Best Payment Gateways For UK Businesses (2021)

Updated April 10th 2021

A specialised payment gateway is often the best way to customise the checkout UX and keep your transaction fees low. Please fill in the form on the right if you’d like to get our recommendations for your specific business.

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Best Payment Gateways For UK Businesses (2021)


Stripe Payment Gateway

Stripe is quite different from other gateway providers in the UK in that it offers it payment gateways in a range of APIs (an application program interface that you or your web developer can use to integrate your payment gateway into your online store).  This gives you full control over the look and feel of your payment pages that should enable you to create a great shopping experience and minimise cart abandonments.

You also have the option to integrate it into your existing ERP system. It can be integrated into a wide range of third-party systems, including shopping carts, invoicing systems, analytics tools, email systems, fundraising programs, marketplaces, mobile and card systems as well as a number of POS systems. Stripe accepts all major credit and debit cards in more than 100 currencies and is PCI compliant.

Oh yeah, and you’re also looking at some of the most competitive card transaction fees in the business.

The most common complaints with Stripe are withheld funds and unresponsive customer service when it matters most.

Stripe Payment Gateway Features

  • Accept payments from all major card issuers
  • Accept payment in 135+ currencies
  • Extensive wallet payment support
  • Extensive local payments support
  • Fully customisable checkout experience
  • Build your own checkout from scratch using Stripe.js
  • Advanced security features
  • Financial reports
  • Extensive integration with third-party platforms
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Paypal Payment Gateway

In stark contrast to some payment processors that that provide payment gateways services as part of a package, PayPal is just about the easiest payment gateway to add to any website in and it also happens to be one of the most trusted names among online shoppers, which can only be good for buyer convenience and confidence – two crucial factors when it comes to maximising online sales.

PayPal is pretty much everything we’ve come to expect from a modern payment services firm: transparent, affordable and flexible even for the smallest of businesses, which have been neglected for far too long in this industry.

It’s optimised very well for mobile and major eCommerce CMS’s such as WooCommerce (WordPress), Magento, Wix, BigCommerce and Shopify – something we can’t say for all gateways. 

Thankfully, PayPal is also completely transparent about its pricing and you can even get an idea of what fees you’ll pay when taking online debit and credit card payments by using its cost calculator.

The ideal PayPal customer is going to be a small business with a relatively high volume of card transactions every month because those 3.4% transaction fees at the bottom end are a steep by anyone’s measure. However, things are highly affordable at the other end at 1.0%, if you can turn over enough sales every month.

On the negative side, there are numerous complaints from PayPal business customers that funds can often be held for lengthy periods and getting a resolution can take too long. On a similar note, its customer support team is generally quick to respond but often slow to resolve issues.

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SagePay Payment Gateway

SagePay is one of the biggest payment service providers in Europe and its payment gateway is considered to be one of the best. It offers two tiers of services—the Business package for small to medium businesses and the Corporate one for larger businesses and the public sector. Both packages will allow you to accept major credit and debit card payments including visa and mastercard as well as PayPal.

They can process payments in more than 25 currencies. You can also customise your payment pages and access your transactions through a mobile app. You’ll also get an online transaction reporting tool which will help you keep track of your transactions in real time.

SagePay has also switched to fixed pricing plans in recent years, starting from £20.90 per month, which makes things a lot clearer before you sign up to anything. The problem is there’s a heavy restriction on the number of transaction you’re allowed to process each month, starting from 350 for the £20.90/month Flex package.

SagePay Gateway Features

  • Accept payment in 25+ currencies
  • Deferred and recurring payments
  • Advanced security and fraud prevention
  • 24/7 support
  • eInvoices and phone payments included
  • Reporting and analytics

SagePay Set Up Fees: 

SagePay Standard Fees: From £19.90 for 350 transactions per month (additional transactions at 12p each). Corporate packages have bespoke pricing.

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Cardstream Payment Gateway

Cardstream is the only company in the UK to provide a fully independent “white label” payment gateway. This is the system that allows you to accept card payments on your website and it also provides a real-time virtual terminal so you can take payments over the phone or by mail.

The key difference with Cardstream is it’s entirely independent from acquiring banks and any other payment company that actually processes the card payments. This means you can use Cardstream as your payment gateway, regardless of which bank is handling your card payments and seamlessly integrate a fully customisable gateway into your website.

That said, while Cardstream is an independent company, it has connections with a vast network of global acquirers and payment firms, which it can help you get set up with if you don’t already have one on board.

Cardstream Payment gateway Features

  • Create a fully branded gateway page, on your own chosen URL.
  • Shopping modules make it easy to integrate with your website, CMS or shopping cart.
  • Virtual terminal allows you to take payments over the phone and by mail.
  • Acquirer independent means you’re not tied to any single acquiring bank.
  • Receive updated cardholder data to prevent failed payments due to cards going out of date, being lost/stolen or other issues.
  • Tokenisation – a secure method of setting up and accepting recurring payments.
  • Velocity checks – a powerful fraud prevention system that limits the number of card payments accepted over a period of time.
  • Alternative payments include PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay and MasterPass.
  • Card Security Code checks and 3D Secure authentication.
  • Extensive support for multiple currencies.
  • Embed HTML pay buttons onto your website or emails.
  • Protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Receive alerts about any chargebacks so you can respond to cases faster.
  • Branded receipts for both merchant and customers.
Payment Gateways logo amazonpay.1fae0f1e

Amazon Payment Gateway

Amazon is newer to the online payments game than PayPal but its got all the brand reputation it needs to take on the leaders of any industry. Amazon is a true tech giant, trusted by people all over the world, and its payment services give the likes of PayPal something to worry about.

Once again, there isn’t a great deal between them in terms of transaction fees but with Amazon there’s no setup fee, no monthly service charge or cost for using with WooCommerce.

With Amazon Pay, customers never leave your website and you don’t need to pay for a hosted payment page.

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Skrill Payment Gateway

Skrill emerged as a major PayPal contender for merchants in the late 2000s but it’s dropped off recently as new competitors such as Amazon Pay have emerged. Skrill still offers most of the basic payment features you’ll get from PayPal Pro and its rivals but it doesn’t have anything new to bring to the table and it doesn’t come with the reputation of PayPal or Amazon.

In terms of pricing, Skrill is close to the main players but there are some additional fees when it comes to refunds and a minimum processing fee of €10 per month, which doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere on its website.

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Braintree Payment Gateway

Braintree is owned by PayPal but the company operates mostly as an independent entity from its parent company. In fact, it operates differently from PayPal in terms of the payments service it provides so we’re not talking about a direct alternative. While PayPal and many other gateway providers aggregate accounts, Braintree offers individual merchant accounts to its users on the behalf of partnership banks.

Braintree is also highly customisable, designed more for programmers, startups and tech-savvy business owners. You’ll need to get your code on to integrate Braintree but you can do it mostly on your own terms and you might find you’re paying lower fees than you will by using PayPal Pro.

Payment Gateways authorize Payment Gateway is more of a competitor to Braintree than the likes of PayPal and Amazon Pay. Again, it offers dedicated merchant accounts from its network of partnership banks and we’re talking about a development system designed for programmers to build an integrated payment system.

So how does it stack up against Braintree? Well, it’s a bigger player in the industry, it integrates with more shopping carts and more developers will be familiar with than Braintree due to its larger market share.

That said, Braintree is the easier system for developers to work with and a more up-to-date ecosystem in general. also has a reputation for holding your data to ransom if you want to switch to another provider, which we don’t like at all.

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Nochex Payment Gateway

Nochex positions itself as the “#1 Alternative to PayPal & Stripe” for businesses in the UK. However, Nochex is a little different from its rivals and this will suit some businesses – or, perhaps more importantly, some customers – more than others.

First of all, customers don’t need to have an account to make payments through Nochex, which is a major plus point for providing this payment option on your site. The main limitation with Nochex is it doesn’t provide any hardware like tills or card machines for face-to-face payments, so you’ll need to get these from elsewhere if you need to take payments in person.

Remember, it’s generally a good idea to have more than one gateway on your site so people without a PayPal or Amazon account can still make a payment. So, even if you need tills and card machines, Nochex is still a great payment gateway, simply because people don’t need an account to use it.

Payment Gateways 2checkout

2Checkout Payment Gateway

2Checkout is a direct competitor to the likes of PayPal and Stripe and you’ll probably have heard this name before if you’re in the eCommerce space. It’s got a good reputation for simple pricing plans and transaction fees are marginally cheaper than PayPal, although chargebacks and currency conversions are more expensive.

On the other hand, there are no monthly fees with 2checkout, which we can’t say about PayPal Pro. Both providers offer their services without any setup or application fees and there are no contracts or termination fees to worry about with either choice.

The key benefit of going with 2checkout is its global support – more than 200 markets in total, making it a strong option for international merchants. How important this is to you depends entirely on which counties you want to sell to, of course. The biggest concern we hear about is related to the closure of accounts which appears to catch some customers out.

Payment Gateways secure trading logo

Secure Trading offers a payment gateway as part of its wider range of merchant account services. It boasts an impressive 99.97% uptime record and is big on security (you better be with a name like Secure Trading) and it’s won awards for payment innovations – most recently for in-game payments on mobile.

With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Secure Trading’s gateway integrates very well with mobile and supports a wide range of alternative payments. Aside from security, the company talks a lot about giving customers choice over how they pay for goods and services and this means fewer customers slipping away because you don’t provide their preferred option.

In terms of pricing, Secure Trading is more like a traditional merchant account service provider and its pricing isn’t publicly disclosed. However, its rates are known to be cheaper than acquiring banks and we understand it offers 12-month auto-renew contracts to customers.

Payment Gateways logo bundles its payment gateway with a merchant account as part of its all-in-one payment solution. The company supports payment in 159 countries for eCommerce brands with international customer bases and it prides itself on its unique pricing structure. Instead of the usual 2.9% + ¢20 transaction fees, charges 0.25% + ¢20 for European cards and 2.9% + ¢20 for non-European cards.

There are also discount rates for merchants who qualify for its Enterprise plan.

Aside from this, there are no contracts involve with – you simply pay on a month-to-month basis without any worries about early termination fees. Likewise, there are no setup fees, maintenance charges or other hidden costs that often catch merchants out.

10 different payment types. It aims to be the only merchant account provider a modern business needs and it makes a good case for itself.

In terms of pricing, things look very similar to the likes of PayPal with 2.9% +$0.30 fees per transaction. This is good for merchants with low transaction volumes although these payment models work out more expensive for high-volume merchants. BlueSnap says it offers discounts for high-volume clients but you can only get this information by speaking to its sales team.

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BlueSnap is another strong option for international merchants with support for 180 countries, online checkouts in 29 different languages and 110 different payment types. It aims to be the only merchant account provider a modern business needs and it makes a good case for itself.

In terms of pricing, things look very similar to the likes of PayPal with 2.9% +$0.30 fees per transaction. This is good for merchants with low transaction volumes although these payment models work out more expensive for high-volume merchants. BlueSnap says it offers discounts for high-volume clients but you can only get this information by speaking to its sales team.

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Worldpay Payment Gateway

Worldpay / FisGlobal is the UK’s biggest payment service provider and it offers everything you need to accept payments online, in-store and over the phone. This includes one of the most robust payment gateways in the industry and, if you’re looking for the most secure option, this is about as far as you’ll need to search.

The thing is you’ll need to meet the criteria for one of the merchant account providers Worldpay tries to connect you with. If you can get accepted, then you’ll get some of the best transaction rates and overall fees in the industry but you’ll probably need to be a relatively high-volume merchant and considered a low-risk business to be accepted.

If you do get accepted, things are looking good and Worldpay has every payment service you could ever possibly need covered, as your business continues to grow.

The big downside to Worldpay is it requires you to sign up to lengthy contracts and you’ll be looking at early termination fees if you ever decide you no longer want to use the company’s services – a common but unwelcome trait among traditional payment services companies.

Payment Gateway Features

  • Accept all major credit and debit cards as well as PayPal
  • Accept payments in over 116 currencies
  • Hosted and integrated gateway options
  • Recurring payments and subscription-based payment plans
  • Fraud screening to help protect you and your customer
  • Advanced fraud protection
  • 24/7 UK support

Worldpay Set Up Fees: None.

Worldpay Transaction Fees: Varied

Worldpay Monthly Fees: Starting at £19.96

So which is the payment gateway for you?

We’ve looked at the best payment gateway providers for businesses in the UK that enable you to take card details online and they’re all highly capable options. In reality, the best choice for your business is going to come down to additional factors, such as the other payment services you need from a provider and the transaction fees you can expect to pay, based on the number of card payments you expect to process on a monthly basis.

If you’re a small or new business, then PayPal, Stripe and Cardstream are going to be the options to look at initially. Then it comes own to how much flexibility you need vs how simple you want to keep things – and then, of course, the transaction fees come into play once again.

On the other hand, if you’re a slightly larger merchant processing a lot of payment every month, you may be able to get the lower rates available with Worldpay and SagePay and the level of security that comes with these options is hard to beat. Something to keep in mind.

However, these lengthy contracts and termination fees involved with payment companies like these can be difficult to deal with for businesses close to that line between small and medium. Only you can make this call but PayPal also offers an option that kind of sits between the two with those tempting 1.0% transaction fees, if you can process enough payments every month – as long as you’re willing to accept it might take time for funds to reach your account at times.

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