Advertiser Disclosure

🎁 Don't miss our curated list of Cyber Week deals for businesses. See All Deals

The 5 Most Popular Crypto Payment Gateway & Processors

Crypto payments can be a cheap way to process non-cash payments at a time when credit card costs are ballooning, but they're also extremely volatile.

    Chris Motola
  • No comments
  • Updated on:
Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.
Cryptocurrency payment gateway

2021 has been an incredible year for cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin pushing all-time highs at the time of publishing. Not only that, but El Salvador became the first nation to accept Bitcoin as legal tender.

With cryptocurrency gaining acceptance in many markets, merchants may be curious about how to find a crypto payment processor or implement a cryptocurrency payment system. It’s still pretty early in the game for crypto payment processing, but below we’ll dive into some options for businesses that want to experiment with the cutting edge of alternative payment technology.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyHighlightsNext StepsHighlights
Coinbase Commerce

Read More

  • The closest thing to a mainstream brand in the US market.
  • Integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce
  • The closest thing to a mainstream brand in the US market.
  • Integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce

Visit Site

Read More

BitPay

Read More

  • One of the first crypto payment gateways
  • Versatile payout options
  • One of the first crypto payment gateways
  • Versatile payout options

Visit Site

Read More

CoinGate

Read More

  • Supports payment in more obscure coins
  • Integrates with a large number of eCommerce platforms
  • Supports payment in more obscure coins
  • Integrates with a large number of eCommerce platforms

Visit Site

Read More

NOWPayments

Read More

  • Supports payment in more obscure coins
  • Integrates with a large number of eCommerce platforms
  • Low fees for simple transactions
  • Supports payment in more obscure coins
  • Integrates with a large number of eCommerce platforms
  • Low fees for simple transactions

Visit Site

Read More

AlfaCoins

Read More

  • Flexible payment options
  • Easy to use
  • Flexible payment options
  • Easy to use

Visit Site

Read More

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Why Customers Want To Pay With Crypto

Around 13% of Americans trade cryptocurrency, according to a recent survey by the University of Chicago. While many crypto holders like to take advantage of the market’s volatility to increase their wealth by trading, there is still a sizable community that’s interested in applying the technology to payments, decentralized finance (DeFi), and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These individuals see cryptocurrency not just as an asset but also as an investment in infrastructure that takes banks and credit card networks out of the equation.

In other words, some cryptocurrency holders actually want to use their crypto as a currency to pay for goods and services. Businesses that accept crypto may be able to exploit a niche if they strategically court these customers.

The Top 5 Crypto Payment Gateways For Businesses

While cryptocurrency can generally be transferred peer-to-peer between wallets with hashes (which can be copied, pasted, texted, or emailed) via crypto apps or QR codes, payment gateways and similar services add additional payment processing functionality and convenience to crypto transactions. Here are some of the best cryptocurrency payment gateways now on the market.

1. Coinbase Commerce

Coinbase Commerce



Visit Site

Pros

  • Well-known brand
  • Convenient conversion to fiat
  • Integrates with two popular eCommerce platforms

Cons

  • Coinbase has a mixed reputation
  • Each plan comes with trade-offs that you’ll want to consider carefully

Coinbase is the biggest centralized cryptocurrency exchange currently available to the US market. For many people entering the crypto market, Coinbase serves as an on-ramp and off-ramp where crypto can be bought or sold in your local fiat currency. As you might expect, Coinbase also offers a cryptocurrency gateway that merchants can use for sales. Coinbase Commerce integrates with WooCommerce and Shopify.

Coinbase Commerce comes in two plans: Self Managed and Coinbase Managed. The main difference between them is whether you or Coinbase holds the private keys for the crypto you’re paid with. Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts will tell you it’s better to hold your own keys, as that’s the only way you can be truly sure that you own and control the currency in question. As an added bonus, you can set up a Self Managed account quickly with just an email address.

So why would you consider a Coinbase Managed account? With the manual account, you’ll have to take care of currency conversions yourself, whereas Coinbase will automatically settle transactions in crypto or fiat for you. It’s worth noting, however, that the Self-Managed account offers free conversion into fiat with a connected Coinbase account. Coinbase will also guarantee Coinbase Managed plan funds should they be lost or stolen.

Coinbase Commerce charges a 1% transaction fee for both plans. Customers can pay in the following coins:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • DAI

Jump back to comparison chart

2. BitPay

BitPay



Visit Site

Pros

  • Mature open-source crypto payment processor
  • Insulates merchants from market volatility
  • Supports mass payouts and invoicing
  • Supports a broad number of stablecoins

Cons

  • Market volatility shielding can cut both ways
  • Minimum balances required before payouts are made

While cryptocurrency is still a fairly young technology, BitPay has been in the crypto payments game for about a decade. It boasts a pretty impressive list of customers, including the American Red Cross, Take-Two Interactive, and Shopify. As a mature crypto payments service, it offers support not just for retail payments but also payouts and billing.

BitPay uses a straightforward QR code invoicing system for retail payments. Then it gets interesting. BitPay attempts to shield businesses from volatility by locking in the exchange rate at the time of sale. BitPay will then bundle your sales together each business day and deposit your balance in either fiat or one of several cryptocurrencies to your bank account or crypto wallet, respectively. With this system, it’s possible to take a crypto payment but never actually have the crypto pass through your hands unless you want to be paid out in cryptocurrency.

Bitpay charges 1% per transaction and accepts:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Gemini Dollars (GUSD)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • USDP
  • DAI
  • Binance USD (BUSD)

Payouts are available in fiat, BTC, BCH, GUSD, PAX, and USDC.

Jump back to comparison chart

3. CoinGate

CoinGate



Visit Site

Pros

  • Huge list of supported crypto
  • Plugins available for a number of eCommerce sites
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Additional fee for fiat payouts
  • Minimum balances required before payouts are made

Many of the big players in crypto payments are focused on a relatively small number of cryptocurrencies or even just Bitcoin exclusively. While it’s not unusual to see support for Litecoin, Ethereum, or even Dogecoin, you may have a harder time finding gateways that process Chainlink, Cardano, or Polygon. If you want more cryptocurrency options, look no further than CoinGate.

CoinGate can be integrated into your sales processes through a plugin or module for select eCommerce platforms (WooCommerce and Magento are among them), payment platforms, or through the CoinGate API. Invoices generated by CoinGate can also be sent by link or email. Payouts can be kept in their original form or converted to US dollars or Euros; some cryptocurrencies can also be converted to other cryptos.

CoinGate charges a 1% fee per transaction. There’s a 0.2% fee for settlement in USD (1% for Euros). CoinGate’s list of supported coins is too large to enumerate here.

Jump back to comparison chart

Using Shopify & PayPal As Crpyto Payment Processors

Crypto payments are still largely the domain of smaller payment gateways operating in what has effectively been a small niche up until now. But if you need any proof that crypto payments are starting to go mainstream, you’ll want to take note of large, traditional payment processors that are beginning to accommodate cryptocurrency on their platforms.

You may have noticed that many of the payment gateways on our list integrate with Shopify, including Coinbase Commerce. Note that if you accept cryptocurrency payments via Shopify, you’ll still be charged a Shopify transaction fee unless you also activate Shopify Payments.

PayPal offers crypto merchant payments through its Checkout with Crypto feature, which is provided through PayPal’s partner Paxos Trust Company, LLC. This feature is only available for qualifying purchases. PayPal doesn’t charge a fee when you use the Checkout with Crypto feature, though it does charge a spread for buying and selling cryptocurrency through its Cryptocurrency hub. PayPal supports payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

1. NOWPayments

NOWPayments



Visit Site

Pros

  • Potentially low fees
  • Plugins available for a number of eCommerce sites
  • Supports a wide variety of coins

Cons

  • Additional fees for settlement in other currencies
  • No real POS functionality

With credit card interchange fees rising, many businesses are looking to find ways to minimize their transaction costs. While crypto gateways generally offer merchants low fees, NOWPayments are some of the lowest available, provided you don’t mind settlement in the same currency you were paid in.

NOWPayments is among the more simple and straightforward crypto gateways on our list, with no custodial features. It can process over 50 different coins, which should cover most of your bases if you’re looking to expand payment options beyond the usual suspects. Transaction fees begin at 0.5% but decrease with your monthly sales volume (measured in BTC, incidentally). There’s an additional 0.5% if you want to settle in a different currency than what you received. There’s also a fixed rate exchange option to shield you from volatility, which raises the base fee to 1%.

With such a minimalistic service, you may be wondering why not just stay peer-to-peer? The main advantage comes from the number of eCommerce platforms NOWPayments can integrate with, including Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. This makes NOWPayments an easy and cost-effective way to take payments online.

Jump back to comparison chart

2. AlfaCoins

AlfaCoins



Visit Site

Pros

  • Flexible payment options
  • Payment buttons are easy to implement
  • Good reputation

Cons

  • Only a small number of coins are supported

If you want to get technical, AlfaCoins does undersell most of its competition by offering 0.99% transaction fees rather than the customer 1%, but that 0.01% probably won’t be the deciding factor if you choose it as your crypto gateway. More likely, you’ll be drawn by AlfaCoins’s flexibility.

AlfaCoins gives you a lot of control over what happens during a transaction. That 0.99% fee? You can pay it or pass it along to your customer. You’ll get limited volatility shielding; your exchange rate is fixed for 15 minutes after an invoice has been generated. The CoinSplit feature allows you to designate a portion of an invoice to a particular crypto, allowing the rest to be paid in a different currency (including fiat). This can enable merchants to manage how much exposure they want to crypto in any given sale.

AlfaCoins accepts the following coins:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Ripple (XRP)

Jump back to comparison chart

What To Look For In A Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway

Cryptocurrency payment gateways can be extraneous. You are, after all, using systems that have been designed specifically for peer-to-peer transactions. For cryptocurrency gateways to be worthwhile, they need to offer merchants something they can’t get by simply doing a wallet-to-wallet trade.

Here are some features you should look for in a cryptocurrency payment gateway:

1) Integration

Both you and your customers will be more likely to make crypto payments if they’re part of a generally friendly user experience. Being able to seamlessly go from your shopping cart to a crypto payment window without fumbling through hacky interfaces is key. Pick a gateway that meshes well with your existing processing.

2) Volatility Shielding

Cryptocurrencies, except for stablecoins, tend to be far more volatile than fiat currency. The price you’re quoting one minute could be out of date a minute later. Some payment gateways offer a price stabilization feature that guarantees you’ll receive the value you quoted at the time of sale. Not every business will want this feature, but it can make your life a little easier.

3) Multiple Currency Support

Most crypto gateways accept Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, but those are just a tiny sliver of the number of cryptocurrencies out there, and aside from Bitcoin, they aren’t even necessarily the most popular. It doesn’t really cost anything to accept more coins, so you may as well give your customers options.

4) Flexible Settlement Options

The crypto world is all about trading, so having the ability to receive payment in the currency you want (including cash) with minimal hassle can help you reap the most value out of crypto transactions. You’ll also want to be sure you’re not paying a hefty premium for this convenience.

And, of course, you’ll want to be sure you can get settlements in the fiat currency of your choice.

5) Custodial Options

Some payment gateways are non-custodial, some are custodial, and others give you the option of choosing custodial or non-custodial accounts. Consider how much exposure you want to crypto. Do you want to accumulate coins yourself? Or do you just want their cash value at the time of sale? In the latter case, a custodial account can minimize your contact with crypto while still allowing you to take payments. But if you want to be sure you own the coins that are paid out to you, choose a non-custodial account.

 6) Typical Gateway Features

Cryptocurrency payment gateways are still payment gateways, after all, so you may as well choose one that offers you perks. These are features, such as invoicing, mass payouts, recurring payments, or accounting functions.

7) Cost

The standard transaction fee for a cryptocurrency payment gateway tends to be around 1%. Keep in mind, however, that the payment gateways may charge additional fees for payouts or conversion to cash. You’ll also want to keep network fees in mind, although these are out of the payment gateway’s hands and are not paid to the gateway provider.

8) Reputation

The crypto community may be one of the most high-contrast sectors in existence, full of both starry-eyed idealists and ruthless scammers. There’s also not a whole lot of regulation protecting you if something goes wrong. This makes it doubly important to do your due diligence when selecting a crypto payment gateway.

6 Things To Be Wary Of With Crypto Payment Processing

Cryptocurrency payment processing is an exciting prospect with many potential use cases. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit of a Wild West market with a “move fast, break things” credo.

Here are some issues to be wary of before you start accepting payments in crypto.

1) Volatility

The volatility of the crypto market makes it attractive to traders, allowing savvy investors to reap incredible gains over a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately, this also makes it a problem when you try to use it as a currency.

How much $SOL do you charge for a cup of coffee? In July 2021, you might have charged around 0.1, assuming your coffee is priced somewhere around $3 for a generous cup. In October 2021, however, that 0.1 $SOL is now worth somewhere close to $60. That’s an expensive cup of joe. While you may have made out like a bandit on that sale, price action could just as easily move the other way, leaving you with crypto that’s worth a lot less than the good or service you traded for it. Cashing out at the right time can mean the difference between huge gains and serious losses.

If you accept crypto payments, you’ll need a way to keep prices updated in real-time. You’ll also need to develop an appetite for risk or use a gateway that shields you from it.

2) Tax Headaches

Congress appears to be increasingly interested in passing definitive guidance on crypto taxes, but at the moment, it’s a bit of a headache. Is crypto an asset? Is it a security? Does your tax preparer even know how to handle crypto?

Crypto taxes currently operate in a foggy area, with some obvious taxable events, such as:

  • Selling crypto for normal (the community calls it ‘fiat’) currency
  • Trading one cryptocurrency for another
  • Trading cryptocurrency for goods and services

Less clear is how the IRS will ultimately handle technology-specific issues, such as mining and staking. Currently, the IRS treats mining as a taxable event in which you are responsible for paying a percentage of the coin’s fair market value at the time of creation. While this sort of works for Bitcoin mining, it’s an absolute nightmare for staking, where coins can be generated hundreds of times a year or more. Expect evolution on this topic.

3) Records

Blockchains are essentially public ledgers, so there’s a built-in record of every transaction that happens on most of them (privacy coins notwithstanding). That said, this information won’t necessarily be as convenient to access as, say, your monthly credit card sales.

Whether through your payment gateway, your crypto wallet, or even a manually updated record, you’ll want to make sure you keep track of your crypto payment processing for both tax and investment reasons.

4) Finality

Most crypto transactions are final and irreversible, with no system in place for chargebacks or disputes. While that may not sound terrible from a merchant perspective, that does mean you’ll need to handle demands for refunds personally.

Consider what kind of policy you’ll have for managing demands for refunds.

5) Network Fees

Just as the value of a cryptocurrency can fluctuate wildly, so can the cost of making a transaction on the network. For many blockchains, this is a function of congestion, with network fees increasing when there’s a lot of activity. Bitcoin and Ethereum, in particular, have become somewhat infamous for high transaction fees. At the time of posting this, these average around $3.33 and $5.04, respectively. Earlier this year, however, the averages rose as high as $62 and $71, respectively.

High transaction fees may make customers less excited about paying in crypto. Not every chain has high fees, however. Some even have fees substantially lower than what you’re paying for credit card processing or even ACH payments, particularly for high-value transactions. Cardano, for example, currently charges around 0.16 ADA per transaction, which is currently about $0.40.

The payer typically pays transaction fees at the time of the transaction and in the currency being transacted. The exception is with “second layer” coins that are built on top of another blockchain’s infrastructure, typically Ethereum at the moment. In that case, the fee may have to be paid in the base layer’s currency.

6) Security & Stability

Security is an ongoing concern for blockchains. Each network has its own security solutions, with different consensus methods used to keep everyone honest. That said, smaller networks, in particular, can be vulnerable to what’s called a 51% attack. In essence, this is when an individual or a conspiracy of individuals controls 51% or more of a network’s mining (or validators/staking pools in the case of proof of stake networks).

Networks can also experience shutdowns due to bugs or overload, as was the case with Solana in September 2021.

Finally, you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with custody issues and be sure you or a trusted party hold the security keys for your crypto.

Which Crypto Payment Gateway Is Right For My Business?

Best cryptocurrency payment gateway

If you’re thinking about accepting crypto payments in exchange for goods or services, congratulations; you’re an early adopter in what could turn out to be a major revolution in payments technology. While they’re still a bit rough around the edges, crypto payments can be a cheap way to process non-cash payments at a time when the costs of credit card transactions are ballooning. Just make sure you select a provider with a solid reputation and low costs that offer you the amount of exposure to crypto that you want.

Looking for more venerable credit card alternatives? Check out our guide to accepting ACH payments.

In Summary: The Top 5 Crypto Payment Gateways For Businesses

  1. Coinbase Commerce:
    • The closest thing to a mainstream brand in the US market.
    • Integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce
  2. BitPay:
    • One of the first crypto payment gateways
    • Versatile payout options
  3. CoinGate:
    • Supports payment in more obscure coins
    • Integrates with a large number of eCommerce platforms

    Using Shopify & PayPal As Crpyto Payment Processors

  1. NOWPayments:
    • Supports payment in more obscure coins
    • Integrates with a large number of eCommerce platforms
    • Low fees for simple transactions
  2. AlfaCoins:
    • Flexible payment options
    • Easy to use
Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
An expert in personal and business loans and financial health, Chris Motola has been writing about small business finance and payments for over 5 years. He has been cited in various industry publications, including Forbes Advisor, GoBankingRates, and Medium. Chris is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
Chris Motola
View Chris Motola's professional experience on LinkedIn.

Sources

Leave a comment

No Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.
Please read the "User Review and Comment Policy" before posting.

We recommend Square Credit Card Processing to UK businesses 🏆

Square Payments is a secure and reliable credit card processing platform. It's advanced solutions and broad feature-set makes it a great fit for most businesses.

Get Started

No credit card required

We Recommend Stax by Fattmerchant 🏆

We love Fattmerchant as a credit card processor for its predictable pricing, excellent service, and integrated billing features. Get started today and get your first month for $5 with an exclusive Merchant Maverick promo.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Sign up for the Maverick Newsletter

  • Please select topics of interest

  • We occasionally send out emails with special offers.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.