Top international payment gateways / processors for US merchants

All online businesses need Payment gateways. A good business gateway should possess the following qualities.

For merchants:

  • Minimize the cost of processing payments
  • Improve payment conversions
  • Easy to integrate and maintain

For customers:

  • Simple and seamless experience
  • Availability of preferred payment methods

What is an International Payment Gateway?

The payment gateway is the front-end technology that sends the customer's payment information to the merchant's bank (called acquiring bank). Payment gateways read, encrypt and transmit data from various payment methods like cards, wallets, etc., and help verify that the transaction is legitimate. Online payment gateways use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to communicate with other systems involved in processing online payments.

Image credit: Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

Here are the top payment gateways

The best payment gateway for your business depends on your business needs and depends on things like - Are you omnichannel? What are your transactions volumes? How does your target audience pay? Are you a subscription-based business? And more.


Founded in 1998, Paypal is one of the US's most widely used payment gateways.

  • Features:
  • Supports all major credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal payments (PayPal, Venmo3, Pay Later options, and more), and other preferred and local payment methods used worldwide.
  • Simple to start as it is already integrated with most major eCommerce platforms. It also allows for building custom checkout flows.
  • Additional features include fraud prevention, seller protection, and chargeback protection.
  • Cost:
  • Zero set up or monthly fee.
  • Cards - 2.9% + USD 0.49 within US and 4.4% + USD 0.49 outside US
  • Positives:
  • Quick activation and integration
  • High-grade security features
  • Flexibility to use only as a payment processor or payment gateway
  • 24/7 customer support in 15+ languages
  • Negatives:
  • Expensive for smaller purchases
  • Redirection to Paypal for competing purchases

Founded in 1996, offers one of the most cost-effective payment gateway-only solutions in the US. Visa owns

  • Features:
  • It supports all major credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, and other payment methods used worldwide.
  • Provides additional features like Advanced Fraud Detection Suite, Customer Information Manager, Recurring payments, and invoicing at no extra cost.
  • Cost:
  • All-in-one option - Zero set-up fee; Monthly gateway charges - $25; Per transaction charges - 2.9% + 30¢.
  • Payment gateway only - Zero setup fee; Monthly gateway. charges - $25; Per transaction charges - 10¢; Daily batch fee - 10¢.
  • Positives:
  • It provides flexibility to work with different merchant account providers.
  • It provides several features along with the package with the flexibility to include an account updater and eCheck processing at additional cost.
  • Transparent pricing with no requirement for a contract
  • Negatives:
  • Monthly fee applicable with the both available plans
  • It doesn't have a robust PoS for in-person payments.


Stripe is an API-based payment gateway provider. It is highly customizable and allows merchants to build payment experiences per their business goals and needs. It is better suited for small and medium businesses.

  • Features:
  • It allows accepting payments via cards, wallets (except Paypal), bank transfers and debits, BNPL, and cash-based vouchers. It supports 135 currencies globally and varied use-cases of payment processing like omnichannel, recurring, and more.
  • It also provides additional tools for fraud and disputes, settlement and reconciliation, and reporting and analytics.
  • Cost:
  • Zero setup or monthly fee
  • Per transaction charges - 2.9% + 30¢ for cards or digital wallets (1% additional for international transactions)
  • Positives:
  • It provides pay-as-you-go and transparent pricing.
  • Support across payment acceptance, processing, settlement and reconciliation, and management.
  • Negatives:
  • Requires technical know-how to implement its advanced features.


Founded in 2007, Braintree is a Paypal owned gateway that offers Stripe-like customizations while providing additional payment methods (Paypal and Venmo) not supported by Stripe.

  • Features:
  • It allows accepting and processing cards, PayPal, and wallets such as Venmo (US only), Apple Pay, and Google Pay, as well as BNPL.
  • Other key features include - fraud tools, reporting, data security, and payouts.
  • Cost:
  • Zero setup or monthly fee
  • Cards & Digital wallets - 2.59% + 49¢ per transaction; Venmo - 3.49% + 49¢ per transaction; ACH debit - 0.75% per transaction capped at $5.
  • Positives:
  • Highly customizable and provides additional payment options.
  • It provides flexibility to use any merchant account or opt for a Braintree merchant account.
  • Negatives:
  • Not suitable for brick-and-mortar store
  • Customer support has been an issue


It is a Dutch payment processing organization that offers individual merchant accounts and a transaction-based processing fee that consists of a fixed processing fee + a fee determined by the payment method.

  • Features:
  • It provides global coverage of all popular payment methods, including cards, wallets, BNPL, bank transfers and debits, and vouchers.
  • Provides tools for - Risk management, Revenue optimization, and Insight generation
  • Cost:
  • Zero setup or monthly fee
  • Payment varies with the payment method.
  • For cards - Visa and Mastercard cards - 12¢ + 2%; for America Express cards - 22¢ + 3.3% in North America
  • ACH debit is 37¢
  • For other payment methods - 12¢ + Payment method fee
  • Positives:
  • Lower prices effectively
  • It provides an all-in-one payment platform equipped with global acquiring capabilities and the ability to accept payments across all channels.
  • Negatives:
  • Minimum invoice requirement
  • Pricing is complicated to forecast just based on transaction volumes.


Founded in 2009, Square is an end-to-end payment processor part of a more comprehensive e-commerce solution. It is better known for its POS system that allows retailers to accept in-person payments and customer relationship tools.

  • Features:
  • It accepts all major credit cards for online transactions, provides Apple pay and e-wallet payments, and provides a card reader/ PoS for accepting in-person payments.
  • It provides a free online store feature that automatically connects to Square payments.
  • Provides integrations with - Wix, Weebly, Bigcommerce, Drupal, WooCommerce, custom-built websites, and more
  • Cost:
  • No payment fee or monthly contract
  • Payment varies with the payment method.
  • For in-person transactions - 10¢ + 2.6%
  • Most online transactions - 30¢ + 2.9%
  • Manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices - 15¢ + 3.5%
  • Positives:
  • A transparent and straightforward pricing structure
  • Square does not charge chargeback fees. Additionally, it offers chargeback protection of up to $250 a month on qualifying transactions.
  • Supports in-person sales with an affordable hardware
  • It charges one of the lowest payment processing charges.
  • Negatives:
  • Limited options for international payments.
  • Supports Square and a select few e-commerce websites for integration
  • Lack of subscription tools
  • Not suitable for high-risk businesses.

Chase for business

Chase serves as both the payment processor and the acquiring bank, which makes Chase Payment Solutions an all-in-one direct processor.

  • Features:
  • It supports online checkouts and PoS payments, focusing on credit and debit cards.
  • It distributes merchant payments faster than most processors.
  • Quicker response and resolutions in case of account freeze, chargebacks, or other similar issues
  • Cost:
  • Payment varies with the payment method.
  • For in-person transactions - 10¢ + 2.6%
  • Most online transactions - 325¢ + 2.9%
  • Manually keyed transactions - 10¢ + 3.5%
  • Positives:
  • A transparent and straightforward pricing structure
  • Quick payouts with next-day payouts being available
  • Excellent choice for medium to large businesses that need a stable card processor which can handle large volumes
  • Negatives:
  • Merchants need to use Chase checking account for the quickest deposit facilities
  • Lacks powerful developer tools and customizations

How do you select the Best Payment Gateway for your company?

The choice of Payment Gateway depends on a variety of factors which include:

  • Country of operations
  • Currency
  • Service charges, setup fees, gateway fees, and monthly fees
  • Sign-up process and timeline
  • Fraud Protection
  • Supported payment options and more

This list should give you an overview of the most popular frontrunners in the Payment gateway/ processing space and help you decide.

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