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Ask HN: Paypal alternatives for vendors outside the US?
113 points by aboutus on Feb 28, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 63 comments
As a digital vendor who lives outside the US, I don't want to be at the mercy of PayPal's psychotic mood swings. What alternatives are out there to process payments and accept payouts from gumroad, paddle, Leanpub etc?

I recommend Fastspring (http://www.fastspring.com). Yes, it's more expensive than others but it has a lot of features that make it worth it. The main selling point for us was that essential you sell your product wholesale to Fastspring and they become the seller. This makes accounting and taxes much easier, especially for EU customers.

I can also vouch for Fastspring. The reseller part is really important. It means they take care of billing and VAT, similar to the App Store. It's a bit more effort to set up compared to the Mac App Store, but they take less and pay out faster. Customer support is really good. Their API is a bit annoying to work with, but gets the job done, and the customer support makes up for unclear docs. I'm really happy with them.

I'm not in the same boat as OP, but I definitely can vouch for Fastspring in general. It's extremely convenient from the business standpoint that I don't have to worry about all of the complex international tax laws, etc.

Also, I've used PayPal API, and found the Fastspring API comparatively easier to use once you figure it out.

Another vote for Fastspring from a happy customer. Their support is top notch.

Love FastSpring. Easy store manager and great tech support. Plus, I don't have to worry about anything because they handle all the invoices, VAT and other boring stuff.

At first glance, Fastspring looks fantastic. It even accepts PayPal, so I don't have to miss out on those sales. Hopefully it's the real deal.

Fastspring is great, I've used them for the last 5 years. They handle VAT as well, one of the main reasons I use them (I'd rather not deal with that bureaucracy myself).

It's still a good idea to have a second payment processor, in case one has downtime or a customer has a problem charging their card. I've never had problems with Fastspring, but I occasionally had problems with others - I have a switch in my backend where I can flip to a second payment processor instantly.

Yep, we (Breeze, http://www.breeze.pm) have used it for over 3 years without any issues.

For European businesses Paymill might be an alternative. It works pretty much exactly the same as Stripe, just available in more/different countries.


For our European SaaS we had to switch from Paymill to Stripe because a large percentage of US customers would get their cards rejected when paying via Paymill.

(Paymill is Europe-only, and when a US bank detects a payment going out to Europe, it flags it as fraud. Thanks, US banks!)

Oh my god. I saw this by random. I see clear now. Thank you.

Meh. My application with paymill has been in the works for over a month now (following google wallet digital goods shut down). Requests for updates are ignored. Documentation isn't great. It is a shame as on paper they do seem quite good...

Hey. I'm in charge of Developer Relations at PAYMILL. I'm sorry to read that you are having difficulties with the service.

What do you mean with "Requests for updates are ignored"?

The current documentation has been around for a while and is currently being entirely updated. I would be happy to hear your thoughts to ensure the new version will be satisfying for our users.

Feel free to contact me, I'll help you with that.


Hey, I'm the CEO at Paddle.com (mentioned in your initial post). Wondering what we can be doing to make withdrawing your Paddle earnings easier. We opperate in a very similar way to Fastspring - in that you sell your products wholesale to us and we become the merchant of record (and it seems you're already familiar with us).

Would love to see how we can help you out (we're a little cheaper than FS too if that's a deciding factor for you).

Competition is always great. So here are my problems with Paddle:

1. Too much hidden information. The main page should specify the pricing because that's the first thing we all look at. Yes, I know about the pricing page. But a click away is one too many. And I couldn't find a list of supported countries. If I don't know the cost and if I can get it, I'm not going to waste time asking.

2. You're cheaper than FastSpring now. But when FastSpring started it was a lot cheaper and more dynamic. You're competing with PayPal, not FastSpring. And PayPal is charging 2.9% + $0.30. So start where FastSpring started, not where it is after a couple years of growth. A bonus would be to find cost-effective ways to handle different price points. A 5% fee is ok for a $5 sale, but for a $1000 sale it's a bit too much.

3. Not sure how to say this in a more diplomatic way, but your store forms look spammy. Maybe the cluttered elements, maybe the asymmetrical design. You should talk with a designer and create something cleaner and nicer. The purchase forms are the last step of a sale. If they are not perfect, the client can easily change his mind. At least this is how I feel as a seller.

Good luck. And find ways to do things better. Innovation always attract people.

Hey, thanks for the feedback.

1. Interesting, we don't usually get that, and maintain a fairly detailed pricing page + FAQ (https://www.paddle.com/pricing) perhaps we should link to this from the homepage.

2. I don't agree that we're trying to compete with PayPal on price. Paddle is intended to be a premium product (and thus we charge a premium over PayPal for example). Paddle handles: VAT/ Tax collection + remittance, digital product delivery and all order-related customer support for you (plus a bunch of other features and tools). We don't aim to compete with PayPal, however there is a crossover in our services. In terms of the pricing aspect, we're flexible/ open to different pricing scenarios. While a $1,000 transaction size is certainly uncommon, I do agree that this requires a little more thought on the pricing front.

3. On the checkout side of things, I find that incredibly surprising! :) We're typically told how beautiful our checkout process is (and it typically converts 2-3x higher than a usual checkout page). Could you ping over a purchase form that you're looking at? (or email me: christian@paddle.com) as I'd love to get a slightly more detailed critique.

Feedback can only make us better.

I'll email you on Monday, first thing.

Awesome! christian@paddle.com to get me directly.

You are welcome to try out our service, https://www.bizify.me

We have higher fees then PayPal but we also support payment by mobile phone (SMS) in a lot of countries and of course also payment by credit card.

You can read more about our service here: https://www.bizify.me/hacker-news/

If you would like to try out our service, just contact us and we'll give you a great rate if your products are "normal" products. Adult related content is a little higher risk so we can't give you as good rate on adult as we can on "normal" products.

PS: You can check out our WordPress plugin if you are running a WordPress blog: https://wordpress.org/plugins/bizifyme/

We use Paypal, Stripe, GoCardless (UK only I think), and Bitpay.

Although we are obviously aware of Paypal's mood swings, we haven't been the victim of any. So far all of the above have worked well for us. They've all been easy to integrate.

Great question! I recently launched a startup where we ended up using Paypal because we simply couldn't find any good alternatives. It is a huge drawback from our point of view and we really want an alternative. There just doesn't seem to be one.

We wanted to set up a payment flow where a consumer would transfer the money to us, and after the delivery of the product we would transfer it to the seller. Strripe offers something that can accomodate this flow, but not internationally. It is only available in the US.

There seems to be a huge gap in the market here. Is there something missing from my exploration of alternatives?

At least in the US, what you are attempting to do would probably run into a bunch of regulations. Not only are you probably aggregating funds, which smacks into money laundering regulations, but VISA/MC rules say you can't charge a card before the product ships. If what you are trying to do is some sort of escrow service, again at least in the US, that requires a license.

Thanks for the answer. Ouch, that makes sense and it is probably something similar in Europe.

Do you have any idea for how to ensure that the person has the funds when we need to charge the card?

And do you know how vendors like Airbnb handles this?

Do you have any idea for how to ensure that the person has the funds when we need to charge the card?

You preauthorise the card for the amount at purchase, then complete the transaction on shipment.

Would you not preauthorize the card again right before shipment? What if their card is no longer valid, closed, or is past their credit limit?

But that would still leave you with a risk that the card is closed or that the payment will get rejected, right?

For the folks over in the Middle East, there's https://whitepayments.com/

(As if the guy on the front page didn't give it away)

The login link on top takes you to a non-secure page :/

Cleverbridge https://www.cleverbridge.com is great and works well with International and American users.

(EU-based freelancer and SaaS builder here). I can warmly recommend https://www.recurly.com, which I use to handle recurring billing on a number of projects (my own SaaS https://www.wisecashhq.com, but also client projects such as https://www.boxcar.io/developer and https://www.process-one.net/en/ejabberd/saas/).

It can be used together with Stripe as a gateway (much recommended, the setup is much faster than on other gateways), and provides a full-featured setup with PCI SAQ A, VAT handling, PDF invoices, coupons, dunning etc.

Nationally many countries have their own local market leader. In the Netherlands, iDeal is the most popular (and the most user friendly of those I've tried). http://www.ideal.nl

For moving money internationally and between currencies there is TransferWise, which I personally mainly use for c2c payment but they also support business accounts and I've used it to pay companies on occasion too.

With a TransferWise invite link you can transfer up to £3000 (over $4.5k) for free, here's mine: https://transferwise.com/u/5d78

Where I work we use mangopay, which is specifically for marketplaces. http://www.mangopay.com

I was going to recommend TransferWise too, more of a second hand recommendation since I haven't used it but I've had several friends praise it.

If you're in Europe, give a try to https://klarna.com. It's more than a payment processor, and can help you a lot! Disclaimer: klarna employee.

In europe https://www.hipay.com/ was cleary easier to set up then something more popular, like ogone, and had much better prices for us

What are you selling?

I'd say Stripe, but it depends what you're selling: https://stripe.com/us/prohibited-businesses

If what you're selling in any way touches any of the things on that list, then you should get your own merchant account and handle it directly. It's messy, it's work you don't want to do, but the list of prohibited businesses put on you by your bank is much shorter than the list put on you by Stripe, PayPal, etc.

Stripe is kind of limited on what countries they support (as merchants).

Computer technical support is in the high risk category?

I'd imagine that's the result of both somewhat dishonest advertising and scams that are being run by companies that advertised themselves as technical support or "Fix Your PC" companies. Like the "I'm calling from Microsoft" scam - http://www.howtogeek.com/180514/the-%E2%80%9Ctech-support%E2...

ah yes I see the point now

I'm asking on behalf of completely legitimate businesses who provide typical digital products and services.

I run a Sweden based payment service called https://www.mondido.com, with support for cards and subscriptions.

I sell downloadable software.

I have tried shareit, bluesnap and avangate.

Avangate checkout flow peformed best.

I am currently working on switching to cleverbridge, ping me if you want stats on them when I have switched.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Paddle.com. It seems to be open to any business worldwide and it offers a Stripe modern looking payment form.

They have pretty annoying sales people. Contacted me out of the blue and didn't leave me alone until I responded in a rather impolite manner.

Hey - CEO of Paddle.com here. Really sorry one of our sales guys was a little overzealous :( we'll make sure we do better in future.


Stripe has Bitcoin suppport now: https://stripe.com/bitcoin

It does BUT it doesnt have zero fees nor does it have next business day settlement like bitpay does

Bitcoin is an alternative to Paypal in the same way a bag of gold on a rocket is an alternative to a bank transfer.

I can recommend BMTMicro: http://www.bmtmicro.com/ Payment processor with the best support I had so far. Supports nearly every payment type and does all the nasty stuff for you (invoices, recharges, customer support etc)

I have a SaaS that processes payments with PayPal since 2011 and I never had a single problem. I know about the horror stories, frozen accounts and whatnot, but maybe it's also worth considering where your opinion comes from.

I also use Stripe and accept wire transfers.

2CO/2Checkout works great for me. You can withdraw your funds either via wire transfer or a Mastercard debit card issued by Payoneer.com

Have used them for 7 years without issue.

Bluesnap.com (Supports 180 Countries, 110 Payment Types, 60 Currencies & 29 Languages) - Dont know why no one has matched the features offered by this service ...

paywithatweet.com (pay with twitter)










For India (stricter rules of double authentication:








PayMill, Braintree and Stripe for Europe; eWay or Pin for Australia and, 2Checkout or Worldpay for everywhere else.

Braintree was bought by Ebay last year. Someone looking for an alternative to PayPal probably won't be too inspired when they see "A PayPal Company" below Braintree's logo[1].

[1]: https://www.braintreepayments.com/

For latin america: MercadoLibre or MercadoPago. They are from Argentina and work very well.

If you can use stripe, that should be your first choice.

Failing that, 2Checkout and http://www.fastspring.com/ are really good and 2Checkout works in many countries.

The other option would be to just get your own merchant account and use something like WorldPay


Another huge elephant in the room.

Can anyone recommend a service with flat-fee only option?

Talk to your Bank;



Any payment provider. You can chose between dozens per country.

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