Paying for an item online should be a simple process that takes only a few seconds for the customer. However, a lot of processes are happening in the background to ensure that the customer’s money is channeled to the merchant.
In fact, one of the most common misconceptions among novice eCommerce businesses is that payment processors and payment gateways are interchangeable. That is not the case at all.
A payment processor acts as an intermediate between the merchant, the merchant’s bank, and the issuing bank, authorizing and managing transactions. Furthermore, payment processors are typically outdated and require technology to process payments (think terminals and POS systems).
A payment gateway, on the other hand, handles these actions as well as the transmission of payments between the merchant and the customer. Then came PayPal and Stripe, which simplified the process for most internet firms. These two payment gateways alleviated many of the issues and allowed for quick setup, generally within a day or two.
- Hosted – Hosted payment gateways, such as PayPal, direct you off-site to complete the transaction.
- Self-hosted – Self-hosted payment gateways, such as Stripe, allow a customer to complete the entire transaction on your site.
Most eCommerce businesses use two or more payment gateways. Many of which end up using both PayPal and Stripe as their sole payment gateways.
We narrowed down the finest payment gateway choices on the market today after researching and reviewing dozens of them. Whether you already have an ecommerce shop or are establishing one from scratch, this article will help you choose the best payment method for you.
Shopify provides everything people need to start selling goods and services online. It’s a payment processor, online store builder, and ecommerce marketing solution all in one. Because everything is included and works so well together, we highly recommend Shopify for people launching new stores. That said, people on a different ecommerce platform may be convinced to switch once they experience the convenience of Shopify.
Shopify Payments is activated once you sign up for an account. There’s no wait time to start accepting major credit cards and other digital payments. Every transaction is tracked and displayed automatically. There’s minimal busy work necessary to stay on top of your sales, payments, and monthly numbers.
Shopify is convenient for your customers, too. Once you have an account, you will be able to accept a wide range of popular ecommerce payment methods, including:
- American Express
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Facebook Pay
Shopify Payments come as part of every Shopify plan. There are integrations with dozens of other ecommerce payment methods, but those have transaction fees. There is no transaction fee when you use Shopify Payments. There are a variety of ways to get set up with Shopify.
Shopify Starter is $5 per month and lets you create shoppable links. Sell directly on social media, text, and email, and Shopify handles the rest.
Basic Shopify is $39 per month and includes everything we’ve reviewed so far. Build a store, ship products, sell services, and start making money. Upgrading your Shopify plan will bring your credit card processing fees down.
You do get a discount on Shopify’s website plans if you switch to annual billing, with the Basic plan coming down to $29 per month.
Square is a great choice for those of you who have physical locations and plan to start selling online. Why? It’s simple: they’re known for their stellar POS system that seamlessly integrates with their payment method solutions. That makes them a great option if you’re planning to open retail locations in addition to your ecommerce shop.
Don’t have a shop yet? Square offers a fantastic ecommerce website builder too. They don’t skimp on the builder either, offering you tons of great-looking drag-and-drop themes that allow you to create the ecommerce store of your dreams—no coding knowledge needed.
Square is priced competitively compared to the other methods on our list. There is no monthly fee for adding the Square payment gateway to your website. They charge you 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, just like Stripe and PayPal.
Integrating Square into your ecommerce platform is easy. Some of their ecommerce partners include:
- GoCentral Online Store
- Drupal Commerce
- Zen Cart
- Unbound Commerce
- WP EasyCart
So if you’re currently using one of these platforms for your ecommerce shop, adding Square will be a breeze.
Payment Depot touts itself as the “Costco of credit card processing” for its membership fee-based pricing model as well as its completely transparent pricing. Payment Depot goes with a single membership fee, rather than charging you per transaction. You can purchase a membership package based on the financial amount of the transactions you do annually.
This is a different business model than many payment processing services, which may charge you a percentage of your transaction amounts. As long as you are doing a significant amount in financial transactions per year, Payment Depot should save you quite a bit on fees.
Payment Depot’s updated plans and prices include:
- Starter — $59 per month: Process up to $125,000 per year
- Starter Plus — $79 per month: Process up to $250,000 per year
- Growth — $99 per month: Process up to $500,000 per year
Transaction fees are 0.00% + $0.08 on swiped/chip transactions and 0.00% + $0.18 on online transactions. Should you need to process more than $500,000 in transactions annually, you can request a custom price quote from the company.
However, if you’re a smaller business, you might end up paying a bit more for the monthly membership fee. That’s why we really don’t recommend this brand if you make less than $25,000 per month.
If you go with an annual membership, Payment Depot offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. That means you can cancel within three-ish months and send your equipment back, and you’ll get a complete refund.
Visit Payment Depot to get great rates for your heavy transaction processing. Note that this program is exclusively for companies based in the US.
Each consumer has a unique payment choice. To meet everyone’s needs, the top online payment gateways and shopping cart solutions accept a variety of payment methods. This article’s recommendations are all industry leaders with reasonable fees. While Shopify is the greatest choice for the majority of people, every service on our list is worth considering—it all depends on your needs.