It doesn’t always have to be PayPal. There are plenty of other online payment services that are just as simple to use and can be integrated via plugin into WordPress or WooCommerce as easily enough. From Apple Pay to Google Pay, I’ll show you some PayPal alternatives for the European and international markets.
PayPal is often considered the number one digital payment service and remains the most popular online payment method in many countries. But there are good reasons to offer your customers PayPal alternatives. There have been Reports of security holes and phishing emails associated with PayPal. The payment service was also criticized, from some corners, for allegedly freezing user accounts at random. Being able to switch between different services if you need is therefore a big bonus for users.
A wider choice of different digital payment options can be a useful addition for your users. That’s why we’d like to show you a range of PayPal alternatives, weigh up their pros and cons, and show you how to integrate them into WordPress and WooCommerce.
PayPal is still one of the most popular online payment services worldwide. The service is easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices. Users connect PayPal with one or more private bank accounts.
PayPal is usually free of charge for private customers. It's straightforward and, in addition to classic online shopping, it allows you to send money to friends. Moreover, PayPal offers buyer protection, whereby the service covers the costs of returns or fraud under certain conditions. There are numerous limitations, however, with this service. You should be aware of these as a consumer.
PayPal headquarters are in the USA where data protection regulations are not as strict as within the EU. If hacking attacks are successful, hackers can also carry out direct debits without additional safeguards such as a TAN procedure. Merchants are charged fees for using PayPal. But integrating PayPal into WordPress or WooCommerce is relatively straightforward.
There are many different PayPal plugins for WordPress. These plugins allow you to easily integrate payments as well as donation or subscription buttons into your website. The basic requirement is a PayPal account. You should test the individual plugins and your shopping cart with PayPal well in advance, in a separate testing environment. Some plugins reach deep into the logic of WordPress and WooCommerce and various errors can occur as a result. This applies to all the other services listed below as well.
Legal compliance in Europe
Does your website operate on the European market? Are some of your customers located here? If so, you need to make sure any plugin, payment service provider, and its integration complies with guidelines such as the GDPR or PSD2 fully. There are also many additional rules for online shops. Check out our article how to make WooCommerce legally compliant.
Apple Pay is now also available in several European countries. Buyers use the Apple Wallet to pay and can purchase apps and order from online shops.
Contactless payment in shops is a significant benefit of Apple Pay and could increase the number of Apple Pay users in the long run. Payments are not stored on the device with Apple Pay. The security standards are generally considered high. The service is, however, only available to Apple users with an iOS device. As with nearly all providers, merchants are charged a proportion of the sales value per transaction.
There’s a free Braintree WooCommerce plugin, through which Apple Pay, among others, can be integrated. (Braintree is a service of PayPal). You can also add Apple Pay as a payment method in WordPress via the gateway service Stripe . You do need a Stripe account to use this service, however. This is where you'll receive the security keys you need to set up the service for WordPress.
You then activate the desired payment methods on Stripe - in this case Apple Pay - and buyers can use this option via their Apple devices. For more Apple Pay integration solutions, check out the information from the WooCommerce team.
Google Pay follows Google Wallet as Google's latest attempt to roll out a mobile payment service. As more consumers in Europe use Android than Apple products, Google Pay is certainly a significant option for online purchases.
Provided the retailers have integrated the payment option, you can also use Google Pay in retail stores, to purchase apps, and in online shops. Users need to enter their credit card information one time to use Google Pay. The service is free to use. It can also be used independently of Google as a separate app. But this form of payment isn't very widespread in Europe yet.
If you’d like to offer Google Pay as payment method on your WordPress website, you can do it via the plugin combination of WooCommerce and Stripe - in the same way as Apple Pay. There’s a separate plugin from WooCommerce. The previous WooCommerce plugin for Google Wallet is not being developed further. Alternatively, you can integrate it yourself.
In Germany, paydirekt is one of the youngest alternatives to PayPal. The service was created as a conscious effort of various German banks to offer users an alternative to PayPal.
Accordingly, you need a German current account that allows internet banking to use paydirekt so it's not relevant for users outside the country. There's also buyer protection according to the providers. Moreover, paydirekt adheres to the German data protection regulations. But paydirekt isn't as popular as PayPal yet.
If you'd like to integrate paydirekt into WordPress, a free plugin is available (under "technical connection").
The Dutch company Adyen is one of the most successful pay services in the world and yet few people have ever heard of it. That’s because Adyen acts as a payment service provider in the background.
Adyen is particularly useful for merchants as it takes care of all the intermediate steps, including the cooperation with banks, payment gateways, and technical integration. According to Adyen, this ranges from the checkout, fraud detection to credit checks.
This is how it works: the buyer’s money first goes to Adyen and only goes to the seller once the payment has been verified. Large online platforms such as Netflix or Eventim and transport companies including Easyjet and Flixbus use Adyen. It does, however, currently charge a processing fee of €0.10 per transaction and, in some cases, the fees for the individual payment methods themselves are added. The service offers a large number of systems that can be integrated.
For merchants with few monthly transactions, the service can work out more expensive than other digital payment options. For WordPress, Adyen only offers a plugin indirectly (under "Built by the community"). Another alternative directly for WooCommerce is listed by the company here.
Another service only available in Germany is giropay. Like paydirekt, giropay is a merger of several German credit institutions. Here too, the prerequisite for buyers is a current account with one of the participating banks. Anyone paying online through giropay is forwarded directly to their bank account via the service.
The service giropay is free of charge for customers. No additional registration is necessary. However, merchants currently have to pay a setup fee of €99 as well as a monthly fee of €9.90. Fees are also incurred from the 101st transaction onwards. Moreover, giropay lacks buyer protection and returns are not covered. As a company with servers in Germany, the company maintains the level of security is high even though phishing attacks are on the increase. As a result, any emails allegedly sent in the name of giropay are flagged with a warning but this also applies to nearly all credit institutions and payment services.
The giropay plugin can be found here. After you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you set and activate the different payment methods. For identification, you’ll need to enter the Seller ID, Project ID, and the project password. These can be found in your giropay user account ("girocockpit").
Klarna SOFORT, also known as "Klarna app" in some countries, is a fast transfer from a customer's bank account to the retailer. Buyers don't have to register separately. The procedure forwards buyers to their own bank institute. Here, users log in using their online banking data and process the payment.
Customers don't pay any fees. However, merchants must forward a percentage of the invoice amount and an additional fee per transaction to SOFORT. But according to the provider, there's no setup fee and no monthly payments. Buyer protection is also partially available.
SOFORT is very easy for buyers to use. In addition, the service partially assumes credit and fraud risk. One restriction: Klarna SOFORT is currently only available to merchants in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, and the UK.
For integration into WordPress and WooCommerce there's the plugin Klarna SOFORT transfer for WooCommerce. Before you can use the SOFORT service, Klarna needs to activate you as a merchant.
With Amazon Pay, customers can use the payment information stored on their Amazon account to make purchases in online stores. In addition to payments for Amazon merchants, there are many other shops where buyers can use Amazon Pay. These include major brands such as Dyson or National Express.
The service is also free of charge for customers. Merchants in turn pay a commission and a fee per transaction. One advantage is customers don't have to enter any new sensitive payment information or set up a new account. At the same time, you need a customer account with Amazon - and that strengthens its dominance over data and the market. Data protection concerns have also come to light as Amazon gains a precise insight into the purchasing behavior of customers outside its own platform.
Amazon Pay offers an official plugin for WooCommerce. This plugin requires an SSL certificate, which should be standard now anyway for every (WordPress) shop. Installing and integrating the service into your website is rather straightforward.
In the configuration screen you link your existing Amazon merchant account or create a new one. Ultimately, you just need to click the "Transfer Access Key" button to connect your Amazon account to WordPress. There's also the option for manual installation in addition to the automated installation wizard.
Conclusion: PayPal alternatives
Depending on what products you have in your webshop and how often you make online transactions, one payment service may be more beneficial for you than another. Your customers will appreciate having other payment alternatives besides PayPal, however. One thing to do is test different providers first to see if and how they are accepted by your customers.
It goes without saying that you should only choose reputable providers and keep up to date with current events - Wirecard would be an example to mention in this context. The service is currently undergoing insolvency proceedings and there is, or at least was, a WordPress integration.