Alternatives to PayPal for Secure International Payments

alternatives to PayPal for international payments

There are plenty of alternatives to PayPal for business owners looking for a secure global payment gateway. While PayPal has one of the most extensive networks in the world—serving more than 200 countries and 25 currencies—there are several alternatives to PayPal for receiving international payments that each come with their own unique benefits and strengths.

If you are an international business or a local business looking to go global, it’s important to understand:

  • The key features to look for in an international payment gateway
  • The top PayPal alternatives for international online payments
  • How to choose the best PayPal alternative for your business

What to Look for in a PayPal Alternative for International Payments

PCI Compliance

When you accept online payments from countries around the globe, advanced payment security is paramount. To help keep merchants and their customers safe online, five major card networks (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB International and Discover Financial Services) came together to develop the payment card industry data security standards (PCI-DSS).

When choosing a PayPal alternative, make sure to choose one that is PCI-DSS compliant and encrypts the data for online transactions. If the payment gateway is integrated into your website, your site needs to be PCI-DSS compliant as well.

Multi-Currency Capabilities

To accept payments from countries around the world, your payment processing platform needs to be able to handle multiple currencies. When researching your options, you will find that there are two main ways that payment gateway providers handle international transactions:

  1. Accepts payments in any currency, converts the currency according to its own exchange rate and settles the transaction in the merchant’s home currency.
  1. Accepts payments in any currency and settles the transaction in the same currency (or the merchant’s chosen currency) in a multi-currency merchant account.

Some payment gateway providers can also localise the checkout to display values in the customer’s local currency and add any relevant taxes either to the prices displayed or at the checkout. If you are interested in this option, ask about optimising your website with a country selector and localised versions.

Multiple Payment Options

2022 statistics from the Baymard Institute show that 9% of the U.S. adults surveyed abandoned shopping carts because there were not enough payment options. When looking for a PayPal alternative for international payments, make sure that the payment service can handle as many payment methods as possible.

Some of the most important payment methods to offer include:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Digital wallets/mobile card payments

In addition, some industries could profit from offering alternative payment options such as:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • Wire transfer
  • Direct debit
  • Open invoice
  • e-cheque
  • MOTO (mail order/telephone order)

Customisable Fraud Scrub

Accepting international payments makes your business more vulnerable to international fraud. However, it’s not as simple as blocking payments from high-risk countries and calling it a day. Thanks to the global nature of business and highly mobile populations today, it’s not uncommon for citizens from the global north to make purchases from countries in the global south while on vacation, volunteering or starting life abroad as an expatriate.

To make sure you capture every legitimate sale while blocking fraudulent transactions, it’s important to look for a payment gateway provider with customisable fraud protection software that lets you choose your lowest and highest ticket size, block or flag certain kinds of suspicious transactions and manually allow transactions from customers you know are travelling abroad. Above all, look for a payment provider who will contact you if there is suspicious activity rather than blocking or freezing your account.

Chargeback Mitigation Features

Chargebacks occur when a sale goes through and the cardholder later reverses the charge through the card issuing bank. For international merchants, chargebacks can happen when purchases are made with a stolen card number, when refunds are not issued on time and when customers falsely claim that a product never arrived.

To prevent these issues, it’s essential to choose a payment gateway that will intercept chargeback attempts before they go through and allow you to resolve the problem directly. Having a clear returns and refunds policy, using excellent fraud prevention strategies and requiring a signature upon delivery for domestic and international shipments will also help to protect you against chargebacks.

Simple API Integration

The online payment systems that will maximise your sales are those that can be integrated directly into your checkout and don’t redirect the customer to pay on a third-party site. When looking at PayPal alternatives, find out if the online payment system:

  • Is compatible with the major shopping carts
  • Can be integrated into your checkout page with no customer redirects
  • Provides easy API integration via an API module or plugin
  • Can be customised with your brand and the features you want
  • Provides support with integration if you need help
  • Offers round-the-clock technical support

Fee Structure

Alternatives to PayPal for international payments come with a wide variety of fee structures—some of which may be more advantageous for your business than others.

For an aggregate merchant account like PayPal that doesn’t require formal business documents, you can expect to pay per-transaction fees that consist of a percentage of the transaction plus a set transaction fee. These fees are generally tiered with different rates for domestic and cross-border payments.

Merchant account providers, on the other hand, usually have set monthly fees and lower transaction fees that are either tiered or variable if the provider works with interchange plus. Some merchant service providers may also charge additional fees, including an initial setup fee, cancellation fee, early termination fee, merchant statement fee and fees for certain kinds of transactions. However, online businesses with a high volume of transactions usually end up spending less with a dedicated merchant account.

Advanced Merchant Services

Mid-size and large businesses that want to start accepting payments from around the world need a PayPal alternative that offers the full suite of advanced merchant services that will help them grow their businesses. Examples of merchant services to look for include:

  • Recurring payments
  • Refunds and returns
  • Automatic invoicing
  • Customer database
  • Custom reporting and analytics
  • Real-time transaction updates
  • Monthly merchant statements
  • Customised fraud scrub
  • Chargeback mitigation
  • Monthly merchant statements

24/7 Support

Finally, PayPal alternatives for international e-commerce must be supported by 24/7 customer service and a dedicated technical support team. When something goes wrong (and it will), you need to know that the provider can resolve your problem straight away so you can continue to accept payments online with minimal interruption or downtime.

Best Alternative to PayPal for Accepting International Payments

Now that you know what to look for in a payment solution, discover the best PayPal alternative for international online payment processing.

Unicorn Payment

If you truly want the best, Unicorn Payment is unrivaled. Unicorn Payment is a Europe-based merchant services provider with support in 196 countries and settlement in 25 currencies. This PayPal alternative is best for European businesses of every size. All you need is a business bank account and a website that supports e-commerce services. Just consider a few of the features that set us apart from all of the above:

  • Supports payments in 164 currencies
  • Virtual terminal plus MOTO (mail orders/telephone orders)
  • Multiple payment types
  • e-wallet and QuickPay
  • Affiliate management
  • Customer database
  • Custom reporting
  • Recurring billing
  • Chargeback prevention
  • Adjustable fraud scrub
  • PCI compliant and SHA-256 SSL encryption
  • Easy API integration and free integration assistance
  • Shopping cart compatible
  • Custom pricing available

The Best Processing Partner for Your International Business

The alternatives to PayPal for international payments are many and varied, and each comes with its own unique strengths and limitations. Ultimately, the best payment platform for your business will be one that:

  • Offers full support to customers in your country
  • Supports all of the currencies your customers use
  • Offers the best pricing structure for your processing volume and average ticket size
  • Offers the merchant services you need
  • Scales with you as you grow

Finding the right international processing partner can take time and effort. However, once you find the perfect match, the world will be open to you.