Payment Gateway Comparison for Small Business: PayPal vs All

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From the very start, eCommerce was brimming with opportunities. An urge to sell stuff over the internet was always strong and growing ever since. And it all would have been a little bit counterproductive if you couldn’t pay for things you want to purchase. Cue payment gateways.

From a business point of view — choice of payment gateway is something of a critical challenge. It is an especially sensitive matter if you are a small business.

As an integral part of eCommerce operation — it is important to choose the right fit for your target audience. You can’t stick to one particular gateway but you can’t spread too thin. One needs to understand that there must be several options for customers to choose from.


On the other hand, the choice of the fitting gateway is critical for small businesses as it is a major framework for the company. There are many gateways — Authorize, Stripe, Braintree, the list goes on. But one of them stands tall — Paypal, which is probably the biggest payment gateway of the bunch.

Because of that, there is a reason to compare Paypal and some other alternative gateways. Here’s a little comparison of the best payment gateways for ecommerce that will be a perfect fit for small businesses.


At the moment, Paypal is basically an epitome of The Payment Gateway. For the lack of a better word, Paypal is the “face” of payment gateway concept. If you say “Payment gateway” most of the people will probably think about Paypal first.

And it is not just very masterful marketing — Paypal is that good. Its reputation goes far and wide. According to the Nielsen study — stores with Paypal as one of the options get higher conversion rates. That thing alone makes a reasonable choice for a primary gateway.

Paypal is one of those universal options that fit almost all sizes (i.e. platforms) and can be used for operations of different scales without getting too clumsy and dense to use.

Business accounts are particularly comfortable for use. You get an entire arsenal of tools to operate with. You can adjust every payment to a tee and perform diverse transactions without losing sight of the big picture. Reporting is clean as a whistle and it is really easy to manage all payments due to extra smooth UX.

Paypal alternatives


Privacy is one of those things customers want to keep for themselves. They don’t like to be watched, and they really don’t like when someone else benefits from their data. For such customers, Stripe is the best option out there.

From a technical point, Stripe is not so different from Paypal. But its inner workings during the transactions are drastically different. For start — there is an additional check for fraudulence and credibility and user data is firmly stored on the internal servers. That eliminates even the slightest possibility of internal influence which might rather be disturbing thing.

However, it is fairly limited in constructing payments and it is not very useful in maintaining overall business operation.


As a part of Paypal, Braintree offers a really impressive set of functions that may come in handy in the eCommerce operations of any scale. It is really good for managing payments for diverse selections of merchants and it is even better when it comes to monthly payments and thorough reporting.

From a technical side of things — Braintree is just like Paypal. User experience is smooth, integration is seamless. However, it is not as inclusive currency and platform-wise as Paypal and that might be a roadblock in some business models.


If there is one payment gateway that deserves the title old school — then this is definitely Authorize.Net. It is one of the oldest payment systems still in the game and it is going really strong. Part of the reason is immense customer trust. Because of that, it is a strong contender for the second must-have gateway after Paypal.

Authorize.Net does its thing and does not mess with its users. It is shenanigan-free gateway both for customers and businesses. Fees are low, the user experience is not annoying, integration is sweet.

However, it is not as flexible as Paypal feature-wise. But as a back-up — it is definitely a thing.


WePay is a kind of payment gateway that does everything the Paypal does but tries to do it in a more efficient and transparent manner.

For example, unlike Paypal that redirect to third-party during transactions — WePay keeps it in-house which is really something for those who are concerned about the safety of their personal data. On the other hand, WePay is lacking in structured payments departments. It is just too clumsy.

The biggest advantage of this gateway is its flexibility. It can fit virtually anything like a glove. The downside is that it needs a lot of tweaking over the way.

WePay is really good for small-scale operation. However, it gets clumsier with increasing scale.


Dwolla is a little mean fella that came and claimed its place because it was so good. At the moment, Dwolla is one of the fastest growing payment gateways available. However, it is no match for Paypal both in terms of scale and spread.

Dwolla is flexible in integration, easy to manage and even easier to operate on a customer side. Another big plus is in the diversity of payment methods and structuring of invoices — there are a lot of things to tweaks that can seriously ease your operations.

But all these things are neutered when it comes to spread which is really limited.


As you can see, at the moment no one can beat Paypal at its game.

Some gateways have significant advantages in terms of privacy or feature-wise, but none of them can offer wholesome balanced experience Paypal can. This factor makes Paypal the best fitting payment gateway for small business.


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Meet Vishal Gaikar, the tech wizard hailing from Pune, India, who's on a mission to decode the digital universe one blog post at a time. When he's not tinkering with gadgets or diving deep into the digital realm, you can find him concocting the perfect cup of chai or plotting his next adventure. Follow his tech escapades on Twitter and buckle up for a wild ride through the world of innovation and geekery!

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