The 10 Best Payment Gateways

Like its name might imply, a payment gateway functions as an access system for your business transactions to occur through. Payment gateways can be based online or in-store to process your electronic transactions. It will perform the duties of data encryption, payment authorisation, order filling and processing, and delivery address verification. 

Payment gateways provide a secure method for handling your customers’ credit card and debit card payments, so it’s important to ensure that you work with a reputable company that can offer the highest tier of security. When deciding on a provider, you should always make sure to check their PCI compliance level.

We have assembled a list of the 10 best UK payment gateways to help you understand the benefits and shortcomings of some of the biggest gateway providers. Depending on your business model, you sometimes can and should consider using more than one payment gateway, especially if you have many international transactions.

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Nochex

Nochex supports online and mobile payments through Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. They refer to themselves as “the plucky British competitor to PayPal.”

The Pros

No contract, monthly fees, annual fees, reporting fees, or fraud protection and detection fees. Customisable checkout process. Your customers don’t need an account to make payments, which can be an advantage for your online checkouts. Customer service based in the UK is available through phone, email, and live chat. Good user reviews online.

The Cons

Pricing is not made available on their website. Customer support is only available during regular business hours and some reviews complain that phone and email responses are slow or unhelpful. Not a good option for brick-and-mortar businesses because there are no machine rentals available.

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Stripe

Stripe boasts that it has millions of users with global offices in many major cities. They accept all major credit cards and debit cards in more than 100 different currencies. Their defining feature is that their payment gateway is available in a range of APIs (application program interfaces).

The Pros

They provide transparent pricing information on their website with no setup, monthly, or hidden fees. Their payment gateway is very customisable, thanks to the use of APIs. They provide some of the most competitive processing rates. Integrates into a wide range of third-party systems, including shopping carts, POS systems, email systems, analytic tools, and more.

The Cons

In order to get the most out of their APIs, you need to have programming skills or access to someone who does. It also might require a little extra technical know-how to get set up, though they do offer extensive walkthroughs to help out. Some negative reviews report account freezes and poor customer service.

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Braintree

While Braintree is owned by PayPal, it operates as an independent business for the most part. A key difference is that they offer individual merchant accounts and services to their clients.

The Pros

No cancellation or monthly fees. Free processing on your first £30,000. The payment system is very customisable and offers powerful tools. They have an overall good reputation for their technical support team.

The Cons

Chargeback fees. Requires more technical experience to set up and fully utilize the payment system. Because it offers a merchant account, it’s a more involved process. According to some online reviews, funds can be held for longer periods of time.

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Amazon Pay

While relatively new in the industry of providing online payment solutions, Amazon Pay has a large brand reputation pulling it up in the race.

The Pros

No setup fee, monthly services charges, or cost for using WooCommerce. There are also no contracts or termination fees. It won’t redirect your customers from your website for completing transactions and there’s no need to pay for a hosted payment page.

The Cons

Online negative reviews say that funds can be held for longer periods of time and customer support is mostly done over email. They also have chargeback fees.

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Cardstream

Cardstream is one of the only fully independent “white label” services on this list, meaning that their system allows you to accept payments both on your website and through a real-time virtual terminal so you can process payments over the phone or by email.

The Pros

No fees for setup or transaction limits, with the first 350 transactions per month processed for free. A fully customisable payment platform with extensive features. Simple integration with many shopping carts.

The Cons

A 12-month contract with automatic renewal and early termination fees. Pricing is not made available on their website. Customer service via telephone is only available during regular business hours and there is no live chat feature on their website.

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WorldPay

Worldpay is one of the largest payment processors in the UK and offers payment solutions for online, face-to-face, and over the phone. They allow you to accept payments from all major credit and debit cards in over 116 currencies.

The Pros

There is no joining fee. A combination of flexible tiered and interchange-plus pricing plans are available. You can also set up recurring and subscription-based payment options. They provide a shopping cart function. Great security and a variety of gateway features. They generally have positive reviews online. Offers 24/7 support based out of the UK.

The Cons

Their fees are not disclosed online. You must sign a contract and there are termination fees. Not a good option for high risk businesses or businesses with lower monthly transaction volumes.

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2Checkout

2Checkout claims service to over 50,000 merchants and support transactions from most major payments in 26 currencies and 15 languages. Because they offer global support to more than 200 markets, they are a strong option for international merchants.

The Pros

Clear pricing information available on their website, with no setup fees, contracts, or termination fees. Integrates with most popular online shopping carts, and allows for APIs and connectors. Email and chat support available through their website.

The Cons

No options for card-present payment. The application process may be longer and more detailed than competitors. There are negative reviews online regarding sudden account closure and poor customer service to get issues resolved.

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Authorize.net

Authorize.net offers two payment solutions: just a payment gateway or both payment gateway and merchant account services. While not as big as some other names on this list, they’re a reputable provider with many years of service in the industry.

The Pros

There are no setup fees and pricing information is available on their website. Easy integration into QuickBooks. Their payment system is highly customisable. They provide support for a wide range of shopping carts, devices, and more. They also offer automatic recurring billing, customer data storage, and fraud prevention tools. Competitive pricing when compared to other providers.

The Cons

There are some negative reviews online stating that they refuse to release customer data to merchants if they are switching to another provider.

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SagePay

SagePay is a leading provider in Europe and they claim that over 50,000 businesses use their services every month. They offer two tiers of packages to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. They offer flat monthly pricing and are one of the highest-rated payment processing businesses in the United Kingdom. They accept all major payments, including PayPal, from over 25 different currencies.

The Pros

Clear, fixed pricing information on their website that starts at £19.90 per month. Packages support a variety of merchant services, including online, mail, telephone, and card machine payments. Great security features in place. Ability to customise your payments page. Access to your transaction information through their mobile app. Simple drop-in checkout integration. e-Invoicing available, as well as deferred and recurring payments. 24/7 telephone support available.

The Cons

There is no online chat feature for customer support through their website. Customer service calls cost 2 pence per minute. Contracts can be lengthy and include termination fees. Not an ideal choice for smaller businesses.

10

PayPal

One of the biggest names for payment gateway providers, PayPal has earned its reputation. They claim that in the UK alone, over 20 million shoppers use their services every year, and 7 million businesses use their services worldwide.

The Pros

Transparent pricing information available on their website. No contracts or termination fees. Easily set up with a wide user base. A good option for mobile checkout solutions. Direct payments from your customers with existing PayPal accounts. Easy integration with a wide variety of platforms.

The Cons

They do not have their own shopping cart, so you’ll need to have your own already setup. Not the best option for merchants with lower monthly transaction volumes. The gateway is only customisable on the most expensive tier. There are some online reviews that report PayPal held onto their funds.