The Top 5 eCommerce Payment Portals in 2021

Do you know the one thing in between your Shopify store and the $4 trillion passing through the e-commerce market? Payment gateways!

It’s easy to get comfortable with Shopify’s native payment solution, but if you want to take advantage of a globally expanding market, you need to leverage alternative payment gateways.

In this guide to the top five payment portals for eCommerce in 2021, you’ll learn the best alternative options and why you need them. Ready? Let’s go.

What Are Payment Portals?

A payment gateway (also known as a payment portal) is an online application that accepts and authorizes your customers’ payment details before sending them to a payments processor. Once the transaction is approved, the revenue is deposited into your merchant account.

If you’ve been running your Shopify e-commerce brand for a while, you probably haven’t had to overthink about payment gateways. Shopify Payments accepts most payment methods, but it isn’t available in all countries or for every kind of business. 

If you face a problem like this, alternative payment portals are the best way to go. Before you get started, however, you should know that Shopify charges an extra fee for using payment portals other than Shopify Payments:

  • Basic Shopify: 2.0%
  • Shopify Plus: 1.0%
  • Advanced Shopify: 0.5%

With that said, here are five of the most popular payment gateways available:

1. PayPal — The Best Overall Payment Gateway

PayPal is the most well-recognized payment processor in the world. That means they have a brand your customers recognize and trust. In 2020, PayPal handled over $900 billion in transactions for over 30 million merchants.

If you’re offering PayPal Payments as a billing method, they’ll take 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Not a bad tradeoff considering they accept more than 25 currencies from more than 200 markets!

2. Afterpay — The Best for Buy Now, Pay Later Checkout

You might have heard about Shopify’s splashy acquisition of Affirm, the BNPL startup that now powers Shop Pay Installments. Buy now, pay later is a checkout model that allows customers to finance their purchases over a period of time. Since the pandemic, BNPL services have skyrocketed (sometimes by 200%+) in popularity — especially with Gen Z and Millennial buyers.

A strong alternative to Affirm is Afterpay. The payment gateway charges customers 0% APR over a six-week payment term with late fees capped at 25% of the purchase price. On the merchant end, expect to pay $0.30 plus 4-6% on every sale. The downside? Afterpay is limited to a handful of countries (US, Canada, Australia, and a few more).

3. — A Reliable Overall Payment Gateway is a veteran of the payment gateway space, first starting in 1996. The platform’s age has allowed it to build partnerships with just about every major credit card company in the world, so you’ll have no worries about handling global payments. 

If you subscribe to’s payment gateway and merchant account plan, you’ll pay $25 monthly plus another $0.30 per transaction and 2.9% of the sale. You also get advanced fraud detection tools, synchronization with your accounting software, and a strong support team as part of your monthly fees.

4. 2Checkout (now Verifone) — An Excellent Payment Gateway for International Sales

2Checkout can handle online payment from all major credit cards. They also accept payments in almost 100 different currencies from more than 200 markets.

With 2Checkout, you can also sell digital products and update customer accounts to track sales information. They also offer a choice between on-site checkout and off-site payment processing, so you can design your checkout flow as you see fit. 2Sell (their payment gateway product) is priced at 3.5% plus $0.35 per transaction.

5. Amazon Payments — An Excellent Payment Method for Customer Ease

Amazon’s online payment service (Amazon Pay) charges the all too familiar fee of 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction. Unlike other payment gateways, however, Amazon Pay simply replicates the Amazon checkout experience on your site.

To pay, customers log in to their Amazon account, which already has their payment method and delivery information saved. As an added benefit, stores with Amazon Pay can handle voice orders placed through Alexa.

Choosing A Payment Portal

When managing an e-commerce brand, you must offer enough payment methods to your customers. Having too many can come across as untrustworthy, but presenting your buyers with various options (credit, debit, BNPL) will remove friction from your sale.

Curious to learn more about optimizing your e-commerce brand? Check out more of Flaym’s content and services to learn everything you need to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best payment gateway for e-commerce?

If you’re running a Shopify store, Shopify Payments will get the job done most of the time. If it isn’t enough, Stripe offers comprehensive coverage and will accept most credit card payments. Willing to dish out some monthly fees? PayPal Payments Pro is a popular option that keeps your checkout on-site.

What are examples of payment portals?

Standard payment portals (or gateways) include PayPal Express Checkout, Stripe, and Shopify Payments. An application that can authorize payments from a debit or credit card for your online store can qualify as a payment portal.

How do I receive a payment online?

Receiving payments online involves a few moving parts: you need a payment gateway to accept and authorize payments, then a merchant account to receive the revenue. In between, a payment processor will handle the transaction.