like “what do you like” and “what don’t you like”. Ask about their experience as whole, including customer support! If you’re going to put in the work you might as well not half ass it.

Like with many small business owners, it can often be difficult for the little guy to get noticed and at the end of the day that’s what a local merchant services provider is. They’re a fellow small business owner who can relate to your challenges and who understands the needs of the community. Do you think the larger corporations like Square and Stripe even care? That’s a serious question to ask yourself.

Heavy hitters don’t have contracts.

I figured we would go here since I just mentioned Square and Stripe. At this point you might be thinking “Square and Stripe doesn’t have contracts, so they must be good.” That’s a loaded question. It’s true that these companies make it easy to sign up, don’t have contracts, and can process payments. However, right out of the gate they’re charging you a higher rate and not to mention they can freeze/cancel your account without warning because you didn’t go through a protected underwriting process in the beginning.

I’m afraid to get started.

If it helps, you’re not alone. This article wasn’t written to scare you, but to hopefully open your eyes. You spend so much time researching the other aspects of your business, but many business owners fail to properly research the most critical part of business… the money part!

Flat Creek Payments is happy to help you navigate this crazy world of credit card payment processing. They have to experience to help you get started the right way. Protect yourself and your business.

Payment processor vs payment gateway

Understanding the difference between a payment processor and payment gateway is an important part of setting up your business, especially if you plan on accepting online payments. And yes, to process online payments you need both a payment gateway and a payment processor.

A payment gateway is a system that collects and verifies a customer’s credit card information before sending it to the payment processor. A payment processor then routes a customer’s credit card information between your point-of-sale system and the credit cards network or bank.

Choosing the right payment gateway and payment processor can feel overwhelming when there are so many to choose from these days. As of 2022, Visa has close to 1300 registered independent sale organizations that essentially sell credit card processing to merchants and business owners.

Because of the mind-boggling options available to business owners, it’s no wonder that they sign up with the first one they see. Companies like Square, Stripe, and PayPal have seen the fear in the eyes of business owners and have created the simple solution. They have built both the payment gateway and payment processor directly into their systems. On top of that they offer target marketing such as “start accepting credit cards in 5 minutes” but BUYER BEWARE!

Have you ever heard “you get what you pay for”?

Please don’t misunderstand, these companies have properly working systems, but it’s the little things you need to look out for. One example is they always have higher rates than what a local merchant services company can offer. So you’re losing money right out of the gate.

Also with these companies, you’re not getting a protected legitimate merchant account. They approve everyone up front, but if you do anything to raise an eyebrow then can and will freeze your account without warning. It can often take days or even months to unfreeze an account, if ever.

We strongly advise you to use a company that will take you through an underwriting process. It’s a little extra work up front, but it will prevent a world of headaches down the road!

We’re happy to help navigate this crazy world of payment processing, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

How to avoid payment processing fees

Nobody wants to pay credit card processing fees if they don’t have to and I’m here to tell you… you don’t have to!

As a business owner you work too hard for your money and deserve to keep as much of it as possible. The easiest way to accomplish this is by offering your customers a cash discount. Now before you go changing how you collect payment, there are a few things you’ll need to know first.

Let’s start with the basics…

What is a cash discount?
This is where you pass your credit card processing fees to your customer. If your customer pays with cash then they will be paying a lower dollar amount than the customer who has chosen to pay with their credit card.

Many businesses are switching to a cash discount and having great success!

What if my customers get mad?
It’s good to consider your customers, but you also need to make your business a priority. It’s time you change your mindset. Technically your customers are already paying your fees. Without them making purchases at your business you wouldn’t have money to pay the bills. See, it’s all about how you look at things.

Think about your absolute favorite restaurant. If they suddenly had a small fee for using your credit card, what would you do? Would you never eat there again? Probably not. You’d most likely bring cash the next time to receive your meal at a discounted price or not even think twice since the fee was so small. Your customers will have the same thought process.

I should also note that many of the credit card terminals that support the cash discount feature will also have the option to bypass. For example, if you have preferred customers where you absolutely don’t want to charge them the fee you can hit the bypass button and opt to cover the processing fee yourself.

Is it legal to offer a cash discount?
Yes. It is legal in all 50 states to offer a cash discount. To comply with federal regulations, you’ll need to have some kind of visible signage letting your customers know there is a cash discount option. You can make your own or your merchant services provider should be able to supply one for you.

How much should I give for a cash discount?
It is recommended to be set up with a 4% cash discount. This will ensure that all credit card processing fees will be covered, including AMEX Rewards which is known to have the highest rates of all credit cards.

To get started you could technically post a sign to comply with federal regulations and start adjusting for the cash discount, but to make your life even easier there are many terminals and POS systems that can do all of the math for you.

If you’re unsure if your current credit card terminal or POS system can handle a cash discount, we recommend asking your current provider. If they cannot support a cash discount at this time then we’re happy to get you started!


You work way too hard for your money to be throwing it away on credit card processing fees!

How to choose a payment processor for your business

We have all seen the ads come through our social media feed saying “start accepting credit cards in 5 minutes.” You’ve also heard “if it sounds too good to be true“… Although those ads are technically true, there is actually a lot that they aren’t telling you!

As a business owner, you should always feel in control. After all, it’s your money! If you ever feel at someone’s mercy then it’s time for a second opinion. There is a reason why we get those gut feelings so listen to them!

Let’s take a closer look at the 3 C’s to consider when choosing a payment processor that’s right for you and your business.


Cost is possibly the number one thing to consider when choosing a payment processor and yet so many business owners seem to overlook it. By taking a little extra time to do your homework you can save thousands in the long run. Read that again… thousands of dollars!

Did you know that as a business owner, you can choose what you want to pay? We never get tired of saying this – business owners should always feel in control of their money.

If your current or potential payment processor hasn’t told you that you have options, then you need to run. You should be presented with a list of pricing options that you’re allowed to choose from based on your business needs. These pricing models include the following:

Interchange Plus Pricing
Interchange is a rate that is set by major credit card companies such as Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and Discover. This is how those companies get paid and those rates are not negotiable no matter how good the payment processor is. Since your payment processor needs to get paid for their service as well, they will do a slight markup on top of the Interchange rate. They might quote you something like “Interchange + 0.30% + $0.09 per transaction.” This option is the best if you choose to cover the fees yourself.

Flat Rate Pricing
This is where the processor charges a fixed percentage per transaction. Flat Rate Pricing is the most commonly used in credit card processing, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. To ensure that your fees are covered, the payment processor will put you at a higher rate. Your quote might look something like “2.9% + $0.10 per transaction”.

Cash Discount Pricing
This is how you can eliminate 100% of your credit card processing fees and many business owners are switching to it. In the simplest terms, you’re passing the fees to your customer. It’s recommended to do a 4% cash discount to make sure all fees are covered, especially credit cards with higher rates such as AMEX. If you’re working with a good payment processor, they can also set up your system to allow you to bypass the cash discount. For example, if your favorite customer comes in and you don’t want to charge them the additional 4% you can hit a button on the terminal that will have you pay the fee instead.

Customer Service

So many companies have been letting the customer service side of the business fall by the wayside lately. Never underestimate the power of excellent customer service. In fact, we have met business owners who are willing to pay more to a company with good customer service and the same goes for customers.

Business owners have countless plates spinning in the air at any given time and rarely have time to sit on hold waiting for a customer service rep to answer. In the world of business, if there is a problem with their terminal then it needs to be fixed immediately.

Before signing up to work with a particular payment processor, test their customer service. Call their customer support number and ask a simple question such as “how long does it usually take to ship a new terminal?” The focus of the experiment was to answer the following:

  • How long did I sit on hold?
  • Was the agent friendly?
  • Did they seem knowledgeable and answered my questions to my satisfaction?

We recommend contacting them via email and chat, too. Not every company with have chat support, but if they do then take advantage. This will help you see what their response times are like and how their replies are structured. Many companies have started replying to emails with links to articles and saying “we think this might help”. In our opinion, this is not good customer support and can waste a lot of your valuable time if it’s not helpful.

Whenever you can, try working with a local payment processor and/or merchant services company. This will help you save the most time because you can call your local rep and they can generally get a faster resolution. You can continue focusing on your business while the rep is handling any problems.

No matter how much technology is developed, nothing will ever replace the power of human relationships.


If a payment processor wants you to sign any contract stating you’ll be with them for X amount of years, then walk away immediately. It’s that simple.

Ask yourself why the payment processor would feel the need to lock you into a contract? Processors who have contracts will do a 3-year contract and tell you that it’s “industry standard”, but we’re here to tell you, NO IT’S NOT!

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. A business owner will never make a poor choice for their business, not intentionally anyway.

Wishing success to all small business owners and we’re happy to answer any questions that will help you navigate the crazy world of payment processing!