If you’ve ever needed to accept credit card payments online, you’ve probably considered using PayPal. Due to the success of eBay, its parent company, PayPal has become one the best-known online payment options over the past decade. Aside from its success with eBay, most online customers have become comfortable paying via PayPal to pay with a credit card for their e-commerce purchases and so the service has been widely adopted as additional credit card processing 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, established brick-and-mortar merchants that wish to offer products and services through a preexisting website, low-volume or seasonal online merchants, and as an additional payment option alongside traditional merchant accounts. 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. However, we believe that limiting your payment options could result in lost sales.
Here is a list of credit card payment alternatives to PayPal for accepting debit and credit card processing online or in-person. Just like PayPal, these card processors all provide simple checkout options by way of either a “Pay Now” button, an API that can be easily integrated into a merchant’s existing website, invoicing, or in-person. Each processor in this list has its strengths and weaknesses and you should evaluate each option according to your own business needs.
Our Picks for The Best PayPal Card Acceptance Alternatives
Helcim is our favorite option for as a PayPal credit card processing alternative. Launched in 2006, the platform has grown into a comprehensive payment processing solution for businesses in the United States and Canada. Helcim has a reputation for low costs, modern payment acceptance options, and high-quality over the phone customer support. The company has also consistently scored as a top rated merchant account provider in our Helcim review over the ten years that we have been monitoring the company.
Helcim has no monthly or annual fees and offers all the same online card acceptance features of PayPal plus numerous others at no additional costs, you only pay a small processing fee when you process a sale. Payments can be accepted via “buy now” buttons, shopping cart integration, and a well-documented API for custom integrations. Essentially, you can do the easiest payment integrations yourself, or hire a developer to enable quick payment acceptance into your website. This processor also offers invoicing and mobile payments via any device with an internet connection.
Helcim offers Interchange-plus pricing, meaning that you pay the exact cost of the the processing fee for the card that is being transacted plus a small markup. This markup automatically reduces as your sales grow with the average cost coming in at around 2% per transaction. With PayPal’s processing fee average around 3%, Helcim’s clients save around 1% in processing costs. Add to this that many of PayPal’s services come with additional monthly fees while Helcim has none, and the savings become even greater. All in all, Helcim has better service and lower costs than PayPal, making it our top choice.
For all the detail, see the Helcim website here.
Additional PayPal Alternatives
Our next choice for PayPal credit card processing alternative is CDG Commerce. This company is a merchant services provider that offers payment solutions to businesses of all sizes. Founded in 1998 and based in Chesapeake, Virginia, CDG Commerce provides solutions for credit card processing, debit card processing, and e-commerce payment gateways. Like Helcim, this processor has consistently scored high marks in our CDG Commerce review over ten years of monitoring
CDG Commerce offers an array of services such as mobile payment solutions, recurring billing, and POS solutions. It provides a free payment gateway (Quantum Gateway) or the option to integrate with other popular gateways such as Authorize.Net.
The company’s pricing model includes a month-to-month agreement with no early termination fee, which is relatively rare in the merchant services industry and a significant benefit for business owners. There are also two other pricing options for businesses that have a higher volume of transactions. Overall, CDG is very similar to Helcim but lacks in some of the ease-of-use features included with Helcim. It is a great alternative to PayPal if Helcim isn’t quite the right fit.
For all of the details, see the CDG Commerce website here.
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.
CardPaymentOptions.com currently awards Shopify an “A” rating, and the Better Business Bureau gives the company an “A+” at this time.
For more information, visit the Shopify website.
Final Thoughts on PayPal Alternatives
When considering an alternative to PayPal for credit card processing, we weighed several key factors:
- Costs and Fees: The pricing structure and understand the costs involved. This included setup fees, transaction fees, monthly fees, or any other hidden costs. Some services may offer a flat rate, while others may charge on an interchange-plus basis.
- Fraud Protection: The services provide robust security measures and fraud protection to safeguard sensitive financial data. This can include encryption, tokenization, and PCI compliance.
- Ease of Use: The services are be user-friendly for both the business and its customers. This involves how easy it is to setup, the intuitiveness of the interface, and whether it supports the business’s preferred sales channels (in-person, online, mobile, etc.).
- Customer Support: It’s crucial to have reliable and efficient customer support. each provide 24/7 support, and through various mediums (phone, email, live chat).
- Integration: These credit card processors easily integrate with most sales systems, including popular ecommerce platforms, POS systems, and accounting softwares.
- Payment Types: They accept all major credit and debit cards, as well as other payment types your business or your customers may require, like digital wallets or international cards.
- Payout Time: They quickly pay out funds that are transferred from the processor to your bank account. Some processors may take only a day or two, while others might take longer.
- Reputation and Reviews: We read reviews from other businesses to gain insight into the reliability and quality of the service.
- Contracts and Terms: They offer no long-term commitments and do not charge any junk fees.
Remember, the best credit card processor for your business will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s important to carefully assess each of our recommendations and to make a decision that suits your business model the best.