Ready to start taking payments online? Browse our top payment gateway picks below, compare features and prices, and receive tailored quotes
|Best for||Monthly fee||Transaction fee||Free transactions included|
|Opayo||Reliability||£27 to £45+||Not stated||350 to 500|
|Stripe||Customisability||None||1.4% + 20p to 2.9% + 20p||None|
|Worldpay||Fraud prevention||£19 to £45+||Not stated||350 to 850|
|Shopify Payments||Building an online store||£29 to $299||2.4% to 2.9% + 30 cents||None|
|Braintree||Nonprofits and charities||None||1.9% + 20p||None|
|takepayments||Short-term contracts||Not stated||Not stated||Not stated|
|CyberSource||Customer loyalty||Not stated||Not stated||Not stated|
|Square||Slick checkout experience||None||2.5%||None|
|Klarna||Buy now, pay later||None||2.49% + 20p||None|
|PayPal||Accepting multiple payment methods||None||2.9% + 30p||None|
|Amazon Pay||Amazon synergy and integration||None||2.7% + 30p||None|
|2Checkout||Reporting and analytics||None||3.5% + 25p to 6% + 45p||None|
Your website’s looking amazing. You’ve got your business model in place, you’re all stocked up, and there’s just one thing you need to do – start selling!
That’s where a nifty piece of software called a payment gateway comes in. A payment gateway slots into the look and feel of your website, allowing you to accept debit and card payments through it with ease. They’re cheap as chips to set up, and are one of the most secure, quick, and simple ways of taking payments online.
But it can be a wild world out there, and choosing a payment gateway provider isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve put together a bumper guide to the top 15 payment gateways in the UK, and reviewed them all below.
Think of us as your gateway to choosing the right provider. Let’s take a look at which one is best for your ecommerce business.
The best payment gateway providers in the UK
Analysing price, customer support, integration with your existing systems, speed, and ease of setup and use, we’ve assembled our 15 top payment gateway suppliers in the UK.
The country’s top payment gateway providers are Opayo, Stripe, Worldpay, Shopify Payments, Handepay, Braintree, takepayments, CyberSource, Square, Klarna, PayPal, SumUp, Amazon Pay, 2Checkout, and Adyen.
But which one is right for your business? There are a couple of ways to find out.
The first is easy enough – simply scroll on to browse our payment gateway reviews, view pros and cons, and explore pricing. You can also jump to a specific payment gateway provider via the list on your left, or use it to navigate straight to our top 6 tips for choosing the right supplier, or the FAQs.
Alternatively (and this option is ideal if you’re short on the time needed to get through all 15 supplier reviews below), you can start comparing quotes with us – right here, right now.
Simply provide us with some details about your ecommerce business – your industry, your monthly turnover and which company (if any) currently processes card payments for you.
Your data is safe with us. In fact, we use it for just one purpose – getting you the best online merchant services deal for your business. We’ll use your specific requirements to match you with one or more leading payment gateway providers, who’ll be in touch with tailored quotes. It takes just 30 seconds, and it’s free.
Opayo payment gateway
Best for reliability
What do we mean, exactly, when we say Opayo (formerly Sage Pay) is our top payment gateway pick for reliability? Well, it has an uptime of 99.99%, so it’s rarely offline – meaning you’ll never miss out on a sale. Also, Opayo is one of the few providers here to offer 24/7 customer support, and have a five-star Trustpilot rating. Opayo is also certified to PCI compliance rating 1 – the highest a payment gateway provider can be. This helps take the onus off your business when it comes to achieving and maintaining PCI compliance, and frees you up to do what you’re best at – selling!
Opayo payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Opayo offers three different pricing plans for its payment gateway service: ‘Flex’, ‘Plus’, and ‘Corporate’.
|Monthly fee||£27||£45||Bespoke rate|
|Support included||24/7||‘Fast Pass’||Dedicated account manager|
All plans come with free fraud-screening tools.
- Integrates with all major ecommerce and POS (point of sale) platforms
- Virtual terminal included
- Multi-currency payments supported
- Superb customer reviews
- CRM integration available
- Not the most intuitive payment gateway to implement and use
Stripe payment gateway
Most customisable payment gateway
Stripe isn’t for everyone. In fact, it can be downright difficult to get the hang of – and, for that reason, we don’t recommend it to newbies. For the tech-savvy among you, though (or those with a developer or two at your disposal) there’s no better option out there. With pre-built API integrations for just about any ecommerce apps you work with (Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce all come to mind), Stripe should slot seamlessly into your online business’ current setup. It’s fees are surprisingly reasonable, too.
Check out our Stripe review for more inspiration.
Stripe payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Stripe will cost you 1.4% + 20p per transaction, if a European card is used. Non-European cards incur a fee of 2.9% + 20p. An additional 2% fee applies if currency conversion is required.
There are no monthly costs.
- Stripe doesn’t levy any extra fees for PCI compliance
- Supports more than 135 currencies
- No formal credit check required to get started
- 24/7 live chat and phone-based support included
- Currently, Stripe doesn’t offer a card machine for in-person payments – so it’s not well-suited for merchants that also run a physical store
Worldpay payment gateway
Best for fraud prevention tools
Worldpay has chopped and changed its services and pricing plans over the last couple of years – being acquired will do that to a company, after all. But that's not to say its importance to the world’s businesses has waned – it still processes 26 million transactions a day in 40 countries, and its payment gateway still has plenty to offer. There's real-time reporting, for one, plus a checkout journey that should inspire your customers to follow through with their purchase. Worldpay is also known for fast payouts, along with some of the industry’s finest fraud prevention features.
Worldpay payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Worldpay’s payment gateway is included as standard with Worldpay’s monthly payment packages: ‘Gateway Standard’ (from £19 per month, 350 transactions included), and ‘Gateway Advanced’ (from £45 per month, 850 transactions included). Pricing for ‘Gateway Enterprise’ is only available upon request.
|Gateway Standard||Gateway Advanced||Gateway Enterprise|
|Monthly fee||£19||£45||Bespoke rate|
|Transactions included||350||850||Not specified|
|Support included||Standard support||Standard support||24/7 support|
These packages all come equipped with a virtual terminal (for taking payments over the phone), as well as a feature allowing you to send digital payment links.
You’ll need to upgrade to at least ‘Gateway Advanced’ to take mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, and to accept international transactions. To unlock 24/7 support, account management, and fully customisable capabilities, you’ll need to be on a bespoke plan.
There are no setup fees.
- No charge to accept payments in foreign countries
- No extra fee to offer subscriptions, or to store your customer’s card details for future or recurring billing
- No additional cost to offer refunds
- PCI compliance comes at an additional charge of £29.99 per year
- Minimum contracts apply
- You’ll need to be on a bespoke plan to benefit from Worldpay's advanced fraud management tools
Shopify Payments payment gateway
Best for building an online store
We’re big fans of Shopify’s payment gateway. After all, what’s not to love about zero setup fees, and one of the cleanest, coolest, and most customer-friendly checkout experiences around? You can add customisability to that list, too – Shopify integrates with a number of other payment gateways, allowing you to set up your online store to your own exact requirements and preferences.
Ultimately, Shopify is best for those who want to create their own online store – with ease – before selling through it. If your website is already set up, there are cheaper options out there.
Shopify payment gateway: how much does it cost?
If you’ve elected to go with Shopify Payments as your payment gateway, you won’t pay any transaction fees… to Shopify. However, you’ll still pay a rate of between 2.4% and 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction to the credit card providers involved. Exactly what you’ll pay depends on whether you’re accepting payments online only, or in-person, too.
You’ll also be eligible for a monthly fee, which will affect your transaction rate. Let’s break it down:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Online||2.9% + 30 cents||2.6% + 30 cents||2.4% + 30 cents|
|Monthly fee||$29 (£22)||$79 (£61)||$299 (£232)|
|Staff accounts included||2||5||15|
Shopify’s basic plan comes with 24/7 support, abandoned cart recovery, and a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your ecommerce site. For professional reports, you’ll have to upgrade to the next pricing tier up. And, to unlock Shopify’s advanced report builder and third-party calculated shipping rates, you’ll need to shell out for its ‘Advanced’ plan.
There are no setup fees.
- Multi-currency acceptance supported
- 24/7 support included with Shopify’s cheapest plan
- Integrates with other sales channels, including several social media platforms
- Pricing is a little confusing
- Monthly rates apply
Handepay payment gateway
Best payment gateway for tech support
With Handepay, what you see is very much what you get. And what you get is a lot – a payment gateway, virtual terminal, merchant account, and pay by link function are all included for just £19.99 per month. Handepay also offers e-invoicing, links to all the major shopping carts, and an online business management dashboard with real-time reporting. And the kicker? A dedicated, UK-based support team, with flawless – and we mean flawless – customer reviews. Handy, indeed!
Learn more about accepting payments online, in-person, and over the phone, with our Handepay review.
Handepay payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Handepay’s payment gateway package comes with everything you need to accept payments online, over the phone, and via email or e-invoice. It’ll cost you just £19.99 per month, and there are 400 transactions included.
- Those reviews… wow!
- Integration assistance available
- It’s a bargain
- Honest approach to payment processing, with no hidden fees
- Payment gateway support only available during business hours
Braintree payment gateway
Best payment gateway for accepting online donations
As you’ll probably already have realised, the world of payment gateways is one characterised by acquisitions and takeovers. Braintree, now part of PayPal, is no exception – and an injection of the latter’s brand power and reputation has done the former a world of good. Braintree still provides an affordable, effective online payment service (1.9% + 20p per transaction isn’t to be sniffed at), only now it works seamlessly with PayPal’s ever-growing network of merchants and consumers, too.
Even aside from its PayPal connection, Braintree is making a name for itself as a strong payment provider for nonprofits. With discounted rates for charities and a sparkling checkout experience, Braintree is ideal for nonprofits looking to boost their online presence.
Braintree payment gateway: how much does it cost?
With Braintree, you’ll pay just 1.9% + 20p per transaction. There are no monthly, minimum, or setup fees, and you won’t be eligible for any hidden costs, either!
- Predictable, transparent pricing
- Strong developer tools available, making it a highly customisable payment gateway
- Takes a while to get set up
- Not available to businesses deemed to be ‘high risk’
takepayments payment gateway
Best for customer satisfaction
So far, you’ve seen some payment gateway providers that specialise mainly in online payments (such as Stripe, Braintree, and Shopify), and others that do everything – in-person, phone, email-based payments… the lot. takepayments (formerly Payzone) is one of the latter. Unlike Opayo, Worldpay, and Handepay, though, takepayments offers 12-month contracts – quite literally some of the shortest in the industry. There are also no fees to sign up or leave one of those contracts, and you’ll be supported the whole way by a dedicated (and UK-based) consultant. Better still, takepayments has managed to maintain a highly laudable 4.8/5 Trustpilot rating – even with well over 9,000 reviews, and counting!
Keen to know more about how takepayments can help you, er… take payments? Explore our takepayments review for everything you need to know.
takepayments payment gateway: how much does it cost?
takepayments works to create bespoke rates for each customer. We'd recommend enquiring with the company for a rate specific to your requirements, which will depend on your business’ size and sales volume, and on any additional services you require.
As an alternative, you can also receive tailored quotes from takepayments (plus any other suppliers that fit your requirements) right here, right now. Simply provide us with some details about your business, and the type of card payments you’re looking to accept. We’ll do the rest, matching you with leading payment gateway providers, who’ll be in touch directly with tailored quotes.
- No setup or exit fees
- Extremely good customer reviews online
- Friendly and efficient customer support, seven days a week
- takepayments' contracts are rolling, so you'll need to get in touch in advance if you wish to end your service
CyberSource payment gateway
Best payment gateway for customer loyalty
When it comes to growing your ecommerce business, retaining your customers is just as crucial as acquiring them. And that’s exactly what CyberSource (now part of Visa) helps you do. As well as accepting online transactions, this payment gateway also acts as a data platform – allowing you to really get to know your customers, and what makes them tick. With CyberSource, you’ll get centralised, tokenised insights into your customer data. This powers better cross-channel personalisation efforts, and enables more effective customer loyalty programmes – rewarding your customers for shopping with you, and ensuring that they keep coming back for more.
CyberSource payment gateway: how much does it cost?
CyberSource doesn’t advertise any of its pricing information online. You’ll have to enquire for an accurate quote.
- 24/7 customer support provided
- Intelligent fraud management capabilities
- Opaque fees
- Your transaction information is only available for six months
- Steep learning curve
You're just over halfway through our list of the 15 best payment gateway providers in the UK. Time to start comparing quotes?
Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick questionnaire. It takes just 30 seconds to do, and by telling us more about your ecommerce business’ specific requirements, we can help ensure that you receive the best, most personalised payment gateway rates and recommendations.
Otherwise, you can continue exploring the other half of our list of the best payment gateway providers in the UK… or head back up to the top.
Square payment gateway
Best payment gateway for a slick checkout experience
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, for a second. You arrive at the checkout page, and it’s a mess. Hard to follow, unpleasant to look at, and poorly-optimised for your tablet or mobile device. Are you following through with the purchase? We don’t think so…
And that’s why it’s so important to nail your checkout’s user experience (UX). Don’t fret, though. With Square, you can – and it’s easy. As far as payment gateway checkout designs go, Square’s is the cleanest, cleverest kind around – inspiring trust and confidence, while (hopefully!) boosting conversions. Plus, Square is more than just a pretty (inter)face – with fees of just 2.5% per transaction, it offers the value to back it up.
To learn more about Square’s range of services for all kinds of UK businesses, head to our Square review.
Square payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Square charges just 2.5% per transaction when you sell online through its payment gateway. If you’ve set up an online store with Square’s website builder, you have the option to pay extra for additional features, such as ad removal and a custom domain. These rates start from £9 per month.
- Social media integrations allow you to sell on Instagram, Facebook, and more
- Predictable, flat-rate pricing
- No monthly or hidden fees
- Completely PCI compliant – you don’t have to lift a finger
- Some account stability issues reported – Square’s been known to withhold accounts or funds with little notice
Klarna payment gateway
Best for buying now, paying later
The Swedes have a reputation for style and simplicity, and Klarna doesn’t buck the trend. Like Square, Klarna claims to provide your users with a “smoooth (yes, with three o’s)” payment experience – but it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
Klarna is pioneering the ‘buy now, pay later’ approach – allowing your customers to spread out payments over time with instalments, and decide whether they actually like (and want to keep) a product before parting with their cash. According to Klarna itself, more than 8 in 10 merchants believe offering this form of ‘instant financing’ at the checkout will help boost sales – could it do the same for your ecommerce business?
Klarna payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Klarna’s fees come in at 2.49% + 20p per transaction, if the payment is being made on a UK card. This rate will differ for payments in international currencies.
- Millennials love it
- It's PCI and GDPR compliant
- 24/7 customer support
- You get paid the full amount at checkout, even if your customer is paying in instalments
- Virtual terminal not included
- Real-time reporting isn’t available, and Klarna’s analytical features leave a bit to be desired
PayPal payment gateway
Best for accepting alternative payment methods
If you’ve heard of just one payment gateway provider on this list, chances are it’s PayPal. Founded in 1998, this big blue brand has gone from strength to strength.
So what’s the key to its success? A number of things, probably, but we’re pretty sure it has a lot to do with the amount of flexibility it offers your customers. PayPal allows you to accept credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, and international cards – you can even take payments in-person, via contactless or a QR code. Similar to Klarna, PayPal also offers ‘PayPal Credit’ – a way to let your customers spread out the cost of a purchase over time.
PayPal payment gateway: how much does it cost?
2.9% + 30p per transaction. That’s all you’ll pay to accept online payments with PayPal. You can forget about any monthly or setup fees, too – although there is a cross-border fee of up to 2%, and a currency conversion fee of 2.5%.
- Enormous brand power
- Predictable pricing
- Smooth, consistent checkout experience inspires trust...
- … but won’t do any favours for your own brand-building efforts!
- PayPal's cross-border fees mean it's not ideal for businesses that rely heavily upon overseas trade
SumUp payment gateway
Best for beginners
Much like Square and Shopify, SumUp lets you build your own online store, then start selling through it. What sets SumUp apart, though, is its user-friendliness. Ideal for payments newbies, its gateway is simple to get started with, and there are no setup or monthly fees to speak of. You’ll pay just a 2.5% levy on each transaction you take, which also makes SumUp ideal for micro-merchants, or vendors who have unpredictable sales volumes right now.
SumUp payment gateway: how much does it cost?
SumUp charges a 2.5% fee for each online payment you accept through its payment gateway. There are no setup or monthly fees.
- Excellent customer reviews
- Simple pricing
- Highly affordable, with zero ongoing costs
- No contractual commitment required
- Not hugely customisable
- May be too basic for the needs of fast-growing ecommerce businesses
Amazon Pay payment gateway
Best for Amazon synergy and integration
If PayPal is the biggest name in payment gateways, Amazon is the biggest name… well, pretty much everywhere else. After all, there’s nothing better than giving your customers a familiar way to pay, with a brand they’re comfortable with.
Even on its own merits, though, Amazon’s payment gateway is a strong selection for small businesses. By reusing the payment and contact details already stored in the Amazon account of your customer, Amazon Pay makes paying online easier for everyone involved. Genius!
Amazon Pay payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Amazon Pay incurs a fee of 2.7% + 30p per transaction. If you’re processing more than £50,000 per month in card sales, you can apply for a discounted rate.
There are no setup or monthly fees. If you’re accepting international payments, though, a cross-border charge of up to 1.5% will apply.
- Enables you to cater to Amazon’s 200 million-strong monthly users
- Accept voice payments with Amazon Alexa virtual assistant integration
- Transparent pricing...
- …though it may prove too expensive for merchants with high sales volumes
2Checkout payment gateway
Best for reporting and analytics
The first thing you should know about 2Checkout? It’s a little more expensive than most of the other payment gateways here. Transaction rates start from 3.5% + 25p, and you’ll pay 6% + 45p for its priciest plan. It’s punchy, sure – though we’d be doing 2Checkout a disservice if we didn’t explain what you get for that money.
2Checkout provides some of the finest reporting and analytics features around. You can analyse your subscriber base, and receive insights to help you optimise conversion rates and customise your shopping cart. All told, it's one of the best merchant accounts for ecommerce around!
2Checkout payment gateway: how much does it cost?
2Checkout offers three pricing plans for online businesses:
|3.5% + 25p||4.5% + 35p||6% + 45p|
You’ll need to upgrade to 2Checkout’s most popular plan, ‘2Subscribe’, for its subscription management tools, and to manage upgrades and renewals.
Stumping up for ‘2Monetize’ gets you a range of smart features, including:
- Invoice management
- Access to over 45 different online payment methods
- Global tax and regulatory compliance
- Support to customise your shopping cart
There are no setup or hidden fees, though you may be charged an additional fee (for ‘professional services’) if you require advanced support to get going.
- Integrates with over 120 shopping carts
- Recurring billing functionality available
- Not suitable for high risk businesses
- It’s expensive!
2Checkout isn’t suitable for high risk businesses, but there are plenty of other payment gateway providers that specialise in this. For a list of them, head to our guide to high risk merchant accounts in 2021.
Adyen payment gateway
Best for industry and regulation compliance
When you’re setting up a business and taking payments for the first time, it’s easy to get caught up in it all – and forget about your compliance responsibilities. Fortunately, there are payment gateway providers out there that don’t let you forget… and Adyen is one of them. It’s fully certified for PCI, PSD2 (Payment Services Directive), and SCA (Strong Customer Authentication). Basically, it has the acronyms down pat, relieving you of the burden of self-validation and compliance.
Adyen also brings leading fraud prevention tools to the table, as well as a series of handy, highly customisable dashboards for monitoring the health of your business’ ecommerce sales.
Adyen payment gateway: how much does it cost?
Adyen’s fees depend on the payment method used. Adyen's full list of prices is available on its website.
- 24/7 in-house support included
- Well-suited to businesses taking lots of payments from abroad
- Poor customer reviews online
- Monthly minimum rates apply
What is a payment gateway, and how does it work?
A payment gateway is a piece of digital infrastructure that allows you to accept card payments. It’s the software that processes the customer’s card data, and enables a quick, secure transaction to take place.
Payment gateways aren’t just for selling online, either. Whether you’re taking a card payment through your website, or face-to-face with a PDQ machine or mobile card reader, it’ll be passing through a payment gateway either way.
A useful way to think of this technology is that it’s like… a gateway! It’s a place one thing (the customer’s card details) needs to go through to get somewhere else (authorisation of the card by the bank involved).
Let’s take a look at where a payment gateway sits in a typical card transaction:
Well… there is one more thing. You’ll also need a merchant account before you can start taking payments. A payment gateway makes the transaction happen, but you still need somewhere for the money to go.
Payment gateways commonly come as part of a package when you set up a merchant account, like with Opayo, takepayments, or Retail Merchant Services – though some providers may charge an additional fee for this service. Other payment services, such as a virtual terminal, pay-by-link feature, and invoicing tool, are also often included as standard with this type of package.
However, other payment gateway services – some examples here include Braintree, CyberSource, and Adyen – offer a service that can work alongside a merchant account from a different provider. This does offer more flexibility and customisability, but typically comes at a greater cost – and with more hassle.
Top 6 things to consider when choosing a payment gateway provider
Don’t be suckered in by an impressive price point alone – or worse, a nice-looking company logo. The payment gateway provider that’s right for your business will depend on a number of factors, and you’ll need to consider them all carefully.
Here are six:
1. International support
In today’s world, you can’t afford to lose business from abroad – or because a buyer didn’t have the right credit card. Make sure your payment gateway supports different card types and currencies, and keep your business blossoming beyond borders.
2. Transaction volume
Payment gateway fees are fickle things; transaction rates often go up and down depending on how much you’re turning over. Have a think about how much you’re expecting to sell, and how many transactions will be going through your gateway. It’s absolutely crucial when it comes to selecting the cheapest supplier for your business.
3. Customer support
Time is money. So if there’s an issue with your payment gateway, you’ll need it sorted as quickly as possible. That, or risk having to face the alternative – missing out on sales.
What kind of customer support does your provider offer? Is it just a web-based service like a chat bot, or can you call up and speak to a real person? Is it available 24/7, or just during business hours?
4. Hosted or API?
At some stage, you’ll also need to have a think about how you want to add the payment gateway to your website.
The easiest option is to host it on the payment provider’s site. This is also ideal, because it means you don’t have to worry about tricky PCI compliance. However, your customers get redirected away from your site to pay – not great for brand-building, or the customer journey at large.
The other option is to use an API integration to slot your payment gateway straight into your website. It makes for a smoother payment experience for the customer, although you’ll need to take care of your own…
5. PCI DSS compliance
This is the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). It’s designed to help protect cardholder data and reduce fraud. No matter how big your business is, you’ll need to stay compliant – if you’re taking card payments, that is.
Make sure your payment gateway provider is PCI DSS compliant before you go anywhere near a contract!
6. Cart compatibility
A payment gateway processes the transaction, but your website will still need a shopping cart system in place. That’s where your customers browse your products, add stuff to their carts, and eventually hit ‘checkout’.
Your payment gateway and your shopping cart system need to talk to each other loudly and clearly if you want your buyer’s journey to be a smooth one. That’s why you’ll need to make sure your payment gateway provider offers integration with whatever current shopping cart you’re using, or are planning to adopt.
Luckily, most payment gateway providers offer a full breakdown of the programmes and integrations they offer. Just make sure you check ‘em!
What’s next, you ask? Well, that depends on where you’re at in your journey towards taking card payments online. You’ll either need to do a bit more research, or you’ll be ready to start comparing quotes.
If it’s more payment gateway information you’re after, scroll on for our FAQs. If you’re interested in comparing more merchant services suppliers, browse our UK merchant account comparison, where we break down more than 30 of the country’s leading providers.
Alternatively, if you’re eager to learn more about the costs side of things, we can help – all you need to do is take 30 seconds to provide us with a few details about your requirements.
We’ll ask a couple of questions about how you want to accept cards, the size of your business, and what industry you’re in. Then, we’ll match you with leading payment gateway suppliers.
They’ll be in touch to provide no-obligation quotes – all tailored to your responses, of course. All you have to do is decide which one (if any!) is right for you.
It really is that simple. And the whole service is completely free for UK-based businesses, too. Good luck!
How much do payment gateways cost?
Great question. If you’ve read the above, you’ll have an idea of some of the costs that come with acquiring a payment gateway for your business – and how dependent the fees are on which provider you pick. Payment gateway fees come in a few different shapes and sizes, but most break down as follows:
These are what you’ll pay every time you accept a card payment. They’re commonly a percentage of the value of the transaction (usually between 1-3%, but it can be even more, or less).
Transaction fees can also be a fixed rate per sale (in the region of pennies, rather than pounds – don’t stress!), or a combination of both a percentage and a flat rate.
This is the charge to get your payment gateway up and running. We found that most providers actually don’t ask for one, which is good news. And it makes sense – it’s a competitive market, and each provider wants to rope you into its own payment ecosystem.
Some providers will also charge you a set monthly fee for their services. Generally, payment gateways that come with monthly charges offset these with lower transaction fees. Or, they’ll offer a set amount of transactions for free (often your first 350-400 per month) as a deal-sweetener.
Oliver and Daniela: a payment gateway pricing case study
Oliver uses a payment gateway from Stripe to sell clothing within Europe. He sells a shirt on his website worth £30 to a customer paying with an EU card. Stripe takes a transaction fee of 1.4% + 20p for its services, so Oliver receives a total of £29.38 in his merchant account.
Stripe is ideal for Oliver because he does fewer, lower value transactions a month, and Stripe’s ‘pay as you go’ payment gateway doesn’t charge any monthly fees.
Daniela uses Opayo for her thriving online bookselling business. She’s on the most basic plan, which sets her back £27 per month in scheduled fees. One of her customers buys a cookbook worth £60. They pay with a credit card, so – minus the transaction fee, which in Daniela’s case is 2.09% – she receives £58.75.
Daniela chooses Opayo because, with her plan, she gets her first 350 transactions free. That makes it well-suited to her busier, higher-volume bookselling business.
Are there free payment gateways?
Well, we hate to break it to you, but no. As the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free payment gateway.”
How come? Put simply, all card transactions attract a charge. It costs the provider to facilitate your online payments, so they need to charge you something to cover their own costs. And, of course, like all businesses, they need to make money.
Sure, some providers may offer a ‘free’ payment gateway in that you won’t pay a monthly charge for the service. However, you’ll almost certainly be paying a transaction fee every time you accept a sale. And, while some payment gateway providers include a certain number of ‘free’ transactions, you’ll still be eligible for a fee if you go beyond this.
The point is that, while many payment gateways don’t incur an initial (or even an ongoing) cost, you’ll always have to pay some kind of usage or transaction fee. Turn away from any company claiming to offer you a free payment gateway, and proceed quickly in the opposite direction.
How we analyse and rate payment gateway providers
At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best merchant account options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the payments industry and its top companies.
Here’s how we did it:
We worked with two independent researchers over 60+ hours to rate 13 different merchant services providers – eight traditional (dedicated) merchant account suppliers, and five payment facilitators.
Our project assessed four separate varieties of payment methods, as well as nine specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.
- Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each merchant account supplier.
- Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the specific transaction and monthly fees for various transaction types, as well as any one-off costs. Our analysis also included contract length, package type, the flexibility of each providers’ pricing structures, plus the price of any hardware required.
- Features: we assessed each supplier on up to eight specific features. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each merchant account provider, and make specific recommendations to you.
- Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each merchant account supplier, in real time.
We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our financial services specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.