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The 5 Best Cryptocurrency Payment 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
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman
  • REVIEWED BY

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

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Cryptocurrency tends to make headlines, both good and bad, for its value as an investment, but merchants looking for an alternative to traditional payment methods may want to consider accepting crypto payments.

While it’s still pretty early in the game for crypto payment processors, it’s now easier than ever to accept crypto at your point of sale or online. Below, we’ll break down what crypto payment gateways are all about and the pros and cons of using crypto as an alternative payment technology.

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Coinbase Commerce

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  • Best for integrations
  • Coins supported: 12
  • Transaction fee: 1%
  • Best for integrations
  • Coins supported: 12
  • Transaction fee: 1%

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BitPay

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  • Best for avoiding price volatility
  • Coins supported: 15
  • Transaction fee: 1%+$0.25
  • Best for avoiding price volatility
  • Coins supported: 15
  • Transaction fee: 1%+$0.25

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CoinGate

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  • Best for companies outside the US
  • Coins supported: 70+
  • Transaction fee: 1%
  • Best for companies outside the US
  • Coins supported: 70+
  • Transaction fee: 1%

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NOWPayments

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  • Best for low transaction fees
  • Coins supported: 70+
  • Transaction fee: 0.5%
  • Best for low transaction fees
  • Coins supported: 70+
  • Transaction fee: 0.5%

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AlfaCoins

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  • Best for passing along fees
  • Coins supported: 7
  • Transaction fee: 0.99%
  • Best for passing along fees
  • Coins supported: 7
  • Transaction fee: 0.99%

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

What Is A Crypto Payment Gateway?

A crypto payment gateway provides POS or shopping cart infrastructure for accepting cryptocurrency. It can also offer additional conveniences like protecting merchants from crypto price volatility, currency conversions, and invoicing.

Do You Need A Crypto Payment Gateway To Accept Cryptocurrency?

You don’t technically need a crypto payment gateway to accept a crypto payment. Cryptocurrency can be transferred peer-to-peer between wallets with hashes (which can be copied, pasted, texted, or emailed) via crypto apps or QR codes.

However, cryptocurrency’s price volatility can make it tricky to work into your accounting practices. You also may not want to collect the coins yourself. A crypto payment gateway can let you control how much exposure you have to cryptocurrencies while easily rolling them into your checkout options.

The 5 Best Crypto Payment Gateways For Businesses

The best crypto payment gateways provide convenient interfaces for accepting multiple types of cryptocurrencies, flexible settlement options, and low fees. Here are the best crypto payment gateway providers:

The Best Crypto Payment Gateways Compared

Transaction Fee Fiat Settlement Available
Coinbase Commerce 1%
BitPay 1% + $0.25
CoinGate 1%
NOWPayments 0.50%
AlfaCoins 0.99%

Coinbase Commerce: Best For Integrations

Coinbase Commerce


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Pros

  • Easy access to biggest US cryptocurrency exchange
  • Fiat settlement available
  • Integrates with popular sales platforms

Cons

  • Both plans come with trade-offs
  • Many popular chains unsupported

Why Coinbase Commerce Is The Best Choice For Integrating Crypto Payments Into A Sales Platform

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. As an added bonus, you can set up a Self Managed account quickly with just an email address. 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, but if you want to limit your exposure to crypto and crypto volatility, the Coinbase Managed plan is worth consideration.

Coinbase Commerce Features

Coinbase Commerce offers:

  • Custom checkouts
  • Connectivity to Coinbase crypto exchange
  • Crypto wallet
  • Invoicing
  • Refunding
  • Reporting tools
  • Developer API
  • Volatility shielding (Coinbase-managed plan)

Coinbase Commerce supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  • ApeCoin
  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • DAI
  • Dogecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • MATIC
  • Shiba Inu
  • Tether
  • USD Coin
  • Wrapped Ether

Coinbase Commerce Pricing

Coinbase Commerce charges 1% on all transactions.

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BitPay: Best For Avoiding Price Volatility

BitPay


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Pros

  • Good integrations
  • Protection from price volatility for all accounts
  • Fiat settlement available

Cons

  • Transaction fee is expensive for small transactions and high-risk industries
  • Many popular chains unsupported

Why BitPay Is The Best Choice For Avoiding Price Volatility

While cryptocurrency is still a fairly young technology, BitPay has been in the crypto payments game since close to the beginning. 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. 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 Features

BitPay offers:

  • Settlement in crypto or US dollars
  • Volatility shielding
  • Invoicing
  • Mass payouts
  • Integrations and extensions
  • Prepaid Mastercard

BitPay supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ethereum
  • Dogecoin
  • Litecoin
  • XRP
  • USD Coin
  • Gemini Dollar
  • Pax Dollar
  • Binance USD
  • Wrapped Bitcoin
  • DAI
  • Shiba Inu
  • ApeCoin
  • Euro Coin

BitPay Pricing

BitPay charges 1% + $0.25 on transactions. Higher rates may apply for high-risk businesses.

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CoinGate: Best For Companies Based Outside The US

CoinGate


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Pros

  • Supports over 70 cryptocurrencies
  • Plugins available for a number of eCommerce platforms
  • Fiat settlement available

Cons

  • No longer supports US businesses
  • Minimum balances required for payouts

Why CoinGate Is A Great Choice For Businesses Outside The US

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 Cardano, Solana, or Polkadot. If you want to be able to accept a lot of coins through a single gateway, 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 Euros; some cryptocurrencies can also be converted to other cryptos. CoinGate does not currently support US-based businesses.

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 currencies is too large to enumerate here.

CoinGate Features

CoinGate offers:

  • Settlement in crypto or Euros
  • Cryptocurrency conversions
  • Invoicing
  • Developer sandbox
  • Gift cards
  • Integrations

CoinGate Pricing

  • 1% per transaction (may be higher for high-risk industries)
  • €0.25 per refund
  • 0.1% conversion fee
  • 0.5% withdrawal fee for fiat currency

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NOWPayments: Best For Low Transaction Fees

NOWPayments


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Pros

  • Potentially low fees
  • Wide variety of coins supported
  • POS software available

Cons

  • Full feature set can get expensive
  • Fiat settlement costs more

Why NOWPayments Is Best For Minimizing Transaction Fees

With credit card interchange fees rising, many businesses are looking to find ways to minimize their transaction costs. While crypto gateways generally offer merchants lower 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).

The basic service is quite affordable, but you'll have to pay more for fiat settlement, crypto conversions, and volatility shielding, which can quickly erode its pricing advantage.

NOWPayments Features

NOWPayments offers:

  • Cryptocurrency conversions
  • Fiat settlement (premium)
  • Invoicing
  • Mass payouts
  • eCommerce integrations/plugins
  • POS software
  • Donation buttons

NOWPayments supports over 70 cryptocurrencies.

NOWPayments Pricing

  • 0.5% per transaction (volume discounts available)
  • 0.5% per cryptocurrency conversion
  • 2.3% – 1.5% per fiat withdrawal fee (must be applied for)

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AlfaCoins: Best For Passing Along Fees

AlfaCoins


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Pros

  • Flexible payment options
  • Lower fees for donations
  • Nonprofit rates

Cons

  • Limited number of coins supported
  • No fiat settlements (currently)

Why AlfaCoins Is The Best Choice For Passing Fees To Customers

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 Features

AlfaCoins offers:

  • Payment buttons
  • Shopping cart plugins for WordPress sites
  • API library
  • Invoicing
  • Payouts

AlfaCoins supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Litecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Dash
  • Tether (ERC-20)
  • XRP

AlfaCoins Pricing

  • 0.99% per transaction
  • 0.99% + network fee per payout.
  • 0.5% per donation (non-profits are eligible for zero-fee plans)

Get Started With AlfaCoins

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Using Shopify Or PayPal For Crypto Payments

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. 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.

Note that PayPal’s crypto services are custodial, which means that you don’t hold the private keys for your crypto. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend using PayPal to hold your crypto assets long-term.

Should You Accept Crypto As A Payment Method?

The answer to whether or not you should accept crypto as a payment method depends greatly on the composition of your customer base and, to a lesser extent, your industry.

Around 17% of Americans trade cryptocurrency, according to a recent Pew Research report, though confidence in the security and reliability of cryptocurrency remains quite low, with 75% of Americans who are familiar with crypto saying they are not very or not all confident in the technology. 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.

Ultimately, the businesses that should consider accepting cryptocurrency are those with a tech-savvy (and generally younger) customer base and those in industries that are poorly served by more traditional payment methods.

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:

Ease Of 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

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.

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.

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.

Custody

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.

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.

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.

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 Before You Accept Crypto Payments

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. The lack of a regulatory framework has also made the sector a hot spot for fraud.

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

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.

Tax Headaches

Congress appears to be increasingly interested in passing definitive guidance on crypto taxes, but it’s been slow going. 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 and staking as taxable events 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 guidance to evolve over time.

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). So don’t assume you can hide transactions from the IRS with crypto.

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.

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.

Some crypto payment gateways do now offer limited refunding options, but they tend to be very time-limited.

Network Fees

Just as the value of a cryptocurrency can fluctuate wildly, so too 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 especially Ethereum have become somewhat infamous for high transaction fees

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.

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.

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?

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 offers you the amount of exposure to crypto that you want.

Looking for more venerable credit card alternatives? Check out our list of best ACH providers. And for more traditional payment recommendations, see our picks for the best credit card processing companies for small businesses.

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Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Senior Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris has been writing about small business topics since 2003. In 2015, he joined Merchant Maverick, where he writes about business financing, payment processing, and demographic trends in entrepreneurship. Chris has been featured in Fox Business, ABC News, Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates, Newsweek, BizJournals, and other publications. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego, and a Masters of Science in Interactive Media from the University of Central Florida. He currently resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York.
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