This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Stripe is a favorite among startups and tech-savvy businesses for online payment processing because it offers highly versatile software for creating custom checkouts. However, it’s not the best online payment processor for everyone. Some businesses want something simpler and cheaper or a solution that provides a (point-of-sale) POS or virtual terminal payment processing.
We evaluated dozens of credit card processors to find the best Stripe alternatives:
- Square: Best overall alternative to Stripe
- PayPal: Best for value-added payment options for ecommerce
- Stax: Best for high-volume sales
- PaymentCloud: Best for high-risk businesses
- Helcim: Best for growing storefronts needing recurring payments
- Payanywhere: Best for small mobile restaurants and retailers
- Payment Depot: Best for wholesale pricing with no percentage markup
- iATS: Best for nonprofits
- Authorize.net: Best payment gateway
- Chase Merchant Services: Best for those wanting a traditional merchant account
Stripe Alternatives Compared
Online transaction fees
Integrations (without API)
2.9% + 30 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
3.49% + 49 cents
To PayPal account
Interchange + 15 cents
Mobile app only
Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents – 0.5% + 25 cents
3.49% + 19 cents
Mobile app only
Interchange plus 15 cents
2.49% to 3.2%
2.9% + 30 cents
Mobile app or 3rd-party
3.5% + 10 cents
Mobile app only
To Chase account
Stripe at a Glance
Stripe is on our list of:
When To Use an Alternative to Stripe
Stripe is highly customizable, secure, and scalable as your business grows. However, there are times when its complexity and specialization make other solutions a better choice:
- DIY business people with little programming experience: Stripe is a popular payment system for web developers and companies that have a dev or IT team that can program the integrations. If that’s not you, then a simpler option might work better. Recommended: Authorize.net or Helcim.
- Businesses that want point-of-sale included: Stripe integrates with POS systems but does not offer one itself. Recommended: Square, PayPal, or Helcim.
- Businesses with high-volume sales: Given Stripe’s processing rates, you may benefit from a merchant service that offers interchange-plus pricing. Recommended: Stax or Payment Depot
- Businesses dealing with mostly in-person transactions: If you do mostly in-person sales, a payment provider with mobile and counter POS systems will suit you better. Recommended: Square, Payanywhere, or Helcim.
- Ecommerce businesses that need a simple setup: If you are a small business that needs a quick payment button, then Stripe is beyond your needs. Recommended: PayPal
Square: Best Overall Alternative to Stripe
Square is a highly popular and well-rated payment processor that usually tops our lists because of its free POS system and ability to grow with your business. Unlike Stripe, you can start selling immediately upon signing up for Square—no programming is needed.
The POS system is top-notch and works not only for stores but for restaurants, spas, salons, and service industries. It offers an integrated online store and a mobile app for selling on the go. Plus, as your business grows, it offers additional software for loyalty plans, marketing, and even payroll. Its banking services (something Stripe does not offer) include checking and savings accounts and loans.
Square tops our list of:
- PayPal Alternatives
- Best Merchant Services
- Best Free Merchant Services
- Best Mobile Credit Card Processors
- Best Virtual Terminals
- Best Credit Card Payment Apps
- Monthly fee: $0
- Card-present transaction fee: 2.6% + 10 cents
- Ecommerce and invoice transaction fee: 2.9% + 30 cents
- Card-not-present transaction fee: 3.5% + 15 cents
- ACH Fee: 1% (minimum $1)
- Instant payout fee: 1.5%
- Chargeback fee: None; up to $250 per month for chargeback protection
- Card reader: $49
For all its versatility, however, Square is a closed system. It does not allow other payment processors and cannot match Stripe for integration into websites or complex payment processing needs. Learn more in our review of Square vs Stripe.
PayPal: Best for Value-added Payment Options for Ecommerce
PayPal rivals Stripe as one of the most popular online payment processors. And, where Stripe is more difficult to implement and maintain, PayPal has a reputation for being user-friendly for both customers and merchants.
It accepts all types of payments, including credit cards and bitcoin, works internationally, and offers a free POS system, Zettle. Zettle works on countertop systems and smartphones. Further, PayPal lets you easily add buttons to your website, social media, or online store.
See how Square, Stripe, and PayPal compare in our evaluation of three of the most popular online payment processors for small businesses.
However, PayPal really shines as an additional payment option. In fact, studies have shown that customers are 2.8x more likely to convert when PayPal is visible. PayPal makes it easy to offer its payment processing alongside other credit card processors.
PayPal Pricing (US)
- POS fee: $0
- Card-present fee: 2.29% + 9 cents
- Keyed-in fee: 3.49% + 9 cents
- Online transaction fee: 3.49% + 49 cents
- International Transaction fee: 1.5% fee, 4% spread for currency conversion
- Cryptocurrency fees: 50 cents for purchases under $25, 1.5%–2.3%, depending on amount $25 and over
- Chargeback fee: $20
- Dispute fee: $15
- Card reader: $29 for the first; $79 for additional
Despite its versatility, Stripe is the better option for customization. Stripe also accepts more currency types (135 vs 26) and has more powerful API and SDK tools for programming special cases. Stripe also has fewer complaints of held funds than PayPal. Discover more in our Stripe vs PayPal article.
Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for High-volume Sales
Stripe offers custom rates for high-volume sales, but Stax’s interchange-plus rates are cheaper. There is a monthly fee to consider, but if you do enough credit card transactions, the savings may cover the monthly fee and still save you money.
Stax stacks up to Stripe in terms of functionality and features. Stax says it integrates with over 90% of third-party POS systems (most through Zapier). Further, if you want it programmed directly into your software, Stax Connect has in-depth API and SDK support.
Of course, Stax is still ahead in the in-person sales category, with more choices of POS hardware and a native mobile app. Users rate it higher than Stripe and say the customer support team is quick to respond and helpful. Businesses also enjoy the ability to send custom payment links to customers.
- Monthly fee: $99–$199
- Card-present transaction fee: Interchange + 8 cents
- Card-not-present transaction fee: Interchange + 15 cents
- Optional software packages: $29–$129 monthly for features like reporting dashboard, ACH payments, invoicing, Text2Pay, web-hosted payments, recurring payments, chargeback manager, and dedicated support
- Chargeback fee: $25
- Custom plans available for businesses processing over $5 million annually
Stripe, of course, blows away Stax—and all the others—by having over 1,250 integrations in addition to its powerful programming tools. Even Stax itself says Stripe is better known for online payments, while Stax takes a more holistic approach.
PaymentCloud: Best for High-risk Merchants
If you run a business that sells high-risk items or is considered a high-risk business for other reasons, you may not be able to work with Stripe, which sometimes imposes restrictions, such as setting up a funds reserve—if it approves you at all. (Stripe also has definite prohibitions for businesses dealing with high-risk jurisdictions such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Crimea Region, and Syria.) If this is your business, look into PaymentCloud. It’s our top-recommended high-risk merchant account.
Although it does work with regular merchants, PaymentCloud specializes in high-risk businesses and products. It works with over 10 banks and walks you through the application process to get you approved. It customizes pricing depending on your situation, but user reviews say the terms are competitive. In addition, other merchant services will refer high-risk clients to PaymentCloud.
- No application fees, setup fees, or annual fees
- Minimum two-year contract
- Monthly fee: $25–$30
- Medium-risk transaction fee: 2.69%–3.29%
- High-risk transaction fee: 2.95%–4.25%
- Payment gateway fee: $15/month (average)
- Chargeback fee: $25
PaymentCloud offers the fastest payout of those on our list, saying it gets funds into your account in seconds rather than days. Stripe has same-day deposits—but at an additional fee. PaymentCloud will handle integration into your CRM, accounting software, POS solutions, and more. Stripe leaves this process to your team. Unlike others on our list, PaymentCloud also offers a wide range of POS systems and hardware, from Ingenico to Clover. Stripe’s offerings are far more limited.
Helcim: Best for Growing Storefronts Needing Recurring Payments
Helcim is one of several on our list with interchange-plus pricing but has one advantage: no monthly fees. Plus, it automatically scales the rates to your level of sales, so you don’t need to change plans or apply for discounts. Compared to Stripe, Helcim is a much cheaper solution for businesses doing high-volume sales, especially if they expect to scale up. It also offers free POS software which Stripe does not have, making Helcim ideal for storefronts.
It processes credit cards and ACH payments and has invoicing and recurring billing tools (Stripe charges 0.5% for recurring billing). It also has a native POS app for countertop or mobile—something Stripe lacks—and native tools for taking food orders, managing inventory, and managing customers.
- Monthly fee: $0
- Card-present transaction fee: Interchange plus 0.1% + 5 cents – 0.3% + 8 cents
- Card-not-present transaction fee: Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents – 0.5% + 25 cents
- Chargeback fee: $15, but Helcim refunds the charge for disputes settled in your favor
- Two-business-day deposit time
- Automatic volume discounts
Like Stripe, it has a built-in check-out portal, although Stripe offers more templates and customizations. Helcim lets you embed payments into your website or app and process payments without handling the sensitive information associated with payments. Overall, these native features and very affordable interchange-plus pricing make Helcim a great fit for busy storefronts. In fact, Helcim is our top pick for retail credit card processing companies.
Payanywhere: Best for Small, Mobile Restaurants & Retailers
For businesses that do primarily in-person sales, Payanywhere is a great app. Its rates are competitive, especially since it is a simple percentage. This makes it especially cost-effective when doing low-ticket sales such as coffee, souvenirs, and snacks. (Online, however, Stripe has much better transaction fees.)
Payanywhere has a free mobile POS app that works for small restaurants and food trucks and integrates with delivery systems. Like Stripe, you can get recurring billing. In addition, it offers employee management tools through Homebase, including time clocks, scheduling, and hiring—and Stripe does not offer these. Payanywhere now offers free same-day payouts which was previously offered with a 1% fee.
- Card-present processing fee: 2.69%
- Keyed-in processing fee: Starting at 3.49% + 19 cents per transaction
- Invoice and recurring payment processing: 3.49% + 19 cents
- POS software: $0
- Inactivity fee: $3.99 per month after 12 months of inactivity
- Card readers: From $29.95 (first is free)
- Terminals: From $9.95 per month
- Free same-day deposit
- Offers pay-as-you-go and long-term contracts
- Early termination fee: $295
Stripe is better in that it does not have an inactivity fee; Payanywhere charges $3.99 per month after 12 months without processing transactions. Payanywhere also does not process international credit cards, making it better for domestic sales.
Payment Depot: Best for Wholesale Pricing With No Percentage Markup
Payment Depot offers interchange-plus pricing, with no distinction between online and in-person transactions. It’s better suited for smaller businesses than Stax (another alternative that also offers wholesale rates in exchange for monthly subscription) because its monthly prices are cheaper while getting wholesale processing rates with no per-transaction markup. For this reason, Payment Depot makes our list of the cheapest credit card processing companies.
Of course, the pricing is much cheaper than Stripe’s, even considering the monthly fees. It has fewer complaints than Stripe when it comes to held funds or canceled accounts, as well.
Like Stripe, Payment Depot has a third-party mobile POS, plus a choice of free third-party virtual terminals. It offers business funding to its members that qualify and has a very high user satisfaction rate and strong third-party integrations.
Payment Depot Pricing
- Monthly fee: $59–$99 (based on processing volume)
- Contract length: Month-to-month, no long-term contract
- Transaction fees:
- Card-present: Interchange plus 8 cents
- Card-not-present: Interchange plus 15 cents
- No setup, cancellation, chargeback and other miscellaneous fees
- Hardware: Starts at $49
Payment Depot falls short of Stripe in that it is only for US merchants. You also need to apply and be approved, whereas Stripe lets you sign up and go. It also lacks billing and invoicing, except through other payment gateways (Stripe has these tools).
iATS: Best for Nonprofits & Donations
iATS and Stripe are both on our lists as best for:
You can use Stripe for nonprofits, but iATS is built especially for these unique businesses. It does not list pricing online, but we’ve seen flat rates listed anywhere from 2.49% to 3.2%, making it competitive to Stripe. Over 14,000 nonprofits work with iATS, and one of its specialties is working with customer relationship management software. For example, its Brickwork processing app for Salesforce makes it easy to accept donations, track donor information, and manage donors from the Salesforce app.
Like Stripe, this payment processor relies heavily on integrations. iATS does not have its own POS system, but it lets you create online forms for your website. However, it can also create a stand-alone solution, which includes hosted pages and forms, to which you can add a shopping cart using its Aura program. Stripe will embed into websites but not build one for you. iATS easily integrates into donation-specific software.
- Pricing is not on its website; reports say 2.49% to 3.2%
- Monthly fee: $0
- One-year contract, with six months automatic renewal
iATS takes longer to process payouts than Stripe. It requires a one-year contract and works only with certified nonprofit organizations, whereas Stripe can be used for charity or for-profit businesses.
Authorize.net: Best Payment Gateway
Authorize.net is a well-known payment gateway that integrates easily into other payment solutions. While it charges a monthly fee, it is reliable and does not charge chargeback fees. You can use it as a payment gateway alone (choosing your own merchant account) or as a payment processor. This flexibility earned Authorize.net the top spot in our evaluation of the best payment gateways.
It can handle high-risk businesses through its partners and even has partnerships for other business solutions for shipping, compliances, fraud prevention, and more. While it does not integrate as extensively as Stripe, it does have partnerships with developers who can design integrations for you.
- Monthly fee: $25
- All-in-one processing fee: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, or 10 cents per transaction and 10 cents batch fee
- ACH/e-check processing fee: 0.75% per transaction
- Chargeback fee: $0
- POS system: $0 for Mobile POS app
- Virtual Terminal: $0
- Card readers: $65
- Terminals: Third party
Stripe reaches more countries, accepts a greater variety of payments, and integrates with more systems, whereas Authorize.net offers more of a plug-and-play solution.
Chase Payment Solutions: Best Traditional Merchant Account
Chase is one of the biggest names in the banking industry and is a direct processor of credit card transactions. Thus, if you don’t need a lot of specialized integrations but are more interested in straight processing online and in-person, then it may be able to supply your needs and offer a quicker payout, especially if you have a Chase Business checking account.
Chase offers a mobile POS app, and an online store, plus billing and invoicing. Like Stripe, Chase processes international payments, but it beats Stripe in its other business offerings—like checking and savings, loans, and credit cards. This makes it a good choice for businesses just starting out that need more than payment processing. It tops our list of the best checking accounts for small businesses.
Chase Payments Solutions Pricing
- Monthly fee: $0
- Processing fee: From 2.6% + 10 cents to 3.5% + 10 cents
- ACH Processing: $25 per month for 25 transactions, 25 cents for each additional, or 1% for certain platforms
- Cancellation/early termination fee: $0
- Chargeback fee: $25–$100 per transaction
- Deposit speed: Same-day deposit and next-day funding
- Hardware options: $49–$399
As a direct processor, Chase makes payment processing simpler; funds are transferred faster for as long as you have a checking account with Chase. However, there have been frequent reports of poor customer service and some complaints over contracts that ended up with users having to pay cancellation fees.
If you have specialized payment processing needs or a wide range of online payment venues, then Stripe may be your best choice. It’s extremely popular among developers for its extensive toolset and ease of use—for programmers. Those who are not tech-savvy or do more sales in-person may fare better with a simpler payment processor. Additionally, those doing high-volume online sales may save more money with a payment processor that does interchange-plus processing.
All told, Square is the best Stripe alternative. It offers rates comparable to Stripe but has a powerful free POS system, online store, virtual terminal, and other tools that make it a better choice. Plus, it’s easy to use and highly rated by real-world users. Sign up for a free account and get started today.