Payment gateway comparison - international services vs. local solutions

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We’ve already discussed the main criteria to consider when choosing a payment gateway for your online project. These criteria included the supported currencies and payment methods, the available merchant locations, the fees charged, the contract terms, and the level of technical support offered by the service provider.

But besides the theoretical information, we’ve also prepared some practical considerations for you.

Choosing from all the available payment gateways can be a challenge, as they offer similar services, charge similar fees, and support similar currencies. To make this decision easier, we’ve compared the most popular gateways and some niche solutions.

Why did we choose these gateways for our comparison?

PayPal is one of the oldest and definitely the most popular payment gateway and is used all around the world. This is the first  gateway most people mention when asked about payment solutions. Although it is still the most popular, the competition is growing.  

Braintree was recently acquired by PayPal, but still offers the service under its own name. These two are basically different solutions, and  are chosen for different business cases.

Stripe is one of PayPal’s  closest competitors. The developer-first approach ensures that Stripe integration is flexible and robust, and can be adjusted for different business cases.

Adyen is a payment gateway headquartered in the Netherlands. It is very popular among online businesses all over Europe, but some international giants also use the services of Adyen.

Pin Payments is a local solution that supports online businesses in Australia and New Zealand only. It offers a high quality service at a reasonable price, which makes it a perfect solution for companies that operate in the region.

Now, enough of the introductions, here is our detailed comparison of payment gateways. You can also scroll down for a short summary infographic.

PayPal

paypal

PayPal has been on the market since 1998. The early history of the company was connected with the name of Elon Musk, who was one of the founders and the CEO of the company until 2000, when he left due to disagreement with other board members. Two years later, the payment service was acquired by eBay. However, as soon as the potential of PayPal became obvious, it became an independent company that now operates transactions all across the globe. Nowadays, a lot of companies choose this service due to its established reputation.

To integrate the PayPal payment gateway, you don’t need a merchant account, which saves you some time and money. If you are undecided about a hosted or integrated gateway - PayPal offers both options, depending on the plan you choose. Both PayPal Payments Advanced and Pro accounts allow payments to be processed directly on your website. PayPal Payments Standard is free and redirects users to PayPal’s page to enter their payment details.

PayPal is surprisingly friendly when it comes to integration. The company claims that even non-developers will be able to add the “Buy it now” button to their website. After pressing this button users will be redirected to PayPal’s page to process the payment, however the integrated checkout page will require some development work. So if you personally don’t have any coding experience, consider hiring someone to do this for you.

PayPal is available in 202 countries worldwide and supports 25 currencies. It is highly likely that the currencies that fit your needs will be on the list. The service charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. The Advanced and Pro accounts are also charged $5 and $30 per month (respectively) as a recurring payment.

PayPal isn’t the best choice for marketplaces, since it doesn’t have a complex solution for payouts. However, Braintree, one of the payment service providers recently acquired by PayPal, does. Keep reading, we will describe Braintree’s solution in the next paragraph.

PayPal doesn’t require you to sign a contract. This means that you will be able to change the service provider if you find one that better matches your requirements.

PayPal customer service and technical support appear to be quite good. Besides the normal email and phone support, the users can also reach the company via Facebook and Twitter, although phone support doesn’t have the best feedback. The community forum, on the contrary, offers help at any time.

Upwork, eBay, Google Play, Adidas, Dell, IKEA, Microsoft, Lush… These are just a few of the worldwide known brands that have chosen PayPal as their partner in online payments.

PayPal is a reliable service, which is acknowledged by the eminent names on its list of clients.

Braintree

The company’s name, Braintree, stands for stability and reliability, and this is true.  Since it was founded in 2007, the service has focused on providing exceptional customer service and has attracted some pretty big clients. It acquired the mobile payment service Venmo and in 2013 became part of PayPal.

Braintree is a full-stack payment platform, which means that it doesn’t require customers to own a merchant account. Integration with the service requires coding skills, so you’ll need to hire a developer to connect your platform with the payment gateway, unless you have development skills. Braintree provides client libraries for popular programming languages and mobile libraries for iOS and Android.

The company also provides a solution for platforms calling Braintree Marketplaces. This service enables automatic payouts to sub-merchants. Braintree Marketplaces is currently supported only in the USA with currencies limited to USD.

The standard pricing for the service usage is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. An additional 1% is applied to foreign currency transactions. Large enterprises can request a custom quote.

Just as its parent company, Braintree doesn’t require customers to sign a contract and allows easy migration to another service provider.

Customer support is limited to email and phone.

Braintree is currently working with Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, DogVacay, Yelp, and others.

In our portfolio you can also find a project that involved integration with Braintree. This is the online form builder, EmailMeForm, which follows the subscription model. When we integrated  the subscription, we considered the solutions offered by PayPal and Braintree. At that time, Braintree offered a high-end recurring billing solution, which perfectly matched the needs of the product. It made subscription payments automatic and allowed client billing data to be stored on Braintree servers. Check out our works for more information on the development process.

Stripe

Stripe is PayPal’s nearest competitor. Although they have many things in common, there are still some points where Stripe is beating the industry leader.

With Stripe you won’t need a merchant account. The service integrates directly into the website, which means that users won’t be redirected to another website to enter  payment data.

Most features of Stripe require the work of a professional developer. The service was in fact created for developers and with their needs in mind. The solution enables “robust, scalable, flexible integrations”, as Stripe promises on its website. The developers themselves compliment the well structured API with extensive documentation. There are a bunch of libraries created for different programming languages, which is a huge advantage!

Stripe supports more than 135 currencies, which is necessary for international businesses. It allows you to charge customers in their own currency while receiving the money in your currency. This service is supported in 17 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and most European countries. In addition, Stripe users can accept payments via Apple Pay.

The fees are the same as PayPal - 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction. As your sales grow, you may qualify for a lower transaction fee. Stripe doesn’t charge any monthly fees and there is no early termination fee.

In addition to this, Stripe offers a service for platforms and marketplaces called Connect. It ensures quick integration with the platform, enabling one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many payments and holding funds.The platform can collect money from customers and make payments to contractors in over 15 currencies. The fees are quite attractive as well. For each payout the marketplace owner has to pay 0.25% from each transaction and $2 per month for each active account. Compared to regular transaction fees, Stripe Connect’s rates are quite low.The developers-first approach enables Connect to be customized according the needs of the platform.

Stripe offers customer support via email and various social networks, but no phone support. This might be an issue for those who prefer to talk to technical support live.

Stripe’s customers include the startup Lyft, the platforms Shopify, Kickstarter, Pinterest, the non-profit organization UNICEF and many others.

Our personal experience proves that Stripe is an extremely developer-friendly service, and can be customized to meet the the needs of practically any product. For example, one of our recent projects was the call tracking service Calligence. The product follows the subscription model, combined with individual purchases. In addition, we needed the flexibility to offer special fares for our clients. Together with the customer we made a strategic decision and chose Stripe as the payment gateway.  It matched the project needs perfectly. If you are interested in details of  the development process - check out our case study on the Calligence call-tracking service.

Adyen

Adyen is a relatively new  payment gateway from the Netherlands which is currently experiencing rapid growth. The list of its customers is so impressive we couldn’t exclude it from  this article. Uber, Netflix, Etsy, Spotify, Evernote, Booking.com have chosen Adyen to process their online transactions.

The service supports the majority of currencies. In addition, the Dynamic Currency Conversion at the point of sale enables buyers to choose the currency they want to pay in, as it enables them to decide which is the most profitable one.

Adyen pays a lot of attention to the payment methods used in different countries. This gateway supports over 250 payment methods worldwide. As a customer of Adyen you will be able to offer your buyers the most convenient way to pay online.

The fees are quite attractive, varying between €0.08 and €0.10 per transaction plus the commission depending on the payment method (a minimum of 0.48% to 0.6% for Visa and Mastercard payments, and up to 3.95% for transactions using American Express)

The company also offers a solution for marketplaces, splitting customer transactions and settling them to multiple bank accounts, which means faster payouts. Bank account payouts are available for the residents of most European countries. All other clients can receive their payouts as a SWIFT bank transfer

Adyen doesn’t charge a termination fee, but requires two months written notice prior to an expected termination. Technical support is available via phone and email.

Pin Payments

Besides the payment gateways that operate globally, local solutions can also be a perfect match. Our company integrated the Australian service, Pin Payments, to enable online transactions in a startup that targeted the Australian market.

Just like Stripe, Pin Payments was designed for developers and therefore guarantees a seamless integration.

The transaction fee is as low as 1.75% + 0.30 AUD. Foreign currency transaction fees are a bit higher, but still below the rates of global service providers such as PayPal and Stripe. For local businesses that operate only in Australia, Pin Payments is definitely worth considering.

Besides, Pin Payments also fits the needs of marketplaces as it allows receipt of payments from customers and payouts to the contractors.

Our team recently developed a project named Toddy - a marketplace for parents and babysitters, which is currently focusing on the Australian market. Pin Payments, with its low fees and marketplace solutions, was the perfect match for this project. Check out our story on how the marketplace Toddy was created.

As the business grows and becomes ready to expand to other markets, websites can change the payment gateway service provider, as Pin Payments doesn’t have an early termination fee and does not require a  contract.

Customer support can be reached via phone, email and Twitter.

Conclusion

The right payment gateway is the key to running a successful online business. The variety of available services makes the final decision difficult, so your choice should be carefully considered.

We work with different payment services every day to ensure we find the right solutions and connect businesses with the right payment gateways. Here are some of the conclusions gleaned from our experience.

Think carefully about the location

As an international business you should choose either PayPal or Stripe. These two services cover the majority of countries and currencies, and are the best choice for businesses that sell their products worldwide.

By focusing on a specific region, you can count on a reasonable price from the service providers. Adyen, for example, isn’t as expensive as PayPal, and covers all countries in the EU.

If your business is local, the decision is easier. Almost every country has a local solution with the lowest rates and specific payment methods, which will help you to make your business more profitable. Pin Payments, for example, is a reasonable choice for businesses located in Australia.

Consider the specific requirements of your business

Some payment gateways may be great in general, but may not be a good fit for all business types.

If you are running a marketplace, for example, don’t chase the reputation of PayPal. Braintree, Stripe or Adyen will be much more effective for this type of online business because they provide the well-known payment methods.

Recurring payments can be implemented with all of the described gateways. But if your business combines subscription with other billing methods, you should choose one of the developer-friendly solutions such as Stripe or Adyen. You will be able to completely adjust the service to meet your requirements.

Consider your technical background

If you are going to run and maintain your online project, consider whether your technical background will be enough to support the payment gateway. PayPal, for example, lets you integrate the service with just a few clicks. Stripe and Braintree will require some development. So, if you don’t have the programming skills, consider hiring a professional.

In addition, make sure that the technical support provided by the  gateway is adequate. For example, there will be times when you need a quick answer, so ensure that support will provide the needed help on time.

Still have some questions concerning payment gateways? You can address them to our business analyst or our developers. Drop us a line describing your business case and receive professional advice at no cost!

We hope this payment gateway comparison will help  you make the right decision.    

 

 

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