As a business owner, ensuring secure online transactions that safeguard both your interest and that of your clients should be of paramount importance to you. That is why I want to help you compare and contrast some of the top online payment solutions available. The right choice will depend on your budget, business scale, tech-savviness, and geographic location.
If you haven’t already used it, you have at least heard about this platform. Covering over 200 countries, PayPal’s reach does not compare to any other payment solution. The company is constantly optimizing its integrations, drawing between 80% to 90% of all online users worldwide. PayPal’s fees are around the average and cover multiple payment methods including direct bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards, and transactions from their own funds’ balance.
Despite its popularity, the platform does seem to lack in some security areas. It is not a secret that multiple online forums and news outlets are filled with complaints and suggestions for PayPal’s problem with funds mysteriously disappearing during transactions, but I do take that with a grain of salt. Given the magnitude of their operations, mishaps are understandably bound to happen and the company does seem to respond to them promptly. Nevertheless, PayPal continues to be one of the most trusted and utilized payment gateways online.
Inching close to PayPal’s popularity is Stripe, a payment gateway that can be used for both online and offline (ACH) transactions. The platform offers integrations and customizing options that are easy to use for most business owners. One can seamlessly incorporate a Stripe plugin into their website, made specifically for their website builder (e.g. WordPress, WooCommerce, etc.). They also accept a large range of payment methods, from popular cards to mobile wallets like Microsoft Pay, all while keeping their fees around the market average.
Unlike PayPal, Stripe only covers 34 countries, but it accommodates over 135 currencies and can display as well as convert payments to any of those. The platform is certified to follow the highest security standards, keeping an extremely close eye on one’s money. In fact, they even incentivize clients to report security bugs with money prizes. However, like most other payment gateways, they too deal with temporary, unexplained money holds and account freezes, making it inconvenient at times. But no platform is perfect and Stripe surely gets close!
Square and Stripe are fairly close in terms of their features and benefits, but Square’s fees do come in just under Stripe’s (and PayPal’s), for offline business transactions. Their online transaction fees, however, are the same. Therefore, Square might be a better option for businesses that operate as a hybrid model (both online and offline), especially since they allow you to create a fully functional store quickly and easily by using their website templates, as well as provide you with niche point of sale (POS) packages for various industries.
One other benefit of using Square is not having to deal with chargeback fees, meaning they won’t charge you anything if your client disputes a transaction and wins. Considering that such fees range anywhere between $15 and $35, on average, the savings will actually pile up quite quickly. Square also accepts all major credit cards but does not accommodate some of the other payment platforms like digital/mobile wallets. It also only works for businesses in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Japan.
A subsidiary of PayPal, Braintree is full of advanced fraud detection options, integrations, streamlining, and scaling opportunities for one’s online business. It accepts PayPal payments, all major credit and debit cards, bank transfers, and digital wallets. Not only that, but it is also able to process offline/ACH payments in more than 45 countries and over 130 currencies.
Similar to Square, Braintree allows business owners to have their own, private seller account instead of being thrown together with other merchants into one, third-party account, like most other payment processing services do. It is also well known for its customization options, allowing a business to gather detailed intel about its transactions.
Venmo is one of the more simplistic payment methods, allowing your customers to pay you either through their Venmo balance, bank transfers, debit, or credit cards. Only credit cards are subject to a 3% fee, passed on to the consumer and a bit on the higher end of the market. However, the other payment methods incur no fees.
Also owned by PayPal, Venmo functions both as a virtual wallet and as a payment gateway for your online store. The platform is available for both IOS and Android users (as far as your clients are concerned), and, like Square, it is directed more toward hybrid and/or small businesses. Unfortunately, multiple hacks and security breaches have been reported by Venmo users. While the platform has taken various measures to protect one’s privacy and funds (whether as a client or a business owner), I cannot recommend it with a clear conscience.
While the above are the top online payment solutions, I do have a few more to quickly highlight, which might work better for you depending on your goals. For example, Redde is an Australian-based payment processing platform that makes it easy for non-profits and small businesses to accept donations and small-amount payments. They wave a lot of the big brand fees without compromising on security. On the other hand, if your business is geared toward high volume sales and could benefit more from a subscription or a membership-based payment system, then you might want to look into Payment Depot. They may have a high monthly fee, but they do provide wholesale/low transaction fees.
In the end, the right option for you might not be the right option for every business owner. You have to revise your operations and financial budget, and then make an informed decision about which one will best fit your needs. Don’t forget; I are here to help you through all of these steps. All you need to do is reach out to me.