The 11 Best PayPal Alternatives in 2021

/ ecommerce / 13 min read
Jack Delaney

Table of Contents

Paypal’s awesome. It’s got everything you need from a payment gateway: it’s fast, reliable and as secure as a Swiss bank vault.

But all the greats have rivals to keep them honest. Mozart had Salieri, Ali had Frazier, and Apple has been fighting it out with Microsoft for the best part of forty years.

This kind of competition is a good thing. Particularly in business—it drives individuals and companies to push their capabilities, extend their services and better meet customer needs.

And as a customer you get to try things out for yourself and see what’s best. The cream tends to rise to the top. As for the rest? Well they either adapt or fall by the wayside (it’s a little idea Darwin called natural selection.)

So if you’ve ever asked yourself “what is a good alternative to Paypal?” this article is for you. We'll cover 11 instead of the usual ten. Why? Because it's one better. So let's get stuck into it.

The Best PayPal Alternatives In 2021

1. Stripe

Screenshot of the Stripe homepage on blue background

Pricing:

  • 2.9% of the transaction value plus $0.30

Stripe is the king of all PayPal alternatives, especially when it comes to ecommerce businesses. Millions of organizations—from startups to huge multinationals—use it for their online payments.

It provides users with a suite of products that empower you to send and accept payments, manage your business online or even build your own online store from the ground up.

Stripe takes the hassle out of payment processing of all kinds. As it says on their website, it works “with financial institutions, regulators, payment networks, banks and consumer wallets"—so businesses like yours don’t have to.

But Stripe isn’t only a payment solution. It helps protect against fraud, send and automate invoicing, and makes the overall checkout process a breeze. And with its open API it’s easy to integrate and customize to fit your brand.

With thousands of integrations it’s easy to improve your workflow—simplifying the day to day running of your business. For example, you can connect Stripe to a CMS platform or your choice or to your accounting software like Quickbooks or Intuit.

There really isn’t a downside to using Stripe. The monthly fees are the same as a PayPal account and it actually offers more payment methods. Its biggest strength though, is its customization and tremendous integrations.

2. TransferWise

Transferwise homepage on blue background

Pricing:

  • A fixed fee dependant on currency + variable fee between $0.35-0.45 (learn more here)

TransferWise makes international payments cheap and painless—their site says it’s nineteen (!) times cheaper than PayPal and eight times cheaper than regular bank transfers. Not bad, eh?

Need an international bank account? You can open one in minutes and start sending money around like you’re the Wolf of Wall Street. It’s not just for big business either—freelancers, entrepreneurs or sole traders are all welcome.

TransferWise puts a big emphasis on transparency. No hidden fees, no “0% commission” rubbish. You can rely on a real exchange rate that isn’t inflated so sneaky payment processors can skim a cash off the top.

Like Stripe, it has a powerful open API so you can automate processes, integrate it with your favourite tools and manage your finances in the way that feels best for your business.

Pay invoices and remote workers, integrate seamlessly with Xero and spend up big with a free debit card you can use in every corner of the globe. If your business ever has to send money about (and who doesn't) then Transferwise is the perfect PayPal alternative for you.

(Also a quick shoutout to their awesome website. They have a dedicated table that shows how Transferwise is better than PayPal in just about every way, at least when it comes to transfer fees. Numbers don't lie.)

3. Google Pay

Google Pay homepage on blue background

Pricing:

  • Free

Mostly this list is focused on payment processing services for eCommerce platforms, but if you’re after a simple way to make everyday payments, you can’t go past Google Pay.

The way it works is simple. Download the app, connect your debit or credit card and use your phone to make payments in apps, for online shopping or even down at the local cafe (or anywhere else contactless is accepted).

Pretty nifty right? Plus, there’s no transaction limit and your payment info is protected with multiple layers of security—like a really safe onion. You can use it to store loyalty cards, boarding passes or train tickets so it's really a virtual wallet.

It also keeps track of your payments. That way you can despair as you see how much you spend on Uber Eats, buying clothes you don't need and Starbucks' frappuccinos you definitely shouldn't.

It’s fast. It’s convenient. It’s by Google, so you know it’ll just work. And unlike Apple Pay, you can download it on iOS or Android devices. Google Pay isn’t a full-scale solution like PayPal, but it makes paying for regular stuff a cinch.

4. Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net homepage screenshot on a blue background

Pricing:

  • All-in-One: $25/month for payment gateway and 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Payment Gateway Only: $25/month plus $0.10 per transaction

Authorize.Net is an extension of Visa’s payment services aimed at helping small businesses take payments. Whether you need point-of-sale, mobile payments or a full eCommerce solution, they’ve got you covered.

With a merchant account you can accept debit cards, PayPal, e-check and all your customers favourite payment options. You can even use their encrypted card reader to turn your computer into a virtual point-of-sale machine.

And they’ve got all you could ask from a modern payment platform: fraud protection, free invoicing and even the ability to set up subscriptions and recurring billing.

Their ethos is to allow you “to sell more, sell faster and sell safely”, and they really do meet that promise. But what makes them great is their customer support—it’s free, available 24/7 (with real people), and just about the best thing since sliced bread.

Just keep in mind this solution is purely for business owners. For personal use you’re better off going with something like PayPal, Stripe or Braintree.

5. Square

Screenshot of Square homepage on blue background

Pricing:

  • 1.9% per transaction for Square POS (learn more here)
  • Square Reader: $59
  • Square Stand: $299
  • Square Terminal: $439

While recently they’ve expanded to online payments, Square’s all about point-of-sale transactions. To steal a term from the French it's their raison d’etre—their reason for being—and their hardware for it is excellent.

They offer three payment systems: the Square Stand, Square Terminal and the Square Reader. The chances are you’ve seen at least one of the three at your local restaurant, vegan juice place or charity shop.

These systems allow you to accept eftpos card transactions, contactless and apps like Google Pay and Apple Pay. You can also use the Square app to track inventory in real-time, send invoices, manage employees and automate a bunch of other time-consuming processes.

Like Authorize.Net and Stripe, Square’s support is outstanding, which is just what you want from any kind of business tool. Best of all? It plays nicely with the rest of your tech stack, with thousands of integrations with popular apps.

You can’t go past Square if your business is focused on in-store payments, or if you want to integrate your brick and mortar store with an online shopping experience for a  fantastic customer service experience.

Pricing is kind of complicated. They’ve got more plans and products than we can properly go through here, so make sure you check out their pricing page to get the full scope of what it’ll cost you.

6. Shopify Payments

Shopify Payments website screenshot on blue background

Pricing:

  • Basic Shopify: $29 USD/month
  • Shopify: $79 USD/month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 USD/month
  • There's much more to see—click here for pricing

Shopify is a platform to start your online business or move your existing shop online. It bills itself as “one platform with all the ecommerce and point of sale features you need to start, run, and grow your business.” And, well, that’s exactly what it is.

Think of it like a website creator in the vein of Squarespace, except it’s got awesome eCommerce tools baked in to drive sales and manage the day-to-day stuff that comes with running a business.

Work with a Shopify Expert to customize your store from the ground up, or get started yourself. Either way it’s no sweat. Of course you can accept credit card payments, but that’s just scratching the surface of what you can do.

Manage customer accounts, sell on social media or eBay, monitor your fulfilment, track inventory and organize products by category, type, season and sale. Like Meryl Streep, Shopify can really do it all.

They now even offer a POS terminal like Square’s as a way to unify the online and in-store payment experience. With this offering it's now just about the ultimate platform to give customers a seamless experience online and in-store.

If that sounds good to you, go with Shopify. There’s a reason over a million businesses use it. Though unfortunately it’s only available in limited countries (17 in total), so make sure to check that your country made the cut.

7. Braintree

Braintree website screenshot on a blue background

Pricing:

  • Standard Pricing: 1.75% + $0.30 per transaction

Braintree is a PayPal service, which means it's not quite an alternative... but hey. It's our article. We make the rules. It made the cut because it's designed to simplify the payment process in-app or on your website.

How? By providing a seamless and secure checkout that lets customers pay however they want. By giving so many payment options—from Venmo and PayPal to Mastercard and ACH Direct Debit—Braintree claims to reduce friction at checkout  and as a result, boost your conversion rates.

Basically, because the process is so simple (and lets folks use their favorite payment methods), they’re more likely to pull the trigger and buy whatever you’re selling. People like to products that “just work”, so their thinking checks out.

So what makes Braintree different? Well, it’s offers a huge array of payments and is more customizable than any other checkout platform, so you can completely adjust the design to fit your brand and UI.

Plus you can accept online payments in over 130 currencies and more than 45 countries. It’s basically the Olympics of payment processing. You also get rock-solid fraud tools, data security to safeguard customer info and detailed reports for insights into your biz.

And advice is only a few clicks away. In-house experts can advise you on best practices, answer your queries and help with things like chargebacks or card attacks (not that it’ll come to that).

8. Amazon Pay

screenshot of Amazon Pay on blue background

Pricing:

  • From 2.9% +$0.30 USD per transaction (but payment gets complicated, so it’s best to check out their pricing page.)

Amazon knows a thing or two about selling things online, so it’s only natural they stepped into the ring and created their own payment tool.

As you would expect, setup is effortless. Just add payment details to your Amazon account and you’re done. You’ll be able to pay with one tap or click wherever you see the big yellow Amazon Pay button.

For customers there’s no extra transaction fees. No processing fees. No currency conversions or foreign transaction fees. Just super simple payments in the interface they’re familiar with.

On the business side you can add Amazon Pay to your checkout to optimize the payment process, and give customers an option they know and trust. It’s fast, secure, and relatively easy to implement (though you’ll need to dust off your coding skills to get the most out of it.)

There’s dedicated solutions for small, medium and enterprise businesses, so no matter what size business you have you can rely on specific support and a payment system that’s flexible to your needs.

(Note: From a bit of research it looks like fees for credit card processing and authorizations get pretty costly if you live outside the U.S. So if you’re not in the land of bald eagles and corndogs, maybe try another service).

9. Payoneer

Payoneer homepage on a blue background

Pricing:

The internet made the world smaller. Whether it’s online shopping or remote working or logging into your cousin’s American Netflix account, the days of strict borders between countries are sort of ending.

Yet cross-border payments can still be a pain in the a—arm. Payoneer does their part to remedy this by empowering businesses, online sellers and even freelancers to get paid globally with ease.

It’s an “all-in-one platform for global growth” designed for the modern world. Get paid by the world’s largest marketplaces, pay your suppliers and fees in foreign countries, and manage multiple stores in one place.

“Payoneer’s mission is to empower businesses to go beyond – beyond borders, limits and expectations. In today’s digital world, Payoneer’s platform streamlines global commerce for millions.”

A Payoneer account makes global money transfers as simple as sending your mate fifty bucks to split dinner. It’s a huge lifesaver for companies that have to send money to international vendors, contractors and freelancers.

As a bonus, like Transferwise, you can even nab yourself a fancy debit card to go along with your account. Then you’ll be able to withdraw cash from banks or ATMs no matter where you find yourself (well, when this whole COVID-19 thing is over).

10. Skrill

Skrill homepage screenshot on blue background

Pricing:

  • No fee when you use Skrill Money Transfer to send money to an international bank account
  • Up to 2% fee for domestic transfers
  • As usual fees are complicated, check out their guide here.

Skrill is another way to pay across platforms. How does it differ from the rest of the entries on this list? It’s aimed at cryptocurrency and online gaming, so it operates in its own little (lucrative) niche.

There’s more than 100 ways you can deposit money into your account. Send and receive money globally, store details for quick purchases, link Skrill with a bank account or even set up payments from an email address.

Then you can convert to a crypto of your choice, like Bitcoin to Ether. It gives you a safe platform to buy and sell more than 40 different cryptocurrencies and  manage your portfolio in real-time.

Skrill also builds dedicated payment solutions for businesses—from hosted checkouts and one-tap digit wallets to rapid transfers with global businesses and partnerships with major shopping carts. They've got it all.

Like PayPal and all the best payment processors you get full PCI compliance, simple integrations, enhanced fraud management and great support. You’ll get it at a great price too, with Skrill’s low fees being a huge drawcard.

11. 2Checkout

2Checkout homepage on blue background

Pricing:

  • 2Sell: 3.5% + 0.35 per successful sale
  • 2Subscribe: 4.5% + $0.45 per successful sale
  • 2Monetize: 6.0% + $0.60 per successful sale

Last but not least, 2checkout (or Verifone, they were just acquired) is an all-in-one platform designed to maximize revenue and make global sales easier for everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

2checkout is focused on international transactions, and like Albert Einstein, they’ve got a solution for everything. Global payments, subscription billing, global tax and even risk management is all looked after.

Their offering is split into three services: 2Sell, 2Subscribe and 2Monetize, each covering different parts of eCommerce. It’s all displayed in a modular interface that’s simple to handle and easily adapted to your business.

With their checkout experience you can start selling in over 200+ countries, integrate with more than 120+ carts (including Shopify) and support more than 100 currencies and 29 languages. And of course they've got an open API to give you ultimate control over the experience.

In terms of pricing, you'll find 2Checkout roughly in line with PayPal. Though it does have lower fees for international transfers, so that's something to keep in mind.


As you can see there’s no shortage of awesome options whether you need payment processing for your site, a full-scale eCommerce solution, in-store payments or just want to blow some crypto on Texas Hold ‘Em.

Which one is the best? Well, sorry to tell you, but this ain't the Superbowl. There’s no clear winner. Just try to find the service that fits your specific use case and needs. It'll be different for everyone—and that's how it should be.

While we have you, did you know you can accept payments with Paperform? You can connect payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, Braintree and Google Pay (as well as a bunch of others) to your form and set up your own eCommerce business today.

See how easy it is for yourself with our 14-day free trial—no credit card required.


About the author
Jack Delaney
Jack is Paperform's Content Manager, based in Sydney, Australia. He loves hard-boiled crime fiction, Michael Mann movies and coffee as black as midnight on a moonless night. || jack@paperform.co

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