With the disastrous pandemic onboard, businesses worldwide are going through major disruptions. The virus outbreak has accelerated digital transformations of businesses all around the globe. As a result, the use of online payment gateways these days is experiencing its peak time.
However, it wouldn’t be ideal to justify the necessity of an online payment gateway merely based on the latest phenomenon. Because, no matter what the situation is, it’s always compulsory to have a fully functional payment gateway to run your online store successfully.
That being said, it’s highly recommended for any small business owner equip their e-commerce store with a convenient payment system. Given the fact that a quick and user-friendly gateway can significantly increase business revenue by reducing cart abandonment and fraud.
So, what’s the best payment gateway for eCommerce in 2021? And what are the factors that you, as a merchant, should consider before setting it up? Find all the necessary answers in the following piece of writing.
Quick Glance into the Top Payment Gateways for eCommerce sites of 2021
Before we go into the details of each payment gateway, first get yourself introduced to some of the best payment gateways that are currently offering the best deal for merchants, at the same time keeping the buyers’ spirits high.
Paypal – Paypal is one of the oldest and most trusted ways of transferring money online. It has a wider network that covers more than 200 countries. Paypal’s Payflow gateway comes with an easy setup and doesn’t need monthly fees. It supports credit cards, and digital wallets, and even offers loans for businesses.
Authorize.net – This is also one of the veteran payment gateways in the United States. It accepts currencies from around the globe. With higher monthly transaction limits and integrated payment methods, it is one of the best payment gateways for any eCommerce site.
Stripe – Stripe has acquired acknowledgment so rapidly in the west. It allows a merchant to operate a business without any merchant account. The main reason for its growing popularity is that Stripe authority has modified and adjusted its service over time as per customers’ demand.
2Checkout – 2Checkout is one of the most affordable payment processors on the market. It offers three types of payment gateways that are tailored for different types of businesses. The 2Sell is the basic payment gateway that happens to be the ideal choice for eCommerce sites.
Worldpay – Worldpay accepts major card brands like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and JCB instantly. On top of that, it allows you to sell products internationally at an affordable cost. Its customer-friendly integration reduces cart abandonment and increases recurrent purchases.
Google Pay – Taking speed and ease of access into account, this is perhaps the payment gateway you’d like to set into your eCommerce platform. Customers are given the option to make their purchase with just one click, thus, reducing cart abandonment to a significant level.
Square – There is no monthly fee for adding the Square payment gateway to your website. They charge you 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, just like Stripe and PayPal. If you want to run a business in-store besides your online e-Commerce site, then there’s something to look for in the Square payment gateway.
It is always important to understand that customers prefer to complete the transaction process with the payment gateway that they are most familiar with. In other words, it’s the reputation of the provider that matters to all.
That’s why we have also tried to prioritize presenting the globally acknowledged payment solution providers to you. With any of these integrated into your eCommerce site, you are expected to receive a good amount of fortune as the cross-border barrier gets eliminated.
Now, let’s find out how a payment gateway works behind the scene. After that, we’ll discuss each and every aforementioned payment gateway in the latter part of this article.
How does a payment gateway work behind the success of your eCommerce Site?
As a small business owner, it would be an advantage for you to understand the characteristics of a payment gateway to regulate the financial whereabouts of your business. Yes, you can still be successful without knowing anything about that, but it’s the urge of learning that makes people smart.
On top of that, it will certainly help you quickly decide between the options once you possess a clear understanding of how a payment gateway works. So, before the options are presented to you, let’s have a quick overview of some of the common terms related to a payment gateway.
The Payment Gateway
First, let’s revise the term ‘payment gateway’ again. It’s basically the bridge between your eCommerce store and the customer. It completes the financial transactions on behalf of both parties. Well, you can say it’s an online version of your in-store cashier – but more dynamic and obviously, smarter.
It’s a technology that allows merchants to securely get payments from the customer’s bank account. In the process, the payment gateway reads the data of the customer and sends them to the payment processor (we are getting into that soon) to check if the information is valid or not.
However, during the course, neither the merchant nor the payer can snitch the sensitive information to any unfair means. The payment gateway uses anti-fraud technology to prevent fraudulent activities, making the system more acceptable for users around the world.
As soon as the payment gateway gets the primary information from the card of the customer, it transmits them to the payment processor to authorize the transaction. The payment gateway itself doesn’t have the power to move funds from any end of the transaction.
But it collaborates with the payment processor to make things happen. The payment processor reads the funds available in the user account and then signals back to the gateway to carry on the proceedings. You can say the payment processor functions as the executive who ignites the fund transfer command.
In most cases, both the payment gateway and payment processor services are provided by the same agency. But you’ll find different providers that come with individual solutions too. However, it’s better to have a ‘one-stop’ payment solution to avoid inconveniences.
The Four Players: Merchant, Customer, Issuing Bank, and the Acquirer
These are the four parties that play their parts to complete the payment process successfully. You, as the owner of the eCommerce site, play the part of Merchant, and the Acquirer is your merchant bank account and the funds taken from the customers will be transferred.
On the other hand, Customer and Issuing banks are two second-party entities. Issuing Bank in this regard is the bank account that represents your customer’s credibility. The payment processor will move the fund from the Issuing Bank to the Acquirer to validate the purchase from your site.
Do you sell products on EMI? or Does your eCommerce site have any monthly subscription-based transactions? Well, if the answer is positive, then you might need to know the function of the ACH Payments in your payment gateway.
ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. It allows customers to make payments for their utilities, mortgages, loans, EMI payments, and other utility bills through electronic credit and debit transfers. Any frontline payment solution providers should have this feature in their payment gateways.
Since numerous payment solutions are growing up rapidly, merchants might get confused to identify the right and secured one for their eCommerce site. That’s why, as a merchant or customer, you’d definitely like to check if the gateway has the PCI Compliance standard or not.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council to certify that the particular payment gateway has met all the standards to run a secured transaction.
It also signifies that the gateway is capable of getting the better of frauds, at the same time the information of the credit card holder is protected all through the transaction period and afterward.
What is an eCommerce Payment Gateway?
Basically, an eCommerce payment gateway is responsible for all the financial transactions that take place in your online store. For instance, Shopify, Amazon, and GoDaddy are some of the notable eCommerce platforms. They either use their own payment gateways or set up a third-party payment solution.
However, if you create your own eCommerce platform, then you’ll also need to choose at least one payment gateway that would enable you to accept payments from the customers against the product or service you sell to them.
The main objective of a payment gateway is to make the eCommerce site’s financial transaction faster and easier while ensuring safety for both parties involved in it.
Top 7 Payment Gateways for an eCommerce site: Autopsy
Well, with these primary alignments in place, now you know the basics of the payment gateway. It’s time to find the best one for your eCommerce store.
Perhaps the pioneer of the online payment system, PayPal, has been in the industry for more than 24 years. Currently, it’s one of the best payment gateway providers around the world. PayPal’s Payflow Payment Gateway links your eCommerce site with the merchant account to receive payments easily.
It accepts major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and of course PaPal Credit itself. There are hardly any people who don’t know about the name PayPal, and that’s the reason why you should set this payment gateway on your site. Right now, PayPal has accessibility in more than 200 countries.
Payflow comes with two different pricing methods. The basic one, namely Payflow Link, offers zero monthly charges and comes with no setup fee. However, it doesn’t let you customize the checkout window vastly. You’ll need to choose from their given templates to set up your website.
Also, the checkout page will be hosted by PayPal while you use the Payflow Link pack, which might not be welcoming for the customers since they don’t like to be redirected to a different window while entering their card information.
So, if you want to offer your buyers a checkout that completes right on your own eCommerce platform then you should subscribe to their Payflow Pro package.
On top of that, it’s 100% customizable. With an additional $25.00 per month, you’ll be able to build a checkout experience as unique as your business.
Both packs will charge you the same 0.10 USD per transaction, which is the best rate in the market right now. Apart from the Payflow Pro’s monthly fees of $25.00, there’s absolutely no charge to use the basic features of the payment gateway. However, if you need to upgrade them, chargers are applicable.
PayPal’s payment gateway comes with a bunch of handy features that make the gateway experience easy for both merchants and customers. The Basic Fraud Protection Service is free of cost and is capable of ensuring safety for both parties.
If your eCommerce store aims to sell internationally then it needs a payment gateway that can accept currencies other than USD. PayPal accepts more than 100 currencies with an affordable conversion rate. So, all things considered, Payflow is a fast, secure, and convenient payment gateway.
Authorize.Net gateway accepts payments online via domestic and international credit cards. With its merchant-friendly features and vast popularity, it’s one of the best payment solution providers in the US and Europe right now.
It allows merchants to customize the checkout window according to the business theme. On top of that, features like customer information manager, card tokenization, e-check processing, and recurring billing give you additional control over the payment gateway.
To set up this payment gateway into your eCommerce sites you need to come up with your merchant account beforehand. But the good thing is, there is no setup fee for the gateway and it takes only a few minutes to be completed. It’s easy as a pie – choose the pack, fill out the form, and get the payment!
However, they offer two different pricing options for the packs. The recommended All-in-One option comes with a complimentary merchant account to make the setup procedure much easier for new merchants.
It will cost you based on your payment amount. The higher the payment size, the greater will be the charge taken from you. You’ll have to pay a fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. Typically, it’s ideal for businesses that get frequent payments.
On the other side, the Gateway Only pack will charge you a straight 10¢ per transaction plus a daily batch fee of 10¢. A batch fee is basically the sum of transactions that take place within 24 hours. It would be cost-efficient for you if you take big-size payments regularly.
However, both options come with a flat $25 monthly gateway charge. No matter how many transactions you pay each month, you got to pay that cost at the end of each month. However, there is no additional cost for the subsidiary services the payment gateway provides.
Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS) is one of those services that makes the gateway more acceptable for merchants. Each transaction that takes place within the gateway must go through AFDS screening to be authenticated. If it detects anything fishy, the transaction will be seized immediately.
The Customer Information Manager of the gateway lets customers save billing, payment, and shipping information, making it extremely helpful for future purchases. Besides, it’s a strategy that stops cart abandonment and helps businesses increase the sale rate.
Stipe provides a payment gateway that accepts debit or credit cards from more than 135 countries. It offers merchants to receive money in 35+ currencies, making cross-border business easier. With virtual and physical cards, loans, and plans to manage and grow your business, it’s a complete solution.
Stripe comes with gateway integration for Instacart, Amazon, Slack, Google, Shopify, and other popular e-commerce sites. It claims the world’s most powerful easy-to-use API configuration. It receives more than 250M API requests per day, peaking at 13,000 requests a second.
From direct integrations with card networks and banks to checkout flows in the browser, Stripe operates and optimizes its service regularly at every level of the financial stack. With hundreds of features being released each year, it helps your business to go ahead in the industry.
Setting up the service to your website is no difficult task. You may need to provide a few documents that justify your business to get started with. There is no setup cost and monthly charges applicable, and it takes only 10 minutes to fill up the application form to sign up for the gateway.
Stripe comes with an absolute pay-as-you-go payment system. It’ll cost 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction which is quite impressive compared to the faster and more secure service they provide worldwide. However, there are no hidden charges involved in using the payment gateway.
Stripe lets you accept global payments with a single integration with local acquiring and an optimized acceptance rate. To accept international payments, you’ll need to pay 1% of the payment amount. Plus, a 1% additional charge will be taken in case any currency conversion is required.
You can get the better of the payment gateway since it comes with several tools that help build optimized checkout flows. Custom UI toolkits will let you create pixel-perfect checkout flows across desktop and mobile. Besides, the automatic invoicing system sends invoices to your customers on time.
Stripe is certified to the highest industry standards and has regulatory licenses around the world that includes PIC Compliances. Their servers have an average uptime record of 99.9%+ and are highly scalable and redundant. So, your customers should always be able to make purchases.
On top of that, machine learning models are trained on billions of data points to help merchants to increase revenue across conversion, fraud, chargeback recovery, and more. So, all in all, the Irish-American company should be a good choice for merchants looking for a simple and affordable payment gateway.
Since 2006, 2Checkout has created an environment for innovation and has removed the friction that global commerce creates for accepting payments from its customers. With its all-in-all monetary solution, It has made modern eCommerce simpler than ever before.
2Sell is the Payment Gateway service from 2Checkout that enables merchants to accept mobile, online made debit/credit card payments from buyers worldwide, no matter if you sell physical or digital goods and services, one-time or regularly.
You’ll be able to start accepting payments almost immediately since the setup takes only about five minutes. On top of that, it has 120+ pre-built carts integration for famous eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Ecwid, or WixMax.
2Sell’s payment processing is seamless, safe, and reliable, no matter where you are on the map. With more than 200 countries and territories within its coverage, it’s one of the true global payment gateways right now.
2Checkout is PCI Level 1 certified. Besides, its services go above and beyond to protect you and your customers from fraud. Plus, it offers refund and chargeback management to make the payment gateway more efficient for the merchants.
The 2Sell payment gateway will allow you to sell products from your website for 3.5% + $0.35 per successful transaction. It might seem a little higher compared to PayPal or Authorize.net’s pricing, but with no monthly or tricky hidden charges, it should be a perfect fit for small to medium size businesses.
On top of that, 2Checkout uses real-time Geo-IP detection to deliver global customers with a relevant buying experience, empowering you to provide your shoppers with the localized buying experience that they expect.
This advanced customization feature will let you accept payments in more than 29 languages that include 100 currencies. The currency conversion rate is also affordable compared to other similar kinds of payment gateways.
However, 2Checkout offers additional add-ons to make the payment gateway enriched and convenient for the owner. You can set the 2Convert add-on for increased conversion rates or the 2Recover for increased renewal recovery to make your system more powerful and handy.
With more than 100 local and international payment methods on board, Worldpay provides the best kind of service for growing eCommerce entrepreneurs. You can set up this secure and optimized payment option without any additional charge.
Worldpay accepts major card brands like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and JCB instantly. On top of that, it allows you to sell products internationally within reasonable currency conversion rates. Though the company originated in the UK, it has huge popularity in the west and the US for its excellent service.
Recently, Worldpay has collaborated with Pay360 from Capita to enrich its Payment Gateway service. That being said, Worldpay’s established acquiring services, combined with the best-in-class functionality of Pay360’s Gateway, it’s one of the most convenient payment gateways right now.
Its standard package starts from £19. You can make up to 350 transactions for free using the payment gateway. Once you exceed the limit of the transaction, 10p per transaction will be taken for the rest of the month.
However, in case your business needs additional service, you can call its customer care helpline to tailor the scheme you want. There are no setup costs or hidden charges for the payment gateway. On top of that, merchants are served with a free merchant account as a welcome bonus.
Interestingly, Worldpay’s payment gateway offers merchants a dashboard feature so that they can see through the real-time data to check the arrival of new orders. The dashboard shows the total value of the purchase and also provides the current conversion rate of the transaction.
Worldpay has accessibility in more than 30 countries. Region-based service optimization makes the payment gateway customer friendly and thus reduces cart abandonment to a greater scale. On top of that, faster playouts along with recurring billing options make it extremely helpful for merchants.
Since it’s the number one payment solution provider in the UK and EU, eCommerce sites targeting businesses in that particular area are recommended to set this payment gateway into their website. Because, at the end of the day, customers prefer to complete their checkouts with a reputed agent.
If anyone were asked to tell a word that is easily recognizable in any part of the world – 10 out of 8 people would mention the name ‘Google’. That’s the first standout for Google Pay. And this global acknowledgment is the capital for Google Pay to outplay other payment gateways in the market.
Google account is mandatory for anyone using google’s services on their smartphones. So, Google Pay allows users to fill his/her information from the account connected to their Google profile. As a result, Google Pay gets a huge advantage over other payment gateways.
Though the service isn’t originated from a traditional financial institute, the ease of access, modern-day feature and one-click checkout option make it one of the best payment gateways for eCommerce platforms.
Since it’s more of a digital wallet rather than a fully defined payment gateway, it’s better to use this service than a conventional payment gateway. However, it is also capable of accepting payments around the globe for in-person checkouts, mobile apps, and most importantly eCommerce sites.
Google Pay comes with an easy integration system for your small to medium business website. You can change the theme of the payment gateway according to your own business by its API configuration.
Google itself doesn’t charge merchants any fees for accepting payments through Google Pay. But, if the customer uses a credit card through Google Pay in-store, the credit card company may charge a transaction fee.
Squire is recommended for eCommerce site owners who need a payment gateway that can offer POS or Point of Sale service in addition to online payments. However, if you consider the term ‘payment gateway’ literally, then it would be unfair to name Square so.
In fact, it’s more of an end-to-end payment processor or virtual terminal that lets merchants accept payments from credit/debit cards faster than a typical payment gateway. So, it is suitable for businesses that need to be run offline too.
There is no monthly fee for adding the Square payment gateway to your website. They charge you 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, using a simple pay-as-you-go system. In addition to that, no monthly fees are required to set up this payment method on your site.
Now, getting paid and sending professional invoices is possible faster than before. Besides, you can track payments in real-time, and accept payments online—all from one place. Squire also saves time by offering auto-billing, stored information, and a powerful reporting tool at no extra cost.
Squire comes with advanced fraud prevention measurements to ensure both the customer's and merchant’s wealth are safe and secured. Besides, integrating Square into your eCommerce platform is easy. Renowned commerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, or WooCommerce include Squire in their sites.
You don’t even need an additional merchant bank account to accept payments using the Squire system. They take all the responsibility to store the received payments in their shared merchant account and transfer them quickly into your business bank account to make any withdrawal.
Factors to consider before choosing the payment gateway for your eCommerce site
To run an eCommerce site successfully, a business owner needs to take care of many things at a time. But ensuring a safe and convenient payment system is perhaps the main thing that should be considered in the first place.
So, what makes a payment gateway a good one? Here are some characteristics of fortune yielding payment gateway –
Your customers want a payment gateway that can complete the transactions within a few taps or clicks. In fact, one or two irritating seconds at the time of the checkout process could result in cart abandonment.
So, it’s always important to make sure the payment gateway you are setting up on your website is easily comprehensible for the customers. To be mentioned, an ideal payment gateway always displays key information like the items they are going to purchase, their cost, and the total sum of the purchase.
If you want to do business globally but end up setting up a local payment gateway that doesn’t accept payments worldwide, then it would be an act of procrastinating the business itself. Today your business might not sell on a global scale, but you got to open the door for overseas buyers to come.
That being said, it’s important to ensure you choose a payment gateway that has global acceptance and functions in multicurrency. Frontline payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, or Authorize.Net have accessibility in more than 35 countries and territories to allow international customers into your site.
On top of that, regardless of the market, you are targeting to hustle in, it’s always a better idea to equip your eCommerce site with an international payment gateway. Because one payment gateway simply doesn’t get the tag ‘international’ without any potential.
It makes your customer trust your site more when they find a payment gateway that’s being used worldwide. After all, it’s their monetary information that they are sharing with the gateway.
Fraud Management Tools
Counterfeiters are always active where money is involved. Perhaps, merchants and customers together lose billions of dollars each year due to counterfeits. So, it becomes extremely important to set up a payment gateway that has all the security certifications by its name.
Usually, top-class payment solution providers keep the most effective and upgraded fraud prevention tools in their service to analyze potentially deceptive transactions. The best way to identify a safe gateway is to look for PCI compliances within it. It’s a globally acknowledged safety standard.
Fair Pricing Policies
There are many payment gateways not liberal in exposing their pricing publically. But for small business owners, it’s not welcoming; since they might not feel free to call the authority to ask for pricing. The good ones always remain straightforward in mentioning their fees.
However, there are two forms of charging fees for the payment gateways. One is flat monthly based, and the other is with a pay-as-you-go or per transaction processing basis. The merchants who need to accept large amounts of payments regularly should opt for monthly subscriptions.
On the other hand, processing-based fees are handy for small and frequent payments.
Frequently Asked Questions on Best Payment Gateway for eCommerce
How many payment gateways can I add to my eCommerce site?
Actually, there is no limit to the numbers to adding payment gateways to your website. However, it’s better to encourage your customers to make payments using your primary gateway. But if it fails to ensure any special needs, you can also set multiple options to make it convenient for the customers.
How long does it take for payments to come to my business bank account?
Usually, it takes three or four working days for the payment to be deposited to your business bank account to avail withdrawal. But every payment gateway has its own rules and regulations to vary the time it requires. Some of them transfer funds on a weekly or monthly basis.
Is a merchant account mandatory to set up the payment gateway?
Well, there are several payment gateways out there that either offers a merchant account free setup or open a free merchant account for you to get started with. But, if you want liberty of your own, then you should come up with a merchant account beforehand.
However, to sign up for a new payment gateway, you might be asked for documents that justify your personal as well as business identity. At the initial stage of the signup, they might not ask for these documents, but sooner or later, you have to provide them.
With thousands of online stores available for customers, the margin of error for the merchant gets extremely narrow. If you can’t provide a payment solution to your eCommerce site that can ensure a faster checkout process, it’s very likely to face several cart abandonments and loss of fortune.
So, after ensuring the customer’s side of convenience, find if there are any hidden fees or costs in the service, and make sure you understand how it fits into your existing solutions. It’s not that difficult either to get the payment gateway that can boost your online sales.
Just take your time to analyze the capabilities of different gateways in your business. Make sure your solution has an ideal mix of ease of access, affordable pricing, and safety.