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PayPal alternatives for UK business

PayPal alternatives for UK business

PayPal has been around since way back in 1998, which was basically the early days of the internet. This online payment service provides safe and secure payments for online shoppers and business owners alike and has grown to become a household name. Over the decades that it’s been operational, PayPal has garnered around 244 million accounts!

With PayPal being the industry giant that it is, is there any other online payment solutions worth using instead

Here’s a quick preview of what we will cover:

PayPal Alternatives: A Breakdown of the Top Options in 2024

PayPal has become one of the most widely used online payment platforms, especially here in the UK. But it has also faced criticism over things like random account freezes and questionable privacy policies.

So what are the best alternatives for accepting and making payments online?

In this post, we’ll take you through the top contenders to replace PayPal for your online shop or purchases. We’ll cover fees, data security, ease of use – everything you need to know to make the switch. There’s a host of solid options beyond just the big names like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

PayPal Alternatives At a Glance

First, here’s a high-level overview of the PayPal alternatives We’ll cover, including some key pros and cons of each:

ProviderTransaction FeesPayment FormMain AdvantagesMain Disadvantages
Braintree1.9% plus 20p per transactionCredit cardNo monthly fees, multi-currency optionsLong account setup times, not for high-risk industries
Click to PayNoneCredit/debit cardFree, proven security, bonus rewardsLimited merchant availability
Amazon Pay2.7% plus 30p per transactionCredit cardNo extra registration, protects buyer dataFor Amazon accounts only, privacy concerns
Apple Pay0.15% (credit card fees)Credit cardHighly secure, in-person + onlineFor Apple devices only
Google PayNoneCredit cardNo account required, data privacyLimited uses, merchant availability
Payoneer1% on payments receivedPrepaid debit cardAvailable worldwide, freelancer friendlySomewhat high card rates
SkrillNonePrepaid account top upPayment control, no data sharedCan’t cancel, not widespread, fees for features
Stripe2.9% plus 20p per transactionCredit/debit cardFast checkout, lower merchant feesNot as widespread
Square1.9% UK cards / 2.9% non-UK cardsDebit card / BitcoinLoyalty programs, takes BitcoinLimited availability outside US

 

As you can see, there are tradeoffs with each service – no solution is exactly like PayPal. Let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of each popular alternative.

Braintree

Paypal Braintree

Braintree brands itself as an “all-in-one payments partner” for businesses of any size. It aims to replace the traditional payment gateway and merchant account provider model.

Essentially, it helps companies accept and process credit card payments in-person and online. The service was acquired by PayPal back in 2013.

Some major Braintree clients include Uber, Airbnb, GitHub and Pinterest. So they have experience handling payments for huge online brands.

Braintree Pros:

  • Solves PayPal redirect issues by keeping buyers on-site
  • No monthly fees to process payments
  • Supports multiple currencies for international growth
  • Tons of integrations and developer resources

Braintree Cons:

  • Long wait times reportedly to get accounts set up
  • Not suitable for high-risk industries like crypto or adult content

The bottom line is Braintree inherits the PayPal ecosystem while improving upon annoyances like off-site redirects. Great option for SaaS companies and mobile apps. But the account process can take weeks.

Click To Pay (Mastercard)Mastercard Click to pay

 

Click To Pay started as “Masterpass” for Mastercard customers but now works with any major credit/debit card.

It’s basically Mastercard’s version of PayPal – you register an account with your card details saved for fast checkouts. One-time codes are texted as additional login security.

Click To Pay Pros

  • 100% free for buyers (no fees)
  • Layered security procedures
  • Offers bonus rewards program

Click To Pay Cons:

  • Can only be used at approved merchants

This is a fantastic free alternative to PayPal. But it does require the stores you shop at to actively accept Click To Pay. Support isn’t as widespread compared to market dominators like PayPal.

But solid option – especially combined with a rewards-earning Mastercard.

Amazon Pay

Amazon pay

Given Amazon’s utter dominance in ecommerce, Amazon Pay brings built-in trust for buyers and sellers alike.

It allows shopping at supporting merchants using your Amazon login rather than entering card details every time. Amazon acts as an intermediary securing and charging your card.

Amazon Pay Pros:

  • No extra registration – uses existing Amazon account
  • Protects buyer payment data from merchants

Amazon Pay Cons:

  • Only works for those with Amazon accounts
  • Historical privacy issues around Amazon data practices

Despite privacy concerns, people overwhelmingly trust Amazon with payment data. This gives their payment product a huge advantage.

But you’re out of luck if you don’t shop on their platform. Though adoption is growing across UK ecommerce sites.

Apple Pay

apple pay

Here’s why Apple Pay’s traction makes sense: diehard Apple fans will use their services regardless.

Apple Pay works online and for contactless in-store purchases among retailers who support it. It’s steadily expanding outside the US to countries like the UK as Apple Pay tries to take on Mastercard and Visa in market share.

You add your credit/debit cards to the Apple Wallet app and check out using fingerprint/face login. Rates are the same as merchants pay for physical card transactions – around 0.15% on average.

Apple Pay Pros

  • Highly trusted security and privacy
  • Expanding availability online + in stores

Apple Pay Cons

  • Must own iPhone or Apple device
  • Still not universally supported

Apple will push hard into payments with coming hardware like AR glasses and their crypto wallet plans.

I think Apple Pay could make serious headway. But if you don’t use Apple gear, this PayPal alternative won’t work.

Google Pay

Google pay

Google Pay (formerly Android Pay) hasn’t gained the traction of Apple Pay – but some key differences for buyers:

Google Pay Pros

  • Functions as standalone app – no Google account required
  • Solid privacy and security reputation

Google Pay Cons

  • Very limited uses compared to PayPal

Google certainly has an uphill battle getting retailers to support Google Pay in-store or online.

It offers a slick, standalone payment app protecting your actual card details. But PayPal’s two-sided marketplace connecting buyers and sellers is hard to replicate.

I don’t see Google Pay overtaking PayPal anytime soon unless they really ramp up marketing outreach to merchants. The infrastructure just isn’t there yet.

Payoneer

Payoneer

Now let’s discuss some PayPal alternatives focused purely on the seller side – receiving payments rather than making purchases.

Payoneer positions itself for freelancers and SMBs globally. One big component is its prepaid Mastercard debit card you can use to spend funds from client payments.

Payoneer Pros

  • Operates in 200+ countries
  • Low currency conversion fees for international clients
  • Debit card and local bank transfer payouts

Payoneer Cons

  • Debit card has somewhat high fees (~3% international ATM & currency conversion charges)

Getting set up with Payoneer as, say, an independent contractor, seems more straightforward than PayPal. Especially to easily receive payments from abroad in various currencies.

But look out for extra debit card fees adding up on top of the 1% transfer charges.

Skrill

Skrill

Skrill is an international e-wallet option where you pre-load funds like a prepaid debit card. You then use this balance for transfers or online payments instead of directly charging you bank card.

Skrill Pros

  • Prepaid model means no bank details shared with merchants
  • Lets you strictly budget spending caps

Skrill Cons

  • Cancellations and refunds not offered
  • Fewer features without upgrading to premium

This prepaid buffer does limit risk versus tying card details straight to vendor accounts. But the loss of flexibility and account cancellation is worrying.

Unless you love pre-loading wallets, I’d probably avoid Skrill over other PayPal alternatives.

Stripe

Stripe

Known best for enabling payments in mobile apps, Stripe powers merchants like Lyft, Shopify, Salesforce, and more.

It’s a developer-centric platform supporting custom ecommerce integrations. Stripe focuses purely on the seller side like Payoneer.

Stripe Pros

  • Quick checkout without account registration
  • Low 2.9% + 20p fees competing with PayPal

Stripe Cons

  • Not widely adopted for consumer in-person payments

For me, Stripe makes the most sense helping digital-first SMBs sell products directly on mobile and web apps. It removes lots of technical complexity so you can focus more on perfecting your product.

 

Square

Square

Another darling with small independent retailers is Square. They provide the iconic smartphone dongle card readers you see at farmer’s markets and food trucks.

Beyond hardware, Square powers inventory management, accounting, ecommerce sites, loyalty programs, and more all centrally managed.

Square Pros

  • Super simple setup and transparent pricing
  • Loyalty program and CRM features
  • Supports Bitcoin payments

Square Cons

  • Mostly US focused currently

Square enables sales in person and online for only a 2.6-3.5% cut across cards, Google/Apple Pay, crypto and more.

From food pop ups to hair salons, Square just works. And it has way more financial and taxes services than Stripe. But mostly serving American sellers right now.

There You Have It…Plenty of Options Beyond PayPal

Hopefully this breakdown gives you some alternatives to consider if PayPal just isn’t cutting it anymore, either for your own purchases or business selling online.

Top takeaway is that specialised payments apps can absolutely compete these days – Square for retail, Braintree for SaaS, Stripe for mobile innovation, and so on. Even the likes of tech titans Apple, Amazon and Google all want a slice of this payments pie.

You have choices…with just a bit more legwork switching from the convenience of PayPal. But often better customer service, pricing, and flexibility await.

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