Payment processing, or payment gateways, enables both brick-and-mortar and online merchants to provide secure credit card and digital wallet payment options to their consumers. Payment gateways are becoming increasingly important as technology expands payment alternatives and markets.
Customers are driving the desire for safe, hassle-free shopping, thanks to the popularity of digital payment methods like PayPal. Millenials and Generation Z have $350 billion in purchasing power in 2018. Only two years later, Gen Z accounted for 40% of worldwide shoppers, putting pressure on retailers to adapt to this rising group. 1
For this evaluation, we evaluated over a dozen payment gateways based on payment kinds, cost, simplicity of use, integrations, support, and other factors. Here are our top recommendations.
The 7 Best Payment Gateways of 2022
- Best Overall: Authorize.Net
- Runner-Up, Best Overall: Stripe
- Best for Online Businesses: PayPal
- Best for Brick-and-Mortar Businesses: Square
- Best for Startups: Braintree
- Best for Multiple Channels: WePay
- Best for Selling Internationally: 2Checkout (now Verifone)
The major goal of these solutions is to simplify the payment procedure, which Authorize.net (from Visa) provides. The platform, which was created with businesses of all sizes in mind and offers a variety of programs, allows you the capabilities to sell things and accept payments online or in person at a store.
You may take payments from websites and rapidly deposit funds into a merchant bank account using the service. It accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, and JCB credit cards, among others. The platform is also compatible with digital payment providers like Apple Pay, PayPal, and Visa Checkout.
Customers of Authorize.Net can use their existing merchant account with their payment gateway. The firm does, however, offer a bundle that includes both a merchant account and a payment gateway. Recurring payments, invoicing, fraud prevention filters, customer information management, mobile payments, a virtual point-of-sale (POS) system, and an optional card reader are all available with both choices.
In addition to the capabilities described below, all Authorize.Net subscriptions allow you to add an account updater for recurring payments and accept electronic checks for a fee. Neither plan requires any setup expenses.
Payment Gateway Only
- $25 per month
- $0.10 per transaction
- $0.10 daily batch fee
- Fraud prevention
- Customer information manager
- Recurring payments
- Simple checkout
- $25 per month
- 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction
- All Payment Gateway Only features
RUNNER-UP, BEST OVERALL
Stripe is yet another sophisticated payment platform developed for online businesses, boasting to manage billions of dollars in transactions each year. The primary distinction between this service and many others is that it is not a ready-made solution. Instead, you’re given a set of customizable tools to create your own payment procedures.
It’s geared for larger businesses, with a variety of APIs that enable you build your own subscription services, on-demand markets, and crowdfunding platforms. Ruby, Python, PHP, and Java are among the development languages supported.
Stripe includes a user dashboard with strong transaction monitoring and reporting, as well as support for over 135 currencies and payment types, mobile payments, subscription billing, one-click checkout, and a user dashboard with robust transaction tracking and reporting.
Stripe is well known for its e-commerce payment gateway, but it also has a virtual POS that allows users to combine their online and physical channels. Stripe Terminal supports chip cards and contactless payments on mobile devices and desktops, as well as pre-certified card readers.
Stripe does not charge a monthly gateway fee, unlike Authorize.Net. It also provides email, phone, and chat assistance around the clock, as well as access to a comprehensive online help center. Customers can contact Stripe for pricing on bespoke solutions in addition to the plans provided below.
- 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
- ACH direct debit 0.8% ($5 cap)
- Embeddable checkout
- Recurring subscriptions and invoicing
- Local payment methods
- Real-time reporting
- QuickBooks and NetSuite support
- iOS and Android apps
- 450+ platforms and extensions
- Payments for platforms and marketplaces
- Machine learning fraud prevention
BEST FOR ONLINE BUSINESSES
One of the most extensively utilized online payment services is PayPal. It was founded in 1998 as Cofinity and allows you to send and receive money from anywhere in the world.
PayPal is a payment processing service that allows e-commerce businesses, auction sites, and other commercial entities to take credit cards such as American Express and Visa. It also has a simple cart connection, a lot of customization choices, online invoicing, and phone credit card payments.
Offering PayPal as a payment option to clients is said to enhance checkout conversions by 44 percent. It’s also quite simple to add PayPal as a payment option. Users just register and add a “Pay by PayPal” button on their website.
PayPal Payments Pro is required for those who wish to access PayPal’s advanced payment and checkout services. This plan allows users to accept American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and PayPal Credit payments; it integrates with major e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce; and it includes phone-based credit card payments, online invoicing, and in-person payments.
- $30 per month
- 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
- Accept credit and debit cards, including multicurrency payment processing in six currencies
- Accept PayPal payments in 26 currencies from over 200+ markets
- Accept PayPal Credit payments (U.S. only)
- E-commerce payment gateway
- Options to simplify PCI compliance
- Virtual Terminal to accept phone payments
BEST FOR BRICK-AND-MORTAR BUSINESSES
Square’s unique devices, such as its magstripe reader, contactless + chip reader, and stand that turns your mobile device into a one-of-a-kind payment processor, offer you the power to take payments wherever you are.
Square is also adaptable, so it can be used by a broad range of enterprises, from restaurants to beauty salons to transportation firms to professional services.
Square supports all major credit cards and other payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, although it does not accept PayPal, one of its key rivals. It can, however, handle ACH and electronic check payments, as well as receive payments through website, invoice, or phone.
Square’s simplicity is one of its finest characteristics. Users may get the app for free on any iOS or Android device and use a Square-provided free mobile credit card reader to accept payments. Food carts, farmer’s markets, artisan booths, and other mobile merchants may process credit card payments using only a smartphone or tablet, making it an ideal alternative.
- Free POS app
- Free magstripe reader
- 2.6% + $0.10 in-person or e-commerce transaction
- 2.9% + $0.30 invoice transactions
- 3.5% + $0.15 manual or card-on-file entry
BEST FOR STARTUPS
PayPal bought Braintree in 2013, and it now accepts both in-store and online payments. It was chosen as the best for startups because it is a user-friendly platform with straightforward pricing that takes all major payment methods.
Braintree makes up for its lack of fresh and intriguing features with its simplicity. It has a clean interface that makes checking out on any website a breeze, and it interacts with most major e-commerce platforms, invoicing software, analytics programs, and more.
Braintree offers a merchant service account that takes all major credit cards, digital wallets, ACH deposits, Venmo, and PayPal in over 130 currencies because it is a PayPal subsidiary. Recurring billing, a customer information manager, automated account updaters, reporting tools, data encryption, and fraud protection tools are among the other features.
Braintree also enables configurable checkout processes, customer loyalty and incentives, and the option to securely exchange sensitive customer and payment data with trusted partners via Braintree Vault.
- 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
- Merchant account and payment gateway
- Advanced fraud protection
- Data encryption via the Braintree Vault
- Phone and email support
- Data migration assistance
- All available regional payment methods
- Recurring billing
- Third-party integrations
- Integration support
- Interchange plus pricing options
BEST FOR MULTIPLE CHANNELS
WePay, which began as a peer-to-peer group payment network in 2008, now provides an integrated merchant account with a payment gateway through Chase Merchant Services. Because it makes it simple for retailers to manage complicated payment requests across a range of online platforms, we picked it as the best for numerous channels.
WePay takes payments from all major credit cards, Chase Pay, and ACH payments, and can handle sophisticated payment requests such as multiple payers and crowdfunding campaigns, as can other payment gateways. Merchants may set it up with just an email address and quickly begin receiving payments.
WePay’s customisation options make it particularly handy for omnichannel marketing. Merchants may develop bespoke checkout routines that accept payments and refunds both online and in person. WePay’s APIs may be used to construct anything from simple payment connections to taking use of Chase Merchant Services’ same-day deposit and transaction reporting services.
Although WePay does not publish pricing on its website, third-party research indicates that the firm charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction and charges 1 percent plus $0.30 per transaction for ACH payments.
7. 2Checkout (now Verifone)
BEST FOR SELLING INTERNATIONALLY
2Checkout was founded in 2006 to allow businesses to accept online and mobile payments from customers all around the world. It now has over 20,000 customers. Verifone purchased the firm in September 2020. Because it provides localized buying experiences for clients in over 200 countries and territories and supports over 100 currencies, we rated it as the best for selling globally.
2Checkout uses the 2Sell payment gateway, which takes all major credit cards and payments, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, JCB, and PayPal. It also accepts payments in more than 30 languages and 100 currencies. Users may create their own checkout page, set up recurring transactions, generate payment history records, and combine the platform with a variety of ecommerce platforms, shopping carts, and billing systems.
2Checkout also allows businesses to offer services, digital items, physical products, and subscriptions, as well as providing an account updater to keep client information current. It also provides mobile-friendly localized purchase experiences, coupons, and discounts to worldwide clients, as well as shopping cart designs and tools to aid conversions. Users may also access a commerce dashboard that provides real-time data on sales and other customer KPIs.
What Is a Payment Gateway?
When a client makes a purchase online or in a shop, a payment gateway encrypts their credit card information and transmits it to their issuing bank for approval. This transaction affects whether or not a customer’s purchase will be accepted.
However, a payment gateway is not the same as a merchant account. A merchant account is required for a business or merchant to accept credit cards or digital wallet payments (like PayPal). Although some payment gateway providers additionally provide merchant accounts, the majority of payment gateways are stand-alone products.
How Does a Payment Gateway Work?
To handle credit card or digital wallet payments, a payment gateway can be installed to a website or POS system. When a consumer swipes their card or enters their payment information online, the payment gateway encrypts the data and delivers it to the card’s issuing bank. The merchant then fulfills the order if the transaction is accepted. The procedure usually takes only a few seconds.
Payment channels must be secure. Customers may opt not to make a purchase if they do not trust the merchant with their financial information.
How Much Do Payment Gateways Cost?
Most payment gateways have purchase-based fees, with an average industry rate of 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction. Some gateway subscription fees of $25 to $30 per month are also required.
Payment gateways often include sales reporting, account updating, and fraud protection functions, as well as interfaces with third-party e-commerce platforms, in addition to secure data transfer.
Are Payment Gateways Worth the Cost?
A payment gateway is required for any business that wishes to take credit card or digital wallet payments (other than PayPal). Because transaction rates vary, it’s critical for sellers to select a merchant account and payment gateway that will not eat into their profit margins.
How We Chose the Best Payment Gateways
For this evaluation, we looked at over a dozen payment gateways. The suppliers who supported the most payment options were at the top of our ranking. Because not every business has to offer every form of payment option to its clients, we weighed these benefits against the cost.
In our assessment, we looked for software that was easy to integrate with major e-commerce and POS systems. Finally, because the benefits of a payment gateway to a shop might be nullified if a client does not feel secure submitting their payment information, we chose gateways with good reputations and security features. Customers are looking for simpler methods to pay, and businesses are looking for simpler ways to sell.
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