8 best payment gateways to skyrocket your subscription business

Choosing the right payment gateway for your subscription business means more revenue.

If you don’t offer the payment methods your audience wants, it can lead to high cart abandonment and lower profits.

So how do you choose the right subscription payment gateway for your website?

We’ll show you how.

In this guide, we will talk about the best recurring payment systems and what to look for when choosing one.

Let’s begin by discussing the essential ingredients of a recurring payment system.

Then we’ll jump right into our list of the top subscription payment gateways.

Payment gateways are the backbone of subscriptions. The sooner you choose the right option, the better for your membership business.

Which businesses use recurring payment systems?

google play - recurring payment business

Any business that charges customers periodically (weekly, monthly, annually) can use a recurring payment system.

For instance, cellphone contracts where we pay periodically use a recurring payment system.

Premium apps on our phones and laptops such as Spotify, Adobe, Netflix or Canva are some other common examples.

Some more examples are:

  • Online courses
  • Blog memberships
  • Gaming
  • Gym memberships
  • House cleaning
  • Childcare
  • Personal training
  • Music lessons

If you sell anything that requires consumers to pay repeatedly to use the product or service, you will need a subscription payment system.

Why you need a reliable payment gateway

solid payment gateway

Picture this: when you spot that PayPal button on a website, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Trust, right?

As an online seller, your goal is to increase trust in your business because it encourages conversion.

A key to that is to choose the right payment processor like PayPal in our example.

Here are just a few benefits of having the right payment processor on your website:

Auto payments improve efficiency

A subscription payment processor does the heavy lifting for you.

It automates your finances, saving you tons of time that you can invest in growing your business.

Your customers are invoiced and charged automatically according to their payment schedule.

Here’s how automatic payments can help your business:

  • Your customer decides to switch up their billing plan midway through a subscription. The gateway ensures they are only charged for the period they used
  • You want to offer customers some discounts or coupons. The right system knows how to apply them without messing up your billing flow
  • When customers want to change their billing date, it automatically adjusts their subscriptions to match the new date
  • Need to tweak prices for subscriptions? A good payment system lets you do that without messing up your billing process
  • Managing multiple subscriptions for one account is a breeze. You can cancel or activate subscriptions however you want

Using a payment gateway is like having a billing wizard working behind the scenes. It makes sure everything runs smoothly for you and your customers

Predictable revenue

Subscription business models bring some stability and predictability compared to retail. You can usually only visualize that if your payment gateway gives you the numbers.

You get a clear idea of how much revenue you are going to make at the end of each financial cycle. This gives you time to invest and plan for the future.

For instance, let’s assume that you receive 10 annual subscriptions each at $79 per month.

Crunch the numbers and boom! You are looking at a sweet $9,480 in revenue by the end of the year.

Now that’s the predictability that can work wonders for your business. But you would only know that if your payment gateway told you!

Better conversions

Choosing the right subscription payment gateway can have a major impact on conversions.

For instance, when customers see a recurring payment system on your website that they’re already familiar with, they are more likely to trust you.

This increases your chances of getting those subscriptions.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is the only way to stand out and grow your subscription business. It goes way beyond providing a quality product.

  • Your customers will be more comfortable when you give them a payment option that is easy to use
  • They will love you when you offer them cool perks such as discounts and coupons
  • They will be willing to subscribe when your payment system clearly shows what they need to pay over time
  • Your global audience will easily pay when you provide multiple payment options in their home currency

The more satisfied customers you have, the bigger your revenue gets!

Business insights

Knowing how customers respond to your business gives you the upper hand for future planning.

That’s where reports and analytics come in. They provide valuable insights into what’s really going on.

You’ll discover which products your members love, where most of your members are located around the world, and even how they spend their time on different parts of your site.

It’s like having insider knowledge that helps you make smarter decisions.

If you’re up for A/B testing your checkout page, analytics will show you exactly which variation works best.

All this information will help you bring down cart abandonment, boost customer satisfaction, and nail down the right product pricing!

Backup payment options

A customer is all set to pay you on your website and are poised to hit the purchase button. But wait! The payment method fails.

Nothing is more frustrating than this moment!

If your payment gateway only offers a single payment method, your customers will likely leave.

They will go to other sites where they can complete their purchase more conveniently.

It’s like watching your potential revenue slip away.

But fear not! Choose a subscription payment gateway that allows multiple payment methods.

That way, if the credit card system crashes or something unusual happens, your customers can simply turn to alternatives like PayPal or digital wallets right on your website.

It’s all about giving your customers options and saving them from the frustration of a failed payment.

8 best payment gateways for subscription businesses

Want a quick rundown of what the best payment gateways bring to the table?

We’ve got you covered with this handy summary.

Payment gatewaySetup feeTransaction chargesSupported payment methodsBest for
StripeNone2.9% + $0.03 per transactionAll popular Including credit card paymentAll kinds and sizes of companies
BraintreeNone2.59% + $0.49 per transaction10+ including Apple/Google PaySelling on websites and mobile apps
MollieNone€0.25 + 1.8% per transaction10+ including KBC/CBCAll CMS including WordPress, Magento and Wix
PayPalNone2.9% + $0.30 per transaction5+ including digital walletsOne-off payments
ChargebeeFree + paid plans0.75% on billing over $250KAll popular payment methodsSaaS and subscription based stores
RecurlyNone$249/mo. + 0.9% of revenuePopular payment methods including Amazon PayHigh volume businesses
GoCardlessNone1% + £/€ 0.20 per transaction (UK and Eurozone)Direct debitsSmall to large businesses
AdyenNone€0.11 fixed processing fee + fee determined by the payment methodCredit / debit cards, direct debits, digital wallets and many moreFor large businesses

Now we understand what a subscription system should be like, let’s learn a little more about the best subscription payment services.


stripe subscription payment gateway

Stripe is one of the most popular payment gateways in the world, known for its ease of use and global availability.

It’s a cloud-based payment system you can use from anywhere for all types of payments, including subscriptions.

You can set it up in a few minutes thanks to API integration.

As a merchant, Stripe can support you as you grow. You can use it in over 26 countries including the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Spain.

Stripe provides a wide range of payment methods and accepts payments in over 135 currencies.

Setup fee: Stripe has no setup or monthly charges.

Transaction charges: Stripe has a pay-as-you-go pricing model. It charges 2.9% + $0.03 transaction fee.

Payment methods: Credit/debit cards, ACH payments, digital wallets (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay), bank debits, international payment methods (such as Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna).


Want to add Stripe to your WordPress site?

SureCart makes it easy. It integrates with Stripe out of the box and enabling it is as simple as 1,2,3.

Check out this video that shows you just how effortlessly SureCart adds Stripe to your website.

If you already have WooCommerce on your website, don’t worry! This awesome plugin lets you add Stripe in no time.


braintree subscription payment gateway

Braintree is an easy-to-integrate payment management system with robust international availability. You can accept payments in Europe, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

A transparent pricing structure makes it an excellent choice for a variety of users including freelancers and growing businesses.

Braintree has been a part of PayPal since 2013, which creates a sense of trust in the eyes of potential customers.

Braintree is a versatile payment processor with a built-in payment gateway, merchant account and subscription management service. You can also integrate your existing merchant account.

Its subscription-friendly features allow your customers to:

  • Alter their subscription mid-month
  • Upgrade/downgrade their subscriptions
  • Get promotions, rewards and addons

Setup fee: There is no minimum or monthly fee.

Transaction charges: 2.59% + $0.49 per transaction. For charitable organizations, the charges are lower (1.99% + $0.49 per transaction).

Payment methods: Credit/debit cards, ACH, digital wallets, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay.


mollie subscription payment gateway

If your primary audience is from Europe, Mollie can be an all-in-one payment solution.

With simple integration, you can add all major payment methods to your website.

Mollie works with all CMS including WordPress, Magento and Wix. You can easily accept one-off and recurring payments as you need.

You also get a huge library of JS, PHP or Python options that allow you to customize things the way you want.

This allows you to style your checkout forms to align with your branding.

It’s easy to start with Mollie as there is no minimum cost, lock-in contract, or hidden fees. You only pay for successful transactions.

If you’re a huge company with over €50,000 monthly billing, Mollie also offers volume pricing.

Mollie gives you complete control over payouts. You can receive payments daily, weekly, monthly or on any other schedule you prefer.

If you want a break, you can even pause payments.

Refund management is as easy as 1-2-3 from the dashboard. Mollie charges €0.25 per transaction, regardless of whether it is a full, partial refund or another amount.

Setup fee: No sign-up fee, lock-in contract or hidden fee.

Transaction fees: Standard transaction fees for most payment methods is €0.25 + 1.8%. Some are different depending on the payment method.

Payment methods: Plethora of payment options including credit/debit cards, bank transfer, direct debit, PayPal, and Klarna.


paypal subscription payment gateway

PayPal is a favorable payment gateway if you aim to target global clients. It works in more than 200 countries and accepts payments in over 25 currencies.

Due to its widespread presence, customers feel more confident when they see a PayPal button in your store.

You can easily integrate PayPal into your website. To start, you need a PayPal business account that involves verification.

Once you have it, you can copy and paste the existing HTML code onto your webpage to start selling through PayPal.

While PayPal has no fixed monthly charges, merchants pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction when they sell.

Unlike Mollie or Stripe, PayPal’s recurring payment features are a bit limited. If you want your customers to alter subscriptions, upgrade or downgrade plans, it can be a hassle.

PayPal maintains strict security rules. It may cause inconvenience if the average transaction value deviates from normal. In such a case you may see your account frozen and your funds blocked.

Setup fee: $0 setup fee.

Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Payment methods: Credit / debit cards, PayPal, digital wallets.


We mentioned earlier SureCart works out of the box with Stripe. It works like a charm with PayPal too.

With SureCart on board, you don’t need an additional plugin to add multiple payment methods.

WooCommerce users can integrate PayPal with this useful plugin.


chargebee subscription payment gateway

Chargebee is a top of the line solution for recurring billing businesses such as SaaS or subscription-based online stores.

It provides seamless integration with 30+ payment gateways including Stripe and Braintree to let you add any type of payment method you want to your website.

It’s primarily designed for subscription businesses. You can manage subscriptions, recurring payments and billing in a much more flexible way.

You can accept payments in over 100 currencies. If your business needs a currency that isn’t on the list, Chargebee can help you support it.

Chargebee offers different price plans depending on your needs. If you want to test if Chargebee is suitable for your business, you can start with their free plan with no setup or monthly fees.

When you sign up with Chargebee it also offers you a sandbox space to test everything before you go live.

Setup fee: $0 for the starter plan. Paid plans start from $250/mo.

Transaction fees: No fee up to $250K cumulative billing; 0.75% on billing thereafter.

Payment methods: Multiple payment methods according to payment gateway choice.


recurly subscription payment gateway

Recurly can help you optimize recurring revenue growth. It works for both recurring and one-time payments.

It’s an excellent subscription management system for SaaS companies, designed to work on top of payment gateways.

After you sign up, it lets you integrate a payment gateway from its dashboard. You also get a testing environment to make sure everything works before taking your project live.

Recurly also offers its own gateway for US customers to help them deal with credit cards more effectively.

The management system offers you an all-in-one dashboard to give you complete control over how you want to run your subscription business.

You can create any type of subscription including fixed recurring, usage-based, quantity-based, one-time charges or hybrid subscriptions.

You also get in-depth analytics that help you make informed decisions and better strategize your business.

An added advantage of using Recurly is that it offers a hosted payment page that you can customize however you want.

Since you have to integrate a payment gateway in addition to choosing a monthly plan, Recurly can be an expensive solution for businesses with small budgets.

Setup fee: No setup fee

Transaction fees: The Core plan starts at $249/mo. + 0.9% of revenue. An ongoing promotion waives monthly fees on revenue up to $40K.

Payment methods: It accepts credit cards, ACH, invoicing, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. More payment methods can be added with additional payment gateways.


gocardless subscription payment gateway

If you’re looking for one easy payment management solution that works like a charm for both one-off and recurring payments, you can’t go wrong with GoCardless.

They serve over 75,000 businesses worldwide, promising to end late payments and automate admin tasks without having to pay expensive fees.

When you are in a subscription business, failed payments are inevitable. But Success+ intelligent payment module reduces failed payments by 70%.

It automates everything to ensure your customers don’t face friction when paying you.

If you target international customers with multiple currencies, one primary issue is how to get the highest exchange rate.

GoCardless has it covered by collaborating with Wise. You can use the real exchange rates feature to receive international payments at the best exchange rate possible.

GoCardless also offers local bank debit payment options so you can get paid locally.

You can use this feature in more than 30 countries including the USA, the UK, the Eurozone, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Setup fee: No setup fee.

Transaction fees: 1% + £/€ 0.20 per transaction (UK and Eurozone), 2% + £0.20 per transaction (international).

Payment methods: GoCardless specializes in bank to bank payment using direct debit.


adyen subscription payment gateway

Adyen is a Dutch end-to-end payment, data and financial management solution. It is ideal for businesses who need many services under one umbrella.

Due to its minimum invoice requirements, it may be too expensive for smaller businesses. But it’s extremely helpful to sell products across multiple channels, including online, in-store and mobile apps.

Don’t worry about recurring payments, its versatile payment system can handle any payment logic you want.

If your business serves audiences in the US, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Adyen works with all popular payment types.

This lets customers have a more local experience by using their preferred methods.

Adyen’s price structure is a mix of flat and variable fees that only suit large businesses with complex billing requirements like eBay.

A complete list of payment methods it works with is available on its pricing page along with the fees for each method.

If you plan to expand your footprint to multiple regions with end-to-end control over every process, Adyen can be the subscription payment processor you need.

Setup fee: Zero setup and monthly fees.

Transaction fees: €0.11 fixed processing fee + fee determined by the payment method.

Payment methods: Credit / debit cards, direct debits, digital wallets and many more.

Final thoughts

A subscription business may start small with a handful of members, but will eventually grow and develop more complex requirements.

That’s where a smart subscription payment processor comes in. It automates everything, so you can focus on growth.

This guide outlined the best recurring payment systems for your membership business.

Plus, it showed you what to consider before choosing a payment gateway.

Creating a membership site? No worries! This article will nail it, and you don’t even need coding skills!

What’s your subscription business all about? Any pitfalls you avoided by switching payment processors? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’re all ears!

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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