Credit Card Processing Alternatives for Beginners

When you’re first getting an eCommerce site or web store up and running, one of the main things you need to deal with is credit card processing. If you already run a brick-and-mortar store that has a merchant account, chances are you can simply talk to your bank about adding online processing. If not, however, you need to start from scratch; and the merchant account application process can be difficult and time-consuming.

Alternatives for Credit Card Processing

Fortunately, there are some credit card processing alternatives out there. These payment gateways offer you the ability to accept payments without a merchant account. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular, as well as a new competitor that promises to make a big splash:

Credit Card Processing AlternativesPayPal for payment processing

This is, of course, the granddaddy and the gold standard when it comes to credit card processing alternatives. What started out as a convenient way for eBay buyers to pay sellers has grown into a financial powerhouse.

PayPal offers a number of credit card processing alternatives, the most popular of which is their Website Payments Standard. This service lets you accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, as well as bank transfers and eChecks. You use tools at the PayPal website to create buttons that allow your customers to make their payments.

You can also use the Virtual Terminal service at PayPal to take credit card orders via fax, phone, or mail order.

Google Checkout

Google also offers a credit card processing service known as Google Checkout. This is a convenient option for your buyers who have a Google Wallet account; they simply enter their email and password information, and make the payment. The checkout process also works for those without a Google Checkout account, too.

Like PayPal, Google Checkout offers pre-generated HTML buttons to add to your site. They also let you create an online store with their Store Gadget, which can be embedded directly into your website. There are a number of other shopping cart options you can use with Google Checkout, as well.


This is the newest credit card processing alternative. has similar functionality to PayPal and Google Checkout, but they’re branching out in some new directions. They’re focusing on making purchases online from mobile devices, for example.

The intention is also that retailers will be able to accept payments via Google is already experimenting with Near Field Communication technology on Android smartphones using Google Wallet, and PayPal supposedly has something similar in the works. It looks, however, like will be the first to get this to market. is a viable alternative for people who aren’t happy with PayPal’s account policies, and who want the flexibility that comes with processing retail and mobile transactions.

Now you know the credit card processing alternatives

Ultimately, you need to spend some time comparing the credit card processing alternatives, and decide which one works best for your business model. Some businesses are better off sticking with PayPal, while others can benefit from using one of the other services.


David Rodwell is a seasoned writer in business and economics, specializing in credit card processing You can find more of his articles located at CreditCardProcessing[dot]net.


  1. The fact that nearly everyone has a Paypal account it has to make that option the number one choice. People don’t like signing up for new services because it takes extra time. If you want to get someones money you need to make it as easy as possible for them so I would choose Paypal every time.

    • It’s true, it has become the standard. Unfortunately, PayPal is not known for having the best customer service, which causes many scorned merchants to vow them off for life. I haven’t had any problems with them yet… :)

      • Aside that David, Paypal is also not accepting registrations from some Countries. I am a Nigerian. I am based in Lagos, Nigeria. And Paypal has been the biggest challenge I have had doing business online. I find products that I like but can’t buy because I don’t have a Paypal account.

        I had to ask a friend of mine in the UK to open a Paypal account for me there. I trust him so I don’t mind him accessing my account. Moreover I am the owner of the email so I get an email for every transaction in the account. It worked for me for awhile.

        I even had an affiliate product on my site that was doing fairly well. But they pay through Paypal. And the last time I asked my friend to withdraw money from the account, he said he was asked to verify the account, which is not possible because I don’t live there.

        I still have money in the account that I have to ignore now. And the painful part is since I can’t get my money from my account, I had to take down that product that was doing well.

        Now I am working on my book that will launch soon and I really wish Paypal was on my side you know, since I am sure a lot of people would be comfortable with it.

        2Checkout seems to be the best option for me now.

        As for Google Checkout I think the last time I read about them, they said they pay in Paypal. I’m not sure. Am I right or wrong about this?

    • I would have to agree here. I would have a hard time entering my credit card number into a system that I wasn’t familiar with. They are definitely going in the right direction so it’s only going to get easier for us on e-commerce sites.

  2. Thanks for the info, I have another eCommerce site and the fees for credit cards never goes down. They can really add up. I had not thought of using Google checkout or heard of the

  3. yeah. credit card is now important to transact online, but most of the credit cards providers do their hidden agendas. What credit card do you use?

    • I use Paypal for our credit card processor. Love their virtual terminal and they are pretty good with rates as far as you can get. We had others prior and switched about a year ago.

  4. Dwolla(ever heard of this?) To be honest I have not reviewed this much, but it seems like a sweet alternative also.

    I do battle every-season (with my landscape company) to set up credit card payments. It would be a great way to GET PAID right away! Some of my customers have voiced their displeasure about GOOGLE itself, so for me that will not work across the board. Paypal is a trusted name and may be the only alternative for me.

    Thank you for your post David, these reviews will help my decision going forward. I also have a client that is in the process of opening an online pond supply store. These tips will be much help.

  5. The credit card processing that you use depends on lot on your site and what you’re selling.

    PayPal works OK for sites that sell just a handful of things or for digital products, but a full blown ecommerce store, I think, will do better with setting up a merchant account and shopping cart system.

    The devil’s in the details when it comes to these systems and it’s not easy when starting out to know what will work best. I like the Google Checkout though, I haven’t really looked into that one yet :-)

    Thanks, Liz

  6. One this to remeber is stick to something your readers/customers will have heard of. I’ve never heard of the Visa option before and would feel much more comfortable using Paypal or Google checkout , I’m already signed up, I know how it works – and as a bonus they already have my details which removes some steps from the payment process!

    I’m off to look into – thanks David!

  7. I’ve used PayPal for about 7 years now and I get on with it really well, I’ve never had any problems with it. I think its a trusted method of payment so I wouldn’t hestitate to use it. Also I now that I’m safe if I make a purchase via PayPal as my housemate did once and was ripped off and PayPal were brilliant and he got his money back within 24 hours. Excellent customer service!

  8. Cley

    Wow! Google is really amazing. They now offering card processing.. Great! This can be really an easy thing for all card users. Thanks for sharing this..

  9. Thanks for sharing this important article that talks about credit card, based on my experience applying for credit card is not that easy because there are a lot of requirements needed, aside from that one must have enough income before credit card company will allow you to have one.

  10. Awesome post.PayPal works OK for sites that sell just a handful of things or for digital products, but a full blown ecommerce store, I think, will do better with setting up a merchant account and shopping cart system. Thanks for sharing.:-)

  11. In a country like India,where paypal in not popular anymore other payment methods are required. Payment gateways has sprung up in India and almost everyone includes the payment via debit cards. Sometimes there is also on option of cash on delivery.

  12. Interesting. I hadn’t even heard of I don’t currently do anything with credit cards on my site, but it’s something to remember if I ever do!

  13. Great post. Especially for folks with e-commerce sites, etc. My buddy owns a pool company and has a credit card processing “thing” that plugs in to the bottom of his iPhone which I think is pretty cool. Doesn’t really apply here, but… yeah. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thanks for sharing! Never even heard of but definitely something I can look into since I build WordPress websites for clients and many people just don’t have the money to get started with a fancy credit card processing company and payment gateway and all that fancy stuff when they are doing a small business from home.

    Take Care,

    Jupiter Jim

  15. PayPal would be the ideal system for businesses with small card turnovers if they were a little more even handed with disputes. Unfortunately they almost always favor the buyer and don’t seem very interested in investigating problems.
    Their chargeback system fills me with horror, no time limit on complaints (as far as I can see) and unlimited access to your bank account.
    Unless it’s just for small sales, PayPal is just too risky for me.

  16. I see a few comments on PayPal’s supposed excellent customer service — are you guys using the same PayPal? Yes, the rates are okay and their ‘systems’ are user-friendly, but just wait until you get a nasty thousand-dollar charge-back where they don’t decide in your favor — you’ll quickly change your mind. With digital products, especially, no song and dance will ever bring back your money — even if it was daylight robbery. I was a believer, but now no longer consider them my pal. I use them only because I have to, I’m sad to say, and have had to take additional precautions to safeguard my money. I’d write a guest post, but I fear I’d be unable to write neutrally on this topic, lol. Guess it wouldn’t matter anyway. Cheers!

  17. No Doubt Paypal is best and mostly country support it I personally integrate and suggest it for my freelance client but un hopefully it didn’t support my country.

  18. interesting post, i guess ive been lucky then, ive been using PayPal for 3 years without any problems I get on with it really well, I’ve never had any problems with it. If you buy something via PayPal you can get your money back within more or less 24 hours.

    • Yes, I think that’s the point some of us have been making. It’s great for buyers, not so great if you’re a seller and somebody decides they want their money back for no good reason.

  19. Dwolla seems like a very interesting alternative to credit cards. I also like for it’s simplicity of implementation and fees.

    I think we’ll see many alternatives to the complex and often shady merchant processing options available today.

    O, and please stay away from Intuit’s merchant processing!

    Cheers, Carel.

  20. Paypal is one of the best service that is boosted in some few years back.According to my experience there is no alternative to paypal.

  21. Mobile express checkout is the best alternative of credit card to buy online product and services. This is PayPal mobile service so you can use easily pay amount with your email and secure password by mobile system. As your information PayPal and Google checkout are also effective alternative of credit card. There are many other online payment service providers available on Internet but it is not safe to use their services without any particular information about it.

  22. I use Paypal and I find it to be the best and easiest way for e-commerce business. The sign up process and transaction are quite smooth and fast. I didn’t have any clue about the rest of the payment processes and need to check them pretty soon. The Google Checkout looks quite promising.

  23. Danny

    I am using Paypall as well, and they are quite reliable. It’s important to have a verified premier or business account before you really start using it, or else you might run into trouble.
    Also it helps that when you are going to launch a new product and expect a surge in the sales that you let them know beforehand. Because they are quite vigilant when it comes to irregular/suspicious activity. And you don’t want your account frozen.
    Also never leave too much money in your account. If something happens to your account you don’t want your money to get stuck.

  24. Now a days lot of alternatives are entering, lot are making their own typical frames for competating payment monster paypal. 2checkout, moneybookers are the common examples of that.

  25. Paypal looks unavoidably the best.

    2checkout is without doubt the second choice especially for international businesses. The only problem has been the non refundable activation fee of $49. The good news is that you can completely eliminate this amount using the coupon code “ets2co” without the quotes

  26. I am familiar with Google Checkout and the other Credit Card processing alternatives, but the new addition “V Me by Visa” is really worth checking out. Although it’s new but I think this new credit card processing method is going to compete Google’s Checkout and Ebay’s Paypal.

  27. Thanks David for this great Post!

    I live in India and the limit for withdrawal via Paypal is much high for me..also they have made it mandatory to have a PAN card for Transactions ..Therefore i use AlertPay
    as an alternative to my credit card processing.The fees charged for CC transactions are about 3.5% which is way good ..

  28. Selling with PayPal is annoying most times since they provide zero seller protection and tough policies on selling activities. Google checkout only for US and UK. Moneybookers and Alertpay are good alternatives for every country. Thanks for the info about I don’t know it is limitd to US citizens only or worldwide?

  29. I have just started using PayPal a couple of months ago and haven’t had much transactions as a seller yet. I did learn however, even though I am a South African and only one bank in South Africa accepted withdrawals into a South African bank account from PayPal which forced me to change banks altogether, that PayPal is indeed the most widely-used Gateway all across the globe. So it just made sense to use them.

    Dealt with customer service quite a number of times already as I am someone that likes to be clear on EVERYTHING as thoroughly as possible, so I ask questions like not many do. *shy cough* I must admit that I haven’t experienced anything but excellent service.

    I did have a phone call from a customer care agent once and I must admit that he sounded like an automated responder as I’m sure he was reading word for word what he “had to tell me” which kind of made me feel like just another number in the line.

    Luckily it was just a follow up call “finding out if previous email support I received was satisfactory or not” but should that have been a technical call I probable would have needed to grow all my hair back :)

    Great and informative post of alternatives here, David.

  30. David, this a great post buddy. First time credit card processors like a friend of mine really enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much. Even my wife read it and decided to make me get her a credit card so that she can imply the above knowledge. :)

  31. Paypal is one of the bets payment processors and whose name is already established in this venture. You can trust Paypal with their strong encryption schemes and their online verification processes. They even have the option of adding their buttons on your website so your clients or customers can easily pay for their goods and services. Thank you for sharing!

  32. There’s a cool infographic that simplifies what is credit card processing. A Cool alternative is WePay. They have the same rates that paypal does, but with much much better customer service and more user friendly.

  33. Hi,

    yes Paypal is best. i have been using paypal from many years and I guess check 2 out is also best for those users who live in Pakistan or India.

    Thank you

  34. I don’t think that online payment is totally secure nowadays because hackers are more advance in today world. They easily hack your credit card even you don’t about that. I am not in favor of online payment system. Yes, it’s right that PayPal is tremendous in their services and more secure as compared to other payment system.