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With billions of general purpose payment card transactions every year around the world—which The Nilson Report estimates will expand to 515.42 billion by 2024—choosing a secure, flexible payment gateway is crucial for retailers.

As transaction numbers increase, black hat hackers see dollar signs everywhere from small eCommerce sites to major brick-and-mortar businesses. Manipulating the payment processing chain promises lucrative rewards for them, and the stakes are high for both retailers and cybercriminals. Fortunately, there are cost-effective solutions for eCommerce businesses wanting to offer the convenience of debit and credit card payments without putting their customers’ banking info at risk and losing their trust.

Not all card payment gateways are created equal when it comes to the security, convenience, and flexibility that your company needs to support eCommerce activity. What works best for your enterprise depends on your customers and your platform; whether you want to offer buyers a no-fee experience or you want to be able to instantly convert currency will definitely influence your gateway decisions.

Here is a rundown of the top three cost-effective solutions for secure eCommerce payment gateways


You can’t talk about online payment systems without mentioning PayPal. Since 1999, they have set the standard for online payment gateways with features that include no-fee buyer processing, currency conversion, encrypted transactions, and no monthly minimum for merchants. In addition, it’s easy to set up and customize options, like the “view cart” button, for your business. The biggest benefit, however, is that over 179 million people use PayPal making it the most recognized payment processor in the world.

On the downside, customer service is quite poor and merchants pay transaction fees. But the cost of doing business with PayPal is worth it for most e-commerce brands, especially when you consider that this payment gateway leader offers premium rewards to white hat hackers who monitor the PayPal network looking for vulnerabilities and weaknesses.


Braintree is a great option for “one-off” payments and subscription management. Backed by PayPal, this payment processor offers some great advantages for merchants. For one thing, there is no transaction fee for the first $50K, and they offer volume discounts for merchants who exceed $80K per month. Currency conversion is available, but there is an additional 1% fee for processing, and chargebacks are hit with a $15 fee (standard pricing for most top-tier gateways).

On the other hand, some users say the setup is a bit confusing and the API isn’t direct placement. Business IT staff should be prepared to do some coding to get the gateway up and running smoothly.


For an easy-to-use, direct-placement option for card processing, Stripe is another great option. The sleek system is extremely user-friendly and offers great features right out of the box, such as acceptance of more credit cards, automated payments for recurring billing, and the ability to sync your sales data with the apps you are already using. They also offer 100+ currency conversions with a 2% market exchange rate and process Bitcoin for 0.5%.
Stripe is built for developers and offers mobility-focused features that enable businesses to accept Apple Pay, Android Pay, and American Express Checkout with just a few lines of code (though offering one-time discounts requires manual entry). There are no setup or monthly fees, and you can arrange for discounts on multiple transactions.

When it comes to security, Stripe processes payment transactions on its own network, which means that virtual thieves can’t access credit card information, and their mobile APIs are PCI-compliant. Testability before launching is a key factor for new startups and Stripe offers a trial run without even registering for service.

Serving Your Customers with a Top-Shelf Card Processing Gateway

The payment gateway you choose significantly impacts your brand because when customers visit your e-commerce site, they expect a commitment from you to protect their data from unauthorized eyes. Careful consideration will help you meet your business goals without breaking the bank or having to pass along hefty fees to your customers.

PayPal, Braintree, and Stripe all lead the pack today, but before you sign up with any payment processor, do your research first. Choosing a best-fit service is about more than simply checking fees and ensuring that the SaaS is PCI compliant. Make sure the gateway fits your business plan. Is it easy to offer discounts? Does it support mobile buyers? How about scalability and responsiveness to change?

Even if you choose a best-fit gateway, your customers won’t be able to complete the transaction if you don’t have a reliable web hosting partner. Check out cost-effective business plans at Bluehost so that your website visitors can browse your product or service safely and soundly

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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