Last editedApr 20233 min read
Thanks to the internet, even small businesses can now operate globally. This opens up significant opportunities. It does, however, also create two key challenges. Firstly, it means you need to make your international operations as seamless as your domestic ones. Secondly, it requires you to keep costs down.
Your choice of payment method can help with both of these challenges. With that in mind, here is a straightforward guide to the X best global payment methods for Shopify stores.
Why sell internationally with Shopify?
Shopify’s headline selling point is that it’s designed to make ecommerce easy. As part of this, it makes international ecommerce simple. For example, it allows vendors either to sell through a single store or to have different stores for different regions. Shopify also offers an extensive range of integrations.
In short, Shopify does a great job of providing the infrastructure vendors need. This leaves vendors free to focus on their businesses.
What to look for in an international payment gateway for Shopify?
Obviously, if you’re planning to take international payments on Shopify, you need an international payment method that works on Shopify. You also need a payment method that has the highest standards of security. The three other main considerations are cost, reach and ease of use.
All the five global payment methods for Shopify stores recommended below deliver the highest standards of security. They compete on cost, reach and ease of use.
Five best global payment methods for Shopify stores
Here are the five best global payment methods for Shopify stores.
Shopify runs its own payment gateway. This sets merchants up to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner’s Club and JCB along with Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal. The fees charged depend on the payment method used.
The main advantage of using Shopify payments is that it is literally built to integrate with Shopify. The main disadvantage is that it automatically sets up merchants to use all supported payment types regardless of whether or not they want to. For example, merchants may not want to take cards with particularly high fees such as American Express, Diner’s Club and JCB.
Also, Shopify Payments has gaps in its payment range. For example, it does not support bank-to-bank payments or cryptocurrency.
PayPal can be used on Shopify outside of the Shopify Payments framework. Its headline selling point is its convenience. Its main drawbacks are its relatively limited acceptance and its high fees.
Unlike most of the other payment methods on this list, PayPal requires both payers and payees to have PayPal accounts. This in itself limits its reach. Furthermore, PayPal requires payers to have an alternative method of payment they can use to fund their accounts.
This effectively means that any transaction made with PayPal could have been made by other means, which may have been the customer’s preference in the first place.
Stripe is known for its superb API. This is both its main selling point and its main drawback. Essentially, if you are looking for an API-focused product, then Stripe should almost certainly be a contender for your business. If, however, you’re not, then Stripe is much less attractive.
It’s also worth highlighting that Stripe’s API focus is reflected in its approach to customer support. It has outstanding document libraries and highly responsive email support. It is, however, less strong at hand-holding less technically-competent merchants or providing guidance by phone.
Another point to keep in mind is that Stripe is, currently, very card-focused. If you want to take other types of payments, e.g. bank-to-bank payments, then you might need another solution. For example, you could use Stripe for cards and GoCardless for bank-to-bank payments.
GoCardless’ main selling points are its flexibility and its low cost. It can be used for both instant and scheduled payments. Likewise, it supports both one-off and recurring payments. GoCardless can be used on Shopify through its connection with Zapier.
As GoCardless focuses purely on bank-to-bank payments, its fees are much more attractive than even the mainstream card-payment networks. It is vastly more cost-effective than charge-card networks and ewallets, however it does have a narrower geographic reach than either of these.
With that said, GoCardless is already accepted in over 30 countries. These include New Zealand, South Africa, the USA, Canada, the UK and the Republic of Ireland. What’s more, GoCardless' reach in these areas is extensive as it’s based on the banking network rather than the card networks.
Technically, Klarna isn’t a payment method. It’s a buy-now-pay-later provider. From a merchant perspective, however, Klarna effectively functions as a payment method. It’s also a very attractive one.
With Klarna, merchants get paid immediately for their goods/services. Customers, however, pay in instalments. Essentially, Klarna provides customers with credit on the merchants’ behalf. This makes it easier for customers to manage their money, especially if they don’t have a credit card. Even if they do, Klarna is likely to cost less.
Klarna is easy for both merchant’s and customers to use. Its main potential drawback is that, like PayPal, it requires both parties to have Klarna accounts. Merchants have to sign up in advance. Customers, however, can do so when they make the purchase. Unlike with PayPal, there is a clear motivator for them to do so: they can get simple, low-cost credit.
Combining Shopify payment gateways
As a final point, it is possible to use more than one global payment method for your Shopify store. For example, you could use Stripe, GoCardless and Klarna together. This allows you to harness the strengths of each international payment method.
How can GoCardless help?
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.