Choosing Between 5 Popular Payment Gateway Providers

If you sell products or services online, then you’ll need a payment gateway to process transactions. A payment gateway is essentially the technology that connects merchants of all kinds — online retailers, brick and click stores, traditional stores and e-commerce ventures — with their payment networks.

Here’s how it works: a customer places an order on your website. They enter items in the store’s cart, proceed to checkout and fill in their payment details. The payment gateway takes the payment information, encrypts it and sends it through a secure channel to the payment processor, which then finalizes the payment.

With so many payment gateway providers to choose from, choosing the right one can be a complicated decision. Things to look for in a payment gateway provider include transaction security, high-quality customer service, options to accept multiple currencies and an easy-to-understand fee structure.

With these factors in mind, here’s our comparison of 5 payment gateway providers:

Stripe

Stripe is one of the most popular payment gateway providers on the market today. Stripe offers a transparent fee structure, reliable integration with all major e-commerce systems and a user-friendly interface. Its developer tools are impressive, so it’s no surprise that Stripe’s client roster includes big names such as Apron, Lyft and Pinterest.

One note of caution is to read Stripe’s terms of service before you sign up. Like many other third-party processors, Stripe includes a provision that allows it to terminate your account or implement a hold if it finds your business an unacceptable risk, which is loosely defined.

Pros:

  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Advanced reporting tools
  • Powerful fraud protection
  • Excellent marketplace, developer and subscription tools
  • Supports multiple currencies

Cons:

  • Complaints of frequent account holds and terminations
  • Not suitable for high-risk industries

Cost:  Credit Cards 2.9% + $0.30. Accept international credit cards for an additional $1. ACH 0.8% (capped at $5).

PayPal Payments Pro

PayPal is the most well-known payment solution systems out there, and the PayPal Pro payment gateway system gives merchants the ability to customize the entire checkout process. Its primary offering is a hosted checkout page that keeps customers on your website during checkout. By comparison, other PayPal options, such as PayPal Payments Standard and PayPal Express Checkout, redirect customers to PayPal to make a payment.

It’s worth noting that when you reach a point where you’re consistently processing at least $10,000 to $20,000 in credit cards each month, a traditional account may become more cost-effective. Also, one of the criteria PayPal uses to flag an account is a sudden spike in processing volume. There are also complaints of poor customer service and abrupt account holds.

Pros:

  • You don't need a merchant account to use PayPal
  • Advanced fraud protection
  • Withdraw money quickly to a bank account in your local currency

Cons:

  • Account stability issues
  • Inconsistent customer support
  • Not suitable for high-risk industries

Cost:  2.9% + 30¢ per transaction; plus $30 per month.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments, a subsidiary of retail giant Amazon, is ideal for new companies or firms looking for online-only credit and debit card processing. Amazon Payments allows customers to complete purchases, make donations and set up recurring payments on a merchant’s website by making payments through their Amazon.com account.

Amazon Payments is easy to implement and has mostly positive reviews. However, it’s not a good fit for business owners who would like to accept PayPal, ACH or Bitcoin. It’s also not designed for merchants looking for one processor to handle both in-person and online transactions.

Pros:

  • No early termination fee
  • Brand recognition
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Limited payment options
  • Online only

Cost:  2.9% + $0.30 fee for domestic transactions. International transactions cost an additional 1% fee per transaction.

Braintree

Braintree is a good option for startups looking for an online-only solution and companies that want to process a variety of payment options. Unlike its parent company, PayPal, Braintree can accept other types of payments outside of the standard credit, debit and PayPal transactions. Braintree also offers a bank-sponsored merchant account, which means more stability than a third-party process. However, there have been complaints about long set up times for accounts and account holds.

For companies that process a high volume of international sales, Braintree is a logical choice. The company charges more affordable fees for currency conversion than some of its competitors. A downside of Braintree is that it has no easy native implementation for non-developers. That means if you want to rely on Braintree alone, you need to use their API to build it into your website.

Pros:

  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Excellent customer support
  • Multi-currency options
  • Excellent marketplace, developer and subscription tools

Cons:

  • Challenging implementation for non-developers
  • Not suitable for high-risk industries
  • Long set up times

Cost:  2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for everything except Bitcoin.

Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net, established in 1996, is one of the oldest providers for eCommerce. Authorize.net prides itself on its robust security, anti-fraud features and positive customer service reviews. While this online-only option is more expensive than its competitors, there’s a reason for it. Advanced fraud detection and secure customer data storage minimize risk to your business, so Authorize.net includes them in every plan.

Keep in mind that Authorize.Net is not a merchant account provider. Rather, they provide a payment gateway and several additional products and services that integrate with it. If you set up a merchant account through Authorize.Net, understand that it's with a third-party processor.

Pros:

  • Anti-fraud and strong security features
  • Support for multiple currencies
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • High set up fee
  • Monthly fee

Cost:  $49 account set up fee. $25 per month gateway fee. Authorize.net charges users 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

To help out merchants who may be daunted by the price, Sekure has established a special Authorize.net offer for our customers, with no setup fee, a $5 monthly gateway fee and $0.05 transaction fee. This is a great opportunity to get top-of-the-line security at a fraction of the cost.

Ultimately, the payment gateway you choose for your business is a personal decision, based on factors only you can prioritize. We have many options to choose from. Give us a call, tell us your story, and we’ll be happy to find a tailored solution that meets your needs.

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