Last editedMar 20237 min read
The Top 10 international payment gateways will differ for every business depending on goals and requirements. International payment systems offer a variety of features aimed at specific types of businesses and use cases. Most international payment gateways focus on card payments but collecting funds via international bank payments has advantages and is becoming more popular.
If you need to collect international payments in your business, you’ll need to start using an international payment gateway or a provider that offers cross-border payments. But with so many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to work out which international payment gateway provider to work with.
You should also consider your international payment collection method. Exactly how you collect payments will impact not only your bottom line but also the efficiency and productivity of your finance team. The goal is to collect cross-border payments cost-effectively in a manner that international customers are comfortable with and that results in a minimum of manual admin.
Find out everything you need to know about the top international payment gateways and international payment collection methods right here.
What is an international payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a tool businesses use to confirm their customer’s credit and debit card details, making them vital for offline or online companies that authorise credit/debit card payments. Even if you’ve got a payment processor and a merchant account – two of the key pieces of software that are required to process card transactions – you won’t be able to receive a payment if you don’t have a payment gateway.
Fortunately, many providers offer an all-in-one solution. So, what’s an international payment gateway? Simple. Businesses that take international payments will need a type of payment gateway that offers global/multi-currency payments, as well as an interface with multiple languages, otherwise known as an international payment gateway.
Local payment collection methods
As well as discussing payment gateways, we’ll also look at different options for international payment collection. Card payments are the go-to option for most businesses, but they do have certain issues and limitations. The alternative is to make the local payment methods available when collecting international payments. With 76% of international consumers expressing a preference for the ability to pay in local currencies, this reduces friction for end users, reduces payment failure rates for merchants and has been shown to increase sales locally.
Best payment gateways for international payments
Now that you know what an international online payment gateway is, it’s important to understand your options. Here’s our rundown of the best international payment gateway providers available to businesses in the UK:
A household name, PayPal is one of the most trusted options for online sales. It’s very easy to set up (making it a great pick for small businesses and start-ups), and with its high level of name recognition, PayPal can help your business inspire confidence in potential buyers.
Furthermore, PayPal is available in over 200 countries/regions and supports 25 currencies, meaning that it’s a truly global option for businesses looking for an international payment gateway provider.
Costs can be a big factor in deciding which payment provider to go with, but it is not always easy to compare as there are multiple pricing tiers and options.
PayPal, for example, charges different fees for transfers between two PayPal accounts than for a card-to-PayPal transaction. Fees can also vary based on which currencies are being exchanged. As a result, PayPal offers links to 16 different pieces of information about its fees, but expect to pay around a 3% currency conversion fee plus a transaction fee of up to 5% for cross-border transactions.
Worldpay is an all-in-one payment processor that helps you process credit card payments directly from your app or website. It’s one of the most widely used international payment gateways in the UK and offers support for over 40 countries and 120 currencies, which makes it easy to accept payments from customers located all over the globe.
However, be aware that Worldpay does require relatively lengthy contracts - three years with automatic rollover - and may enforce early termination fees if you choose to close your account early. Furthermore, pricing is not clear and transparent, with both monthly fees and pay-as-you-go available but not clearly priced.
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.
Opayo(formerly SagePay) offers three tiers of service - Flex, Plus and Corporate - depending on your business requirements. Opayo can process payments in multiple currencies and allows you to accept credit/debit card payments from all the major card companies.
Like WorldPay, Opayo offers a monthly fee option but also does not offer pricing transparency on its website, making it difficult to compare with other providers.
Braintree is owned by PayPal, but they operate in very different ways. In short, Braintree provides individual merchant accounts that enable you to process transactions. With over 45 countries/regions covered, it can be an excellent option for companies in the market for an international payment gateway.
Pricing is relatively complicated with a basic 1.9% + 20p per transaction, but an additional 1% for collecting from cards issued outside the UK, and different rates for ‘scheme’ and ‘exotic’ currencies.
Stripe, in contrast to many other international payment gateway providers, offers payment gateways in a range of APIs. This means you’ll have complete control and can easily integrate your new payment gateway into your online store. In addition, Stripe accepts payment in 135+ currencies and offers extensive support for local payments.
Stripe provides a good option for online stores and eCommerce businesses that need instant payments. However, they only accept payments via cards and so do not offer consumers their own local payment methods. While card payments are popular, they suffer from a high failure rate and steep transaction fees and, as such, are not always the best option for every business.
Amazon Pay, although a relatively new arrival on the payment scene, is still a great choice for anyone looking for an international payment gateway with minimal fees and a simple interface. Plus, it offers extensive multi-currency capabilities, providing your business with the perfect platform from which to expand internationally.
Pricing is on the expensive side with a base of 2.7% + 30p per transaction, with a cross-border surcharge added of between 0.4% - 1.5%. At the top end, this could result in fees of 4.2% + 30p on a transaction, so unless your customers have shown a strong preference for AmazonPay, more cost-effective gateways may be preferable.
Adyen offers a global payment processing solution with coverage for over 30 different currencies from all around the world, making it a great option for businesses looking to expand into new regions and territories. This international online payment gateway allows you to accept a wide range of payment methods, giving your customers the sort of experience they’ve come to expect from online shopping.
However, like most of their competitors, Ayden has a complicated pricing structure and states, “For each transaction, we charge a fixed processing fee + a fee determined by the payment method.” The payment method extends to the type of card and card issuer, and these fees can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the transaction amount, making it difficult to predict the level of fees you will pay.
Checkout.com, with its all-in-one solution that bundles together merchant accounts and payment gateways, is an innovative payment solution. It supports payment in 159 countries, and although it’s relatively expensive, Checkout.com can be a good solution for low-volume merchants.
2Checkout, now owned by Verifone, allows you to accept payments in Europe from over 200 different markets and can be a great choice for European businesses looking for an international payment gateway provider.
In addition, 2Checkout doesn’t have any monthly fees and offers European payment collection at no additional costs, which means that it could be a more affordable selection than some of the bigger names. Although with the cheapest fee structure of 3.5% + 25p and no payments available outside of Europe, it won’t be for everyone.
Authorize.net, founded in 1996, is a highly customisable solution for businesses looking for an international payment gateway.
However, it’s important to note that Authorize.net can only help businesses based in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and Europe accept international payments, which means that it may be a less viable option than others on the list.
GoCardless offers cross-border, direct account-to-account bank payments in over 30 countries. These countries include the UK, Eurozone countries, the Nordics, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. GoCardless can settle foreign currencies into GBP and deposit them directly into your UK bank account, so it is not necessary to open a foreign currency account to collect payments internationally.
International bank payments have several advantages over accepting card payments, including:
cost of transactions
payment success rate
Read on to discover why bank payment is cheaper, more reliable, favoured by your customers and saves you time on admin tasks.
International bank payment vs card payments
Using bank payment to collect internationally rather than relying on card transactions has many benefits for businesses.
Cost of transactions
Credit and debit card companies charge relatively high transaction fees, and collecting in different currencies is even more expensive.
As we have learned, international payment gateway fee structures are complicated and make it difficult to forecast costs.
International card payments require multiple intermediaries to complete the transaction, each of which adds its own fee. By contrast, bank payments are direct transfers between two accounts which involve fewer steps along the way, which reduces the cost of processing.
GoCardless offers cost-effective, straightforward and transparent pricing for international payments, making it easy for you to calculate costs.
GoCardless charges 2% + 20p per international transaction.
Read more about GoCardless international pricing here.
Card payments can fail at a rate of between 10 - 15%, which costs businesses lost sales and renewals, holding back growth.
Cards become lost and expire after about 3 years, meaning that payment details have to be renewed with every replacement card. When details are not updated, payments fail. Quite often, this results in involuntary churn - the loss of a customer due to card failure who otherwise would have continued making payments.
Bank accounts do not become lost nor expire, and as a result, GoCardless merchants enjoy a payment success rate of 97.3%, increasing to 99.1% with intelligent retry product Success+.
A third advantage of using bank payment rather than cards is that you can offer international customers payment in preferred and trusted local payment methods, e.g. SEPA in Europe and ACH in the US.
Research has shown multiple advantages for businesses offering local payment methods, including increased sales volume.
By accepting local payment methods, a business ultimately removes barriers and friction from its payment process, making it easier for international customers to purchase products or services.
International bank payments offer a higher level of automation, reducing the need for time-consuming manual admin. GoCardless integrates with over 200 accounting software packages increasing the time savings available.
Watch marketing director Pete Nicholls discuss taking international payments with GoCardless:
Collecting international payments with GoCardless is affordable, reliable & easy to set up with no contracts or upfront commitment.
What’s the best international payment gateway for my business?
As you can see, there are many great international payment gateway providers to choose from. When you’re weighing up your options, there are many factors to consider:
How much you’re prepared to spend
How soon you need to start taking payments
How soon you need to begin receiving funds
How much customer support you’re likely to require
What are your most important requirements
The question of which international payment gateways will integrate successfully with your company's other accounting solutions will also be a significant factor in your final decision.
Ultimately, the option that suits your specific business requirements best will be your preferred choice.
However, it's important to remember that you are not restricted to offering a single payment option. Indeed, it's beneficial for businesses to provide multiple payment options as important to satisfy the preferences of different customers. Why not offer a mix of GoCardless bank payments and card payments to your customers a choice so they can choose with which they are most comfortable?
Collecting international payments with GoCardless is affordable, reliable & easy to set up with no contracts or upfront commitment.
We can help
GoCardless helps you collect cross-border payments easily and cost-effectively without any contracts or upfront commitments.
You can automate international payment collection and reconciliation, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with, and increase trust and confidence by offering customers payments in their own currencies and local payment methods.
In addition, there’s no need to open a foreign currency account if you don’t already have one, as GoCardless can automate currency conversion and deposit funds in your UK bank account.
Find out how GoCardless takes the pain and expense out of international payments.