Best Payment Gateway for SaaS
What is the best SaaS Billing system to serve your company’s needs and provide a robust, yet simple integration for your product?
Choosing the best Payment Gateway is definitely not the easiest choice to make! That’s why we decided to provide a cohesive roadmap to navigate you and your company through the individual differences of every major payment gateway out there.
Still looking to understand the basics? Check out our guide to accepting payments online
In the early days of running a software company, collecting payments was pretty straightforward. The customer was buying a license for the software and they get the product (through download or CD).
Jump to today where most (even all) software companies are using a SaaS business model, things are not so simple. As the complexity of services and software is advancing, so does the pricing for those products.
Recurring payments, multiple and varying pricing plans, yearly and monthly billing, add-ons, variable payments, pay-per-usage, the list goes on.
Entering the world of SaaS Billing and the complexities that companies face, in this guide we are going to take you through:
- The best subscription billing services
- The 3 types of SaaS billing systems used
To better understand the use, simplicity, integration capabilities, and compatibility of every different Payment Gateway, we should first understand the steps that a customer goes through when subscribing to your SaaS product.
First, they choose a plan and a payment method.
Then, their billing information needs to be collected so you charge them.
Finally, their subscription needs to be saved, to charge them monthly or yearly and manage things like upgrades, downgrades, cancellations, invoice downloads, discounts.
Each step needs a different system:
- Payment Gateway
- Merchant Account
- Subscription Management
Combining all 3 of them creates a seamless process that’s automated and happens in the “backend” or the background of a payment processing activity.
(original source: ChartMogul)
A payment gateway is a system that allows customers to send their payment information securely. When your customers enter their credit card and billing information, the payment gateway contacts the bank, informing them of the amount that needs to be charged. Paypal, Stripe, and Everypay are good examples.
A merchant account is an account to which your customer’s payments are received. Meaning, that the merchant account provides the “haven” where the customer’s subscription money goes into.
Conveniently enough, payment gateway systems, most of the time provide the merchant account. For example, Stripe, Revolut, and Braintree offer merchant accounts, with Stripe and Braintree being also payment gateways.
The subscription Management Platform allows you to charge and handle subscriptions of your customers every month.
There is a distinct difference between the one-off purchase from an e-commerce company and the SaaS subscription, as the first needs to charge you only once, whereas the latter every month, or whatever payment cycle they are on.
The subscription management system does exactly that. It lets you manage the process while providing the customer certain comforts and automation (tax automation, invoice downloads, upgrades, and downgrades from plans). An example of a subscription management tool is Chargebee and Recurly.
Best Subscription billing services
Now that we have been introduced to the different parts of SaaS Billing, the next step is choosing the right subscription billing service (or services) to collect payments for your SaaS business.
Either being payment gateways or/and merchant accounts or/and subscription management services, every tool out of the tons out there have their pros and cons. Either from a cost perspective or functionality and simplicity in integration, we are attempting a deep dive into the topmost reviewed and ranked SaaS billing services.
Stripe is the most popular SaaS billing system. It is both a payment gateway and merchant account, as well as a subscription management platform. One of the best features Stripe users value is usage-based pricing, which makes it easy for any SaaS startup to sign up and start using it.
- Multiple Integrations(including Pricewell)
- Pricing is fairly friendly for new SaaS companies
- All-in-one solution
- Scaling can make the fees to add up
- Setting up can become confusing
- Add-on services can make pricing expensive
Stripe charges a fee of 2.9 % + $0.30 per transaction. Additional fees and services you can get are instant payouts, Stripe Checkout, advanced fraud detection, and more.
Who is Stripe an ideal fit for?
Stripe is a good fit for most SaaS companies, particularly for the ones just starting. There are no monthly fees, but setting up can be challenging and time-consuming. Stripe integrates with tools you’re probably using already to run your business, so sometimes can be a no-brainer.
Braintree is a service owned by Paypal, which has grown to a Stripe alternative for most SaaS companies. Similar to Stripe, Braintree is a payment gateway, merchant account, and subscription management platform.
The greatest advantage of using Braintree, as a Paypal subsidiary, is the added benefit of being able to offer Paypal for payments. Braintree also works with mobile apps, as well as traditional SaaS.
- Cheaper than Stripe (1.9% vs, 2.9% +$0.30)
- Extended availability (45+ countries geographical reach)
- Accept Paypal Payments
- Integration with existing merchant accounts
- Skewed towards one-off transactions than recurring payments
- Subscription Analytics needed
- Confusing when setting up
Braintree charges a fee of 1.9% +$0.30 per transaction
Braintree is good for international SaaS companies, or the ones who want to accept Paypal payments. Just a great, cheaper alternative to Stripe.
Recurlyis a subscription management platform that gives you features omitted both in Stripe and Braintree for managing recurring billing.
A requirement to use Recurly, however, is to already have a payment gateway and Merchant account. That effectively means that you use Recurly on top of services like Braintree or Stripe.
Some of the benefits you get from Recurly are better reporting, full-on subscription management, and enhanced flexibility for different billing models. For instance, whether you offer metered pricing, tiered pricing, freemium models, pay-per-usage, or any other hybrid model, Recurly can be set up to manage billing for any of them.
- Many integrations with analytics and reporting tools
- Works with almost every subscription pricing model
- Not easily and simply customizable to meet individual needs
- Reporting may lag to full-on SaaS Analytics
Recurly starts at $149 per month, plus 0.9% of revenue.
Who is Recurly an ideal fit for?
Recurly can serve well subscription businesses that already have a payment gateway and merchant account, but want more subscription management options and features.
Chargebeeis a subscription management system for handling SaaS subscriptions and recurring billing. Chargebee, similarly to Recurly, is not a payment gateway nor a merchant account provider, so you’ll need to use it cooperatively with another service.
Chargebee is focused on SaaS businesses, something that makes it intriguing as a subscription management option, as it provides features like price experimentation, upselling, tax automation, revenue recognition, managing trials, and others.
Chargebee, in short, goes one step further, not just collecting and organizing your subscriptions, but testing and optimizing the processes and your SaaS billing strategy.
- A/B Test Pricing and Billing
- Set up and Customization with their API
- Flexibility and Automation in processes
- Lack of appealing User Interface
- Overwhelming Features and sometimes difficult to understand their capabilities
Chargebee has monthly and annual plans, starting at $248/month (for annual plans). That includes $600K in annual revenue and 0.6% of any monthly revenue over that.
Who is Chargebee an ideal fit for?
Chargebee can be a good option for those SaaS companies that want flexibility, automated processes, and want to use the experimentation functionality.
2Checkoutis an online payment processor that handles pretty much everything from digital goods and subscription services to selling physical goods and products.
They offer a wide range of products, but the one dedicated to SaaS companies is 2Subscribe, which is for recurring revenue businesses. It offers a complete billing solution from the payment gateway to merchant account and subscription management.
According to our research, 2Subscribe seems to be more focused on enterprises than smaller startups, but that can sometimes offer its own set of benefits. Accepting payments in over 200 countries and exposure to 2Checkout’s affiliate network can be attributed as 2 benefit examples.
- Good for Global Brands
- An affiliate network can give you enhanced exposure
- Complete Billing Solution
- Pricy Solution
- Long and Confusing Set up
The 2Subscribe plan charges 4.5% + 0.45$ per transaction
Who is 2Checkout an ideal fit for?
2Checkout is an ideal option for larger SaaS companies that want a more Enterprise SaaS billing Solution, which provides you more Add-ons and features at a higher price.
Chargify is a subscription management platform focusing on B2B SaaS (as shown on its website). Chargify can be the “contrarian” on our list, as it targets a specific type of recurring revenue business, in contrast to all above that attempt to differentiate their exposure.
Chargify provides neither a payment gateway nor a merchant account, so using it on top of another service is a requirement.
- Manages the complete customer lifecycle (from billing to subscription management, analytics, and accounting)
- Works well with multiple products’ offers and integrates with many payment gateways
- Good for companies with complex pricing and billing plans
- Pricey for Smaller B2B SaaS
- Lack of invoice Customization
Starts from $599/month +0.9% of revenue up to $70K MRR.
Who is Chargify an ideal fit for?
Good for mid-large SaaS B2B with complex billing needs
Everypayis a payment gateway offered in Europe. They serve almost every type of customer, either recurring billing or one-off purchases (more focused on e-commerce) and they provide cost-effective rates.
Even though the price is cheaper than competitors, Everypay offers fast processing and integrations with many services, specifically linked to e-commerce, like Magento and Woocommerce.
- Cost-effective solution
- Fast-processing time
- Integrations with e-commerce platforms
- Multiple currency support, but conversion to EUR (cannot support $)
- Not as simple and easy interface as Stripe and Braintree
- Difficult to set up
Everypay charges 1.25% in transaction fee. It also provides tailored-made pricing based on individual needs
Who is Everypay an ideal fit for?
Everypay is an option for Europe-based Companies that require fast and cheap processing while dealing with high cash-flow requirements.
Choosing the right SaaS Billing System
Receiving payments and managing subscriptions is the cornerstone of your SaaS business (you don’t get paid otherwise). So spending some time researching can save you tons of time and money.
For most companies, Stripe, Braintree, and even Everypay can serve just right. But options like 2Checkout and Recurly should also be considered.
Integrating a Payment Gateway
Integration can be tricky, developers spend a long time wrangling with outdated APIs (believe me I’ve been there). Luckily the modern breed of Payment Gateway like Stripe make things much easier. There’s still plenty of development work to be done and this takes time that you could be spending on growing your business.
Save $25,000 on integration costs
It’s estimated that SaaS businesses spend in the region of $25,000 to integrate a new Payment Gateway. At PriceWell we try to make your life easier (and cheaper) by providing you the platform that helps you receive and manage subscriptions from your website, without setting up the payment gateway, speeding up the process by a lot, for free! Save thousands by integrating with PriceWell.