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Comparing payment systems in 2014

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Implementing a payment system is much easier in 2014, but selecting one is just as hard as ever. Pulling together all the information could take weeks.

You have to evaluate basic questions like:

-How do they work with subscription billing?

-What’s their pricing?

-How do they handle checkout?

-Do they provide a merchant account?

There’s so much out there and your business has unique demands that aren’t necessarily easy to work with. Which can lead to huge setup fees and sacrificing key features.

We’ve created a basic jumping off point that compares some of the base differences between these subscription management and payment gateways. Scroll down to check out our piece on comparing payment systems in 2014.

If you’re interested in our previous post on recurring billing you can find it here

Comparison Chart

Company Subscriptions Hosted or Integrated Checkout Merchant Account Standard Fees Collected # of Employees
Stripe Optional Both Built-In USA 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction UK 2.4% + 20p per transaction 125
Recurly Required Both 3rd party Monthly tiered + $0.10 per CC transaction and 1.25% of revenue 56
Braintree Optional Both Built-In 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction 308
Zuora Yes Hosted 3rd Party Contact Sales for Pricing 416
2Checkout Optional Hosted Built-In 5.5% + $0.45 per transaction 110 Optional Pay Now Button and Integrated Built-In Setup $99 + Monthly Gateway $20 + 2.5% + $0.25 per transaction 150
Beanstream Optional Both Built-In 2.75% per transaction (2.9% + $0.30 per card-not-present transaction) 54
BlueSnap Optional Both Built-In 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction 130
Chargebee Yes Hosted 3rd Party Monthly tiered per invoice pricing. + $10 per 50 extra invoices 26
ChargeOver Optional Hosted + a customizable JSON library 3rd Party and Built-in Monthly tiered per customer pricing 8
Chargify Yes Both Built-in Monthly tiers with per user pricing 14
eWAY Optional Both Both UK 49£ per month + 5p per transaction AU 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction 60
MangoPay Optional Both Built-in For Euro 1.8% + €0.18 Other currencies 2.5% + €0.25 35
Paymill Optional Plug-ins 3rd Party 2,95% + €0.28 per transaction 51

Other things to consider:

Setup Fees

These are largely dependent on what stage your company is in. For example, if your company is already handling a large volume of transactions then you might need to go with a company that has a deeper feature-set, but with some up-front setup fees. If you’re just starting out, go with one of the solutions that has no setup fees this is something you can worry about after you establish your other key business metrics.

Payment Gateway

This is an application that integrates into a web-based merchants’ checkout form and activates when their user makes a payment. The gateway transmits that payment between the website and the merchants’ bank by encrypting the transaction information.

Merchant Account

This is a required part of accepting payments online, it’s an account that you create with your banking institution that holds the pending credits/debits of your online transactions. There are two different types of merchant accounts dedicated or third-party.

Dedicated Accounts – With these accounts the entire payment process takes place on the merchants’ website. The merchant hosts the checkout page through SSL and uses a payment gateway to encrypt and send the transaction data for authorization.

3rd Party Accounts – With these accounts the user is taken to a 3rd party checkout service to process the payment. The benefit here is that the merchant doesn’t have to worry about installing SSL certificates and using payment gateways.

Hosted Checkout

This is a big hurdle for most companies when they are looking to reduce friction in their checkout process. Many payment gateways like Paypal require your user to make the payment off-site, which can heavily impact your conversion rate. As your company grows you will start to put more emphasis on a consistent online experience and improving your checkout process.

PCI Compliance

This is a set of requirements that to make sure all companies are maintaining a secure environment when processing, transmitting and storing credit card information. Companies are put into four different merchant levels based off of how many transactions they process per year.

Volume Discounts

Many payment providers offer you a discount on their pricing when you get to a certain volume of transactions. We mentioned the standard fees collected in our chart above, but you’ll have to do some negotiations of your own to find out the exact discount they are willing to offer.


This comparison is by no means a conclusive feature comparison of these companies, but it should give you enough base information so you can pick which companies to contact and research. Ultimately, it comes down to what your specific needs are for a payment system. If you have suggestions for our table feel free to make them in the comments below! We’ll happily update the post to make sure it stays accurate as time goes on. Thanks for reading our piece on comparing payment systems in 2014.

Image courtesy of bplanet/