Do you run your business online? Then you must have come across a necessity to link a payment system. And what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term "payment system"? Obviously, PayPal.
An 18-year-long history, millions of transactions in more than 190 countries – in terms of frequency of usage in the USA PayPal is second only to direct credit card payments on the Internet. It supports 24 national currencies, has over 170 million registered users, guarantees safety of all money transactions, allows paying bills, making purchases, receiving and accepting money transfers regardless of countries or banks.
Why to look for alternatives to PayPal?
I could write a book about its benefits and the history of success, however, today we will talk about the dark side of PayPal. For instance, someone may dislike the paid subscription or may consider the transaction fee too high (mostly, non-US citizens) and somebody could get his account blocked for no apparent reason. There are many possible situations when a service like PayPal (but not PayPal itself) may be needed.
Prudence is a vital quality for a good businessman and in case your client or partner doesn't want to use PayPal, you should keep a few aces up your sleeve in the shape of alternative payment systems. And, believe me, there are enough reasons to look for other options:
For some reason, your client may prefer (or insist on) using PayPal alternative and you should be able to suggest one if you don't want to lose him. However, if this decision causes more trouble and expenses than profit, you will hardly be happy. In this case, you'd better think everything through.
There is a legend that PayPal can block an account for many reasons… and, actually, without any reason as well. Whether it's true or not, the prospect of facing this challenge is not joyful. You should always have plan B.
PayPal is convenient for small amounts, but when it comes to thousands of dollars, paying by cheques or Wire Transfer may suit you more.
PayPal's commission is far from being the lowest – sums can go as high as hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month! Of course, there are online payment methods, like PayPal but cheaper. Unfortunately, they usually have their own restrictions.
When PayPal and eBay were a single whole, all main competitors of the company were closed down or sold. However, the split of these business giants in 2015 allowed other companies to come out of the shade and make themselves known. Let's take a look at several currently active and developing payment systems which can substitute PayPal.
This fast-growing start-up was initially designed for developers, thus, it requires advanced programming skills to customize it correctly. Stripe allows to accept credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and JCB, in online stores. Devs will appreciate the ability to integrate the payment system into their projects using Stripe API.
Stripe's fee constitutes 2,9% + 30 cents for each transaction, similar to PayPal. The latter, though, offers discounts depending on the sum: 2,5% + 30 cents for $3000, 2,2% + 30 cents for $10000 and so on. But such functionality as chargeback, using credit card funds and international payments are free on Stripe, while they aren't on PayPal. Moreover, you don't need an account to work with Stripe – it is enough to have an active credit or debit card.
Former Google's Checkout. Initially this system was designed to pay for internal services, such as Google Earth, Google Video, Picasa, Android Market (Google Play). However, later it became possible to shop in any online store with Google Wallet.
It's a simple and safe service which operates directly with a credit card - there is no need to open an account. An undeniable advantage is the absence of a commission while an apparent drawback is the inability to keep your money on the account and make money transfers between users.
Google Wallet is meant to work with online stores only and in fact it is an intermediary between them and the buyer – the seller gets the money from the Google company (without any confidential information like card number or email address) and Google withdraws the sum of money requested by the seller from the buyer's credit card.
Apart from actual customer service and fraud protection, WePay stands out among other PayPal competitors thanks to the possibility to make payments without leaving the site, like through a virtual terminal. WePay sticks to the "3 No's" rule – no hidden payments, no registration fee and no monthly charges for account operation.
For bank payments, WePay charges $1 for each transaction, for processing transactions with plastic cards - 2,9%. Among other functions, you have to pay only for a chargeback, which costs $15. Such things as payout, platform management tools and risk validation operations are included. According to the official site: "hidden fees and costs – none".
Skrill, formerly known as Moneybookers, has some interesting features: free set-up, low costs and the possibility to send text messages directly to your account. It's quite a popular, long-playing (since 2001) and simple alternative to PayPal.
What makes it one of top PayPal alternatives is a high level of safety (Skrill requires a verification of your identity), free money transfers between system users, free deposits and payouts, low fees (1,9%-4,9%), a possibility to withdraw money to your bank account and Visa card, as well as the existence of their own Skrill Prepaid MasterCard (which, however, is available only to VIP users).
One more pleasant feature is VIP status which provides a range of benefits depending on the overall sum of the deposits made by the user. The drawback is the obligatory process of verification and restrictions of payment cancellation.
Free transactions for everyone, for any type of transaction - isn't it a good reason to pay attention to Dwolla?
Dwolla is quite an innovative service which positions itself as future cash equivalent. It works without intermediaries, ATMs, plastic cards or other payment systems by processing transfers on the basis of P2P (peer-to-peer) platform.
Thanks to the technologies used in Dwolla, the system works fast and securely. It allows you to send money to a friend through Facebook or pay in a café via your mobile phone as well as to do shopping in online stores, transfer money to charity organizations and any firms that cooperate with Dwolla. Besides, Dwolla has flexible API for fast access to ACH (Automated Clearing House).
Drawbacks: currently it is available only in the US.
Payoneer is quite an interesting way to accept online payments. After registration, you will get a Payoneer MasterCard which will be sent to any place around the world. Creating an account is free but in order to activate the card, you will have to pay company's yearly service fee – $29,95. However, when you put the first $100 on your card balance, you get a bonus of $25 - thus, the first year of using Payoneer costs you $5.
After activation, you can move money to your balance through a bank or other cards. All funds are transferred directly to Payoneer MasterCard (not to your account balance) and become available within 2 hours. The activated card can be used in many countries and in different currencies both for online and offline payments.
Big platforms have been cooperating with Payoneer for a long time: Facebook, eBay, AliExpress, Amazon and even other systems for making online payments, like PayPal itself and Skrill. You can withdraw funds at ATMs in any country that accepts MasterCard. However, it is solely debit card - it does not allow overdrafts and you can spend only funds that you have on your balance.
A pleasant feature is the absence of any taxes - Payoneer treats users as non-US residents so the tax statement in your country is left at your discretion.
Among the negative aspects it's worth mentioning the possible conflict between Payoneer policy and legislations of different countries. Payoneer representatives say that their debit card gives access to the service account and doesn't link it to a bank account.
Selz will perfectly suit for selling any media content: music, software, films and any other digital information. With WordPress plugin, when you create an account it also creates a profile on Facebook store absolutely for free. The buyer has possibility to review photos and videos of the item before purchasing it.
The process of buying itself takes place directly on the item page. Selz accepts payments via MasterCard and Visa in 190 currencies. The cost is 5% transaction fee plus 25 cents with every purchase through the service.
As we see, PayPal is far from being the only payment system nowadays. There are lots of alternatives and apart from those mentioned above, you may also pay attention to ClickBank, Braintree, Click2Sell, ProPay, Intuit, Authorize.net, 2CheckOut, E-Junkie, Payza, as well as eWay, which we've already described in our earlier article. You will surely find the best PayPal alternative that meets both the requirements of your business and your partners' demands.
Even if you are fully satisfied with PayPal and you haven't even thought of looking for other options, it is still worth to learn what its alternatives can offer. PayPal is quite an old platform with a reputation that works for it. With such scale, it's much more difficult to keep everything under control, resolve service issues and respond to customer's complaints timely.
Whereas new online payment processors are fully focused on attracting people and they are striving to raise the quality level – after all, they need to compete with PayPal! Of course, they will all have to pass the test of time – the weak ones will leave the stage and those, which continue to improve, will reach the top. However, even now many of them may turn out to be much more attractive than good old PayPal.