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The best payment gateways for international eCommerce

6 minutes
E-commerce
In this article

While it sounds simple enough, not all payment gateways are created equal. Choosing the right online payment platform can be daunting. You need to find the one that’s best suited to your business needs, and be aware of the fees involved. 

So you’ve got your products ready to go. You’ve got your website up and running, and it looks good. Your customers are out there. The next step is getting your eCommerce payment gateway set up, so you can start accepting payments securely, both for you and your customers globally.

It’s also worth mentioning that the payment gateway you use for domestic sales may not always be the best option when it becomes time to expand internationally. There are often additional fees and nuances when it comes to accepting payments in multiple currencies that can quickly eat into your hard-earned margins.

Let’s take a look at the best payment gateways for international eCommerce, and we can help you make the decision of which one is right for your business.

So, what is a payment gateway?

A payment gateway is the online payment platform that enables your customers to pay you. It’s the software that captures your customers’ credit card or bank account details, then transfers this data to your bank account, securely validates their card details, and confirms that this transfer is okay to go ahead.

This sounds simplistic because, in theory, it is. Your eCommerce payment gateway is the connector between you, your customer, and your bank accounts. 

Your payment gateway acts as an online counterpart for a physical card transaction. As there’s no physical card tapped onto an EFTPOS machine, the payment gateway facilitates this interaction for you.

It’s a relationship built on trust

There’s a high degree of trust involved when choosing the best payment gateway. You need to trust that the platform has the security to safely handle the transaction. And there’s also the trust that your customers’ details are entered correctly.

This trust and security are where these online payment platforms shine. They handle the payment details within a highly secure environment, reducing instances of card fraud and machine tampering. They also check the legitimacy of the users’ details at the point of sale, ensuring they’re using the right details, they are who they say they are, and they have enough funds in their accounts.

The best payment gateways have built this trust over time, and their names alone are bywords for safe online banking.

What to look for in a good payment gateway

There are a few key things that will help in choosing the right eCommerce payment gateway for your business.

Low fees

Much like a financial institution, you want to ensure that your selected payment gateway isn’t charging you through the nose just to use it. So check for monthly fees, the cost per transaction, international exchange fees, and make sure you’re getting the best value for your use.

Payout in multiple currencies

You’re operating an international eCommerce business, and offering multiple currencies makes it easier for your international customers to buy from you. But this also means your payment gateway needs to accept foreign currencies too—and importantly, it needs to pay out in these currencies.

Having a payment gateway that allows payout in multiple currencies means you can send and receive payment from more countries, ensuring you’re able to receive funds in that currency, which you can then in turn use to transact with suppliers and merchants in that country.

Ease of implementation

You don’t want your payment gateway becoming a headache, so make sure it’s easy to set up, intuitive to use and suits your business’ needs.

Look at the integrations

Does your selected online payment platform integrate with your CMS—or your eCommerce store? Choose one that integrates seamlessly, with an API that fluidly connects with your site and allows you the flexibility you need as a growing business.

Choosing your eCommerce payment gateway

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names on the market.

Airwallex

Airwallex offers a groundbreaking payment gateway solution for global businesses. With easy to use payment flows for customers across the globe, a smooth and fast checkout experience is available to businesses of all sizes.

Airwallex is one of the first online payment processors that allow flexible settlement in up to 10 different major currencies, meaning customers can pay in their local currency, like USD, and you can receive and hold in USD without being forced to convert back into your home currency. This flexibility enables merchants to receive and hold in multiple currencies without being hit with exorbitant currency conversion fees while also offering the flexibility to payout in foreign currencies, or convert when the time is right.

The integration methods are also incredibly flexible; businesses can integrate into their existing checkout or payment flows via an API, embedded payment fields, a simple drop-in method or a complete customer checkout journey fully hosted by Airwallex - the options are endless. Pricing is also incredibly competitive, with fees as low as IC++ 0.6% (Interchange fee + Scheme fee + acquirer fee) 0.6% for Visa and Mastercard payments.

PayPal

PayPal is almost ubiquitous online. As the original payment gateway, it’s had the time and the chance to perfect its offering, so they clearly understand the pain points of both businesses and consumers. It’s got built-up brand equity that leads users to barely give it a second thought during use.

Supported in over 203 countries, PayPal is a wide-reaching, flexible eCommerce payment gateway solution that integrates with most platforms.

PayPal is also one of the few payment gateways that offer payouts in multiple currencies for Australian based businesses. We share how businesses are supercharging their PayPal account in this blog.

But where PayPal excels in ease of use and name recognition, its big drawbacks are the fees and its speed. You can expect delays of up to 3-5 days when withdrawing funds to your bank account.

For fees, you can expect to pay the following:

  • Domestic sales: 2.6% + a fixed $0.30 fee

  • International sales: 3.6% + a fixed $0.30 fee

  • Micropayments: a flat $0.05 fixed fee

  • Currency conversion: 4%

  • Withdrawing USD to a nominated USD account: 3%

Stripe

Stripe follows closely on PayPal’s heels and has the added benefit of existing in the physical realm too. It’s highly flexible and allows API access to build a custom solution, including one-click checkout. It’s quick too, with funds able to be directly deposited into your nominated bank account. 

The one main downside to Stripe is that it only allows you to withdraw in AUD if you have an Australian account. You can’t withdraw in USD from an AUD account, so you’re at the mercy of Stripe’s FX fees and charges. These are:

  • Domestic sales: 1.75% + a $0.30 fixed fee 

  • International sales: 2.9% + a $0.30 fixed fee

Shopify Payments

Shopify Payments comes as the pre-integrated platform for Shopify sites, so by nature, it’s easy to configure and to get started. It’s designed to get your Shopify store up and running as quickly as possible.

One bit of benefit is that it enables foreign currency accounts for your withdrawals, which reduces your banking fees. It also accepts a range of credit and debit cards. There are no transaction fees for Shopify users.

Their fees start at:

  • Domestic payments: 1.75% + a $0.30 fixed fee

  • International payments and AMEX cards: 2.9% + a $0.30 fixed fee

Square

Square started off as an innovative, eye-catching POS system for small businesses, and has since grown into the online payment gateway we know today. Its undeniable strength lies in its ability to connect the online and offline world, but another big plus is its adaptability. Square features native integration with WooCommerce, Wix, Magento, BigCommerce, and more. 

And while your money is typically delivered the next day, one drawback is that you can only withdraw in AUD.

Square’s fees vary depending on the type of transaction you make, so you can expect to pay from 1.9%—2.2% per transaction. But on the plus side, it comes with the cool POS system we’ve grown to love.

Choosing the right payment gateway depends on your eCommerce business’ needs

Choosing the best payment gateway for your business will largely be driven by your website’s CMS, and which platform natively integrates into it. If you’ve got the know-how and the budget, we recommend opting for an international payment platform that can integrate using API, as this provides a much smoother experience.

And as a business looking to grow your international customer base, you should choose a flexible platform that allows you to settle in multiple currencies.

But keep an eye on their fees. These start to build up, and can easily eat away at your profit margin.

Airwallex helps your business make the most of international eCommerce

Airwallex Global Accounts were designed with international eCommerce businesses like yours in mind.

Our Global Accounts are built to integrate seamlessly with payment gateways like Shopify and Paypal, allowing you to collect funds in local currencies. You can open multiple currency accounts, allowing you to hold, spend, and withdraw in these currencies without needing to exchange any money. This means you eliminate unnecessary conversion fees and reduce the investment and operational overhead of entering these new markets.

With zero transaction fees and access to our interbank exchange rates, our Global Accounts are made to maximise your international eCommerce profits.


Our products and services in Australia are provided by Airwallex Pty Ltd ABN 37 609 653 312 who holds AFSL 487221. Any information provided is for general information purposes only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement available on our website before using our service.

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In Australia, our products and services are provided by Airwallex Pty Ltd ABN 37 609 653 312 who holds AFSL 487221. Any information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement.

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