These Payment Gateway Comparison guidelines summarize our team’s comprehensive experience of helping diverse companies in search of optimal payment gateway solutions. In this document we both outline the payment gateway comparison criteria and demonstrate how to evaluate and compare specific payment gateway solutions among themselves. Particularly, we analyse 5 offerings, demonstrate their pros and cons, and provide gateway selection recommendations for different business types. The guidelines provide advice and useful tips for SaaS and other companies looking to implement optimal payment gateway solutions within their business models.
The sections focus on the following aspects
and How to Use Them
Payment Gateway Comparison Factors and How to Use Them
Payment gateway comparison is an essential routine for almost every business that aims to accept electronic payments. So, companies that look for an optimal payment solution need to know how to compare payment gateway solutions among themselves. And, in fact, defining the best payment gateway for e-commerce or retail business is not an easy task.
For a startup business with basic needs, the payment gateway system selection process might be relatively simple. Basically, it might be just a choice like: “Square vs PayPal vs Stripe”. At the same time, for large online payment platforms, SaaS companies, and PayFacs, deciding on a payment gateway may prove to be more complex.
In this guide we provide insights into some of the popular payment gateways that SaaS platforms can consider as their potential partners. We also revisit topics such as payment monetization for platforms and payment gateway platforms for PayFacs.
We will cover a few popular payment gateways that SaaS platforms can consider as their potential gateway partner. We also revisit such topics as payment monetization for platforms and payment gateway platforms for PayFacs.
To begin with, we will highlight the essential ecommerce payment gateway comparison criteria and group them into categories. Then, we will analyze five selected payment gateway solutions based on these categories. Finally, based on our analysis, we will recommend the most suitable gateways for specific business categories.
Payment Gateway Comparison Criteria
There are several crucial payment gateway comparison criteria a company must take into consideration before deciding on a gateway provider. These criteria include API’s and integration compatibility, tech support offered by the gateway, card present logic and hardware, and instant/automated merchant onboarding, just to name a few. Additionally, the companies should consider other criteria such as subscription and recurring billing functionality, supported currencies and geographies, target features, and accepted payment methods. Depending on the company, payment methods like card present/card not present, crypto/fiat, contact/contactless, card/mobile payments may also need to be taken into account. Failing to take any of the aforementioned payment gateway comparison criteria into consideration can result in costly mistakes and further losses down the road.
Based on multi-criteria evaluation, some gateways may work better for SMEs with smaller processing volumes and basic needs, while others mey be more suitable for SaaS platforms and payment facilitators that need more control and customizability.
In further sections we illustrate how a multi-criteria payment gateway comparison procedure works.
To simplify things, we will review five popular gateway solutions. We have selected these particular solutions to cover the interests of the widest spectrum of businesses. These range from SMEs to large enterprise-level companies, from individual startup merchants to SaaS platforms, from cryptocurrency-focused vendors to omni-channel solution seekers.
PayPal and Stripe are major players that come to mind whenever you think of electronic payment acceptance. Authorize.net is another large provider that has been around for ages. CoinsPaid is a typical example of a crypto payment gateway (as opposed to other listed solutions, that are not exclusively focused on crypto). Finally, Zift, is an example of a payment gateway that tailors its Payments as a Service offering to software platforms and SaaS companies.
It is not our intention to select “the best payment gateway” or award nominees here. Instead, we will provide payment gateway comparison recommendations for various businesses in need of respective solutions.
Many specialists agree that pricing is the most crucial payment gateway comparison factor. Indeed, some prefer to focus on online payment gateway fees comparison. For instance, a gateway provider may charge a monthly fee of $30 and 2.8% of the transaction amount plus $0.25 per transaction. However, it is difficult to determine whether this price is high or low without knowing what features the gateway offers. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate not just the price but also the key features that your potential gateway partner supports.
To simplify the comparison process, we have grouped payment gateway comparison criteria into three categories.
The first group of vitally important payment gateway comparison criteria deals with a gateway’s ability to support major payment methods and forms. These include traditional credit and debit cards, digital wallets (such as ApplePay and GooglePay), crypto and ACH payments. Besides that, a gateway might support both international and local payment methods, as well as recurring payments.
The second group of payment gateway comparison criteria deals with the technical features provided within the solution. These features include SoftPOS and mobile payment functionality, card-present solutions, and native terminal management systems (TMS). Speaking of card-present solutions, we should stress the importance of payment terminal fulfillment and remote key loading mechanisms, which greatly simplify solution logistics.
The third group of payment gateway comparison criteria deals with the business aspects of the solution. Within the context of this guide, one of the most important features is customer-friendly support. (We are talking about the support offered to average (and not strategic-level VIP) customers). Other business aspects include ease of merchant onboarding, as well as availability of white-label and open-source solution versions.
Each of the listed features might come in different flavors, depending on the specific solution.
Payment Gateway Comparison Table
|Credit and debit cards|
(Crypto; GooglePay app)
|Local payment methods|
(through crypto wallet)
|Support for SoftPOS|
|Support for SoftPOS|
(support form only)
Payment Gateway Comparison: Pros and Cons
- Easy to use, modern, and efficient user interface.
- Assistance with the development of acquiring relationships
- A complete payment solution specifically designed to meet SaaS platforms’ and payment facilitators’ needs
- Flexible unified API, suitable for Desktop/Web POS, SoftPOS, and mPOS systems
- Fast, affordable, and secure omnichannel payment processing
- Full-Cycle Chargeback Management
- EMV Terminal Solution Implementation
- Availability of white-label and licensed open-source offerings
- Crypto payment functionality is not yet implemented
- Geographical and currency scope is narrower, in comparison with other gateway providers
- Zift does not work with SMEs, while focusing mostly on SaaS platforms and PayFacs
- PayPal’s PayFlow Payment Gateway does not charge any cancellation fees, setup fees, monthly minimums or any hidden fees.
- PayFlow gateway is comparible with most processors. Moreover, it is integrated with most major shopping carts.
- PayPal offers a PCI-compliant solution which reduces the amount of work and the cost of meeting regulatory requirements.
- PayPal accepts all major payment methods.
- Ease of integration. For hosted integration you just have to register a PayPal Business account and edit your e-commerce website’s HTML code. If you want to integrate payments into your page without redirects, then you might need a development team.
- Businesses do not need a separate merchant account to start accepting payments with PayPal.
- Reliable customer support. PayPal’s tech support answers quickly from Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ECT. Support channels include a live chat, phone support, an online community, and a problem resolution center.
- PayPal solution is a bit overpriced. They charge slightly more than their competitors. It might be difficult to figure out how the company calculates the fees, including all the extras, such as cross-border transaction processing, currency conversion, and chargeback disputing.
- PayPal requires a mandatory subscription. In order to ensure sufficient customization level, you need to subscribe to PayPal Pro plan (costing $30 a month).
- PayPal does not support ACH. While the company processes credit and debit cards, PayPal wallet payments, and some alternative payment methods, for supporting ACH, you need to integrate with Braintree.
- PayPal does not support ACH. The company processes credit and debit cards, PayPal wallet payments, and some alternative payment methods. For supporting ACH, you need to integrate with Braintree.
- PayPal charges at least $20.00 per transaction dispute, regardless of whether the merchant wins or loses the dispute.
- PayPal partnership might involve unnecessary paperwork when creating/closing an account and managing disputes.
- Stripe offers its customers a user-friendly and efficient interface.
- Streamlined underwriting of new merchants and account setup. Stripe imposes fewer requirements upon integrator and merchant underwriting than other solutions. Stripe is very flexible in terms of industries their integrators and merchants come from.
- Fast and smooth integration. Users can create accounts online in just minutes and use Stripe libraries and SDKs to securely accept payments.
- Stripe accepts a wide variety of payment methods and types. E-commerce users of Stripe can accept payments from all major debit and credit cards and eWallets. Stripe also supports local payment methods, such as Alipay, WeChat, iDeal, and SEPA Direct Debit.
- Maximum number of supported currencies. Stripe allows you to accept global payments on day one. The payment system makes it possible to process more than 130 currencies. Stripe Connect handles data security in the seller’s business platform and manages international payment regulations.
- Sound security. Besides following the PCI and 3D Secure standards, Stripe created its own fraud prevention tool, Stripe Radar. It scans every transaction and determines the risk level using machine learning. According to statistics, the tool prevents fraud 32% better than standard measures.
- Verification of high-risk merchants. Stripe incorporates built-in features allowing it to identify risky sellers.
- Stripe is the only solution that supports iOS-powered SoftPOS solution so far.
- The solution requires development force for business integrations. You might need the services of your own or third-party development team to integrate Stripe into your platform.
- Stripe solution has no live customer support. The major channel for support inquiries is email. Exchanging e-mails might take more time than usage of other channels and provides less than optimal support/advice.
- Reported random account freezes. Freezes can hamper the business until the account has been approved to have no suspicious activity or fraudulent transactions. In reality, there might be no suspicious activity or fraudulent transactions detected at all.
- High rate of suspicious/fraudulent transaction recognition and state-of-the art anti-fraud management. These functions are performed by Authorize.net’s Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS).
- Management of customer profiles and manual issuing of transactions from within the merchant Interface.
- Advanced recurring and repeat billing functions. Authorize.net allows customers to save billing, payment, and shipping information on file for future orders. Additionally, customers can save multiple billing, payment, and shipping information on a single profile.
- Support of multiple payment methods and types. Authorize.net payment system processes most domestic and international debit and credit cards, as well as eChecks and (non-crypto) wallets.
- High-grade security. Authorize.net uses advanced fraud detection mechanisms. A special machine-learning-based anti-fraud solution Riskified prevents authorization of fraudulent transactions. In case of some error, the company reimburses the full transaction amount.
- Authorize.net is a flexible solution for connection with third-party merchant accounts and processors. This is good for platforms already using some payment infrastructure, but requiring additional payment options.
- Authorize.net has around-the-clock customer support. Help is available 24/7. You can contact the support team via diverse channels, such as phone, email, live chat, or social media.
- Integration takes somewhat longer in comparison to other solutions. The payment gateway requires you to create a merchant account with a different company. This process might take up to several weeks.
- Authorize.net charges a $25 monthly gateway fee (in addition to other fees).
- Implementation requires development efforts. To integrate with Authorize.net and setup the gateway, you might need to use the services of your own or hired development team.
- Hidden fees. According to some reports from customers, the company attempted to charge several hidden fees.
- A customer can to open a business account and a personal account.
- The CoinsPaid crypto payment processor helps any type of online business accept crypto payments and receive an equal amount in the national currency of their choice instantly or hold it and pay with crypto to their partners and affiliates.
- Businesses can exchange BTC, ETH, USDT, XRP and 30+ other cryptocurrencies to 40+ national currencies at low rates.
- CoinsPaid Explorer feature is a tool that helps businesses monitor all internal transactions in the CoinsPaid ecosystem.
- The solution has a white label offering option.
- CoinsPaid is primarily a European cryptocurrency infrastructure provider.
- Coinspaid offers a crypto-only (and not a crypto-friendly omni-channel) solution. So, it does not support the majority of more conventional payment methods besides crypto.
- Accounts are not frozen or dropped. However, in order to use your crypto assets for payment you might need an exchange service for crypto-to-fiat conversion.
- Potentially, high gas and/or conversion fees.
(powered by UniPay Gateway payment management platform)
Payment Gateway Comparison: Recommendations
We have considered five payment gateway options, formulated the key payment gateway comparison criteria, as well as strong
and weak points of each solution. So, after conducting a comprehensive payment gateway comparison, we can provide some specific recommendations for deifferent types of businesses that can benefit from specific gateway partnerships.
- Zift (complete with white label payment technology UniPay Gateway) would be the best option for SaaS platforms and prospective payment facilitators (both full-fledged and white-label) that need to onboard and service large and diverse portfolios of sub-merchants. Zift is the leader in terms of customizability among the listed solutions. (Customizability is yet another important payment gateway comparison criterion). So, if you need to gain more control over payment management process, you might want to opt for Zift.
- PayPal might be the best solution for startups and SMEs with smaller processing volumes, that cannot afford considerable development and integration efforts.
- Stripe might work best for SMEs, as well as larger companies, marketplace owners, and international merchants, that are ready to invest into development process, if necessary.
- Authorize.Net might be the best option for businesses that do not need to set up a merchant account because they already have one. Businesses that need to customize their existing payment solution to incorporate new functions might also opt for Authorize.Net. Finally, Authorize.Net gateway might be a plausible solution for charities and non-profit organizations that need to accept donations.
- CoinsPaid is the best solution for any crypto-oriented business. In can be implemented as a supplement to an existing omni-channel solution, or as an independent white-label crypto payment gateway.
More information on payment gateway comparison and selection criteria is available in our short informative video and the respective sections of our Paylosophy blog. You are also welcome to consult our experts and take a closer look at our UniPay Gateway product.