Last editedApr 20233 min read
If you sell software as a service, you’ll need a payments platform that easily facilitates recurring and subscription payments. While generic options like Stripe and PayPal will help you get started, as your business grows, you’ll need to find a more targeted solution. In this guide, we’ll cover what to look for in the best SaaS payment gateways.
What is a SaaS payment gateway?
To take SaaS payments from your customers, you need a payment gateway. This allows customers to securely input their billing details for processing. The payment gateway is the customer-facing portal or interface that collects payment information, encrypting sensitive data and ensuring its transmitted securely for authorization. Payment gateways can take many forms, from ecommerce shopping carts to online checkout pages and retail POS terminals.
Along with a merchant account, this type of payment gateway is sufficient for many online retailers. SaaS businesses have some additional needs to consider. When you’re looking at a SaaS payment gateway, you’ll need one that’s set up for recurring subscription payments. Customer details need to be saved securely to track and collect recurring payments, while also factoring in items like upgrades, downgrades, and cancellations.
Features of the best SaaS payment gateways
Keeping the needs mentioned above in mind, here are a few top features to look for in the best SaaS payment gateways.
Payment methods: A good SaaS payment gateway not only takes card payments, but also bank payments and alternative payment methods like digital wallets. Nearly 1 in 10 shoppers will abandon their cart if they don’t see their preferred method offered.
Subscription management: Your solution should come equipped with features that make it easy to manage the ins and outs of SaaS subscriptions. This includes analytics as well as tools to improve the customer experience, including a self-service portal.
Security features: This is a minimum for any SaaS payment gateway, including PCI compliance for card handling and built-in data protection features.
Five SaaS payment systems
The best SaaS payment gateway will depend on your business’s size, industry, and goals. Here are five good SaaS payment systems to consider, offering a blend of efficiency and security.
1. Stripe Billing
One of the most popular payment gateways for SaaS businesses and others, Stripe offers numerous benefits. Positives include broad global coverage, which is ideal for SaaS businesses selling subscriptions in far-flung locations. You’ll be able to manage subscriptions and tackle fraud from a fully integrated central dashboard. However, Stripe is a card-first company which means its products aren’t optimized for alternative payment methods. Its out-of-the-box solutions are great for start-ups, but subscription businesses often find it lacks customization ability as they mature.
While Chargify doesn’t have its own payment gateway, it integrates with most major solutions including GoCardless and others. It’s best suited to B2B SaaS businesses who need support throughout their customer lifecycle. Standout features include data reporting, subscription management tools, and good customer service. It can handle complex billing plans. However, Chargify only deals with one currency at a time, which may not be best suited to international businesses.
A third option on our list is Chargebee. Like Chargify, it doesn’t come with its own unique payment gateway and merchant account – but it does integrate with over 25 providers including GoCardless, Stripe and PayPal. It’s specifically designed for SaaS businesses and as a result is ideal for taking recurring payments. You’ll have lots of flexibility when it comes to pricing tiers, custom plans, and invoicing. Chargebee offers tax management tools, analytics, and full CRM integration as well.
Owned and operated by PayPal, this payment gateway is available in over 45 countries. It’s a good option for existing PayPal users since Braintree makes it easy to integrate with your existing accounts. Another benefit is its transparent pricing model and quick set-up for subscription billing. However, Braintree doesn’t come with reporting analytics, and it works better for one-off rather than recurring payments.
Finally, GoCardless is a great option for those seeking SaaS payment solutions. The world leader in bank payments, it’s consistently rated best in class for customer satisfaction. GoCardless offers built-in payments intelligence to reduce payment failure, collecting recurring payments with ACH Pull on the day they’re due directly from customer bank accounts. However, it doesn’t offer card payments so is best used alongside another option to cater to all payer preferences. For those seeking an international, low-cost payments solution, it’s hard to beat.
We can 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.