PayPal Reviews (Sep 2020): Is PayPal the Right Payment Platform For You?

It seems like everyone has a PayPal account, but most people think of it as a way to transfer money or even use as a digital wallet. You'd be silly to completely forget about PayPal for business purposes, because it has always been, and continues to be, one of the the sleekest options out there. However, in these PayPal reviews we're going to take a look at what PayPal has to offer for business credit card processing. Sure, you could utilize the system as a freelancer and collect payments for your services, but this is an entirely different type of transaction.

For more PayPal reviews from our readers check out the comments area.

Our goal here is to consider the rates provided through PayPal, how well it integrates with other systems and how many types of credit cards can go through.

paypal review - homepage

The good part about PayPal is that it keeps no secrets in terms of its pricing and fees. This is one of the main reasons the user count has consistently increased since PayPal's inception. You can get setup within minutes, and the early termination fees are non-existent.

There's much to lick your lips about with PayPal, so let's take a deeper look to understand exactly how much you're going to be spending, and what types of businesses should be using PayPal.

PayPal Reviews: Top Features

Several plans and services are offered through PayPal. Although it can see a little confusing, the list below should help guide you through the selection process.

  • PayPal Express Checkout – A simple addon for companies that accept regular credit cards another way.
  • PayPal Payments Standard – This one is a basic payment processing plan, which works for companies that aren't currently accepting credit card payments. It gives you the functionality to do so.
  • PayPal Payments Pro – Pro provides a hosted checkout on your own website.
  • PayPal Here – This is the mobile app for collecting payments on the go.
  • Virtual Terminal – The terminal is for collecting mail and phone orders, and it costs $30 per month.
  • Digital Goods – For setting up things like recurring payments.
  • Bill Me Later – Unique to PayPal, this feature offers no interest financing to customers.
  • Online invoicing – Freelancers and contractors can send out quick invoices for the services they perform.

PayPal Reviews: Ease of Use

Is PayPal easy to use? Anyone who uses PayPal will laugh at that question, because, yes, it's insanely easy to use. That's what the whole platform was built on. You can grab a simple PayPal button and start selling products from any website. Even if you don't have a shopping cart, the PayPal button is going to take care of everything for you.

The mobile app is just as smooth as Square, and they give you a free swiper to plug into your phone's headphone jack. Another area that impresses us is the reporting. Whether you collect money through your online store or on a mobile interface, all of the transactions are going to end up in one place. It's managed through a browser dashboard, and you can export the reports to make predictions for the years and months ahead.

PayPal Pros and Cons

PayPal stands out as one of the best-known solutions for managing transactions in today's digital world. However, just because a solution is popular – doesn't mean that it's going to be the right option for every business.

PayPal makes it easier for customers to make secure purchases online without having to rely on their bank account. However, it's also possible to tie a debit card or credit card into an account in case you run out of PayPal credit. This makes PayPal one of the more reliable choices for a virtual money transfer. At the same time, however, it lacks in some areas.

PayPal customers are constantly complaining about the company's lack of customer support, and issues with high-risk industries, among other things. Some of the most common pros and cons worth noting about PayPal are:

PayPal Pros 👍

  • Trusted by consumers around the world
  • One of the most popular ways to make a payment online
  • Predictable pricing with flat rates to suit your budget
  • Various pricing plans available
  • Support for selling via subscriptions and recurring payments
  • Support for a lot of different currencies – and international sellers
  • Great developer tools for integrations and growth
  • Extensive integrations with countless eCommerce tools
  • Ideal for low volume merchants who don't take too many payments
  • Suitable for an all-in-one payment system
  • Ties into accounting and financial tools
  • Suitable for use via mobile devices
  • Available hardware and card readers
  • Options for Borrowing money and capital

PayPal Cons 👎

  • Not always the easiest way to loan money for your business
  • Inconsistent support for customers
  • Not suitable for higher-risk industries
  • Can suddenly shut down your account

PayPal Reviews: Pricing

paypal fees

As discussed, the prices and fees are all listed on the PayPal site. There's quite a few of them, so we covered the most important ones below:

  • Web transactions – 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Swiped Mobile and in-store – 2.7% percent of transactions
  • Keyed-in mobile and in-store – 3.5% + $0.15
  • Virtual terminal transactions – 3.1% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Chargebacks – You pay a $20 fee

PayPal also has a special plan for companies with transactions under $10 a piece. This plan goes for 5% + $0.05.

Keep in mind that the PayPal Payment Pro plan requires a monthly payment. Therefore, you'll have to spend $30 a month for the additional services and features.

The main reason companies go with the PayPal Payment Pro plan is because it lets customers stay on your website when they need to checkout. As you may have noticed in the past, most of the time a PayPal transaction means the customer is redirected to the actual PayPal website. This isn't a huge problem, but for branding purposes, you'd probably want to keep users on your site for as long as possible.

PayPal Reviews: Support

The main problem with PayPal is that thousands of customers have talked about horror stories when their funds have been considered a risk and tied up in the PayPal risk department. It seems like the company has eased up on this throttle, but there's still the looming possibility that thousands of dollars could randomly get frozen inside your PayPal account.

That said, the support team is pretty solid, but most of your time is going to be spent on the community forum or knowledge base. PayPal clearly wants you to figure out most of the problems you have on your own, so they direct you through a considerable amount of documentation that could very well resolve your problems.

paypal reviews - support

A PayPal blog runs on a consistent basis, so you can find articles about updates and tips. Connecting with them on social media is possible, but we recommend going through phone or email. The phone line runs from 4am to 10pm (Mondays – Fridays) and 6am to 8pm (Saturdays and Sundays). These are PST times.

One huge benefit of working through PayPal is that you can generally complete a quick Google search to fix your problem. It has so many users that people are talking about it online quite a bit.

PayPal Products and Services

Most people assume that there's nothing more to PayPal than a simple payment method for online shopping. However, PayPal's portfolio extends a lot further than you might think. Yes, PayPal gives you a convenient payment option for online selling. However, it's also a more complete third-party payment processor and service provider.

Crucially, PayPal is not a traditional merchant account provider. This means that you don't get your own unique merchant account when you sign up with PayPal. Instead, the PayPal network combines all small business merchants into one account. PSPs are often cheaper, and a little easier to use.

However, if you get a business account with a PSP, like Venmo, or PayPal, you're also taking on slightly more risk. This issue is enhanced by the fact that PayPal doesn't have the best resolution center for its customers either.

The good news is that as an immersive PSP, PayPal goes beyond just giving you ways to manage payments from Amazon and your online website. You can use this service for everything from online payments, to offline transactions.

Let's take a closer look.

PayPal Online Payments

The most obvious part of the PayPal service portfolio is PayPal online payments. There are three ways that you can accept credit and bank transfers through PayPal. This includes the PayPal Checkout (Formerly Express Checkout), Payments Pro, and Payments Standard.

PayPal Checkout is the most basic option. You add a button to your existing website or eCommerce site provider. This allows you to access PayPal technology for things like credit card information and currency processing. You might need a developer to fully implement the checkout with your website, but PayPal will handle things like PCI compliance and maintenance for you. Checkout comes with features like:

  • Backend maintenance and security: PayPal will manage the hard-work on the back end for you, so you can focus more on growing your business.
  • Contextual checkout buttons: PayPal knows how to display smarter checkout buttons that tailor to the needs of your customers. This is excellent for companies interested in contextual commerce.
  • Localized payment methods: The PayPal brand is quickly adding new localized payment methods for customers around Europe. This is already something that Stripe has invested in during recent years.

PayPal Payments Standard is a slightly more immersive online payment experience from PayPal that provides merchants with extra control and customization elements for their payment processes. The standard plan comes with all the same features as you get from PayPal Checkout. There's no smart checkout button, however.

What you do get included is customizable buttons that you can adjust yourself. With these payment buttons, you can create an online shop that allows you to sell as many items as you want according to your requirements. There's also customization elements for the look and feel of your checkout process. Like with PayPal Checkout, you also get PCI compliance, which means that PayPal routes your customer back to its website to complete a purchase.

PayPal Payments Pro is a much more advanced solution intended for people who have access to developer guidance and support. If you're particularly specific about controlling your payment strategy for customers, then PayPal Payments Pro is the most customizable service.

Customers will have access to a hosted checkout page, which means that you don't have to send your customers to a different website whenever they want to buy something from you. However, they still get the same security and buyer protection you'd get from PayPal.

Your Pro business account with PayPal Payments also makes it easier to accept payments over the phone with virtual terminal payments. You can key in numbers through a browser window, although the extra cost for this functionality seems straight when you can do the same thing with Square and Shopify for free.

Another major bonus of Payments Pro is that you can access another add-on tool for recurring billing. This is another solution that's going to cost you extra money, which is odd, as recurring payments are available for free with Stripe.

Going Beyond Online Payments with PayPal

Aside from taking online payments, PayPal can also help with a range of other transactional experiences. You can access your own PayPal card reader and use PayPal for currency conversion. Here are just some of the extra products and services you can explore.

  • PayPal Here: The PayPal Here app is available for mobile transaction processing. Although this app isn't the most advanced on the market, it is decent enough for beginners. Your funds will immediately appear in your PayPal account when you take payments, and there are no subscription or software fees to worry about.
  • Online invoicing: If you need help making sure that you get the money you deserve for your products and services, PayPal can help. Online invoicing from PayPal gives you access to various templates and themes you can use to take your business to the next level. You can even add tipping options to PayPal invoices, or set up installments instead of an instant transfer.
  • POS systems: If you want a more advanced cash card reader or POS system, then you can integrate PayPal into one of the company's many partner solutions. There's still the extra cost of the software subscription to think about, but there are no extensive costs for adding new technology into your business landscape.
  • PayPal.Me: This Venmo style payment solution is an ideal option for people who are only in the first stages of selling some of their own products and services online. The other party doesn't need a PayPal account to get started. However, you'll need to make sure that you're honest about which of your payments are personal or commercial.
  • Marketing solutions: The marketing solutions available for customer conversion from PayPal aren't great – but they are available. You can get some necessary conversion information and analytics details. The Marketing Solutions are available with all of the online processing options from PayPal, and it's available outside of the US too.
  • Payment Gateway: The Payflow gateway for online payments comes as part of the PayPal online processing tool collection. PayPal's gateway is available as a standalone product for any business with credit card processors and no gateway software.
  • Mass payout: If you're hiring freelancers, employees, or contractors, and you want to pay them via PayPal, you can. The Mass Payout feature ensures that you can send multiple payments at once, rather than just making one payment at a time. Sending various payments at once also means that you save some cash on standard rates.

PayPal Developer Tools: The Basics

paypal reviews - developer tools

Another area worth looking at when you're examining the products and services available from PayPal is the company's developer's tools. PayPal has been supporting developers in the digital landscape for a while now. However, the company doesn't stand out as the most reliable option on the market. PayPal doesn't match companies like Stripe and Braintree in these areas.

Features for developers include:

  • PayPal Checkout Cools: Unless you pay for an eCommerce integration, PayPal recommends using a developer to implement your PayPal checkout experience into your website. The tools include a variety of integration options focused on apps, mobile, and desktop web browsers.
  • PayPal Subscriptions: If you're hoping to run a subscription-based business with PayPal, then you'll need to use the Subscription services for developers. These tools make it easier to create billing agreements and plants that automate the subscription process.
  • PayPal Invoicing: While you can use the web interface from PayPal to create invoices, you can also use the API for developers to design and create invoices that you send directly to your customers too.
  • PayPal Payouts: You can use the mass payout option with PayPal to send payments to your employees or contractors. However, there's also the option to issue payments as well as manually uploading spreadsheets.
  • PayPal Here SDK: If you'd like to add your PayPal payments to a POS system that you've been developing for a while, you can do this with the SDK for PayPal Here. This is available for both Android and iOS.
  • PayPal eCommerce Platform: Official launched back in January of 2019, the Commerce platform developer tool for PayPal provides developers with access to a customizable payment solution. With this service, you can accept payments in more than 100 currencies and payment types. This selection of functions used to be available to large companies only. With the service, you can handle things like payments for physical goods, services, hosting, and eCommerce hosting, or crowdfunding.
  • Connect with PayPal: This is an interesting feature that permits your customers to log into your app or website using the PayPal credentials they have. The identity tool helps to Connect you and your customer for transactions.
  • White Label Wallet: The White Label Wallet from PayPal provides companies with a branded selection of mobile wallet apps that work at the point-of-purchase for your in-person stores and pop-up shops.

PayPal Funding and Capital Solutions

As we mentioned above, one of the things that makes PayPal so impressive is the fact that the company can offer more than just an immersive online payment experience. With PayPal, you can also access funding to help get your business off the ground.

The first thing you need to know about PayPal for payments, is that the money from your transactions will be available almost instantly within your PayPal account, you can then spend the amount that you earn anywhere online that accepts PayPal, or transfer the funds direct to your bank account.

PayPal offers its own debit card for business users, which is available through MasterCard. This gives business owners an easy way to access cash from the PayPal account without having to wait for your funds to transfer. This card can also be a good option if you need to keep your personal and business accounts separate for tax purposes.

If you don't want a debit card, or you're hoping to move your money to your bank account faster, then PayPal offers an amazing quick transfer option. This quick option comes with a payment of around 1% of the transfer amount. You will be limited on the amount you can access each day too.

One of the more important tools that PayPal offers for businesses, is that if you need a quick amount of cash to boost your business, you can get PayPal Capital. PayPal's working capital is similar to a merchant cash advance, where you'll pay back what you borrow by giving a small amount of everything you earn back to PayPal with every transaction.

PayPal Latest Updates

PayPal is a solution that makes transactions online simple. From helping customers to safely buy items from eBay for the first time, to transforming smalling businesses, PayPal does it all. At the same time, PayPal is always improving to support businesses from all backgrounds.

Over the years, PayPal has added new credit card company partnerships to its roster, created new strategies to avoid scammers and introduced its own payment app. The PayPal team are always seeking better, more positive customer reviews.

Here are some of the latest features you’ll find on PayPal:

  • PayPal Tax features: These days, you can do a lot more with your PayPal balance. This includes paying your taxes using PayPal. With options to pay the IRS directly through PayPal, or receive refunds straight to your PayPal account, there are a lot of benefits available here. You can even get tax management tips on your PayPal account.
  • PayPal Loan Builder: If you need help with borrowing money, then the short-term loan builder service could transform the PayPal payment app for you. All you need is a decent credit score to get started.
  • Instant bank transfer: PayPal introduced a new feature recently, where US customers can instantly send their PayPal balance into their bank accounts. There’s a withdrawal limit of around $25,000 that you’ll need to be aware of.
  • Recurring invoices: If you want to set up recurring payments for something like a subscription or membership, you can do that. Just use the recurring payment features when your customers provide their personal information.
  • Instagram checkout: Now you can take the purchase protection you get from PayPal onto social media channels. This feature allows companies in the US to accept payments straight from Instagram pages.
  • Invoicing API: Instagram recently add the invoicing API to their list of developer tools. With this solution, you can send invoices into 200 marketers without any monthly fee requirements.

Although PayPal is often problematic with things like customer service and support phone calls, it has a lot of benefits to offer too. You might struggle when you call the PayPal phone number for help, but at least the team is working hard on the back end to deliver the kind of services that customers want.

The problems that PayPal has doesn’t have much to do with the payment services themselves. Instead, the issues come with the experiences merchants get.

PayPal Alternatives

Square

square - paypal alternative

Square is one of the more impressive and attractive options in the market for today’s merchants. One of the things that makes Square so impressive, is that it’s perfect for both online and offline selling. Often, it’s difficult to find a company that can provide both solutions so well.

Square is a leading tool for in-person and retail transactions, thanks to a range of available hardware options that you can tie into your plan. You can accept cash, checks, gift cards, and cards. What’s more, if you don’t have an internet connection, you can still take payments without any suspicious activity.

Square also comes with all the functionality you need to monitor your business on the back end. You can assign a tracking number to pieces of inventory and keep track of all your payments from things like Visa or MasterCard. You can even create a website that’s connected to your POS, so you get a totally synchronized experience.

Square for Retail ensures that you can sell faster with tracking, adjustable components, point of sale performance, vendor management, and customer profiles. There’s also the option to create reports that you can share with the rest of your team and shareholders. For instance, you might make a goods sold report, or track employees with timecards.

Read the comprehensive Square review here.

Shopify Payments

shopify payments - paypal alternative

Shopify Payments is an interesting alternative to other leading solutions like TransferWise and PayPal. Just like many of the other market leaders available today, Shopify Payment helps you to take all manner of card payments.

One of the interesting things about Shopify Payments is that you can reduce your processing fee and transaction fee on Shopify by using this built-in system. At the same time, if you sell through Shopify, Payments ensures that you can track every aspect of your business in the same environment.

You don’t need to jump between different apps to get results. Shopify makes it quick and easy to accept all manner of payments, both online and offline. There’s also support for things like Facebook shops, buyable pins, Amazon, Facebook Messenger, and more.

Although Shopify Payments might not be as popular as some alternative options yet, it’s still relatively new. As more people discover ways to transform their sales strategy with online and offline transactions through Shopify, the service is beginning to grow.

Shopify POS makes it possible to accept all manner of credit and debit cards from your customers. Whether you’re in a retail store, or you’re online, you can take advantage of exceptionally low transaction rates of around 2.4% plus 0 cents.

Read our full Shopify Payments review here.

TransferWise

transferwise - paypal alternative

TransferWise advertises itself as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to send money around the world. You can send and receive money with a borderless account via TransferWise and join the waitlist for the company’s amazing debit card system. This makes it easier to keep your personal and business payments separate when growing your brand.

Like PayPal, TransferWise ensures that you can send and receive money easily. You can join the waitlist for a TransferWise debit card, run batch and payroll payments, get paid as a freelance expert, and even explore the payouts solution too. The TransferWise system even comes with the option to explore and create your own solutions via the payouts API.

Another big benefit of this solution compared to options like PayPal, is the company claims to have one of the fairest exchange rates around. You can get rid of problems like hidden fees, complete around 90% of all transfers from the UK to Europe, and more.

If you conduct a higher amount of international sales through TransferWise, then you might be able to save a lot of time and money. It’s definitely worth checking this solution out if you need something that’s simple and straightforward for international sellers. The lack of hidden fees even means that you can more accurately budget every year.

Read our full TransferWise review here.

Payline Data

payline data - paypal alternative

Payline Data promises an open and fresh approach to getting the payments that you deserve online. There aren’t any confusing components to worry about here. Although the service is pretty new compared to PayPal, you should be able to rest assured that you’ll continue to get an incredible experience month after month.

Payline is one of the more impressive alternatives to PayPal on the market today. The reason this company stands out so much is that there are no gateway or transaction fees to worry about. No annual fees or monthly fees to consider, and the deposit times are exceptionally low. This mans that you get your money quite quickly.

Payline’s interchange plus pricing model means that you can always predict how much you’re going to spend each month. There’s also features like Chargeback protection and fraud prevention, so you can protect yourself from payment headaches.

Unlike PayPal, Payline also comes with a brilliant customer service strategy – as long as your problems occur during standard working hours. Unfortunately, there are some downsides too. For instance, you do need to provide a minimum transaction amount every month. Additionally, your equipment needs to be purchased separately if you decide to go offline.

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Payline does provide support for more risky accounts, as well as specialist options for healthcare.

Read the comprehensive Payline Data review here.

Stripe

stripe - paypal alternative

If you’re running an eCommerce business and you want plenty of room to grow, then Stripe could be the perfect alternative to PayPal for your needs. This developer-first company takes a different approach to managing your payments. The simple and effective API means that you can get your Stripe solution up and running in little time.

Stripe competes against companies like PayPal for online customers, but that’s it. There are some limitations to consider with Stripe, such as the fact that the service is only available for Canada and US-based businesses. Fees are clear and easy to understand. Stripe charges around 2.9% plus 30 cents for every transaction that you manage.

The self-hosted checkout experience provided by Stripe also means that you don’t have to send your customers to an external site like PayPal. This saves companies from monthly fees and other concerns. Another convenience of this platform is that it’s fantastic for bank account deposits.

If a customer purchases a product from the business using Stripe, the network will automatically send funds into an outside bank account, so there aren’t as many manual transfers to think about. This reduces the risk of things like account holds and fraud suspicion.

Read the comprehensive Stripe review here.

Don't forget to check out our top 10 PayPal alternatives for more info.

Who Should be Using PayPal?

Can PayPal run a large ecommerce site? Technically, yes. However, we recommend it for companies that are just getting started, since it's super easy to get installed, and it integrates with options like Shopify (read our full Shopify review), WordPress, and BigCommerce (read our full BigCommerce review).

As you move onto more advanced payment processors, it's not a bad idea to still include a PayPal button, considering many people love the convenience of leaving their credit card in their pocket. The main reason you wouldn't use PayPal as your traditional merchant account is that most other solutions will save you more money as your sales grow. For example, surpassing $5 to 10,000 in sales will cost you far more with PayPal than it would with other options.

If you have any experience with running PayPal on your website, or if you have any questions about this review, feel free to write us a comment below.

PayPal
Rating: 4.0 - Review by

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.