Want to jump straight to the answer? The best payment method for an ecommerce site for most people is Stax.
To operate a fully functional ecommerce website, you must be able to accept payments from your customers. Your entire business revolves around getting paid.
Whether you have an existing ecommerce platform or if you’re starting an ecommerce site from scratch, your payment gateway needs to be a priority. There are tons of different options for accepting payments online, and this guide will help you find the right one.
The Top 10 Best Payment Methods for Ecommerce Sites
- Stax – Best for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses
- PayCafe – Best for Detecting (and Fighting) Fraud
- Square – Best If You Have a Brick-and-Mortar Too
- Helcim – Best If You Do More Than $25,000 in Monthly Sales
- Payoneer – Best for International Fund Transfers
- 2Checkout – Best for Scaling International Ecommerce Stores
- Payment Depot – Best If You Process More Than $50,000 Per Month
- Stripe – Most Developer-Friendly Ecommerce Payment Method
- PayPal – Best for Creating Your First Online Store
- PaymentCloud – Best for If You Have High Average Monthly Transactions
I realize that not all of these options will be equal in terms of the cost that you’re paying to implement them on your site. But in the long run, those fractions of a percentage won’t make that much of a difference when you weigh them against the revenue from your sales.
You won’t think twice about it once your conversion rates start skyrocketing.
Stax — Best For Small to Medium-Sized Businesses
- Transparent flat-fee pricing
- 0% markup on Interchange
- No contract
- 24/7 customer support
Stax is ideal for any small to medium-sized business, or a business with a high volume of sales. Not only does it accept all payment types and integrate with most terminals and point-of-sale (POS) systems, but it is also a subscription-based pricing model with a flat monthly fee.
This means Stax can save you money per transaction, especially once you factor in the 0% markup on interchange fees. More sales do not mean higher fees from Stax.
For your ecommerce store, Stax has flexible options so you can integrate it with the shopping cart plugin or function you already use or use one of Stax’s pre-built templates (or design your own) to create your own custom shopping card quickly with no coding skills required.
Stax’s one-click shopping cart integrates with all of the top payment gateways, such as BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, Salesforce, and more.
Stax’s ecommerce tools include:
- Heatmaps to keep track of staff and sales trends
- Inventory tracking for online and in-person stock
- Reporting and analytics to get real-time reports on customer behavior and patterns
- Integration with QuickBooks and Google My Business
Stax’s pricing is very straightforward. It is a monthly subscription with no long-term contract and transparent fees. All three subscription tiers come with wholesale interchange pricing (0% markup), $500,000 in annual processing, a large knowledge base, and 24/7 customer support.
By having a flat-fee monthly subscription, your ecommerce business knows exactly what you’ll pay each month, and if you have a lot of transactions, you’ll pay less per transaction, making it very affordable. Many ecommerce merchants mark up their per-transaction pricing. Stax does not.
Pricing starts at $99 per month, including a free terminal or mobile card reader, ACH processing, analytics, and more.
Learn more about Stax.
PayCafe — Best Payment Method for Detecting (and Fighting) Fraud
PayCafe offers some of the best fraud and chargeback protections we’ve seen out there.
Seriously, the only other one we consider a contender to their level of protection is PaymentCloud.
That’s because they offer an automated, machine-learning algorithm that scans each transaction for fraud. Once it detects it, you’ll be notified and the troublesome transaction will be blocked. Of course, if there’s a mistake you’ll be able to undo it and put the transaction through.
They also have tools in place to handle credit card disputes. From their early warning dispute alert system to their highly-detailed records of each transaction, they’ll arm you with the tools you need to tackle pesky chargebacks and win.
Some of their other features and benefits include:
- Recurring bills. PayCafe automatically bills your customers daily, weekly, monthly, or annually depending on how you set it up.
- International card and currency. This allows you to accept payments for all major credit cards in every country across 135+ currencies.
- Flexible payment methods. Accept payments from places like PayPal, direct deposits, and even cryptocurrencies.
- In-depth reporting. Dive into the crunchy analytics of your business. That way, you can improve your numbers over time.
On top of all that they even give you 24/7 customer support every single day of the year. That’s a must have when it comes to ecommerce payment processing. You never want to be in a position where something breaks and you can’t immediately address it. Learn more at PayCafe.
Square — Best Payment Method if You Have a Brick-and-Mortar Too
Square is a great choice for those of you who have physical retail locations and plan to start selling online.
Why? It’s simple: they’re known for their stellar POS system that seamlessly integrates with their payment method solutions. That makes them a great option if you’re planning to open retail locations in addition to your ecommerce shop.
Don’t have a shop yet? Square offers a fantastic ecommerce website builder too. They don’t skimp on the builder either, offering you tons of great looking drag-and-drop themes that allow you to create the ecommerce store of your dreams—no coding knowledge needed.
Square is priced competitively compared to the other methods on our list.
There is no monthly fee for adding the Square payment gateway to your website. They charge you 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, just like Stripe and PayPal.
Integrating Square to your ecommerce platform is easy. Some of their ecommerce partners include:
- GoCentral Online Store
- Drupal Commerce
- Zen Cart
- Unbound Commerce
- WP EasyCart
So if you’re currently using one of these platforms for your ecommerce shop, adding Square will be a breeze. Click here to learn more at Square.
Helcim — Best Payment Method If You Do More Than $25,000 in Monthly Sales
- Create your own online store
- Highly secure ecommerce processing
- Great point-of-sale hardware as well
- Customized interchange rates
Helcim is another “one-stop-shop” solution for your payment needs. From great point-of-sale hardware to their ecommerce payments, they have what you need to get started selling.
Where they really stand out: their unique fee structure and the fact that they have no monthly fees.
Pricing is highly customized depending on your monthly volume of sales and the price of your average transaction. That means the more sales and/or the higher the price of the average transaction, the more you save.
You can save even more due to the fact that they have:
- $0 monthly fees
- $0 set up fees
- $0 cancellation fees
- $0 compliance fees
- $0 bank deposit fees
That’s a big difference from other payment method solutions out there, which typically charge for the above.
However, I wouldn’t actually recommend them if you have a high volume of sales. If you’re an enterprise business that deals in a lot of monthly transactions, we recommend Payment Depot below. They’ll offer the best overall rate if you’re a big business.
But we do recommend them for mid-sized companies. They’ll offer you the best overall rate if you do anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000 per month.
It’s worth mentioning they even offer a platform for you to create an online store through Helcim. It’s on their site, and comes with their payment processor built in. It’s also highly customizable and comes default with some great looking themes.
If you already have an online store, they have you covered. Their fully-hosted payment pages allow you to add payment options onto your site without any coding knowledge. Their solution can be integrated with some third-party software you might already be using such as QuickBooks, Drupal, and Magento.
They have a deal going on right now where you can get the first three months for free. After that, it’s $20 per month. Try Helcim today!
Payoneer — Best Payment Method for International Fund Transfers
- Get paid in local currency
- Find new global markets
- Easy payments to suppliers
- Access to Payoneer global partners
An ecommerce site that is already established in global selling knows there’s still room for improvement. That could take the form of growing into untapped markets, keeping more of the money you make on international sales, or finding better ways to work with suppliers.
Payoneer knows the way to accomplish any and all of these improvements and has the software to prove it.
First, they know how costly wire transfers and currency conversion can be. Payoneer eliminates that pain with an easy way to set up localized receiving accounts, so you get payments in USD, EUR, or one of several other options.
In just three easy steps, you can set up accounts, email customers of how to pay them, and automatically have those payments sent to your Payoneer account.
It should be noted: Payoneer isn’t a merchant account provider. That means they do not give you the ability to accept payments via debit or credit cards. Instead, it sets up a local bank within the region you want to attain money for and allow for bank transfers instead.
So this can be a very specific type of business that’ll need something like this.
For example, global businesses lean hard on their network of suppliers and vendors. So, Payoneer makes it a cinch to pay them when you need to. By paying them directly from your Payoneer account balance, payments are sent instantly and for free. Plus, you can send in batches up to 200 for convenience.
If you’re struggling to make headway in some global markets, you can even lean on Payoneer’s network of partners. From shipping and sourcing services to legal assistance, translation, and advertising, you can fill in the gaps by connecting with vendors based in the markets you’re trying to sell to.
Payoneer does charge low-cost fees for some transfers and there is an annual account fee, but it’s a scant $29.95/year.
You can register at Payoneer for free today.
2Checkout — Best Payment Method for Scaling International Ecommerce Stores
- Scalable modules
- Sell in 200+ countries in minutes
- Start for free
- Subscription billing & more
Your growing business can’t worry about the reliability of its payment processing. When you’re striving to make inroads into new markets or break into global business, that detail needs to already be taken care of.
That’s where 2Checkout excels. It’s a modular solution that is very scalable with no stress on your end.
With this software, you can handle global payments, subscription billing, taxes, and any other ecommerce payment needs. Start with what you need right now and when you’re ready to take the next step up, 2Checkout has a feature to help.
But, above all, this software is the perfect partner for international selling.
The distinction between this and Payoneer is that 2Checkout will actually facilitate payment processing via typical ecommerce methods such as credit card, debit card, PayPal, and more.
With any of 2Checkout’s modules, you can start selling in over 200 countries in no time. And, if you utilize their 2Monetize platform, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll handle the heavier stuff, like VAT and regulatory compliance.
Even better—you can start on any of 2Checkout’s solutions for free. You only have to pay once you start selling.
That’s a huge boost for those of you who want to really test drive the software before committing.
Once you do start selling, you pay a fraction of each sale plus a small fee. On 2Checkout’s base-level plan, 2Sell, that runs you 3.5% + $0.35 on each transaction.
Get started with 2Checkout for free today.
Payment Depot — Best Payment Method If You Process More Than $50,000 Per Month
- Accepts all major credit cards
- Small membership fee
- Low processing fee
- No cancellation fee
Payment Depot touts themselves as the “Costco of credit card processing” for their membership fee-based pricing model as well as their low processing fees.
How low are they? They can get as low as $0.05 a month for an unlimited membership.
Of course, you’ll be paying $199 per month. While the membership fees might seem like a lot of money each month, you’ll actually be saving money processing fees if you have a lot of transactions—which can add up over time.
And the processing fees they do have aren’t percentage-based. Rather it’s a fixed fee between $0.05 – $0.15 per transaction. This makes Payment Depot a highly lucrative option if you’re a larger business that sees a ton of business each month. You’ll get significantly more savings that a traditional interchange + pricing
However, if you’re a smaller business, you might end up paying a bit more for the monthly membership fee. That’s why we really don’t recommend them if you make less than $25,000 per month.
If you go with an annual membership, Payment Depot offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. That means you can cancel within three-ish months and send your equipment back, and you’ll get a complete refund.
Get the best rates for your heavy transaction processing by visiting Payment Depot.
Stripe — Most Developer-Friendly Ecommerce Payment Method
- Built for developers
- API and UI toolkit
- Recurring payment options
- Supports payments online and in-person
Stripe is one of the top payment methods on the market today because it’s so versatile.
It’s a great choice for ecommerce shops, subscription services, or on-demand marketplaces. So for those of you who operate a business with multiple processes and services, this is definitely something that you should take into consideration.
Where they really shine though is how developer-friendly they are. They offer great tools that let any team that really wants to customize their payment method to do so.
From their easy-to-use API, their library for coding languages, and their comprehensive integrations, they’ll have everything a developer needs to get the most out of Stripe.
Another top feature of Stripe is the ability for you to set up recurring payments from your customers.
It supports payments online, as well as in-person. So if you currently have a brick and mortar store, you can add a Stripe POS system in addition to the gateway on your ecommerce site. This way you can remain consistent across both marketplaces.
Studies show that brands using Stripe have increased revenue by 6.7% after implementing the payment gateway. With Stripe, you’ll have 81% fewer outages and 24% less operating costs compared to competing payment methods.
Another reason why I love Stripe is because you’ll have the option to customize your checkout process with the Stripe UI toolkit.
Stripe accepts all major credit cards and debit cards from all countries, including:
- American Express
- JCB (Japan)
- UnionPay (China)
You can also integrate some alternative payment options into your Stripe payment gateway. Some of these we’ll discuss in greater detail as we continue through this guide.
- ACH transfers
- American Express Checkout
- Visa Checkout
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Microsoft Pay
It’s great for those of you who are using your ecommerce platform to drive sales from mobile users.
Stripe’s standard pricing is simple. As a merchant, it will cost you 2.9% + $0.30 for every card charge. There will be an additional 1% charge for international cards.
For ACH transfers, your cost is 0.8% of the transaction with a $5 maximum fee.
Additionally, Stripe offers customized pricing options for those of you who have a unique business model or have large volume payments. You’ll get discounts for volume and multi-product rates, as well as some country-specific rates if you’re targeting an international market.
Stripe has exceptional tech support and customer service. You can reach representatives 24/7 via phone, live chat, or email. Overall, it’s definitely one of the top payment methods for you to use on your ecommerce site.
PayPal — Best Payment Method for Creating Your First Online Store
- Well-established brand
- Most used digital wallet in the world
- Very simple to set up
- Reliable and secure
PayPal is a name that I’m sure most of you are already familiar with. The company has a reputation that speaks for itself when it comes to ease of use, reliability, and security.
Hundreds of millions of people trust PayPal and use it everyday for their business.
This is why we highly recommend PayPal if you’re just starting out. Not only does everyone already use PayPal, but it’s also very easy to add and integrate to practically any online store.
For those of you who don’t have a well-established name brand yet, the PayPal button can help put your customers at ease. They know that PayPal has their back for security.
Plus, people might have a PayPal balance that they want to use for spending, as opposed to charging a credit card or debit card.
PayPal is the most commonly used digital wallet in the world. With PayPal for ecommerce, you can accept:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- PayPal Credit
Any ecommerce sale in the US will cost you 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. International sales are a bit more expensive, with 4.4% per transaction, plus a fixed amount depending on the country the purchase came from.
PaymentCloud — Best Payment Methods for If You Have High Average Monthly Transactions
- Integrates with all major ecommerce platforms
- No setup or cancellation fees
- Built-in shopping cart solution
- Accept debit & credit cards, plus echecks
PaymentCloud is another one of our recommendations. Not only can it provide you with an easy way for customers to purchase your products and services, but it also offers top-notch security features, including fraud and chargeback protection.
What really sets them apart, though, is their clientele. While most merchant solutions restrict who they work with to “low risk” businesses, PaymentCloud is one of the rare ones who have systems in place to work with higher risk businesses.
These are the businesses that typically deal in matters with sticky compliance issues—or might get more chargebacks than your average ecommerce sites. A few industries they won’t shy away from (though others might) are:
- Guns and ammos
- Adult products
- Bail bonds
- Vape products
- Tobacco products
- Credit repair
- Debt consolidation
Couple that with their chargeback and fraud protection feature, and you’ve got a match made in heaven if you’re a higher risk business.
They’re also an all-in-one ecommerce merchant. Instead of needing to Frankenstein together different shopping cart solutions and find a separate way to take mail and phone orders, you can take care of them in one fell swoop.
The provider’s payment gateway works well with just about any ecommerce platform you could use, including:
- Big Commerce
So, you’ll never have to worry about its integrative capability.
PaymentCloud allows you to accept debit and credit cards, as well as echecks. The payment gateway lets you accept payments anytime, set up invoices and subscriptions, and ensures safe transactions at both ends. All payment information goes through five layers of security.
You can also set up a shopping cart on your ecommerce store through PaymentCloud or integrate it with one that you like using already. You get the same ease of use (on both ends) and security from PaymentCloud’s shopping cart as you do its payment gateway and processing service.
There are no setup or cancellation fees and processing rates and PaymentCloud’s fees are competitive—its processing fee is identical to Square’s and the payment gateway fee tends to run at about $15-$20 per month.
Get a secure payment processing platform and a shopping cart together by going with PaymentCloud. Connect with them to apply for free—and, if you’re shopping for a replacement for your current ecommerce payment platform, PaymentCloud will provide cost comparisons for free.
How to Find the Best Payment Method for Your Ecommerce Website
Not every ecommerce website is the same—and your payment methods shouldn’t be either.
But, with so many to choose from, it can be hard to narrow it down to the perfect one for you.
We want to help.
Below are the exact criteria we used to determine our list. Use it over the course of your research to help find the perfect payment method for your ecommerce website.
Fair (But Affordable) Processing Fees
Every payment method out there charges fees for their services. They typically come in two forms:
- Monthly fees. These are the flat prices you have to pay each month for their services. Payment Depot, for example, utilizes this method.
- Processing fees. These are fees you’ll have to pay with each transaction. These are occasionally variable (i.e. interchange processing rates) or they’ll offer a fixed rate, as with ProMerchant.
Many merchant services typically charge both a monthly fee and a processing fee for their services—though, the ultimate price varies depending on the service.
For example, Square, Stripe, PayPal, and Payment Cloud charge 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. That’s a pretty typical standard for the industry.
Some other payment methods have their own unique way of charging you for their services. For example, Helcim customizes the price for you depending on your monthly sales and the average price of your transactions. The more you sell each month and the higher your average transaction is, the less your rate is going to be.
Helcim is great because there are no fees outside of the transaction fees. That means no monthly, setup, or even a cancellation fee.
When researching, be sure to take a look at how the payment method you’re considering charges you—and by how much.
In the end, it’s a bit of a balance between monthly fees and processing fees. Higher monthly fees typically mean lower processing fees (and vice versa). If you don’t have a ton of transactions each month, it might make more sense to pay a lower monthly fee and go with the high processing fees.
Payment Method That Meets Your Customers Where They Live
Selling globally can be tricky for ecommerce businesses—especially if you’re just starting out. You have to worry about exchange rates and you also have to consider what entails typical payment methods in that country.
For example, Alipay is one of the most popular payment methods in China. PayPal probably takes the crown in America.
Not every payment method gives you the option of completing purchases internationally.
Payoneer is an excellent payment method if your business plans to sell overseas. They’ll help you set up localized receiving accounts so you can receive payments in USD, EUR, GBP, CNH, JPY, AUD, CAD, SGD, and MXN.
2Checkout is another method you should consider if you want to handle global payments. You can get set up to sell in more than 200 countries in just a few minutes.
That means you’ll be able to literally open up your store to the entire world and tap into a global market of potential customers. You can also convert your funds into different types of currencies, so you’re not restricted to just receiving money in USD.
If you plan on selling internationally, definitely look into how the payment method you’re considering handles non-USD currencies, if they can at all.
Checkout So Simple Customers Never Abandon Their Cart
As with any other part of your ecommerce store, you want the user experience to be effortless for your customers. However, that process is arguably most important when it comes to the payment method.
A single hiccup or irritating moment while they’re at checkout could result in a higher cart abandonment rate for you—and therefore a sizable hit to your bottom line.
The Baymard Institute, a research firm that uncovers insights to help companies improve user experience, conducted a survey in 2019 that found that one of the top reasons customers abandon their carts is because they had to make a separate account in order to check out.
You can prevent this easily with the right payment method solution. With PaymentCloud, for example, your customers can simply enter in their purchase information and be on their way in just a few minutes time (if that). The same goes for Square which offers a very seamless ecommerce experience.
You’ll also want to make sure that the payment method offers a clear way for your customers to see:
- The items they want to purchase.
- The items’ costs.
- Exactly where to enter their purchase information.
- How to check out.
It might seem self-evident, but you’d be surprised at how often a payment gateway makes their customers jump through hoops in order to actually make a purchase.
If all else fails, just remember that old acronym of K.I.S.S.—keep it simple, stupid.
Payment Methods for Your In-Store and Online Customers
Finally, you have to make sure that your ecommerce systems are all working together.
Think of your business as a football team. Every player needs to know what the play is. They need to know the tactics and strategies in order to score and win the game.
Each part of your ecommerce business needs to do the same. That happens by connecting them all into one system so they can work together.
That’s why you want to get a payment method that’ll play well with your ecommerce business as a whole. If you don’t, it could end up the squeaky wheel that winds up costing you.
Want your website to really play well with your payment solution? Create them in the same place! Square and Helcim offer great ecommerce website builders to help you create an online store for free. You’ll be able to use their payment methods for every customer purchase.
Do you plan on having a POS system and an in person store? You might want to consider going with a method such as Stripe or Square. These two payment methods offer fantastic physical hardware solutions for point of sale solutions.
This is perfect for if you have a brick-and-mortar store—or if you run a customer-facing business such as a farmers market stand or a food truck. You’ll even be able to accept multiple forms of payment from your phone.
The Top Payment Methods For Ecommerce in Summary
Your ecommerce site is useless if you can’t get paid. But since all of your customers have different payment preferences, you need a payment gateway and shopping cart solution that can accommodate everyone’s needs.
Stax, PayCafe, and Square are the best options. They each offer everything you need to accept multiple payment methods for your online store.