Singapore’s e-commerce market is on the rise, with projected growth from $6.59 billion in 2023 to $10.45 billion by 2027, according to Statista. Payment gateways are crucial for this expansion by supporting online transactions as consumer habits shift.
In 2022, 3.3 million Singaporeans shopped online, a 7.6% increase from the previous year, highlighting the need for efficient payment solutions for enhanced customer experiences. This trend stresses the importance for businesses to adapt to e-commerce developments.
This article delves into the importance of alternative payment avenues and choosing the ideal payment gateway solution.
Understanding Payment Gateways
Payment Gateways serve as a bridge between your e-commerce website and the payment processing network. A payment gateway validates the customer’s card details securely, ensures funds are available, and allows merchants to get paid. It acts similarly to a point-of-sale terminal found in retail stores.
Aside from credit and debit cards, the ascent of alternative payment methods is revolutionizing transaction processes in Singapore’s e-commerce sector. In 2023, such methods accounted for 38.6% of the e-commerce transaction value.
“While payments cards traditionally remain the preferred choice for e-Commerce payments, alternative payments are increasingly gaining prominence with their collective share catching up with payment cards,” said Kartik Challa, Senior Banking and Payments Analyst at GlobalData, in an interview with Retail Asia.
That said, security is paramount in online transactions, and payment gateways incorporate sophisticated payment security measures to protect sensitive data. They encrypt the data involved in the transaction, reducing the risk of fraud and data breaches.
A typical payment gateway workflow is as follows:
1. Card Details Submission: When you input your payment details, the gateway encrypts the information to keep it safe.
2. Authorization Request: This encrypted data is sent to the payment processor or bank associated with the card.
3. Approval or Decline: The transaction is either approved or declined based on funds availability and fraud checks.
4. Confirmation: You receive a confirmation, and the funds are transferred to the merchant’s account.
Facilitating Secure Payments
Payment gateways incorporate several layers of security measures to protect sensitive financial information. Encryption is a fundamental feature, safeguarding data as it travels from the customer’s browser to the merchant’s server.
Gateways also comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies processing, storing, or transmitting credit card information maintain a secure environment.
These security protocols are crucial in preventing fraud and unauthorized access, making online shopping safer for consumers.
When choosing a payment gateway, consider these essential security measures:
- Strong Encryption: Encrypts data to protect sensitive information, crucial for credit card security.
- Authentication: Verifies payer identity using passwords, PINs, or biometrics.
- Fraud Prevention: Monitors transactions in real-time to identify and alert on fraudulent activities.
- PCI DSS Compliance: Adheres to security standards set for handling major brand credit cards.
Top Payment Gateways in Singapore
At a Glance
Payment Gateway Option
Developer-Focused, Customizable Payment Needs
Transaction fees start at 3.4% + S$0.5 for card payments
SMEs Wanting A Trusted, Easy-Setup Solution
Transaction fee of 3.49% + 0.69 SGD for domestic transactions
Secure, Local Merchant Support in Singapore
Pay-as-you-go pricing at 1.5% + S$0.25 per transaction
Mobile Payments Within Southeast Asia’s Grab Network
Transaction fee of 1% + 7% GST
Global Businesses Needing Versatile Payment Integration
Fixed fee of S$0.13 + a fee determined by the payment method
1. Stripe – Best for Developer-Focused, Customizable Payment Needs
Stripe SG, Singapore’s premier payment processing service, caters to the varied demands of local enterprises. Its advanced technology and intuitive design facilitate effortless online and mobile payments, equipped with features suitable for startups and major companies alike.
Keith Rabois, an ex-PayPal vice president and current supporter of both Stripe and Square, predicted in a report by Reuters, “I would expect that both (Stripe and Square) could be larger than PayPal.”
Pros and Cons
- Seamless integration for online businesses
- No setup, monthly, or hidden fees
- A robust API for customization
- Supports various payment methods, such as PayNow, a Singapore-based payment method with a QR code.
- Charges per transaction may be higher for some business models
- Custom pricing may be necessary for high-volume operations
- May require technical knowledge to set up custom solutions.
- Stripe actively surveys accounts for unusual activity, occasionally freezing or closing them over perceived risks, disrupting merchant operations.
- Complete payments platform enabling a streamlined experience from accepting payments to managing financial processes.
- Developer-friendly tools that offer customizability with their well-documented APIs.
- Scalability for businesses of all sizes, adaptable to various payment volumes.
- Cards, eWallets, Bank debits and transfers, Cash-based vouchers, and more.
- Transaction fees start at 3.4% + S$0.5 for card payments
- “Honestly, these days, any big company that even offers support from a real human being that can be accessed quickly by a customer in need is a big win. Whoever I worked with at the time was diligent and ended up resolving my issue in a timely fashion.” – CW, Trustpilot
2. PayPal – Best for SMEs Wanting A Trusted, Easy-Setup Solution
PayPal is a leading global payment platform that offers a comprehensive suite of payment solutions for individuals and businesses in Singapore and around the world. With its secure and user-friendly interface, PayPal facilitates online transactions, making it easier for merchants to accept payments and for consumers to make purchases.
The platform is renowned for its robust security measures, including fraud protection and 24/7 monitoring, ensuring a safe environment for online financial transactions.
Pros and Cons
- All-in-one payment gateway and merchant account solution.
- Supports over 45 payment methods, including standard credit/debit cards, PayPal, and regional methods.
- Global reach with multi-currency support
- Strong fraud protection measures
- Fees can be higher compared to some other gateways
- Account suspension issues reported by some users
- Complex fee structure for cross-border transactions
- Offers a convenient One-Touch feature, allowing users to make purchases without having to enter their login details every time, streamlining the checkout process.
- Offers a comprehensive buyer protection program that covers eligible purchases, ensuring customers can shop with confidence.
- Utilizes advanced encryption and 24/7 fraud monitoring to safeguard users’ information and transactions.
- Supports international payments, making it possible for merchants to accept payments from customers worldwide in over 25 currencies.
- Credit and debit cards, bank transfers, PayPal balance, PayPal credit, and local payment methods.
- Transaction fee of 3.49% + 0.69 SGD for PayPal Checkout (domestic transactions)
- “PayPal lets you easily make purchases and sell goods on eBay and thousands of other stores. It also supports international transactions and peer-to-peer payments, making it the friendliest way to exchange funds online.” Elsa Wenzel, Gregg Keizer, CNET
3. eWay Singapore – Best for Secure, Local Merchant Support in Singapore
eWay is a global online payment gateway provider that enables businesses to accept secure credit card payments from customers. Operating in multiple countries, eWay integrates seamlessly with a wide range of e-commerce platforms and shopping carts, offering a robust solution for online retail. Known for its straightforward setup process and strong focus on security, eWay provides merchants with a reliable and efficient payment processing service.
Pros and Cons
- High level of security with fraud protection tools.
- Easy integration with various e-commerce platforms.
- Offers real-time payments and reporting.
- Fees may be higher than some competitors.
- Limited payment options compared to larger payment gateways.
- Pay-as-you-go pricing at an affordable flat rate of 1.5% + S$0.25 per transaction
- No lock-in contracts, no hidden fees
- Streamlines the process of integrating the payment gateway with your online store.
- Advanced fraud prevention tools to safeguard transactions.
- Certified with level 1 PCI DSS compliance — the highest level of encryption available
- Accepts major credit and debit cards including Visa and MasterCard, mobile payment, and Apple Pay (alternative payment methods vary based on region)
- Pay-as-you-go pricing at an affordable flat rate of 1.5% + S$0.25 per transaction
4. GrabPay – Best for Mobile Payments Within Southeast Asia’s Grab Network
GrabPay is a digital wallet platform developed by Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading super app. It facilitates mobile payments within the Grab app, allowing users to pay for a wide range of services including rides, food deliveries, and online purchases.
GrabPay aims to promote financial inclusion across the region by providing a convenient and secure way for users to conduct transactions without the need for cash or credit cards.
Pros and Cons
- Wide acceptance across various services and merchants in Southeast Asia.
- Earn rewards points for transactions made within the Grab ecosystem.
- Enhances convenience with quick QR code payments.
- Primarily available and focused in Southeast Asia, with limited use outside the region.
- Dependency on the Grab ecosystem for maximum benefits.
- Easily pays for rides, food delivery, and other Grab services.
- GrabPay offers a range of payment options such as in-store QR code scanning and online transactions
- Earn points on every transaction, which can be redeemed for discounts and offers.
- Enhanced security features protect users’ financial information.
- Accepts major credit and debit cards including Visa and MasterCard, mobile payment, GrabPay Wallet, eWallet, and more.
- Transaction fee of 1% + 7% GST that is legally required
- “Easy to use, payment always goes through smoothly. Excellent rewards system” – Tyler Tan YR, Seedly
5. Adyen – Best for Global Businesses Needing Versatile Payment Integration
Adyen is a global payment platform that offers businesses a single solution to accept payments anywhere in the world. It supports an extensive range of payment methods and currencies, making it ideal for companies looking to expand their international reach.
Adyen’s platform is known for its ability to provide insights into payment data, helping businesses optimize their payment processes and improve customer experiences. In fact, top global brands, including LinkedIn, Booking.com, and SHEIN, choose Adyen for their payment gateway solutions.
Pros and Cons
- Supports a wide array of payment methods and currencies.
- Offers detailed analytics and reporting tools.
- Provides a single platform for both offline and online payments.
- The platform can be complex to navigate for new users.
- Pricing may not be as transparent as some businesses would prefer.
- Fees can be relatively high for low-volume transactions
- Limited personalized customer support
- Offers a single platform for accepting payments online, on mobile, and at the point of sale.
- Advanced risk management tools help minimize fraud, utilizing machine learning and sophisticated algorithms, while maximizing acceptance rates.
- Access to real-time payment data and analytics to drive business decisions.
- Accepts major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX, bank transfers, eWallets like PayPal and AliPay, and local payment methods
- Fixed fee of S$0.13 + a fee determined by the payment method
- “The platform makes our life easier. It is easy to use so we don’t have to waste time on extensive training. Everyone from the team can use it and check the information they need. It also helps us by offering more payment options to all our international clients without having to stick only on the main card issuers.” – verified reviewer, Capterra
So which is the right payment gateway for your business?
Stripe offers developer-friendly, customizable payment options with a wide method range, including PayNow. Its fees can be high for large-volume businesses, requiring custom deals. PayPal appeals to SMEs with its easy setup, global recognition, and over 45 payment methods, despite concerns over fees and account issues.
eWay Singapore and GrabPay cater to specific markets, with eWay focusing on secure, easy integration for local merchants and GrabPay on mobile payments within Southeast Asia. Adyen serves global businesses with extensive payment methods, currencies, and advanced analytics, though its complexity may deter smaller businesses. Each gateway suits different business needs based on features, costs, and regional focus.
1. Which is the Best Payment Gateway in Singapore?
Identifying the best payment gateway in Singapore depends on your specific needs such as transaction fees, payment options, and security features. Factors to consider include how the gateway integrates with your current systems and the types of payment methods supported. Businesses often look for a seamless user experience combined with robust security measures.
2. What Are the Top 5 Best Payment Gateways?
The top 5 payment gateways in Singapore are often judged based on their reliability, user interface, and support for multiple payment methods. While opinions vary, you might find a list that includes the likes of PayPal and Stripe for their global recognition and local adaptability.
3. What is the Most Popular Payment Method in Singapore?
Credit and debit cards remain popular payment methods in Singapore. However, e-wallets and mobile payments are rapidly gaining acceptance, reflecting the country’s swift adoption of innovative digital solutions. The choice of the most popular payment method also depends on demographic factors and the context of the transaction.
4. Is PayNow a Payment Gateway?
No, PayNow is not a payment gateway. It is a peer-to-peer funds transfer service that allows users to send and receive Singapore dollars instantly using their mobile number or National Registration Identity Card (NRIC)/Foreign Identification Number (FIN). This service is commonly used by individuals but is also integrated into some business payment processes.
Unlike payment gateways, which facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers in e-commerce settings by processing credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of digital payments, PayNow is primarily focused on simplifying bank transfers. It enables users to make payments without having to share their bank account details, enhancing privacy and security.
Payment gateways are crucial for facilitating online transactions, offering both businesses and customers convenience and reliability. The compatibility of a payment gateway with your ecommerce platform, the transaction fees involved, and the payment methods supported are pivotal elements to consider.
- Stripe excels in tailor-made solutions with its advanced API, though fees may vary by business model.
- PayPal suits SMEs with its straightforward setup and broad payment options, despite complex fees for international transactions.
- eWay offers secure, simple integration for Singapore, while GrabPay targets mobile payments in Southeast Asia, stressing the need for market-aligned gateways.
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