In the rapidly expanding world of e-commerce, having a trustworthy payment process is essential.

Payment gateways are the first step in this transaction; they’re the online version of a payment terminal and also provide data reporting and help to protect us against fraud. Indeed, the gateway that a business chooses can significantly affect its performance.

As such, their importance has never been higher, and this is reflected in the fees paid to them, which are projected to rise to $138 billion in 2024.

To make sure you choose a reliable provider, either for yourself or your business, this article focuses on some of the best payment gateways on the market.

Stripe

Described as having ‘reshaped the digital economy’, Stripe was created by specialists whose focus was to make online payments facilities more accessible to businesses. This has certainly been the case, with thousands of mobile apps using the payment service provider (PSP) as their go-to payment platform, from the likes of Lyft and Instacart to local banks.

The autonomy that it gives users is impressive: developers are able to use the latest tools, such as React, to quickly come up with oven-ready integrations. Its platform is famously low maintenance, making it a big hit with those who just want to focus on product quality and customer service.

For those concerned about secure payment systems, Stripe has one of the best in the business. It uses direct integrations with card networks such as Visa and Mastercard to add further protection against outside risks.

For a superb example of  Stripe’s magic, check out Inn Style, an accommodation booking system that’s mind-blowingly easy to use.

PayPal Pro

The old-timer on the payment gateway scene, PayPal has been around for years, but it’s continued to adapt to remain at the forefront of public thinking.

The variety of platforms that are PayPal friendly are impressive: from ordering an Uber to topping up Skype credit; there are even PayPal casinos.

With recent offshoots such as PayPal Pro, its service has expanded to cater for larger businesses, as well as individual users. It also accepts 26 leading currencies and can be used in over 200 markets, making it the biggest gateway available.

The reasons for its success among businesses are many, with a recent study stating that including a Paypal button on your page will increase your sales significantly.

Throw in features such as a phone-based credit card facility and customisable check-out options, and you get the idea as to why it’s so popular.

Authorize.net

The very best features of Authorize.net can be found in their merchants account. Businesses in the service industry get access to free set-up and a monthly fee of only $25 in its Payment Gateway Only account.

For this, you get a streamlined payments process that supports all major credit cards and their digital cousins, such as Apple Pay and Visa Checkout. A superb 24/7 support service, as well as an impressive collection of tutorials on its site, gives you more bang for your buck.

One potential downfall is you have to be registered in the US, Europe, Australia or Canada to take advantage of this service, which is a blow to up-and-coming Asian and South American enterprises, but transactions can be accepted from all over the world.

PayU

Ever get annoyed at having to enter the 3-digit CVV code every time you make a purchase? A first-world problem, I know, but PayU are the first company to remove this need. They also led the way with OneTap payments, further simplifying the payment process.

Specialist users love PayU, too, due to its tremendous ease-of-use. Its software development kits allow it to be customised without much coding knowledge, unlike other gateways.

The brainchild of an Indian payment processing firm, the platform is also famous for its international scope and can be used for merchants in countries as diverse as Panama and Ukraine. This means around a third of the world’s population is within its reach.

Braintree

Living up to its name, Braintree branches out into four separate business user dimensions; merchants and donation collections; companies wanting to sharpen up their payment processing; providers looking to network with find other merchants to act for; and those looking to create new income streams.

 This is why it’s known as an all-in-one solution and its partnership with PayPal backs it up.

Confidential data is secured in a system called the Braintree Vault, and the platform wards off those high-tech cyber criminals with revolutionary anti-fraud mechanisms. One stumbling block is that merchants sometimes have to wait a while for their money, but often the increased security wins out.


The above guide will give you a better idea about which gateway suits your business, or personal use. But that’s not to say that any of them will be the perfect fit: normally there are hitches along the way.

To help prepare yourself for these, ask yourself the following questions about the gateway that you choose:

  • Does it offer the security you require?
  • Does the pricing plan fit within your budget?
  • Does the customer support service match your requirements?
  • Is it suitable for customers in your target market?

Put these answers together to form your own shortlist: there might even be gateways not mentioned in this article that have received rave reviews, such as Worldpay, so it pays to keep an open mind.