6 best WooCommerce payment gateways

A payment gateway is a necessary step in accepting electronic payments for any shopping cart software. Currently, there are loads of options for WooCommerce users. We researched the field carefully and selected the best payment gateways, so your business can choose the most suitable option.

WooCommerce is one of the most popular online store tools built on WordPress. Today it is applied by 7% of all websites, and 28% of all online shops. We might say it is so favored by the range of businesses because it’s easy to create an online shop here and to operate one afterward. Also, it’s free, open-source, and supports a lot of payment gateways via the WooCommerce plugin list. 

But before going deeper into the WooCommerce credit card payment gateway we would like to clarify what is a payment gateway, why is it so necessary to have one, and how does it work.

What is a payment gateway

A payment gateway is a service that allows businesses to accept credit and debit card payments. In the case of an eCommerce business, a payment gateway is a web-based technology that activates electronic payment processing. Simply put it creates a chain between a wallet of a merchant and a wallet of a customer to make a transaction pass successfully.

When a customer decides to purchase online any goods or services, he or she goes to a checkout page, fills in the shipping and billing information, and proceeds to submit an order. At this moment payment gateway activates and becomes in charge of the next steps.

How does a payment gateway work

And so a customer sees a simple loading of the webpage, that will later inform if the transaction was completed or will explain why it was declined. Between these two processes, there are a lot of things happening in the background of the website which includes security measures, contacting multiple banks, requesting information from a card association, and so on. Let’s take a closer look at these steps.

  • Immediately after purchasing it starts with encryption of a customer’s payment data, which is after sent to the merchant’s web server, passing through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol;
  • A gateway application of the merchant’s website transmitting the encrypted transaction data to the merchant’s payment gateway. From there, the data flows to the payment processor;
  • The payment processor forwards the encrypted payment data to the acquiring bank;
  • The acquiring bank connects with the customer’s card association, like Visa, MasterCard, American Express or else;
  • In turn, card association contacts issuing bank of the customer and requests funds availability check and transaction limits information;
  • Issuing bank responds to an acquiring bank, approving or declining the exact purchase, in a case of a declined transaction both merchant and customer will receive a reason of denial;
  • The information of successful or failed transaction transfers back from acquiring bank to the payment processor;
  • The payment processor sends a response to the merchant’s website, which delivers the information to a merchant directly and to a customer on the checkout page.

Even though the process is complex, it would approximately take just 2 seconds to go through all the chain of actions. And so payment gateway plays a key role in online payment processing. It directly affects a customer’s shopping experience and a merchant’s profit after all.

If we are talking about the WooCommerce payment gateway there are many choices. We’ve been researching to single out the most competitive of them, and made a comparison to highlight the strong points along with the weak ones.

Best WooCommerce payment gateways compared

Payment gateways for WooCommerce are all about the same thing but still differ. Players on the market do propose a significant range of benefits together with certain limitations and fees. To have a valid comparison of WooCommerce payment gateways we have created it relying on the same criteria.

  1. Countries of registration and currencies. This criterion is a first to start with. As it points out with which payment gateway a business can cover the desired location.
  2. Local payment methods. It is quite beneficial for some businesses to accept as many regional payment options as possible on top of the regular credit and debit card methods. 
  3. Payment location. A location in this case is the website of the merchant. In other words, this criterion separates on-site payment gateways that operate on the website of the merchant, from payment gateways that redirect a customer to the other website for making a transaction.
  4. Automated payments. This is crucial for businesses that implement a subscription into their websites. Automated payments collect and keep the customer’s billing data to authorize an automatic bill payment. Otherwise, a customer should fill in this information manually every billing cycle.
  5. Fees and charges. There is always a minimum fee per transaction and optional charges for setting up, maintenance, refunds, chargebacks, and so on. 
  6. Security. This does not concern the basic SSL protocol which is a necessity for any eCommerce. The security criterion stands for the control of chargebacks and fraud detection. 
  7. Client support. Definitely, any payment gateway offers minimal client support to help with the basics and solve a problem. The question here is how full, detailed and personified this support can be. 

Stripe

Stripe covers more than 40 countries and about 135 currencies, along with alternative local payments and digital wallets. The service supports on-site payments, so customers stay on the website during checkout. With the fee of 2,9%+0.3 EUR per transaction, a business would get an option of automatic payments and the fraud prevention service. 

The only thing that Stripe is missing is full customer care. It sure does have client support. But as the company is operating with an extremely large number of merchants, there just can’t be enough personal attention for each one.

PayPal

PayPal extends over 200 countries, operates with 26 currencies, supports local payment methods, and PayPal payment itself. The package goes with the fee of 2,9%+0.3 EUR for each transaction and it includes a fraud prevention system and risk management.

This could be the best payment gateway WooCommerce could propose, if not two major disadvantages. First of all, PayPal does not offer on-site checkout. This means that customers get redirected away for every transaction. WooCommerce custom payment gateway is available only for PayPal Pro members but with extra fees. The second point is about automated payments. As PayPal does not keep customers’ data it is not possible to use any subscription-based type of business.

Square

Square has a special role in the payment gateway world. This is a must-go option for businesses that want to duplicate their retail store into an online one. Square offers synchronization between physical and virtual shops. Service goes with the standard fee of 2,9%+0.3 EUR, fraud plus account takeover protection, subscription availability, and on-site purchases. It also accepts digital wallets.

But beware of the location and currency. Square is one of those WooCommerce payment gateways that is accessible only in Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK, and the USA. And so it operates only with the following currencies.

Authorize.net

While merchants can accept payments from any country in the world, they are still obliged to reside in the USA, Canada, UK, EU, or Australia in order to use Authorize.net. On-site and recurring payments are provided, same as the fraud protection, and payment types include digital wallets. Also, Authorize.net delivers full support and the automatic refund opportunity.

There is a set-up fee of 49$ plus a monthly fee of 25$, and a fee per transaction that may vary. The annual charge instead of the monthly plan costs 79$. Besides that, using Authorize.net on a WooCommerce merchant account is needed.

WooCommerce

This payment gateway is developed by WooCommerce and it is quite a simple and functional service. The fee is 2,9%+0.3 EUR for cards issued in the USA, and the same percentage plus 1% for cards issued abroad. WooCommerce covers only USA-based merchants and after opening an account businesses can accept payments in USD from all over the globe. The payment gateway does offer on-site checkout, automated payments, and client support.

At the same time, there is no strong security solution such as a fraud prevention system. Generally speaking, the WooCommerce plugin is a suitable simple solution with fewer details to propose but easy to go with.

Maxpay

Maxpay works with merchants that are registered in the EU, UK, and USA, but it allows to accept currencies from all over the world along with local payments. The fee per transaction starts with 2,9%+0.3 EUR. There are also yearly charges that depend on the acquiring bank of the merchant.

Maxpay offers clients easy integration with the WooCommerce platform. All you need is to start a merchant account and then download and install a free plugin developed specifically for WooCommerce from our documentation. We also provide integrations with other platforms, like Shopify, PrestaShop, Drupal, OXID, and more!

Maxpay has some special-oriented features that come with the payment gateway beside the usual on-site transaction and subscription ability. The first one is Covery, the established fraud protection with chargeback control. The second one is personal account management with risk management together. Both take full care of businesses, keeping them safe and on a good track. To calculate the potential fee and discover all the personal benefits, please contact our sales department.