Stripe is a favorite among startups and tech-savvy businesses for online payment processing because it offers highly versatile software for creating custom checkouts. However, it’s not the best online payment processor for everyone. Some businesses want something simpler and cheaper or a solution that provides a (point-of-sale) POS or virtual terminal payment processing.
We evaluated dozens of credit card processors to find the best alternatives to Stripe:
Stripe Alternatives Compared
Stripe at a Glance
Since our last update:
Stripe is renewing its efforts to allow cryptocurrency transactions. In May 2022, Stripe teamed up with OpenNode to allow customers to accept Bitcoin. Users will need the OpenNode app to convert payments into Bitcoin. Its Crypto Payouts tool is still in Beta. If you need cryptopayments now, consider PayPal.
Stripe is on our list of:
When To Use an Alternative to Stripe
Stripe is highly customizable, secure, and scalable as your business grows. However, there are times when its complexity and specialization make other solutions a better choice:
- DIY business people with little programming experience: Stripe is a popular payment system for web developers and companies that have a dev or IT team that can program the integrations. If that’s not you, then a simpler option might work better. Recommended: Authorize.net or Helcim.
- Businesses that want point of sale included: Stripe integrates with POS systems and lets you build one with Stripe Terminal, but does not have an out-of-the-box solution. Recommended: Square, PayPal, or Helcim.
- Businesses with high-volume sales: Given Stripe’s processing rates, you may benefit from a merchant service that offers interchange-plus pricing. Recommended: Stax or Payment Depot.
- Businesses dealing with mostly in-person transactions: If you do mostly in-person sales, a payment provider with mobile and counter POS systems will suit you better. Recommended: Square, Payanywhere, or Helcim.
- Ecommerce businesses that need a simple setup: If you are a small business that needs a quick payment button, then Stripe is beyond your needs. Recommended: PayPal
Square: Best Overall Stripe Alternative
Square is a highly popular and well-rated payment processor that usually tops our lists because of its free POS system and ability to grow with your business. Unlike Stripe, you can start selling immediately upon signing up for Square—no programming is needed.
The POS system is top-notch and works not only for stores but for restaurants, spas, salons, and service industries. It offers an integrated online store and a mobile app for selling on the go. Plus, as your business grows, it offers additional software for loyalty plans, marketing, and even payroll. Its banking services include checking and savings accounts and loans. While Stripe does not have these services, it does connect to a network of banks to let you create cards and financial products for your customers, something Square cannot do.
Square appears on our lists of:
- Monthly fee: $0
- Card-present transaction fee: 2.6% + 10 cents
- Ecommerce and invoice transaction fee: 2.9% + 30 cents
- Card-not-present transaction fee: 3.5% + 15 cents
- ACH Fee: 1% (minimum $1)
- Afterpay (Buy-Now-Pay-Later) fee: 6% + 30 cents per applicable transaction
- Instant payout fee: 1.5%
- Chargeback fee: None; up to $250 per month for chargeback protection
- Card reader: $49
For all its versatility, however, Square is a closed system. It does not allow other payment processors and cannot match Stripe for integration into websites or complex payment processing needs. Learn more in our review of Square vs Stripe.
PayPal: Best for Value-added Payment Options for Ecommerce
In the News:
Effective Oct. 31, 2022, US business accounts can’t receive personal transactions from PayPal accounts outside the US, nor can US PayPal accounts send personal transactions to business accounts outside the US. In July 2022, PayPal prohibited US business accounts from sending or receiving personal transactions to US personal accounts.
PayPal rivals Stripe as one of the most popular online payment processors. However, where Stripe is more difficult to implement and maintain, PayPal has a reputation for being user-friendly for both customers and merchants.
It accepts all types of payments, including credit cards and bitcoin, works internationally, and offers a free POS system, Zettle. Zettle works on countertop systems and smartphones. Further, PayPal lets you easily add buttons to your website, social media, or online store.
However, PayPal really shines as an additional payment option. In fact, studies have shown that customers are 2.8x more likely to convert when PayPal is visible. PayPal makes it easy to offer its payment processing alongside other credit card processors.
PayPal Pricing (US)
Since our last update, PayPal has made several changes to its fee structure and policies:
- The cryptocurrency fee structure has changed. There are no listed cryptocurrency fees for merchants. Consumers pay 49 cents to 1.8% of purchase, depending on the amount.
- Donation pricing is being increased to 2.89% + 49 cents in general and to 2.99% for PayPal Fundraisers
- The instant transfer fee is 1.5%, and the maximum cap fee has been removed.
See PayPal’s website for more information.
- POS fee: $0
- Standard card-present fee: 2.99% + 49 cents*
- Card-present fee (Zettle): 2.29% + 9 cents
- Keyed-in fee (Zettle): 3.49% + 9 cents
- Online transaction fee: 3.49% + 49 cents*
- International transaction fee: 1.5% fee, 3%–4% spread for currency conversion
- Chargeback fee: $20
- Dispute fee: $15
- Instant transfer fee: 1.5%
- Card reader: $29 for the first; $79 for additional
*The fixed fee of 49 cents is US-only. Fixed fees vary by country of business.
Despite its versatility, Stripe is the better option for customization. Stripe also accepts more currency types than PayPal (135 vs 25), and the former has more powerful API and SDK tools for programming special cases. Additionally, Stripe has fewer complaints of held funds than PayPal. Discover more in our Stripe vs PayPal article.
Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for High-volume Sales
Since our last update:
Stax has changed its plans. Its most basic plan (Growth) now offers digital invoicing and recurring payments. While Stripe charges for these on a by-transaction basis rather than with a monthly plan, these changes make Stax more attractive for small businesses that handle large volumes of invoices and recurring payments.
Stripe offers custom rates for high-volume sales, but Stax’s interchange-plus rates are cheaper. There is a monthly fee to consider, but if you do enough credit card transactions, the savings may cover the monthly fee and still save you money.
Stax stacks up to Stripe in terms of functionality and features. Stax says it integrates with over 90% of third-party POS systems but most through Zapier. Further, if you want it programmed directly into your software, Stax Connect has in-depth API and SDK support. Stripe, meanwhile, has direct integrations. Of course, Stax is still ahead in the in-person sales category, with more choices of POS hardware and a native mobile app. Businesses also enjoy the ability to send custom payment links to customers.
Since our last update:
Stax has lowered its custom plans to support businesses making over $500,000 annually. Before, it was $5 million.
- Monthly fee: $99–$199
- Card-present transaction fee: Interchange + 8 cents*
- Card-not-present transaction fee: Interchange + 15 cents*
- Optional software packages: $29–$129 monthly for features like reporting dashboard, ACH payments, invoicing, Text2Pay, web-hosted payments, recurring payments, chargeback manager, and dedicated support
- Chargeback fee: $25
- Custom plans available for businesses processing over $500,000 annually
Stripe, of course, blows away Stax—and all the others—by having over 1,250 integrations in addition to its powerful programming tools. Even Stax itself says Stripe is better known for online payments, while Stax takes a more holistic approach.
*Interchange rates are what the issuing credit card company charges, and vary by card type and use. Learn more in our article on interchange fees.
PaymentCloud: Best for High-risk Merchants
In the News:
In Sept. 2022, Stripe changed the countries deemed high risk. We’ve changed the write-up to reflect that. Find more information on Stripe’s website.
If you run a business that sells high-risk items or is considered a high-risk business for other reasons, you may not be able to work with Stripe. It sometimes imposes restrictions, such as setting up a funds reserve—if it approves you at all. (Stripe also has definite prohibitions for businesses dealing with high-risk jurisdictions such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk Regions). There are also restrictions against Russia. If this is your business, look into PaymentCloud. It’s our top-recommended high-risk merchant account.
Although it does work with regular merchants, PaymentCloud specializes in high-risk businesses and products. It works with over 10 banks and walks you through the application process to get you approved. Pricing is customized depending on your situation, but user reviews say the terms are competitive. In addition, other merchant services will refer high-risk clients to PaymentCloud.
Note: These prices have changed since our last update.
- No application fees, setup fees, or annual fees
- Monthly fee: Starting at $0, depending on business type and use case
- Medium-risk transaction fee: 2.69%–3.29%
- High-risk transaction fee: 2.95%–4.25%
- Large volume discounts available
- Medium-risk: 2.25%–3.4%
- High-risk: Call for quote
- Interchange + pricing available depending on use case; call for more information
- Payment gateway fee: $15/month
- Chargeback fee: $25–$45
PaymentCloud offers the fastest payout of those on our list, saying it gets funds into your account in seconds rather than days. Stripe has same-day deposits—but at an additional fee. PaymentCloud will handle integration into your CRM, accounting software, POS solutions, and more. Stripe leaves this process to your team. Unlike others on our list, PaymentCloud also offers a wide range of POS systems and hardware, from Ingenico to Clover. Stripe’s offerings are far more limited.
Helcim: Best for Growing Storefronts Needing Recurring Payments
Helcim is one of several on our list with interchange-plus pricing but has one advantage: no monthly fees. Plus, it automatically scales the rates to your level of sales, so you don’t need to change plans or apply for discounts. Compared to Stripe, Helcim is a much cheaper solution for businesses doing high-volume sales, especially if they expect to scale up. It also offers free POS software, which Stripe does not have (unless you create it), making Helcim ideal for storefronts.
It processes credit cards and ACH payments and has invoicing and recurring billing tools (Stripe charges 0.5%+ for recurring billing). It also has a native POS app for countertop or mobile—something Stripe lacks—and native tools for taking food orders, managing inventory, and managing customers.
- Monthly fee: $0
- Card-present transaction fee: Interchange plus 0.1% + 5 cents to 0.3% + 8 cents
- Card-not-present transaction fee: Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents to 0.5% + 25 cents
- Chargeback fee: $15, but Helcim refunds the charge for disputes settled in your favor
- Card reader: $109
- Automatic volume discounts
Like Stripe, it has a built-in checkout portal, although Stripe offers more templates and customizations. Helcim lets you embed payments into your website or app and process payments without handling the sensitive information associated with payments. Overall, these native features and very affordable interchange-plus pricing make Helcim a great fit for busy storefronts. In fact, Helcim is our top pick for retail credit card processing companies.
Payanywhere: Best for Small, Mobile Restaurants & Retailers
For businesses that primarily do steady, in-person sales, Payanywhere is a great app. Its rates are competitive, especially since it is a simple percentage. This makes it cost-effective for businesses with low-ticket sales such as coffee, souvenirs, and snacks. (Online, however, Stripe has much better transaction fees.)
Payanywhere has a free mobile POS app that works for small restaurants and food trucks and integrates with delivery systems. Like Stripe, you can get a virtual terminal and recurring billing. In addition, it offers employee management tools through Homebase, including time clocks, scheduling, and hiring—Stripe does not offer these. Payanywhere now offers free same-day payouts which was previously offered with a 1% fee.
- Card-present processing fee: 2.69%
- Keyed-in processing fee: Starting at 3.49% + 19 cents per transaction
- Invoice and recurring payment processing: 3.49% + 19 cents
- POS software: $0
- Inactivity fee: $3.99 per month after 12 months of inactivity
- Card readers: $59.95
- Terminals: From $9.95 per month or $349 one-time
- Free same-day deposit
- Offers pay-as-you-go and long-term contracts
- Early termination fee (if on contract): $295
Stripe is better in that it does not have an inactivity fee; Payanywhere charges $3.99 per month after 12 months without processing transactions. Payanywhere also does not process international credit cards, making it better for domestic sales.
Payment Depot: Best for Wholesale Pricing With no Percentage Markup
Payment Depot offers interchange-plus pricing, with no distinction between online and in-person transactions. While owned by Stax (another alternative that also offers wholesale rates in exchange for a monthly subscription), it’s better suited for smaller businesses because its monthly prices are cheaper. For this reason, Payment Depot makes our list of the cheapest credit card processing companies.
Of course, the pricing is much cheaper than Stripe’s, even considering the monthly fees. It also has fewer complaints than Stripe when it comes to held funds or canceled accounts. Like Stripe, Payment Depot has a third-party mobile POS, plus a choice of free third-party virtual terminals. Also like Stripe, it may offer business funding to its members that qualify and has a very high user satisfaction rate and strong third-party integrations.
Payment Depot Pricing
- Monthly fee: $59–$99 (based on processing volume)
- Contract length: Month-to-month, no long-term contract
- Card-present processing fee: Interchange plus 8 cents
- Card-not-present processing fee: Interchange plus 15 cents
- Chargeback fee: $15
- No setup, cancellation, chargeback and other miscellaneous fees
- Custom pricing for >$500,000 in processing annually
- Hardware: Starts at $49
Payment Depot falls short of Stripe in that it is only for US merchants. You also need to apply and be approved, whereas Stripe lets you sign up and go. It also lacks billing and invoicing, except through other payment gateways (Stripe has these tools).
iATS: Best for Nonprofits & Donations
iATS and Stripe are both on our lists as best for:
You can use Stripe for nonprofits, but iATS is built especially for these unique businesses. It does not list pricing online, but we’ve seen flat rates listed anywhere from 2.49% to 3.2% + 26 cents, making it competitive with Stripe. Over 14,000 nonprofits work with iATS, and one of its specialties is working with customer relationship management software. For example, its Brickwork processing app for Salesforce makes it easy to accept donations, track donor information, and manage donors from the Salesforce app.
Like Stripe, this payment processor relies heavily on integrations. iATS does not have its own POS system, but it lets you create online forms for your website. However, it can also create a standalone solution, which includes hosted pages and forms, to which you can add a shopping cart using its Aura program. Stripe will embed into websites but not build one for you. iATS easily integrates into donation-specific software.
iATS also differs from Stripe in that it can give your donors the option of covering their transaction fees for you. While a small addition for your donor, this can save you a great deal of money in processing fees.
- Monthly fee: $0
- Transaction rates: Not on its website; reports say 2.49% to 3.2% + 26 cents
- ACH processing: Not on its website, but others say it costs 26 cents per transaction
- One-year contract, with six months automatic renewal
iATS takes longer to process payouts than Stripe. It requires a one-year contract and works only with certified nonprofit organizations, whereas Stripe can be used for charity or for-profit businesses.
Authorize.net: Best Payment Gateway
Authorize.net is a well-known payment gateway that integrates easily into other payment solutions. While it charges a monthly fee, it is reliable and does not charge chargeback fees. You can use it as a payment gateway alone (choosing your own merchant account) or as a payment processor, where it sets you up with a merchant account. This flexibility earned Authorize.net the top spot in our evaluation of the best payment gateways.
It can handle high-risk businesses through its partners and even has partnerships for other business solutions for shipping, compliances, fraud prevention, and more. While it does not integrate as extensively as Stripe, it does have partnerships with developers who can design integrations for you.
- Monthly fee: $25
- All-in-one processing fee: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, or 10 cents per transaction and 10 cents batch fee
- ACH/e-check processing fee: 0.75% per transaction
- Chargeback fee: $0
- POS system: $0 for Mobile POS app
- Virtual terminal: $0
- Card readers: $65
- Terminals: Third party
Stripe reaches more countries, accepts a greater variety of payments, and integrates with more systems, whereas Authorize.net offers more of a plug-and-play solution. Also, despite Stripe being more programming-heavy, users give it a better usability rating than Authorize.net, which they say can take some effort to set up and has an older-looking interface.
Chase Payment Solutions: Best Traditional Merchant Account
Chase is one of the biggest names in the banking industry and is a direct processor of credit card transactions. Thus, if you don’t need a lot of specialized integrations but are more interested in straight processing online and in-person, then it may be able to supply your needs and offer a quicker payout, especially if you have a Chase Business checking account.
It offers a mobile POS app, and an online store, plus billing and invoicing. Like Stripe, Chase processes international payments, but it beats Stripe in its other business offerings—like checking and savings, loans, and credit cards. This makes it a good choice for businesses just starting out that need more than payment processing. It tops our list of the best checking accounts for small businesses.
Chase Payment Solutions Pricing
- Monthly fee: $0
- Processing fee: From 2.6% + 10 cents to 3.5% + 10 cents
- ACH Processing: $25 per month for 25 transactions, 25 cents for each additional, or 1% for certain platforms
- Cancellation/early termination fee: $0
- Chargeback fee: $25–$100 per transaction
- Deposit speed: Same-day deposit and next-day funding
- Hardware options: $49.95–$399
As a direct processor, Chase makes payment processing simpler; funds are transferred faster for as long as you have a checking account with Chase. However, there have been frequent reports of poor customer service and some complaints over contracts that ended up with users having to pay cancellation fees.
How We Evaluated Stripe Alternatives
When looking for the best alternatives to Stripe, we considered dozens of excellent payment processors, many of which have features on other best-of lists for merchant accounts and payment processing. We then narrowed it to those that met a need that Stripe did not, or which did something better than Stripe, whether with a tool or as a cheaper alternative. In general, nearly all of these require less programming knowledge, especially when it comes to integrations and POS systems.
Stripe Alternatives Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When is Stripe better than competitors?
Stripe is a favorite among programmers because of its versatility and easy-to-use tools. Even users without programming experience say that the tools are not difficult if you need basic things like invoices and a checkout page. Plus, with over 1,000 native integrations and an API with excellent directions, it can work with just about any software you need. Thus, we think it’s the best for online payment processing.
Is Stripe the best payment gateway?
Stripe is an excellent payment gateway and has placed in several of our best-of lists for payment processing for various needs. However, whether it’s the best depends on what you need the payment gateway for. The article above offers excellent alternatives for situations where Stripe might not be the best choice.
What is the best Stripe alternative for small business?
It depends on what you want out of your payment processor. Our article lists 10 excellent alternatives that meet needs Stripe cannot or that do something better than Stripe.
Where can I learn more about Stripe vs other payment solutions?
We offer one-on-one comparisons for the following products:
Where can I learn more about using Stripe?
Stripe offers an excellent help section with detailed documentation. In addition, you can check out our article on using Stripe’s payment processing tools.
If you have specialized payment processing needs or a wide range of online payment venues, then Stripe may be your best choice. It’s extremely popular among developers for its extensive toolset and ease of use—for programmers. Those who are not tech-savvy or do more sales in person may fare better with a simpler payment processor. Additionally, those doing high-volume online sales may save more money with a payment processor that does interchange-plus processing.
All told, Square is the best Stripe alternative. It offers rates comparable to Stripe but has a powerful free POS system, online store, virtual terminal, and other tools that make it a better choice. Plus, it’s easy to use and highly rated by real-world users. Sign up for a free account and get started today.