The Best Online Payment Platform for Start-Ups


The rise of online payment processors has made it easier than ever for startups to process card payments. Even a small, single-product store can now cater to a global market. What’s more, these processors cost significantly cheaper to run than most commercial point of sale (POS) systems, merchant accounts, and payment processors.

Having a diverse set of options can feel liberating and exciting if you know what type of processor your business needs. However, first-timers and startup owners might find the experience intimidating. With all these options available online, how would you narrow down your choices?

Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve taken the liberty of listing down some of the best payment processors for small eCommerce businesses and startups:

Best Overall: Stripe

Transaction Rate: 2.9% + $0.30

Stripe takes the spot as our number choice of payment processor for startups of all sizes. They are one of the largest, most well-known processors on the market. In fact, 90% of all online shoppers in America have purchased from a Stripe-powered payment gateway at least once before.

Business owners continue to choose Stripe for flexible, scalable plans. Unlike other payment processors, you won’t have to look for another brand as your business grows and acquires various processing needs. You can scale your business along with Stripe.

Key Features:

  • Automated invoicing
  • Recurring billing collection
  • 24/7 multi-channel customer support
  • Localized payment channels
  • Top-notch fraud prevention program
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices

Best for Global Orders: 2Checkout

Transaction Rate: 3.5% + $0.35

If you cater to a global market, you should read up on 2Checkout. The processor features 2Sell, a specialized payment gateway that offers a streamlined, localized buying experience to shoppers worldwide. Their servers operate in more than 200 countries and support 100 different currencies.

Apart from their streamlined global payment gateways, they also offer multiple features to help sellers integrate all their existing eCommerce shops for easy order tracking. They even provide customizable and preset checkout cart templates.

Key Features:

  • Supports various goods and products
  • 120+ checkout cart templates
  • Recurring billing collection
  • Suitable for global expansion

Best for Omnichannel Sales: WePay

Transaction Rate: 2.9% + $0.30

If you run both an eCommerce and brick-and-mortar shop, check out WePay. When it comes to omnichannel sales, merchants would be hard-pressed to find a payment processor that can keep up with WePay’s system.

Their program allows for easy integration between multiple channels. That way, you can streamline all orders and payments made through online and in-person sales. They also support ACH payments at a lower transaction rate of 1% plus $0.30.

Key Features:

  • Customizable checkout flow
  • Same-day deposit and transaction available
  • Easy setup process
  • Coverage loss for chargebacks

Best for eCommerce Shops: PayPal

Transaction Rate: 2.9% + $0.30

PayPal offers a streamlined online payment platform for all kinds of eCommerce shops that want to start processing card payments. You can easily integrate their system into various eCommerce shop builders, such as BigCommerce, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and Shopify.

In the past decades, the company has made a name for itself as one of the most secure, trusted platforms online. In fact, the company claims that simply adding their payment gateway to your shop will already increase conversion rates by 40%.

Also, clients can feel at ease knowing PayPal has strict fraud prevention tactics and guidelines that protect both merchants and shoppers. They will suspend your account or hold your funds if they notice any unusual transactions. This process can get tedious and time-consuming, but it does a great job reducing your risk of fraudulent chargebacks.

Key Features:

  • Simplified PCI compliance
  • Global payment platform
  • Accepts card payments in 6 different currencies
  • Advanced fraud protection program
  • $30 monthly fee

Best for New Startups: Braintree

Transaction Rate: 2.9% + $0.30

Startups looking for a simple, streamlined online payment platform can try Braintree. They have a straightforward platform that allows you to collect card and mobile wallet payments in more than 130 different currencies. Plus, since they are a subsidiary of PayPal, you can expect a similar level of security and protection.

Braintree also offers multiple features to automate daily operations, such as customer information management, data encryption, account updaters, and billing trackers. That way, you can focus on scaling your startup.

Key Features:

  • 2.9% + $0.30
  • Recurring billing collections
  • Third-party integration support
  • Advanced fraud protection program

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Payment Processor


Reports indicate that businesses lose $150 for every stolen piece of data. That means compromising even just 1,000 records would already set you back by around $150,000. For new businesses with relatively little capital and insurance protection, this amount could quickly put them out of commission. What’s worse is that cyberattacks occur every 39 seconds.

To prevent the risk of a data breach, we strongly suggest going with reputable, well-known processors with a secure payment gateway. Look for systems that fully encrypt all transferred data.

Transaction Rates

Do not blindly sign up for the payment processor that charges the lowest rates. Processors have varying pricing plans that consist of multiple tiers, rates, and fixed fees. You need to find one that matches your processing needs.

For example, if you filter your options based on the transaction fees alone, you’ll see that GoPayment has the lowest per-transaction rate at just 2.4% +$0.25. However, the fixed fee of $0.25 can add up if you have multiple small orders.

In which case, you can turn to PayAnywhere. They have a higher per-transaction rate of 2.69%, but they do not charge a fixed fee. This pricing model makes PayAnywhere ideal for startups that process multiple small orders daily.

Sample Computation:

If you had a thousand $5 transactions, you’d end up paying a total of $370 for GoPayment’s services. With PayAnywhere, on the other hand, you’ll only have to shell out a total of $134.50 for payment processing.

Miscellaneous Fees

Payment processors charge more than just per-transaction fees. Watch out for miscellaneous charges, as these can add up to thousands of dollars without you knowing. Other fees to take into consideration include:

  • Monthly Fees: Many quality payment processors charge monthly subscription fees. However, make sure you fully understand what you’re signing up for—especially since you need to settle monthly dues regardless of how many transactions you process.
  • Application Fees: We discourage working with payment processors that charge applicants before they even pass the screening process.
  • Early Termination Fees: You don’t have to avoid every company that charges early termination fees. However, if they have lock-in contracts as well, you might want to reconsider your decision.
  • POS Systems: Check if you need to purchase or rent your POS systems. Some payment processors provide payment gateways and card readers for free.

Service Arrangements

Read your contract multiple times before agreeing to any strict, legally binding arrangements. Do not just skim through the pages. Otherwise, you might end up unknowingly signing up for unfair terms that force you to pay insane monthly fees or a set number of years.

Extra Features

Payment processors add extra features to their POS systems. These can help streamline or automate various parts of your eCommerce business, such as invoicing, order shipping, inventory, and sales tracking.

User Interface

Look for processors that offer simple, streamlined hardware and software programs. You wouldn’t want to spend all your time figuring out how to work the program’s user interface. You need a device that you can easily manage.

Although, technologically adept digital natives with a firm grasp of modern technology should consider using more advanced, complex systems. Yes, these take longer to learn. However, most complex systems showcase a wide range of features, which would significantly boost business performance if utilized.

Mobile Payment Accommodation

Studies show that well over half of all working Americans have used mobile payment apps at least once. Plus, experts predict that this population might start using their payment apps more frequently. With that in mind, consider investing in an online payment processor that accepts mobile payments as well. Otherwise, you risk a lot of potential sales.

When choosing a mobile processor, look for options that process transactions via the most popular mobile payment apps on the market, such as Paypal, Apple Pay, and Venmo.

Customer Support

eCommerce shops need to have their payment gateway up and running 24/7. Even a few minutes of downtime can give your brand a negative review, especially as you build your customer base.

With that in mind, startups should look for payment processors with a 24-hour customer service team on standby. That way, you can ask for help at any time.

Processors follow varying customer service protocols. For example, PayPal and Square have standard 24-hour hotlines. Meanwhile, options like Durango go above and beyond by providing each client with a dedicated account manager. Check out your options and see which works best for you.

Main Takeaway

One-size-fits-all solutions do not exist. Look for a processor that addresses your payment processing needs, protects sensitive customer information, and offers extra features that would benefit your business.

While we do encourage exploring other processors that allow small business owners to start accepting online payments, you might want to skip on lesser-known brands with little to no reviews. Always do your research prior to any transaction. Shady, disreputable processors often bait unsuspecting clients with insanely low transaction rates.

Which of these online payment platforms would you feel most comfortable using for your startup? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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