Top 5 Online Payment Services & Systems in 2024

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Top 5 Online Payment Services & Systems in 2024
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Whether you’re selling services or products online, it’s important to use a powerful online payment system. At the most basic level, this critical piece of software lets you accept payments and creates a smooth checkout experience for your customers. Some payment services can even help you move into new regions and streamline your end-to-end financial operations.

In this article, we’ll discuss what you should look for in an online payment service, as well as 5 payment providers in Singapore that may be suited for your business.

What is an online payment service?

An online payment service - also known as a payment gateway, online checkout system, or eCommerce payment system - is a digital software that makes the transaction of funds across the internet possible.

If you’re a business owner, this technology helps you accept electronic payments by acting as a bridge between customers buying your product or service, and the funds being safely transferred to your bank. 

For your customers, payment services create an intuitive and straightforward shopping experience. Today’s eCommerce buyers are used to checkout systems that work on any device, are easy to use, and communicate trust. Having a positive payment experience reduces cart abandonment and can boost customer lifetime value over time.

These days, many payment services do more than move money safely; they act as a holistic financial partner that allows you to enter new markets and accept global payments. Online payment systems typically include the following features:

  • Multi-currency transactions

  • Alternative payment methods

  • Secure payments

  • Payment links

  • Fraud prevention

  • PCI compliance

  • Business accounts

  • Automated payment workflows

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integration with other software 

Top online payment providers in Singapore for 2024

Singapore is home to a wide variety of payment providers, but only a handful are built to handle global payments. Here are some leading fintech firms you might want to use for your business:

  1. Airwallex for global companies

  2. PayPal for simplicity

  3. Shopify Payments for local eCommerce businesses 

  4. Stripe for omnichannel retailers

  5. Adyen for enterprises

Let’s take a look at the features and fees of these payment providers. Note that gateways use 2 pricing models: Interchange ++ pricing and Blended pricing.

Interchange ++ pricing is the most transparent pricing model. Fees are broken down into 3 components: an interchange fee for the card issuer, a card scheme fee for the card network, and a markup for the payment gateway. However, the interchange fee varies with each transaction, which makes it difficult to forecast overall costs. On the other hand, blended pricing charges a fixed fee per transaction that covers all processing costs. This makes it easier to estimate the fees your business needs to cover.

The table below compares blended pricing fees (unless otherwise specified) for these five payment gateways.

Top 5 providers of online payment services: Airwallex, PayPal, Shopify Payments, Stripe, Adyen

Sources: Airwallex, PayPal, Shopify Payments, Stripe, Adyen as of 30 April 2024

Top features to look for in an online payment solution

Choosing the right online payment solution is a business critical decision. The best providers are cost-effective, secure, and have features aligned with your business’s goals. Here are some features to look out for:

  • Local payment methods. You also want to accept local payment methods if you’re selling overseas, like WeChatPay in China or Klarna in the USA.  Localising your payment options can significantly boost conversion rates, as customers are more likely to complete a purchase with their preferred payment methods. Check if the payment service offers payment methods for the markets you want to enter.

  • Sales channels supported. If your eCommerce business has a brick-and-mortar store, you may prefer a payment provider that also offers point-of-sale (POS) terminals. This centralises all your sales data in one system, which makes accounting, reporting, and performance tracking easier.

  • Flexible integration options. A good payment provider should offer several integration methods, from no-code plugins to fully customisable APIs.

  • Integrations with business software. Your online payment software should integrate easily with existing systems like your accounting software or eCommerce platform.

  • Scalability. Look for a solution that can grow with you. It should be able to handle increased transaction volumes and multiple overseas markets without significant disruptions.

  • Streamlining funds management: An end-to-end payment provider can help you manage your money and streamline your operations by offering real-time visibility over cash flow, expense management and the ability to hold multiple currencies in one account.

  • Fraud protection. It goes without saying that payment processors should protect your customers’ funds and data through advanced encryption, fraud prevention systems and being PCI-DSS compliant.

  • Offering dispute resolution services: good customer support is vital when managing financial transactions. Refund requests and chargebacks are typically supported by investigation and meditation processes.

  • Automating supplier payments: some solutions help ensure timely supplier payments and save finance team admin hours by setting up scheduled payments for recurring expenses and executing cross-border transactions with ease.

How does an online payment service work?

Online payment service providers work by securely processing electronic payment transactions between buyers and sellers over the internet. This software makes sure your customers’ money moves safely from their credit card or digital wallet to your bank. Here’s how:

  • A customer makes an order on your business’s website. They enter their card information, which is immediately encrypted and sent to the payment gateway.

  • Authorisation request. The payment gateway forwards the encrypted card data to their card network, who then initiates an authorisation request with the customer’s bank.

  • Approval or decline. The card issuing bank will then approve or decline the transaction based on the customer’s remaining credit or funds.

  • Order confirmation. The payment gateway receives approval from the customer's bank confirming that the payment has been authorised, then passes this message on to your business’s eCommerce platform. The payment is officially processed, and your customer receives a receipt. 

How to reduce online payment processing fees?

Fees for online payment processing can stack up quickly if you’re not careful. Between foreign transaction fees, chargebacks and monthly subscriptions, there are a lot of costs to consider when choosing a payment provider.

Thankfully, you can make smart choices to keep within your operating budget. For enterprises with a high volume of transactions every month, choosing a supplier

with a subscription model may suit. If you’re operating across multiple regions, finding a solution with no foreign transaction fees and low foreign exchange rates would likely be a priority.

Here are some ways to keep costs down: 

  • Get clear on what you need (and what you don’t). Assess the volume and type of transactions your business will be processing . For fewer transactions, a fixed rate provider might be more cost-effective, while for larger international volumes, a provider with interchange-plus pricing could offer savings.

  • Find a global solution. If you have customers and suppliers around the world, you can reduce hefty transaction fees with a global provider that offers multi-currency accounts, low foreign transaction fees, and market-leading foreign exchange rates.

  • Avoid long-term contracts. Look for providers that offer a pay-per-transaction model, so you only pay for the transactions you process. This allows you to keep costs low when sales volumes are low, and lets you scale as your businesses grow.

  • Have a robust fraud prevention setup. Businesses face chargeback fees when a customer disputes a payment, even if the dispute is resolved in their favour. Many providers like Airwallex have real-time fraud protection that effectively identifies and blocks fraudulent transactions, which reduces disputes while allowing legitimate transactions to go through.

  • Review your payment provider: pricing can change with the economic environment and new suppliers come into the market every year. Make sure you review your options regularly to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

What questions to ask when onboarding an online provider?

 There are lots of online payments providers to choose from, so it’s important you ask the right questions to find a partner that suits your business needs. Ending up in a lengthy contract with a solution that isn’t right can be costly, frustrating and could damage your customer relationships.

Here’s a list of questions to ask your online payments company when you’re in the onboarding phase:

  • What are your security protocols? Safe and secure payments are the core function of an online payments solution. Find out how the provider conducts KYC/AML checks, how advanced their encryption process is and what their fraud detection capabilities are. At minimum they should comply with industry standards PCI DSS.

  • What payment methods are available? Offering your customers local payment methods is important and can boost your market share. Ask what payment methods they support – just well-known credit and debit cards or local options like iDEAL and alternatives such as Buy Now, Pay Later and cryptocurrency?

  • What are the costs involved? Hidden fees can quickly add up, especially if you’re moving money across borders. Ask about all the potential costs associated with the service, including transaction fees, monthly fees, setup costs and conversion fees.

  • Do you support global payments? Beyond understanding the cost of accepting international payments, it’s also important to understand if your provider allows you to collect and hold multiple currencies, or if you’ll be forced to convert all payments.

  • What integrations do you offer? Most popular online payments suppliers offer integrations with major accounting, CRM and eCommerce platforms to help streamline your operations. Pick a provider that seamlessly fits with your existing software.

  • When is customer support available? It’s important you feel supported if there is an issue. Ask about response times and what kind of customer service is available when, from emails to phone lines and chatbots.  

  • How do you support businesses that scale quickly? It costs time and money to switch services every couple of years. Check your new provider can help you as you scale with increased transaction volumes and the ability to operate in multiple overseas markets without significant disruptions.

  • What is your policy for refunds and chargebacks? While you may not think customers will want regular refunds, your supplier could protect your funds in the future with a robust chargeback policy.

  • Do you offer reporting tools? Find out what kind of analytics are available with your platform and how detailed they are. These can help streamline reconciliation and accounting processes and give you valuable insights into your financial performance.

Why choose Airwallex as an online payment processing provider?

Over 100,000 companies around the world use Airwallex to securely accept customer payments, simplify their financial operations and enter new overseas markets.  Airwallex lets you accept 160+ local payment methods in 180+ countries and 180+ currencies. But we’re more than a payment gateway; we’re an-end-to-end payments solution that helps you streamline global business operations.

With the all-in-one Business Account, you can open Global Accounts with local bank details, make low-cost international payments, issue multi-currency debit cards, automate bill payments, and more.

Airwallex is a smart choice if you’re a digital business that needs:

  • Like-for-like settlement in 11 currencies. Airwallex is the only payment gateway in Singapore that offers like-for-like settlement in USD, GBP, and 9 other leading currencies. This means you can accept payments in these currencies without converting them to SGD, which saves you from paying unnecessary conversion fees.

  • Global reach. Accept payments from 180+ countries and open 20+ local currency accounts, so you can collect local currency payments and skip foreign exchange fees. Pay your suppliers and overseas employees in those same currencies without converting from SGD.

  • 160+ alternative payment methods globally, in Southeast Asia, the UK, EU, North America and Latin America.

  • Seamless integrations with eCommerce platforms like Shopify and accounting software like Xero. Airwallex works with your existing infrastructure and saves you time on manual tasks.  

  • Gold standard security. Safeguard funds deposited in Airwallex business accounts and customers’ payment data with end-to-end encryption, tokenisation,  and real-time fraud protection that’s PCI-DSS compliant.

  • Efficient expense management. Get real-time visibility over cash flow, employee expenses, and bill payments in all markets where you operate.

 With Airwallex, you’ll enjoy managing every aspect of your global payments and finances through one centralised platform. Experience the difference for yourself and open an Airwallex account for free. Or see how Singapore businesses like yours use Airwallex to accept payments from overseas customers. 

FAQs about online payment services 

1. What is online payment software?

A kind of financial software that processes secure and efficient electronic payments between a customer and merchant through a range of methods.

2. What important factors to choose when selecting an online payment service provider?

The most important factors include transaction fees, what payment methods are supported, security measures, integration ease with business tools, global currency support, customer service quality and scalability. 

3. How much does it cost to onboard an online payment solution?

Onboarding costs vary and can include potential setup fees, monthly service charges, transaction fees and currency conversion costs. Some providers offer free setup but charge for each transaction processed.

4. How safe are online payment processing services?

The most secure online payment companies offer advanced end-to-end encryption tools and are compliant with security standards like PCI DSS to prevent unauthorised access or fraud.

Sources & References

1. https://www.paypal.com/sg/webapps/mpp/merchant-fees

2. https://www.shopify.com/sg/pricing

3. https://stripe.com/sg/pricing

4. https://www.adyen.com/pricing

***Note: This publication does not constitute legal, tax, or professional advice from Airwallex nor substitute seeking such advice, and makes no express or implied representations / warranties / guarantees regarding content accuracy, completeness, or currency.

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