Top eCommerce Payment Gateways for WordPress in 2017
Okay, so you’ve created a kickass design, your site’s running in tip-top shape, and your visitors are more than ready to convert. What more could you ask for?
But then your soon-to-be-customers get to the payment gateway and don’t see their preferred provider listed. Or there’s a security warning that’s thrown them off-guard. Or, even worse, they change their mind, want to go back to the site to add another item to their cart, but they realize they’re no longer on your site and don’t know how to get back.
Here’s the thing about payment gateways: you might not be responsible for designing them or developing the code that processes payments in the first place, but that doesn’t mean you can wipe your hands clean of what happens once your visitors land on them. If you’re including a payment gateway on your site, then it’s a part of your visitors’ experience and needs to be accounted for as you shape that experience for them.
So, what can you do to ensure that UX issues like the ones mentioned above don’t keep your visitors from converting? There’s really only one thing you can do: choose a payment gateway provider (or providers) that will provide a reliable and secure experience.
What Is a Payment Gateway?
To briefly describe what a payment gateway is, it’s a third-party tool that evaluates and processes payments from your customers. So, rather than set up a basic contact form that requires customers to fill in their information to place an order—which you would then need to manually process on your end—the payment gateway handles it on your behalf.
There are a number of benefits to using a payment gateway. The time savings is obviously one of them. There’s also the matter of PCI compliance. And there’s the flexibility in payment types you can accept by using a payment processing tool.
Of course, like with any other third-party system you bring into your WordPress site, there are a number of things that must be taken into consideration. Here is what you will need to think about:
With most third-party integrations, there’s almost always an upfront cost associated with it. However, when it comes to payment processors, you also need to take a closer look at the fine print as there are fees you’ll need to pay for each transaction processed. There are some that also charge your customers a fee in order to use the payment gateway—and nothing screams “depart this transaction immediately” more than an unexpected cost.
Some payment gateways enable users to add the payment gateway directly onto their site through an API. This can be a good thing as it prevents that feeling of disruption as visitors are shuttled to a different website to enter their payment information. However, there are some payment gateway providers that are so well-known and trusted (think of PayPal) where the disruption might not matter that much if customers feel more confident submitting payment information through that site instead of your own.
That’s ultimately what you need to keep in mind here: what will your customers be more comfortable with. Do they want one seamless process that occurs entirely on your site or would they be more comfortable paying through a well-known provider? You can use A/B testing to see which option leads to higher conversions or you can solicit feedback from your customers and ask them directly what they prefer.
You may run into a number of payment processors who require you to have a separate merchant account into which funds are deposited, which means yet another step you have to take care of in order to get your online payment system up and running. However inconvenient that may seem right now, though, it’s important to note that payment gateways who don’t require merchant accounts and are willing to directly deposit funds into your account are more likely to charge you a higher processing fee.
Obviously, this point can’t be stressed enough as security shouldn’t stop even if the purchase experience is handed over to another party. Your payment gateway should be just as secure to use, if not more, than your own website. This means they need an SSL certificate, additional encryption, and must be PCI compliant.
The first thing to do before signing with any payment processor is to check your site’s analytics. This will tell you which countries your visitors are located in, so you can include country-compatible payment methods, currencies, and translations in your payment gateway.
If you’re collecting revenue through your site, you need an easy way to collect the appropriate amount of taxes. While there will, of course, be local taxes, you’ll also have to be aware of country or region-specific taxes, like the value-added tax (VAT) in the EU. So, if you know you’re going to sell goods out of state or country, your payment gateway should be equipped to calculate those taxes for you.
For product sales, this might not be something you need to worry about. However, for those of you offering a recurring service or something that customers will purchase frequently enough, automated payments is definitely worth thinking about. One way to do this is to create an option for recurring payments. You may also want to create an auto-pay method whereby payment information from previous transactions can be saved so customers don’t have to re-enter it every time.
If your site is making sales, then you most definitely have an eCommerce or shopping cart plugin at your disposal. Not every payment gateway will work with your plugin of choice, so confirm compatibility before signing up.
And, of course, you’ve got to think about the design of the payment gateway. Will it allow for branding personalization so that it matches your site? Is it mobile responsive? How intuitive is it in terms of layout, numbers of steps or pages, etc.? Again, this is still part of your customers’ experience and you don’t want a bad design to ruin that.
Best Payment Gateways for WordPress
Alright, so now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s narrow down that search and compare the five best payment gateway providers for WordPress.
Here are just a few of 2CheckOut’s features:
- Cost: In addition to the standard fees per transaction, they also charge for international transactions and currency conversion.
- Payment Location: You can either use the API to put the checkout on your site or you can use “inline” checkout which moves the process to their site while making it still look like it’s on yours.
- Merchant Account: You need a merchant account in order to accept payments.
- Security: They are Level 1 PCI compliant.
- Global Friendliness: Their payment gateway is offered in 15 languages, includes 87 currency options, and they’ll process payments in over 200 markets.
- Payment Methods Accepted: They accept credit card, debit card, and PayPal payments, among others.
- Automated Payments: You can create pricing plans, flexible billing schedules, automated payments, and more.
- Plugin Compatibility: Works with WooCommerce, WP e-commerce, Zoho, Shopify, osCommerce, and more.
- Design: You can brand the gateway to match your site. The checkout page is also mobile-friendly.
Authorize.net is another widely accepted gateway that might offer precisely what you need:
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- Cost: There’s an initial $49 setup fee, a $25 monthly fee, as well as per-transaction fee.
- Payment Location: It’s up to you: this can go on your site or on Authorize.net’s.
- Merchant Account: You’ll need a merchant bank account to collect your payments.
- Security: You’ll have free access to Authorize.net’s fraud protection tools if you integrate gateway on your site. Otherwise, Authorize.net is PCI DSS certified.
- Global Friendliness: While you’re free to accept payments from around the world, you must reside in the U.S., Canada, UK, Europe, or Australia in order to use this service.
- Payment Methods Accepted: Payment types include credit card, Authorize.net e-checks, as well as digital payments like Apple Pay, PayPal, and VisaCheckout.
- Automated Payments: There are a number of options available. You can store customer information for future transactions, set up subscriptions, or create dynamic recurring billing schedules.
- Plugin Compatibility: Works with e-commerce and banking plugins like BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Moolah, QuickBooks, and Wells Fargo.
- Design: You’re free to personalize the look of your checkout page to match your brand.
Braintree offers another way to accept payments on your WordPress site. Check out some of its features:
- Cost: There are no monthly fees to use Braintree, just the standard per-transaction fee. Note that the fee depends on which country you’re processing payments from.
- Payment Location: You can use Braintree’s hosted service or you can use their drop-UI to put it directly on your site.
- Merchant Account: Since this is a PayPal service, you don’t need a merchant account.
- Security: Advanced fraud protection is included with this service.
- Global Friendliness: Braintree’s service will process payments in over 130 currencies and for customers in 44 countries.
- Payment Methods Accepted: You can accept payments from PayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay, Venmo, Masterpass, and more. In addition, you can split payments with other partners or providers.
- Automated Payments: There are recurring billing options for repeat customers, subscription-based services, as well as donations.
- Plugin Compatibility: This tool will integrate with a huge range of e-commerce and sales tools like Salesforce, Magento, Freshbooks, BigCommerce, and 3dcart.
- Design: You can customize the design of the checkout or use their ready-made interface.
4. PayPal Payments Pro
If you need a little extra out of PayPal, their Pro option is worth consideration:
- Cost: There’s a $30 monthly fee to use this service, in addition to the per-transaction fee assessed.
- Payment Location: You won’t have to send customers to PayPal. They’ll see the recognizable and trusted logo on your site, but they can stay right where they are to make a payment.
- Merchant Account: There’s no need for one with PayPal, but you do have the option if you want a quick and easy way to deposit funds into your bank account.
- Security: PayPal provides you with options to keep transactions on your site PCI compliant.
- Global Friendliness: PayPal accepts only six currencies from credit card providers. If customers make PayPal payments, though, they’ll take over 25 currencies from 200+ markets.
- Payment Methods Accepted: Because this is PayPal, a good portion of the payment types available come from them, including: PayPal standard payments, PayPal credit, as well as PayPal special financing. You can also accept credit cards, bank transfers, and even phone-based credit card payments.
- Automated Payments: I don’t believe this is an option.
- Plugin Compatibility: PayPal Pro supports most major shopping carts.
- Design: The UI is fully customizable. It also works across all devices, so you won’t have to worry about the mobile payment experience.
Stripe may be the last payment gateway on our list but it’s certainly not lacking in features:
- Cost: There are no setup or monthly fees. Aside from the usual per-transaction charges, the only costs you have to worry about are from customer chargebacks.
- Payment Location: You can create a totally custom checkout for your site or you can use their pre-built Checkout.
- Merchant Account: No need for a merchant account.
- Security: If you’re keeping customers on your site to process payments, Stripe offers developers the option to use client-side tokenization to ensure PCI compliance.
- Global Friendliness: Strips works in over 100 countries (for your and your customers’ base of operations) and accepts over 135 currencies. There’s no change for currency conversion either.
- Payment Methods Accepted: Stripe accepts all major credit cards, bank and debit payments, Bitcoin, and digital payments from Apple Pay and Android Pay. Their API tools also enable developers to set up alternative payment processing options like selling products from a tweet.
- Automated Payments: Stripe is set up to help all e-commerce business types: basic stores, on-demand marketplaces, subscription services, and even crowdfunding.
- Design: This tool was built with the developer in mind, so its capabilities can be extended with simple APIs.
By this point, you have a pretty good idea of what you need your payment gateway to do. You may also have a few providers above that you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on.
PayPal is a great choice if you want to leverage the trusted name of a payment processor that over 184 million people already use.
Stripe is the most developer-friendly platform, so if you really want to get into the personalization of your checkout page, this is a good one to go with.
2Checkout seemed to be the most global-friendly of the options, so if you’re hoping to cast a wider net, that may be the one you want to turn to.
If you’re trying to avoid signing up for a bunch of different payment processors, you could always just use an e-commerce plugin that already has an extensive list of payment options built in. WPMU DEV’s MarketPress plugin does just that. It includes most of the payment methods mentioned above, consequently saving you time in trying to collect each of them piecemeal.