Every business needs a reliable payment system to keep its cash flow safe. No matter what payment solution you are going to choose, it must be secured and fast. Otherwise, your business might suffer the consequences in the form of tarnished reputation and revenue losses.

Over the past 12 years, the backend experts at SSA Group have successfully integrated various payment systems into hundreds of projects. It took us some time to separate average solutions from good, and good from the best. Our projects featured popular payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, etc. As for the best payment systems in 2019, we know for a fact what works for everybody without misfiring and what does not. We welcome you to find out what payment system you should choose for your business and why!

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The Magnificent Quintet of Modern Payment Systems

Before we jump in straight to the action, we want to give you useful advice to keep in mind while reading. A payment system is important for a positive buying experience, so you must go for the option you think suits your needs the most. All of them have their strengths and downsides, which means you should not go blindly for the most popular system. Weigh all pros and cons, analyze the benefits for your business, then make your final decision.
The market often dictates the rules of the game, and by our experience in the niche of online payment systems, there are five major players. This list is based on the number of integrations we did for our clients and our experience with them. So, in our opinion, the best options you can get are PayPal, Adyen, Stripe, Braintree, and Authorize.net.


Meet the king. More than 61% of the payment processing market belongs to PayPal, and almost 400 thousand domains have already integrated this payment system. About 800 thousand websites hop on PayPal’s train monthly (some websites drop it as well, but the margin still remains positive and reaches about 120 thousand domains).

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Business must adopt solutions that cater to masses. PayPal is one of the simplest and user-friendly systems you can find, hence its dominating popularity. The system operates in more than two hundred countries and areas across the globe. In 2019, PayPal supports 25 currencies in total in European, Asian, and American regions.

Registering your business account in the system is very simple, but you need to be aware of specific details for each region or particular country.

When choosing a payment system for your business, be extra cautious with payment fees. Standard PayPal plans have no monthly fees, do not require initial deposits to start up an account or terminate it. PayPal charges you extra money only when you sell something to a person who is using a PayPal account to pay. However, if you want Web Payments Pro, then you will have to pay a monthly fee of $35.

PayPal transaction fees are based on the transaction amount. In the US, it is 3.7% of the sum with the addition of a fixed fee ($0.30). In Europe, you have to pay 3.9%. The fixed fee depends on the currency selected for the transaction.

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The second most popular payment system with a market share of 15.5%. More than 100k websites are currently running Stripe as their primary payment option. What makes Stripe less popular than PayPal is mainly the number of countries it operates in. With Stripe you can accept payments from 34 countries, which is considerably less than some competitors on this list. But this payment system has its advantages, for example, Alipay integration. So, if you are aiming at Chinese customers, then Stripe may be the key to your success.

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Many well-known companies and corporations are using Stripe to process their payments: Pinterest, Under Armour, Lyft, and much more. Despite being a novice on the market (founded in 2009), Stripe has already achieved some impressive results. Today the service accepts 18 payment methods and more than 135 currencies. Stripe bravely ignores the traditional sign-up process, acting as a merchant account for business.

Unlike PayPal Pro, this payment system does not require any monthly fees for being on the platform. There is no startup as well as termination fees or any other hidden charges on the menu as well. Transactions fees are pretty standard – everything is based on the transaction amount. For non-European credit cards, it will be 2.9% of the sum + fixed $0.30, while for European cardholders it is only 1.4% + fixed $0.30 The chargeback fee is $15.

With your Stripe merchant account, you gain access to hundreds of system updates annually for free. Also, if you are planning Stripe integration for your business, you will be happy to learn that it is the most customizable payment system with a solid API.

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Adyen may not be a very popular payment system, but it is incredibly versatile and can serve as your all-in-one solution to do business. Adyen offers a single payments platform managing all types of payment methods, including payment gateways and PoS (points of sale), and saving all the data in one place. Most entrepreneurs note a wide range of integration abilities that make mobile and in-app purchases a breeze. Adyen merchant account comes with multiple flexible settings and tools for processing payments. A major plus of Ayden for large enterprises is the option to have an individual merchant account for each business you run.

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Ayden lets you create a test account – an amazing feature we would love to see more often. It is completely free and lets you tinker with basic options and then switch to a live account. At this stage, you can integrate with Ayden and even make test payments.

The service operates in more than 100 countries and accepts 187 currencies supporting 250+ payment methods. One of the biggest advantages is that Adyen supports local payment methods adapting for preferences around the world to make shopping easy in each specific region. That is the reason for its popularity among large, international businesses.

As for fees, there are no hidden charges, and there are no sign up/closures fees. Also, the company neither charges its clients monthly nor takes extra cash for integrations. You only pay for processing credit card payments. For Visa and Mastercard it is varying from 0.90% to 1.1% of the sum plus a fixed fee of 10 Eurocents. For American Express cards, the percentage is much higher – 3.95% (+10 Eurocents).

Important note: you must reach have at least one thousand transactions on your merchant account per month (as a proof of your activity), or you will be charged $120 each month you are below that number.

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Braintree is also a relatively new player to the industry, founded in 2007. It comes 5th in the payment processing category globally with the market share of 2.1% and more than 13 thousand current websites actively using it. Being a full-stack payments service, Braintree takes away the typical model that obliges business owners to source payment gateways as well as merchant accounts. Almost one-third of all payments within the system is done via mobile devices. Among the list of companies using this platform for payment processing are giants like Uber, GitHub, Airbnb, and other big names.

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Another thing worth mentioning here is the advanced security measures provided by Braintree, e.g. two-factor authentication.

Just like many other payment processors, Braintree provides options to create your own merchant account. The registration process is simple, and it is available during the Braintree Direct setup. Braintree Direct is their exclusive SDK with options to accept various payments on web and mobile.

Braintree operates in more 45 countries and has 25 different payment methods to offer. In terms of currencies, it is on par with Stripe (130+). The platform’s fee for processing payments is standard – 2.9% of the transaction amount and a fixed fee of $0.30. However, if the transaction is not in US dollars, you will have to pay an extra fee of 1%. The same fee applies to all credit card issued outside of the US. No other fees like startup fee or monthly charges for using the platform exist here. All popular credit cards (Visa, American Express, MasterCard) are processed at the same rate. Plus, there are no strict requirements for transactions per month.

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Unlike two previous platforms on the list, this service has been around since 1996, which makes it a veteran of the payment processing sphere. The service is still alive and prospering being widely used in the USA. It has more than 400 000 registered merchants in total worldwide. Authorize.net is the main choice for e-commerce platforms such as X-Cart, Magento, and Volusion. It may not have a huge market presence with its market share of 1.1%, but still offers some benefits other payment processors cannot provide.

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One of the main “treats” of Authorize.net for merchants is their advanced fraud detection system. The service offers tools such as Card Code Verification and Address Verification to build the first anti-fraud barrier. In addition to that, the company has a dedicated Fraud Management Department to do account monitoring and develop new methods and programs for merchant protection. All active merchants also gain access to the Advanced Fraud Detection Suite developed by Authorize.net. It is a powerful instrument with various filters and options designed to analyze, block, and manage suspicious transactions.

When it comes to the coverage, the service falls behind the competitors mentioned on this list. Today you can register an Authorize.net merchant account only in the USA, EU, UK, Canada, and Australia. The platform offers ten payment methods in 11 currencies.

Authorize.net provides two payment plans for their clients: all-in-one and payment gateway only. Both will cost you $25 per month. The transaction fee for the first option is 2.9% of the sum and a fixed fee of $0.30. For using the payment gateway, you will have to pay $0.10 per transaction and $0.10 more as a daily batch fee. Setup fee for both plans is $49.

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Final Thoughts

Instead of a conclusion, we would like to remind you that all popular payment systems have their strengths and weaknesses. There are three main things to consider in the first place: service fees, platform security, and service availability across the globe. Secondarily, you need to compare SDKs provided by each payment system and estimate how difficult for you it would be to implement them.

The platforms presented here just happen to be more versatile, flexible, while also providing great developer tools and robust API to work with. Some solutions are more difficult to implement, and some require just one professional. In any case, it would be wise to talk with experts first before making your final solution. Feel free to contact our backend team to ask any question related to the topic.