May 21, 2021

10 Best Payment Processing Software of 2021 (Compared)

by Hanson Cheng

Mulling over which payment processing software to pick for your business?

Here’s the thing. 

If you don’t get paid, you have no business to speak of. So you must choose the best payment solutions to rack up payments, pay vendors efficiently and help your business flourish.

In this guide, I will show you the 10 best payment processing software on the market so you choose wisely.

What Is Payment Processing Software?

A payment processing software, aka payment gateway, is an application that facilitates online payments. It acts as a link between a seller’s website and the buyer’s bank that processes credit or debit card transactions.

The payment gateway confirms and approves transactions. 

Payment processing software is the key to successful eCommerce. It allows customers to do business with confidence in a secure environment.

3 Types Of Online Payment Processing Software

There are three types of payment processing software.

  Hosted Payment Gateways

This is a payment system that redirects customers to a third-party payment service provider (PSP) outside the merchant’s website. 

Your customers leave your website to complete a payment on the PSPs website. Once they complete the transaction, they will be redirected back to your website.

  Platform-based Payment Gateways

Unlike hosted payment gateways that require users to go elsewhere to checkout, with platform gateways merchants sell directly from their website servers.

Customers do the whole transaction on your site.

Local Bank System Gateways

Local bank gateways work like hosted gateways. This software system sends buyers to a local bank’s website where they complete a transaction.

When they’ve finished, they return to the seller’s site.

10 Best Payment Gateways For Smart Businesses Serious About Growth

Seeing you now understand payment processing solutions, and how they work, let’s go deeper. Let’s look at the 10 leading payment processing software and how they stack up against each other.

If you’ve done online business for a while, you’ve heard about PayPal, an American online payment software company.

Businesses all over the world use the PayPal merchant account to accept payments online. They have a staggering 377 million users. In 2020, they processed a jaw-dropping $936 billion worth of transactions.

PayPal Features

  • Stay on-brand by letting customers pay for your goods or services, without leaving your website.
  • Flexible checkout methods allow customers to pay on your website, via an app, or using mobile devices.
  • Offer recurring or subscription payments so repeat customers skip lengthy payment processes and checkout faster.
  • Send professional invoices to your customers and get paid faster without paying a penny more for the service.
  • Sell on social media across different platforms. You can include a product description, product photo, and a payment link.
  • Get a nimble point of sale software for in-person card payments. Take payments from smartphones and tablets through swipe readers.

PROS

  • Easy sign-up and set up so you get going fast.
  • Most customers prefer checking out using PayPal, therefore you will cover the bulk of your customer segment.
  • You get a PayPal debit card to get instant access to your money from most ATMs.
  • You can insert ‘buy’ buttons on your website and also offer a buy now, pay later option that’s popular with customers.

CONS

  • PayPal is notorious for freezing accounts at the slightest provocation. Getting the suspension lifted can take months.
  • Checking account transfers isn’t instant. You get your money after 72 business hours.

Paypal is best for entrepreneurs who are starting and want to collect payments cheaply.

Next up is PayPal’s fierce competitor, Stripe.

Certainly, Stripe is one of the leading payment gateways on the market. Companies, big and small, spanning mom-and-pop shops to fancy Fortune 500s use the Stripe payment gateway system to accept payments, send money, and manage their businesses online.

Stripe Features

  • Accept global payments from 35+ countries and support 135+ currencies. Enjoy chargebacks protection.
  • Send automated global payouts while meeting the ever-changing Payment Card Industry (PCI) security compliance standards.
  • Native integrations with famous online business solutions like Shopify, Woo Commerce, ClickFunnels, Squarespace, and more.
  • Accept payments online using a machine learning-powered system that reduces fraud and maximizes conversions.
  • Collect recurring payments and support dozens of payment types like cards and ACH transfers with ease.
  • Embed payments and financial services into your website and speed up growth while keeping your brand identity.

PROS

  • No setup fees, no monthly payments, no contracts.
  • They have five customer support channels: email, help center, social media, chat, and 24/7 phone help if you want to speak to a human.
  • Free, customizable billing and invoicing system for sales below $1 million.
  • Process payments 3x faster with pre-built invoices at a low, predictable rate of 2.9% plus $0.30 per card swipe.

CONS

  • They limit their service to 39 countries in America, Europe, and Asia. Tough luck if your country isn’t in any of these regions.
  • Their user interface (UI) isn’t the most intuitive compared to other payment software solutions.

Stripe is best for eCommerce brands that want a feature-rich but inexpensive platform.

Another payment processing software loved by many online businesses is Square.

As one of the best payment processing software around, Square does three jobs superbly. First, you can collect credit card payments and build your eCommerce empire. It can also handle in-person transactions and also doubles up as an inventory management system.

It’s a powerful all-in-one payment processing solution.

Square Features

  • Take credit card payments on your website without coding including recurring billing automation.
  • Sync everything under one eCommerce platform: point of sale, invoices, and contactless payments.
  • Sell everywhere your customers linger: online, in-store, on social media, and on-the-go via mobile apps.
  • Turn new customers into repeat buyers through smart customer management tools like customer loyalty programs, customer directory, and messaging.
  • The square business debit card gives you instant access to your cash. No annual or monthly fees, just pure convenience.
  • Integrate your Square account effortlessly with a wide range of well-known third-party apps used in major niche industries.

PROS

  • They have low fixed transaction fees of 2.6% plus $0.10 per swipe.
  • You get a free point of sale (POS) app and swipe card reader for secure, convenient payment processing.
  • Your money arrives in your bank account in 48 hours, which is quicker than other online payment solutions.
  • Their dashboard is straightforward so you can easily track sales, abandoned cart recoveries, and buyer journeys.

CONS

  • Square is a rigid payment processor with little room for customization.
  • Hidden costs as you must pay for costly third-party tools to make it work the way you want it to.

Square is best for fledgling businesses because they don’t charge monthly fees.

Moving right along we will now discuss 2Checkout.

Founded way back in 2000, 2Checkout is another online payment software option you can consider. Its mission is to simplify online payments for business owners. You can use the software to sell online services, SaaS products, and physical products to a global audience.

Let’s sample their major offerings.

2Checkout Features

  • Supports multiple payment methods like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, American Express, Discover, and debit cards.
  • Quick setup so you process international payments within minutes. Sell to a global clientele in a massive 200+ countries.
  • Build sustainable long-term revenue through the subscription billing function that also reinforces customer relationships.
  • Collect payments for your service-based business and also sell physical products online.
  • Integrates with 120+ famous shopping carts and accounting software to give customers the best customer experience.
  • A localized ordering interface that gives buyers a fulfilling, personalized buying experience.

PROS

  • Accept mobile payments with a smooth, optimized mobile-responsive checkout experience that allows your customers to buy using mobile devices.
  • Available in most countries of the world, including regions left out by other payment service providers, e.g. Asia and Africa.
  • Easy to use interface and a nice-looking dashboard.
  • Takes PayPal payments which is a big deal since millions of people use it to pay for goods and services.

CONS

  • 2Checkout has an arduous account authorization process, easily the worst in the payments industry.
  • High transaction fees of 3.5% and $0.35 per completed sale for the base plan and $6% plus $0.60 for the top plan.

2Checkout is best for businesses in underserved regions.

Payline Data is a fast-growing company in the online payment processing industry. 

They provide merchant accounts for businesses of all sizes from startups to large, established retailers. If you are a high-risk merchant, choose Payline because they serve everyone including high-risk industries. They accept credit and debit cards, do invoicing, recurring billing, ACH payments, and more.

Payline Data Features

  • Tokenization of customer data for fast electronic payments, payment reminders, refunds, and sending receipts.
  • Process mobile payments so customers pay you, anytime, anywhere through a secure and intuitive credit card reader for iPhones and Android.
  • The Clover POS system can integrate with your current setup so you only change the processor on the backend.
  • Specialized niche payment processing solutions for high-risk merchants, healthcare, medical, and nonprofits.
  • Subscription management software that automates and streamlines your credit card processing and improves your cash flow.
  • Blazing fast batch upload system that processes 50k transactions within an hour.

PROS

  • Simple, cheap, and transparent pricing model—no long-term contracts.
  • You get your funds in just two days via an electronic funds transfer (EFT)
  • Topnotch fraud protection and account security to keep your funds safe.
  • They have a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate and allows you to do what you want instinctively.

CONS

  • It comes with minimums and monthly fees which balloons your overhead costs.
  • Their customer support is only available Monday through Friday, so tough luck if you need help during the weekend.

Payline Data is the perfect fit for high-risk merchants.

Adyen is a Dutch merchant services company.

They provide payment processing services that facilitate eCommerce, mobile, and POS system payments. You can sell to a global audience through the platform and drive recurring revenue for your business.

Here are the feature highlights of this growing payment processing solution.

Adyen Features

  • Supports Apple Pay for accepting payments from IOS devices and increases payment methods available for customers.
  • Accept online and in-app payments on any digital channel or device.
  • Protect your company from fraudsters and stay ahead of the game using the latest risk reduction techniques.
  • Squeeze maximum value from each transaction and unlock more revenue using data and machine learning intelligence.
  • A detailed, centralized data and reporting system that allows you to see exactly what’s going on in your online store and offline.
  • Boosts authorization rates and lowers transaction fees by connecting merchants directly with global and local card schemes.

PROS

  • They make accepting payments online across all sales channels easy.
  • Superfast payment authorization and rock-solid security for all transactions.
  • Customer-friendly payment system—no set-up fees, no application fees, no PCI compliance fees, no monthly fees.
  • Available in developing countries ignored by most payment processors.

CONS

  • Unsuitable for high-risk merchants.
  • Not a good fit for businesses with low monthly volumes since they demand a monthly minimum of sales.

Adyen is ideal for large enterprises that sell huge monthly volumes.

Authorize.net provides online payment processing services for merchants that want to accept payments efficiently, anytime, anywhere.

It allows sellers to take credit card payments, contactless payments, and electronic checks in-person or on the move. Authorize.net is a subsidiary of Visa, one of the most recognized financial institutions in the world.

Here’s what you get inside this payment software.

Authorize.net Features

  • A powerful POS system that enables in-person payment collection. They provide it for free with your Authorize.net account.
  • Easily handle recurring payments through subscription billing and other invoicing options like trial billing.
  • Offer your customers flexible payment options such as debit cards, credit cards, eChecks, and digital payments like Visa Click To Pay, PayPal, and Apple Pay.
  • Card on file capability allows customers to checkout faster since they don’t have to re-enter their card details.
  • Batch upload allows you to upload many credit cards and eCheck transactions in one file and avoid manual inputting of data.
  • Advanced Fraud Detection Suite to sniff out bogus transactions.

PROS

  • They cater to subscription economy businesses that need robust recurring billing solutions.
  • You can accept convenient mail and phone payments through their secure virtual terminal.
  • Super easy to use for both merchants and customers.
  • They provide for both hosted and integrated payment processing solutions.

CONS

  • They only work with businesses in the UK, U.S, Canada, Australia, and Australia.
  • Hard to set up if you are a small business. Many competitors offer painless one-click integrations with your website.

Authorize.net is a good fit for big businesses that need a merchant account to manage their payment operations.

Marketing 360 is an all-in-one marketing platform for small businesses.

They have industry-specific tools and dedicated marketing teams to help you scale your business. Not only do they help you manage and grow your business, but they also provide payment software solutions.

Let’s unpack what they offer.

Marketing 360 Features

  • Accept payments online or in person, send payment requests, and create professional invoices.
  • Subscription management solution to create payment subscription plans easily.
  • Launch an online store, process and ship orders, sell on Instagram, Facebook, and Amazon.
  • Give customers multiple payment options like credit cards, ACH payments, in-person payments, and mobile device payments.
  • Manage subscription billing so products get billed automatically at your set intervals be it weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Stay on top of your sales numbers through live reporting of payments, refunds, revenue, invoices, subscriptions, and more.

PROS

  • It’s not just a payment processor but an all-in-one multi-channel marketing engine to help you run every aspect of your business.
  • They have stellar customer support, which includes phone support. They have fast response times.
  • Lightning fast account approval. Connect your bank account and accept payments in under 5 minutes.

CONS

  • No support during weekends and 24/7 live rep support provided by rivals like Stripe.
  • New users face a learning curve to get used to the software.

Marketing 360 is for brands that want a payment solution that runs their entire business.

Whenever there’s a discussion about the best business accounting software, Quickbooks usually pops up in the conversation.

The company gears its service to small and medium-sized businesses.

Not only does Quickbooks offer payment processing, but their merchant account also helps brands manage and pay their bills.

  • Design alluring, customizable, printable, and instantly payable invoices from the pre-made templates.
  • Set up recurring billing so you schedule invoices to be sent automatically and get paid promptly like clockwork every payment cycle.
  • Let your local and international clients pay digitally through ACH transfers and eChecks.
  • Receive contactless, in-person payments and take payments on the move with the Quickbooks card reader or mobile app.
  • All-in-one business and banking that allows you to merge payments with Quickbooks Cash Bank and grow your money in one place.
  • Effortless bookkeeping without lifting a finger. The smart payment collection software sorts all payments and gets them ready for the tax period.

PROS

  • Bank more with lower rates of 2.4% plus $0.24 per card payment. That’s lower than what PayPal and Stripe charge.
  • No long-term contracts and you can cancel anytime without the fear of paying pesky cancellation fees.
  • Fast payment processing so you get your credit card payments on the next business day.
  • Custom cash flow planning helps you to project money-in and money-out up to 3 months ahead.

CONS

  • Slow processing times since it’s a popular online payment software used by hordes of businesses.
  • Lower plans have bare features so you must pay more for better features.

Quickbooks Payments is great for small businesses because of their affordable pay-as-you-go plan.

Amazon Pay is yet another online payment processing solution worth considering.

Launched in 2007, the software company is an offshoot of Amazon, the eCommerce giant that dominates the internet business. Driven by the latest AI technology, they offer secure online payment processing. 

They grew exponentially because they tapped from the mother company’s millions of customers.

Amazon Pay Features

  • Amazon Pay makes processing payments on your site an easy and pleasurable experience for your customers. They checkout on-site.
  • Painless checkout for Amazon customers who can checkout without creating a new account or entering their credit card info.
  • Tap into the trusted Amazon fraud detection and prevention technology to protect your business and customers.
  • Mobile app functionality for you to take mobile payments.
  • Global partner program to help you scale your business and support your customers better.
  • A customizable system using flexible APIs and SDKs.

PROS

  • Speedy checkout and convenience for customers since they don’t have to enter their credit card data.
  • Customers feel more secure when they checkout with Amazon Pay because they trust the reliable Amazon brand.
  • No restrictive long-term contracts or subscription fees to tie you down because they use the convenient pay-as-you-go billing system.
  • Integrating Amazon Pay to your website is easy.

CONS

  • They only operate in 13 countries, leaving everyone else in the cold.
  • They have a long sign-up process that takes a few weeks to complete.

Amazon Pay is great for eCommerce businesses.

Accept Payments Like A Pro And Propel Your Business Forward

There you have it.

The 10 best payment service providers on the market right now. 

Assess your business needs. Weigh your options carefully. Make sure you pick the right software companies to help you grow. Once you’ve found the right match, go for it.

Process payments with aplomb and hear your cash register ring nonstop. 

Last Updated on May 25, 2021 by Hanson Cheng


About the author

Hanson Cheng

Living in Bali with my Fiancee and puppy, (Alina and Pickles). Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter. Always happy to hear from you, so find me on Instagram if you want to say hi!

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