Handling cash transfers through the Internet is no longer a novelty since the meteoric rise of online payment solutions. Brilliantly organized, to begin with, they help you send money, receive money, make payments for shopping, pay the bills, etc. And while we are at it, undoubtedly, PayPal is one of the prominent names that pops up in our minds. Of late though, the Internet is ablaze with a number of alternative websites like PayPal, and judging by the consumer onslaught, by all means, they are almost as effective. If you intend to experiment with these options, go through some of the best PayPal alternatives enlisted in this write-up.
Online Payment Solutions
To begin with, understand the working of an online payment service.
To process payments online, you need a payment gateway and a merchant account.
A payment gateway is a go-between the bank system and the website. The financial and personal details of the consumer are provided through this medium.
The merchant account verifies the authenticity of the financial and personal details.
It also checks if there are enough funds available for transfer.
When a customer pays through the online system, the gateway sends the information securely to the merchant account.
Once the information is verified and proved correct, the payment is made and the consumer receives a notification.
PayPal, as already mentioned, is a renowned e-commerce service that allows easy payment transfers.
Alternative Solutions to PayPal
Established in 2005, Payoneer is currently used in more than 200 countries.
It provides refillable debit card service apart from online payment transfers.
You are provided with a reloadable prepaid MasterCard. Card activation requires a payment, though account creation is free.
A maintenance fee is also charged per year, around USD 30.
You can transfer cash from other credit cards and banks once your card is activated. The card can be directly used at ATMs and other purchase points.
Paymate was launched in 2001 in Australia.
Paymate OnTheGo is one of its innovations launched in 2012, and is a credit card reader that allows acceptance of MasterCard and Visa cards.
Payments are accepted in US, Australian, and New Zealand dollars as well as European and British currency.
It is highly recommended by eBay as a safer option than many other online payment systems.
It is primarily used by sellers in Australia and New Zealand to gain access to international buyers.
Ironically, buyers need not have an account here. Their financial details are handled with utmost security as well.
Sellers are required to pay a minority fee for using Paymate.
Skrill was originally called Moneybookers and is based in the United Kingdom.
Launched in 2001, this e-commerce business boasts of attracting more than 2 million registered users within just one and a half years.
Payment transactions are allowed in more than 40 currencies.
Customers will be required to have an account with the company website, and register their personal details.
Skrill accounts recognize users through their email addresses. And once registered, the customer cannot alter the same; it can be done only by the site.
Skrill VP offers extra features, like earning points, multi-currency accounts, tokens, etc.
Skrill offers Escrow payments and fax-sending features as well.
Google Wallet is mainly used in the US, and is primarily for merchants, i.e., money cannot be transferred to other users.
It is more of a mobile payment system, and is used extensively with the help of near field communication (NFC) for faster payments.
Not more than a year ago, Google Wallet and Gmail were integrated to allow payments via Gmail attachments.
It works with most of the mobile devices, including Apple, Motorola, LG, and Samsung.
It works with MasterCard and Visa, and has innumerable merchant locations.
It has a reasonable amount as fee, and money for transfers can be sent directly from your bank account.
Website: Google Wallet
This service was started by Amazon and is available for other sites as well.
It is a fairly good credit and debit card processing platform.
Reportedly, the site does not accept any other integrated payment system.
This payment method can be used by users to purchase goods from other sites.
The best part about Amazon Payments is that it does not charge you anything. You can transfer money via any account, send money to several retailers – everything is free.
The only seemingly minor drawback is that, you cannot withdraw an amount more than USD 10.
Users can checkout using their regular Amazon account, irrespective of the payment transactions.
Website: Amazon Payments
Stripe accepts all kinds of payments.
Unfortunately, users may be required to have a little knowledge about website coding to understand the site better.
Also, for every successful transfer, you will be charged 2.9% of the amount in addition to 30 cents.
Stripe works brilliantly with most of the credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and more.
With Stripe, the checkout process takes place on your own site, i.e., you don’t have to go to the company site for the same.
Shopping carts like BigCommerce and Shopify are integrated with Stripe, and product transaction is made much simpler.
The site is brilliant for developers, and is customized accordingly.
Dwolla is one of the best alternatives to PayPal.
It is one of the most cost-effective sites as it allows free transfer below USD 10 and charges just 25 cents for transfers above this limit.
It is very quick and allows immediate cash transfer.
However, the service is available only in the US, and requires both user accounts to be Dwolla accounts.
As per recent statistics, Dwolla has more than 6,00,000 customers.
WePay is an excellent online payment site for small businesses.
It has the same fee structure as PayPal – it charges credit card payments with 2.9% of the transaction and 30 cents.
It is reputed to have outstanding fraud detection services, which makes it stand out from the others. It also has great customer service.
Customers can purchase goods and services without having to leave the site.
Users can create accounts very easily on WePay, and the checkout options are very convenient as well.
Established in 1996, it is one of the oldest online payment gateways, and of late, has been used as a convenient option to PayPal.
This service allows users to access payments through their IP (Internet Protocol) connection.
The site has more than 4,00,000 merchant users.
It has fairly good fraud protection and security services.
Not surprisingly, the site has received the Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) award for five years in a row.
Established in the year 2007, Braintree basically caters to merchant accounts.
In the year 2013, the company was acquired by PayPal, in essence, eBay (PayPal is a subsidiary of eBay) in a multimillion deal. However, it still runs as a separate payment service.
It is reasonably priced and has a fairly simple user interface.
It is available for most of the globe and in almost all currencies.
It has some unique integrated features, like customer support, multiple language options, etc.
However, it requires the users to have some programming knowledge to configure the site and use it appropriately.
It has a quick checkout option and recurring billing services.
The above alternatives are purely based on consumer usage and are subject to variation, but they are quite reliable. However, Paypal is one of the most popular payment systems available online. You are completely at liberty to choose whatever payment service you wish to. A word of caution though, do not take a dramatic leap. Continue using PayPal while experimenting with the other sites. Once you are confident of the others, slowly reduce the dependence on PayPal.