The 7 Best Payment Gateway Providers in the UK for 2024

Man sitting on sofa at home holding a credit card and smartphone to make an online purchase

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It’s never been more vital for businesses to have a secure payment gateway to accept card payments through, with 80% of UK buyers now shopping online, and half of all in-person payments now being made with cards, according to UK Finance.

According to our research, takepayments is the best payment gateway provider to process your online payments, thanks to its customizable transaction fee structure and wide range of features. The company also manufactures one of the best card machines for small businesses currently available, so it’s really the best of both worlds.

But it’s not the only option out there. We’ve compiled a list of seven great payment gateways, that allow you to quickly process card payments, transferring sensitive shopper data to payment networks in a secure and compliant manner. Here are our picks:

What are the Best Payment Gateways?

  1. takepayments – Best overall
  2. Zettle – Most convenient
  3. Revolut – Best for low transaction fees
  4. Worldpay – Best for integrations
  5. Square – Best for zero contract next-day payouts
  6. SumUp – Best for 4G connectivity
  7. Stripe – Best for reporting

Click on any of the links above to be taken to our cost comparison tool, which will help you get matched with the best service for your business.

The best payment gateways for small businesses

The table below summarises our top seven picks of payment gateway providers for small UK businesses, along with their basic pricing information and the scores our expert researchers gave them.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

takepayments

Zettle

Revolut

Worldpay

Square

SumUp

Stripe

Score
Not yet rated
Score
4.8
Score
4.8
Score
4.8
Score
4.7
Score
4.4
Score
4.2
Score
4.0
Best For

Not yet assessed

Best For

Best overall

Best For

Convenience

Best For

Cheap transaction fees

Best For

Integrations

Best For

zero-contract fast payouts

Best For

3G connectivity

Best For

Reporting

Hardware Cost

From £89

Hardware Cost

From £25 + VAT/month

Hardware Cost

From £29 + VAT

Hardware Cost

£49 + VAT (one-off fee)

Hardware Cost

From £20 + VAT/month

Hardware Cost

From £19 + VAT

Hardware Cost

From £49 + VAT

Hardware Cost

From £49 + VAT

Monthly Fee
Monthly Fee

From £20 + VAT

Monthly Fee

None

Monthly Fee

None

Monthly Fee

From £19.95 + VAT

Monthly Fee

None

Monthly Fee

None

Monthly Fee

None

Transaction fee
  • 1.5%
Transaction fee
  • Bespoke in-person
  • 10p online
Transaction fee
  • 1.75% in-person
  • 2.5% payment links and invoicing
Transaction fee
  • 0.8% + 2p in-person UK cards
  • 2.6% + 2p in-person non-UK cards
  • 1% + 2p online UK cards
  • 2.8% + 2p online non-UK cards
Transaction fee

Between 0.6% and 2.6% (based on quote)

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

Transaction fee
  • 1.4% + 10p in-person
  • 1.5%+ 20p online
Why can you can trust Expert Market

Her at Expert Market, we have 15 years of experience reviewing the payment gateway market so we are well placed to analyse what’s on offer.

We independently research and test the products and providers featured in our reviews, and assess them against our in-house ranking methofology.

1. takepayments – Best overall

takepayments
4.8
Online fees 10p
Strengths

Negotiable pricing

Wide array of processing and reporting features

Next day fund transfers

Weaknesses

Multi-currency only available through API

High early contract termination fees

Obscure pricing

Pricing
Monthly feesOnline transaction feesIn-person transaction feesHardware cost
From £20 + VAT 10p (first 400 transactions are free) Bespoke From £25 + VAT/month

takepayments is the best overall payment gateway provider, thanks to its negotiable fees, and wide range of payment options and reporting features.

With takepayments, all fees are bespoke, which means you’ll be able to negotiate a pricing structure that works for your business.

You’ll also get access to numerous ways to take payments, from card machines with 3G connectivity, to online solutions, such as pay-links, phone payments, and QR codes. takepayments also integrates with over 50 online shopping carts. However, competitor Square can build you a full-blown online store, making it the easiest way to take payments online.

takepayments also has great reporting and management capabilities, allowing for customised product categorisation, real time inventory tracking, and employee sales tracking. Competitor Worldpay charges extra for these types of features, while with takepayments, they’re included in your package.

The provider isn’t without its faults, however. It’s obscure pricing structure can be off-putting, since you won’t know how much to budget for takepayments’ services before getting a quote.

Not helping this is the fact that takepayments charges high fees for early termination – a £30 per month non-use charge and a £40 early termination charge. This isn’t something you have to worry about with zero-contract payment gateway providers like Revolut, Square or SumUp, who are also very upfront about their pricing.

Lastly, although takepayments can support over 170 currencies, this is only available via APIs and not built into the platform. If you want less fuss, you could go with Stripe, which supports 135 currencies with no need for coding.

screenshot of three takepayments card machines
takepayments currently has three card machines on offer, two of which have 4G connectivity. Source: takepayments

takepayments pricing

takepayments’ monthly hardware costs are middle-of-the-road at around £25 per month + VAT for the average small business, with a minimum monthly account fee is £20.

Also, takepayments very conveniently allows you to negotiate your transaction fees — one of the biggest ongoing costs you have when taking payments. This is one of the reasons our researchers found it one of the cheapest way to take card payments in the UK.

If you want a cheaper option, Worldpay’s payment gateway fees start at £19.95 per month. Square’s mobile reader starts from £19, although its in-person transaction fees are 1.75% per transaction, which could cost your business more in the long-run.

Who do we recommend it to?

We recommend takepayments to small businesses that process over £2,000 in card payments a month, and have multiple employees. This is mainly because, when it comes to bespoke pricing, businesses with a higher transaction volume tend to get a better deal.

Ideal candidates are restaurants and cafes, or retail stores with an online storefront.

Is a payment gateway just for taking online payments?

A payment gateway is used for accepting both online and in-person card payments.

It’s the software that processes the customer’s card data and enables a quick, secure transaction to take place, whether you’re taking a card payment through your website (using an internet merchant account, for instance), or face-to-face with a PDQ machine or mobile card reader.

2. Zettle – Most convenient

Zettle logo
Zettle
4.8
Online fees 2.5%
Strengths

Zero-contract

No monthly fees

Protection against chargebacks (£250 per month)

Weaknesses

Must pass a credit check

No virtual terminal

High transaction fees

Pricing
Monthly feesOnline transaction feesIn-person transaction feesHardware cost
None 2.5% 1.75% From £29 + VAT

Using Zettle by PayPal is the most convenient way to set up a payment gateway, since its a zero-contract provider, and allows you to use your phone to take payments.

A main draw card is that Zettle has no long-term contracts or monthly fees, and is very upfront about its pricing, while traditional payment gateway providers like takepayments have a minimum contract of 12 months with variable fees.

All you need is your phone to get started, and through the Zettle app you’ll be able to accept in-person card payments, and send payment links and invoices. You also have the option to purchase card machines outright from Zettle (no monthly rental fees), with Zettle’s Card Reader two earning a spot in our list of best card machines for small businesses.

Zettle also impressed us with its range of 35 integrations: far more than zero-contract competitors SumUp, Stripe, Revolut or Tyl. These make it convenient for entrepreneurs to plug in payment processing to accounting, banking and ecommerce software.

You shouldn’t be worried about security with Zettle, since it’s fully PCI compliant, encrypts all card data, and even offers transaction protection of up to £250 in eligible chargebacks per month.

Zettle isn’t without its drawbacks. It does perform a credit check, which does slow down the setup process – competitor Square doesn’t –, and the price you pay for having zero monthly fees is higher transaction fees. Zettle also doesn’t offer a virtual terminal, for taking payments over the phone. However, you can work around this by sending payment links and invoices to customers.

screenshot of Zettle card machines and taking payment options
As well has offering two card machines, one of which is a mini EPOS device, Zettle also has an app that allows merchants to take payments on their smartphone. Source: Zettle

Zettle pricing

Overall, Zettle’s fees are mainly transaction based, since it doesn’t charge monthly fees for using its payment gateway service.

You’ll pay 1.75% per in-person transaction, which on the pricier end of the scale, and 2.5% per online transaction, which is quite standard across the industry. “Card-not-present transactions”, as they’re called, typically cost more because they’re considered riskier. However, Revolut’s way cheaper on that front, charging 1% + 20p for online transactions.

Zettle’s card machines start at £29 + VAT. After that, you own the card machine outright, and don’t need to pay monthly rental fees. Zettle’s card machines are on the cheaper end of the scale. Square’s starting price is cheaper, at £19 + VAT, but Revolut, SumUp, and Stripe’s card readers all cost more than Zettle’s.

The technology you’re getting is decent and effective, with good security features such as a tamper-proof card machine.

Who do we recommend it to?

Since Zettle is a zero-contract payment gateway provider, with on monthly fees and low setup costs, it’s a great option for running a flexible, nimble business, such as a pop-up, market stall, or startup.

3. Revolut – Best for cheap transaction fees

Revolut Logo
Revolut
4.8
Online fees 1% + 20p
Strengths

Some of the cheapest transaction fees on the market

No monthly fees

Comes with an invoicing tool

Weaknesses

Very limited reporting features

No fraud prevention

Limited hardware offering

Pricing
Monthly feesOnline transaction feesIn-person transaction feesHardware cost
None 1% + 20p 0.8% + 2p £49 + VAT

Revolut has the cheapest transaction fees of any zero-contract payment gateway provider we’ve researched. It charges 0.8% + 2p for in-person transactions, and 1% + 20p for online ones, cheaper than rivals Stripe, Square, or SumUp. And, with no monthly fees, Revolut is one of the cheapest ways to take payments, both online and offline.

It’s a payment gateway provider primarily focused on online businesses. It has a convenient invoicing tool that lets businesses offer customers multiple payment methods  (debit, Google Pay, bank transfer etc.), and pre-built integrations with some of the most popular ecommerce stores on the market, including Shopify and OpenCart.

However, because it’s online-focused, Revolut’s hardware offering is very slim. It only sells one card machine, the Revolut Reader, a simple tap and chip-and-pin device with no pin pad. There’s also no fraud prevention, making Revolut an outlier among its peers, Square, SumUp, and Stripe.

Additionally, Revolut’s platform lacks comprehensive sales reporting tools, with spend management and sales management being the main ones on offer.

Revolut pricing

Revolut’s transaction fees are cheaper than most merchant accounts we’ve compared.

Its transaction fees of 0.8% +2p in-person and 1% + 20p online are the cheapest. For comparison, the others on this list (SumUp, Square, and Zettle) all charge 2.5%per online transaction.

However, you might be able to negotiate cheaper fees than Revolut with Worldpay and takepayments, with the caveat being you’ll be paying monthly fees, which Revolut doesn’t charge.

Revolut’s sole piece of hardware (its reader) retails at £49, which puts it on par with Stripe’s entry-level model, but makes it more expensive than Square’s (£19) and SumUp’s (£39) entry-level ones.

While reader prices matter less to online businesses, having a cheap option is a good idea if you’re planning on moving into the brick-and-mortar market later down the line.

Who do we recommend it to?

We recommend Revolut to businesses that primarily sell online, or to single-location store or eatery owners who don’t want to be tied up in a contract, but still want to benefit from low transaction fees.

4. Worldpay – Best for integrations

Worldpay Logo
Worldpay
4.7
Online fees From 1.3% + 20p
Strengths

Over 100 integrations

30-minute fund transfer time

Accept 120+ currencies

Weaknesses

Reporting is a paid add-on

PCI Compliance costs extra

Obscure pricing

Pricing
Monthly feesTransaction feesHardware cost
From £19.95 1.3% + 20p online; 0.6%-2.6% in-person From £20/month

With over 100 integrations, Worldpay is the best payment gateway for businesses that use a lot of software.

Software integrations covered by Worldpay include customer relationship management, accounting, analytics, and ecommerce. This makes it easy to scale your payments and accounting procedures. You won’t need to change providers as your business grows, instead, you can opt for the integration you need as your business’s needs change and develop.

Worldpay’s 30-minute fund transfer time blows all other transfer times out of the water; it’s even faster than Square’s next-day window. This super speedy timeframe makes Worldpay a good fit for business accounts that need predictable cash flow.

You’ll also be able to accept over 120 currencies using Worldpay, with no need for APIs, as is the case with takepayments. This is a feat only beaten by Stripe, which automatically supports 135+ currencies.

Our main gripe with Worldpay is that it charges extra for reporting tools (£4.99 per month), and for keeping you PCI compliant (£5 per month). This can rack up your monthly overheads, bringing us to our next gripe, Worldpay’s pricing is a little unclear.

There’s a tool on the Worldpay website that gives you fee estimates based on your revenue, but to get a clear idea of how much you’ll be paying every month, you need a quote.

Worldpay pricing

Worldpay’s pricing is a little confusing. You have the option of paying for an online-only payment gateway, or a combined in-person and online service. Both models have different fees and charges.

The online payment gateway, called Worldpay eCommerce, has clear pricing. It comes with no monthly fees, and transaction fee currently sits at 1.3% + 20p for Visa and Mastercard consumer cards, while AMEX and other commercial cards are charged at a rate of 2.9% +20p.

Finding out pricing gets a little more nebulous if you’re looking for an online and in-person gateway with Wordplay. Transaction fees on this model are between 0.6% and 2.6% for in-person payments, and 1%-3% for online or over the phone payments. Your monthly service fee will be around £19.95, and the fee for renting a card machine is from £20 per month.

Who do we recommend it to?

Wordpay’s large network of integrations allows small businesses the room to grow and expand their suite of software, so we’d recommend it to growth-focused businesses.

It offers custom pricing for businesses with large transaction volumes, so you’ll be able to negotiate a better deal when you outgrow your previous contract.

5. Square – Best for zero-contract fast payouts

Square
4.4
Online fees 2.5%
Strengths

Payout by the next working day

No monthly fees

Free EPOS system

Weaknesses

High in-person transaction fees

No multi-currency for in-person payments

Access to full set of features requires monthly fee

Pricing
Monthly feesOnline transaction feesIn-person transaction feesHardware cost
None 1.4% - 2.5% + 25p 1.75% From £19 + VAT

Square offers the fastest payouts of any zero-contract payment gateway provider we’ve researched, and can get your money to you the next day. It’s only beaten by Worldpay, which transfers funds in 30 minutes, but is a contract-based provider.

Fast payouts aren’t the only thing Square has to offer. For zero monthly fees, you can accept payments in-person and online, build an online store with Square, and access its EPOS app. All you’ll be paying are transaction fees.

Square is one of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses, and is a great starting point for new businesses.

While, Square’s free software offers great value for money, if you want access to more advanced features, such as in-depth reporting and analytics, whether that be for Square’s online store, or EPOS software, you’ll need to upgrade to one of its paid plans. Unfortunately, doing this doesn’t lower your transaction fees, which at 1.75%, are quite high for in-person payments.

Square also doesn’t support multiple currencies for in-person sales, which can be limiting if you’re a business that has international customers that travel to visit your brick-and-mortar store.

Square pricing

Square’s pricing is straightforward. In-person transaction fees are 1.75%, and online ones are 1.4% + 25p for UK cards, and 2.5% + 25p for non-UK cards. Invoices, keyed-in payments, and over-the-phone payments have a 2.5% transaction fee.

Square’s in-person fee is quite high, and you’ll pay less per transaction with Revolut, SumUp, or Stripe. However, its online transaction fees are decently low, with only Revolut offering a better deal with fees of 1% + 20p.

Like its zero-contract competitors, Square doesn’t charge monthly fees for its basic payment gateway service and sells hardware outright. Its starting price for card machines is £19 + VAT, the cheapest out of all its competitors.

Also, if you plan on expanding into a physical location in the future, Square lets you easily upgrade to an advanced EPOS solution and sells all the hardware you need, from terminal stands to cash drawers.

If you’re curious about EPOS systems costs, see our full breakdown.

Who do we recommend it to?

We recommend Square to small businesses that sell in-person and online and plan on rapid growth.

Because Square has solutions for payment processing, EPOS, and ecommerce, it’s a catch-all provider suited to a large variety of sellers. Its zero-contract model also makes it easy to upgrade to one of its paid solutions exactly when you need it.

6. SumUp – Best for 4G connectivity

SumUp logo
SumUp
Online fees 2.5%
Strengths

Has a 3G connected reader

Affordable ways to lower transaction fees

Accepts a wide variety of payment methods

Weaknesses

Slow payouts

Transaction fees are high on pay-as-you-go plan

Performs credit check on new merchants

Pricing
Monthly feesOnline transaction feesIn-person transaction feesHardware cost
£0-£19/month 0.99%-2.5% 0.99%-1.69% From £49 + VAT
Deal

When you sign up to a card reader and business account, SumUp offers a discounted transaction fee of 1.49%, compared with the usual fee of 1.69%.

SumUp’s Solo card machine is one of the few mobile card machines on the market to come with a built-in SIM and free unlimited data, making SumUp a great payment gateway choice for businesses that sell on-the-go.

Competitor Tyl (not featured on this list) offers 4G plans, but it charges monthly fees for these, whereas you can buy SumUp’s card machine for a one-off fee.

Although SumUp doesn’t charge monthly fees on its most basic plan, for £19 per month, you can sign up to its SumUp One plan, and get transaction fees reduced to 0.99% for both online and in-person sales, down from 1.69% and 2.5%. If you don’t want monthly fees, you can also sign up to a free SumUp Business Account (with no monthly costs), to lower in-person transaction fees to 1.49%.

With SumUp, you’ll be able to accept payments through a variety of channels, including by card, payment link, QR code, or via an online store. SumUp integrates with popular online stores like Wix and WooCommerce, and it also has a free online store builder. We do, however, think that Square’s online store builder offers more functionality than SumUp’s.

SumUp also supports a wide variety of payment methods, from popular ones like Visa and Apple Pay, to more uncommon ones like Discover and JCB. This allows you to serve a wide variety of customers.

Where we find fault with SumUp is in its payout time. It can take three to five days for you to receive your money, even though one to two days is fast becoming the standard. Transaction fees, without a SumUp Business Account or SumUp One subscription are also quite high, and not suitable for high-volume sellers.

Lastly, if you’re a new merchant, you should be aware that SumUp will perform a credit check on you (it doesn’t do this if you’re established), so its not a good option for those with poor credit scores.

SumUp pricing

SumUp’s pricing is very transparent. On a basic pay-as-you-go plan, you’ll pay 1.69% per in-person transaction, and 2.5% per online, transaction (including pay-links and invoices). With a SumUp Business Account, you can reduce your in-person fee to 1.49%.

If you have a high transaction volume, you can sign up to the £19 per month SumUp One plan, and get your in-person and online transaction fees reduced to 0.99%.

SumUp’s coveted 4G reader is priced at £79, which might seem expensive, but it’s actually a great deal. By contrast,  Zettle’s 4G reader costs £149 upfront, almost double. SumUp also has a cheaper Bluetooth card reader priced at £49, which is a pretty standard price point.

Who do we recommend it to?

Thanks to its affordable 4G card reader, SumUp is a good choice for market traders, food trucks or businesses located in areas with poor connectivity.

If you’re an established small business with a high sales volume, the £19 per month SumUp One plan, offers decent value for money, and since its zero-contract, you can cancel whenever.

▶ Need more information?: Read our guide on how to create a secure payment gateway for online stores.

7. Stripe – Best for reporting

Stripe logo
Stripe
4
Online fees 1.5% + 20p
Strengths

Good reporting capabilities

No monthly fees

135+ supported currencies

Weaknesses

Slow payout time

Card machines are expensive

No 4G card machines

Pricing
Monthly feesOnline transaction feesIn-person transaction feesHardware cost
None 1.5% + 20p 1.4% + 10p From £49 + VAT

When testing it, we found Stripe to have the best reporting capabilities of all of the zero-contract payment gateway providers we analysed.

This includes reporting on real-time charges, fees, and refunds, as well as payment methods and currencies. For businesses that need comprehensive reporting on transactions, Stripe is a good choice.

And, with pre-built API integrations for just about any ecommerce apps you work with (Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce all come to mind), Stripe should slot seamlessly into your online business’ current setup.

Stripe has zero monthly fees, and, like Revolut, Stripe doesn’t perform a credit check, allowing customers who might have a poor credit score to use its payment solution.

It also supports 135+ currencies and can display pricing in the customer’s currency during online checkout, for an additional 2% fee per successful transaction.

On the downside, Stripe has the slowest payout time of any provider we tested, taking 3-7 business days to transfer funds. You can pay for a next-day payout, but you’ll incur a 1% cut to your payout volume.

Stripe card machines are also some of the most expensive on the market, with its the cheapest one costing £49 + VAT, and the most expensive one costing £279 + VAT. Given that none of these card readers have 4G connectivity, that’s a steep price to pay, although we should note that Stripe’s most expensive card reader is a mini EPOS device, so the price could be worth it for some retail stores or restaurant owners.

Stripe pricing

Stripe’s transaction fees are lower than competitors Zettle, SumUp, and Square’s fees, at 1.4% + 10p for in-person transactions and 1.5% +20p for online ones.

It will cost you more accept international cards, however. In-person fees jump to 2.9% + 10p for non-UK and EU cards, and online fees jump to 2.5% + 20p for EU cards, and 3.25% + 20p for all other international cards.

Stripe’s hardware is a tad more expensive than Square and SumUp, offering three readers at £49 + VAT, £179 + VAT, £279 + VAT each. While these fees are one-off, they can add up, especially if you want to purchase more than one reader. However, your recurring fee is the transaction fee which, for a mobile reader, is fairly low.

Who do we recommend it to?

We recommend Stripe to businesses with complex transactions that serve an international clientele, since Stripe in-depth reporting features will help you better keep track of your revenue.

I have a Shopify online store, what about Shopify Payments?

You may already be familiar with Shopify’s POS system or Shopify’s ecommerce platform – either of which you can use as a stand-alone.

But, Shopify also has its own payment gateway, which remains a popular choice, used by more than 90,000 British web shops. The benefit of Shopify Payments is it saves you from having to set up an individual merchant account, and connect a separate payment gateway to your Shopify online store. A Shopify merchant account works similarly to a PayPal merchant account. It’s an aggregated merchant account – a shared merchant account used as a holding pen for your business revenue.

As you can see, Shopify is a jack of many trades. It also has inventory management software and a website builder. For more details on these features, you can check out our full guide to what Shopify is.

screenshot of Shopify hardware for taking payments
Shopify sells various EPOS terminals, as well as one card reader, the WisePad 3. Source: Shopify

If you have a Shopify online store and use Shopify Payments, you won’t pay third-party transaction fees, which Shopify charges if you use another payment gateway over theirs. You’ll only pay Shopify card rates for online sales: 2% + 25p on the Basic plan, 1.7% + 25p on the Shopify plan, and 1.5% + 25p on the Advanced plan. Plan fees range from £19 to £344 per month, depending on your billing cycle.

Another convenience is that chargebacks are deducted from your Shopify payouts, rather than directly from your bank account. That keeps business funds a bit neater. However, Shopify Payments doesn’t include the same £250 monthly chargeback protection of Zettle, so you’ll get less protection.

Nevertheless, Shopify is expanding its remit for international business faster than Zettle. For example, last year, Shopify released Shopify Markets Pro, which lets merchants accept international payments in local currencies and automatically pays local taxes.

How does a payment gateway work?

A useful way to think of this technology is that it’s like… a gateway! It’s a place one thing (the customer’s card details) needs to go through to get somewhere else (authorisation of the card by the bank involved).

Let’s take a look at where a payment gateway sits in a typical online card transaction:

Payment gateway explanation infographic

There is one more detail to note: you’ll need a merchant account before you can start taking payments. A payment gateway makes the transaction happen, but you still need somewhere for the money to go.

Payment gateways commonly come as part of a package when you set up a merchant account, like with takepayments or Retail Merchant Services. Some providers may charge an additional fee for this service. Other payment services, such as a virtual terminal, pay-by-link feature, and invoicing tool, are also often included as standard with this type of package.

However, other payment gateway services offer a service that can work alongside a merchant account from a different provider, such as Braintree, CyberSource, and Adyen. This does offer more flexibility and customisability, but it typically comes at a greater cost – and with more hassle.

▶ Confused about all the terminology?: See our article on the differences between merchant accounts, payment gateways, and payment processors for a detailed explanation.

How to switch to a new payment gateway provider

If you’re unsatisfied with your current payment gateway, it may be time to consider switching to a new provider. Here’s a rough guide to doing so:

  • Check your current contract to find out whether it’s possible to switch without paying a fee – or, if there is a fee, how much you’ll need to budget for it.
  • Research and select a new provider that meets your needs, integrates well with your existing structure, and offers fair fees and terms that suit your needs. Once you’re happy with your selection, notify your current provider that you’re switching as per the conditions of your contract.
  • Follow your new provider’s onboarding process to set up and thoroughly test account integration, and perform test transactions. It can be helpful to plan a transition date and time in advance to ensure it goes smoothly.
  • Execute the transition to your new provider – update your website, cart, and customer payment profiles to your new system. Monitor the new system closely when it is live, and run reports to validate the success of the switch.

The main things to focus on are choosing a suitable new provider that fulfils the criteria that your current gateway does not, testing the integration completely before going live, planning the timing of the switchover, updating all payment links and profiles, and verifying transactions post-switch. With the correct preparation, it can be a smooth transition.

We recommend considering all of the available options on the market when switching to a new provider. Since there are a lot of providers to choose from, you can make life simpler by using our free comparison tool, which will match you with providers that best suit your needs. They’ll then be in touch directly with tailored quotes, so you can compare the best, most accurate prices for you.

Top 6 things to consider when choosing a payment gateway provider

Whether you’re just starting out or switching providers, when shopping for your payment gateway provider, be sure to bear the following factors in mind.

1. International support

In today’s world, you can’t afford to lose business from abroad – or because a buyer didn’t have the right credit card. Make sure your payment gateway supports different card types and currencies. This will help keep your business blossoming beyond borders.

2. Transaction volume

Payment gateway fees are fickle things; transaction rates often go up and down depending on your turnover. Review how much you’re selling using your current gateway — or, if you haven’t started yet, how much you expect to sell. It’s important when it comes to selecting the cheapest supplier for your business.

3. Customer support

Time is money. If there’s an issue with your payment gateway, you’ll need it sorted as quickly as possible. That, or risk missing out on sales.

What kind of customer support does your provider offer? Is it just a web-based service like a chatbot, or can you call up and speak to a real person? Is it available 24/7, or just during business hours?

4. Hosted or API?

If you have an online store, at some stage, you’ll also need to think about how you want to add a payment gateway to your website.

The easiest option is to host it on the payment provider’s site. This is also ideal because it means you don’t have to worry about tricky PCI compliance. However, your customers get redirected away from your site to pay – not great for brand-building, or the customer journey at large.

The other option is to use an API integration to slot your payment gateway straight into your website. It makes for a smoother payment experience for the customer, although you’ll need some technical knowledge to implement this.

5. PCI DSS compliance

This is the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). It’s designed to help protect cardholder data and reduce fraud. No matter how big your business is, you’ll need to stay compliant – if you’re taking card payments, that is.

Make sure your payment gateway provider is PCI DSS compliant before you go anywhere near a contract!

6. Online cart compatibility

A payment gateway processes the transaction, but if you’re selling via a website, it still needs a shopping cart system in place. That’s where your customers browse your products, add stuff to their carts, and eventually hit ‘checkout’.

Your payment gateway and your shopping cart system need to talk to each other, to ensure your buyer’s journey is a smooth one. This is why you need to make sure your payment gateway provider offers integration with whatever current shopping cart you’re using, or are planning to adopt.

7. Hardware compatibility

If you want to keep some of your existing hardware, make sure the payment gateway provider you choose supports it. This will make it easier to keep track of all your transactions.

This could mean anything from receipt printers, to cash drawers and kiosks.

Our methodology

Our independent research team assessed 12 different payment gateway providers to find the best on the market.

We ranked them based on how they faired in the following categories:

  • Price: We looked at transaction fees, hardware costs, account fees, and any other additional charges, and assessed whether the provider offered good value for money.
  • Payment options: We looked at whether the provider offered its customers a diversity of ways to accept payments, from pay-links, to online stores, to card machines. The more, the better.
  • Features: We looked at whether or not the provider had the following highly sought-after features: invoicing, third-party integrations, reporting, and multi-currency support.
  • Compliance: We looked at whether the provider assisted its customers with PCI compliance, and whether it had measures in place to ensure data security and protect against fraud.
  • Customer support: We looked at the range of support avenues a customer could access. The more, the better.
  • Consumer reputation: Lastly, we took into account the opinions that everyday customers and industry experts had of each provider, in order to add nuance to our analysis.

Our verdict and next steps

takepayments’ overall score of 4.8/5 grants it the number one spot on this list. Its pros include comprehensive reporting, over 16 integrations, and low monthly hardware costs. However, it does lack email support.

While takepayments has the highest score in our research, it might not be the best provider for you. You might prefer one that offers a super speedy fund transfer time, such as Worldpay, or you want the free EPOS system that Square offers. When switching to a new payment gateway provider, ensure you are selecting one that is specific to your business processes. If your current payment gateway does not fulfil your needs, we’re confident that one of the above providers can do a better job.

FAQs

What is the best payment gateway for domestic payments?
If you have a high sales volume, takepayments is the best payment gateway provider, since you’ll be able to negotiate low transaction fees from them.

If you’re a new or small seller, Zettle is a better option, since it’s easy to set up and can act as both your merchant account and payment facilitator.

What is the leading payment gateway provider?
Worldpay is the largest payment gateway provider in the UK, servicing more than 250,000 UK SMEs.

Our site is reader-supported. Some featured providers are our partners, so we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through our site. This is at no extra cost to our readers, and this doesn’t affect the independence of our reviews. Whether or not we have a partnership with a company does not affect our rating and review of the service.

Written by:
Rob Binns
Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.
Reviewed by:
Headshot of Expert Market Senior Writer Tatiana Lebtreton
Tatiana is Expert Market's resident payments and online growth expert, specialising in (E)POS and merchant accounts, as well as website builders.