There are many online payment services besides Paypal, which is undoubtedly the largest and best-known. If you are looking for an alternative for whatever reason (avoiding fees, better service, ethics, etc.), this post is for you. I Googled Paypal alternatives but most articles gave me 10 or 15 sites to wade through. That’s a lot of time and hassle, and many of the sites were either extremely limited, more expensive than Paypal or targeted towards a very small niche market.
It’s best to pick an alternative that’s easy to join, easy to use, and easy for OTHER people to use, too. After all, exchanging money is a two-way street. “But what if people don’t want to use XYZ service to pay me or receive money from me?” you might ask. I personally think that’s a very minor issue. After all, we sign up and login in to online stores all the time, and give them our email address and credit card information. Why is it so hard to do this for an online payment service?
Here are 4 services you might try, that have a good track record. After switching to a new service, treat it just like you would a new email address: let your friends and clients know, and make it easy for them to get on board. Realize also that you may not be able to eliminate using Paypal altogether; in my case, some of my blog clients exclusively use Paypal to compensate the bloggers in their network. It is not my place to tell them how to pay me.
Dwolla: This secure and easy-to-use digital payment network is my top pick right now. It works a lot like Paypal but is vastly cheaper. You will never pay more than 25 cents per transaction. Transactions under $10 are always free. I spent hundreds of dollars in Paypal fees in 2016; this year, by using Dwolla, that expense will be drastically cut, saving me lots of money.
Dwolla is linked to your bank account(s) only so you don’t put a debit or credit card on file. Just like Paypal, you just need someone’s email address to initiate a transaction. Just like Paypal, they can either pay you or receive money from you by signing up for an account (which takes about 60 seconds).
Here’s my Dwolla dashboard:
Skrill: This is a worldwide payment option based out of London with lower fees than Paypal. Using Skrill to pay an online merchant is free. Receiving money into your account is free. Sending money to someone else’s email address or Skrill account entails a 1% fee, which caps at 10 pounds/14 dollars. Skrill was formerly called MoneyBrokers and was targeted at gamers/online gambling. It has since rebranded and broadened its base.
Here’s a screenshot of my Skrill dashboard. Like Paypal and Dwolla, you add your debit/card cards and bank accounts to send and receive and receive money from.
Square Cash: This smart phone app lets you instantly send money between friends or accept card payments for your business. Money deposits directly into your bank account. Personal transactions are free (except for payments sent from a credit card which are 3%). Business transactions are 2.75% per payment received. I can’t use Square Cash because I don’t have a smart phone, but here is a $5 referral code from one of my friends if you’re interested in signing up.
Gmail (Google Wallet): A lot of people already have a Gmail account, making this service a viable alternative to Paypal. You can add debit cards and credit cards to your account, and also keep a running balance. Exchanging money is easy; simply hit the “compose” button and type in the email address of the person who will either be receiving money from you, or paying money to you. Type a subject and message and then hit the dollar sign icon to choose whether you are paying or requesting payment. The person at the other end will be receive a dead-easy email with instructions on how to complete the transaction.
Google Wallet is free. You only pay standard transfer fees when you are using a debit or credit card to move money INTO your Google Payments account.
NOTE: One of my readers alerted me that the “Google Wallet Card” will be discontinued as of June 30th. This was a physical card loaded with your Wallet balance that Google would send you in the mail, and you could use it to pay for online or instore purchases, just like you would a MasterCard®.
If your reasons for leaving Paypal are ethical, you may have reservations about Google as well. There’s one thing you can say about the Google Wallet service; you won’t be giving them any of your money since it’s basically free.
What about paying for items at online stores? If you’re used to shopping online with Paypal, trying something different shouldn’t be too difficult. With few exceptions, you should be able to use your debit card or credit card on pretty much every online store. That includes Ebay. Yes, you can completely bypass Paypal during Ebay checkout. The same goes for Etsy, Hyena Cart and Zulily.
Yes, there are some sites out there that do not accept anything but Paypal. How you handle that is up to you, whether it’s taking your business elsewhere, or making an exception if it’s something you really need. There is a workaround, though. Let’s say you don’t have a Paypal account and are trying to buy from a site that only accepts it. You can actually use Paypal to process the credit card payment, without actually having to sign up for an account with them. When you are prompted to login to Paypal, look to the left side of the screen and you’ll see this option: “Don’t have a Paypal account? Use your credit card or bank account (where available).”
What about printing shipping labels? For a long time, I used Paypal to print USPS shipping labels, because you cannot buy first class postage from the US Postal Service website. But there is an alternative. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been using VIP Parcel for all my shipping needs. All you need is a debit/credit card, or a VIP Parcel balance, to buy postage and print labels. All the options are there, including First Class, Priority, Parcel, Media Mail, insurance and tracking. To get started, you need a minimum of $50 in funds, and then you can start purchasing postage and printing labels. The actual postage cost is lower in VIP Parcel than it is in Paypal, so that’s a bonus.
If you have questions about any of these Paypal alternatives, or would like to share your experience with another online payment service, please leave me a comment below. Thanks!