Which Payment Option is Right for Me?

There is a large range of Payment Gateway options for WooCommerce to provide payment options for your customers. Read on to learn about how to choose a payment method, including our own WooCommerce Payments!

What is a payment gateway? ↑ Back to top

A payment gateway in WooCommerce terms is a WordPress plugin for WooCommerce that allows customers to pay for goods and services using a payment system.

  • All require an account with the Payment Gateway company – normally called a merchant account.
  • Each has terms and fees set by the Payment Gateway company, which is separate from the WooCommerce.com extension subscription. Contact the Payment Gateway company directly, with questions about account requirements, terms, and fees.
  • Some have multiple options based on different account types, transaction types, or redirect methods.

How to choose a payment gateway ↑ Back to top

How to choose – Overview ↑ Back to top

When selecting and setting up up a Payment Gateway, it’s important to consider:

Cost ↑ Back to top

Startup and ongoing costs are different for each payment gateway and can consist of:

  • Purchase of the payment gateway, if not free
  • Signup fee charged by the payment gateway company/processor
  • Monthly/yearly subscription fees
  • Transaction fees

Location ↑ Back to top

Shop location and currency are factors. A payment gateway company/processor may only serve merchants based in certain countries. If it only supports U.S. dollars and accepts U.S. shop owners, shop owners in Canada and Europe cannot use it.

However, customers from all over the world can use the gateway to check out and pay. More info at: What to Consider about Payments when Selling Internationally and How to Choose a Payment Gateway

Security ↑ Back to top

  • Redirect: Customer is forwarded to the Payment Gateway site to process payment, then redirected back to your site to complete checkout.
  • Direct: Customer purchases and pays directly on your site, requiring an SSL certificate as part of PCI Compliance.

Shop owners accepting payments have a responsibility to protect sensitive customer information, such as email addresses, shipping addresses, and billing information.

To do this, most payment gateways require an SSL certificate. This encrypts communications between your site and customers, and your site and the payment processor. More info at: SSL FAQ.

Other steps to secure your site are covered by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), which applies to anyone storing, processing, or transmitting credit card data. More info at: PCI-DSS compliance and WooCommerce.

If you’d like to read more about payment gateway security, check out our WooCommerce site and data security FAQ.

Support for Subscriptions ↑ Back to top

Should you wish to sell recurring payments on your site, for example using the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension (separate purchase), you must choose a payment gateway that supports manual or automatic recurring payments. More info at: Subscription payment methods and gateways.

How many do I need? ↑ Back to top

You need at least one payment method to collect payment on your site even if this is a manual payment gateway such as Direct Bank Transfer. Offering different payment options increases the possibility that customers can always check out and complete payment.

Many payment gateways will offer standard payment card fields along with “express” payment buttons such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, such as our own WooCommerce Payments – offering your customers multiple checkout options.

Too many payment gateways and methods can overwhelm customers with choice and make your site administration more complex. Choose according to shop requirements and business needs.

Free vs. Premium ↑ Back to top

When going through the WooCommerce Setup flow, you will be offered different payment gateways based on your store location; these are the Core Payment Options, including WooCommerce Payments.

Should you wish to use something different, you can select and purchase a Premium gateway.

Core gateways (free) ↑ Back to top

These will be free options, called Core Payment Options, there is no ongoing annual WooCommerce.com subscription cost for these but payment gateways will charge transactional fees and possibly other fees.

WooCommerce Payments ↑ Back to top

WooCommerce.com offers our own WooCommerce Payments! WooCommerce Payments is free to install, with no setup fees or monthly fees. Pay-as-you-go fees start from just 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for U.S.-issued cards, read more about transaction fees. Starting in the United States, WooCommerce Payments is now available in 9 other countries. It will be available to more global merchants in the future. Read more about WooCommerce Payments and if you’re not in any of the supported countries, let us know where you are so we know which countries to look into next!

Premium gateways ↑ Back to top

Paid payment options are available: Premium Payment Gateway extensions – these require an annual subscription to WooCommerce.com for support and updates, along with the standard transaction fees. In the left sidebar of the search page, you can filter further by a range of options.

Payment gateways and the GDPR ↑ Back to top

If selling to customers in Europe, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework should be part of your decision on which payment gateway to choose. For more information on the GDPR and its concerns for user privacy see: WooCommerce and the GDPR.

Customer information collected during checkout depends on the payment gateway. If you’re working with a manual payment gateway such as BACS, your site won’t process the payment itself, since you will check your bank account, independently of your site. Other payment gateways, such as Stripe or PayPal, require information to be passed from your site to that payment processor. It’s up to you to choose a reliable processor, as well as consider the impact on customer data.

  • Be aware of what information is being sent
  • Inform customers on what happens to their data
  • Understand what the payment processor does with that information

For example, the WooCommerce Stripe plugin sends certain customer information to Stripe (see Stripe documentation for specifics). You need to disclose this process in your site’s Privacy Policy.

Any payment gateway you choose should have information about how to handle customer data. Check the payment processor’s website to learn more about their privacy policies and GDPR.

For more information on how payment gateways apply GDPR, see: Privacy Considerations when Using Official Payments Extensions.

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