If you are a business that operates online, you’ll need to use both a payment processor and a payment gateway to securely process payments. Some companies offer all-in-one services, integrating both payment processor and payment gateway services, while others offer only one or the other. Finding the best company, or companies, that will allow you to transfer cardholder information is vital to offering secure payments to your customers.
What is a Payment Gateway?
When a payment is made, a payment gateway will securely send the relevant data to the processing network. It acts as an online point of sale, approving or declining payments before securely sending cardholder information to the payment processor.
What is a Payment Processor?
Third-party payment processors are the executors of transactions, facilitating the transfer of data between all necessary parties. For every credit card payment, four parties must enable the transaction. The first is the cardholder making the purchase, the second is the merchant, the third is the bank that issued the card, and the fourth is the bank that collects the funds for the transaction.
Some services offer both a payment processor and a payment gateway, while others offer one or the other. Here are some of the best payment gateways and processors for large and small eCommerce, brick and mortar, and high-risk businesses.
Stripe: Best for Large Ecommerce Businesses
Stripe is an all-in-one payment processor and payment gateway that provides developer-friendly tools for larger businesses.
Stripe offers several APIs which can be used to set up a customized payment solutions process. Stripe will need a level of technical understanding to set up, but it supports common development languages like Python and Java, which makes it accessible to developers looking to set up the perfect payment system for a larger business.
- Supports over 135 currencies and payment types
- Enables recurring charges or subscription billing
- Virtual POS
- Accepts mobile wallets like Alipay, Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Integrates with ecommerce tools like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Xero
- Offers integrations for financing tools like Klarna and Afterpay
- Syncs with Quickbooks
- Offers 24/7 email, phone and chat
- Customized pricing plans and volume discounts
- Takes technical expertise to set up and customize
- Not ideal for risk-heavy industries
PayPal: Best for Small Ecommerce Businesses
PayPal is an all-in-one payment processor and payment gateway that offers an easy-to-set-up ecommerce payment system. While it also offers a POS system, Zettle, PayPal is most well-known for its mobile payment platform.
PayPal accounts are easy to set up, both as a buyer and a seller. PayPal’s wide range of features, and customizable platform make it ideal for smaller buyers.
- Easy to set up
- Recognizable by buyers
- Online invoicing
- Traditional payment options including American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover
- Enables recurring charges or subscription billing
- Supports specialized payment options, including QR codes, Venmo accounts, or cryptocurrency
- Integrates with Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce
- No monthly fees
- Fees can be costly for larger businesses
- POS system, Zettle, must be purchased separately
- Doesn’t offer services to certain high-risk industries
Square: Best for Businesses with In-Store Payments
Square is an all-in-one payment processor and payment gateway that easily integrates with both online and in-store payments. It integrates with modern devices, like iPads, to provide a sleek and easy-to-use POS system for small businesses.
Square emphasizes simplicity in their comprehensive tools, making it easy for any business to set up and use their hardware, POS software, payment gateway, and payment processing tools. While mostly known for their in-store payment tools, they also offer online tools.
- Easy to set up
- Free mobile card reader
- Accepts mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Flat transaction-based fees
- Offers register and payment hardware for scaling businesses
- Live phone support
- Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero software
- Option to access funds instantly for a 1.5% fee
- Does not offer services for certain industries
- Does not integrate with Windows devices, just iOS and Android devices
- Does not accept some mobile wallets, like PayPal
Helcim: Best Pricing Model
Helcim is an all-in-one payment processor and payment gateway that offers flat-rate fees with no additional monthly or cancellation fees. In addition, they offer volume discounts, making it one of the best comprehensive pricing models.
Helcim offers payment services for both online and in-person businesses. Helcim also offers integrations with accounting systems, billing systems, and inventory management software.
- Easy account set up
- Phone and email customer support
- Customer relationship manager (CRM)
- Transparent payment structure
- Limited options for hardware
- No live customer service
- Can be pricey for smaller businesses
- Card reader not included
- Services not offered to businesses in certain high-risk industries
WePay: Best for Multiple Channels
WePay is an all-in-one payment processor and payment gateway offered through Chase Merchant Services. It accepts payments from all major cards and is specifically designed to handle complex payments like crowdfunding campaigns or payments with multiple payers.
WePay offers both online and in-person payments and is quick and easy to set up. Its customizable features allow businesses to accept all types of cards.
- Accepts all major credit cards
- Easy to set up
- Can process complex payments
- Customizable checkouts
- Businesses with a Chase account can receive funds on the same day
- Can sign up with only an email address
- No transparent pricing
2Checkout/ Verifone: Best for Global Payments
Verifone (formerly known as 2Checkout) is an all-in-one payment processor and payment gateway that serves customers worldwide. It’s optimized for global payments with tailored experiences for many different languages and currencies.
Verifone is also popular for digital services since it’s easy to set up subscriptions and recurring transactions.
- Supports almost 100 currencies and 30 languages
- Offers localized buying experiences for over 200 countries
- Easy to set up subscriptions
- Account updater for customer information
PaymentCloud: Best for High-Risk Industries
PaymentCloud is an all-in-one payment processor and a payment gateway that especially caters to industries with higher rates of fraud. High-risk industries are industries like credit repair, dating sites, bail bonds, electronics, firearms, and jewelry that are more likely to experience chargebacks and/or fraud.
While PaymentCloud specializes by offering services for high fraud-risk businesses, they also offer services for low-risk and medium-risk businesses.
- Supports businesses with high fraud rates
- 24/7 customer support
- Integrates with QuickBooks
- Free mobile card readers
- Integrates with Authorize.net
- Accepts alternative payments, like cryptocurrency
- Pricing is not transparent
Authorize.net: Best for Payment Gateway Only
Authorize.net offers a payment gateway for those who already have merchant accounts. They enable payments both online and in-person.
Authorize.net supports major cards, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. They offer tools for recurring payments, invoicing, and fraud prevention that can be tailored to large or small businesses.
- Supports a wide range of currencies
- Straightforward and easy to use
- Supports businesses of all sizes
- Supports all major credit cards
- Compatible with mobile wallets like Apple Pay and PayPal
- No setup fee
- Only supports businesses registered in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, or Australia
- Monthly fees
TokenEx Enables Flexibility for Both Payment Gateways and Payment Processors
Even the best gateways can have multiple limitations. If you have specialized payment needs, you may need to utilize multiple gateways. TokenEx’s Transparent Gateway API allows you to send cardholder data to any service provider, with no restrictions.
There are many different reasons to work with a third-party tokenization provider like TokenEx. Some payment gateways don’t allow certain types of cards. Most payment gateways also face security risks from data breaches or malware. If a payment gateway fails, the ability to collect payments goes along with it. Tokenization can increase security, flexibility, and redundancy for your payment gateways and payment processors.
If you’re looking for a flexible payment gateway, TokenEx can enable you to connect to nearly any service provider without limitations. Learn more about our payment solutions by talking to a TokenEx representative today.