Are there any viable alternatives to Paypal for a small site?


I don't want to have the hassle of dealing with credit card or direct payments directly on my website, the volume and amount of transactions don't justify the effort.

I've set up Paypal on the site to allow for payments, but I'm not entirely happy with the experience.

Are there any viable alternatives to Paypal for the small website that will allow me to conduct business without having to handle customer details directly?

I'm using Paypal to allow people to donate or sponsor my site to contribute towards the running costs. Sponsors can advertise on the site, so I suppose it counts as sales.

The problem came when my first sponsor tried to send a payment, Paypal wouldn't let them use their credit card "for security" and they had to use their bank account. My account has been authenticated and is tied to my bank account, so as far as I can see this only benefits Paypal as the customer no longer has CC protection or the ability to argue any unreasonable charges.

I'm looking for a solution that would allow people to contribute small amounts of money easily, and would allow people who want to sponsor the site to provide additional details so I can add their advert (email, url, comments etc).

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asked Nov 12 '09 at 00:10
Rich Seller
181 points
  • a) Are you doing one-time transactions (sales) or recurring subscriptions? b) Which jurisdiction / country? – Jesper Mortensen 14 years ago
  • What is it exactly about your experience with Paypal that you are not happy with? If we don't know that, then we might recommend an alternative with the same type of issue for you. – Loren C 14 years ago

6 Answers


There's lots of places that run credit cards (and even take PayPal as an option).

Avangate and Plimus are both very easy, flexible, and consistently rated highly in shoot-outs.

answered Nov 12 '09 at 02:27
16,231 points


Amazon Payments (or checkout, or flexpay) is fairly easy to setup, and offers many advance features if needed (3rd party transactions, micropayments, etc).

All parties do need an Amazon account (while with paypay that's optional for the buyer), and the UI is co-branded. However, depending on your market buyers may actually feel more comfortable using a process they're fa miler with (if they've bought from amazon in the past).

Of course as already mentioned, knowing what you disliked about the paypal setup would help.

answered Nov 12 '09 at 03:29
Tim Lytle
91 points


You could try Bitcoin Although Bitcoin seems to suffer from a bad press, it has been operating consistently for 3 years now. Among it's advantages, it offers:

  • no transaction fees to receive, very low to send (e.g. < 0.01 USD for a 100 USD transaction)
  • near-instant transaction times
  • no chargebacks
  • wide range of economically viable transactions (e.g. sending 0.1 USD to Africa is feasible, as is sending 100,000 USD for about the same transaction fee)
  • no central issuing authority
  • completely global reach - no restrictions to destination or origin
  • resilient distributed architecture
  • high security for transactions
  • excellent support network and forums (see for example)
  • easy "cash out" options via exchanges to local currency to avoid volatility risk (each bitcoin you receive you can immediately sell on an exchange for your local currency)
  • free and open source implementation under MIT license

For an example of how to use it in a blogging context take a look at an article I recently posted that describes how to set it up. Not plugging, honestly, just sharing useful information.

answered Mar 13 '12 at 02:38
Gary Rowe
299 points
  • Horrible advice. Bitcoins are fake money despite of what fan boys try to persuade you on HN or similar sites. "no central issuing authority" - the intrinsic value of any monetary system is the trust in authority behind it and believe that fair rules will be enforced when things go wrong and they will go wrong at some point. – Ross 12 years ago
  • The OP was looking for an alternative to PayPal and Bitcoin is a viable alternative. All of what I posted is demonstrably accurate. If the OP receives bitcoins and then immediately cashes out to an exchange, he saves himself transaction processing fees by a payment processor (like PayPal) and doesn't expose himself to chargeback risk (like PayPal). He does not have to hold bitcoins for any length of time. – Gary Rowe 12 years ago
  • Chargeback is something created to protect you customers. If chargeback is not possible they can go away from you web site. – Ross 12 years ago
  • Remember that the OP is looking for donations/sponsorship. Anyone not conducting a fraud is extremely unlikely to enact a chargeback for that type of transaction. And if they have a genuine dispute (perhaps sponsorship withdrawal due to conflict of interest) then they can contact the site owner directly and demand a refund with a final fallback to the standard legal system which would happen in normal life using cash. – Gary Rowe 12 years ago
  • You should add that a merchant doesn't have to be exposed to fluctuations in exchange rate, he can convert his BTC to USD immediately. – Ripper234 12 years ago
  • Good point - edited accordingly – Gary Rowe 12 years ago


Unless you're looking to setup a merchant account (expensive)

Google Checkout,
and Amazon Payments are pretty much your options.

I've been bitten by PayPal's policies that left me burned a couple times in payment disputes. My biggest gripe is that they have made themselves the Judge and Jury. There is no appeal and no laws to back you up if you dispute their 'ruling' on a transaction dispute.

That being said, I continue to use them along with Google checkout and a merchant account simply because my clients have a (in my opinion) false sense of security in using it. I may very well at some point phase out PayPal if I find the cost of dealing with them is higher than the value I get from using them.

answered Feb 4 '10 at 15:59
41 points


Surprised no one has mentioned Stripe yet. I personally have not integrated their service (yet) but my business partner has successfully done so and found it to be very easy to set up. Like PayPal and Google it does not require any separate merchant account BS and their fees are quite reasonable.

answered Mar 15 '12 at 13:24
356 points
  • Isn't Stripe only available in US? – Ross 12 years ago
  • Possibly, but I don't think the OP specified his location? Regardless, it's still a potentially useful resource for people browsing this page. – Bmoeskau 12 years ago


Don't be afraid of PayPal. They have become one of the most trusted payment provider on the web. And they do offer an inexpensive but secure acceptance of credit cards (for those who don't have PayPal) at very reasonable rates.

I'd bet if you did testing of a PayPal page versus any other provider, that the PayPal page would give the best results.

answered Nov 13 '09 at 14:05
1,471 points
  • I didn't say I was afraid of them, I'm displeased with the way they've forced a customer to link their bank account to paypal for their "protection", which is nonsensical – Rich Seller 14 years ago

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