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Best Payment Gateway Providers

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on November 16, 2023
payment processes

Whether you are running an eCommerce store or even some kind of subscription-based service, you’re going to need a payment gateway that you can rely on to process all of your transactions in a secure and convenient way.

So, throughout this article, we’ll be providing a bit of background information about what payment gateways actually are, as well as how they actually work.

To wrap things up, though, we’ll also walk you through our top three choices regarding the best payment gateway providers currently available in Australia, so let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

What Is a Payment Gateway? 💰️

Payment gateways are essentially the bridge between your website (or even an app) and the financial institutions that actually process your payments.

Ultimately, the aim here is to allow your customers, wherever in the world they might be, to buy things (or services) from your online store, and they do this by transferring their payment information to whichever payment processor you’ve opted for.

That last part might sound a little bit tricky, so let’s break this down in a bit more detail:

How Do Payment Gateways Work? 🛒️

There’s generally quite a lot of technical jargon regarding payment gateways, so for a bit more clarity, let’s talk about how these services actually work in this next section:

Data Encryption

Firstly, all the customers’ payment information – things like their credit card details or digital wallet credentials – gets encrypted so they’re completely safe during transmission.

Transaction Request

After they’ve been encrypted, their data (mostly things like the transaction amount and currency) gets sent to your payment gateway through a secure connection.

Payment Processor Interaction

The payment gateway then sends this data to whichever payment processor or bank they use so it can be authorised, basically involving the credentials being verified and that they actually have the funds in their account.

Transaction Settlement

Lastly, if the transaction is approved, the payment gateway then starts the settlement process, meaning the funds get transferred from the customer’s account to either your merchant account or bank account.

Pros and Cons of Payment Gateways

Ultimately, there are probably more pros than cons when it comes to payment gateways, but it’s still important to walk you through a few of the pros and cons just to remain impartial:

Pros ✔️

Customisable Payment Page: Depending on your provider, you’re often able to improve your business’s image by creating a branded/user-friendly payment page for your site.

Detailed Transaction Reporting: Take advantage of various reporting tools and analytics to make better-informed decisions about how you should set your website up.

Global Reach and Multiple Payment Methods: Be able to accept payments all across the world in various currencies.

Cons ✖️

Integration Complexity: Might not be the easiest to set up, meaning you may end up having to hire someone with more technical expertise to implement it.

Chargebacks and Disputes: These can be pretty frustrating since the majority of payment gateways end up charging you quite a high fee if a customer requests one.

Dependency on Internet Connectivity: Given that payment gateways rely on a strong internet connection for the platform to actually work, you’re obviously going to miss out on a lot of potential sales if your internet goes down.

Best Payment Gateways – Reviews ➡️

Now that you’ve got a firm understanding of what these services actually are, let’s take a closer look at our top three picks for payment processing services:

1. Pin Payments

Kicking things off, let’s explore Pin Payments, which was established in 2011. Given that there are options later on this list that were created in the 90s, this is actually one of the more modern payment gateways out there, but it’s still an incredibly versatile payment processing platform that’s compatible with a pretty wide variety of eCommerce platforms – whether you’ve got a platform on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, or Snipcart.

In terms of what kind of credit card payments you can actually accept with Pin Payments, you’ve got a relatively large range of options as they support any kind of card with VISA, American Express, or MasterCard logos on them – not to mention that they’re also offering the highest level of security out there for your customers as they’re compliant with PCI DSS Level 1 standards.

Pricing 💵️

So, when it comes to the pricing on this platform, you’ll find that it tends to vary depending on the specific kind of transaction that you’re making – 1.75% plus an extra 30 cents for any domestic transactions within Australia, for instance, making it actually pretty competitive.

Still, if you conduct the majority of your business outside the country, you’ll be met with a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction, so this is definitely something you’d want to keep in mind – especially if you’re choosing to accept online payments in foreign currency without converting it first, as this comes at a cost of 3.6% plus 30 cents.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that if you want API transfers to any third-party bank accounts, there’s also a 30-cent fee, but this is a bit more manageable, even more so when you realise you’re able to negotiate transaction fees with Pin Payments if you’re operating a particularly high-volume business.

For payouts, though, you’re in luck, as Pin Payments can more or less guarantee that you’ll never have to wait longer than three business days for your business revenue to reach your bank account, so it’s definitely one of the quicker options out there as a payment processor.

Pros ✅️

As mentioned, security is a pretty important consideration for Pin Payments, as aside from safeguarding cardholder data, the platform is also equipped with various kinds of fraud protection tools, making it an incredibly secure payment gateway.

What’s more, you don’t even need to have a merchant account when you process credit card payments, so you’ve got a lot more flexibility in terms of how you want to be paid. Monthly fees aren’t a thing with Pin Payments, either, and you don’t even need to lock into a contract, so you’ve definitely got a great deal of autonomy with this platform.

Cons ❌️

Though we’ve praised Pin Payments quite a lot so far, it’s worth mentioning that the platform does still have a couple of limitations – the fact that they don’t support mobile point-of-sale (mPoS) capabilities, for instance.

Going back to international transactions, you’ll also have to wait up to seven business days for the payment to process whenever you’re dealing with foreign currencies, which can obviously cause a few complications for your business regarding cash flow if this is where a major chunk of your revenue is earned.

Finally, although there are worse things out there in terms of disadvantages, it’s worth noting that you can only use screenshots to share receipts with customers, so this might not be the most streamlined process if you do most of your business in person. Still, if you mostly accept payments online, this isn’t really much of an issue.

2. eWay

Next on our list, we have the eWay Payment Gateway, which, unlike Pin Payments, is one of the older, more established payment processors out there as it was founded in 1997. One thing they do still share in common, though, is how versatile their platform is and the range of different eCommerce platforms that are supported – whether that’s with BigCommerce, Shopify, WP eCommerce, or even Magento.

As such, and thanks to its track record of over 25 years of service, this is an incredibly popular payment gateway for any Australian businesses that are mainly looking for flexibility when it comes to online payment solutions.

Pricing 💵️

Similar to the previous option, pricing with eWay is actually very competitive, with the standard rate for MasterCard and Visa transactions being 1.9% plus an additional 20 cents – that’s for both international and domestic transactions!

Furthermore, you’ve also got a few different pricing plans if you want something to better suit your business needs: the Community Plan, Budget Plan, and the VIP plan – the latter option even allowing for 200 free transactions every month. Still, this plan has a $60 monthly fee that’s charged every year, so it’s up to you to figure out whether you’d actually need something so expensive for the size of your business.

When it comes to actually receiving funds, though, while you can’t take payments into your digital wallet, all of your revenue from subscriptions or sales is deposited directly into your bank account instead, so it’s still pretty convenient all in all – just make sure you’ve got a separate business bank account so you’re not mixing personal and business funds.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that eWay follows a fairly strict payout schedule of releasing your funds every three days, so bear this in mind if you’re running advertising campaigns, for example, and need the money quickly.

Pros ✅️

As touched on earlier, eWay is actually one of the most popular payment gateways in all of Australia, and that’s largely down to its long-standing reputation. When it comes to security, eWay, similarly to Pin Payments, has its own built-in tool to prevent fraud and generally reduce the risk of any fraudulent activities, so you’ve got an extra layer of security to any of the transactions you make with this platform – both for you and your customers.

Furthermore, one of the best and most unique features of this platform is the fact that they don’t even require a separate merchant account to use their service (if you’re an approved merchant), so the overall onboarding process is a lot less complex if you’re just getting started.

Though some people might actually prefer using a merchant account, you can mitigate this by simply creating a fresh business bank account that’s linked to the platform, so you don’t have to worry about your personal and business funds getting mixed up and complicated.

Still, the lack of set-up fees is a nice touch, too, which makes the whole platform accessible for any kind of business, regardless of the size.

Lastly, what’s interesting is that eWay offers a type of tool known as ‘Beagle’, which essentially provides you with a risk rating system that works in real-time, even coming as part of their free plan.

As the description might suggest, this feature basically helps you to identify any potential risks and take appropriate action very quickly, so this is just another plus when it comes to the security of eWay.

Cons ❌️

Be it their fees for international payments or the long list of security features that come with this platform, eWay is quite possibly the best option on this list for a payment gateway – but that doesn’t mean it’s totally without its downsides.

For instance, for all we’ve praised the fraud protection tool that’s built into the platform, you do actually have to activate it manually through your merchant account, so there’s definitely a possibility of an oversight here if you don’t configure it promptly.

Aside from this, though, the phrase ‘international’ might be slightly misleading with this payment gateway, given that their geographic reach is actually somewhat limited since it mainly caters to businesses with bank accounts in Australia, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Malaysia.

As such, you’ll definitely want to explore some of the other payment gateways we have on this list if you happen to do the majority of your business in other countries, the United States or China, for instance, as the overall usability is massively limited in these particular regions.

3. Square

Moving forward, we’ve got another long-established payment gateway to explore here with Square since they were also founded in 1997, like eWay was.

In terms of an overview, you’ll find that this platform is more or less identical to the two options we’ve taken a look at already regarding its versatility since you’re able to integrate the platform with all the same eCommerce platforms – WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, for instance.

As such, thanks to how broad your options are in relation to which platforms they support, this is yet another highly favoured choice for you to explore – regardless of how big/small your business is or if you’ve got some specific requirements that need to be adhered to.

In addition, it’s worth mentioning as well that Square is highly accommodating when it comes to which payment methods they actually accept. Put simply, they support pretty much all major credit and debit cards, so you can feel safe knowing that none of your customers are ever going to be unable to make payments at your store.

Pricing 💵️

Unlike the other two options we’ve already covered, Square actually offers a fairly unique pricing method with their Pay as You Go plan – charging users a relatively competitive rate of 2.75% plus an additional 37 cents for any credit or debit card transactions that you receive.

Still, while having a Pay as You Go option is obviously much more suitable for businesses that have fairly sporadic sales (since you’re avoiding ever having to pay a monthly fee), you can definitely do a lot better than 2.75% when it comes to transaction fees – especially given how Pin Payments offer a rate of 1.75%.

Having said that, Square does still offer a ‘Pay Monthly’ plan that comes with a fairly manageable price tag of $37.35 per month. Though you’ll still be charged the 2.75% fee for any credit card payments, it’s actually only 0.75% for debit cards, so this is definitely ideal if your business tends to have relatively predictable/consistent monthly sales.

Furthermore, when you compare that $37.75 monthly fee to the $60 one with eWay, it’s pretty clear that this is a well-priced alternative despite having slightly higher transaction fees.

Although this article is more geared towards small businesses, for any of you business owners out there with fairly high transaction volume (usually over 1,000 transactions every month), Square gives you the option of negotiating certain fees with them, so there are definitely opportunities to reduce the fees even further.

Lastly, in case you ever need to perform a chargeback, for whatever reason, there’s a $29 charge that’s attached, but this is still refundable if the customer ends up revoking the chargeback request so that you’re able to resolve the dispute responsibly.

Pros ✅️

Though we were talking earlier about how eWay actually has a pretty limited global reach, this is certainly not the case with Square as their services extend to a massive 146 different countries – not to mention that 126 various currencies they support, too.

Needless to say, this makes Square by far the best option out there for businesses of all sizes that conduct the majority of their business internationally.

Cons ❌️

On the downside, though, Square actually might suffer from their own success a little bit here as the sheer range of different services that the platform offers can definitely appear slightly overwhelming if you don’t initially understand how to use them.

This would mean you’d probably have to do a lot of additional research if you really wanted to get the most out of the platform, but let’s be honest, this is a fairly nice problem to have – that you’ve got so many fantastic features available to you that you don’t even know where to start.

Still, one thing that’s certainly a disadvantage, though, is the fact that Square doesn’t come with a free trial, which can naturally be pretty frustrating if you simply want to test the platform out before you fully commit.

Final Thoughts 💡️

So, regardless of which payment gateway provider you decide to choose, the fact remains that these are a pretty vital component of running an online business, so it’s paramount that you’re choosing a reliable option.

Generally speaking, it’s hard to provide an out-and-out ‘best payment gateway’, as it ultimately depends on your individual business’s circumstances and where you’re conducting the majority of your business.

For example, if you tend to receive a lot of payments from customers outside of Australia, you’d probably be better off with something like Square, given that they have the furthest global reach out of the three options we’ve covered.

Having said that, eWay has lower international transaction fees than Square, so, as you can see, you’ve got to weigh a few different factors up when making your final decision. Still, we hope we’ve been able to provide a bit of clarity throughout this article into some of the features you can expect with these platforms.

FAQs 📢️

What Are Transaction Fees, and How Do They Affect My Business?

Put simply, transaction charges are a kind of fee that your payment gateway provider imposes (they all do this in varying degrees) in exchange for actually processing your payments. Obviously, depending on how high these fees are, they can impact your profit margins, so ensure whichever provider you choose is sustainable for the amount of revenue you produce each month.

What Is the Typical Processing Time for Payments With Payment Gateways?

Generally speaking, there’s not really one ‘set in stone’ time regarding how fast your payments are going to be processed, given how they can vary pretty significantly depending on the payment gateway provider you’re with and whether it’s an international or domestic transaction. Having said this, most payment gateways do tend to settle payments within just a few business days.

Can I Switch Payment Gateways If I’m Not Satisfied With My Current Provider?

Of course! Though it can definitely involve a few integration changes and having to migrate all your data across, you’ve always got the opportunity to switch between payment gateway providers if you happen to find a better deal, for instance. Just try to ensure you plan this transition fairly carefully so you’re able to minimise the amount of disruptions to your business operations.

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