PayPal has dominated the online payment industry for years, but it’s not without its flaws. Luckily, there are now plenty of better alternatives out there offering up lower fees and better ease of use.
Of the long list of great PayPal alternatives, our favorite is Wise! It’s similar to PayPal in many good ways but cuts down in complexity, cost, and overall frustration.
Thanks to our own business needs, we’ve tested many payment methods over the years and are constantly re-evaluating the key players. If you’re looking for a PayPal alternative, these are the best of the best;
All transfer fees shown are the standard rate for each provider for international transfers involving currency conversion. It varies according to the regions and currencies involved.
Working with a global team has taught us that payment providers can affect many things. Small fee surcharges can quickly pile up, making a dent in your bottom line. A delay of a few days can result in late payment fees.
Given the PayPal’s dominance over the market, it’s not surprising that many people are looking for alternative ways to transfer money, or make payments.
Whether you’re handling digital payments for business or personal reasons, there are some strong PayPal alternatives out there with more features, lower fees, and better usability. This makes it easy to choose one that better fits your circumstances!
0.5% + $0.5
Wise was launched as TransferWise in 2011 by the Estonian duo Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus. As a financial technology company, it drew interest and expanded quickly. By 2022 they consolidated under the “Wise” brand.
Whether you’re a freelancer needing to get paid or a business who needs to pay hundreds of employees, Wise supports it all. Their personal and business plans cater to a wide range of needs.
If you’re worried about entrusting funds to a third party, then Wise is your guy. It’s closely regulated in many jurisdictions and operates as a public listed company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The biggest selling points for Wise, though, are price and ease of use. Pricing is notably lower than bank transfers as well, and fees are displayed transparently. You can easily see the minimal fees that Wise charges, as well as the updated mid-market exchange rates.
Plus, signing up for a Wise account is a breeze. The entire process for any money transfer is much easier than processing the same through a bank.
In contrast, PayPal is a little over-enthusiastic about account verifications and, from personal experience, the process can take some time and effort. Even when things have already been verified, making small changes can restart the entire process, making Paypal occasionally a real pain.
Wise charges include fixed and viable fees. These vary depending on the amount, source/destination countries, and your payment method for the transfer. Fixed fees are typically just a few dollars, while variable fees hover at roughly 0.5%. You can try the Wise pricing calculator to see how much your transfer will cost.
High versatility and low fees make Wise a perfect fit for almost anyone. Starving freelancers can essentially get paid even a dollar (technically). For businesses, there are no actual limits except in a few limited circumstances.
Read our complete Wise review for more information.
Transferring money overseas?
Wise is our favorite platform for making cross-border money transfers. For more options – read our article on the best ways to transfer money internationally.
2.6% + $0.1
Introduced in 2009, Square is one of the more established digital financial services companies around. It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2015 and has grown into a business valued at over $100 billion.
Square Payments is no average money transfer service – it’s focused on helping people get paid, regardless of the amounts involved.
This focus gives Square a comprehensive product line-up that’s remarkably helpful. If you just need to get paid, you can use Square Payments. But if you want more help, Square can offer everything from business banking to payroll management.
Square Payments essentially lets you take a “hands-off” attitude to payments, accepting credit cards, embedding payment buttons on digital properties like websites, and more. It’s the epitome of business streamlining, aided by modern technology.
Here again, we also need to highlight the ease of the verification that many PayPal alternatives have. It isn’t so much that they make things easier, but PayPal’s sometimes-broken verification system causing problems.
Square pricing follows the way you use it, but the theme remains constant. There’s a per-transaction fee split into fixed and variable portions. The fixed fee hovers between 10-30 cents, while variable fees are 2.6% to 3.5%.
Square is good if you prefer to take a businesslike approach towards getting paid. The automation tools available means you’ll speed less time arranging for payment. Instead, you can set things so that customers only need to click a button to make payments happen.
Looking for an invoicing solution?
Check out our write up on the best invoicing platforms – featuring Square and much more!
3.5% + $0.35
Although 2Checkout started officially in 2006, its story started way before that. In 2003, its founders were part of GECAD Group who developed RAV Antivirus (the technology purchased by Microsoft).
They decided to start Avangate, which acquired 2Checkout. Verifone then acquired 2Checkout in 2020.
If you need to transact worldwide, 2Checkout could be it for you. Unlike PayPal, 2Checkout really stands out when it comes to currencies supported.
The service has coverage in more than 200 countries and territories, with 45+ payment methods available in 30+ languages, and 100 display/billing currencies.
You may find that in the US, the fees are the same as PayPal’s, but overall, there are other countries where you can enjoy better rates when accepting payments from customers. Therefore, it is best to look into the fees and compare them against PayPal to decide better.
Given the time difference between countries, their 24/7 shopper support for orders and payments helps heaps, so you can be assured of getting help anytime you need it. Also, the advanced fraud protection goes through over 300 security rules for each transaction, making security top-notch.
There are 4 pricing models for 2Checkout, each with advantages depending on the type of payments needed. The fixed and viable fees are different, ranging between 3.5 – 6% and 35 – 60 cents. Custom plans are also negotiable if you need to handle larger volumes.
Since 2Checkout is all about accepting payments globally, this would be another excellent choice if you need this. The 2Checkout system has local familiarity and can bring your site global. However, it isn’t a complete payment system, so you need a third-party payments processor.
3.5% + $0.35
Shopify Inc. is a Canadian multinational e-commerce company that powers over 1,700,000 businesses in 175 countries worldwide. They’re a proprietary e-commerce platform for both online stores and retail point-of-sale systems
If you already have a Shopify store, it would make perfect sense to use Shopify Payments, since it’s already fully integrated.
It comes by default as part of the whole Shopify platform and you don’t need to integrate with other third-party payment providers. Another great perk is that if you choose to use Shopify Payments, there’ll be no additional transaction fee charged by Shopify!
Shopify Payments supports all credit and debit cards directly on their Shopify store. And if you decide to sell in person, you can take card payments with Shopify Point-of-Sale (POS); it offers POS hardware to support retail sales.
Additionally, it works well with several accounting applications to help with accounting and reporting. There’s also integration for Facebook shops, Pinterest Buyable Pins, Facebook Messenger, Amazon, eBay, and more!
Shopify offers 3 plans for those using its platform. These are available for fixed monthly fees. Payment system rates vary depending on the processor. For example, online credit card rates start from 2.9% + $0.30, and in-person credit card rates starting from 2.7% with no other fee.
Shopify is great for eCommerce businesses already using the Shopify platform. As such, if you’re an online retailer hanging on Shopify as your ultimate sales channel, Shopify Payments could be the best solution that suits you; everything is so much quicker since all actions take place in one spot.
To learn more about Shopify as a whole, read our Shopify review.
Formerly known as Moneybookers, Skrill came into being near 2001. It’s a digital wallet provider that offers online payment and money transfer services. The Paysafe Group then acquired Skrill along with former competitor Neteller in 2015.
Skrill offers an easy way to send and receive money. You can save your card details for faster purchasing, link your bank accounts, and make payments with your email address and password.
You can transfer money to your Skrill wallet via various payment options and then pay merchants, other Skrill users or transfer intocryptocurrency. It also supports cross-border payments via its remittance service, Skrill Money Transfer.
Like PayPal, Skrill employs rigorous fraud prevention tools known to freeze users’ accounts inconveniently; security does come at a price at times but is necessary.
Skrill trumps PayPal in terms of transaction costs. PayPal charges higher for a merchant transaction fee while Skrill charges much lower fees. However, in terms of security, PayPal takes the trophy.
Skrill shines in its fee structure which is comparatively lower than most competitors. For all transactions involving currency conversion, an additional fee of 3.99% gets charged to wholesale exchange rates. You can also apply for Skrill’s Virtual Prepaid Mastercard. You can have more than one card, but only your first is free.
Skrill is better suited for international merchants who do not need extremely high security. It also suits companies that need to deal in cryptocurrencies or offer a credit system for online games.
If you need a crypto wallet
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Payoneer is an American financial services company with a global presence in 24 countries. It provides online money transfer, digital payment services and helps customers with working capital. As of current writing, it’s helped 5 million customers!
In 2022, Payoneer entered into a merger agreement with FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: FTOCU), resulting in Payoneer becoming a publicly listed U.S. entity.
Payoneer specializes in diverse markets and industries. No matter the nature of your business (eCommerce, online advertising, freelancing, etc.), they can probably help you.
They’re flexible in that they allow single or mass payouts, plus the ability to receive payments and withdraw funds. It has a partner network and supports integrated, third-party, and escrow payments that help businesses get paid quickly and securely.
Like many on this list, Payoneer is an excellent option for international payments, thanks to multi-currency payments support. It’s ideal for businesses with customers both in the US and internationally and has speedy payments processing and cheaper rates on currency conversions.
Getting started with Payoneer is simple and doesn’t require any programming knowledge. You also get a debit card along with your online account so that you can withdraw funds from your bank or ATMs worldwide – very handy!
That said, PayPal may be best for domestic-focused businesses that want payment processing and POS software.
Payoneer’s fees are generally low. The credit card charge is 3% for all currencies, and ACH bank debit rates are 1%. You can withdraw funds to bank accounts in most currencies at up to 2% above the market rate. When you withdraw USD, EUR, or GBP to a local bank account, there is a fixed fee of $1.50.
Payoneer’s particularly great for small and medium-sized businesses. It is beneficial for freelance workers, primarily those with an international clientele. It’s a useful SME tool as well, thanks to the inclusion of an invoice system.
3.5% + $0.3
QuickBooks Payments is a merchant services provider that’s part of the enormous financial software company Intuit. It was created mainly as an integration for the company’s accounting software. However – it’s not a direct processor, and uses Fiserv as its back-end processor.
QuickBooks Payments works best when used with the accounting software QuickBooks. In other words, if you’re already using QuickBooks for your accounting purposes, using QuickBooks Payments is your best option since it integrates so seamlessly.
With QuickBooks Payments, you get invoicing, eCommerce support, ACH, and eChecks payments at a reasonable cost. You also get to set up recurring billing, take mobile card payments, and set up automated payment reminders.
What’s more, you’ll be able to connect your payments with payroll and timesheets. It also accepts credit card payments and debit cards online. Unlike PayPal, QuickBooks Payments does not have a free account.
There are 5 plans available on QuickBooks, but these are mainly for their accounting system. It’s a complete package deal that ranges in price between $15/mo to $80/mo. More advanced customized plans are available on request.
The rates for payments and cash per transaction are 1% for ACH bank payments and 2.9% + $0.25 for an invoice.
This system is best for freelancers and other small service-based businesses who also require a professional accounting tool. If you’re already using the QuickBooks bookkeeping software, go for this option, as the integration is smooth and secure.
To understand why there’s a need for so many PayPal alternatives, let’s look closely at PayPal. The brand is well established in the fintech space and has been around for over two decades now.
As one of the oldest non-bank means of digital money transfers, PayPal has provided an excellent and much-needed service. Today it acts as both a digital wallet and facilitator of money transfers. And yet…
Over time, the company has faced an uphill struggle to adequately balance user-friendliness while adhering to increasing regulation over financial activities. The result seems to be constant changes to policies and fees, plus many unhappy customers.
PayPal alternatives have found ways to make regulation painless to customers. Yet PayPal has allowed harsh regulations to mar its customer journey. The result is a wildly diverse PayPal experience for its global audience.
Rather than facing these troubles, it makes perfect sense for individuals and businesses to find a PayPal alternative. Thankfully, the market responded well, and there are many excellent candidates from which you can choose.
If you like what you’ve seen about the PayPal alternatives on our list, it’s time to take a deeper dive to see what will work best for you. Each of the brands here has its strengths, but you must also consider more granular details.
Digital payments or money transfer services often boast low charges, but the way prices are structured may not be equal. While you can’t do much about exchange rates, pay attention to the proportion of fixed and variable fees for each transaction.
Some brands may levy a higher variable fee, meaning you’ll pay much more as your transaction amounts go up. The best way of handling this is to consider your typical average transaction value and use it as a sample to see how much the total ends up being.
In some rare cases, a service provider may levy a monthly fee. They’re typically attached to a specific product like a prepaid or debit card. Skrill, for example, charges an annual fee for its prepaid card in certain regions.
Because of this, you need to note which services you’re signing up for specifically with each provider. You may inadvertently end up saddled with unexpected fees.
So far, we’ve looked at most service providers here from a general standpoint. This approach means the movement of money from Point A to Point B, or payments. However, there’s no denying that these services unlock many possibilities.
For example, Shopify is an excellent candidate for online businesses. In addition, they help physical retailers digitalize payments thanks to good support for PoS systems.
Some service providers try to maintain their little ecosystem. This is great if you’re extensively using them, but it’s often better to look towards more inclusive brands – especially if you’re a business and your needs are expanding rapidly.
Luckily, several brands on this list offer great compatibility with a range of other brands and services, which bodes well for long-term serviceability.
Once you’ve decided on a great PayPal alternative, just remember to visualize how it can fit into your overall operational process.
If the savings or other advantages are significant enough, you can consider making operational changes. Yet, if not, there is little point in risking a business change just to take advantage of minimal cost savings.
To recap everything, here are our top 3 PayPal alternatives that you should consider:
As a PayPal alternative, Wise is easily our top choice.
From sign-up to making our first transfer on Wise, the process took a matter of minutes. The transfer itself happened in a matter of seconds. It was a refreshing experience and one that not many other service providers are likely to duplicate easily.
While the payment alternatives we’ve listed here are all excellent, they have individual characteristics. That means that you’ll need to match the right solution to meet the demands of your circumstances in many cases.
The key takeaway, though? Digitally moving money shouldn’t be something that entails headaches and crazy fees. Because of this, we are especially partial to Wise for its service that redefines the term “ease of use.”
Despite our experience, you should look closely at the areas we’ve explained in how to choose your PayPal alternative. You need to place a strong focus on individual needs in tandem with overall benefits. Best of luck!