Written by Rob Binns Reviewed by Ruairi Shirlow Updated on 3 April 2023 On this page 1. takepayments – Best for features 2. Zettle - Best for convenience 3. Revolut – Best for cheap transaction fees 4. Worldpay – Best for integrations 5. Square – Best for faster payouts 6. SumUp – Best for 3G connectivity 7. Stripe – Best for reporting What is a payment gateway, and how does it work? How about Shopify Payments? Top 6 things to consider when choosing a payment gateway provider Our methodology Our verdict & next steps FAQs Expand All providers have been reviewed and tested by our Research team. By requesting a quote, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral Being able to charge customers virtually is a must for online business owners – and according to our research, takepayments is the best payment gateway provider to help you with that.Running an online business is an excellent way to avoid the effects of the rising business energy costs in the UK – especially since the April 1 price hike – since you can forego the electricity needed to power a brick-and-mortar location.To do that, you need that virtual cash – and with nearly 15 years covering the market, we know you'll be looking for a payment gateway that's fast, reliable, and insightful in order to get it. What are the Best Payment Gateways? These are recommended providers based on our research. Use our cost comparison tool to find the best service for your businesstakepayments – Best for featuresZettle – Best for convenienceRevolut – Best for low transaction feesWorldpay – Best for integrationsSquare – Best for faster payoutsSumUp – Best for 3G connectivityStripe – Best for reportingThe fastest way to know for sure is to use our free comparison tool. It'll allow us to match you with trusted providers and they'll then contact you with bespoke quotes. However, if you're keen on knowing more about the findings of our payment gateway research, just head to our ranking below. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Our Top Pick takepayments Zettle Revolut Worldpay Square SumUp Stripe Score 4.8 Score 4.8 Score 4.8 Score 4.7 Score 4.4 Score 4.2 Score 4.0 Best For Features Best For Convenience Best For Cheap transaction fees Best For Integrations Best For Faster payouts Best For 3G connectivity Best For Reporting Cost From £20 Cost From £59 + VAT Cost £49 + VAT Cost From £9.95 + VAT Cost From £16 + VAT Cost From £39 + VAT Cost From £49 + VAT 1. takepayments – Best for features takepayments 4.8 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview takepayments scores 5/5 for its features, offering over 16 integrations, several reporting options, and it accepts over 170 currencies. takepayments has the highest number of reporting capabilities out of all of the traditional providers in our research making it a suitable option for businesses that are looking for comprehensive reporting. Read more + Read less - Strengths Best for features Low monthly hardware costs Weaknesses No email support Pricing See more See less Transaction fees Hardware Card: 0.30% - 2.29% Bespoke Online: 10p takepayments research scores:Price: 4.1/5Features: 5/5Customer support: 4.6/5Brand reputation: 4.4/5takepayments scored full marks for features is because it has a high number of reporting options and accepts over 170 currencies. However, competitor Square has hundreds more integrations than takepayments, plus a free EPOS app. So Square could be a better fit for your business if you need a comprehensive EPOS system.While takepayments accepts the highest number of currencies of the providers we looked at, these are available via APIs and are not built-in. This isn’t a huge issue, but it does mean you’ll need some technical knowledge to set it up. If you want less fuss, you could go with Stripe, a mobile reader offering over 135 currencies.takepayments doesn’t have an email option for customers, which can be frustrating if you prefer to communicate with a written record. Yet with a respectable 4.6/5 for customer support options, we've definitely seen worse.takepayments currently offers four models of Chip and PIN terminals.takepayments pricing: fair or foul?Scoring a 4.1/5 for price, takepayments’ monthly hardware costs are middle-of-the-road at around £25 per month + VAT, although the minimum monthly account fee is £20. You get quite a lot for your money, though, including terminal hire, software functionality and SIM card.If costs are a concern and you don't need so many features, Worldpay's terminal fee is just £17.50 per month, and Dojo charges only £20 monthly. Square’s mobile reader starts from £16, although its fees are 1.75% per transaction, which could cost your business more in the long-run. takepayments' transaction fees operate on a sliding scale bespoke to your business needs, making it a good choice for businesses that need competitive pricing on transaction fees. 2. Zettle – Best for convenience Zettle 4.8 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview Zettle is PayPal's payment gateway for in-person and online sales, with a broad range of features and top-of-the-line customer service. It's our top choice for mobile sales, as it offers a wider range of integrations than competitors. Its competitive transaction fees and speedy transfer time of 1-2 working days makes it a convenient POS for modern merchants. Read more + Read less - Strengths Handles 25 major currencies Rapid funds transfer Competitive transaction fees Protection against chargebacks (£250 per month) Weaknesses Slightly pricey hardware Must pass a credit check Zettle research scores:Price: 4.1/5Features: 4.95/5Customer support: 5/5Brand reputation: 4.5/5Although Zettle scored the same overall as takepayments (4.8/5), it's best suited to a different kind of business owner. While Worldpay is more of a traditional payment gateway, Zettle is better suited to mobile users, startups and very small vendors – we voted it as our best card machine. A main draw card is that Zettle has no long-term contracts or monthly fees while takepayments has a minimum contract of 12 months with variable fees.Scoring 4.95/5 for its features, Zettle impressed us with its range of 35 integrations: far more than SumUp, Stripe, Revolut or Tyl. These make it convenient for entrepreneurs to plug in payment processing to accounting, banking and ecommerce software. That's great for running a flexible, nimble business such as a pop-up bar, sample sale or trade stand.Payment terminals from Zettle are not the cheapest, but they are convenient for on-the-go payments.Zettle pricing: fair or foul?Zettle's hardware is not the cheapest around, your first reader will be £29 + VAT and a second card reader will cost you £59 + VAT or £149 + VAT and that's without the dock. You can pay a lot less for equipment from WorldPay, SumUp or Square. That said, the technology you're getting is decent and effective, with good security features such as a tamper-proof card machine.Another bonus is being protected up to £250 per month from eligible chargebacks – a feature we've not come across with other providers. As far as transaction fees are concerned, Zettle's 1.75% for card or PayPal QR code transactions is a competitive market rate; the same as Square and better than Worldpay. 3. Revolut – Best for cheap transaction fees Revolut 4.8 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview Revolut is a payment gateway focused on online businesses that comes packed with some seriously cheap transaction fees - arguably, its main selling point. Scoring 4.8/5 in our research, it fared really well in the price and features categories, largely due to its convenient invoicing tool and efficient ecommerce integration. However, it does lack comprehensive reporting. This makes Revolut a better choice for medium-sized to large businesses, which have the sales volume to benefit from the low transaction fee and don't need the data insights to drive their growth. Read more + Read less - Strengths Some of the cheapest transaction fees out there Comes with invoicing tool Weaknesses Very limited reports No fraud prevention features Revolut research scores:Price: 4.6/5Features: 4.5/5Customer support: 4.7/5Brand reputation: 4.1/5With 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 offers live chat, email, and phone support. That's why it scored an easy 5/5 for customer support. Stripe’s lack of a credit check is good news for customers who might have a poor credit score but still want to take payments.Revolut pricing: run-of-the-mill or revolutionary?Scoring 4.6/5 for price, Revolut has one of the best performances in this category in our research. Its online transaction fees of 1% + 20p are the cheapest among the mobile providers we analysed. For comparison, the others on this list (SumUp, Square, and Zettle) all charge 2.5%per online transaction. However, at least as far as the starting transaction fee is concerned, Revolut's is beaten by Worldpay's and takepayments'.Revolut’s sole piece of hardware (its reader) retails at £49, which puts it on par with Stripe's entry-level model (which costs the same) but is more expensive than Square's (£16), Zettle's (£29) 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 plan into moving into the brick-and-mortar market later down the line. 4. Worldpay – Best for integrations Worldpay 4.7 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview Worldpay scores a 4.5/5 for its features, a score boosted by its offering of over 100 integrations over 26 categories. These categories include customer relationship management, accounting, and analytics. Read more + Read less - Strengths Over 100 integrations 30-minute fund transfer time Weaknesses Reporting is a paid add-on Pricing See more See less Transaction feesHardware 0.75% - 2.75% Terminal: £17.50/month Virtual: £9.99/month Worldpay research scores:Price: 3.8/5Features: 4.5/5Customer support: 5/5Brand reputation: 3.8/5We recommend Worldpay to small businesses looking to branch out and grow. With over 100 integrations, Worldpay fits in around existing apps, making 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' 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 businesses accounts that need predictable cash flow.We were impressed by Worldpay's customer support options. Small wonder it scored 5/5 – it’s the only provider that offers 24/7 phone support.Worldpay pricing: should you invest?Worldpay scores a 3.8/5 for price, lower than takepayments score of 4.1/5. Worldpay’s reporting is hidden behind a paywall of £4.99 per month, which is frustrating because other providers, such as takepayments, include several reporting options. 5. Square – Best for faster payouts Square 4.4 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview With an overall score of 4.4/5, Square is a payment gateway that packs a plethora of features, and it transfers funds by the next working day, which is pretty speedy, although not as speedy as Worldpay’s time of 30 minutes. While fast payouts are one of Square’s highlights, it also comes with a free EPOS app and hundreds of integrations. Read more + Read less - Strengths Payout by the next working day High customer score Free EPOS system Weaknesses Transaction fee fairly high Pricing See more See less Transaction feesHardware 1.75% card transaction Card reader - £16 2.5% payment links and invoices Square research scores:Price: 3.3/5Features: 4.7/5Customer support: 5/5Brand reputation: 4.5/5Square’s customer support is 5/5 as it offers email, phone and, live chat support. That means fixing any problems will be quick and efficient. But it's exactly on par with Worldpay, so how should you choose between the two?If your business is in need of a free and comprehensive EPOS system to use alongside your reader, then Square is a good fit. However, if you’re after a traditional card reader, then Worldpay is a good choice – especially if you’d rather receive funds within 30 minutes.Square pricing: Worth it?Square doesn’t score well for its price, clawing in a 3.3/5. This is partly because its card transaction fees are 1.75%, which is fairly steep when compared with takepayments’, which start from 0.30%, and Worldpay's, which start from 0.75%. These two competitors are both on a sliding scale, whereas Square offers a flat fee. The simplicity of which is suited to market traders, seasonal enterprises, and micro-merchants. 6. SumUp – Best for 3G connectivity SumUp 4.2 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview SumUp scores an overall 4.2/5 in our research and is recognised as the best provider for 3G connectivity. This is because it offers a reader with a built-in 3G sim, whereas most mobile readers require a connection to Wi-Fi or mobile data via your phone or another device. This makes it a good choice for market traders, food trucks or businesses located in areas with poor connectivity. Read more + Read less - Strengths Has a 3G connected reader Weaknesses No live chat option Pricing See more See less Transaction fees Hardware 1.69% cards SumUp Air: from £39 2.5% invoices, payment links, and online store SumUp Solo: from £79 SumUp 3G and printer: from £129 SumUp research scores:Price: 3.6/5Features: 3.8/5Customer support: 3.5/5Brand reputation: 4.9/5SumUp's mobile POS hardware is one of the few on the market to come with a built-in SIM and free unlimited data. It's only 3G (this isn't Japan, where 5G is already available), though competitor Tyl offers 4G plans. But it's still better than Square or Stripe, whose hardware relies on Wifi or (shudder) ethernet.Customer support options are not perfect: SumUp lacks a live chat option which is frustrating if you don’t have the time to make phone calls or wait around for an email response.SumUp pricing: how does it stack up?With a score of 3.6/5 for price, SumUp’s pricing is fairly average for a mobile reader, although its transaction fees are lower than Square’s. SumUp’s coveted 3G reader is priced at £129, much pricier than Square’s hardware that starts at £16. However, this is only a one-off fee, so SumUp’s reader is worth it for businesses that need standalone data. 7. Stripe – Best for reporting Stripe 4 Get Quotes Read Review Quick overview Our final provider is Stripe, a mobile reader scoring a 4/5 in our research. Of all of the mobile providers, Stripe has the highest reporting capabilities. It 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. Read more + Read less - Strengths Good reporting capabilities Solid customer support Weaknesses Readers are a little pricey Pricing See more See less Transaction fees Hardware 1.4% +20p card transactions £49 or £179 0.4% invoicing Stripe research scores:Price: 3.2/5Features: 3.4/5Customer support: 5/5Brand reputation: 4.6/5With 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 offers live chat, email, and phone support. That's why it scored an easy 5/5 for customer support. Stripe’s lack of a credit check is good news for customers who might have a poor credit score but still want to take payments.Stripe pricing: good value for money?Scoring 3.2/5 for price, at 1.4% +20p for card transactions, Stripe’s fees are lower than both Square and SumUp’s, the two other mobile readers on this list. However, its fees are higher than Worldpay and takepayments. The last two are on a sliding scale and, while the starting fee is much lower, the lack of a flat fee might not be well-suited to small businesses or seasonal enterprises.Stripe’s hardware is a tad more expensive than Square and SumUp, offering two readers at £49 and £179 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. What is a payment gateway, and how does it work?A payment gateway is a piece of digital infrastructure that allows you to accept card payments. It’s the software that processes the customer’s card data and enables a quick, secure transaction to take place.Payment gateways aren’t just for selling online, either. Whether you’re taking a card payment through your website, or face-to-face with a PDQ machine or mobile card reader, it’ll be passing through a payment gateway.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 card transaction: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. How about Shopify Payments?You may already be familiar with Shopify, which offers its own POS system plus an ecommerce platform – either of which you can use as a stand-alone. Although it's primarily an online selling system, Shopify also has inventory management software and a website builder. For more detail on these features, you can check out our full guide to what Shopify is.Despite Shopify's financial struggles in 2022, its payment gateway 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 a merchant account. This works in a similar way to PayPal, which you can also use as a holding pen for your business revenue.Shopify has just one model of card reader for the UK: The WisePad 3 Terminal (£49 + VAT).If you use Shopify Payments, you won't pay third-party transaction fees. You'll only pay Shopify card rates for in-person sales: 1.7% on the Basic plan, 1.6% on the Shopify plan, and 1.5% on the Advanced plan. Plan fees range from £19 to £344 per month, depending on your billing cycle.Another convenience is 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 it's not overly convenient when all's said and done.Nevertheless, Shopify is expanding its remit for international business faster than Zettle. For example, early access merchants can use Shopify Markets Pro to accept international payments in local currencies and automatically pay local taxes. Top 6 things to consider when choosing a payment gateway provider International supportIn 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. Transaction volumePayment gateway fees are fickle things; transaction rates often go up and down depending on your turnover. Have a think about how much you’re expecting to sell, and how many transactions will be going through your gateway. It’s important when it comes to selecting the cheapest supplier for your business. Customer supportTime 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 chat bot, or can you call up and speak to a real person? Is it available 24/7, or just during business hours? Hosted or API?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. PCI DSS complianceThis 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! Cart compatibilityA payment gateway processes the transaction, but your website will still need 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, ensuring your buyer’s journey is a smooth one. This is why you’ll need to make sure your payment gateway provider offers integration with whatever current shopping cart you’re using, or are planning to adopt. Our methodologyOur independent research team compared 11 different research providers to find the best on the market. The 11 were separated into two categories: traditional and mobile and whittled down to the top five. The providers in this list were scored against the following criteria:Price – fees, including transaction fee, minimum monthly account fee, hardware costs, and any other additional charges.Features – whether or not they offered the following features: invoicing, integrations, reporting, and multi-currency support.Customer support – the range of support avenues a customer could accessBrand reputation – online reviews and ratings balanced against the popularity of their brand online. Our verdict & next stepstakepayments’ 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.Whatever your business’ needs are, we’re confident that one of the above providers will meet your requirements. But, you can also use our free quote comparison tool to get matched with trusted suppliers. Just give us a few details about your business and you’ll be matched with trusted providers that contact you directly with obligation-free quotes. FAQs Which is the best payment gateway? Our research found takepayments is the best gateway, scoring a 4.8/5 in total. It offers comprehensive payment features, allowing you to process transactions with a card machine, online, by mail, telephone or with checkout links. It's got 16 integrations, respectable reporting options, and accepts over 170 currencies, with reasonable monthly costs. Which is the safest payment gateway? Of the providers in this list, our team of researchers awarded SumUp the highest score for compliance (4.6/5). SumUp is PCI compliant and utilises 256-bit encryption, the current industry standard for fraud prevention. Which payment gateway is cheapest? Tyl's pocket POS costs £6.99 a month (the countertop model is £13.99), which is significantly cheaper than most competitors. Its transaction fees are just 1.5%, which is highly competitive compared with market rates. Which payment gateway is fastest? Out of the 11 providers we've compared, Worldpay has the fastest transfer time of just 30 minutes. 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 Services Expert 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: Ruairi Shirlow Business Services Researcher Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.