Want to know what are currently the best Paypal alternatives out there for small business owners, online sellers, and self-employed professionals? Check out this comprehensive list of online payment services divided into categories.
Note: This post was updated on April 10, 2013
The Hunt for an Alternative to Paypal
Before I get to my list, the first thing you need to realize is that if you are looking for a really good alternative to Paypal, you’re out of luck. The reality is that currently no one service even comes close to matching the combination of reach, ubiquity, and range of services offered by Paypal. For better or for worse, Paypal will likely continue its top dog role in the world of online payments and money transfers for years to come.
Nevertheless, if you have been burnt by Paypal in the past (and in that you certainly would not be alone), or have been struggling with certain aspects of the online payment network, such as high fees, long processing times, and its ability to freeze accounts, then there may be some viable options for you. But, which option will be best for you really depends on your particular circumstances.
Therefore, instead of giving you a straight list like most Paypal alternatives articles floating around, I am dividing the payment services into the following categories: Peer-to-Peer Money Transfers (US only), Online Money Transfer and Payment Networks, International Money Transfers and Payments, Credit and Debit Card Processing, and finally, Paypal Alternatives that Work with eBay. Though some of the online payment services can potentially fit under a few categories simultaneously, I will put each one in its main category but will also mention a few of the service’s other features so you can get an idea about what it has to offer.
Peer-to-Peer Online Money Transfer Services (US Only)
Dwolla – At Dwolla, all transactions cost a mere 25 cents, and if you are transferring less than $10 then it’s free. This goes for both P2P transactions as well as those conducted with a merchant. There are a couple of downsides, however. First, both parties involved in the transaction must have a Dwolla account. If you send money to someone who isn’t signed up, they will be asked to create an account in order to access the money. Second, the money takes a while to move through the system. In order to remedy the situation, they initiated an opt-in feature called “Instant.” that provides immediate access to the cash in your bank account. For this service you would required to pay a monthly $3 fee. If you don’t have enough cash in your bank account to make the purchase, you can have Dwolla spot you the money and then pay a $5 “late fee.”
Popmoney – Popmoney is a free personal payments service that works with the banking security systems already in place in many top financial institutions across the country. Popmoney allows you to transfer money electronically from your savings or checking account to anyone in the country who has a bank account and an email address or a mobile phone number. If the recipient has a bank account with any of the banks working with Popmoney, then the funds are directly deposited into the recipient’s specified bank account.
ZashPay- Like Popmoney, ZashPay is an online personal payment service that allows you to send and receive money into your bank account. If you belong to one of the over 900 banking institutions that have partnered with ZashPay, you will be able to use the service directly through your bank’s online system. Even if you do not bank at one of these institutions, you can still use the service as long as you have a checking account. It cost 75 cents to send money, but receiving funds is free.
Venmo- Another free personal payment service that allows you to send and receive payments by any mobile device.
Online Money Transfer and Payment Networks
Intuit Payment Network – Another formidable player in the money transfer game is the Intuit Payment Network (or IPN). With IPN, you can transfer money between bank accounts for a flat 50 cent fee. There are also several notable features: the money posts in 1 to 2 business days; you have the option of adding a payment button on your website; you can send payment requests to a customer’s email; and if you still want to offer payment by credit card to your customers, you can do so for a flat 3.25% fee per transaction.
WePay – WePay has gone to great lengths to position itself as the PayPal alternative, emphasizing the ease with which accounts can be opened and managed. Much like PayPal, it allows you to send bills to customers and get payments by credit card or e-check. The site charges a flat 3.5% fee per transaction, with a 50-cent minimum fee. Like IPN above, however, it takes only 1 to 2 business days for money to be sent to a confirmed bank account. There is also the option for a paper check to be sent to you by mail which will take about 5 business days.
Propay – ProPay is a easy-to-use, straightforward service that allows small businesses and sellers to accept credit card and debit card payments from all over the world. There is a simple fee structure, low annual fee, no gateway charges, no contracts, and no minimum monthly purchases. The funds are withdrawn with a ProPay Prepaid MasterCard or can be transferred directly to a US checking account. Propay is also approved for use on eBay.
Paymate – Paymate is a full-featured online payment service available to sellers in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. One big plus for the site is that it is an accepted eBay payment provider.
International Money Transfers and Payments
Skrill (Formerly Moneybookers) Skrill is a UK-based company, but has more than 10 million users in over 200 countries dealing with more than 40 currencies. The fees are competitive, the bank transfers done in real time, and the service is widespread. Once you receive payment via Money Bookers, you can apply for a MasterCard debit card and withdraw the cash from an ATM, receive the funds via check, or deposit them directly to your bank account.
Payoneer- Payoneer offers prepaid MasterCard debit cards for payroll and travel. Web based companies can apply to become a Payoneer partner which will allow them to pay their employees or organizational members with a MasterCard accepted all over the world.
Payza – (Formerly AlertPay) Shop or send money online to anyone in over 190 countries Shop or send money online to anyone in over 190 countries. There is a very reasonable fee structure, with many of the services offered for free.
Credit and Debit Card Processing and eCommerce platforms
Merchantinc – National Merchant Bankcard is marketed as a top “Paypal alternative.” If you run an online business, and you are not so fond of Paypal, then you may want to consider this merchant account service that lets you process credit card transactions. It also works with eBay. The service costs just under $8 a month, with a 1.99% + $0.25 per transaction fee.
Amazon Payments – Amazon Simple Pay can be used as a payment processing option for any of your online customers who have an Amazon Payments account. The service can be a bit pricey, however, if your sales volume is less than $1,000 per month on average. Otherwise, each transaction will cost between 1.90%- 2.50% + $0.30. You can also use your account to make personal transfers of funds between other account holders.
Google CheckOut - As an online payment processing system goes, Google Checkout has got a lot going for it: competitive fees, a fast checkout process, the ability to issue refunds, and frequent payouts. It allows sellers to accept Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and Visa Electron cards. There are also several key integrated features, such as ‘buy now’ buttons and e-commerce partners, and the service can be connected to your Google Analytics account.
Square – With Square, anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Android device can accept credit card payments using the free app and free card reader. The service levies a 2.75 % fee for swiped transactions and a 3.5 percent fee and $0.15 surcharge for any transactions that are entered manually. The funds are deposited directly into your linked bank account, and you can send your customer a receipt by email or print it out if you’re using an iPad hooked to a wireless printer.
BlueSnap- BlueSnap takes care of the payment operations for online merchants selling physical goods as well as digital content like music and games. The service’s biggest strength is its global reach: BlueSnap is available in 145 countries. The payment platform also makes it easy for merchants to choose a “buy now” model (think: buying a song on iTunes) or shopping cart model (think: Amazon). It also handles subscription billing and lets merchants offer deals and promotions at checkout.
Stripe- Stripe is another ecommerce payment option, but this service is particularly suitable for web developers who want the ability to customize the application.
Paypal Alternatives that Work with eBay
In some cases, the following online payment services may also be used on eBay (see eBay for more details):