With the rise of cryptocurrency in recent years, businesses are increasingly considering accepting it as a form of payment. However, for those looking to integrate cryptocurrency into their e-commerce shops the sheer number of options and methods can be overwhelming. This is where crypto payment gateways come in – they provide a streamlined solution for accepting cryptocurrency payments and can help simplify the process for businesses of all sizes.
But it’s not as simple as that. There are still many different options and ways to integrate a crypto payment gateway.
San Francisco Download has performed a hands-on integration of five different cryptocurrency payment gateways that are currently available for major e-commerce platforms (namely WooCommerce and Shopify) so we can speak with authority on which is the best crypto payments gateway for your website in 2023.
To execute our test, we worked with ten different San Francisco-based e-commerce shops and, with limited guidance, asked them to install and configure the gateway, letting them know that we would be placing an order with cryptocurrency once it was installed. We’d then ask for their notes on the whole process: what it was like to set up the platform all the way through receiving the funds.
A Brief Summary of Crypto Payment Gateways
|Supported E-Commerce Plugins and Integrations
|Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin
|eBay, WooCommerce, Magento, Amazon
|More than 20 including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
|More than 150 including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
|Shopify, WooCommerce, Primer, Jumpseller
|15 including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
|14 including WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento
|More than 170 including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
|9+ including WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Opencart, PrestaShop, Shopware
True Blockchain Advocates Don’t Trust PayPal and Shopify/Stripe
One e-commerce shop we spoke with had an employee who was bullish on cryptocurrency and knowledgable about the space. When we presented our test to the team, he was interested but insisted they not be “forced” to try PayPal or Shopify’s Stripe-based integration. In his words, “They aren’t real blockchain companies and just don’t get it.”
The assertion is rooted in fact. In 2018, Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison claimed “(Bitcoin) may or may not be important in five years,” citing its unreliability and uncertainty as a reason to shutter Stripe’s early cryptocurrency efforts. Executives at other major American firms have shared similar beliefs and, more importantly, proven their skepticism through their half-hearted product roll-outs. In 2020, for example, PayPal’s cryptocurrency solution launched but was severely limited: users could only buy, sell, and hold crypto, not send or transact.
This has caused many to say they don’t trust PayPal, Shopify, or Stripe when it comes to cryptocurrency, and they believe increased pressure by American regulators only make them stronger in their convictions to avoid.
Coinbase is Easy to Use, Benefits from Name Brand Recognition
Our test included two installations of the Coinbase payment gateway solution, both of which returned notes about how easy installation was and, in a perhaps related correlation, they returned the highest trust ratings of all our test subjects.
One website administrator said, “The feeling with our team is we like the fact Coinbase’s logo appears at checkout. We think that gives our customers a sense that we’re involved in cryptocurrency but with the most-trusted American brand, so it’s not some sketchy black hole that they’ll be sending their crypto-assets into.”
The notes also said they felt most-confident holding assets at a Coinbase wallet for their business because they do the same with their personal assets.
BitPay is Confusing and their Customer Support is Lackluster
BitPay allows users to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, in their words, “without the risk of volatility” as the service will automatically convert your sales into local currency “without any fees.”
The problem is in execution: biggest takeaway from our BitPay test is one of their headline features results in confusion. The conversion takes some time, the reporting dashboard is not always clear, and one has to wonder about the security of assets given BitPay is playing the role of both payment gateway and bank with an intermediate custodial step that represents a potential weakness. Given the concerns around custody of assets with FTX and Binance in recent months, that is a vulnerability that cannot be understated.
And that confusion lead us to another issue: dreadfully slow customer service. While NOWPayments, Coinbase, PayPal, and Shopify all managed to respond to (subsequent) inquiries within 24 hours, BitPay took a minimum of 48 hours to respond to a support ticket, often longer.
Beauty in Simplicity: NOWPayments is Easiest to Use and Understand
The company with the least initial name recognition, NOWPayments, returned the highest score in our test: the two shops that installed it called installation a breeze, the dashboard clear and actionable, and they loved the fact that they could accept payments that passed straight-through to the wallets they already hold as opposed to being forced to trust a gateway with custody of assets.
The survey also reflected the highest approval rating on the customer-side – our team had an easy time but so did the others we asked to complete a transaction. Overwhelmingly, NOWPayments was described as the solution that was most “seamless” for both the customer and e-commerce shop owner.
Our Rankings of Crypto Payment Gateways
- Shopify / Stripe