Comparing the Best Shopify Payment Gateways for USA & Canada in 2018

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Running an online business can sometimes feel like your store pulls you in a million different directions. There’s a lot of aspects to your store and more options than is helpful for you to make decisions. In this article, we offer a remedy for your payment gateway headache. We’ll run through the basics of service, introduce you to the top providers and show you which features and benefits you’re going to need.

What is a payment gateway?

A payment gateway enables you to transfer your customer's payment to your site. However important it is to market your site, and creating stunning campaigns, without a payment gateway your eCommerce site isn’t really a business. When a customer makes a credit or debit card payment the payment gateway swoops in to connect with your customer’s bank to arrange payment to your Shopify store. It’ll either provide approval or get back to you with a request rejection.

Payment gateways operate by charging a monthly fee and a commission rate. We’re going to tell you which gets you the best bang on your buck. You want a system that runs smoothly without draining the bank account you’re trying to fill!

Shopify offers its own payment gateway service. However, it’s also essential for me to point out that Shopify provides over 100 third-party alternatives. The breadth of choice can be daunting but it also ensures that there’s a service on the market for every merchant’s needs.

A comparison of the most popular gateways available in the USA and Canada

Service Shopify Stripe PayPal Amazon Pay
(Not available in Canada)

Monthly Fees


0, but custom pricing for enterprises is available



Credit Card Rates for Domestic Customers

2.4% - 2.9% + 30¢ (US)

, depending on your Shopify plan

2.9% + 30¢

2.9% + 30¢

2.9% + 30¢

Credit Card Rates for international customers

2.4% - 2.9% + 30¢, depending on your Shopify plan

An increase of 1% (US) / 0.6% (CA) on domestic rates

4.4% (US) / 3.9% (CA)* + fixed fee based on currency

*3.7% for sales to the US

3.9% + 30¢

Transaction Fees from Shopify


0.5%-2.0% depending on your Shopify plan

0.5%-2.0% depending on your Shopify plan

0.5%-2.0% depending on your Shopify plan

International Payment Fees

None (US)

3.3% - 3.9% + 30¢,

Depending on your Shopify plan (CA)


2.5% currency conversion charge + 1.5% international transaction fee (US)

$2.99/ $4.99 (depending on country) +

2.9% + fixed fee based on the currency


Fees for Chargeback

$15 - full refund if dispute ends in your favour

$20 - seller protect available

$20 plus tax - only if not covered under Payment Protection Policy



No, but compatible with several



Recurring/ subscription billing

Yes - via third-party app




Accepts Apple Pay






24/7 phone, chat, & email support

24/7 phone, chat and email support

24/7 phone and email support and online community forum

24/7 phone, chat and email support

Extra features?

Get access to accelerated checkouts, like Shopify Pay

GST already is included in all fees

Payouts are only every 3 days

Provides free access to their API

PCI Level 1-compliant (highest level of security certification)

No termination fee

Accepts in-person, online, over the phone, and donations.

Supports Express and eBay payments.

PayPal Credit feature.

No termination fee

Protect customers with the Amazon A-to-z Guarantee at no additional cost.

You can use Amazon’s logos and buttons on your site.

Proactive fraud detection

No termination fee

Benefits and Features of these gateways

There are a few important features that all of the above payment gateways offer, and features you should definitely think about if you're choosing a different gateway.

Mobile Payments

Because mobile payments are one of the most important features for online shoppers, all of the above gateways offer the ability to check out directly from a phone or tablet.

Point of Sale (POS)

For retailers who sometimes sell in person, such as markets, pop-ups or trade fairs, having a physical point of sale is crucial. Except for Stripe, all of the providers offer hardware like card readers that you can take with you and stay integrated. The appeal of this feature obviously depends on the nature of your store, whether it has a physical presence or exists solely online.

Subscription Billing

PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon Pay all provide recurring subscription billing as part of their main service. To use recurring payments with Shopify Payments, you'll need a third-party app from the Shopify marketplace.

Fraud Protection

Probably the most important feature is the security of the gateway. Whichever service provider you end up choosing you’ll be placing your business’ most sensitive information in their trust. Before launching into a limited time offer, check to see if they have top-end encryption standards. to Protecting your customers from fraud or identity theft is a crucial part of gaining trust. All of the payment gateways you use should include strong protections (and the above do!).

How to set up a payment gateway

Setting up Shopify Payments

To set up Shopify Payments on your store:

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Settings, then click Payments (or press G S P).
  2. In the Accept credit cards section, click Add a provider:
  3. Select Shopify Payments, and then click Continue:
  4. In the Shopify Payments section, click Complete account setup.
  5. Enter the required details about your store and your banking information.
  6. Click Complete account setup.
  7. After you've set up Shopify Payments, you can configure your settings or make a test transaction on your store.

Set-up up Third Party Credit Card Gateways

To activate a credit card gateway:

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Settings, then click Payments.
  2. In the Accept credit cards section, click Add a provider:
  3. In the Change provider dialogue, select Third party credit card provider.
  4. Select the gateway you want to use from the drop-down menu, and then click Continue.
  5. Enter your account credentials for the gateway you selected.
  6. Click Activate, and you are ready to go!

If you’re struggling with payment gateways and can’t decide what one is right for your store’s individual circumstance, let us help by getting in touch. We’ll work with you to set up the optimum payment service. We also give you a leg up in our blog on the innovative marketing tools and inside knowledge to blast Shopify store to success.