Which Is The Better Online Payment Gateway?

A payment processor is a company used by a merchant to handle transactions from various channels. As technology advances, new payment options and marketplaces open up, and payment gateways become essential in helping businesses grow.

When it comes to online payments, there’s not really a best so much as there is a preferred. Continent to continent, country to country, even town to town, people have preferences about how they pay. It’s up to businesses to consider those preferences and adapt as they branch out and expand.

Which payment provider you choose will depend on your needs. Here we will list what we think are the best payment gateways and the different services they offer.

How Do Payment Gateways Work?

A payment gateway is software that can be integrated on a website or point-of-sale (POS) system to process payments from credit cars, debit cards, or digital wallets.

When a customer swipes their card or makes their payment online, the payment gateway encrypts their card information and sends it to the bank that issued the particular card.

If the transaction gets approved, the merchant then fulfills the order. The process usually takes just a few seconds.

Security is essential to payment gateways. If customers suspect that the merchant taking their payment information is untrustworthy, they may decide not to make that purchase.   

How Much Do Payment Gateways Cost?

Most payment processors offer purchase-based pricing, with 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction being a standard industry rate.

Some also require monthly gateway subscription fees of around $25 and $30 per month.

In addition to providing secure sensitive information transmission, payment gateways also offer sales reporting, fraud protection, and account updating features, and integrations with various third-party e-commerce platforms.    

Are Payment Gateways Worth the Cost?

Any business that wishes to accept card or digital wallet payments (other than PayPal) needs a payment gateway.

Due to transaction rates varying, it’s essential for sellers to choose a merchant account and payment gateway that offers good rates that won’t cut into their profit margins. 

Our Top 7 Payment Gateway Picks

Authorize.net

authorize.net payment

Established back in 1996, Authorize.Net is one of the oldest payment providers around.

It’s relatively easy to set up and use, works with nearly any merchant account, and accepts transactions from all over the world. Due to its age, Authorize.Net has partnerships with the majority of merchant account providers, allowing its countless users to accept payments from major credit cards, debit cards, digital payments, e-checks, and foreign payments from most countries.

Even though the software can accept transactions made by customers worldwide, your company must be registered in the U.K., US, Canada, Europe, or Australia if you’d like to use this service. 

Reasons to use:

  • Fraud prevention
  • Mail and phone payments
  • Advanced fraud detection Suite
  • Sync for QuickBooks
  • Customer information manager
  • Recurring payments
  • Invoicing
  • Simple checkout

 Reasons to avoid: Limited use

Stripe

Stripe payment

Launched in 2011, Stripe is another powerful payment platform designed specifically for internet businesses. Stripe offers many features, including support for over 130 currencies, various payment types (including PayPal), mobile payments, subscription billing, and a user dashboard with transaction tracking/reporting.

Even though Stripe really shines as an e-commerce payment gateway, it also offers a virtual POS that enables its users to unify their online and offline channels easily.

Stripe Terminal works both on mobile devices and computers as well as with pre-certified card readers that support chip cards and contactless payments.  

Stripe offers an extra advantage to merchants based in Europe, as card processing fees for European cards are 1.4% + a small fee per transaction.

For non-European cards, processing fees are a more standard 2.9%, plus a small charge per transaction. Additionally, for larger volume needs, it has a customized plan with volume discounts.

Its also important to note that, Stripe does not have a monthly gateway fee. 

Reasons to use:

  • Recurring subscriptions and invoicing
  • Local payment methods
  • Real-time reporting
  • QuickBooks and NetSuite support
  • Supports iOS and Android apps
  • Multi-currency pay-outs
  • 450+ platforms and extensions  
  • Machine learning fraud prevention
  • Open-source plugin 

 Reasons to avoid: Tech understanding needed

PayPal

Paypal payment

Created in 1999 as a digital wallet, PayPal has become one of the most versatile and recognized online payment processors. It offers its customers the option to pay with PayPal as well as just about any other payment type.

Pricing is competitive, with card processing charged at 2.9% per transaction, with no monthly fees, making it ideal for lower-volume merchants. Adding PayPal as a payment option is extremely easy.

Users create an account and simply add a “Pay by PayPal” button to their website. 

Users who want to use PayPal’s more advanced payments and checkout features will have to sign up for PayPal Payments Pro.

PayPal integrates with major e-commerce platforms like Squarespace, BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce and offers phone-based credit card payments, in-person payments, and online invoicing.

Reasons to use:

  • Multi-currency pay-outs
  • Accept PayPal payments in 20+ currencies from over 200+ markets
  • Accept PayPal Credit payments (U.S. only)
  • E-commerce payment gateway
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Inventory tracking
  • Many buyers use PayPal accounts
  • PCI compliance
  • A virtual terminal that accepts phone payments

Reasons to avoid: Freezes accounts occasionally; Desirable target for phishing and scams

Braintree

Braintree payment

Launched in 2010, Braintree was swiftly acquired by PayPal in 2013 and now supports in-store and online payments. We chose it due to its simple platform with pricing that accepts all major payment types.

What Braintree lacks in new and fancy features it makes up for in its simplicity.

It features a sleek and appealing interface that creates a seamless checkout experience on any website and integrates easily with most major e-commerce platforms, analytics apps, invoicing software, and more.

Due to it being a PayPal subsidiary, Braintree offers merchant service accounts and accepts all major credit cards, digital wallets, Venmo, and PayPal in 130+ currencies.

Additional useful features include recurring billing, a customer information manager, automatic account updaters, reporting tools, data encryption, and fraud prevention tools.

Reasons to use:

  • Simplicity
  • Advanced fraud protection
  • Data encryption via the Braintree Vault
  • Guaranteed uptime
  • Data migration assistance
  • All available regional payment methods
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Recurring billing
  • Third-party integrations
  • 2-day pay-outs

Reasons to avoid: Lack of additional features

2Checkout

2checkout payment

Created in 2000, We chose 2Checkout due to it being the best for selling internationally.

It offers a localized buying experience for customers in over 200 countries and supports nearly 100 currencies.

2Checkout also offers a payment gateway called 2Sell that accepts all major credit cards and payment methods, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, and PayPal.

It also offers customer support in 15+ languages. 

2Checkout also lets merchants sell their services, physical and digital products, and subscriptions and features.

It offers global customers a mobile-friendly localized buying experience, discounts, coupons and comes with shopping cart templates and many tools to help boost conversions. 2Checkout also offers users a commerce dashboard with instant insights into sales and other customer metrics.

Reasons to use:

  • Level 1 PCI data security standard
  • Sell instantly in 200 countries and territories
  • Integrate quickly with any of 120+ online carts and systems
  • Scale-up for international growth
  • Excellent fraud prevention system
  • Customer support in 15+ languages
  • Access to recurring billing
  • Create customized subscription plans

Reasons to avoid: It takes a long time to be approved and become a partner

BlueSnap

Bluesnap payment

Founded in 2001, BlueSnap is a global payment processor designed to help companies accept payments easily. BlueSnap platform is highly secure and has n efficient fraud prevention system to minimize potential risks.

Bluesnap has an extensive network of over 30 acquiring banks; this ensures customer trust, improves revenues, and increases the conversion rate.

The company operates in 230+ countries and connects automatically with acquiring banks globally.

BlueSnap supports more than 100 different payment types, 90+ currencies, and 29 different languages.

Reasons to use:

  • 3-D Secure and PSD2 compliance
  • Cross-channel payments
  • 3rd-Party payment plugins
  • Direct debit and bank transfers
  • Automated recurring billing
  • Payment tokenization
  • Virtual terminal
  • Excellent customer support
  • Multi-currency pay-outs
  • Easy data migration

Reasons to avoid: Doesn’t support iOS and Android devices

Skrill

Skrill payment

Started in 2001, Skrill is one of the most known payment providers around the world. Now, Skrill has many top businesses as their loyal customers using their innovative solutions.

It is one of the most successful UK-based payment gateways that supports over 30 different currencies and operates in over 230 countries.

Opening an account is fairly simple, and the transfer time is fast. Its trustworthy, secure and offers competitive exchange rates. Also, Skrill wallet provides the option to buy and sell reputable cryptocurrencies.

Reasons to use:

  • Quick access
  • Free account
  • Email transactions
  • High level of security
  • Accepts Bitcoin Payments
  • Cryptocurrency trading options
  • Skrill credit card allows payment even at merchants that do not support Skrill payment

Reasons to avoid: Slow customer support; High pay-out fees to Visa cards

Payment gateway comparison chart

GatewayStripeBraintreeAuthorize.netPayPalSkrillBlueSnap2Checkout
Monthly fees$0$0$25$0€30$75$0
Minimum transaction fees$2.9% + 30¢$2,9% + 30¢$2.9% + 30¢$2.9% + 30¢Varies. More info here$3.90% + 30¢$3.5% + 35¢
Countries40+40+30+200+230+230+240+
Currencies130+130+10+20+35+90+90+
Card types68696713
LimitsNoneNoneNone$10,000*$25,000NoneNone
Form Payments   
Recurring

While we have mentioned some of the top merchant payment gateways, there are many others worth considering.

As nowadays customers look for easier ways to pay and businesses seek easier ways to sell, payment processors can provide both parties with security and opportunities. 

Choosing either a payment gateway or a payment processor begins with evaluating your specific business needs.

Therefore after you have understood your requirements, you can determine the best payment gateway – based on their capacity to meet those requirements, your budget constraints, and the ability to customize and scale as your business grows.

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