The tidal wave known as bitcoin mania arrived at our shores in mid-2017. Released back in 2009, by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency based on an innovative new technology called blockchain.
Cryptocurrencies allow for the transfer of coins between individuals on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, which effectively eliminates the need for outside parties to be involved in the transaction.
While the value of each bitcoin had been steadily rising since the release of bitcoin, it was the enormous surge in the price of bitcoin that occurred in 2017 that heralded the true arrival of the cryptocurrency.
The price of a single bitcoin rose from around $1,000 in January. to around $20,000 by the beginning of December, and despite falling to around half that value today, bitcoin still retains a market capitalization of over $171 billion.
In this article, I aim to reveal the best bitcoin payment gateways out there today. I will start by giving a brief explanation as to why adding bitcoin to your existing payment methods is a good idea, before giving an explanation of how these cryptocurrency payment processors operate.
After I have done so, I will reveal the best bitcoin payment gateways for merchants in 2018 and examine what unique features they each have to offer.
As a digital currency, Bitcoin can and should be used for its intended purpose – to facilitate the transfer of payment for goods and services. The more merchants that accept bitcoin as a form of payment the quicker cryptocurrencies will take root.
As a merchant, the importance of offering a good range of different payment options cannot be understated. Accepting bitcoin as a means of payment will give merchants access to new customers and help to boost profits. It is a win-win situation that no merchant should ignore.
What is a bitcoin payment gateway?
A bitcoin payment gateway allows merchants to accept transactions in bitcoin. These days, most of these payment processors facilitate the buying and selling of many other altcoins such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash too.
As you are no doubt aware, the cryptocurrency market is incredibly volatile. The price of bitcoin fell 45% in December 2017, from $20,000 down to just below $11,000. This kind of volatility means that business enterprises of all sizes need to ensure that any payments received in bitcoin are quickly converted into fiat currency to avoid any potential losses.
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Payment processors facilitate the immediate transfer of bitcoin and other altcoins into fiat currency. They allow merchants to automate these payments and provide a host of other tools and reports to help make the whole process as convenient as possible.
Why businesses should accept bitcoin
There are a number of benefits to allowing customers to pay with bitcoin. Here are the main reasons merchants should consider adding bitcoin to their payment method portfolio:
• Offer existing customers new ways of paying
• Gain access to new customers who prefer using cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services
• To allow customers a discreet payment method (no embarrassing credit card statements)
• Payments are secure and are retained indefinitely on the blockchain ledger
• Reduce the costs that come with other payment methods such as credit cards etc.
• To help support the cryptocurrency revolution
Best cryptocurrency payment gateways of 2018
Coinbase is the largest bitcoin exchange in the United States and is also one of the biggest cryptocurrency global exchanges as well. With such a large number of users, Coinbase has the resources to develop some amazing features to help make life easier for its users.
The company is based in the United States and therefore is required to adhere to all U.S laws on currency exchanges. For this reason it is one of the most trustworthy exchanges, something which is very important given that the cryptocurrency market remains largely unregulated.
Coinbase can be used as a payment gateway as well as a normal exchange. It facilitates instant currency conversion from Bitcoin into fiat currency without the need for the merchant to have to request a withdrawal. The exchange offers this service entirely free on the first $1 million of transactions, after which Coinbase levies a merchant fee of 1% from then on.
Payments will clear to the merchant’s bank account in the normal time of 2 to 3 days, making it a great option for businesses of all sizes. The only drawback to Coinbase is that it only operates in a limited number of countries worldwide. For more information, you can click this link to visit their site.
Coingate has a really user-friendly app that allows merchants to set up and monitor payments from their phones. It also has the added bonus that it supports some 40 other cryptocurrencies, meaning that merchants can massively boost the number of different payment methods that they offer just by using this payment gateway.
As if that wasn’t enough to grab your interest, Coingate offers a range of different plugins and even allows for the creation of bitcoin payment buttons on any website. Coingate charge a 1% fee on all transactions, which usually take about 1 hour.
Undeniably one of the best payment processors for bitcoin, AlfaCoins has the unique feature of offering payments to be split between fiat and cryptocurrency. For those merchants who wish to retain some amount of bitcoin from each transaction to cash in on surging prices, this is a great option as it allows them to hedge their bets without risking the entire amount.
While AlfaCoins has a slightly lower transaction fee of 0.99%, it doesn’t offer the $1 million worth of free transactions that Coinbase does. That said, however, AlfaCoins charges no further fees to install the payment gateway and is subscription free too. A further bonus is that AlfaCoins can be used in any country with the exception of Iran and North Korea. It allows funds to be withdrawn in USD or Euro.
Shopify is one of the world most trusted bitcoin payment gateways. As a result, it is already being used by 1,000’s of merchants throughout the world to facilitate payments in bitcoin.
It is really easy to set up and has plenty of customer service support should you need any help. The platform is crammed with loads of good features, including APIs that allow integrations with Coinbase and other payment gateways that help make payment processing as easy and transparent as possible.
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The only drawback with Shopfy is that merchants are required to sign up for a Shopfy merchant account in order to use the payment processing facility. Transaction fees vary depending on which payment processor a merchant chooses.
A really cool feature that BitPay offers is the ability to set withdrawal transaction speeds to whatever time frame is required. This feature is really handy for merchants who need or prefer withdrawals to occur at set intervals. Another nice feature is the two-factor authentication that helps make accounts even more secure.
BitPay is an easy and simple payment gateway to set up and operate. The whole process has been streamlined to make it as straightforward as possible for less tech-minded merchants.
This bitcoin payment gateway offers a free cap of $1,000 worth of daily transactions and $10,000 annual transactions before it levies a 1% transaction fee. This makes it an excellent choice for small businesses and startups. The only drawback is that BitPay currently only supports direct bank deposits in 38 countries. If yours is not lucky enough to make it to the list then you won’t be able to use it.
GoCoin is much loved by developers around the globe. This is because it offers a very simple and straightforward API for them to use. GoCoin offers lots of plugins so it can be used on a number of online shopping platforms including Shopfy.
This cryptocurrency payment gateway receives rave reviews for its customer service. It offers payouts in USD and charges a flat 1% fee on all transactions. It is supported in all but a handful of countries around the world making it an accessible option for merchants everywhere.
For those merchants who are looking to try to get the cheapest rate on transaction fees then BitcoinPay is definitely one of the best bitcoin payment gateways out there. It charges just 0.8% on all transactions making it the least expensive payment gateway on this list.
Despite having lower fees, BitcoinPay still offers super-fast withdrawals where funds are received and available in seconds. It supports payments to bitcoin wallets and other e-wallets along with to bank accounts, and so is a good option for those merchants who are serious about cryptocurrencies.
As an added bonus, BitcoinPay also offers really clear reports that help merchants review completed transactions easily. This function will undoubtedly be welcomed by small business owners who have to check transactions manually. BitcoinPay currently offers plugins for Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, PrestaShop and several other shopping platforms.
If you are wondering how to accept Bitcoin when your business enterprise doesn’t have a bank account then GoURL is an excellent solution. GoURL works with all the major bitcoin wallets and is even compatible with bitcoin debit cards such as the one offered by BitPay. As a result, it offers a high degree of anonymity, something which is appealing to many users of bitcoin.
Its WordPress plugin is highly regarded, something which helped it be be rated as one of the best payment gateway plugins for that platform. The GoURL platform offers clear payment breakdowns that make managing orders really straightforward. Payments are received within 30 seconds of being transacted and are extremely reliable. Another great feature about this platform is that it allows merchants to setup 1-click payments on their sites using Monetiser Online.
Sadly, there are a few drawbacks with GoURL as a payment gateway. Firstly, the platform doesn’t offer direct bank transfers, which for some businesses will certainly be a frustration. Secondly, fees are high when compared to the other payment gateways on this list. GoURL charges a 1.5% fee on all payments made through a website and 3.5% for using Monetiser Online. Since these prices are comparable to the credit card fees that businesses must pay, it is unlikely that any merchant will choose GoURL on the grounds of trying to save money.
SpicePay’s unique selling feature is that it enables merchants to withdraw their bitcoin payments via PayPal and even debit cards along with the standard bank transfer. Withdrawals can be made in either USD or Euro depending on the merchant’s preference.
Euro payments are slower than some of the quicker exchanges and take up to 24 hours to complete. SpicePay charges a flat rate of 1% on all transactions, though new merchants get free transactions for a limited amount of time.
Generally speaking, SpicePay wouldn’t be my first choice of payment gateway as it lacks a number of helpful features that others on this list possess. However, if your business relies heavily on PayPal then it is certainly a great platform to consider.
Spectrocoin is a pretty standard payment gateway. One nice feature is that it doesn’t require verification to set up an account, so merchants can get it up and running quickly and without much hassle. Otherwise, it offers the average 1% fee on all transactions, immediate automatic withdrawals straight to the merchant’s bank account, and payment plugins for VirtueMart, Drupal, OpenCart, ZenCart, Magento, Prestashop, as well as several other shopping sites.
While this platform doesn’t have any unique features to satisfy those merchants who have special needs from their payment gateway, Spectrocoin is a bulletproof option for those merchants that just need a reliable gateway to processes their bitcoin transactions immediately and without any fuss.
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