This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
International merchant accounts make it easy to sell items and services across borders by taking payments in different currencies and paying you in yours. Most international payment processors handle credit cards, ACH transfers, and cryptocurrency transfers for online sales. They also have APIs or integrations for point-of-sale (POS) systems and ecommerce solutions.
We looked at a dozen options to find the seven best international merchant accounts for 2022:
- Stripe: Best overall international merchant account for small businesses
- PayPal: Best for occasional sellers and small merchants selling on marketplaces
- Braintree: Best for online sales across borders
- Helcim: Best for interchange-plus pricing
- Authorize.net: Best for B2B transactions
- 2Checkout (Verifone): Best for managing VAT and acting as merchant of record
- Durango: Best for high-risk industries
Top International Merchant Accounts Compared
Online Transaction Rate
2.9% + 30 cents
2 business days
2.59% + 49 cents
Same day with PayPal balance
2.59% + 49 cents
2–5 business days
Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents to 0.5% + 25 cents
1% above the daily 5 p.m. Eastern time market rate
1–2 business days
2.9% + 30 cents or 10 cents per transaction and 10 cents batch fee
3.5% + 35 cents
Custom interchange plus
Stripe: Best Overall International Merchant Account for Small Businesses
Stripe ranks No. 1 in our list of the best international merchant accounts. It supports payments in some 135 currencies, letting customers pay in their own currencies and with their credit cards. It provides excellent API and SDK tools, so it can be integrated into just about any program that takes payments. We also rate it highly in our lists of the best payment gateways and best merchant services.
The solution earned 4.23 out of 5 in our evaluation, with the best combination of zero monthly fees, flat-rate pricing, and industry-leading security measures in the payment processing industry. It also offers businesses the option to choose between local currency or multicurrency-based pricing when accepting international payments.
Some businesses prefer multicurrency because it helps minimize cart abandonment and bank payment declines. On the other hand, other businesses don’t because their income depends on the conversion rate, which is somewhat unpredictable.
Stripe’s chargeback price, slower deposit speed, and additional charges for some features kept it from earning a perfect score. For example, the virtual terminal (which is free with Helcim) costs an additional 0.4%–0.5% per invoice and the mobile app is from a third-party that adds a charge per transaction. PayPal, meanwhile, has a free POS, Zettle.
Stripe has excellent international fees compared to the others on our list: 1.5% per transaction. 2Checkout, which is built for international payment processing, charges 2% for international fees. Stripe’s chargeback fee of $15 is on par with those of other payment processors.
The provider sells only a few hardware items (mostly card readers). However, it will soon release a new card reader terminal and POS system. The POS’s cost starts at around $300, which is a good price, although PayPal has a cheaper system.
Stripe can be used as a payment gateway on any online venue, from chats to online stores, eBay to Facebook, Salesforce to mobile apps. While the other merchant services can handle a few of these venues, Stripe’s versatility is rivaled only by PayPal.
Stripe not only accepts payments in native currencies but lets you display in that denomination so your customers know exactly how much their purchase costs. In addition, Stripe’s hosted payment page automatically detects the customer’s location and displays a translated version of your checkout page so customers can read in their own language. 2Checkout offers a similar service, as does Braintree.
Billing and Subscriptions
Stripe’s invoicing and recurring billing has an additional percentage added for each invoice. However, the first 25 invoices are free. If you need free unlimited invoicing, consider Helcim or PayPal. In addition, Stripe lets you set up flat rates, multiple pricing, usage rates (such as for electricity), and more. It integrates with websites, mobile apps, and CRM systems, and has a virtual terminal for taking payments via phone or email.
Stripe is the most flexible platform of those on the list. It works with over 660 partners with integrations in accounting and finance, marketing and sales, operations, payments, and ecommerce. In addition, it has excellent SDK and API functions for creating your own integrations. In fact, Stripe processes over 250 million API requests a day.
Additional Services for Small Businesses
Like PayPal, Stripe offers other small business financial services such as loans and a credit card. Unlike PayPal (or any of the services on our list), it also has a program specifically to help startups.
- Technical skills needed: Stripe depends heavily on APIs and SDK programming. While it does offer some out-of-the-box solutions, it works best when you have someone with programming skills. Other payment gateways are more straightforward and have their own POS and online stores.
- No POS: Stripe lets you build your own POS system but does not have an out-of-the-box version. It has a mobile system through Stripe Payments by FacilePay, which has 4.5 stars but charges an additional transaction fee. If you want a POS system without programming, PayPal is your best choice.
PayPal: Best for Occasional Sellers & Multichannel Sales
PayPal is a popular international payment processor used by businesses and individuals. Its pricing structure and user-friendly POS make it good for the occasional seller, but it has tools for large businesses, too. It’s also great for solopreneurs because it is so easy to use, and funds are immediately available from your PayPal account.
Of all the international merchant accounts on our list, we also like PayPal best for multichannel sales because of its popularity among other sellers and ability to work alongside other payment processors. For the overall score, it earned 4.08 because of those functions and, like Stripe, it offers multicurrency payment processing. PayPal took hits for its chargeback fee and lacking Level 2 or 3 processing for B2B sales.
PayPal has some of the most complex pricing in this guide, with different rates depending on payment method and country (find details on its pricing page). Online transaction fees are at 2.59% + 49 cents, while in-person payments start at 2.29% + 9 cents per transaction. Monthly fee ranges from $0 to $30 depending on the service.
A 1.5% fee is charged for accepting international payments for all types of transactions (regular, alternative payment methods, and donations). Currency conversion spread is at 4% per transaction; it is the only other provider aside from Stripe that mentions how much it will cost for a business to make international payments (such as chargebacks and declines for cross-border transactions).
POS: Zettle’s entire POS system is free with the use of PayPal’s payment processing. PayPal Zettle’s US rates are 2.29% + 9 cents for card-present transactions, and 3.49% + 9 cents for keyed-in transactions. The rates are the cheapest on our list, although Helcim’s interchange-plus pricing may be cheaper for higher-volume businesses.
Hardware: Zettle card readers cost $79, but your first one is $29. Zettle has hardware POS kits that run from $249–$399, which makes them among the least expensive POS systems on this list and others. In fact, most of the merchant services in this guide either work primarily online or depend on third-party merchants for POS hardware.
PayPal is designed to accommodate the solopreneur or casual seller, even those that sell across borders. It has no monthly fees, does not charge for its POS, and has reasonable in-person rates. PayPal is on our list of best mobile credit card processors as well.
Growing International Coverage
According to Business Insider, PayPal is seeking to expand operations in India. The company said that in 2020, it processed $1.4 billion worth of international sales for over 360,000 merchants in India. Most of the other merchant services on our list focus on the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Europe.
PayPal’s claim to fame is that you can add it anywhere. A study commissioned by PayPal and conducted by Ipsos of people across the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Brazil showed a 54% increase in consumer willingness to buy when PayPal is available as a checkout option. No other payment system on our list can make this claim.
Additional Services for Small Businesses
PayPal has a small business organization that offers loans and working capital advances. Aside from Stripe, it’s the only company offering these kinds of extra functions, making it a good option for growing businesses that might need some financial assistance.
You can get your payout within a day to your PayPal account. It takes two or three days to get to a regular bank account. Most of the services on our list pay out in 24–48 hours, but 2Checkout pays weekly.
In-person Payment Processing
Unlike Braintree or 2Checkout, which are primarily online processors, and Stripe, which depends on third-party software, PayPal offers the Zettle POS system for brick-and-mortar stores or in-person sales.
- Bad reputation for held funds: PayPal is among the worst, reputation-wise, for held fund complaints. In fact, most of the complaints you see on user sites are about held funds and poor customer service. In contrast, Helcim has the fewest complaints and is a traditional merchant account, which offers more stability.
- No level 2 or 3 processing: If you have B2B sales and like PayPal, consider Braintree, which is owned by PayPal. Otherwise, Helcim, Authorize.net, and Stripe are good alternatives.
Braintree: Best for Online Processing
Braintree is a PayPal-owned payment processor that focuses on online sales. It works with merchants in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR China, Malaysia, and New Zealand, although it can handle payments from around the world in 130 currencies.
It ranked just below its parent company, PayPal, in part because it does not have in-person sales tools. (You can get these through PayPal.) With a 4.00 overall in our rubric, it scored high in all the individual sections except payment types. Here, the lack of a virtual terminal and partial acceptance of B2B-level processing brought its score down.
Braintree does not have monthly fees and charges $15 for chargebacks, making it competitive with the other merchant services on our list, price-wise. Even with the additional 1% charge on international transaction fees, it’s less expensive than Stripe and would have ranked better had it accepted more payment types. Durango and Helcim, with their interchange-plus fees, may also be cheaper.
Both Braintree and PayPal offer nonprofit discounts. Braintree does not have a POS system or card reader but integrates with third-party POS systems that may sell their own. You can also opt to use PayPal Zettle with a PayPal account.
Braintree integrates directly with PayPal, something none of the others on the list can do. Through an activated PayPal account, you can use all the POS and other tools PayPal offers.
Integrations and Developer Tools
Braintree is a close competitor to Stripe for developer support. You can use Braintree Auth if you want to integrate Braintree into a third-party service, but the software also has a wide range of ready-made integrations. With Braintree Extend, you can share payment data with other platforms, merchants, or service providers.
Through Hyperwallet, Braintree lets you send and receive payments. Only PayPal also has this feature.
Account Updater (extra fee)
Braintree can update your customers’ Visa, Mastercard, or Discover Card details—such as numbers, expiration dates, and account status changes. This is excellent for recurring bills and subscriptions, where current information is vital. Stripe also has an account updater.
- Not for in-person transactions: Braintree is primarily for online sales. It lacks its own POS and mobile system.
- Limited Level 2 and 3 processing. Braintree says it only supports Level 2 and Level 3 processing on “some processors.” Contact Braintree for details, or consider Stripe and Authorize.net.
- No virtual terminal: Braintree does not offer a virtual terminal for mail order/telephone order (MOTO) sales. Helcim and Authorize.net offer virtual terminals for free.
Helcim: Best for Interchange-plus Pricing
Helcim provides international payment processing for merchants located in the US and Canada. It is potentially the cheapest payment processor in this guide with reasonable interchange-plus pricing with a 1% markup for international sales. Plus, the more you process in a month, the lower your per-transaction fees.
It used to offer multicurrency pricing, but with the recent update, it only supports local currency-based pricing for international transactions. This means Helcim charges customers in your currency and pays you in your currency without conversions, so you know exactly what you get every time, without depending on exchange rates. However, this type of pricing is more prone to cart abandonment and bank declines.
The excellent customer service and interchange-plus pricing earned Helcim a place on our list, with an overall score of 3.91 out of 5. You can also find it among our lists of the best retail credit card processors, best merchant services, and cheapest credit card processing companies. It lost points for its limited business integrations and for lacking multicurrency capability like Stripe. However, it can process level 2 data (and level 3 in the US.)
The provider does not charge a monthly fee and has a chargeback of $15. It offers interchange-plus pricing with a 1% markup for international sales—note that Helcim specified that this fee is imposed by the bank and is not a mark-up on its end. Further, the rates are broken into a tier system that saves you money the more transactions you process each month.
Helcim gives you a free POS reader, virtual terminal, and mobile app. Its card reader costs $109; this is higher than most. PayPal Zettle’s, for example, costs $79.
Excellent Customer Service
Helcim had the second-highest user review ratings of any provider on this list (Durango had the highest, but with only a quarter of the reviews). Nearly every review praised customer and technical support, saying representatives were friendly and able to help with their issues. Its customer support rating is 4.6 stars on Capterra. The others on our site only got 4 to 4.3 stars, with Braintree getting a customer support rating of 3.8.
Affordable Interchange-plus Pricing
Only Helcim and Durango offer interchange-plus pricing. The other payment processors on our list have flat rates—unless they are acting only as a payment gateway for another merchant account. Interchange-plus rates can be much cheaper, especially for high-volume merchants. Even better, Helcim does not have a monthly fee like many interchange-plus payment processors charge.
Helcim is one of the few on our list that gives a free virtual terminal (Durango and Authorize.net are the others). This makes it a good choice for MOTO and telemarketing companies, or any business needing to accept invoice payments over the phone.
- Few integrations: Helcim has fewer integrations than the other payment processors on our list, but can integrate with platforms like QuickBooks, Magento, WooCommerce, and WHMCS.
- Not multicurrency: Your customers are charged in your currency (USD or CAN), and you are paid that way. Nearly all the other payment providers on our list offer multicurrency options, although Stripe and 2Checkout are the best.
Authorize.net: Best for B2B Transactions
Authorize.net (sometimes called Authnet) can provide an international payment gateway for merchants in the US, Canada, and Australia. It accepts payments from over 140 solutions and works as a pure payment gateway with other merchant services or as a merchant service itself. It’s also our top choice of payment gateway for domestic sales. On top of being among the most popular payment processors with online solutions, Authorize.net is also a more user-friendly alternative compared to other B2B payment processors like Stripe. It is, therefore, our top pick for handling B2B transactions.
Note for non-US Merchants: Authorize.net no longer supports merchants in the UK and Europe due to regulations requiring certain encryption protocols. However, it still processes customer payments coming from those countries.
In our evaluation, Authorize.net earned a score of 3.82 out of 5. Despite the monthly fee, it did very well in pricing. It also ranked high in our value score and payment types but took some hits for how it handles multicurrency payments and for lacking multiple language interfaces. Aside from Stripe, we like Authnet the best for B2B transactions for its tools.
Authorize.net charges a $25 monthly fee. Of our list, only Durango and PayPal (depending on the service) also have a monthly fee, and Durango works with high-risk merchants. If this concerns you, look at Stripe (if you want more customization and are comfortable with a bit of coding) and Braintree (if you also want to accept both ACH and PayPal payments), as they also have Level 2 and 3 processing and no monthly fees.
Authnet is unique in that it has two accounts. Its all-in-one solution includes a merchant account and runs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction across the board. Its gateway-only plan adds 10 cents per transaction to the merchant service’s rate. Regardless of your plan, you’ll add 1.5% to any cross-border transaction. This is average among other providers in our list, with both Braintree and Helcim quoting the lowest rate at 1% cross-border fees.
Because Authorize.net works with so many merchant services and ecommerce solutions, you’ll get your POS hardware from a third-party if you need it. The provider, however, has a mobile app for card processing, charging $65 for the card reader. This is about average for a chip and tap reader.
B2B Sales Processing
With Level 2 and Level 3 payment processing, Authorize.net is better suited for business-to-business sales than most of the services on our list. Stripe offers Level 2 and 3, while Braintree has limited support, depending on the processor. Authorize.net also provides invoicing tools, ACH/echeck processing, and recurring payments, plus it integrates with B2B-specific platforms like B2B Commerce Cloud. (Note: For domestic sales, we chose Stripe as our best B2B payment solution.)
Popular and Easy to Integrate
Authorize.net integrates with 145 certified solutions, which is above average for those on our list. It can process transactions from various types of platforms, such as sales, accounting, kiosks, and shopping carts.
Authorize.net works with nearly every kind of payment processing, including online and in-person credit cards, mobile wallets, virtual terminals and subscription management, and integrations with other software. It can also serve high-risk businesses through its partners like Durango Merchant Services (which is also on this list) and has a resellers program, providing other merchant services with its gateway.
- Monthly fees: Authorize.net charges $25 per month no matter how much you use the service. If you only sell on occasion, consider PayPal.
- Does not work for merchants in Europe and Asia: Authnet works for merchants in the US, Canada, and Australia. If you are based elsewhere, consider 2Checkout and Braintree. All the other payment providers in this guide, except Helcim, also support British merchants.
- How currency is handled: Authorize.net works with one currency at a time. It accepts payments in the currency you set and passes it on to the financial institution, which converts it to US dollars. Others on this list, like Stripe or 2Checkout, can adapt to the currency based on your customer’s location.
2Checkout (Verifone): Best for Managing Value-added Tax (VAT) & Acting as Merchant of Record
2Checkout is a popular international merchant service that works in over 235 countries and more than 100 currencies. Plus, it accepts some 45 payment methods, including cryptocurrency, mobile wallets, and international credit cards. It integrates with several third-party systems, including POS. It stands out from the other providers on our list because it can act as the merchant of record, meaning 2Checkout can handle your VAT, sales tax, and remittance.
It made our list of best international merchant accounts with an overall score of 3.79 and excellent marks for its geographic scope. The fees are higher than most, but its reach is the widest. It lost points because it does not have its own mobile app, not even through another developer. It also has a longer deposit speed. Nonetheless, it’s easy to use and allows for multilanguage and multicurrency display.
2Checkout’s pricing is simple but more expensive than the others in this guide. However, it offers multicurrency international payments pricing, making it better than Helcim in that category. Its chargeback fees are calculated by taking your dispute history into account, which is more complicated than most of the other options on this list that charge a flat fee.
It also does not have a monthly fee, which gives it an advantage over Authorize.net and Durango, but its transaction rates are high. Add to that the 2% cross-border percentage, and it may be worth looking at cheaper options like Stripe. (2Checkout’s highest plan does not have the cross-border fee, however.)
Like Braintree, 2Checkout does not sell hardware. Rather, you get it from the POS system or ecommerce solution you choose.
More Country Choices
2Checkout can process payments in 235+ countries and more than 100 currencies—the most of any on our list. You also have the option of choosing to accept domestic payment methods in a country as well. 2Checkout pays out via your choice of wire transfer, ACH, PayPal, or Payoneer in USD, EUR, or GBP.
Merchant of Record
2Checkout is unique in that it can act as your merchant of record. This means it can handle your sales tax, VAT, and remittances, so you can concentrate on sales. No other payment processor on our list offers this; if you sell in multiple nations, it could save you time and money.
2Checkout’s myAccount works much like PayPal. Customers have their own accounts and can log in to see items they’ve purchased using 2Checkout from your store and elsewhere. They can also edit their personal information and payment methods and contact support.
Like Braintree and Stripe, 2Checkout’s developer tools are excellent. It has multiple awards for its platform and programming, having been a 2021 CODiE and a 2021 Cloud Awards finalist.
- Weekly payout: While most payment processors on our list pay out in a day or two (Braintree can take up to five days), 2Checkout pays every week. You also need a minimum of 50$/50GBP/50€ (if you have the 2Sell or 2Subscribe account) or 100$/100GBP/100€ (for 2Monetize account holders).
- No high-risk services: 2Checkout does not work for sales of certain products. Durango is your best bet for high-risk businesses.
- Lacks a mobile app: 2Checkout integrates with systems that have mobile apps but does not have its own. If you want a native application for selling in person, try PayPal.
Durango: Best for High-risk Industries
If you are a high-risk merchant doing international sales, then Durango Merchant Services is a good choice. Recommended by other companies that work with international payment processing, Durango offers excellent fraud support, access to multiple accounts, and multicurrency processing to enable you to take payments across borders where other companies may not serve you. It’s on our list of the best high-risk merchant accounts.
Durango earned an overall rating of 3.63 in our evaluation, where it took some hits for standard practices for high-risk industries, like monthly fees. It sometimes requires a contract, which also brought its score down. It lost more points for not having Level 2 and 3 processing for B2B. Nonetheless, it scored well for features.
Unlike most of the merchants in this guide, Durango offers custom pricing depending on your situation and needs. It did give us some information on other charges, however. Its monthly fees are comparable to those of Authorize.net and PayPal (for occasional sellers)—the others on our list do not have them. Durango also charges for its ecommerce gateway (most merchant services here provide this for free along with an online store; some, like 2Checkout, only integrate with third-party systems).
Durango has a card reader (approximately $115) that syncs with your mobile device via Bluetooth. It also has chip-ready terminals and touch screens, and costs run from $150–$250, which is cheaper than most on this list.
Of our list, Durango is the most focused on high-risk merchants, both for domestic and international sales. (Authorize.net, as a payment gateway, may be able to support you with the right third-party merchant account.) Durango offers strong fraud tools and tools to help high-risk industries mitigate problems, like advanced mid-routing and a customer vault for storing card and ACH information. In fact, some companies, such as CDGcommerce, refer merchants planning international sales to Durango.
Durango’s batch processing lets you run multiple transactions at the same time and is good for merchants with several billings like subscriptions and memberships, alongside products. Stripe lets you program batching for certain payments.
Dedicated 24/7 Support
Only a few of the services on our list offer 24/7 support, and even then, it’s first come, first served. Durango also gives you a dedicated account manager.
Like Stripe and PayPal, Durango shows your customer the price in their own currency, then uses the current exchange rate to pay you in your currency. It supports multicurrency processing for USD, CAN, AUS, GBP, EUR, JPY, and others.
- Extra charges: Like PayPal, you may have to pay extra for some of its tools. Its ecommerce gateway fees are an additional $10 to $15 per month, for example.
- Not all countries represented: Durango has a list of prohibited countries on its website. You’ll find the best selection of countries on 2Checkout, but it does not handle high-risk customers.
- No Level 2 or 3 processing: If you do B2B transactions and want the advantage of Level 2 or 3 processing, look at Authorize.net, Stripe, and Helcim.
How We Evaluated the Top International Merchant Accounts
We’ve reviewed dozens of merchant services for small businesses, many of which work in the international market. We looked at the 12 best, digging deep into features, pricing, and payment types processed. We also took user reviews and reputation into account. Finally, we looked for providers that served special markets, like Durango.
We chose Stripe as the best international payment processor. It can handle over 100 currencies and is highly flexible and can be incorporated into just about any platform that takes payments. It takes a little more technical know-how than the others in this guide but is nonetheless the best for selling across borders.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
15% of Overall Score
The best merchant services, in our opinion, don’t lock you into lengthy contracts or have cancellation fees. Only Durango, which works with high-risk merchants, was the exception to this. Aside from considering chargeback and monthly fees, we also compared the currency conversion fee for each provider. Helcim topped this section, with Authorize.net in second place.
30% of Overall Score
This is a score of versatility. Not only did we consider whether the processor took credit cards, e-checks, and the like, but also if providers had their own POS and virtual terminal. Stripe took top billing here.
30% of Overall Score
In addition to functions specific to international transactions, like the ability to work with multiple currencies and languages, we considered customer support hours and how quickly you are paid out. Durango led the way here, with Authorize.net a distant last.
25% of Overall Score
We combined our years of experience and the input of real-world users to determine this value score, which includes price-vs-features, ease of use, popularity, and integrations. PayPal and Authorize.net took top rank in this section.
The merchant services on our list offer great rates and terrific tools. Some work primarily online but a few have in-person POS tools. All integrate with popular systems in ecommerce, sales, and accounting. Any would make an excellent choice for receiving and processing international payments.
We, however, determined Stripe to be the best international merchant service because of its excellent developer tools that make it easy to include the platform in just about any software that accepts payments. It detects the customer’s location and displays prices in their currency to make sales even simpler, and its processing rates are highly competitive. Sign up for an account today.