While WooCommerce has various payment options built into the core plugin, such as PayPal Standard, most stores will need another payment option for payment or credit card processing. If you’re not locked-in to a particular payment processor, you may want to check out our overview on how to select one. In this article, we’ll compare some of the top options with WooCommerce.
However, if you know you want to use WooCommerce and have a plan for your site, such as the ability to accept recurring payments, you may want to have some more information about the WooCommerce-specific options available. We also have a comparison chart for your visual people at the end of this article.
There are a lot of points to consider when selecting a processor that we’ve covered already. However, the integration between a cart system and processor is also important, and different integrations provide different functionality for the merchant and users that may be important. We’ll take a look at some points of consideration when selecting a processor for a WooCommerce store and will compare some of the most popular WooCommerce gateway integrations.
Before searching for an appropriate gateway integration, the merchant location will probably be the first limiting factor. If you’re in the US, you’re not going to be limited by much. However, for merchants outside of the US, this could very well influence the entire decision-making process. Most processors support merchant accounts in the US, Canada, and EU, but merchants outside of those regions will probably be limited to PayPal for payment processing.
If PayPal Standard doesn’t work for you, then you can upgrade to PayPal Pro, Advanced, or Express depending on your needs and what kind of checkout type you want. If you operate or sell high volumes of products in the Netherlands, you’ll probably want to look into using iDeal Mollie, as debit cards are used far more than credit cards by Dutch citizens.
Some processors, such as Stripe and Braintree, are growing rapidly and expanding outside of North America and the EU and could become alternative solutions for international merchants soon. Both are solid choices, and have completely PCI compliant integrations, though we do prefer Stripe at Sell with WP.
Recurring billing is integral for some business models, so that may be the next consideration for some merchants. While many gateways support some or all of WooCommerce Subscription‘s features, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular ones (see our WooCommerce membership article for more info on Subscriptions).
Note that all gateways that support Subscriptions also support storing credit cards for customers, which helps reduce friction for purchases and encourages customers to buy, even if you’re not selling a product that uses recurring billing.
PayPal Standard is built into WooCommerce, and supports Subscriptions so that you can get started without another gateway integration. However, PayPal Standard does not support changes to recurring billing amounts, nor does it support date changes for businesses that prefer to bill all customers on the same day of the month. Stripe sticks out again here, as its WooCommerce integration fully supports all Subscriptions features, along with Authorize.net CIM, Braintree, and Intuit QBMS. First Data also supports almost all Subscriptions features (except payment method changes).
Chase Paymentech also fully supports Subscriptions, but Chase requires an intensive merchant validation process to use a 3rd party integration.
There are a few different ways to implement payment integrations with a cart system. Many integrations use a direct on-site checkout method, which keeps the user on your site and routes payment information through your servers. Many businesses prefer this approach, as the checkout experience is seamless and allows the business to customize the checkout process. It also reduces the likelihood of abandonment, as customers don’t get nervous when they’re taken to a different site to complete the payment process. In addition to many of the gateway integrations already listed, Authorize.net AIM is also very popular for this sort of checkout integration, as Authorize.net is popular processor, but AIM does not incur additional monthly costs like CIM does.
If you don’t want to keep customers on your site for checkout due to security concerns, you can use a redirect / off-site checkout method instead. PayPal Express and Standard work this way, as customers are routed to PayPal to complete a transaction, then redirected back to your site so that processing is routed through PayPal’s servers instead of your own. Since sensitive payment information isn’t processed by your site’s servers, SSL certificates are not required for these integrations.
If you want an approach that takes a middle-of-the-road approach, you could look at PayPal Advanced or the Chase Paymentech integration. Both of these integrations iframe the checkout page, which gives the appearance that customers have not left your site, as the checkout form is embedded into the checkout page. However, payment information is routed through the processor’s servers. While this limits flexibility on how the checkout process is displayed, it does add a layer of security for customers.
PCI compliance is near impossible for most people to understand (myself included!), and most sites that accept payments are actually not 100% compliant. Not only does PCI compliance set requirements on your site and processing integration, but also relates to your website’s servers and their security, which may or may not be under your control. Unfortunately, the best comparison I can think of is like sex education – abstinence of processing payments through your servers is almost the only guaranteed method of PCI compliance. Other methods can cover most security concerns, but never reach 100% compliance. And now that’s more than enough of that metaphor.
The exceptions to this are integrations that redirect users through processor’s servers obviously, as transactional data isn’t handled by your site’s server (such as PayPal Advanced or PayPal Express), and integrations like Stripe and Braintree that use client libraries to tokenize payment data before sending it through your servers. Using an SSL certificate covers much of the security needs for a site, and is usually good enough for most stores and payment integrations. However, some business owners are required to be 100% PCI compliant and will have to determine an appropriate integration to use.
UPDATE: To clarify this further: many sites don’t need total PCI compliance (which may or may not be required by your merchant account / payment processor). Using an SSL gets you much of the security that you need, as most sites won’t be subject to attacks when there are always far bigger fish to catch (think Target-level security breaches; netting data for tens of thousands of users makes the work in doing so far more worthwhile than trying to hack your site, which is probably much smaller). You should be in contact with your payment processor to determine what requirements exist for your account to be sure you’re meeting their standards – in some cases, you simply have to pay a monthly fee for non-PCI compliance.
In addition to the particular details of each WooCommerce integration, you’ll also probably want to weigh the fees charged by each processor into your decision. We wrote an article on selecting payment processors and have a comparison spreadsheet of some of the largest processors that could help with this.
There are also a lot of other payment gateway integrations for WooCommerce (111 currently!), as the ones we’ve discussed are the most popular, but certainly not the only options. This comparison is also only valid for official WooCommerce integrations, as we haven’t compared those from third parties or integrations with other platforms, so please don’t extrapolate this information to other cart systems.
As a former teacher, I try to remember to help all of you visual learners 😉 . Here’s a comparison chart that summarizes the points above, or you can check it out here:
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