Over the years, PayPal has become a well-known online payment gateway that individuals and small businesses alike can use to make purchases and receive money for many purposes.
For freelancers, PayPal can be an easy way to send invoices, process payments, and more. But PayPal is far from the only option available.
Best PayPal Alternatives
While PayPal may be king when it comes to ease of use, there are some PayPal alternatives that can work better for freelancers. Some of these alternatives offer more options or have more robust systems that can offer payment processing and bookkeeping capabilities. Here are some of the best alternatives.
Stripe is one of the top-known alternatives to PayPal because the two of them work in nearly the same way.
It is an online payment system that allows business owners, freelancers, and e-commerce owners to accept online and mobile payments. It’s a great service if you sell products or services online, or if you have recurring subscriptions.
The biggest perk to Stripe is that the company doesn’t charge any monthly fees or account management fees. They do, however, charge per transaction, just like PayPal.
Their current pricing for per-transaction fees is 2.9% and $0.30. For example, if someone pays $100 for a product, Stripe will take $2.90 plus $0.30, for a total of $3.20.
There is something to note about Stripe, and that is that they do not have a friend and family option. If you’re trying to avoid online payment fees, you won’t be able to do it via Stripe. Every transaction is charged the 2.9% and $0.30 fee.
Pros of Stripe
- Easy to set up
- Clean dashboard
- Low transaction fees
- Easy to connect to websites
- Offers international transactions for a small transaction fee
Cons of Stripe
- No friend and family option
- Very little customer support
If you’re looking for something almost exactly like PayPal, along with the option for peer-to-peer or friend and family payments, Venmo is a great option. Venmo is a mobile app only right now, so you’ll have to download it on your phone to use it. However, once you do, you’ll be able to accept payments.
It’s worth noting that Venmo wasn’t created for businesses or freelancers looking to make a profit. It was created for people to pay other people back, for example splitting a bill or a meal if someone forgot their card. However, there are some businesses that use it. If you do decide to use Venmo, it’s important to know that they don’t offer invoicing or money protection like PayPal does.
Venmo is completely free to use and to send and receive money. It’s also free to transfer any received money to your bank account, although there is a 1% fee if you want an instant transfer.
Pros of Venmo
- Easy to use
- Great if you’re on the go
- No transaction or transfer fees
- Instant transfers available
Cons of Venmo
- No business support
- There is no website available
- No option to send invoices
WePay was launched specifically as a competitor of PayPal, hence why they’re a good option as one of PayPal’s alternatives. The payment processor was created for online payments, so it’s perfect if you have an e-commerce site, or if you accept payments online. They also integrate easily with websites, so you can have everything set up under one area.
Just like with Stripe, WePay charges a 2.9% and $0.30 fee per credit card transaction. They also accept Automated Clearing House (or ACH) payments for a 1% and $0.30 fee per transaction. There is no monthly costs or account management costs to use WePay.
Pros of WePay
- Easy to use
- Integrates with websites easily
- No monthly fees or contracts
Cons of WePay
- The more you earn, the more you pay
- Doesn’t work with PayPal (so you’d have to offer it separately if giving customers options)
4. Google Pay
At this point, who doesn’t use Google? And Google Pay is becoming popular amongst consumers and customers who are constantly on the go or who don’t like carrying their cards with them. Google Pay has an app that consumers can use to pay for their purchases.
So, in essence, a business wouldn’t need to invoice a customer to use Google Pay. Because Google Pay is for the customer, they can pay and have their credit card charged.
The best part? The customer can pay in person, online, or even by sending money to an email address or phone number. And it’s completely free to get started.
Pros of Google Pay
- Offers tools and support to get started and earn more
- Integrates with websites easily
- Works with “one-tap” devices, smart devices, and more
- Super secure for both customers and businesses
- No extra fees
Cons of Google Pay
- Only supported by certain phones, so not every customer will have it
- Leaves a stronger digital trail, which some customers may not like
- Doesn’t integrate with PayPal
FreshBooks is a cloud invoicing and accounting program for small businesses. If you’re looking for a payment processing system as well as a bookkeeping system, FreshBooks is a great option and probably my favorite PayPal alternative. And, it can help you organize expenses, invoice clients, follow up, create proposals and estimates, and more.
If you’re constantly on the go, you’ll also be happy to know that FreshBooks is available online and on via a mobile app as well. If your business is more service-based, FreshBooks is also a great option for you. I would not recommend FreshBooks for product-based companies.
Related Post: FreshBooks Review
Pros of FreshBooks
- Easy to use
- Fast and reliable customer service
- An app to accept payments and manage clients on the go
- Invoicing options
- Integration options (including, but not limited to: Stripe, Gusto, GSuite, Asana, Trello, and Shopify)
Cons of FreshBooks
- Limit on the number of clients you can have on a recurring basis, which can hinder you if you’re a busy freelancer
- Can be expensive
- Isn’t really an option for product-based businesses
Square is very similar to PayPal and one of the easiest PayPal alternatives to transition to if you plan on switching. It has almost all of the same capabilities as PayPal. And, it also offers a retail Point of Sale (or POS) system that brick and mortar business owners can use. And, it also doesn’t have any monthly fees to start with.
You can get a free POS system with Square when you’re signing up. And, you won’t pay any monthly fees to use it. The only fees that Square charges are payment processing fees. Just like with PayPal, Stripe, and WePay, Square charges a 2.9% plus $0.30 per online sale. However, for mobile and in-store sales, Square only charges 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction.
Another big perk in using Square is that they offer inventory management, customer directories, reports, and more all through their POS system. And you don’t have to pay for any of it. This is great if you’re getting a product-based business off the ground, sell at market’s, or need something for in-person and online transactions.
Pros of Square
- Easy to use
- No monthly fees
- POS system for brick and mortar businesses
- Lower transaction fees for mobile and in-store sales
- Great for on the go transactions
Cons of Square
- Transaction fees can add up for high-volume sales
- Users have reported that the free POS system can break easily (however, replacements are free)
7. QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online is one of the most popular payment processing and bookkeeping systems amongst small business owners. If you’re running a business that requires payroll, inventory tracking, receipt organizing, and even the ability to send estimates and invoices, QuickBooks Online is the perfect option to start with.
QuickBooks Online has three different pricing plans, starting with their Simple Start tier. It starts at $25 per month. The next plan is the Essentials tier at $40 per month. And finally, the Plus tier starts at $150 per month. However, you can get your first 3 months 50% off by using this link.
Pros of QuickBooks Online
- Invoice capabilities
- Ability to add payroll, bill pay, inventory management, and more
- Great customer service
- Bookkeeping built-in
Cons of QuickBooks Online
- Charges a monthly fee plus transaction fees
- Can be too robust if you only need a payment processor
Zelle is another peer-to-peer payment processor similar to both Venmo and PayPal. It offers free instant payment transfers for its users. They’re able to do this because they transfer the money between bank accounts. So there are no credit card options.
However, someone could use a debit card (attached to their bank account) to pay. This makes Zelle completely free to use, but also doesn’t offer businesses any protection if they don’t get paid.
Pros of Zelle
- Completely free to use month to month
- No transaction fees
- Instant access to funds
Cons of Zelle
- Wasn’t created for businesses, so no protection
- Doesn’t accept credit cards
- There is only an app to use
- May have trouble connecting to your bank account (as reported by some users)
Wave Accounting is an online accounting software program that is completely free to use. It is a great PayPal alternative if you are service-based or want to accept payments online. If you’re just getting started in your business, Wave is an easy to use payment processor that also offers bookkeeping options.
It’s a great all-in-one system for small business owners and service-based businesses. And recently, they’ve added a checkout cart so you can also use the website if selling products too.
Just like the other mentioned payment processors, Wave charges a 2.9% plus $0.30 credit card transaction fee. And they also charge a 1% ACH fee (with a minimum fee of $1).
Pros of Wave
- Completely free to use every month (although paid plans are available if you need bookkeeping help)
- The ability to add payroll
- Invoicing capabilities
- Checkout cart for your website (for product-based businesses)
- Ability to keep credit cards on file
Cons of Wave
- The mobile app isn’t completely user-friendly
- Not the best option for product-based businesses
- Charges for ACH payments
Xero is yet another bookkeeping system that also offers payment processing. It is a cloud-based website, and the site offers invoicing options, a client portal, inventory management options, and more. It’s a great option for both service-based businesses and product-based businesses. And, if you’re just getting started as a freelancer, they have great monthly prices for newbies.
Xero has a monthly fee starting at $9 per month for their lowest plan, up to $60 per month for their highest tier. You can also add Payroll to the service for $39 per month plus $6 per month per employee. If you need a processing system that allows over 100 transactions each month, prepare to pay for the top tier plan with Xero.
Xero also has sliding scale transaction fees. The minimum will be 2%, with the maximum transaction fee at 4%.
Pros of Xero
- 30-day trial option if you want to test them out
- Inventory management with built-in software
- Has an app for on the go freelancers
- Integrates with over 700+ other online platforms and software products
- Offers invoicing capabilities
Cons of Xero
- Poor customer support as reported by users
- Has a learning curve for people not used to bookkeeping systems
- Inventory management can be difficult to actually manage if using for a product-based business
The Bottom Line: Best PayPal Alternatives for Freelancers
As a freelancer or small business owner, the last thing you want to do is overpay to receive your own money. And while PayPal is a popular option amongst many business owners, there are other alternatives that can be used. The above listed PayPal alternatives are all great options for any freelancer to use, whether they run a product-based or service-based business.
If you are thinking about making the switch, or if you’re looking for a more robust system that can replace PayPal, these alternatives may fit your needs. And with free months or free trials, you can test them all out to see which works best for you, your money, and your business.