Best Payment Gateways For UK Businesses (2021)

If you're a UK entrepreneur who's laying the groundwork for their online business, you may have already started researching payment gateway providers. If that's you, you'll likely know that payment gateways offer different features, terms, and pricing depending on the country you're operating from. This begs the question: what are the best payment gateways for UK businesses?

With so many payment processors on the market, sifting through all the info and coming to a conclusion can be a confusing and time-consuming process. That's why we've done the majority of the leg work for you! Below, we've shared the best payment gateways for UK businesses, specifically who they are, their rates, and their best features. So, hopefully, by the end of this round-up, you'll have a better idea of which provider best meets your business needs.

There's lots of ground to cover, so grab yourself a coffee and let's get into it!

Shopify Payments

shopify payments homepage

 

Shopify Payments is a payment gateway worth considering if you're already using eCommerce giant Shopify to host your online store. It presents a simple way to start accepting customer payments. After all, you don't have to bother integrating with third-party payment providers or create a merchant account to take payments via your Shopify store.

Shopify Payments automatically comes with your Shopify account. This means the moment you launch your Shopify store; you're ready to start accepting all major payment services. After that, you just need to turn it on to hit the ground running.

On top of that, Shopify Payments also furnishes you with a holistic view of your finances from one centralized dashboard. From here, you can track orders, payments, and other metrics.

Best of all, you can offer customers a wide range of popular payment methods across loads of local currencies. This goes a long way to enhancing the checkout experience, which should, in theory, translate into a better conversion rate. Below are just some of the payment methods Shopify Payments supports:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Shop Pay

…to name a few!

Shopify Payments is also PCI compliant, supports 3D secure checkouts, and encrypts payment data for additional security.

Pricing and Fees

As we just said, Shopify Payments comes with your Shopify account, and as such, you'll need a Shopify subscription to access this payment gateway.

Shopify primarily offers three plans, which we've listed below:

Please note: Fraud analysis comes with all plans

  • Basic Shopify: $29 a month – This provides online merchants all the basics they need to launch their new venture.
    • Online credit card rates: 2.2% + 20p
    • In-person credit card rates: 1.7% + 0p
  • Shopify: $79 a month – This package is better suited to growing businesses.
    • Online credit card rates: 1.9% + 20p
    • In-person credit card rates: 1.6% + 0p
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 a month – As its name suggests, this unlocks more advanced features for brands looking to scale their operations
    • Online credit card rates: 1.6% + 20p
    • In-person credit card rates: 1.5% + 0p

Best Features

  • Everything's in one place: There's no need to log into another platform to get an overview of your finances in real-time.
  • You're not charged additional card transaction fees: Shopify charges extra processing fees if you opt to use a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments. However, you negate these fees by using their own payment provider, saving yourself a pretty penny!
  • High-security measures: Shopify's fraud analysis is pretty robust
  • You can still use other payment providers: Although you're rewarded for using Shopify Payments, you still have the option of utilizing other popular gateways like PayPal.
  • Signing up is effortless: It's effortless to get going with Shopify Payments.

Square

square payment gateway

Launched in 2009, entrepreneurs Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey created Square, a product that combined merchant services and mobile payments. Fast forward to today, and millions of small businesses and startups use Square to process credit card and debit card payments and track sales and inventory.

Square makes it easy to add  Square payments to your existing website, or you can create your own site using Square's own website builder. With just a few clicks, Square seamlessly integrates with some of the most popular eCommerce platforms, including:

  • WooCommerce
  • Wix
  • Magento
  • BigCommerce
  • WordPress
  • Drupal Commerce

…to name a few!

You'll also get access to developer API and an extensive library of developer resources to help your programmers make the most out of this framework.

Pricing and Fees

With Square, you only pay a transaction fee when you make a sale: 1.9% per European card or 2.9% per non-European card.

Best Features

  • Budgeting is easy with Square's low fixed rate – there are no monthly or set up fees.
  • You're not locked into lengthy contracts
  • Square's customer support is said to be excellent
  • Square's interface is incredibly user friendly
  • You get access to a free swipe card reader and POS app
  • Payouts are relatively quick – within two business days
  • Square's reporting functionality is simple yet effective
  • You can accept all kinds of customer payments: credit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay – to name a few!
  • You can even generate and send invoices using Square Payments.

WorldPay

Worldpay Online Payments - homepage

According to a 2015 Nilson Report, with more than 250,000 UK small business users, WorldPay was dubbed the ‘UK's biggest payment provider.'

This payment gateway is an excellent option if you're looking to launch your business onto the global stage. It supports over 120 currencies, enabling you to accept customer payments from all around the world.

You'll also be pleased to hear that customers can store their card details on your website for future use for an even smoother check-out experience.

To get going with WorldPay, you'll need to follow these three steps:

  1. Create a WorldPay account (this shouldn't take more than a few minutes)
  2. Add WorldPay's API to your website (you'll need some web development know-how for this)
  3. Wait for your account to be approved (this usually takes no longer than 24 hours)

Once you're up and running with WorldPay, you can start accepting online payments and receiving payouts within a few days of an order being approved.

WorldPay is best suited to companies with access to a developer. The payment gateway provides a powerful, clean, and fully-featured API for programmers to use. You also get access to first-rate tech support from the programmers who actually created the code.

This payment option is also worth considering if you're selling subscription products, as WorldPay makes it easy to set up recurring billing.

Where security is concerned, WorldPay risk manages all card transactions and alerts users if anything suspicious arises. It's also PCI compliant.

Pricing and Fees

WorldPay's pricing structure is simple; you just pay a transaction fee of 2.75% + 20p.

Or, you can opt for one of two monthly pricing plans:

  1. Gateway Standard: From £19 per month
  2. Gateway Advanced: From £45 per month

Best Features

  • WorldPay is a fully hosted and integrated payments solution
  • It's a scalable platform, making it an excellent option for growing businesses.
  • You can accept PayPal payments and all other major credit and debit cards
  • It's easy to accept international payments across a broad spectrum of currencies
  • It facilitates subscription-based payment plans
  • You get access to advanced fraud protection
  • You benefit from 24/7 UK customer support
  • You get access to a dedicated merchant account

Opayo

best payment gateway uk

Opayo, formerly known as Sage Pay, provides a variety of payment solutions, but we're just focussing on Opayo's online payment gateway for the purposes of this round-up.

If you're considering using this payment provider, you'll be joining the likes of  EasyJet, Krispy Kreme, and Eurocar – to name a few of its high-profile clientele!

As you would expect, Opayo accepts customer payments from all major card providers, including Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, American Express, and JCB.

As with the other options on this list, Opayo ensures customers can make secure payments and has measures in place to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent activity. For instance, Opayo boasts the highest level of PCI compliance: DSS Level 1.

Opayo's customer support is available 24/7, and their customer service is reportedly excellent – as its 5-star Trust Pilot rating attests to.

Here's how Opayo works:

  1. Apply: First off, you need to apply. If you're unable to finish the application in one go, you can save your progress and return to it later.
  2. Merchant account: If you already have a merchant account operating with another provider,  Opayo will work alongside them, so there's no need to switch. Alternatively, if you don't have a merchant account, Opayo will help you set one up.
  3. Integrate: It's easy to integrate Opayo with your website. However, if you don't have the know-how to do this, you can use one of Opayo's partners to help you with that.
  4. Start taking payments: Now, you'll need to undertake a test transaction and refund to validate your merchant ID.
  5. Voila, that's it! You're ready to start accepting and processing payments.

Pricing and Fees

There are three monthly pricing packages to choose from, none of which charge set-up or refund fees:

  • Flex: £25 per month, for which you can:
    • Process 350 transactions per month
    • Access fraud screening tools
    • Benefit from 24/7 support
    • A virtual terminal is included (MOTO)
  • Plus: £45 per month, you get everything in the Flex plan, plus:
    • You can process 500 transactions per month
    • Access to ‘Fast Pass' customer support
    • You're charged a 9p transaction free once you hit 350 transactions
    • You can accept a range of European payment methods
  • Corporate: This is a bespoke pricing plan, so you'll need to contact Opayo directly for more info. However, you'll benefit from the following:
    • You can process over 3,000 transactions per month
    • You'll benefit from a fixed transaction rate
    • You can estimate your usage and pay upfront for discounted pricing
    • Access to bespoke fraud screening tools
    • Priority customer support service and a dedicated account manager

Best Features

  • The platform is fully PCI compliant
  • All card numbers are stored remotely for extra protection
  • Opayo comes with excellent reporting functionality
  • Reportedly Opayo makes it effortless to issue credit to a transaction.
  • You can accept over 25 different currencies
  • Opayo provides quick, high-quality customer service
  • You can create fully customizable checkout pages to match your website's aesthetic.

Braintree

best payment gateway uk

Braintree is a global payment gateway that's part of the PayPal family. As such, you'll get access to an innovative and scalable payment platform and reportedly excellent customer support.

You can accept PayPal, credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay payments – all from one centralized platform. Braintree also supports over 130 different currencies across more than 45 countries/regions. Needless to say, it's an excellent choice if you're taking global commerce seriously.

For many merchants having PayPal at the forefront of their payment strategy is a wise choice, not least because it outperforms the conversion rates of competing digital wallets by up to 60%. In light of that, it's no wonder that Braintree boasts some impressive clients, including Uber, Stubhub, Dropbox, Github, and Yelp.

You also have complete control over your checkout, whether you use Braintree's ready-made user interface or you create your own. Either way, you can ensure customers can purchase in as few clicks as possible to reduce cart abandonment and boost conversions.

To hit the ground running, you'll need a PayPal account – more specifically, a business account.

Pricing and Fees

As standard, Braintree charges a 1.9% + £0.20 transaction fee.

Simple, right?

No setup, hidden, or monthly fees.

Or you can opt for custom pricing that's based on your order volume and business model. However, you'll have to contact Braintree directly for more info on that.

Best Features

  • You benefit from predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Braintree offers excellent web development tools
  • You benefit from advanced fraud protection and encryption
  • Payout is relatively quick (two days)
  • It's a perfect choice for boosting your global reach
  • Repeat billing is a breeze
  • You get access to 24/7, high-quality support
  • You can customize your checkout workflow
  • Migrating data over to Braintree is simple
  • Lots of integrations are available

Adyen

adyen payment gateway uk

With Adyen, you can quickly accept global online payments and offer customers a wide variety of payment methods. Users can accept popular digital wallets and credit and debit card payments from major providers, including American Express, Bancontact, UnionPay, Android Pay, Finish eBanking, Alipay, Hipercard, Giro, Diners Club, etc.

Adyen proudly enables businesses of all types to accept and process payments, including B2C subscriptions, B2B deals, over-the-phone payments, and in-app and mobile payments. Adyen even offers a service called MarketPay – a solution designed for sellers on online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy. This enables them to accept popular payment methods in their preferred currency, offer split payments, control how funds are transferred, and receive payouts.

Best of all, you have the power to build branded payment experiences; most notably, you can customize payment flows, page layouts, promotions, languages, tax, tipping, receipts – to name a few! Adyen also makes it a breeze for customers to apply discounts and use one-click payments, which goes a long way to enhancing the checkout experience.

Ayden also provides easy-to-understand dashboards where you can track performance, testing, and reporting from one centralized interface.

Where security is concerned, you can rest easy knowing that Adyen is fully certified for PSD2, SCA, and PCI. You'll also benefit from AI-fuelled and rule-based fraud protection.

Pricing and Fees

Adyen charges a card processing and payment method fee per transaction. The processing charge remains consistent at 10p. However, the payment method fee varies depending on your chosen payment method. For example, American Express is 3.95%, AliPay is 3%, BACS direct debit is 50p, etc.

Best Features

  • You're not charged a setup fee
  • It's an intuitive solution for accepting international payments
  • Adyen's customer service is reportedly excellent
  • You can offer customers a broad range of payment methods
  • Adyen's ‘MarketPay' service is terrific for entrepreneurs selling on online marketplaces.
  • Adyen's ‘RevenueAccelerate' tracks your entire payment flow to help you optimize it and minimize the likelihood of failed payments.
  • You get access to an easy-to-read analytics dashboard displaying payments data.

Stripe

best payment gateway uk

Millions of businesses all around the world and of all different sizes use Stripe and its APIs to accept customer payments. So it doesn't matter whether you're running a brick-and-mortar store, selling subscription services, managing an ecommerce store owner, or running an online marketplace – you could benefit from Stripe.

On top of accepting customer payments, you can also use Stripe to send invoices, get financing, and manage your business's spending.

If you're looking to code something yourself, Stripe offers client and server libraries written in React, PHP .NET, and iOS. So, you should find an API that meets your needs. Alternatively, you can use Stripe's native integrations to seamlessly work alongside platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, NetSuite, etc.

Best of all, Stripe boasts an impressive 99.9%+ uptime, is highly scalable, and operates to the highest compliance standards. Stripe also utilizes machine learning to analyze tons of data points to help reduce the chances of fraud and boost revenue recovery. In short, it's a reliable platform.

Pricing and Fees

Stripe offers two systems: integrated and customized.

With Stripe's integrated pricing plan, you'll get access to a complete payments platform with simple, pay-as-you-go pricing:

  • 1.4% + 20p for European cards
  • 2.9% + 20p for non-European cards

There are no setup, monthly, or hidden fees; you simply pay the transaction fees listed above.

Alternatively, to benefit from Stripe's customized package, you'll have to contact Stripe directly to receive a tailored plan. This is ideal for enterprises processing vast numbers of payments or companies adopting unique business models. Here, you may benefit from volume discounts, country-specific rates, multi-product discounts, and interchange pricing.

Best Features

  • Stripe is a fantastic option for web developers. The platform offers extensive and easy-to-understand documentation so that anyone can benefit from its API.
  • There are plenty of ready-made solutions for various programming languages.
  • Stripe has custom libraries for Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Javascript, and Node.js.
  • Stripe offers developers a bug-free testing environment with sample credit card numbers.
  • Stripe is a great platform if you're looking to accept international payments.
  • Stripe doesn't charge extra setup, cancellation, or account maintenance fees.
  • Its pricing is competitive
  • It's quick and easy to create a Stripe account
  • Stripe's customer service is speedy
  • You don't need to create a merchant account to use this platform
  • Stripe is incredibly secure
  • Stripe's user interface is very intuitive

Klarna

best payment gateway uk

If you opt to use Klarna, you'll be joining in the likes of Samsung, ASOS, Ray-ban, Adidas, and H&M. Klarna claims to provide ‘more ways to pay than any other provider'  to ensure customers can pay in a way that's most convenient for them. That's why over ten million UK shoppers have paid using Klarna!

For the uninitiated, here's how Klarna works:

You, as the merchant, are paid upfront and in full. However, you're able to provide a ‘pay later' option or split payment plan to help customers spread the expense, making their purchases more manageable.

You'll also be pleased to hear that getting up and running with Klarna is simple. Klarna seamlessly integrates with all major eCommerce platforms and payment partners. Alternatively, if you need a custom solution or an entire check-out created for you, contact Klarna directly, and they'll see what they can do.

Below we've listed some of Klarna's most popular integrations:

  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud
  • WooCommerce
  • Shopify
  • Bigcommerce
  • Magento
  • SAP hybrid

Thanks to Klarna's wide array of integrations, you can sell via your eCommerce store, your own mobile app, over the phone, etc.

Pricing and Fees

Best Features

  • Klarna specializes in”buy now, pay later” options.
  • Klarna takes care of the entire payment process, including credit checks
  • Klarna's checkout experience is seamless
  • You can market your products to a broader array of people by enabling customers to pay for their goods in installments.
  • Klarna automatically pays the merchant at the point of checkout
  • Klarna's transaction fees are relatively low
  • Klarna smoothly integrates with an impressive array of major third-party carts.

Amazon Pay

amazon pay

Millions of customers worldwide use Amazon Pay – and for a good reason. It provides a quick and straightforward way to pay for online products and services using the payment info that's already stored in their Amazon accounts. Or, if you have an Alexa, you can use voice commands to shop online using Amazon Pay.

Amazon Pay provides customers with a decent layer of protection. Not only is this platform secure, but purchases are also protected by Amazon's A-to-z guarantee and Amazon's fraud detection and prevention measures. That's as well as customer verification to ensure you only accept funds from familiar and trusted logins.

Getting started with Amazon Pay is simple. You just integrate with your preferred eCommerce platform. You're then prompted to set up an Amazon Pay account and configure the service.

Lastly, it's worth mentioning that Amazon Pay facilitates the following kinds of payments:

  • Immediate charges
  • Deferred payments
  • Split payments
  • Recurring payments
  • One-off purchase with subscription
  • Refunds

Pricing and Fees

You'll have to pay a flat-rate transaction fee on every sale you make: 2.7% + £0.30 (this applies to all domestic UK transactions.)

If you're an enterprise-level merchant, you'll have to contact Amazon Pay directly for a customized package.

Best Features

  • Amazon Pay is effortless to use
  • Merchant's benefit from Amazon's fraud protection
  • Customers don't have to enter their shipping details, thus saving them lots of time
  • Amazon's brand name inspires trust amidst your customers
  • Amazon Pay integrates with most major eCommerce platforms
  • Amazon Pay doesn't sting you with early termination fees

2Checkout

best payment gateway uk

At the time of writing, 2Checkout was trusted by over 20,000 merchants. This platform enables users to accept global customer payments for products and subscriptions. 2Checkout prides itself on providing shoppers with a secure and localized checkout process to ensure the best possible shopping experience. 2Checkout also benefits from ‘intelligent payment routing' to help ensure the best possible authorization rates

2Checkout allows you to accept consumer payments from over 200 countries and territories. You can also offer customers a choice of over 45 payment methods across 30 languages and more than 130 currencies! Needless to say, if you're looking to market yourself on a global stage, then 2Checkout is undoubtedly worth considering.

You also get access to 24/7 support, should you run into any problems. Plus, not only does 2Checkout offer payment processing, but it can also help you with sales tax management, invoicing, subscription management, compliance, local entities, etc.

Lastly, there are several payout methods for you to choose from: wire transfer into your bank account, ACH, PayPal, Payoneer. Just pick whichever is most convenient for you. You can also specify the currency you wish to receive your payout in USD, EUR, GBP.

Pricing and Fees

There are three pricing plans to choose from:

  1. 2SELL: Here, you're charged a 3.5% + $0.35 transaction fee per sale. You can sell across 200 countries and territories and integrate quickly with over 120 online carts. You can also sell any product type and set up recurring billing structures.
  2. 2SUBSCRIBE: As its name suggests, this is best suited for subscription businesses.  You're charged a 4.5% + $0.45 transaction fee per sale. You get everything above, plus smart subscription management tools and subscription analytics.
  3. 2MONETIZE: Here, you're charged a 6.0% + $0.60 transaction fee on every sale you make. You get everything in the previous two plans, plus: global tax and regulatory compliance, invoice management, access to over 45 payment methods, and help with shopping cart customization.

Best Features

  • 2Checkout supports multiple payment methods: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, Diner’s Club, etc.
  • 2Checkout is PCI compliant
  • 2CheckOut integrates with over one hundred invoicing systems and online shopping carts, including Shopify, WP eCommerce, Magento, Bookly, Checkfront, Cloudbooks – to name a few!
  • If you're a web developer or you have a developer on your team, 2CheckOut provides an enriched API and several webhooks you can use.

EKM

EKM

Its website tells us that EKM is a payment gateway and a popular UK-based online store builder. Formerly known as Powershop, it’s a Trustpilot 5 star-rated platform that offers an all-in-one solution for eCommerce store owners. At the time of writing, more than 80,000 shops use EKM.

Its payment gateway is one part of its offer. Anyone who signs up with EKM on one of its pricing plans has its payments system integrated automatically – with no added setup required. So, like customers who use Shopify payments, EKM offers a simple solution for eCommerce stores ready to build an online shop and accept customer payments. Again, there’s no third-party integration involved.

EKM accepts payments from all major payment providers, allowing you to offer customers a choice of payment methods rather than being stuck with only one or two options.

EKM payments are PCI compliant, and you get an SSL certificate for added peace of mind.

Some of EKM’s supported payment options are:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe (with ApplePay)
  • Worldpay
  • Barclaycard
  • Amazon Pay
  • Opayo

Pricing and Fees

There are four price plans, and each one includes access to EKM's payment features. Costs of full-price programs start at £32.49 + VAT per month for the Basic Plan and span up to £549.99 + VAT per month for the Enterprise Plan.

There’s a plan for small sellers, start-ups, expanding businesses, and full-on enterprises. There’s a free 14-day trial for anyone interested in testing it out before committing fully.

EKM promises never to charge its customers transaction fees at their end. Any extra fees are what the payment provider charges. In PayPal’s case, this is 2.90% + £0.30p per transaction, while Stripe (with ApplyPay), EKM has negotiated 2.2% +20p on its Basic plan and 1.9% +20p for the Standard plan and above.

Best Features

Looking specifically at EKM’s payment gateway features, the obvious stand out ones include:

  • There's a good choice of payment options, including many household names
  • Payment integrations are already in place.
  • EKM payments cater to multiple currencies
  • There's a soft add-to-cart feature, meaning customers get a full breakdown of what’s in their shopping basket without needing to leave the page they’re on.
  • Payments are PCI compliant, so customer data is always protected.

How to Choose the Best Payment Gateway for UK Business

If having finished this round-up, you're still unsure which platform is the best payment gateway for UK business, consider the following factors as you start evaluating other potential solutions:

  • Low and transparent fees
  • Support for the currencies and countries you do business with
  • A customizable checkout
  • The ability to offer customers their favorite payment methods: credit card payments, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.
  • In-depth and seamless integrations enable you to work alongside your chosen payment system and your existing tech stack.
  • Whether you need extra services like invoicing, e-checks, recurring billing, subscription management, analytics, etc., if you do, double-check your prospective payment gateway offers that.
  • Security measures like PCI compliance and fraud detection.
  • If you're a web developer, check that you have access to API, webhooks, and any other resources you might need.

In Conclusion: The Best Payment Gateway for UK Business

As you can see, the above payment gateways for UK businesses all have their advantages. Really and truly, you won't go too far wrong with any of these platforms. That aside, it's essential to test any potential gateway to get a feel for which (if any) best suits the needs of your business before you settle.

Just keep an eye on any fees and bear in mind whether you'll need any extra bells and whistles in addition to just standard payment processing.

So, there you have it! Our round-up on the best payment gateways for UK business. Which one caught your eye? Or, are you considering a platform we've not included in this list like Authorize.net? Either way, tell us all about it in the comments box below!

Featured image via Depositphotos.

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to e-commerce platforms, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, G2, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.