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The Best PayPal Alternatives

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Even if you ignore the nearly ubiquitous consumer wallet, PayPal (see our review) is a pretty comprehensive and trusted payments solution for merchants all around the world. But of course, it’s not for everyone. Whether you’ve had trouble with your account previously or you prefer to not deal with PayPal to start with, you can breathe a sigh of relief: There’s no shortage of great PayPal alternatives.

PayPal is one of the rare payment processors that caters to nearly every sort of business. It offers payment processing for in-app, ecommerce transactions, and in-person transactions, as well as invoicing, a virtual terminal, and recurring billing. That’s not to mention PayPal’s developer tools and API. Not many other businesses that offer all of that rolled into one.

So to make things easier, I’ve broken down the list of PayPal alternatives into two categories: gateway services (including ecommerce and in-app payments) “all-in-one” processors with online and in-person solutions.

Now, with all that covered, let’s get into it.

The Best PayPal Alternatives For Gateway Services

Here, we’re looking at payment options that offer shopping cart integrations, buy buttons, recurring billing and credit card vaults, as well as an API and developer tools. This also includes powering in-app payments.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for these services through PayPal:

  • 2.9% + $0.30 per online transaction
  • $30/month for PayPal Virtual Terminal
  • $10/month for recurring billing
  • Nonprofit and volume discounts available

If you want to know more about all of PayPal’s features, I encourage you to check out our full PayPal review. And don’t forget to check out the complete reviews for each of these PayPal alternatives if you want to know more!

Braintree Payment Solutions

Braintree Payment Solutions logoThrowing Braintree (see our review) in here as an alternative seems like a bit of a cheat, given that PayPal owns Braintree. However, despite this (and a seamless PayPal integration) Braintree does operate mostly independently of its parent company. Instead of aggregating accounts the way PayPal does, Braintree offers individual bank-sponsored merchant accounts. Braintree is developer-friendly with extensive documentation and a powerful API that you can integrate into all kinds of mobile and online payment applications. It also handles currency conversion so you can sell globally and display items in local currencies.

Braintree offers marketplace tools, as well as APIs for sharing information, so merchants can sell directly on their own sites or through someone else’s site or app, which is all pretty cool.

Braintree Pricing 

  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Nonprofit and volume discounts available
  • All other features included at no extra charge 


Stripe payment processing reviewStripe (see our review) and Braintree have a lot of similarities. For one, they both target online and in-app payments. They both work on a global scale, displaying local currencies and handling the exchanging of currencies for its merchants. They make it possible to power marketplaces and share information so merchants can sell on others’ platforms. Stripe is built first and foremost for developers, and its API and documentation reflect that.

The primary difference between Stripe and Braintree is that Stripe, like PayPal, is an aggregator. That is, it lumps all of its user accounts into communal merchant accounts. That means account stability more akin to PayPal than Braintree.

But despite that, Stripe has a couple of really interesting tools that Braintree doesn’t. First, its Atlas program allows international entrepreneurs to get established in the US. Second, it has a tool that allows programmers to manage and organize their data through custom SQL database questions.

Stripe Pricing 

  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Nonprofit and volume discounts available
  • Marketplace costs may differ
  • All other features included at no extra charge 


payjunction-logoPayJunction (see our review) is one of our top-rated merchant account providers. Its defining characteristic is its paperless payments, which is awesome to see. But dig a little bit deeper and you’ll find a developer-friendly payment solution that works not just with retail, but with online payments as well. In addition to the virtual terminal (that even accepts checks), recurring billing, and credit card vault, PayJunction offers a free shopping cart of its own plus several integrations. There’s also a full-stack API to play with. And you can collect signatures for card-not-present transactions.

The major advantage to PayJunction is that you get your own merchant account, which leads to greater account stability. PayJunction also offers an interchange-plus plan. However, this option is best suited for merchants who consistently process more than $10,000 per month. Below that and you’ll encounter a monthly fee.

PayJunction Pricing 

  • Interchange plus 0.75% markup
  • $35 monthly fee for users processing less than $10,000/month
  • No other monthly fees
  • Rate match available

The Best PayPal Alternatives For All-In-One Solutions

One of the biggest draws for PayPal is its unified platform. You really can accept payments anywhere, anytime, and send all of the funds right to your PayPal account. If you need that seamless, all-in-one experience, here are our favorite options:


CDGcommerce (see our review) presents itself as a merchant account provider specializing in ecommerce, which I don’t see very often. However, it does offer a solid mix of online and in-person transaction features — plus an interchange-plus pricing plan and nonprofit discount to boot.

The most feature most obviously lacking is an API for custom integrations and other developer features. CDG’s gateway, Quantum, is compatible with most shopping carts and has an Authorize.Net emulation mode to ensure compatibility with anything else. CDG also offers the choice of using Authorize.Net as its primary gateway at no additional charge. Every account also gets virtual terminal access at no extra charge.

If you want in-person payments, you can get a POS app or an mPOS app in addition to all the ecommerce features.

CDGcommerce Pricing

  • Interchange plus 0.30% + $0.15 for online transactions
  • Interchange plus 0.25% + $0.10 for swiped transactions
  • Interchange plus 0.20% + $0.10 for nonprofits
  • $10 monthly support fee


Authorize.NetAuthorize.Net (see our review) started strictly as a gateway, but these days it’s started bundling its own processing service. It’s a reseller relationship — meaning the company sets you up with a merchant account through a partner, though Authorize.Net doesn’t disclose which one up front. You can also opt for the gateway separately. However, in many cases, it’s actually less expensive to get the Auth.Net gateway through a merchant account that has a partnership. They’ll often waive the setup fee and sometimes lower the monthly fees.

Authorize.Net is still one of the most trusted names in gateways, and one of the most widely compatible options. That’s no small thing. Not only that, but Auth.Net has an API for you to integrate into all sorts of solutions, including in-app payments. There’s even a basic mPOS app basic buy/donate buttons.

Authorize.Net Pricing

  • $49 setup fee
  • $25 monthly fee
  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (with merchant account and gateway)
  • $0.10 per-transaction fee (with gateway only)
  • $0.10 daily batch fee (with gateway only)


Square reviewIf you’ve heard of PayPal — especially if you dislike PayPal — the odds are pretty good you’ve heard of Square. What started as just an mPOS has branched out considerably over the year, becoming a full-fledged business ecosystem, as we discuss in our full review.

In addition to its free mPOS and POS integrations, Square offers a free online store, free domain, shopping cart integrations, virtual terminal, card info storage vault, and invoicing. That’s not to mention the APIs or the monthly add-on services (including employee management, payroll, and appointment booking). Square’s free online store is somewhat limited compared to other options, but it is extremely simple to set up. If you need something more complex, the API and ecommerce integrations allow for more advanced online stores.

Like PayPal, Square is a third-party aggregator, That means Square users do face the same inherent account instability as PayPal users. But the sheer value of what you get for nothing beyond the cost of processing is astounding, which is a major reason Square is easily the closest direct competitor to PayPal (it even has a consumer wallet, Square Cash).

Square Pricing

  • 2.75% per in-person transaction
  • 3.5% + $0.15 per manual transaction
  • 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice or online transaction
  • Additional fees apply for add-on services

Final Thoughts: Which Is The Best PayPal Alternative?

Whatever your reason for wanting to avoid PayPal, you can rest easy knowing there are plenty of reliable alternatives. It really comes down to what you need for your business: Do you only sell online or in apps? Do you need an all-in-one omnichannel commerce setup?

As always, we encourage you to do the research yourself and crunch some numbers to make sure that the rates offered by a processor work for you and your business.

Check out this handy chart of top-rated merchant account providers for more ways to accept payments online. Got questions? Need help deciding? Check our comment guidelines and then leave us a comment. We’re always happy to help!

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson has been writing about payment processing and mobile payments since 2014, and has been quoted in articles for Credit Karma and The Next Web, among others. She graduated from The University of Kansas in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in English and journalism.
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