Founded in 1998, PayPal has become one of the most commonly used online payment systems in the past 25 years. The service eliminates inconveniences associated with using paper money or checks, as you can do a lot electronically through the vendor’s online payment system.
While hundreds of millions of active PayPal accounts exist globally and many retailers accept PayPal, there are competitors worth considering. We’ll look at a few of the best alternatives.
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Before we get into the best alternatives, it’s essential to have a working knowledge of what PayPal is and how it works. Understanding its basic functions allows us to better evaluate alternatives.
PayPal acts as a digital wallet. As a consumer, you can store credit card and debit card information in your account to make payments online. You can also pay by storing bank account information in your PayPal account. These different payment methods are stored in your profile, and you can use them as needed for online shopping.
Security, the speed of transactions and PayPal’s rewards are three of the biggest selling points for the company. The security aspect is especially critical. PayPal emphasizes its tight security when you give your information to the company and stresses how it keeps your personal data secure when you make online payments. Using PayPal as an intermediary is safer than providing your name, email address, billing address and credit card information on all the sites you make purchases from. Your bank account information is also secured within PayPal, decreasing the likelihood your personal data will be stolen. PayPal also offers in-store payment options for users, making this tool helpful even if you aren’t engaging in e-commerce.
PayPal can help you exchange cash with other individuals or even donate to charity.
[Interested in credit card processing with PayPal? The vendor is on our list of the best credit card processors.]
On the business owner’s end of the spectrum, there are diverse uses for enterprises that can accept PayPal as a payment method on their e-commerce sites and implement PayPal invoicing features if needed. It’s a great credit card processor with an easy setup.
PayPal’s business features are widely used, which is part of what makes a PayPal account valuable for consumers. According to the company, 19 million merchants use PayPal to help grow their businesses. It’s a versatile platform used by many, as the merchant account numbers indicate.
PayPal is a digital wallet that allows consumers to quickly and securely make and accept payments online. It can also serve as a credit card processor for businesses.
If you are looking for alternatives to PayPal, for either personal or business use, it’s vital to understand what you want from your payment service. Are you looking for more simplicity? How crucial is the security of your personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, etc.)? Do you need to make or receive international payments? Can you afford a monthly fee?
The answers to these questions are going to vary on a case-by-case basis. What might be a great PayPal alternative for a local pizza shop owner in Texas might be a less-than-stellar option for a global business based in New York City. We suggest starting your search with the vendors below.
A Paysafe company, this vendor offers a payment method that’s a lot like PayPal. Skrill has both U.S. and European clients, which makes it particularly valuable if you’re spending money in Europe and the U.S. Much like PayPal, Skrill makes security a big focus. It’s not complicated to create an account and start using the platform quickly and safely. In fact, there are no tremendous differences between Skrill and PayPal, although Skrill might be better suited for international merchants.
Reviews on Skrill are mixed. As is the case for most businesses, Skrill has some glowingly positive online customer reviews as well as more negative reviews. Sorting through the reviews of any company can be confusing, but it’s worth considering Skrill for international payments.
Skrill offers chargeback protection, multiple integrations, a simple API and advanced fraud management. It allows frictionless payments: You can use the one-tap feature to make repeat payments with a single touch. It also offers a multicurrency account, advanced reporting and analytics, and multilingual customer service.
You don’t have to pay any fees to send money to a bank account overseas with Skrill, another aspect that makes it a good payment method for international business. Opening an account is also free of charge. An account allows you to use your Skrill wallet online, receive money from a friend, unload funds, send money to an email or Skrill wallet, and use a Skrill Visa prepaid card. Your account will remain free to use as long as you make at least one transaction every 12 months. Otherwise, a $5 service fee applies.
These are some additional fees:
Stripe is one of the best online credit card processors for online businesses. It integrates with Shopify, Wix and Weebly, making it a great option for e-commerce enterprises. Amazon, Google and Lyft all use Stripe in some capacity, according to the company’s website.
An initial look at the vendor’s offerings can be confusing, as the system is designed with customization and developers in mind. It might take extra effort for those without a coding background to understand all of the available features, but the effort could be worthwhile, as Stripe is used by businesses in more than 100 countries.
Stripe offers customer interfaces, reconciliation, reports and insights, multiple payment options, revenue optimization, payouts, third-party integrations and support, and fraud and dispute options.
There are two payment models for Stripe:
These packages can help your small business save money over time. Particularly if you run an online business, Stripe is a fantastic PayPal alternative.
Square is an ideal credit card processor for growing businesses. Square’s ease of use sets it apart from other PayPal alternatives. The fees and pricing methods are transparent and easy to understand, and the provider doesn’t lock you into a long-term contract. It makes transactions simple, which is critical to the success of small businesses. If you run a small enterprise and want a credit card processing solution that isn’t PayPal, you should seriously consider Square.
Square lets you customize the platform to suit your business’s needs. It also emphasizes security, which can provide peace of mind to small business owners and their customers. Between the simplicity and security customization options, Square is one of the best PayPal alternatives.
There are three tiers to Square’s pricing, with the free package offering the system’s basic features and then each level up including more tools. You pay a standard processing fee plus $0.30 on all contactless payments, swiped payments (including with magstripe cards) and payments with inserted chip cards using EMV technology.
Learn more in our comprehensive Square review.
If you’re looking for a credit card processing alternative for your business, Venmo isn’t for you, but it is a solid choice if you’re looking to quickly transfer money to someone else. In fact, Venmo is one of the better options for peer-to-peer payments.
Venmo allows users to add their debit card and bank account information to a digital account. Through that account, you can accept payments from peers and quickly transfer those funds to any of the bank accounts associated with your Venmo account. If you want, you can add multiple bank accounts or cards to your profile, and you can also leave money in your account to use the next time you make a transaction on the platform.
You can make your Venmo transactions public, which also allows you to see transactions from people you know. Some people enjoy this social aspect of Venmo, which is amplified by the number of users on the platform – more than 78 million, according to Business of Apps.
You might pay a few minor fees when using Venmo, such as $2.50 for an out-of-network ATM withdrawal, but most of its services are free. Get more details in our business owner’s guide to Venmo.
Another good option for international payments, Payoneer makes it easy to collect funds in multiple currencies and bill clients overseas. Local currency accounts are available for businesses in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., China, Australia, Japan and certain European nations.
Payoneer can be particularly useful for freelance workers, as they often work for international clients and can easily send those clients invoices with this service. It’s also a good option for companies looking to hire overseas freelancers and pay them easily.
Payoneer allows single or mass payouts, as well as the ability to receive payments and withdraw funds. It has a partner network and supports integrated, third-party and escrow payments. Payoneer also includes API support.
To withdraw funds from a local bank account with Payoneer, you will pay up to 2% above the market rate at the time of transaction. To withdraw funds from another bank account in the same currency, you will pay $1.50. To make payments to others who do not have a Payoneer account, you’ll pay a fee of 1% to 3%, depending on the payment method (ACH, credit card, etc.).
Shopify Payments is another quality option for internet-based businesses. Shopify can integrate easily with your online store, and the vendor has a wealth of expertise in the e-commerce industry. Since Shopify Payments allows you to start accepting online, card-not-present payments without integrating a third-party payment provider, it makes the process simpler than many other options. Setup isn’t difficult and the overall usability of Shopify Payments makes it a good alternative to PayPal for online sellers.
Shopify Payments features
Shopify Payments has the basic payment features you’d expect from an e-commerce provider, such as inventory management, web design tools, customer service, hosting, security, social selling and shipping features.
Shopify Payments pricing
Pricing varies based on the Shopify service plan you use. Here is a breakdown of its e-commerce options:
QuickBooks is the accounting tool of choice for many businesses. QuickBooks Payments comes integrated with your QuickBooks accounts, so getting it up and running is a pretty simple process, especially if you already use the vendor’s accounting software.
QuickBooks Payments features
QuickBooks Payments allows you to accept mobile payments, send invoices via desktop computer or mobile app, set up recurring billing, and get real-time alerts when customers view or pay invoices, among many other functions.
QuickBooks Payments pricing
There are no monthly or setup fees for QuickBooks Payments. Per-transaction rates do apply as follows:
Additional payment options if you’re looking for a PayPal alternative include Google Pay, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay. Each of these services lets consumers make fast and easy purchases in stores and online.
Google Pay allows users to make purchases in stores and online using near-field communication technology, also known as NFC mobile payments. It has also added the ability to make peer-to-peer payments.
Amazon Pay makes sense for businesses or consumers who frequently use Amazon. It’s automatically activated for people who have Amazon accounts, accept the Amazon Pay user agreement and make a purchase with Amazon Pay on a third-party site.
Apple Pay is a sensible option for online shoppers looking for a smooth checkout experience. In addition to payments on the web and within apps, Apple Pay allows peer-to-peer transfers. [Read related article: How to Set Up Apple Pay for Your Business]
Different payment services will work best for different businesses, but there are a few things each company or consumer should consider when evaluating which PayPal alternative will best suit their needs:
There are dozens of PayPal alternatives, and all of them have strengths and weaknesses when compared to PayPal. Determining the best solution for your business starts with what you want out of the program. Keeping that focus clear will help you work through the options to find which ones seem best suited for your goals. Then dig a little deeper to see which of those offer the features that most align with your goal. You’ll soon find your perfect match.
Jessica Pooree and Marisa Sanfilippo contributed to this article.