For small businesses, PayPal has been “the” easy way to sell products and services to the general public online. PayPal business accounts are free and the PayPal tools make it easy to create shopping carts and collect credit card payments without custom web programming. PayPal transaction fees are higher than merchant accounts, but the absence of payment gateway and online merchant account setup and monthly fees is cost affective for businesses with a low sales volume.
The one complaint I hear most often about selling with PayPal is that, with the exception of their first purchase, customers must sign up for a PayPal account of their own. If your small business sells to other businesses, this can be a deterrent, as many businesses do not have nor want PayPal accounts.
In my search for an alternative to PayPal, Stripe became a viable option. The transaction fees are the same a PayPal, your customers can use their credit card without the need for a Stripe account, and you can send payments directly to your vendors by transferring money to third-party bank accounts.
For the programmers, Strip has API’s for various web-programming languages and for iPhone and Android apps. Third-party plug-ins and integrations are also available to help with the development process.
If your small business e-commerce solution is ready for an upgrade and an online merchant account is not practical, consider using the Stripe payment tools.