Online shopping and online purchases have grown into something so important in many of our lives that it’s strange, at least for me, to think of a world where it doesn’t exist. PayPal is one service that really pioneered that world, especially in terms of purchasing without needing a credit card, debit card, or gift card. But are there any viable alternatives if you don’t like PayPal?
There are many reasons why you might not like PayPal. For one thing, it’s such a big service that it’s prime meat for hack attempts and scam attempts. Similarly, ever since PayPal grew into an enormous international service, people have been experiencing a decline in service quality. And who can forget the PayPal account freezing horror stories? PayPal is not the be-all end-all of online transaction services.
But even so, PayPal is convenient, widely accepted, and established. There are many PayPal alternatives out there, but none of them have the same ubiquity or prominence. By switching away from PayPal, you may be gaining in some respects but you’ll also be losing out in other ways. If that’s okay with you, then keep reading!
Overview: The first time I heard about WePay was when I stumbled across GoFundMe, one of many services that help with online fundraising. They trusted WePay enough to make it their default money handler over PayPal for US users. As it turns out, WePay is used by over 250,000 merchants and they’ve processed over 1.5 million transactions. WePay accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and more.
What’s Good: WePay has an extremely fast setup process that’ll have you ready to go in less than a minute. There are no contracts or tricky fees: 2.9% + $0.30 for credit card payments and 1.0% + $0.30 for bank payments. In terms of security, they’re sharp: first-class security credentials that they test every day for vulnerabilities. And, most importantly, WePay has excellent customer service (rated 9 out of 10 by its users).
But on top of the usual transaction features, WePay has a few more things to offer. You can embed an HTML WePay button right onto your website which you can use to collect payments. WePay also has a page builder which you can use to create a fully functional online store without any technical expertise.
Check out Angela’s WePay review if you haven’t already.
Overview: Formerly known as MoneyBookers, Skrill is a money service that stretches internationally when it comes to reach. With more than 10 million users in over 200 countries with support for more than 40 currencies, you can be sure that Skrill is a force to be reckoned with. In terms of sheer size, Skrill may be the closest to PayPal.
What’s Good: The international support is definitely a thumbs up. Skrill allows you to deposit and withdraw money instantly all while keeping your information secure. For personal users, Skrill’s fees sit at 1% for sending money (caps at $0.50) and no fees for receiving money. For merchants, there are a few processing fees per transaction but they are competitive with other similar services (standard rate is 2.90% + $0.29).
For US users, deposites and withdrawals are free. For international users, deposits and withdrawals are mostly free but may incur processing fees depending on the method. When you want to take your funds out, you can opt for a physical check, a direct deposit into your bank account, or a MasterCard debit card that you can use in tandem with an ATM.
Overview: Dwolla is similar to PayPal in that it’s an online peer-to-peer transaction service, but unlike PayPal, Dwolla requires both sender and receiver to have a Dwolla account; if you receive money and don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one to access it. It’s a small inconvenience, but otherwise pretty similar to PayPal’s system.
What’s Good: The first thing that sticks out to me about Dwolla is the transaction fee. Most services will charge a percentage-based fee, but Dwolla has one simple rule: a $0.25 fee per transaction unless the transaction is less than $10, then the fee is waived. Transactions take a few days to process, though you can subscribe to an Instant Transaction feature for $3 a month.
Dwolla is available as a mobile app for iPhones and Androids, too, which makes it extremely easy to check your account and transfer money no matter where you are.
Overview: A few years ago, Google combined their Checkout service with their Wallet service. Both services were meant to track your payment information and to facilitate e-commerce transactions. If you’re a customer, Google Wallet may be exactly what you need; if you’re a seller, there’s a Business version for accepting payments.
What’s Good: On any site that accepts Google Wallet, you can use your Wallet account to make payments. The Wallet account tracks all of your credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards in one convenient location, so purchasing items online becomes easy. All of your data is secure, obviously. If you’re a seller, Google does not charge any transaction fees for accepting Wallet payments.
For in-store purchases, Google Wallet can transform your phone into your wallet. If you have a device with the Wallet app and NFC capabilities, you can simply tap your device on the store’s NFC reader and pay instantly without hassle.
Payza [No Longer Available]
Overview: Formerly known as AlertPay, Payza has grown into something of a force over the past decade. It’s a great PayPal alternative for both personal users (transfer money, purchase items) and business users (process payments, send invoices). And if you need an international solution, Payza is global with offices all around the world.
What’s Good: Payza is supported in over 190 countries and over 20 different currencies. Money transfers can be performed through wire transfers, bank transfers, money orders, or credit cards. Payza money can be withdrawn through wire transfers, bank transfers, physical checks, or prepaid Payza cards. Payza has a simple fee structure that you should be aware of before committing to the service.
So for quick reference, here are the most viable PayPal alternatives that I’ve found in order of rating:
- Google Wallet
All of these services are great and they’re all used by many people, which means that none of these are horrible choices when it comes to finding an alternative to PayPal. However, it ought to be reiterated that there really isn’t a perfect PayPal alternative; no matter which one you choose, you’ll always be missing out on something.
Have you switched away from PayPal? If so, what are you using now? Are there any other services that could work as a PayPal alternative? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.