Online payment systems

So you have your website set up, you have a great product and/or service to offer and you want to sell it online. Congratulations, you’re becoming an e-commerce business my friend!

A payment gateway is an essential bit of digital kit to allow you to accept payments from your customers. It processes your customers’ sensitive information such as card details and billing address securely. Most importantly, it gets the money into your business.

The payment gateway itself is basically a redirected landing page that people are taken to. You will also need a merchant account (think of this as an online wallet or safe that holds your money). You can move funds to and from your own business bank account with this merchant account.

The promise of keeping administration and overheads down by selling online is an attractive one indeed. However, with many options out there for online payment processing, it can be hard to figure out which one is best for you.

These platforms are built with websites in mind and we have assessed 5 of the best online payment systems that are most relevant to NI businesses:

Payment Provider Transactions Fee Excess Transactions Benefits Currencies



< 1000 transactions per month = 2.75%
£19.95 per month (flat fee)
Contact WorldPay for further options (1000+ transactions per month)
  • Card payments via online
    and email
  • Easy to find best plan to match and adapt as your business grows
  • Easy to setup and customise to your own website design
120+ currencies



< £1500 per month = 3.4% + 20p per transaction
£1500.01 – £6000 per month = 2.9% + 20p per transaction
£6000.01-£15,000 per month = 2.4% + 20p per transaction
£15,000.01 – £55,000 per month = 1.9% + 20p per transaction
Contact PayPal for £55,000+ in transactions
  • Most commonly recognised payment option
    for customers.
  • Sophisticated security to keep data safe
20+ major currencies



1.75% + 9p per transaction + £19 per month Contact Realex for higher volume packages
  • Customers are not impacted by fluctuating exchange rates
  • Integrate payment platform with your own company branding
  • Ideal for small businesses as they provide remote customer service support directly
6 major currencies
+ customer currency conversion supported



1.4% + 20p per transaction (European cards)
2.9% + 20p (non-European cards eg. USA, Australia)
Contact Stripe for higher volume packages
  • No merchant account needed
  • Easy to set up montly subscriptions/retainers
  • Ideal for large e-commerce with many products/services on offer
  • 100+ features including teams for multiple logins to manage the platform
100+ currencies



350 transactions per month = £19.90 per month 12p for each additional transaction over 350 per month
Contact SagePay for higher volume packages
  • Compatible and cost effective with
    various types of merchant accounts
  • Recognised amd trusted brand in Sage for e-commerce targeted at other businesses
  • Easy integration with Sage 50 accounting software to manage invoicing and finances
Dependent on merchant account agreement
with your bank
  1. Worldpayworldpay logo

    Worldpay is one of the largest payment processing organisations out there. They definitely aim themselves at larger enterprises but the services offered do cater for small businesses as well. They are widely regarded as the best solution provider worldwide for online payments.It provides support for over 120 different currencies (including major relevant ones to NI like US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Euro and Sterling) and the language can also be customised to support the language on your website.They are a hosted gateway which means the web forms and security encryption in the back end of the digital transaction is handled by their service. It is fully PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant and SSL encrypted which means solid online protection for customer data.There is an option to send a payment link to the customers via email. There is also an option to have a redirect from your site to a landing page with a payment web form or take that same page and embed it to your own website. This means customers on your site could complete payments without leaving to another site half way through the process.

  2. PayPalpaypal logo

    This is probably the most well know of all online payment platforms. It is one of the best platforms for security of your money and that is why it is so common. It is often considered as a digital wallet for most customers but it has many benefits to consider as an online payment system for business.PayPal works with all major credit card providers and does not require a separate merchant account – so you can pretty much set up for transactions straight away.Even though the security is robust, it is extremely sensitive when it comes to any potential instance of fraud. If you set it up in Northern Ireland and log on across the border in the Republic of Ireland (or on holiday overseas), it can trigger a lockdown of the account. It is simple enough to resolve when this issue occurs by answering some security questions. It can be frustrating when it does occur though. The good news is that you have the option to add multiple users with logins in other regions should you wish.

  3. Realexrealex logo
    Realex Payments is regarded as the leader in online merchant accounts and payment processing.They have a focus on online payment processing and they have cost effective solutions for both small businesses and large enterprises. It is free to setup and deals with all currencies. It too has a hosted payment page which means that their service handles the security of payments and can be embedded within your own website so you don’t lose out on traffic. Realex also offers a reporting tool called RealControl as part of their business package that allows you to monitor progress of your sales through the platform.
  4. Stripe
    stripe logo
    Stripe is similar to PayPal in that it does not require a separate merchant account to accept credit and debit card payments. However, it is different in that it works on charging flat fees on number of transactions and a monthly subscription model.It can be fully integrated with your website so it can work with a web form already created in your website which is a nice feature. It can handle the majority of global currencies although exchanging the customer’s currency into your currency can fluctuate depending on the current exchange rate with Stripe’s banking partners.
  5. SagePay
    sagepay logo
    SagePay is a payment gateway only and you would need to get yourself a separate merchant account to enable this. However, you can choose a merchant account from another provider or get one from SagePay themselves.With Sage already being strong in accounting software the security is robust, trustworthy and well known to business customers. The platform is also PCI compliant. An extra bonus of this is that SagePay easily integrates with Sage50 accounting software if you business is already using that for managing finances.With this platform the money received from the customer’s transaction is directly moved to your bank account the following day so there is no need to manually transfer money.

    These payment platforms are great for handling payments from credit and debit cards. We are able to custom code any of these platforms to integrate payment gateways in order to meet your needs. If you are looking to kick off your e-commerce project please feel free to contact us to get started.