What to Know Before Getting Started
Starting a New Business?
Selecting a credit card processor is often more complicated than most people expect. How much should you be paying in fees? Should you lease or buy equipment? Should you be locked into a service agreement for anything length of time? These considerations and several others are imporant to understand before signing up with any merchant account provider. Mistakes are easily made and can be very costly to your business. Along with seeing our top choices for payment services below, be sure to checkout this post to avoid common traps in the merchant services industry.
Considerations For Current Business Owners
Changing merchant accounts can be an expensive, complicated, and time consuming process. Are you really going to save as much as promised? Do you need to buy to new equipment or sign new lease agreements? Will there be other less accountable costs such as those associated with employee retraining? Before selecting one of our choices below, you may want to consider renegotiating your fees with your current payment processing vendors using the help of a contingency-compensated consultant. It can result in a dramatic decrease in costs without the pains of switching. In some cases business owner have also obtained substantial refunds of prior overcharges along with saving thousands in future processing costs. See this post to learn more about this little-known alternative to changing merchant account provider.
If you’ve ever needed to accept credit card payments online, you’ve probaby considered using PayPal. Due to the success of eBay, its parent company, PayPal has become one the best-known online payments options over the past decade. Aside from its success with eBay, most online customers have become comfortable paying via PayPal for their e-commerce purchases and so the service has been widely adopted as additional payment method with many online stores.
Even with PayPal’s great success, it is important to understand that the service does have its limitations and grievances. PayPal is a good e-commerce option for online businesses that are just starting out, for established brick-and-mortar merchants that wish to offer products and services through a preexisting website, and for low-volume or seasonal online merchants. It is not an ideal as the sole payment acceptance method for successful or high volume online businesses, or for merchants accepting face-to-face payments.
With PayPal’s tremendous popularity has come major backlash due to some of the company’s policies. Many e-commerce vendors have vowed to stop doing business with PayPal as a protest against unexpected fund holds, transaction fees, and poor customer support.
Below is a list of alternatives to PayPal for accepting debit and credit card processing online. Just like PayPal, these processors all provide simple checkout options by way of either a “Pay Now” button or an API that can be easily integrated into a merchant’s existing website. Each processor in this list has its strengths and weaknesses and you should evaluate each option according to your own business needs.
In addition to the list below, here are some other resources you may find useful:
- PayPal Alternatives for E-Commerce
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Stores
- PayPal Alternatives for Multi-Currency Payments
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Invoicing
- PayPal Alternatives for Virtual Terminals
- PayPal Alternatives for Offshore Merchant Accounts
- PayPal Alternatives for Digital Goods
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Gambling
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Dating
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Jewelers
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Tobacco
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Golf Equipment
- PayPal Alternatives for Online Furniture
- PayPal vs. Square
- PayPal vs. Stripe
- Authorize.net Competitors
Our unbiased articles are supported in part by helping you find highly reviewed merchant accounts. You can learn more here.
Why These Merchant Account Providers
Shopify is a well-known e-commerce platform based in Ottawa, Ontario. The company’s payment processing platform, Shopify Payments, is powered by Stripe and functions as the preferred payment option provided by the company. In addition to online credit card acceptance, Shopify provides completely customizable store templates, a secure, on-site shopping cart, integration with over 70 different payment gateways, unlimited hosting and bandwidth, online marketing tools, and email support. Shopify also provides point-of-sale (POS) equipment for merchants with physical locations.
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.
For more information, visit the Shopify website.
Based in San Francisco, Selz is an e-commerce merchant account provider that enables merchants to create an online store, integrate a shopping cart into their existing websites, or sell products via social media. The company’s features include “Buy Now” buttons, sales analytics, discount codes, digital downloads, responsive themes, online store builders, an online shopping cart, PayPal integration, and advanced shipping functions. Selz is a great fit for small e-commerce merchants, bloggers, and existing businesses that wish to easily add e-commerce functions to their websites.
Selz offers several different pricing plans on a month-to-month basis with no early termination fees. Selz merchants may choose Stripe, PayPal, or 2Checkout as their payment processor, and each provider will offer its own processing rates on top of Selz’s built-in transaction fees. Our review of Selz currently assigns the company an “A” rating, and the BBB does not maintain a profile for Selz at this time.
For more information, visit the Selz website.
PayJunction is a merchant account provider headquartered in Santa Barbara, California. Like PayPal, the company offers a proprietary web-based virtual terminal that is perfect for both online and single-register brick-and-mortar businesses. PayJunction’s paperless payments system enables e-commerce merchants to securely accept credit cards using only an internet-connected desktop computer, and it can also securely establish recurring billing, accept ACH payments, identify returning customers, set up and manage payment plans, add a “Buy Now”-style button to existing websites, and view each given credit card’s transaction history.
PayJunction is a good option for merchants without busy point-of-sale needs who would like to process payments without buying or leasing a traditional credit card terminal or paying for a dedicated phone line. PayJunction offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to most merchants and is also able to customize rates based on a business’s type and volume. Our review of PayJunction currently gives the company an “A,” and the BBB also gives PayJunction an “A+.”
For more information, visit the PayJunction website.
Other Merchant Account Options
The providers in this section may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them here to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Are you a decision maker with your company and believe that you should be listed below? Tell us here.
A TSYS company operating out of Lehi, Utah, ProPay (propay.com) is able to serve both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses equally well. Its online and mobile payments services, however, place it in direct competition with PayPal. ProPay offers a virtual terminal, email invoicing, recurring billing, an online shopping cart, and “Buy Now” buttons, all of which are powered by the company’s ProtectPay tokenization and encryption service. All of these payment options are included in every service tier ProPay offers, each of which is available for a different annual fee. ProPay offers standard rates of 2.60% swiped and 3.40% keyed, but these rates may be subject to variation depending on the service utilized and a merchant’s size.
For more information, see the ProPay website.
2Checkout (2checkout.com) offers a seamless on-site solution for businesses that accept payments exclusively via the Internet. The company highlights its support for 26 different currencies and 15 different languages as significant advantages for merchants who conduct international business. 2Checkout offers online shopping carts, a PCI compliant payment gateway, and on-site checkout that does not require a designated 2Checkout account for deposits. 2Checkout’s flat processing rate is 2.9% plus $0.30, but this rate increases to 3.9% plus $0.30 if U.S. merchants accept international payments.
2Checkout is also known as “2CO.” CardPaymentOptions.com awards 2Checkout an overall rating of “A” at this time, and the BBB gives the company an “A+” grade.
Braintree Payment Solutions
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Braintree Payments (braintreepayments.com) is an excellent alternative to PayPal due to its easily integrated API and fixed-rate, all-inclusive pricing. For 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction with no other monthly costs, merchants can add an on-site payment option that is seamless and secure to their websites. Braintree also enables recurring billing, a Marketplace platform for market-style businesses, and full compatibility with the popular mobile app Venmo.
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 CardPaymentOptions.com and an “A-” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Amazon Payments (payments.amazon.com) is divided into two different services that allow merchants to process electronic payments: Checkout by Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay. Of the two, Checkout by Amazon is most similar to PayPal in that it allows e-commerce retailers of physical goods to accept payments on their websites via either a co-branded pop-up window or a fully integrated checkout process. The advantage to using either of these options is that they both keep customers on the merchant’s website, whereas PayPal’s checkout system directs customers to the PayPal website to complete a transaction.
The second option, Amazon Simple Pay, is designed for online businesses that sell digital and virtual products. This service allows businesses to accept subscription payments, and it also facilitates marketplace-style transactions.
Amazon Payments charges a standard fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, but this amount decreases as a merchant’s monthly volume increases. The service also applies a special transaction rate of 5.0% plus $0.05 for sales under $10. We are currently showing an overall “A” grade for Amazon Payments, and the BBB gives Amazon as a whole an “A+.”
If your company provides non-PayPal payment processing, please let us know in the comment section below or get in touch with us directly.