Receiving payments is one of the most important aspects of running a retail business. With the onward march of digital payments, more and more shoppers are going online every year, so it’s crucial to offer a secure and reliable online payment system to your customers. There are several options on the market, and these are some of the best online payment systems available.
Pros: Worldwide availability, secure, merchant discounts.
The convenience of PayPal is that it is a worldwide mobile payment service, so it doesn’t confine your business by location and it’s easy to integrate into your existing website platform. And, best of all, customers don’t need a PayPal account to use it.
However, PayPal can be comparatively expensive for light or seasonal users. Fees start from 3.4% +20p per transaction for purchase volumes under £1,500, but this drops down to 1.9% +20p if your monthly sales transactions exceed £15,000.
Pros: Reliability, security and risk management.
One of the original online payment systems, Worldpay is the biggest provider in the UK, with more than 300,000 businesses using the service to manage their payments. It provides good security and gives you access to a comprehensive service which accepts payments in over 100 currencies, including all major debit and credit cards, as well as PayPal.
It offers a range of price plans, from fixed monthly packages to pay as you go, but its fees aren’t that transparent – you’ll need to request a quote. It’s also pricier than some other options. Pay as you go fees are 2.75% +20p per transaction and the same rate applies to both debit and credit card payments.
Pros: Easy to use, full ecommerce solution
Hugely popular ecommerce platform because of its ease of use. Unlike PayPal, Shopify offers absolutely everything you need to get started running an online business, from web hosting to payment processing to integration with other sales channels such as Amazon.
Transaction fees range from 2.2% +20p for a basic service, to 1.6% +20p for an advanced service, but there are monthly fees on top, so it’s not one of the cheaper options.
Pros: Simple to use, lets you build a customised checkout experience.
The popular US online payment system made the trip across the Atlantic to the UK a couple of years ago. In addition to card payments, you can use it to set up recurring billing and direct debits. It’s one of the less expensive options. Stripe charges a flat rate of 1.4% + 20p per transaction for European cards and 2.9% +20p for non-European cards, with no monthly or hidden fees.
However, unlike some of the solutions presented here, it requires a degree of technical knowledge. You’ll need to provide your own website and shopping cart software to start selling online.
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Pros: Mobility, security, global presence.
Like PayPal, Amazon Pay is a globally recognised online payment gateway that is easy to integrate and customers don’t require an account to use it. You can use it either as a stand-alone payment solution and/or in addition to your existing online payment system.
However, like PayPal, prices depend on volume and can be expensive for light users. Fees start from 3.4% +20p for sales volumes of less than £1,500, but reduce in stages to 1.4% +20p for sales over £55,000.
Pros: Affordable, UK-based, no setup or commitment fees.
If you have a simple, straightforward retail website then GoCardless may be the answer for you. It can integrate with other software such as QuickBooks and offers a very low fee of 1% (min 20p, capped at £2) per transaction and is based in the UK.
GoCardless does, however, lack the flexibility offered by other payment gateways, so if you’re planning to grow or further develop your business quickly, it might be worth doing your research.
Pros: Advanced options, flexible, low-cost.
Another UK-based solution is Directli, which provides an advanced service in partnership with GoCardless. Directli is an ideal option for online businesses where the price of goods or services isn’t fixed, but based on some other factor (like time or usage levels). Gaming sites, for example, can benefit from Directli.
Best of all, it offers the same low rate as GoCardless of 1% (min 20p, capped at £2) per transaction.
Find out more
Whatever your business type and size, there is an online payment system to suit your needs. You just need to do your research to figure out the best option for your business. Try the Merchant Machine website for more reviews of possible solutions for you.
Feel you’re better informed about the best online payment system? The QuickBooks blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to help small businesses grow.