22 Paypal Alternatives for Small Business Owners, Online Sellers, & the Self-Employed

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

 

 Anti Paypal

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

Currently there are several online payment services that work with eBay for those based in the U.S. Merchantinc, Propay, and Paymate are the major methods; their descriptions can be found above.

In some cases, the following online payment services may also be used on eBay (see eBay for more details):

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Adam,
    I never heard some of these payment services. I have only heard about 6 of them, but the current one am using for my business is “Payoneer” :)

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!

    Valentine

  2. Procurement Books says

    I’ve tried Xoom before and it’s okay. For money transfers, i think it costs 9.99 USD. You have the option to receive the payment through a Xoom center or get the payment wired to your bank account. Paypal takes 2-4 banking days to withdraw funds, and that can be a really long time for most people.

  3. says

    In the quest for low cost PCI Compliant ecommerce payment systems, given the high rates listed for each one (and PayPal continues to be anti-merchant), may I ask why not work with one’s bank and go with authorize.net or companies like authorize.net?

  4. Adam Gottlieb says

    Services like authorize.net are definitely worth looking into, but I think the fee structure may make it prohibitive for many small businesses.

  5. Fletch says

    I just signed up with MerchantInc last week after finding this article and what a pleasure it has been. After being jerked around by paypal for years it’s nice with to deal with a company that actually cares and wants your business. The set up process has been very easy and I have all ready used it for a few of my eBay auctions. I also like the fact that they offer a free app for my Android because I do sell on a few art fairs every year and this will give me the ability to accept payments anywhere.

  6. says

    Memeberchimp.com is an independent portal that takes care of all of your e-commerce needs. It is different because it has simple UI with absolutely $0 setup cost and to add to the treat,there is no monthly fees.There are no long installations and it cuts across boundaries of nations.Accepts payments across the Globe.They provide online payment solutions even in pakistan.They support all the payment options including Paypal, Payza, Moneybookers & Credit/Debit Cards. User makes the payment and they add that amount to your MemberChimp account. Redeem it by paypal, check or bank transfer without any hassles.Easy payment solution
    for every business.

  7. Brian says

    It would be good if you didn’t have the buttons that are on the lerft of your page that are covering up the article making it a royal PITA to READ~! THUMBS DOWN for that

  8. Adam Gottlieb says

    It’s looks fine on my end with two different browsers. You can click on that green Share icon and the whole thing collapses. You can also make the window zoom out by pressing the control button plus the minus button at the same time. I’ve had the same issue with other sites, did this and everything formatted fine.

  9. says

    A fellow small business person I know created a Gmail account specifically for making PayPal payments so this should eliminate any fear that your e-mail will become exposed because should one start receiving a lot of spam, they can simply start with a new one.

  10. says

    We have been looking for an alternative to PayPal. While money transferred say from USD to GBP is OK, the PayPal fees for GBP to GBP are just obscene, given that we can transfer from bank to bank account for nothing. We need to accept and make payments (not from a website, just money transfers) between GBP and USD (and possible EUR) but whatever system, there seems to be a closed shop. Amazon only works in the US and Skrill specifically doesn’t work in the US. Dwolla looks interesting but again is US-based only. Google checkout requires you to have a google account and again is really directed at web shopping rather than money transfers.

    Does anyone know of a system that will compete with Paypal or should I just buy some paypal shares and put 4% onto payments made via paypal???.

  11. BewareofMommaBear says

    Hii Adam,
    The calmer MommaBear here, lol. I jumped over to this article from the eBay one, and wanted to mention something that many people don’t know. Transferring money on a personal level – such as between friends and family – is free on PayPal (I think – unless a credit card is used – then there’s just a small (0.45?) transaction fee). This is off the top of my head – I haven’t actually looked to see if there’s been fee changes or if my memory is wrong. It was the last time I checked at least :)

    Anyway, the reason I mention this is because I love PayPal for some things, and hate them for others. I think the smartest thing a person can do is to perhaps have a few different payment accounts set up – and then just use the best services in each one. For example, I might decide to start using Propay for my eBay sales, but even if I did, I would keep my Paypal account open and in good standing, so when my brother 3000 miles away needs a few dollars, I can send it to him instantly and at no cost. (Not that many years ago, I would have to use Western Union to send him money, and that was NOT cheap, let alone free.)
    This is just a thought – it’s great that’s you’ve given so many Paypal alternatives here – thank you. I just wanted to point out a feature that I believe is one of PayPal’s true “pluses” (which indeed can be few – depending on your point of view).
    Have a wonderful day!
    Sharon

  12. Adam Gottlieb says

    Hi Sharon,

    Yes, it is still free to send money to family/friends via Paypal. I use this feature all the time. It definitely pays to keep a Paypal account active for this and for those times when there is no other option.

    Regarding using different accounts for different things: In some cases that could work- especially if only one or two alternatives are being used simultaneously. It’s a big reason why I wrote the post. But the truth is that not always do small business owners, online sellers, or freelance workers have a choice, as I mentioned above. For example, some prevalent software services only work with Paypal as the payment gateway.

  13. Nayera says

    Hello Adam,

    Great article. Would you happen to know if there is any service that can be used for a country like Egypt? I am having a hard time finding _any_ payment method to offer to start my online store.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Nayera.

  14. Nayera says

    Hello Adam,

    I am checking it out, I also got a reply from BlueSnap, so that might be another option as well.

    Thanks for replying back. Appreciate it.

    -Nayera.

  15. says

    One problem I’ve had with services like Square is that they can hold your money without warning. I know that they have to do this to protect themselves from fraud, but I really need to get paid quickly. Does anyone know of any alternatives to paypal for small businesses with about $7,000 in weekly sales that consistently pay within the week?

  16. Waseem says

    Dear Sir,

    Your article is great but i have a question regarding this I am from Pakistan and i want sell on ebay
    and Pakistan is not listed on paypal right now i am trying skrill moneybooker but i am getting problem in verification of my visa debit card and my bank account for adress verification i have received mail from skrill that they have sent me the letter on my address.
    Sir I want to know is there any possibility for me to sell on ebay form Pakistan and receive payments online.
    it would very thankful to you

    Waiting for your reply
    Waseem Arif

  17. alice says

    Great article as i am having huge prolems with paypay as a seller on an ecommerce website (UK). They wont protect any of my seller transactions…and i cant find out why i.e. i have correct shipping addresses, my paypal account has been verified, i ship with couriers track and trace, they confirm that the products i am selling online are fine for seller protecton…but no protection and i still cannot find out why. I have two different paypal accounts for two different businesses…and have the problem with both (which seems to be much of a coincidence so i am wondering is it their policy really ?). is there any alternative to paypal that you would recommend for selling online in the UK ? and has anyone else come across this issue of ‘no seller protection ‘?

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