The Best Alternatives to PayPal for Online Business Payments

Small businesses favor alternatives to PayPal for their online payments. In the past, PayPal was the de facto payment method for online businesses. This change is from many issues, such as 30-day fund holds and wrongful chargebacks.

PayPal’s competitors refuse to toe the line. In fact, some providers go above and beyond what PayPal offers. These rising stars serve as great options if you need a PayPal alternative. Are you looking for the best alternative to PayPal for your business? If so, begin by comparing the most popular contenders.

The Most Popular Alternatives to PayPal

Many will debate which payment processors lead the online payments industry. PayPal retains primary market share, some newcomers are seeing fast growth. What systematic way can identify the top alternatives to PayPal? Look at “market share by presence.” Datanyze visualizes this here.

Statistically speaking, the 10 most popular payment processors, based on the number of sites they’re integrated with, looks as follows…

Name of Payment Processor

# of Sites That Accept Them

PayPal

771,624

Stripe

88,917

Authorize.net

19,961

Square

17,352

Klarna

15,261

Amazon Payments

14,330

CCBill

12,651

Google Checkout

11,798

Braintree

9,558

Worldpay

5,281

Disclaimer: The actual source lists “ClickBank” in the tenth spot, but this payment method does not apply for all businesses in general. Also, these stats can vary by source and the numbers listed here should only serve as a general insight on today’s digital payments market.

With that said, PayPal is clearly on top but they also entered the payment processing industry 12 years prior to Stripe. This second-place competitor is the most viable alternative to PayPal by this statistical standard. Regardless, some of the smaller names can also provide what a small business needs for their online transactions.

Let’s take a look at the three largest competitors (Stripe, Authorize.net, Square) and see how they square up next to PayPal.

Why Stripe is the Best Alternative to PayPal

Stripe was founded in 2010 and, according to their website, they already support more than 100,000 businesses worldwide. Their market share floats around 10% of what PayPal holds right now. Interestingly, from Alexa’s Top 100 sites, 15 use Stripe but only five use PayPal.

Early in the game, Stripe made a name for themselves by raising the standard when it comes to payment processor APIs. They outperformed PayPal and other competitors by far. The end result was PayPal introducing the Payments REST API. Uncoincidentally, this product is based completely off what Stripe already offered.

Stripe Has Lower Processing Fees

The key area where Stripe stands out versus PayPal is their lower processing fees. They both charge 2.9% + 30¢ on credit card transactions. The difference is all the surprise fees found in PayPal’s product. Take a look at the fees charged by PayPal and Stripe.

Feature

Stripe

PayPal

On-Site Checkout Page

No charge

$30 per month (PayPal Pro)

Accept American Express

No premium

3.5%

Accept International Cards

No charge for accepting international cards; 2% foreign exchange fee

4.4% + a fixed fee for PayPal Payments Pro and Virtual Terminal

Process a Refund

No charge

Fixed fee, 30 cents domestically

Accept a Chargeback

$15

$20

Receive $10 or Less

No premium

5% + 5¢

Advanced Fraud Protection

No charge

$10 per month + 5¢ per transaction, not applicable for Express Checkout payments

The fee breakdown varies depending on which plan you use with PayPal. As an example, the American Express surcharge will only apply for premium PayPal plans. The reality is that Stripe keeps their fees simple while undercutting PayPal’s rates.

Is the cost of your transactions what counts?

Stripe wins in this department, except for when you plan to exclusive deal with sub-$10 payments. Their 5% + 5¢ fee for micropayments is often cheaper than the 2.9% + 30¢ fee charged by Stripe since PayPal is charging 25 cents less for each transaction fee.

Stripe Provides Offline Payment Processing

Their service is available for both online and offline business transactions. Businesses can even accept payments through their mobile device with Stripe via the Shopify POS card reader. These transactions process for as little as 2.4% and do not come with any hidden fees.

The only downfall is that this point of sale system requires you to harness the Shopify Payments platform. You will not be working directly through Stripe, which would cost you 2.9% per transaction. Meanwhile, the PayPal Here PoS solution charges 2.7% on each transaction and includes a 1.5% surcharge for international credit cards.

Stripe vs. PayPal, What Payment Options Can You Accept?

Another little difference is the credit card providers that each payment processor accepts. The lists are much of the same, but Stripe is more limited for international merchants. You also have some other types of cards that only PayPal will process. Stripe does state that custom integration is available for certain cards. But, there is no guarantee that certain cards will not be approved even after setting this up.

Below is a breakdown of the credit cards accepted by PayPal and Stripe.

PayPal: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Network, JCB, Diners Club, EnRoute, plus potential level 2 & 3 Purchasing Cards (P-Cards)

Stripe: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Network, JCB, Diners Club – non U.S. businesses can only accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

However, Stripe is compatible with ACH Debits, Bitcoin and Alipay. Plus, WeChat Pay is in BETA testing at the moment. Both Stripe and PayPal accept debit cards with Visa and Mastercard logos.

Stripe’s Customer Support is Superior

A longstanding complaint against PayPal is their lack of quality customer support. Their phone line sometimes is adequate. However, Stripe goes above and beyond with customer service. You can speak with their engineers through their dedicated IRC channel. In there, for your business’s developers to receive real-time help. Their email support is also speedy and reliable.

Stripe Logo (blue)

Conclusion: Stripe Currently Outperforms PayPal

The up-and-comer, Stripe, really does shine when pinned against PayPal. Their services are at least the same quality in every regard. Also, their API system, customer support and transaction costs are clearly superior. The throne is up for grabs. Stripe edges the pack as the best PayPal alternative in today’s payment processing industry.

Authorize.net – How They’re Different

The second-most popular alternative to PayPal is Authorize.net, they founded in 1996 which makes them two years older than PayPal. Authorize.net provides online payment processing services for approximately 20,000 websites. They are the third-most popular provider by this metric. Interestingly, Authorize.net is a subsidiary business solely owned by Visa.

The Cost and Features at Authorize.net

You pay $49 to get your account in order and then pay $25 per month to sustain their services. Another charge of $79 will occur if you need their specialty WooCommerce extension. These fees give you more than just the ability to accept payments through their service. In fact, you get a higher quality virtual terminal and checkout page than what PayPal offers.

Furthermore, subscribers receive support through the Advanced Fraud Detection Suite toolset. This feature helps your business filter out any transactions with indication of fraud risk. Learn more about the AFDS filters to see why it’s a big deal.

As for the actual transactions, the rates are on par with Stripe – you pay 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. International payment processing services include an additional 1.5% fee on each transaction. Lastly, there is also a $25 fee when your business receives a chargeback.

Problems with Authorize.net

The main issue with Authorize.net is their limited availability. They only service businesses in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.

The setup and monthly fees are also difficult for small businesses. The lead competitor, Stripe, is more affordable with no surprise fees. Furthermore, some businesses do not use them as an alternative to PayPal. Rather, Authorize.net is often a means to build a better PayPal payment gateway.

Further, Amazon Payments is a growing competitor to Authorize.net as they offer much of the same services. Their WooCommerce extension is available with free integration, thus saving businesses the $79 upfront cost. No setup or monthly fee exists either, and the transaction rates are the same at 2.9% + 30¢ per. Their payment gateway page keeps the customer on your site, but the transaction fulfills securely through Amazon.

Conclusion: Where Does Authorize.net Stand?

When you don’t have a dedicated payment gateway, your business leaves this part in the hands of your payment provider. Authorize.net is one of the supreme payment alternatives to PayPal when it comes to having a quality gateway. Amazon is definitely a competitor here, but Authorize.net still has them beat. Additionally, they provide a free app for Mobile Point of Sale transactions.

Square – Is It a Worthy PayPal Alternative?

Square stepped into the payments industry as the “Stripe of offline payments,” but they’re targeting online clientele now too. They took the same approach as Stripe for online payments, by embracing a similar API system. Their e-commerce API is also a great help. You can use it to track deposits, inventory and reporting in one simple UI.

Square Provides Ease of Use + Apps

However, Square does not just provide developer-level payment solutions. They keep things simple for the non-technically experienced business people. You can also integrate Square through WooCommerce, Magento, OpenCart, Drupal, Zen Cart and others. Their app marketplace features many different tools. They offer apps for analytics, booking and scheduling, employee management, reporting, restaurant management and more.

Square Has Reasonable Transaction Fees

Right on par with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and Amazon Payments, the transaction fees are 2.9% + 30¢ for online credit card payments. For offline purchases, the charge is 2.65% through a Square PoS. Their offline rate is slightly lower than PayPal’s 2.7% card swipe fee.

Offline payments with Stripe are cheaper, at just 2.4% per swipe with the Shopify POS. The difference is not extreme though, and overall Square doesn’t overcharge.

Conclusion: Square Serves a Genuine Purpose

Square makes it simple for anyone to start accepting payments with them. Their various apps give more value than what most payment processors offer. The fees also make them a suitable alternative to the other top contenders on the list. Regardless, Stripe is the clear leading alternative to PayPal. But, Square is new to the online transaction world and already gaining a lot of attention.

The Best PayPal Alternative without Chargeback

Are you focused on receiving payments without the risk of chargeback? The only viable solution is accepting Bitcoin – which is irreversible. You can do so directly or use Coinbase to create a simplified payment gateway. While Coinbase is unknown to most, they’re the largest Bitcoin based payment processor around. In fact, in August of 2017, they received $100 million in funding at a $1.6 billion valuation.

The only problem with using Coinbase is that you are subjecting yourself to accept Bitcoin payments only. This addition can open the doors to consumers that otherwise might not have shopped at your store. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. You are ignoring the customers that plan to pay with credit cards. You should primarily consider this as a potential payment option if you require chargeback-free transactions.

Conclusion – What’s the Best PayPal Alternative?

As a business, it is imperative to have the right payment processors in place. Setting up shop online is even more difficult – the “Point of Sale” is a virtual terminal. You can’t just create this on your own (at least, it’s not likely) so you are subject to what the top providers offer.

The best alternatives to PayPal are definitely Stripe, Square, Authorize.net and Amazon Payments. Klarna is another interesting competitor that’s on the uprise. They have Visa on board as an investor – and a greater than $2 billion valuation.

Ultimately, choosing the right payment processor takes time. You have to consider more than just the transaction fees. Sometimes the best solution isn’t the cheapest one. Think about what’s right for your business. But, know that you won’t go wrong by choosing Stripe as your alternative to PayPal. They’re currently the most legitimate contender.

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