Online marketplace platforms wherein sellers and buyers come together to conduct commerce, such as Etsy and Zazzle, are becoming increasingly popular. However, this shift toward semi-professional peer-to-peer payments has outpaced much of the credit card processing industry’s ability to provide easy-to-use, dependable merchant accounts for customers to pay the marketplace (“pay-in”) and for marketplaces to pay their vendors (“payout”). Simply put, there are only a handful of payment processors that offer payment solutions designed to integrate payments with marketplace platforms so that customers can pay for products and vendors can receive their funds in a seamless manner.
Our Picks for The Best Online Marketplace Payment Solutions
Shopify is a well-known e-commerce platform based in Ottawa, Ontario. Shopify is unlike the other providers on this list because it is combines both store creator that can be used to create an online marketplace and packages it with credit card processing services already built in and ready to go. Shopify users can turn their own stores into small-scale marketplaces using one of several apps from the Shopify app store. This means that merchants can create a store on the Shopify platform, purchase a single app, and gain the ability to offer sub-accounts for independent sellers while taking a commission from their sales. The two most popular apps for creating a marketplace in Shopify appear to be Marketplace by Bold and Multi Vendor Marketplace by Webkul.
For marketplace owners, Shopify offers different service packages at the following pricing tiers: $9/month (Lite), $29/month (Basic), $79/month (Standard), $299/month (Advanced), and a customized Plus plan for merchants who sell over a million dollars in merchandise per year. Online per-transaction fees decrease with each upgraded package, starting at 2.9% plus $0.30 for the Lite package and ending with a low custom rate for the Plus plan. Merchants can integrate their existing merchant accounts with Shopify, but they will pay an additional 2% per transaction on the Lite plan, an additional 1% per transaction on the Standard plan, and an additional 0.5% on the Advanced plan.
Overall, Shopify offers the most complete and easy way to both create an online marketplace, facilitate sales for vendors, take payments from customers, and then distribute those payments back to the sellers. We currently award Shopify an “A” rating in our in-depth review, and the Better Business Bureau gives the company an “A+” at this time.
For all the details regarding the company’s marketplace payment options, visit the Shopify website here.
Founded in 2010, Stripe is an e-commerce processor that enables businesses to accept payments through their websites. As a more advanced option for businesses that require custom development, the company offers a service called “Stripe Connect” that is specifically intended for marketplace-style payments. In fact, this service currently powers large-scale marketplaces like Lyft, Kickstarter, and Instacart. Stripe Connect offers pay-in and payout, identity verification, tax reporting, payments in 25 countries and 100 currencies, in-app payments, custom statement descriptors, custom payout schedules, and instant fund routing.
Stripe Connect costs 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, which is charged to the marketplace before the payment gets disbursed to any vendors. For an additional 0.5%, marketplace owners can upgrade to managed accounts, which provide identity verification, custom branding, flexible payouts, local optimization, and reporting. Our review of Stripe currently gives the company a “B” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives Stripe an “A+.”
PayPal is one of the largest payment processors in the world and was originally created to be the first large-scale online marketplace platform. PayPal offers marketplace payments to up to 250 vendors at once through its Mass Pay API. Like other PayPal products, this service disburses payments to PayPal accounts rather than bank accounts, although it is capable of accepting credit card payments.
PayPal is an easy-to-use service with a high profile and widespread acceptance. This recognition has enabled the company to grow and develop its product and service offerings, but it has also resulted in PayPal receiving a very large number of complaints related to customer service issues and fund holds. Our review of PayPal gives the company a “B” rating overall at this time, while the BBB gives PayPal an “A+.”
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Braintree Payments (braintreepayments.com) is an excellent option for marketplaces due to its easily integrated plugin and fixed-rate, all-inclusive pricing. Braintree’s products and services for marketplaces include tax management, flexible funding schedules, and sales reporting. Braintree Marketplace is comparable to Stripe Connect in terms of its application and scope.
Braintree charges marketplaces 2.9% plus $0.30 for all initial transactions made by sub-merchants, but it does not charge any fees for distributing payments to sub-merchants. Braintree utilizes First Data as its processing network but handles its accounts directly via phone and email support. The company is currently showing an “A” rating on our review and a “B+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Founded in 2008, WePay is a payment processor that was originally created as a standard e-commerce merchant account provider, but has since shifted its full focus to its integrated, white-label payment service for enterprises and marketplace platforms. WePay specializes in serving marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms and offers simple seller onboarding, seamless checkout, customizable layouts, custom settlement schedules, fraud screening, transaction-level reporting, and mobile payment options for vendors. WePay is particularly active within the crowdfunding community, as it is the official partner of GoFundMe and YouCaring.
WePay no longer discloses its fees on its website, but it was previously known to charge 2.9% plus $0.30 per card transaction and 1% plus $0.30 per ACH transaction. Our review of WePay currently assigns it a “C” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives WePay an “A.”
Choosing a credit card processor for an online marketplace requires consideration of several factors, such as feature breadth, ease of integration, pricing model, and quality of customer support. We chose solutions that support complex, multi-vendor transactions and handle international payments in multiple currencies. We also selected providers that offer the easiest solutions for implementation, whether that be custom development or full marketplace platform builders. We considered the pricing model carefully, especially in regards to volume discounts for large transaction quantities. Finally, reliable, responsive customer support was also a crucial weigh in our decision. Choosing from the processors above will set you up for smooth operations of your online marketplace.
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