Whether you are a small, independent business or a corporate entity, bringing money, with online payments, into your company in a swift and secure way is of the utmost importance. This makes payment gateways one of the most important pieces of technology in the 21st century. Prior to their creation, there just wasn’t a reliable way to instantly and digitally transfer funds from customer to business that didn’t involve a wired connection.

Payment gateways make online, financial card payments easy and they are continuously changing the face of business as we know it. But, how do you know you know which one is the right one for you?

There is a range of payment gateways providers out there, all offering a different array of services and incentives for varying costs. Choosing the right payment gateway for your company has the potential to increase your sales and expand your business, so it’s not a case of just choosing the first one you see and hoping for the best. It has the capability of enhancing your business and saving you money.

We will endeavour to explain what payment gateways are and provide you with a full list of the best payment gateways options available for your business in 2020.

What are payment gateways?

Payment gateways allow you to accept payments, both an online payment and in person. This means that payment gateways have the capability to offer credit and debit card online payment, offline and at the Point of Sale (POS) in-store.

The basic functionality of a payment gateway is simply a method to charge cards, transferring funds from the payee to the business. However, when you introduce factors such as merchant accounts, volume of sales and cost of operation into the equation, payment gateways become more complex.

Simple payment gateways

Use of a simple payment gateway for a transaction will normally incur a fee to the business of between 1.4-3.5%. This amount is a pre-agreed amount and is charged for every transaction. The funds here are simply transferred from the consumer to the business (minus the transaction fee) via the payment gateway.

Debit and credit card transactions can only be accepted into a special type of bank account called a ‘merchant account’, and these generally incur fees to open/operate. So, a simple payment gateway will usually use the merchant account provided by the payment gateway, which will then transfer the funds on to the business account.

Online Shopping

Interchange merchant processing

The merchant account and payment gateway are separate entities. Consequently, a business can open and operate a merchant account of its own which can accept card payments into it through use of a payment gateway. The processing fees from the payment gateway are reduced to around 0.15% per transaction, and are commonly called interchange fees.

A merchant account opened and operated by a business will incur monthly costs, which is something that businesses must account for before instantly deciding to choose the lower change per transaction.

Incentives

Smaller businesses with a low volume of transactions will generally find that the most effective option is a simple payment gateway. The processing fees will incur a lower charge than the monthly fees and it is therefore the most cost-effective option for an online payment process.

However, if a business has a sales volume that would make the processing fees higher than the monthly fees, it would therefore, become cheaper to pay a monthly fee for merchant processing plus the small interchange fees.

Most payment gateways will also offer another array of incentives that they believe makes them stand out from the competition such as points schemes, deals with card providers, website building services etc…

How to choose the best payment gateway for your business

The payment gateway provider that you choose will depend on your specific needs. It is all about weighing up the pros and cons of each specific payment gateway and then applying the costs and incentives to your business’s financial model. When choosing the best payment gateway for your business, you should consider: –

  • Cost
  • Customer confidence
  • Looking professional
  • Conversion rates
  • Security
  • Additional Extras

Cost

Payment gateways are not cheap to run. Coding, security, hosting, marketing, legal fees and much more. These costs and subsequent profits are made through a variety of charges to businesses for use of the payment gateway.

Payment gateways may charge a set-up fee plus a percentage fee based upon the value of all the card payments made. It is important to evaluate these charges to your business based upon your projected earnings to ensure the gateway you choose is the right one.

Customer confidence

The way consumers pay businesses for items or services has developed drastically over the past 80 years. For example, in 1950 when the credit card was introduced, the only other way to exchange currency was via cash or cheque. Since then we have seen the introduction of debit cards, vouchers, direct debit, standing orders and a variety of other online methods.

If your payment gateway only accepts one type of payment, such as an obscure credit card, you are going to lose customers.

Looking professional

Business image is possibly the most important thing about any organisation. From how employees are dressed to the ease of navigating a website, image gives the customer an assurance of quality. Your business’s image is what will draw people towards your brand.

This image-factor extends to your payment gateway. As a business, you could have done everything else correct and you now have the customer on the payment screen about to pay. But, if this doesn’t also give off the same professional image, you will no doubt have people abandoning their baskets, losing you sales in the process.

Security

You wouldn’t put your money into a bank account that was notorious for being robbed, and the same applies to payment gateways. You wouldn’t use a payment gateway that has low security measures and is prone to being hacked. A flaw in security from your payment gateway could cost you both your money and personal data.

Ensure that any organisations that are involved with cardholder data are subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which is designed to prevent fraud.

Conversion rates

One factor that a lot of new businesses fail to incorporate into their model is how to improve conversion rates. It’s all well and good spending money on marketing and getting people to notice your company, but if you are unable to see them over line and actually take their money, it has all been for nothing.

A simple check-out experience, where the customers can pay without any unnecessary steps (i.e. signing up/registering), and pay by a number of payment methods (and multiple currencies) will help to bring cash through the door. Survey suggest that the top reasons for abandonment are: –

  • 4% due to technical difficulties;
  • 15% due to easier in-store experience;
  • 33% due to lack of desired payment options.

With this in mind, it shows the effectiveness of a good payment gateway for your business.

Credit Card

Who are the best payment gateways of 2020?

There are many powerful and popular payment gateways available to businesses of all sizes. The decision on who to trust with your payment information is a difficult decision, so we have compiled a list of the 12 best payment gateways options in 2020.

LumiPay

LumiPay is an eCommerce payment gateway and merchant account provider that allows you to take an online payment wherever you are. In store, over the phone, online etc…

It is integrable with most major eCommerce sites, including WooCommerce, Shopify, WordPress, Magento and more. It also accepts over 200 methods of payments and can provide an in-depth analysis of the payment data, allowing you to gain a deeper insight into the financial side of your business.

LumiPay is PCI DSS 1 compliant and completely transparent with their security system, managing every transaction in an encrypted and secure environment. It can also have the ability to set up a payment schedule for repeat payments.

LumiPay provides individual quotes to businesses based upon their needs, so prices can vary. In order to get a quote, you must enter your details into their website.

2CheckOut

A global payment platform with over 50,000 businesses worldwide who use it for its vast capabilities and incredibly easy-to-use interface. You can accept online and mobile payments from customers anywhere around the world in 87 different currencies.

2CheckOut integrates well with an array of websites shopping carts and accepts a wide variety of popular debit and credit cards, as well as PayPal, for a seamless customer experience.

This payment gateway also offers a multi-lingua platform for both buyers and sellers, offering platform support in 15 major languages.

2CheckOut scores well because it is designed to have high compatibility with most payment systems and is easily integrable with most website designs.

2CheckOut offers three plans to customers:

  • “2Sell” which charges 3.5% plus €0.35 per successful sale;
  • “2Subscribe” which charges 4.5% plus €0.45 per successful sale plus all of the “2Sell” benefits;
  • “2Monetize” which charges 6% plus €0.50 per successful sale and includes all of the “2Subscribe benefits.

Each of the plans has its own range of benefits that scale with the cost. They also offer custom pricing for large businesses.

PayPal Payment Gateway

PayPal payment gateway has a strong advantage over other payment gateways due to its excellent brand image and its reputation when its comes to making an online payment. PayPal is a trusted name amongst consumers which means it is generally good for buying confidence and convenience.

It is an extremely easy payment gateway to add onto your website and is relatively simple to set up and integrate with most major eCommerce sites such as Shopify and WooCommerce (WordPress).

There are no set-up fees, contracts or cancellation fees and it charges 3.4% + 20p per transaction. There is also a monthly charge of £20. If the volume of sales surpasses a certain amount, the charge for PayPal goes as low as 1.9% per transaction, which makes it great for businesses with a high volume of card sales.

PayPal payment gateway also has a handy payment calculator which you can use to estimate your total charge based upon projected sales.

However, there have been numerous reports of PayPal withholding funds from business customers for lengthy periods of time and accessing them can take a while. Also, PayPal has no shopping cart functionality, so customers have to exit your website to access it, meaning it isn’t as integrable as other payment gateways.

Cardstream Payment Gateway

Cardstream payment gateway is a fully independent company based in the UK. Described as a white-label payment gateway, they are level 1 PCI DSS compliant and offer excellent payment solutions for businesses who take online payments, over the phone or by mail.

Cardstream are completely independent of any bank account, meaning that you can use them with any bank account or payment company. This makes CardStream fully integrable with any business.

Cardstream will enable you to create a branded and customisable payment gateway page with its own URL. It also accepts an array or alternate payment methods including PayPal, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

There is no setup fee or transaction limits and it costs £18 per month. You have to sign up for a 12-month contract with a 30-day cancellation notice. Your first 350 transactions have no transaction fee, and any subsequent payment after the 350 transaction limit has a 9p charge. This makes CardStreams perfect for new businesses or those who don’t take a lot of card payments.

Payline

Payline is a transparent and easy-to-use ‘front-end’ payment gateway that has a range of pricing options to suit all business types from larger corporations to small, independent companies and sole traders.

It is fully integrable with over 175 online shopping carts as well as offering payment solutions for a variety of mobile applications. They also offer a month-to-month contract with no cancellation fees, making them perfect for businesses that are starting out or are not wanting to be tied into anything long term.

The Pricing structure for Payline depends on how you accept payments and is easily calculable for your business using their payment calculator. The two main payment bands are:

  • $20 per month with $0.20 per transaction – swiping in person;
  • $10 per month with $0.10 per transaction – credit card not present i.e online.

You can pay an extra $10 dollars a month for a virtual terminal to key in credit cards and your funds are deposited into your bank account the next working day.

Stripe

Stripe is a payment platform dedicated specifically for online businesses that offers support for over a hundred currencies and a variety of features such as one-click checkout, mobile payments and subscription billing.

Stripe’s popularity comes from its customizability. It is essentially a service that you can fully personalise with a range of tools that create an unique payment service to suit your business. Consequently, Stripe demands a lot more technical knowledge from the business using it than other payment gateways, but the benefits of this are evident.

Card processing fees are 1.4% per transaction plus £0.20 in Europe and 2.9% plus $0.30 outside of Europe, and it also caters for larger volumes with a personalised plan.

Card Processing

Authorize.net

Developed for use with any style of business, Authorize.net is the payment gateway designed by Visa to streamline the payment process for companies of all sizes. There is a wide range of plans to your company, wherever you are taking payments.

WIth Authorize.net, you can accept all major credit and debit cards, contactless payment, e-checks, as well as a variety of different digital payment methods such as Apple Pay, PayPal and Visa Checkout.

Prices depends on what level of service you require: –

  • Payment Gateway Only – No setup fee, $25 per month, $0.10 per transaction with a $0.10 daily batch fee.
  • All-in-One Option (gateway and merchant account) – No setup fee, $25 per month, 2.9 % + $0.30 per transaction.

Authorize.net also offers tailored pricing for companies that process more than $500K per year.

Amazon Payment Gateway

Amazon is relatively new to the world of payment gateways, starting in 2017, but it has the brand reputation to already make it an industry leader. Trusted by people all over the globe, the Amazon association is brilliant for your brand to help get sales over the line.

It is a fully-featured payment gateway that doesn’t hold you to a contract or have any fees for terminating. The basic package is 1.4% + £0.20 per transaction with no monthly fees. So, good for new businesses who wish to give themselves a professional feel for a low cost.

An advantage Amazon Payment Gateway has over its major industry rival PayPal is that users don’t need to leave the site to complete the payment. You can embed the ‘buy now’ button on your website, and if the customer is already logged into Amazon on their browser, they don’t need to enter any payment details.

Amazon Payment Gateway is fully integrable with a vast array of eCommerce platforms and it accepts a wide range of payment methods, the only noticeable absence being its competitor PayPal.

Skrill Payment Gateway

Skrill is the payment gateway that has been around for as long as PayPal, and offers a whole range of services for the similar price. It might be more recognisable under its early name as Moneybookers, but rebranded in 2011, becoming Skrill Merchant Services.

They have around 30 million customers worldwide because they were the pioneers of a payment with e-mail address and password, as well as the 1-tap payment service.

Skrill will allow you to accept all major cards in a variety of different currencies and is integrated with 80 major banks worldwide, making it wonderful for international businesses.

Skrill doesn’t have any contracts or termination fees and has a very easy-to-understand payment structure outlined on their website including: –

  • No charge for online and card payments;
  • 0% charge for Skrill to Skrill transfers;
  • 1.0% fee for bitcoin;
  • £4.76 charge everytime you want to withdraw funds;
  • 7.5% charge to withdraw funds to Visa.

However, there are mixed reviews about Skrill’s customer service online, with some stating that the support team are slow to rectify issues and others stating issues with fraud.
Braintree Payment Gateway
A subsidiary of PayPal, Braintree is a highly customisable payment gateway designed to be used by businesses with more technical knowhow, because Braintree requires coding into your website.

Braintree’s clientele is of the highest quality, being used by top companies such as AirBnb and GitHub. It’s reputation is up there with the giants of the payment world, offering an array of services for highly competitive prices.

Braintree offers sales analytics which provides financial insights by producing reports, helping you to understand the financial side of your business better.

Your first £30,000 made is free with Braintree, after that you’ll be charged 2.4% + 20p per transaction, which puts it more in the realm of corporate businesses as opposed to startups. There are also no minimum charges or monthly fees, so it is only the transaction you pay for.

BitPay

With cryptocurrencies inevitably becoming the future of the financial world, it made sense to include the biggest Bitcoin payment gateway provider. It operates in 38 different countries and allows use of multiple currencies. It’s main selling point is allowing businesses to accept Bitcoin as the payment choice, ideal for businesses that want that feature.

Because Bitcoin transactions only use an ID number, no personal information is traded in the process, making them the most secure way of transferring funds.

BitPay’s pricing structure is simple, with 1% of every transaction charged.

Payoneer

A payment gateway designed to be used by smaller businesses to allow them to become part of a wider international market. Payoneer is highly intuitive and offers services in 200 countries and 150 currencies, making it the most globally accessible payment gateway on the market.

Payoneer is highly regarded as an industry leader in the payment industry, highlighted by the fact it has received multiple awards for its services.

Payoneer has a complex payment structure depending upon what services you require, and these are highlighted on their website. Payments from other payoneer customers are free and credit cards are charged at 3%. Withdrawing to your bank account is a 2% charge.

Conclusion

We understand that the decision to choose the best payment gateway for the needs of your company is of the utmost importance to you as a business. It’s important to take your time with the decision and analyse the pros and cons of as many as you can. Hopefully, our list of the 12 best payment gateways of 2020 will help you to make your decision.