Paypal is the most popular online payment processor at the moment. However, is it the most affordable for online merchants? Paypal charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. Specialized and/or phone transactions that go through Paypal require a $30/month fee. Mobile transactions charge 2.7% per swipe.
These fees can add up and take a sizable bite out of your earnings. Furthermore, Paypal is well known for not fighting costly customer chargebacks even when the merchant can prove fraudulent activity- all while charging that merchant $30 per chargeback.
Luckily, other payment gateways are available- and ready to vie for your use of their services. Listed below are a number of online payment processors and their associated fees.
However, before we start on this list…
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A quick word about payment processors and merchant accounts
If you sell online, you need to obtain two things: a payment processor and a merchant account. The payment processor enables you to authorize and process credit card transactions. The merchant account acts as a kind of online bank, holding your funds until they are sent to your actual bank.
Some payment processors, such as Paypal, can act as combination processors and merchant accounts. Other processors require an added merchant account. This is important to keep in mind when you consider ease-of-use and transaction fees.
And now, onto our list of alternate online payment processors:
This combination merchant account and payment processor provides you with everything you need to accept customer credit card payments either nationally or internationally. Fees are 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction for all U.S.-based sales and 5.5% and 45 cents per transaction for international sales. 2CheckOut also enables merchants to build shopping cart stores.
Online merchants can take advantage of Amazon’s API to receive payments, including ACH payments, from customers all over the world. The fee structure for Amazon Payments is akin to Paypal’s, with 2.9% and 30 cents/transaction charged for U.S.-based purchases. Additionally, Amazon Payments offers transaction discounts on under $10 individual microsales or over $3,000/month sales.
This online payment processor has been around since 1996 and enables merchants to accept e-checks and credit cards. Two types of fee structures exist for Authorize.net. The first one includes obtaining a merchant account through Authorize.net and using it as a payment gateway- this entails a $49 one-time set-up fee plus $25/month for use of the payment gateway. Transaction fees are comparable to those of Paypal at 2.9% and 30 cents/transaction.
If you only need Authorize.net as a payment processor, there are still the $49 one-time set-up and $25/month use charges. However, your transaction fee is only 10 cents.
This newer online payment processor enables customers to transfer funds to you through email, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Even better, Dwolla-mediated transactions are free if the sales amount is under $10. For transactions that exceed $10, the transaction fee is just 25 cents.
This app-based payment processor works much like Paypal by charging 2.9% and 30 cents/transaction. However, there is no additional fee for mobile transactions. Currently, Google Wallet works only with merchants selling digital goods; in other words, if you’re selling physical goods that you later have to ship, this is not the payment processor for you.
Currently, PayLeap is offering attractive pricing options for online transactions; internet PIN debit transactions are charged 1.89%, debit transactions are 2.39%, and credit card payments are 2.89% plus 29 cents/transaction. There is no set-up fee involved with PayLeap, and merchants that need additional features like mobile payments, an e-commerce store or recurring billing pay just $19.99/month.
Venmo was started in 2010 and acquired by Braintree in 2012. This gateway is completely free to use and charges only 3% on credit card purchases to cover the costs of transaction fees.
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VISA recently launched its Checkout payment processor as a direct competitor to Paypal. The tool easily integrates with desktop as well as mobile platforms. Depending on the financial institution used, merchants may end up paying some of the standard interchange fees. In the case of most financial institutions processing e-commerce transactions, interchange fees top out at 2.4% plus 10 cents/transaction.
Furthermore, unlike when using Paypal, customers need not leave the merchant site to complete their transactions with VISA Checkout; a small pop-up window opens up on the merchant site, then disappears when the purchase is complete.
This integrated merchant account and payment processor charges 2.9% and 30 cents/transaction. The tool enables you to not only sell online, but to raise donations and sell event tickets too. WePay can also be integrated into social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The only current drawback to WePay is that it’s only available to U.S.-based merchants.
What about bitcoins?
If you want to take your payment processing to the next level, as well as incur no transaction fees, then accepting bitcoins instead of regular ol’ dollars may be the way to go. Coinbase is an online payment processor that you can install on your website or mobile platform and then use to accept bitcoin currency. The processor also enables you to convert your bitcoins to dollars immediately in order to avoid bitcoin volatility. The first million transferred bitcoins incur no transaction fees.