Top 7 Online Payment Services & Systems in 2024

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Top 7 Online Payment Services & Systems in 2024
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What is an online payment service?

An online payment service is a piece of 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.

Online payment solutions are a huge part of the digital economy – a whopping two thirds of adults worldwide use digital payments to send and receive money1.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling software on a website or eco-friendly houseware in store, it’s important you have a strong online payment system on your side. This software not only makes sure you get paid, but it can also enhance customers’ experience, help you move into new regions and streamline your end-to-end financial operations.

Online payment systems typically include the following features:

  • Secure payments

  • Fraud prevention

  • PCI compliance

  • Business accounts

  • Automated payment workflows

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integration with other business systems.

These days, many modern providers do much more than move money safely; they act as a holistic financial partner that allows you to grow while protecting your bottom line.

In this article, we’re going to explore 7 of the top online payment services and systems to help you decide which is best suited to your business.

Top online payment providers in 2024

  1. Airwallex for global companies

  2. Opayo for medium sized businesses

  3. PayPal for simplicity

  4. Shopify for entrepreneurs

  5. Stripe for eCommerce

  6. Revolut for tech savvy startups

  7. Worldpay for enterprises

Top providers of online payment services and systems

In alphabetical order.

Top 7 providers of online payment services: Airwallex, Opayo, PayPal, Shopify, Stripe, Revolut business, Worldpay

Top features to look for in an online payment solution

Choosing the right online payment solution can be a business critical decision. The best providers are secure, quick and help you grow. Here’s a what to look out for:

  • Type of solution: find out if your provider is a payment facilitator, Independent Sales Organisation (ISO) or merchant acquirer – each plays a different role in the payment ecosystem and the level of support between them can vary.

  • Security: look for software that protects your customers’ funds and data by using advanced encryption, fraud prevention systems and being PCI DSS compliant.

  • Integration capabilities: your online payment software should integrate easily (no code required) with other business systems like your accounting software, CRM and eCommerce platform.

  • Payment methods: offering your customers a variety of payment methods can help boost your market share, especially if you’re operating internationally.

  • 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. 

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.

How? By encrypting your customers’ financial data and sending it to the relevant payment processor to be authenticated and approved. If successful, the customer’s funds will then be transferred to your business account.

But many online payment services are more than a mere transactional tool. 

Platforms like Airwallex offer several additional functionalities that help you manage your funds better, reduce finance team admin hours and save on transaction and currency fees.

Online payment services typically work by:

  • Processing transactions securely: when your customer makes a purchase, their payment information is encrypted and sent to your bank (acquiring bank), and in turn the issuing bank, for verification. After successful authorisation, the online payment system communicates confirmation to both you and your customer.

  • Safeguarding businesses and customers: good online payment providers have stringent security protocols. They protect sensitive customer information via end-to-end encryption, fraud protection measures and complying with global standards like PCI DSS.

  • 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.

  • Integrating with existing business tools: minimise manual administration and the potential for errors by integrating your online payments platform with accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero, and eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce.

  • Streamlining funds management: providers 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.

  • Supporting international payments: global online payment providers help businesses grow across borders by supporting multi-currency transactions, slashing hidden foreign transaction fees and offering market-leading FX rates.

  • 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.

In summary, an online payment service streamlines and secures the complex process of online transactions, making digital payments possible and helping businesses unlock new opportunities.

How providers are consolidating different roles within online payments

How to reduce online payment processing fees?

Fees for online payment processing can stack up quickly if you’re not careful. Between transaction fees, foreign transaction fees, chargebacks and monthly subscriptions, there are a lot of costs to consider when choosing a new 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 an online payments solution with no foreign transaction fees and low FX rates would likely be a priority.

Here are 7 ways you can keep costs down: 

  • Get clear on what you need (and what you don’t): assess the volume and type of transactions your business predominately processes. Providers offer several pricing models, including fixed rate and subscription-based models. 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 low-cost payment gateway: if you aren’t ready to use an end-to-end online payments solution, try integrating your payment processing with gateways that offer lower fees for certain types of transactions. Some gateways have special arrangements or lower fees for transactions processed through specific channels.

  • Use ACH/SEPA/BACS direct debit where possible: for recurring payments, consider using ACH, SEPA or BACS direct debit options. These typically incur lower fees than credit card transactions and are ideal for subscription-based models or businesses with recurring billings.

  • Find a global solution: if you have customers around the world, you can reduce hidden and unnecessarily high costs by choosing a provider that offers low or no foreign transaction fees and market-leading currency conversion rates.

  • Be wary of chargebacks: customers can often initiate chargebacks when they feel they are entitled to a refund. This can be subjective and result in lost revenue as well as additional fees. By having clear customer communication with customers, transparent refund policies and robust fraud detection measures you can minimise sneaky charges.

  • Avoid long-term contracts: opting for a flexible online payments supplier means you’ll be able to adapt your payment processing solutions as your needs change and you’ll only pay for the transactions you process.

  • 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 unlock new opportunities. Our platform is tailored for ambitious businesses looking to thrive in the global digital economy.

Airwallex is a smart choice if you’re looking to benefit from:

  • Global reach: accept payments from 180+ countries and open bank accounts with local details in 22+ currencies.

  • Competitive fees: maximise revenue with like-for-like currency settlement, market-leading FX rates and competitive transaction fees.

  • Seamless integration: plugin seamlessly (no coding required) with platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Xero and NetSuite to slash finance team admin hours.

  • Flexible payment options: offer your customers 160+ payment methods, with local options that cater to their preferences.

  • Gold standard security: safeguard funds with best-in-class payment acceptance and fraud protection that’s PCI DSS compliant.

  • Efficient funds management: get real-time visibility over cash flow, expenses and multi-entity accounts.

 With Airwallex, you’ll enjoy managing every aspect of your global payments and finances through one centralised platform, including customer and supplier payments, expense management, multi-currency corporate cards, FX transfers and data insights.

Whether you’re looking for a business account, powerful APIs to meet your unique requirements or infrastructure to build your own financial products, our technology can get you there.

FAQs about online payment services 

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.

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. 

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.

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://meetanshi.com/blog/digital-payments-statistics/

2 https://www.elavon.co.uk/accept-payments/pricing.html

3 https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/merchant-fees

4 https://www.shopify.com/uk/pricing

5https://wise.com/us/blog/stripe-international

6https://www.revolut.com/business/business-account-plans

Disclaimer:  We wrote this article in Q1 2024. The information was based on our own online research and we were not able to manually test each tool or provider. The information is provided for educational purposes only and a reader should consider the specific requirements of their business when evaluating providers. If you would like to request an update, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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