Best payment gateway: Top 7 best payment gateways in 2021

Panna Kemenes
06.03.21
5 minute read

A payment gateway is a tool that streamlines the payment process for eCommerce merchants.

A merchant will need a payment gateway on top of a merchant account to process payments.

If you wish to expand into the eCommerce space, then you’ll want to read on to find the best payment gateway.

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Best payment gateway options compared

Here are the best payment gateway providers for secure credit card transactions online:

Top 7 payment gateway providers

Each of these online payment services has plenty to offer if you plan on selling goods online. Here are some reasons to take a look at each of them:

Stripe

Stripe is a fintech company that offers payment management solutions. It serves both brick-and-mortar and online businesses.

Stripe can be a good choice for developers. It has a wide range of customization tools to tailor the payment process to your business.

The company’s biggest strength may also be a weakness for some. The less tech-savvy entrepreneurs might not be able to make the most of its features.

CostUseful for
  • Starter pack costs 0.5% on recurring charges
  • Scale pack costs 0.8% on recurring charges¹
Tailoring the payment process to your business with customization options
💡 Did you know you can link your Wise account with Stripe? This means you can receive money in multiple currencies, without high fees and hidden costs! Perfect if you have an international business.

PayPal

PayPal is one of the best online payment processors. It features an intuitive design that’s user-friendly even for new business owners.

One of the main reasons to consider PayPal is that there are already so many PayPal business account users. The fees can be tricky to figure out, though, which can be a downside for some.

CostUseful for
The fees for PayPal vary based on many factors, you can check how much PayPal will charge with the PayPal fees calculatorSimple setup and convenience

Square

Square offers easy-to-use software and a convenient app for receiving payments from customers. It’s a popular payment gateway service for small businesses.

Square allows business owners to set up for both in-person and online payments with minimal effort or startup costs. Square might not be as suitable for entrepreneurs wanting more complex payment options, though.

CostUseful for
  • No setup fee
  • No monthly fee
  • 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • $0.50 per delivery order²
Setting up in-store and online payments free of charge

Payoneer

Payoneer is an online financial services platform that many top companies like Airbnb and Google use. The platform supports worldwide transactions in more than 200 countries and 150 local currencies.

One downside of Payoneer is that the fees can add up compared to other services.

CostUseful for
  • Free to set up and send/receive payments between Payoneer accounts
  • 3% fee for credit card payments from non-Payoneer customers
  • 1% for eCheck payments³
Receiving international transactions

Adyen

Adyen is an excellent option for doing business on an international scale. There are no fees for using the platform, which is a big plus.

Though there are no costs, with Adyen, you will need to guarantee a monthly invoice of at least $120.

CostUseful for
  • No setup fees
  • No monthly fees
  • Invoice of at least $120 per month⁴
Carrying out premium global payment processing

2Checkout

2Checkout isn't the most well-known payment processor service, but it offers a free online gateway.

With 2Checkout, you can receive payments from more than 200 countries. There are several pricing plans with different options.

If you want the option to sell in-store, it won’t be the right service for your business.

CostUseful for
  • 2.4%-3.9% plus 30¢-45¢ per successful sale
  • Cross border fee of 2% on top of transaction fees⁵
Getting a free online gateway and for businesses that only sell online

Braintree

Braintree, which belongs to PayPal, offers both in-store and online payment processing. It’s a simple service that accepts all the most popular payment methods, with a sleek interface.

The simplicity of the service comes at the expense of extra features, so if you’re looking for an advanced option, you should look elsewhere.

You can also read about the differences between Braintree and PayPal to find out more.

CostUseful for
  • No monthly fees
  • 2.9% + $.30 per transaction⁶
Simple navigation and for those who appreciate a sleek interface
💡 If you need an international payment gateway provider, you can also check out the top international payment gateways.

How do payment gateways work?

Payment gateways are services that you’ll find in eCommerce platforms such as PayPal. The gateways authorize credit card payments for all types of businesses over the internet.

A payment gateway passes on information from the customer’s end to your end as the business owner. The payment then goes through your payment processing platform.

The payment information will be taken from your payment processor and sent to your business account.

If this sounds technical, you can think of payment gateways as virtual doors. These doors create shortcuts during the payment process and keep the transactions secure.

Factors to consider when looking for the best payment gateway

To make the right choice, you might want to consider the following factors:

Business needs 💼

This one is straightforward: does your business rely on online payments?

If the answer is yes, then you may have to invest in a payment gateway. If you only deal in brick-and-mortar sales, then you won’t need one.

Payment gateway cost 💵

Payment gateway services vary in price, so it’s worth crunching the numbers to see which option makes the most financial sense for your business.

While you may want advanced customization options, if you have a tight budget, you may have to consider more basic services.

If you feel like your business will gain from the extra features, then it might worth splashing out on a premium service.

Security 🔒

Security is a number one concern for most customers with online transactions.

If customers have doubts over the safety of their money, they’re going to be reluctant when it comes to putting in their order. As such, you may need to consider a payment gateway that has more security measures in place.

Payment types and currencies 💳

The majority of small business owners do most of their transactions domestically. If you expand into the international market, a payment gateway will help you receive cross-border payments.

Save up to 19x on international business payments with Wise

If you run a small business, you'll know how important saving time and money can be. With that in mind, it's worth considering where the money will land once it's gone through the payment gateway. Especially if you have an international business.

With the Wise Business account, you can save up to 19x on international payments. Receiving money from overseas is a breeze, and payments are secure.

10,000 businesses join Wise every month. You can create your account today in just a few minutes.

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Sources:

  1. Stripe Billing
  2. Square fees
  3. Payoneer Fees
  4. Full list of prices for supported payment methods - Adyen
  5. 2Checkout Pricing
  6. Pricing - Braintree

All sources checked 3 June 2021.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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