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A Complete Breakdown of the Best Online Payment Gateways for E-commerce

A complete overview of the best online payment gateways for e-commerce and online stores

Deciding which payment gateway to use for an E-commerce business is something that a lot of businesses struggle with. There are so many payment gateway and online payment options you might feel a bit confused. That’s why we’ve decided to provide you with a complete breakdown of the best online payment gateways for E-commerce, from learning more about it to making the right choice for your store.


Table of contents

1. What is a payment gateway?
  1. Types of payment gateway
  2. Modern payment gateway
  3. Classic payment gateway
  4. Hosted and integrated gateways
2. Our top 5 online payment gateways for E-commerce
  1. Stripe
  2. Paypal
  3. Braintree
  4. Authorize.net
  5. Payline

1. What is a Payment Gateway?

To simplify it, a payment gateway is what’s between your E-commerce store and the payment processor that receives a payment from the customer. The moment your customer adds his payment details, the payment gateway is responsible for sending that data to the payment processor. According to a study from 2018, companies are expected to continue increasing their investments in payment capacities due to rising customer expectations.

As more companies are moving their stores online to provide their customers with an exceptional digital customer journey, the payment gateway takes care of authorizing payments and ensuring the data provided is sufficient to finalize the payment process. It protects the crucial information from your credit card by encrypting all sensitive data it contains. Thanks to the encryption, personal private details of your customers are passed securely between them and your store.

If you have an E-commerce store, you should consider one of the numerous payment gateways as choosing the most reliable and secure one will attract more customers and, consequently, more closed deals.

1.1  Types of payment gateways

Before you get familiar with the names of the companies which provide a payment gateway for E-commerce businesses, you should understand which type best suits your needs. First, there are modern and classic payment gateways.

1.2  Modern payment gateway

A modern payment gateway doesn’t require a merchant account for a business to be able to accept credit card payment, all you need to have is a valid bank account. The most popular modern payment gateway example is PayPal. If you choose PayPal or any of its alternative solutions, you will not have to change bank accounts or do anything additional to integrate it as your payment method. Most of the times, integrating a modern payment gateway is really a quick process. But, you should be aware of its downsides, such as higher fees than classic gateways and sending your customers to off-sites to make a payment.

1.3  Classic payment gateway

With a classic payment gateway, you need to have a merchant account. The most popular one is Authorize.net. When compared to their counterparts, they take longer to set up and require some technical knowledge as it needs to be integrated via API. Those who have chosen a classic payment gateway will need to find a bank that provides merchant accounts and then apply for it. Unfortunately, merchant accounts are not provided by all banks and sometimes the approval and setup time can take up to 6 weeks. The main benefit of these gateways is lower fees per transactions when compared to modern ones.

1.4  Hosted and integrated gateways

Also, you should know you can choose between hosted and integrated gateways. The difference between them is the place where the payment gateway takes place i.e. integrated into your store or hosted off-site. If you choose hosted payment gateways, your customers will be redirected to the payment processor’s platform each time they want to make a purchase to insert the required details. 

On the other hand, with integrated payment gateways, you’re connecting it to your E-commerce store via the gateway’s provided API. Similar to a comparison of modern and classic solutions, these two also have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice should be made based on your business needs and your customers’ habits and preferences.


2. Our top 5 online payment gateways for E-commerce

2.1  Stripe


For a while now, Stripe has been among favorite payment gateway solutions for many E-commerce businesses around the world. It has a clear fee structure, nice integration with most well-known E-commerce systems and its surface is really easy to use. Of all payment gateways options out there, Stripe is definitely the most developer-centered one which allows you to use it so it suits your business needs. With Stripe, you can easily handle one-off payments or in-person payments, bill your customers on a recurring basis or set up a marketplace. More importantly, it guarantees transaction security and stores all details regarding credit cards and transactions in a secure way. Stripe works with more than 135 currencies and is currently available in more than 30 countries.

Pricing
3.4% + $0.50 per successful card charge

Charged at a fixed fee and a percentage of the transaction each time you accept a credit or debit card payment. The price is the same for all cards with no additional fee for international cards or failed charges.

  • No setup, monthly, or hidden fees
  • Pay only for what you use
  • Real-time fee reporting

More info at https://stripe.com/

2.2  PayPal

PayPal is probably the most popular payment gateway across the whole world. Actually, it’s not just a gateway for business owners but is also widely used by casual users who want to handle their payments on the web or split a bill with their friends who also use PayPal. As its being used by many people for various purposes, it’s the perfect payment gateway for an E-commerce store. After all, you will sell your products much easier if PayPal is one of your provided payment options. For business owners, PayPal has several features that are designed for different types of products – PayPal Payments Standard, PayPal Express Checkout and PayPal Payments Pro. Luckily, to use PayPal, you don’t need a merchant account. It also has advanced fraud protection and allows you to withdraw money very quickly to your bank account in local currency.

PRICING
3.9% + $0.50 per successful card charge

All in one option. If you don't have a merchant account (to ensure you get paid), select this option. We can set you up with both a merchant account and a payment gateway. 

More info at https://www.paypal.com/ 

2.3  Braintree

A loyal partner to PayPal, Braintree is also one of the increasingly popular all-in-one payment processing partners for different businesses across various industries. With Braintree, clients can accept, send, process and even split their payments to maximize their opportunities and increase revenue. This solution is praised for its flawless checkout experience that boosts the feeling of safety and confidence in your customers. Also, Braintree provides you with refined fraud tools for managing risk and protect your business from any potential fraud. This payment gateway solution is available in more than 40 countries and over 130 currencies. Similar to PayPal, Braintree also provides separate modules for different purposes – Braintree Direct, Braintree Marketplace, Braintree Auth and Contextual Commerce. One of the best perks about Braintree is there are no foreign exchange or cross-border fees.

PRICING
3.40% + HK$2.35 per transaction

Prices listed above are for cards and digital wallet products.

  • This per transaction fee applies to all authorisations, authorisation reversals, and verification.
  • An additional 1% fee applies to transactions presented outside of your home currency.
  • A flat HK$160 fee is assessed for charge-backs.
  • All processing fees, except the per transaction fee, are returned for full refunds. For partial refunds, all processing fees are returned at a prorated amount, but the transaction fee is not returned.
  • Discounted rates available

More info at https://www.braintreepayments.com/hk

2.4  Authorize.Net

As one of the most popular and oldest payment gateways on the market, Authorize.Net is also a proud representative of the classic payment gateway since 1996. The quality of this gateway is unquestionable as it was able to maintain its success for more than 20 years. With it, you can accept credit card, e-checks and contactless payments. Authorize.Net also has advanced fraud detection to protect your business from unauthorized payments or other potential troubles that are related to online payments. Also, they store information from your customers in a secure way and provide you with an option to tokenize all the sensitive data. With Authorize.Net, you can easily issue invoices, use a simplified checkout process, set up recurring payments and so much more.

Pricing
2.9% + $0.30 per successful card charge

If you don't have a merchant account (to ensure you get paid), select this option. We can set you up with both a merchant account and a payment gateway. 

  • All in one option
  • No setup fee
  • Monthly gateway: $25
  • Per transaction 2.9% + 30¢

More info at https://www.authorize.net/payments/ecommerce/

2.5  Payline

Payline is one of the payment gateways solutions that’s been around for a while now. It offers clear fees and an interchange-plus pricing model that is very beneficial for E-commerce businesses. This is a great solution for stores which will mainly accept credit cards as they charge based on every card’s transaction fee and the operator’s fee as well. However, you will need to create a separate merchant account to offer Payline to your customers. This will make your setup process a bit complex and maybe not as user-friendly as you want your E-commerce store to be. It’s a hands-on payment gateway so you will need to set up various things before using it. That’s why it’s mostly used by established businesses.

Pricing

1. Swiping in person: 0.2% + $0.10 per transaction | $10 per month
2. Credit card not present: 0.3% + $0.20 per transaction | $20 per month

More info at https://paylinedata.com/


Conclusion

Now that you know everything there is about payment gateways for E-commerce businesses, it’s time to provide your customers with a faster and easier way to pay for your products. There are plenty of other solutions you might take a closer look at and find the one that will suit your business needs and provide your customers with exactly what they want so they can enjoy their customer experience even more.


Joel Koh

Joel Koh is the director of One X Tech's Technology Management & Digital Solutions practice. He leads the firm's Asia Pacific office efforts in continually evolving and growing new capabilities to serve clients in technology-led transformations.

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