If you are thinking of starting an E-Commerce website – or a small brick-and-mortar store for that matter, then one of your utmost considerations should be a payment gateway. This program helps process credit card payments, easing the transaction process on both ends.
More than just making your business seem more legitimate, a good payment gateway can help protect your consumers from any safety breaches.
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Selecting the Best Payment Gateways
With the many options out there, it’s best if you seek out and compare the best payment gateways for small businesses and startups first.
Here are several things that you need to consider before you choose one:
1. Faster checkout
Consumers are impatient. A multi-step checkout process can lead you to lose clients. If you don’t want to lose potential conversions, then you should go for a gateway that offers a fast checkout. Some programs offer one-step purchases, which often eliminate additional steps, redirects, and other factors that may bore your client.
Every business must keep its buyers’ credit card info safe and secure. Of course, the best way to do so is to get a well-secured payment gateway.
You know you made a good choice if you went with a Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant company. These adhere to the industry’s data security standards, which are the guidelines that help ensure the safety of electronic processes.
A PCI-recognized gateway, which is known to protect customer info and payment data well, will give you that much-needed peace of mind. This will also boost your clients’ trust in your store, something that will greatly help your business revenue.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales usually send buyers into a tailspin. The prospect of low prices is too much for many clients to take. If you don’t want to frustrate customers because of a faulty checkout system, then you need to seek the services of a reliable gateway. This can keep its services up, even during the peak traffic periods that were mentioned.
A payment gateway is not a plug and play thing. It comes with some tweaking, so it’s best to get a system that easily integrates with your online or brick-and-mortar store. You don’t want to lose your existing programs just because of a payment gateway.
With that being said, pick a processor that doesn’t bog down your website. Remember, you get to lose 25% of your clients if your page loads longer than 4 seconds.
Clients want to go with a company that works with a reputable payment gateway. It doesn’t necessarily to be decades-old – though age would help. After all, why would they entrust their sensitive info to unknown programs? If you want to encourage more purchases from your clients, then you should go with an esteemed payment gateway.
Payment gateways are either hosted or non-hosted. A hosted one will take the buyer from your website to the payment page. Once the transaction has been completed, it will be redirected back to your store. While this is easy to set up, it can disrupt the shopping experience – which may be a boon for some clients.
Opposite to the hosted option is the non-hosted one. This retains your clients on your website, so no redirects occur. This is usually better for the users, though this service may come with higher fees.
According to a report, about 79% of consumers made a mobile purchase within the last 6 months. With more and more people using their smartphones for buying, you need to get a gateway that can respond to this demand. If not, you’re bound to see increased cart abandonment rates. Think about the revenues you would’ve made if you only made the right choice.
Going global is the dream of any business owner. If you want to take your small business to the next level, then you should go for a gateway that allows cross-border transactions. While it may come with some additional fees, this would help you extend your reach – and improve your revenues. A feature to consider is dynamic currency conversion, which allows clients to pay in their preferred currencies.
9. Automatic Billing
Is your business offering memberships or subscriptions? Then you should choose a gateway that enables automatic billing. Most gateways usually come with an automatic reminder system, so you could devote your time to more important things.
Without an automatic billing system, your clients may be forced to renew their payments every month. This could prove to be very laborious, which could cause them to abandon the subscription along the way.
Even the smallest of issues can hurt your business. As mentioned, clients can get impatient. As such, you need a payment gateway company that offers the best support possible. This will allow you to iron out any issues that may put your business into a standstill. With immediate support, you can restore services – and complete the transaction.
As a small business owner, you might be leaning towards cheaper gateways because of your limited financial resources. Remember, the most affordable solution is not always the best one. It may have an issue with fraud detection and other security concerns. You may be saving money at first, but this may cost you even more fees in the long run.
Best Payment Gateways for Small Businesses and Startups
PayPal is one of the world’s leading commerce platforms. Whether you have a small business or a thriving company, the company can provide much-needed business solutions – and more.
PayPal enables your clients to pay in whatever method they want. If you sell online, you can ask your customers to pay via credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, PayPal Credit, and Venmo.
With PayPal, your buyers can complete their purchases without leaving your website. You can also offer PayPal Credit, which allows your customers to pay for the product/service through an extended period. This service also allows you to send estimates and invoices, so they can pay easily and conveniently.
You can also integrate PayPal with your social media accounts, so buyers can purchase their needs right off Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Apart from online payments, PayPal also facilitates in-store transactions. The same methods are accepted, with wireless Apple Pay added to the list. PayPal is easily adaptable to a card reader for your tablet or smartphone, as your clients can even scan QR codes for easy payments. With these features, you can do away with bulky POS systems.
PayPal also helps facilitate phone transactions. As long as you have internet access, you can accept payments – no software or coding knowledge necessary.
Managing risk is also very easy, many thanks to its strong fraud protection feature. It also comes with seller protection, so you are protected from disputes, reversals, and chargebacks.
For sales within the United States, PayPal charges 2.9% plus 30 cents for every transaction. International purchases are more expensive at 4.4% plus a fixed fee based on currency.
Should you decide to use the PayPal Here card reader, you need to pay a 2.7% transaction fee for swiped cards – or 3.5% plus 15 cents for manual transactions.
- Paypal is a globally-recognized and trusted brand. As such, customers are more likely to purchase from stores that have this payment gateway.
- Many clients already have their own PayPal accounts, which makes it easier for them to make payments through this gateway.
- Paypal enables international transactions as it can handle several currencies.
- As it is hosted on another website, it works well with most types of E-commerce platforms.
- This payment gateway is more expensive compared to others as it comes with other additional fees.
- Unless you use PayPal Express, your clients will be redirected to another site for the payment.
Stripe Connect is a comprehensive payment platform that easily adapts to growing businesses. With its fully-integrated payment APIs, it works well with E-commerce websites, subscription businesses, brick-and-mortar stores, even virtual marketplaces.
Stripe boasts of strict security and compliance, so you and your customers need not worry about fraudulent transactions. This gateway makes it possible with its AES encryption. After all, card numbers are encrypted with AES-256 while decryption keys are in another program.
It also has an isolated infrastructure for storing, transmitting, and decrypting. As such, these credentials are not shared with the gateway’s other services.
If you are processing subscriptions, then you will enjoy Stripe’s recurring payment feature. With its recovery tools, you can minimize declines for maximum profits.
With its many features, Stripe can help you reach customers all over the world. Apart from the usual credit cards, it also accepts SEPA Debit, SOFORT, iDEAL, and AliPay.
What’s great about Stripe is that it’s more than just a payment gateway. It promises to help improve your sales as well. With an operating cost that is 24% lower than its competitors, you are sure to get more revenue.
Stripe levies a 2.9% transaction fee and an additional 30 cents for every successful payment. International transactions, on the other hand, come with a flat 3.9% fee.
- Stripe has PCI’s DSS Level 1 certification, which is the highest and the strictest industry. This means Stripe securely facilitates over 6 million payments annually.
- It accepts 6 types of credit cards, compared to PayPal’s 5.
- Stripe facilitates transactions in more local currencies.
- Integration is the usual issue. As such, you may need the help of an IT professional to make this work with your E-commerce website.
- Stripe only offers e-mail support, which means that you have to wait for quite sometime before you receive a reply.
3. Amazon Pay
If you want to connect your small business to more customers, then you should consider using Amazon Pay. With the company’s millions of customers, you get to ride with the reputation that Amazon is known for worldwide.
With Amazon Pay, you can make the checkout process easier. If your buyer has an Amazon account, all he/she needs to do is use it. This eliminates the need for creating a new account or entering credit card digits.
Your clients also get to use their Alexa for shopping. By eliminating the need for typing and whatnot, you get to hasten the checkout process with the voice feature.
Security-wise, Amazon Pay gives your client that much-needed peace of mind. It has a strong system that detects and prevents fraud, a scrupulous activity that can compromise your business. You can also validate customers with its verification feature. With its A to Z guarantee, qualified purchases are covered for free.
Amazon Pay is easy to use as well. All you need to do is set up an Amazon Pay account for your online store and use the integrations as needed. With its UX guidelines and code samples, you don’t have to rely on a tech wiz to get your website set up.
Amazon Pay domestic transactions incur a fee of 2.9% and an additional 30 cents.
- Amazon by itself is a trusted brand, and this can attract more customers to your website.
- Amazon’s 1-click feature makes the checkout process easier for clients.
- With Amazon Pay, sellers like you are also protected from fraud.
Amazon Pay limits purchases to only 20 items per customer, which is a boon if your usual sales go beyond this number.
Payoneer is a payment gateway that allows you to receive payments from marketplaces and clients from every corner of the globe. Secure, quick, and affordable, it provides you with all the solutions that you need for your small business or startup.
Payoneer takes pride in its simple payment processing, which makes it the preferred system among 4 million merchants.
If you work directly with clients, you can bill them directly – and provide multiple options for payment. You get paid in the local currency – as if you have a local bank account. With Payoneer, you can accept payments in USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, MXN, AUD, and JPY.
If your business is involved with networks and marketplaces, Payoneer offers a tailor-made solution as well. You can simply connect your account with that of Airbnb, Upwork, ClickBank, iStock, and Fiverr.
Once you get your funds from Payoneer, you can channel your funds to your own bank account – and withdraw it in your local currency. Should you need to pay a local or international supplier, you can send money via Payoneer for free.
The transaction fee for customer direct payments is 3% for credit cards and 1% for ACH Bank Debit. As for receiving accounts, the fee ranges from free to a measly 1%.
- Payoneer supports over 200 countries and 150 local currencies.
- Compared to other payment gateways, Payoneer levies lower fees. As such, this system can help you increase your revenue by as much as 71%.
- Should you get payment from another Payoneer user, you don’t have to worry about paying fees.
- Restrictions limit direct payment to a maximum of $1,000.
- It may take you about a week before you hear from Payoneer customer support.
5. Apple Pay
Apple has 1.4 billion active devices all around the world. If you wish to appeal to these users, then you should consider Apple Pay. With this gateway, you can accept payments via your online store, brick-and-mortar shop, even through Business chat.
Apple Pay facilitates contactless transactions with the use of Apple devices, which makes it easier than having to pay with a credit card. With just one touch, buyers can complete their purchases immediately.
Security is one of the more robust features of Apple Pay. After all, a user needs to use Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode to access his/her device. You also don’t have to worry about a data breach, as you don’t get to receive or keep the client’s credit card info.
To facilitate in-store transactions with Apple Pay, you will need to install a point-of-sale terminal.
Apple Pay is also open for international payments, as it can facilitate any of the following:
- American Express
- China Union Pay
With its many services, you’ll be surprised that Apple Pay does not levy any additional fees.
- Apple Pay is virtually free of charge. There are no additional fees outside of what credit card companies charge their clients.
- If you are already processing Discover payments, your store will also be able to accept Apple Cash payments. There’s no need for additional programs and whatnot.
- Apple Pay makes use of a virtual card number, which keeps your buyer’s sensitive data secure.
- Apple Pay is limited to clients using a model of iPhone 6 or higher.
- The use of Apple Pay is not that ‘universal’ as this gateway is only accepted by a few merchants.
Authorize.net is one of the pioneers in the field of payment gateway systems. Founded in 1996, this visa solution features a simplified payment process.
As one of the industry leaders, it comes with 13 layers of fraud protection. Its velocity filters can help determine high-volume fraud, while its transaction filters help validate credit card details before payment processing.
Authorize.net supports many payment types. Whether it’s Visa, Mastercard, Amex, JCB, or PayPal, your clients can pay for your products/services with relative ease. It also facilitates international transactions, as long as your business is based in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, or Australia.
This payment gateway also supports recurring billing. With this system, buyers get the option to pay from their bank accounts or their credit cards.
Authorize.net’s all-in-one option costs 2.9% plus an additional 30 cents per transaction. Should you elect for the payment gateway only, it will only cost you 10 cents per transaction. The same cost applies to batch fees. Both plans come with free setup and monthly gateway fees.
- Authorize.net is a hands-down leader in fraud protection with its 13 foolproof filters.
- No integration is needed for subscription billing.
- It offers timely support services to its clients.
- Authorize.net requires you to have a merchant account.
- You need to undergo several steps to ensure that you comply with statutes legally.
Another one of the first payment gateways in the market, WorldPay has been providing its services since 1994. With this system, you can accept payments and move your finances without the usual difficulty.
WorldPay offers specialized services for small businesses, ranging from groceries to retail and professional services. It can easily connect you to payments, as it can be integrated well with over 1000+ POS systems. You can even use your smartphone as a portable POS.
It also comes with a SmartPay series, which allows you to customize payment strategies with the help of one handy device.
Despite making the payment process easier, WorldPay is no slacker when it comes to security. It offers complete protection to the threats of data security breach and fraud. Its Omnishield Assure feature helps reduce fraud liability, while its OmniToken helps protect sensitive data. With its point to point encryption, credit card data remains concealed all the time.
Apart from simplifying the payment process, WorldPay can also help build your business. Its BigCommerce feature allows you to improve your online presence, while its BizShield and Merchant Insights enable effortless footprint tracking.
WorldPay will cost you 2.75% in transaction fees plus an additional 25 cents. Should you go for monthly payments, you need to pay the fixed monthly fee of $25. This does not include the 2.75% transaction fee for credit cards and 0.75% for debit cards.
- WorldPay offers some of the lower fees in the market.
- WorldPay has many robust security features against fraud and data breaches.
- This gateway offers multiple options for payment processing.
- WorldPay requires a 3-year contract. You need to pay a cancellation fee if you terminate your contract early.
- Unfortunately, the gateway offers poor customer service.
BlueSnap is an all-in-one payment platform for marketplaces, subscriptions, and everything else in between.
It follows a payment platform built for growth. With one account, you are connected to a global bank network. This allows you to process more than 100 shopper currencies – as well as 100 more global payment types.
Despite this wealth of options, BlueSnap can help protect your business with its fraud prevention systems. These include Kount and 3D Secure. With its multi-layer device fingerprinting, you can determine fraud patterns – and stop them before they penetrate your site.
If you are having problems with failed subscription payments, the gateway can help you avoid this. With its retry payment logic, the system can retry subscriptions at intervals until they become successful. Should the transaction not push thru because of outdated credit card information, it will request the necessary update from your client.
BlueSnap is not only good for your customers – it’s helpful for your business as well. As it offers easy integration with many programs, you don’t have to change your shopping carts, CRM, and ERP systems. You can easily ‘snap’ the gateway to these platforms, so you get your payments in just a few clicks.
Transactions made in the US incur a 2.9% fee plus 30 cents. As for European countries, the fee is lower at only 1.4% plus 30 cents.
- BlueSnap generates comprehensive reports that prove to be crucial for any business.
- It facilitates easy payment with the use of several international currencies.
- Customer service reps respond to queries immediately.
BlueSnap requires a minimum balance for refunds.
EBizCharge is an integrated service for businesses that wish to simplify the payment acceptance process. Since it easily integrates with many tools, including that of CRM, ERP, Accounting, and E-Commerce, you get to receive payments right away.
With its cloud-based Virtual Terminal, EBizCharge helps you accept payments – wherever you might be. Given its intuitive interface, your clients can upload their desired payment method via e-mail. As for your business, the terminal enables you to issue refunds or credits with relative ease.
EBizCharge also helps improve the payment collection process with its customer payment portal. Here, clients can pay off their invoices right away. Since this system syncs with your accounting program right away, you get to keep track of your revenues easily.
With EBizCharge, you need not worry about fraud as well. With its tokenization and encryption capacities, you can stop unwanted transactions at its tracks. Given its PCI-compliant features, it can help reduce your liability in terms of data storage.
EBizCharge also comes with advanced reporting tools, so you can access much of your store’s transaction history. You can leverage this data to help improve your marketing techniques, among many other things.
The transaction fee is 2.9% plus an additional 30 cents.
- The payment gateway is very easy to use.
- It integrates quickly with a variety of E-commerce programs.
- EBizCharge offers strong customer support.
- You may need to wait for a few days before you receive the payments into your account.
- It’s difficult to void transactions made through Sage.
Any small business needs to be ready for the future. Fortunately, there’s Bolt – a payment gateway that easily integrates with your other programs.
This program is known for customizing the shopper experience, which could lead to better conversions on your part. With its 1-click checkout feature, clients can make a repeat purchase easily. That’s because the system saves the buyer’s pertinent information, so there’s no need to key in vital information repeatedly.
Compared to other payment gateways, your customers need not be redirected to another site. They can complete the transaction safely within your website.
Should your client abandon his/her cart, Bolt will send a recovery e-mail to help complete the transaction.
Bolt goes out on a limb by offering post-purchase order management. Your clients get to receive SMS or e-mails for order confirmations, voided purchases, and refunds.
As for fraud detection, you can breathe freely with the system’s 200 real-time signals. With that being said, Bolt’s fraud models can help you act on scrupulous transactions right away.
Should you decide to hold sales, you need not worry about downtime due to high traffic. With Bolt’s 99.99% uptime and performance monitoring, you are sure to keep your clients within your website.
Bolt services start at $16 per month.
- Bolt’s 1-click checkout makes purchasing relatively easy.
- Bolt’s fraud protection system keeps everything in check.
- The company has an extremely responsive customer support team.
Bolt’s fees may be a little expensive for small businesses and startups.
Payments should be easy for you and your customers. With Skrill, you can achieve this – and so much more. It comes with a Quick Checkout feature, which, as the name suggests, facilitates easy payment even without a Skrill account. It also has a 1-tap feature, which comes in very handy for repeat buyers.
The Skrill gateway, which is certified with Visa and Mastercard, allows you to choose from more than 100 payment methods. It also enables you to manage more than 40 currencies, which could well improve your global reach.
With Skrill’s enhanced fraud management, you don’t have to worry about scrupulous transmissions. It is PCI compliant, so you know that it upholds the highest standards when it comes to data security. With its payment protection, transactions are safely indemnified.
Businesses that make less than $3,000 a month need to shell out 2.9% plus 29 cents for every transaction. The transaction rates decrease as you make more sales: 2.8% for an income of $3,000 to $10,000. 2.7% for $10,000 to $100,000, and 2.6% for revenues $100,000 and above.
- Skrill’s anti-fraud elements ensure safe, secure transactions.
- Its 1-tap feature makes purchasing easy, and as such could lead to better revenues in the long run.
- Skrill is available in 200+ countries.
Skrill levies high transaction fees for international transactions.
Thryv is a customer experience platform specially made for small businesses. With this gateway, you get paid faster – and without the usual headache.
For one, it comes with a Request Payment feature so you can send invoices, quotes, and estimates easily. You can connect this to your online booking platform, so you get the payment at any stage of the process.
Thryv also gives you the option to store your clients’ credit card data for future use. At the same time, you can monitor the money that flows through your store.
With Thryv, you can accept payments via PayPal, Venmo, Square, Apple Pay, Stripe, G Pay, and Braintree, to name a few.
Thryv rates start at 2.6% plus an additional 30 cents per transaction.
- Compared to other payment gateways, Thryv does not levy additional fees for card-not-present transactions.
- You don’t need to have a card reader to receive credit card payments. With Thryv, all you just need to do is take a picture of the card and you are good to go.
- Thryv offers comprehensive support services to its clients.
You can’t ship directly from the Thryv platform, even if an invoice has already been filled.
If your business is all about recurring payments, then GoCardless is the perfect gateway for you. Built on the direct debit system, this pull-based method allows you to collect fees on set dates.
Since GoCardless can help improve your company’s payment collection system, you can cut on unnecessary costs. By eliminating lengthy manual processes, you can reduce the fees by as much as 56%.
With GoCardless, you can avoid failed payments, a problem many businesses face. With this gateway, you can receive dues 97.5% of the time. From the average rate of 10-15%, GoCardless can minimize failed payments to a low 0.5%.
More importantly, this program allows you to keep track of your finances. It shows you updated payment information, which could help in credit control, among many other things.
GoCardless transactions for the UK and European countries come with a fee of 1% plus 25 cents. For other countries, the rate is 2% plus 25 cents.
- GoCardless is very easy to use. It will take your client only about 2 minutes to complete his/her payment details.
- The gateway protects your customer’s payments fully, especially in the event of an error.
- The dashboard gives a comprehensive view of subscription payments.
- It will take you 4-5 days before you receive the payment.
- Its Xero integration comes with some hiccups.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are 3 types that you could consider for your small business or startup.
a. Redirect Gateway
A redirect gateway is one that takes the customer to the payment page to complete the transaction. An advantage of this program is that it’s fairly simple, yet convenient and safe. However, it provides limited control to the seller – and an additional step for buyers.
b. Onsite Checkout – Offsite Payment Gateway
While the checkout process will occur on your website, the payment itself takes place at the gateway’s server. While it is easy to use, you as a seller won’t have a say with your buyer’s purchasing experience.
c. Onsite Payment Gateway
This involves payments that are processed on the seller’s own website. While it provides more control, it comes with added responsibility as well. This type of gateway is usually employed by larger companies, although startups can try this as well.
Whether you have a startup company or a large one, you can benefit a lot from getting a payment gateway. Since this uses industry-standard encryption and data protection, your clients enjoy safe and fraud-free transactions. This is particularly important, as there are many opportunistic hackers out there.
It also promotes faster processing, as manual transactions usually take a much longer time. Taxes are usually included in the computation, which means less work for you.
Convenience is another one of its strong suits, as payment gateways can help facilitate purchases whatever time it is. This makes for better user experience, as they can give in to their impulse buys at 3 in the morning – even if they are on the other side of the globe.
More importantly, a payment gateway can also help extend your client base. With its global reach, it can help every business grow.
Although the terms ‘gateway’ and ‘processor’ are used interchangeably, they work differently.
A payment processor is in charge of the analysis and transmission of sensitive data. It is in charge of virtually ‘swiping’ the card and conveying the necessary data (i.e. credit card info) to the bank/financial institution.
While a payment gateway does the above-mentioned action as well, it does more. For example, it also authorizes the payment transaction between the buyer and the seller.
The program processes payment by enacting the following procedures:
a. The gateway encodes the sensitive payment data, so it could only be used by the buyer and seller.
b. The payment processor files a request or approval from the bank or credit card company to continue with the transaction.
c. Once the payment has been authorized, the payment gateway will permit the website/store to proceed with the next step of the purchase.
Apart from these, a payment gateway can also calculate tax costs and screen orders.
Merchants usually levy various costs. They may be all – or any of the following:
a. Set-up fees, which cover website integration and merchant account approval
b. Ongoing fees, which include merchant discount fees, flat transaction fees, and security/support fees
c. Other fees for refunds or chargeback
If you want to immediately receive your revenues from completed purchases, then you need to set up a merchant account. This special account keeps the funds that you get from clients before wiring it to your business account.
With that being said, a merchant account is necessary for payment processing. It works with the payment gateway to facilitate transactions, and as such receives the funds coming in from your business.
A payment gateway is a must-have for every small business or startup. It can help process transactions with relative ease – without worries of fraud or security breaches.
When choosing a payment gateway, you need to consider the program’s security, reliability, and reputation. You should also factor in the company’s hosting services, globalization features, automatic billing systems, and mobile-friendliness. By taking all of these into account, you can choose a gateway that best suits your need – and your budget.