Alternative payment providers to Shopify Payments + pros and cons

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a number of clients who have ended up in a very frustrating position with Shopify Payments – generally down to them not being eligible to use it or having stores where it’s not available. For those of you that aren’t aware of how Shopify Payments works, it essentially provides a really clean, well-integrated payment solution (via Stripe) with a wide range payment options available (e.g. digital wallet payment options, international payment options etc, that can simply be enabled in the admin). This is great for those that are able to use Shopify Payments, but if one or all of your stores are ineligible – you’ll need to find an alternative payment provider. 

On the surface, this is fine and most people moving to Shopify will already have a payment provider that they can stick with if needed etc – but the problem comes from the impact on the checkout experience with most providers. Some payment providers can be integrated directly within the Shopify checkout, but lots can’t – such as Adyen and Braintree (the two that would be first on most people’s lists). Although you can integrate with these payment providers if you use a third party checkout or a solution like Wallee (that takes you outside of the Shopify checkout to take payment), it’s not a good experience and deviates away from both the expected journey and Shopify’s well-optimised checkout experience.

In addition to this, these payment gateways are also only able to integrate for credit card payments, so you’ll need to integrate with any additional payment options (e.g. iDeal or Sofort) separately (via something like Mollie).

Direct payment providers vs external payment providers

A payment gateway that integrates directly into the Shopify checkout allows for credit card payments directly within the card payments section of the Shopify checkout, which is the same as Shopify Payments, providing the same experience to the end-user.

A payment gateway that integrates as an external option would take the user away from the Shopify checkout as part of the final step – taking you to an external page to complete payment. Although this is still relatively straightforward, it’s not the expected journey and it’s an extra step in the checkout process.  

When do I need an alternative payment provider to Shopify Payments?

The following scenarios will result in you needing to look at alternative payment providers to Shopify Payments.

  • You sell items that are in Shopify’s prohibited categories (e.g. alcohol)
  • Some of your products have ingredients that are prohibited by Shopify Payments (such as CBD)
  • You don’t have a registered business and a local bank account in a given territory 
  • You have catch-all stores that aren’t territory-specific (e.g. EU or ROW)
  • You’re selling in a territory where Shopify Payments isn’t available (e.g. France)

So, with all of this in mind, you’re going to want to select an alternative payment provider that is able to integrate properly with Shopify. Here are the ones that we’re away of that can integrate into the Shopify checkout:

Stripe

Stripe is well-known in the Shopify world as it powers Shopify Payments (white-labeled and integrated into the platform) – but lots of retailers do use Stripe independently as it’s very competitive in terms of rates. Although it doesn’t have the additional benefits that Shopify Payments has, Stripe is a good option (I’ve looked at using it instead of Shopify Payments a few times due to rates). I’d suggest talking to them directly as they’re usually willing to bring rates down against what’s listed on their website etc.

Stripe also supports 3D secure with Shopify and apparently they’re set up to support PSD2. From experience of working with Stripe, they also have great support!

Worldpay 

Like Stripe, Worldpay is able to accept credit card payments directly in the Shopify checkout, which is the common goal for merchants looking at alternative gateways. Worldpay is a widely used payment provider but not one I have as much experience with personally. One downside for Worldpay is that it doesn’t support usage of 3D secure and meet the requirements for the new PSD2 regulations. 

SagePay

SagePay has been one of the leading payment providers in the UK for a long time – but has been disrupted by the full-stack players like Stripe and Adyen in recent years. This being said, there are still a lot of retailers using SagePay and it does remain an option with Shopify. SagePay has a direct integration into the Shopify checkout but doesn’t currently support 3D secure and the PSD2 requirements, as with Worldpay. Sagepay is also likely to be more expensive than Stripe, based on my experiences. 

Top-Level Pros and Cons of Shopify Payments

Pros of Shopify Payments

  • Tightly integrated with Shopify
  • Very easy to set up and manage
  • Huge range of payment methods pre-integrated (e.g. ApplePay, iDeal etc)
  • Competitive rates
  • Supports 3D secure and PSD2 requirements out of the box

Cons of Shopify Payments

  • Not as flexible (in terms of refunds, accessing information etc)
  • Not great for subscriptions
  • Not great for international setups (with stores that aren’t supported and with catch-all stores) – although you can split the stores
  • Not as strong with fraud protection as some other payment providers

If you have any questions about any of this or Shopify payments generally, feel free to email me.

Paul Rogers

Paul is an experienced eCommerce Consultant, specialising in all aspects of replatforming, requirements gathering and platform selection projects.

Paul has worked with most mainstream eCommerce platforms and has supported complex replatforming projects with retailers from all over the world. Paul also works on customer experience projects and solutions-focused work with various platforms - primarily Magento and Shopify Plus.

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