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The retail sector has undergone a massive overhaul in recent years. Shoppers are heading to online stores in their droves in light of the Covid19 pandemic, forcing shoppers to retreat from the high street and rely on online markets. More and more retailers are creating an online presence in order to take advantage of the massive number of digital buyers making purchases on their computers, tablets or smartphones. To do this, they need a payment gateway, which allows them to take card or digital currency payments online.

The numbers for businesses setting up their eCommerce operations is encouraging. More than 75% of people shop online more than once a month. Last year over two billion people purchased goods or services online and e-retail sales topped more than $4.2 trillion worldwide. However, the global online shopper conversion rate is just 2.17%. That means that businesses can’t afford to let the user experience on their eCommerce sites drop, even for a second. If your payment gateway is buggy, or hard to understand, then those valuable shoppers will give up, abandon their online shopping carts and find an easier service.

Whether you’re a startup, a one-man band, or a global eCommerce empire, picking the right payment gateway for your eCommerce site is vital. Undoubtedly, you will have already heard of the well-known players, but it’s not a case of one-size-fits-all.

There are a wide range of payment gateways out there for eCommerce store owners to choose from. Finding the right fit will depend on a variety of factors, from location to budget, to website integration and customisation options, and everything in between. To help make sense of this technology we’ve rounded up the top payment gateways for eCommerce. We’ll look at what makes these providers stand out, how much they cost and which will work best for your business.

What are the top payment gateways for eCommerce?

When we think of payment gateways there are several names that spring to mind. Here’s our pick for the best payment gateways for eCommerce:

  • Worldpay
  • PayPal
  • Amazon Pay
  • Stripe
  • 2Checkout
  • Authorize.net
  • Opayo
  • Square
  • Klarna

These services all have different pros and cons, so picking the right one for your business will take a little thought. Just because one option is a globally recognised name, does not mean that it is the best and only choice for your eCommerce store. The top payment gateways also offer flexibility, the ability to customise, good security and customer support. With that in mind, let’s look a little deeper into the top payment gateway options, and what eCommerce store owners should consider when choosing a new service.

How much does a payment gateway cost?

Top of mind when considering any new tool for your business is pricing.

ServicePricingStackoverflow questions*
Worldpay£19.95 per month, or 2.75% of each sale plus 20p128
PayPal2.9%+ £0.30 of each sale29,390
Amazon Pay2.7% + £0.30 of each sale85
Stripe1.4% + £0.20 for European cards or 2.9% + £0.20 for non-European cards12,399
2CheckoutFrom 3.5% of £0.25 for each sale157
Authorize.netFrom £0.10 per sale+ Monthly Gateway fee of £191,379
Opayo£25 per month for 350 transactions553
SquareOnline payment transaction fee of 1.9% (European cards) or 2.9% (non-European cards)1,188
Klarna2.49% + 20p per transaction for UK cards. Other currencies vary50

* The Stackoverflow questions total number can suggest the scale of the developer community behind each payment processor

What is the most popular payment gateway?

Globally, PayPal is the most widely used payments platform. More than 15 billion transactions were completed in 2020 through PayPal payments, and 227 million users and merchants use the platform. In the UK the most popular payment gateway is Worldpay. It processes around half of all payments made online in the UK.

Popularity brings brand recognition, so it’s not surprising that many eCommerce store owners gravitate towards these names. After all, it’s likely that their customers will recognise and trust these brand names as well. However, this is not the only consideration when choosing a payment gateway.

Which is the best payment gateway for an international business?

If your business deals with customers from around the world, then you will need to make sure that your payment gateway is capable of processing a variety of credit card payments in different currencies. You should also check whether the fees change if you’re processing payments from abroad.

Worldpay supports more than 120 currencies and is, therefore, a good choice if you have a global customer base. 2Checkout is available in almost 90 countries and supports all major credit cards, which makes it another good option for those with an international business.

What is the best payment gateway for a startup?

Square is a potentially good choice for a payment gateway for a startup business. The company claims transparent pricing and is relatively quick to set up. There are free features that will appeal to businesses on a tight budget. There are also no long-term contracts, so startups will be able to experiment with the service without worrying about the repercussions of cancelling.

How do I choose a payment gateway?

Apart from the obvious factors like cost and ease of use, there are other things you will need to consider when choosing a payment gateway for your eCommerce store.

Security guarantee

The most important one is security. You want your customers to feel that it is safe to spend their money on your website. Make sure that any provider you choose follows the appropriate security standards. Do you need a merchant account as well as a payment gateway, which stores payments until they have been approved by the customer’s bank? Some payment gateway providers will offer this as well.

User experience

Next, how easy is it for your customers to pay? You want to ensure a slick user experience on all areas of your website, including the final payment stage. Does the payment gateway integrate well with platforms like Shopify? Can customers pay using mobile digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay?

Ability to customise

Customisation features are important to some businesses that want to ensure that the look and feel of the payment gateway matches their branding. PayPal and Authorize.net offer users customisable systems, although you may need to pay extra.

Customer support

Finally, you should consider the level of customer support you will need. Even the most experienced eCommerce store owner will occasionally need a helping hand. This is where providers like Square fall down since it doesn’t have 24/7 customer support. Other services like Worldpay offer more customer support, including online and over the phone.

Of course, the best way to choose the right payment gateway for your business is to get a thorough idea of what each provider offers. Let’s take a look at our top picks.

Worldpay

Worldpay is the biggest payment processor in the UK, so if you’re based in the UK you can be confident that you already have this brand recognition. Another plus for businesses choosing this service is that, as well as Worldpay Payment Gateway, you can also get Worldpay Card Machines. Essentially, if you have a physical shop on the high street as well as an online presence, you can manage your customer payments all from one provider.

If you want to give your customers a slick user experience, then it helps that they don’t need to leave your website when making a payment with Worldpay.

For those interested in security, Worldpay is well known for its advanced fraud protection, so you and your customers can rest easy knowing that any payments made on your site are processed safely. They also look after data compliance for their customers, reducing the risk of fraud and data breaches.

Worldpay also has a simple fee structure that appeals to many businesses. However, there are cancellation fees to be aware of, which may be an issue for some smaller businesses or new startups. Finally, real-time reporting is available to Worldpay customers, which is handy for businesses who wish to dig deeper into their analytics.

Pros:

  • Very secure
  • Choice of pricing
  • Recognised brand

Cons:

  • Multiyear contract comes with cancellation fee
  • Pricier than other competitors

PayPal

PayPal is a household name and as such, customers will feel comfortable using this payment method on your site. Because it’s so well recognised and has been around for a while, the service is easy to set up, which makes it appealing for any business, but especially those just starting out or with less expertise.

If business owners are worried about taking a gamble with a new payments gateway, then Paypal has some reassuring numbers. The company claims a 44% higher checkout conversion rate. Paypal is also a good option if you have a global customer base since it accepts cards from around the world. With 200 countries and 25 different currencies supported, you can be confident that your customers will be well-served wherever they are based.

If you are confident that your sales figures will be consistently high, then PayPal is a good choice for your budget. However, for businesses that make more modest sales PayPal’s pricing structure is more expensive.

Sadly, there is one flaw with PayPal, at least from an online retailer’s perspective. Customers have to leave your site in order to pay, which can disrupt the user experience and the connection to your brand. However, you can work around this by upgrading to the pro account which offers an in-site checkout.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Can handle international payments
  • Trusted brand

Cons:

  • Lower sales mean higher fees
  • Customer’s taken out of site to pay

Amazon Pay

Another giant in the eCommerce world, Amazon Pay already has a reputation for smooth, easy payments thanks to the Amazon online marketplace. Many customers will already be familiar with Amazon’s checkout process and will appreciate the speed of the one-click checkout.

Millions of people already have an Amazon account, and the fact that Amazon Pay is able to re-use the payment details already stored in users accounts means that customers can expect a simple, streamlined payments process.

Although Amazon is a globally recognised brand, if you’re accepting international payments, you do need to be aware of a cross border charge of 1.5%.

For those looking to customise their payments gateway, Amazon Pay is a good choice. It integrates with your website’s API, allowing you to customise the payment step with your own store’s branding.

Pros:

  • Fast checkout
  • Integration with your own website
  • High number of existing Amazon accounts

Cons:

  • Email-only customer support
  • High fees for those with low volume of sales

Stripe

Stripe is a payment gateway that offers a high level of customisation, which is great for those who want tight control over the look and feel of their website. It’s easy to integrate this service, using the website API. ECommerce store owners can also integrate it using their existing ERP systems, invoicing systems and shopping carts.

Stripe accepts payments in 150 currencies, so it’s a great option for those who have customers outside of their native land. There’s even a plugin that allows you to accept Bitcoin. However, the fees are higher for non-European cards, so this is something to bear in mind if you’re operating a global business. Stripe is also PCI compliant, making it a pretty well-rounded option.

The downside to Stripe is that it’s not for the novice. It does require some technical know-how to get going, although the customer dashboard is pretty intuitive. There are also reports of tricky customer service, so if you’re new to this space, then Stripe may not be the right choice for you.

Pros:

  • Excellent integration
  • Highly customisable
  • Payments in different currencies accepted

Cons:

  • Needs a tech-savvy user
  • Customer service issues

2Checkout

2Checkout supports over 200 countries and 100 currencies and accepts all major credit cards making it a good choice for international sellers. It also offers a localised experience and has a choice of 15 languages setting your eCommerce store up for a truly global selling experience.

For those who want to be sure that they are providing the best customer experience possible, 2Checkout allows users to demo the customer buying experience, so you can check everything works smoothly before going live. You also get reporting and analytics tools, as well as easy customisation on your website thanks to detailed documentation.

In addition to simple integration, users can also use recurring billing, making the process easier to manage.

Pros:

  • Supports multiple currencies and languages
  • Easy integration

Cons:

  • Expensive

Authorize.net

Authorize.net is one of the oldest payment processing gateways in the world, and as such has built up a list of partnerships with a range of merchant account providers. Thanks to this the payment gateway is able to accept payments from all major credit cards as well as various digital wallets like Apple Pay. With Authorize.net retailers can take payments online or in a brick-and-mortar store.

If users need to implement subscription or recurring billing, this is an option with Authorize.net. The solution is also highly customisable and provides users with a simple, intuitive platform to use. If customers need assistance, the service has a good reputation for customer support through a range of channels.

Security is also high on the agenda for Authorize.net, thanks to its PCI compliance. There’s also an Advanced Fraud Detection Suite which users can access for free.

While businesses using Authorize.net can accept payments from almost anywhere in the world, only those registered in the U.S, Canada, the U.K, Europe or Australia can use the platform.

Pros:

  • Automated and recurring billing
  • Robust security

Cons:

  • Businesses registered outside the U.S, Canada, the U.K, Europe or Australia will need to look elsewhere

Opayo

Opayo has a reputation as an efficient service as it allows you to record all your sales and transactions. This data is then stored within Sage (an accounting software) which allows you to easily view and measure your financial incomings.

Opayo offers a payment processing gateway that can be customised and is able to integrate with Woocommerce, BigCommerce and Shopify.

The service is also well-known for its security. It has a PCI compliance rating of 1, which is the highest rating a payment gateway provider can achieve. However, a downside of this service is that it can hold on to funds for quite a while.

Pros:

  • High security rating

Cons:

  • Not for the tech novice
  • Holds on to funds

Square

Square can be used for payments made in a physical and online store, making it a great solution for businesses expanding from the high street to the online world. The fact that Square has partnered with website builders Wix and Weebly, and is easy to set up, means that it will appeal to startups and retailers looking to create an online presence quickly.

For businesses looking to target customers on social media, integrations on Square allow selling on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which is a nifty little extra. While it accepts digital payments from Apple Pay and Google Pay, it doesn’t support PayPal, which may put some people off.

If your technical expertise is limited, then you can make use of the templates Square provides to set up the payments gateway on your website. There is also an API integration available, but this will require some expertise.

If you think you’ll need regular customer support, then Square may not be the right option for you. There is a customer support phone service, but it only operates during business hours.

Pros:

  • Social media integrations
  • Good for physical and online sellers

Cons:

  • Limited customer support

Klarna

Swedish FinTech payment gateway Klarna first burst onto the scene in 2005. It aimed to disrupt the online payments scene and make it easier for people to shop online.

Klarna stands out for offering customers a “buy now, pay later” plan. This allows customers to buy expensive items while spreading out the cost over time for more affordable payments. This easy to access financing could potentially help businesses boost their sales by appealing to customers who want their pricey products, but don’t have enough money in the bank just yet.

One of the downsides of Klarna is the varying pricing, which is a little hard to understand. However, the 24/7 customer support means that there is always someone to ask if you need clarification

Pros:

  • Allows people to spread the cost of buying things

Cons:

  • Pricing information unclear

Summary

There are more than enough payment gateway options for eCommerce store owners to choose from to find the perfect solution for their business. Whether a small, local seller or a global brand, a tech-savvy entrepreneur or someone who needs their hand-holding, you will find a solution that works with your brand and slips seamlessly into your website among these top payment gateways.

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Posts written by author Ecommerce Guide will be written by multiple authors.

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