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5 Best Online Payment Solutions

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Last editedJul 20236 min read

The best online payment solutions are characterised by ease of use, secure transactional processes, and compatibility with various platforms, providing the ideal blend of accessibility, security, and adaptability. This includes UK-based Direct Debit, a highly trusted automated payment method, and other notable services. An optimal solution offers extensive features like multi-currency support, mobile payments, and seamless platform integration.

When you offer goods or services online, you’ll need a way to get paid – this is where online payment solutions come in. Over the years, online payments have become much more straightforward, and plenty of online business payment solutions exist.

How do you know which one to go with, however? It can be challenging to decide on a solution, but if you’re unsure, keep reading to learn more about the 5 best online payment solutions.


GoCardless provides an economical, risk-free payment system. Its usage of the UK's bank network automates the collection, reducing admin work and late payments. With no contracts, long-term commitments or setup fees, see the pricing page for details

GoCardless collect bank payments using schemes such as Direct Debit, giving businesses control over payments, easing the handling of recurring payments and reducing failed and  late payments and all their associated problems. Integration with popular accounting, business and subscription management software streamlines payment collection. Affordability, flexibility, and compatibility make GoCardless a strong choice for a modern payment solution.

How to collect payments with GoCardless


Create your free GoCardless account, access your user-friendly payments dashboard & connect your accounting software (if you use one).


Easily set up & schedule one-off or recurring payments via payment pages on your website checkout or secure payment links.


From now on you'll get paid on time, every time, as GoCardless automatically collects payment on the scheduled date. Simple.

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Regarding online payment solutions, PayPal has long been a key player. One of the first payment solutions to dominate the space, there are over 400 million active user accounts as of 2021, and it’s available in over 200 countries worldwide.

Not only that, but users can withdraw their funds in over 50 different currencies, and your account can be connected to more than one card. It’s free and safe for users, and they can link their PayPal account to their bank account to buy goods and services online even when their PayPal is at zero.


Stripe is another big name, allowing individuals and companies to receive payments safely and easily. It’s similar to PayPal in many ways but is more customisable, so you can better tailor the platform to suit your needs. For this reason, it’s undoubtedly one of the best e-commerce payment solutions available.

Various features offered on Stripe include Stripe Radar, a fraud-management tool, cards for employee expenses, and SQL-based business intelligence – it’s all part of their API. Moreover, it integrates with most e-commerce platforms, like Squarespace, Shopify and BigCommerce.

Apple Pay

A digital wallet, Apple Pay is becoming increasingly popular with online shoppers who use their iPhones to buy goods and services – it’s one of the best mobile payment solutions. It makes sense if your target market uses Apple products, as they can use Apple Pay to buy almost effortlessly when using their device.

It’s straightforward to add to your business and quick, easy, and safe for customers to use on their devices. Of course, it only works with Apple devices, but you could use it alongside Google Pay, the equivalent for Android devices, to cover a more comprehensive section of your target market.

Google Pay

Another of the best mobile payment solutions, this digital wallet, is free not only for customers to use but for businesses too. The Google Pay API allows merchants to get paid in no longer than a week, and it takes just a few days to sort everything.

Like Apple Pay, customers can pay straight from their browser and keep everything from credit and debit cards to gift and loyalty cards in their wallets. Hundreds of millions of cards are used on Google Pay, so many potential customers exist.

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay uses the saved payment methods in a customer’s Amazon account so that they can check out online fast – without needing more information. If you’re hoping to boost conversions and improve customer loyalty, Amazon Pay is one of the most useful (and widely used) online business payment solutions to go for.

It’s easy to add Amazon Pay to your company site, too. Simply use the Amazon Payments SDK. If you’re already using one of Amazon’s premier partners in selling online – like Shopify, Zuora, BigCommerce or Magento – you can set up Amazon Pay in almost no time.

Key takeaways

Importance of ease of use, security, and compatibility

A top-tier online payment solution should be simple, provide a secure transaction environment, and be compatible with various platforms. Such features increase accessibility, maintain user trust, and ensure smooth integration with existing systems. GoCardless dashboard makes it seamless to set up new payments and has over 350 partner integrations.

Get paid on time every time. Reduce transaction fees, late and failed payments and tiresome manual admin by automating payment collection with GoCardless.

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Bank payments (Direct Debit) are best suited for most businesses

Among the different payment solutions discussed, UK-based Direct Debit, used notably by GoCardless, stands out due to its automation, cost-effectiveness, and payment control. Here's why bank payments prove advantageous:

  • Reduced admin work and late payments: Automation streamlines collection, minimising late payments and administrative tasks.

  • No contractual commitments or setup fees: Businesses can save on upfront costs with a fee structure like GoCardless's. Charges are transaction-based and are relatively lower.

  • Control over payments: Direct Debit gives businesses authority over payment schedules, reducing late payments and manual admin, saving you time and stress.

Bank payment via GoCardless is more affordable, more secure and more reliable than accepting credit and debit cards.

"Customers don't need to worry about fraud like they do with credit cards and bank accounts don't expire, so they’ll never need to update their details." - Scott Westbrook, Director of Business Systems, Deputy

Established players like PayPal, Stripe and GoCardless are reliable options

While bank payments have more advantages for businesses, PayPal and Stripe remain robust options with a vast user base, multi-currency support, and customisable features.

Digital wallets' popularity keeps growing

Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay offer a fast, convenient, and safe mode of transaction, suitable for businesses with a mobile-savvy target market.

The choice of an online payment solution depends on a business's unique needs. However, the benefits of bank payments, specifically Direct Debit, present a compelling case for companies looking for a secure, affordable, and controlled payment mechanism. Such factors and the availability of traditional solutions like PayPal and Stripe and digital wallets offer businesses various choices to optimise their payment processing.

Online payments case study

GoCardless has been a game-changer for Perky Blenders, a rising coffee business, catalysing significant savings, efficient time management, and boosted customer satisfaction. Implementing this bank payment system has streamlined payment reception, reduced admin costs, and accelerated cash flow.

Co-founder of Perky Blenders, Adam Cozens, acknowledged how GoCardless helped them level the playing field with larger businesses: 

“It's an expectation from larger businesses that you'll be able to pay via direct bank payment, so it’s reassuring as a small business to be able to offer that service.” 

He also underlined its cost efficiency, indicating a saving of approximately £20,000 in administrative expenses:

"It’s easier for customers to pay, so we get cash into the bank faster. We estimate we’ve saved about £20,000 on admin costs, so GoCardless is a real asset to our business.”

Regarding time-saving, GoCardless has dramatically trimmed the hours spent on payment management. Victoria Cozens, another co-founder, stated:

"It just cuts down so much time, time on the phone, time chasing emails, and time following up. I estimate that I save personally two days a week of work just by using GoCardless.” 

Victoria also pointed out the vital compatibility of GoCardless with their Xero accounting software: 

“Anything that helps us to make our lives easier when it comes to accounting and bookkeeping is a huge win.”

Overall, their alliance with GoCardless has gifted Perky Blenders with financial gain, streamlined operations, and bolstered their growth potential.

Get paid on time every time. Reduce transaction fees, late and failed payments and tiresome manual admin by automating payment collection with GoCardless.

We can help

GoCardless is a leading online payment system that automates payment collection, significantly reducing your team's administrative workload in payment management and tracking. It's simple and risk-free to get started with GoCardless as it requires no contracts or long-term commitments. 

With a few clicks in the merchant dashboard, you can initiate instant, one-time, or recurring payments. GoCardless takes over the grunt work, automatically generating and sending out all required forms. It seamlessly integrates with over 350 partner apps, including Xero and QuickBooks.

Explore how GoCardless can streamline online payments, letting you focus on what's truly important - the growth of your business.

Take control of invoice payment collection with GoCardless. Eliminate late payments. Reduce time spent on admin. Get paid on time, every time.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQs

Which is the best online payment method?

The most effective online payment method depends on the transaction type. Direct Debit via services like GoCardless offers automation and strong customer protection for regular payments. Instant Bank Payments provide a secure and fast alternative for immediate, one-off transactions.

What is the most used online payment platform?

The UK's most used online payment platform is PayPal, which offers both convenience and widespread acceptance, making it a popular choice for consumers and businesses. Its digital wallet allows for easy, secure transactions across many e-commerce platforms. However, Direct Debit systems, like GoCardless, are also widely used for recurring payments, providing robust customer protection and automation. 

For one-off, instant payments, bank-to-bank transfers are growing in popularity, supported by the Faster Payments Service. It's essential to note that the "most used" platform can vary depending on the specific transaction type and sector.

What is the safest online payment system?

Regarding safety, UK's Direct Debit system, facilitated by providers such as GoCardless, is one of the safest online payment methods. It offers substantial consumer protection under the Direct Debit Guarantee, making it a reliable choice for recurring transactions. 

For instant payments, bank-to-bank transfers using the Faster Payments Service or Open Banking protocols ensure high-security levels. Additionally, digital wallet services like PayPal have robust security measures, including data encryption and fraud detection systems. However, it's crucial to remember that the 'safest' system will also depend on responsible usage, including strong passwords and secure internet connections.

What is the cheapest way to accept online payments?

The most cost-effective way to accept online payments in the UK can vary depending on the nature and volume of transactions your business processes. For businesses managing recurring payments, Direct Debit facilitated by providers such as GoCardless typically offers lower transaction fees than card payments, making it a cost-effective solution. 

For instant payments, using the Faster Payments Service for bank-to-bank transfers can be less expensive than traditional card processors. It's important to consider the overall costs, including setup fees, transaction fees, and any potential chargeback costs, to determine the most economical solution for your specific business model.

What are the top 3 payment methods?

In the UK, card payments, Direct Debit, and digital wallets are the top three payment methods favoured for convenience, security, and widespread acceptance. Card payments, facilitated by major providers like Visa and MasterCard, remain popular for their ease of use and near-universal acceptance. 

Direct Debit, managed by providers such as GoCardless, is particularly prevalent for recurring payments due to its automation and the robust customer protection under the Direct Debit Guarantee. Digital wallets, with PayPal leading the charge, offer a convenient, quick, and secure method for online payments, increasingly used on e-commerce platforms.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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