Incase you haven’t heard, even if you’re successfully using Paypal right now for your ecommerce business, you need to know about Paypal alternatives and have one standing by.
Why Paypal Alternatives Are Essential
The sad fact is that Paypal sucks for online businesses. Their customer service is meagre at best and they have a nasty habit of “limiting” accounts so they cannot be used or cancelling people’s accounts altogether. Often this is done without reason and without explanation. One day business is trundling along fine and the next your account has been closed.
In short, even if you’ve never had any problem with Paypal the fact remains that they’re simply too unreliable to use for anything important. If they’re your sole payment processing option then you could find yourself in a very sticky situation if they decide the randomly target your account at some point in the future. And trust me – I’m speaking from experience here.
Fortunately the payment processing industry is not only a very profitable one but, as a result, a very competitive one. So whether you want to prepare for the worst case scenario and find a back-up processor now or if you’re looking to leave Paypal altogether there are plenty of Paypal alternatives to consider.
The Top Paypal Alternatives
We’ve opted to list some of the most reliable and cost-effective solutions below, but we’ve done so in alphabetical order. Consequently we’ve chosen not to “rank” Paypal’s competitors – but rather to simply provide a list. The reason is that different processors will suit different situations so there’s no “one size fits all” solution.
If you’re looking for Paypal alternatives you’d be well advised to consider the specific elements of a payment processor that are most important to you (specific features, costs, set-up fees, support from third-party shopping carts etc.) and use these points to help you make a decision as to the most appropriate processor for your needs.
So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the processors ready and waiting for your business…
I have used 2CheckOut on and off for many years, ever since Paypal started to mess me about and from time to time stop accepting sales from customers. In that time 2CheckOut has been there for me and has provided an uninterrupted service whether I’m selling physical goods or digital products. So long as your product is legal and ethical then 2CheckOut can accept you.
2CheckOut is a truly global payment processor. Not only do they accept clients from around the world (including non-US businesses like me) but they also offer a dynamic shopping cart which will translate your product prices into any one of dozens of local currencies. In doing so you’ll help your customers to feel safer and will offer a clearer pricing structure – meaning better sales.
On the downside, be aware that the 2CheckOut order form that your customers need to fill in is considerably longer and more complicated than when payments through other Paypal alternatives like Clickbank or Click2Sell.
So while the “international” feel of their order form is comforting, I worry that you’ll lose sales as a result of all the information your customers need to enter. I guess the only way to be certain is to split test a number of alternatives in order to see which gets you the best results.
Click2Sell is a relatively new payment processor but in the few years it has been around it’s made something of a splash in the industry. The reason is that Click2Sell not only allows you to sell a huge range of products – including digital and physical ones – but also comes with two additional services not offered by many Payal alternatives; or indeed even Paypal themselves.
The first of these is a built-in affiliate program which allows you to recruit affiliates, track their sales and pay their commissions no matter where in the world they are. This alone has considerable value as it saves you using a third-party service and is a simple yet effective way to grow your traffic and sales.
However the second major feature really is unique; namely a built-in autoresponder. Using the Click2Sell platform you’re able to send out broadcast emails to previous customers of yours and this can be perfect for letting them know about a new product release or a promotion you’re running.
Bearing in mind the costs of signing up for your own autoresponder and the power of email marketing to boost your sales this really is an impressive feature and helps to make Click2Sell one of the most “complete” offerings of all the Paypal alternatives listed here.
Clickbank has a long-established pedigree in the “digital sales” market and are ideal for selling ebooks, software, membership site subscriptions and any other downloadable product you can imagine. They offer repeat billing (for subscription products) and a very simple application and set-up process.
Clickbank has also come a long way in the last few years in terms of features to help you grow your business. Not only can you add your own logo and product-photo to your order form and to create upsell pages to increase your revenue.
Clickbank also provides the facility to charge your customers a small initial fee (such as a dollar) and then the balance of the price at a later date (such as a month later). This may sound like an insignificant feature but in testing we’ve found it can significantly increase your overall sales volume thanks to the low risk that new customers take when buying from you.
These additional features mean that for digital goods not only is Clickbank a valid alternative; in many ways it’s actually even better because of the opportunities to easily increase your bottom line.
Payouts from Clickbank vary depending on your sales volume. Most accounts start out receiving their earnings every two weeks though it’s normally simple enough to change this to weekly payouts.
Google’s own Checkout service offers you a simple way to accept payments online for virtually any kind of product including digital goods, physical products or online services.
In many ways Google Checkout is one of the best Paypal alternatives thanks to it’s ease of setup and similar range of features to Paypal which includes not just simple credit card processing but also the ability to email out invoices/money requests if you’re dealing with clients.
Payouts to your bank account are some of the fastest in the industry; roughly two days on average; and these transfers to your bank account are carried out automatically by Google in stark contrast to Paypal where one needs to not only request the transfer of money to your bank account but also wait a considerable time for this to be processed.
UK-based NoChex has been touted as a Paypal alternative for years. While they have in the past lagged behind Paypal in terms of features they do seem to be catching up though unlike other competitors it does take a few days to open and verify your account.
Contrast this to 2CheckOut or Clickbank where you can be up and running within minutes and it’s clear that NoChex is not an “emergency” alternative; instead if you’re considering doing business with them you’ll want to get your account set up in plenty of time ready to use as and when necessary.
That said, they’re still a valid alternative and you shouldn’t let the application process necessarily turn you off to this alternative. Unlike many of the other processors here, NoChex offers you instant access to your funds rather than having to wait days or even weeks to receive your money. It may sound like a small feature but when you’re building an internet business cash-flow is king.
For example if you’re drop shipping then it means you can pay your drop shipper the moment a customer makes an order on your site. If you’re buying advertising to boost sales you’re able to bankroll your growth much quicker. And if you’re launching a new business then you’re able to reinvest in marketing and product development that much quicker.
NoChex currently offer two different accounts; the UK Trader Account (free setup) for accepting payments from UK-only customers or their Merchant Account (£50 setup) for accepting international payments. Be aware that NoChex currently only accepts UK clients so anyone in other countries will be unable to use this provider.
Out of all the Paypal alternatives Payza offers a feature-set that is most similar to Paypal making the transition that bit easier. You can, for example, send money between different Payza accounts, you can manually withdraw money fro your account into your bank account or by using their prepaid debit card and you can accept payments from other Payza account holders.
That said, at the time of writing it seems that Payza is having issues in the UK and has been restricting numerous accounts thus preventing customers from accessing their funds. In addition it seems that with a Payza account you’re unable to accept standard credit card payments; instead your customers need to sign up for a Payza account before actually ordering from you.
While Payza looks like a useful service, which hopefully will improve in the future, right now it seems that having an account with Payza is just as risky as continuing to do business with Paypal.
ProPay is another alternative to Paypal that sadly only accepts US clients at the time of writing. While you’re free to sell products to anyone around the world, the account holder themselves needs to be US-based, and provide information such as your social security number and US checking account details in order to become authorized.
That said, if you’re a US-based business then ProPay may well make a suitable alternative to Paypal as they offer not just the ability to accept credit cards on your website but also a mobile swipe device so you can process credit cards in person using your cell phone. Recurring billing and a built-in shopping cart also come as standard with your account.
ProPay is also set up deliberately to help you accept payments on Ebay – something for which a Paypal account has been so essential for a long time. Now, if you want to sell on Ebay but you don’t have (or don’t want to use) a Paypal account then you may well find that ProPay is your best alternative.
Skrill (formerly Moneybookers)
I had such high hopes for Skrill. The feedback surrounding their service was good and the feature-set was very similar to Paypal.
Free setup, low fees and even a few nifty features like the ability to send text messages straight from your account makes Skrill a popular and user-friendly alternative to Paypal. For international merchants there is the additional benefit of being able to transfer your account balance onto a prepaid debit card for almost instant access to your funds.
Sadly, however, it seems that their service leaves a lot to be desired and in setting up a test account we were instantly declined before providing any real information on our website and business model.
Bearing in mind the approval process in place and all the information we needed to enter – just to be told we couldn’t have an account – it seems that Skrill isn’t currently worth the effort to apply to. Best pick one of the other Paypal alternatives listed here for a more reliable experience.
The vast range of benefits on offer by WePay makes them a very tempting alternative to Paypal but any non-US business is going to be disappointed they cannot sign up. Sadly, at least at present, WePay only accepts US account holders mainly due to their controls on identity and security.
That said, for any US-based business owner looking for a payent processor then WePay is definately a solution you’ll want to check out. As well as offering all the standard benefits there are a couple well worth noting that helps this provider stand out from the crowd.
Firstly, unlike many of the other Paypal alternatives, WePay allow you to accept payments directly on your website rather than customers needing to visit your payment processor to actually enter their details. This is excellent for branding your website and helping you to appear like a more professional site.
Interestingly WePay also offers a virtual terminal to customers, allowing you to accept payments wherever you happen to be. Certainly website payments can be processed but in addition you can charge customers cards yourself through your account or even using your cell phone thanks to their free cell phone app.
Consequently not only is WePay of use for ecommerce sites but can also be used by those operating mail order businesses or even selling at trade shows and markets. All in all, this seems like one of the most flexible payment processing solutions that has features for everyone no matter what type of business you run.