Payment gateway fees: What Stripe, PayPal, Square, and Adyen charge


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  1. Introduction
  2. What is a payment gateway?
  3. What are payment gateway fees?
  4. Stripe’s payment gateway fees
  5. Comparison with other payment gateway fees
    1. PayPal
    2. Square
    3. Adyen

Choosing a payment gateway is a major consideration for any business that processes transactions online or accepts electronic payments. Not only does a business’s selection of a payment gateway define much of its payment experience—both on the customer-facing side and internally—but it also determines how much the business will pay to accept payments. Payment gateway fees can significantly impact the overall profitability and cost structure of a business: since every transaction incurs a cost, the choice of a payment gateway and the associated fees can make a substantial difference in net revenue.

As businesses grow and scale, their transaction volume increases, which can amplify the impact of these fees. Below, we’ll walk through the fees associated with using Stripe, as well as other providers such as PayPal, Square, and Adyen. These costs are subject to change, so when you’re ready to begin your search, it’s a good idea to double-check the fees for every provider.

What’s in this article?

  • What is a payment gateway?
  • What are payment gateway fees?
  • Stripe’s payment gateway fees
  • Comparison with other payment gateway fees

What is a payment gateway?

A payment gateway is a service that processes credit card transactions for online and brick-and-mortar stores. Think of it as a digital version of a point-of-sale (POS) terminal you might see in a retail store. When a customer pays for a product or service, the payment gateway encrypts the sensitive payment information and sends it between the bank that issued the card and the business’s bank, making sure that the transaction is valid. The payment gateway acts as an intermediary, ensuring that the transaction is carried out securely and promptly.

A payment gateway is necessary for any online business that wants to accept credit card or direct payments. This technology, which keeps customer information secure as it moves between the business and the payment processor, is a key component in the ecommerce transaction process. There are a variety of options available, each with their own features designed to fit the needs of different business types. In addition, global transaction value from digital payments is expected to total almost $14.8 trillion by 2027, highlighting the growing demand for reliable payment gateways.

What are payment gateway fees?

Payment gateway fees are the costs businesses incur while using a payment gateway’s services, specifically when it comes to processing credit card transactions. These fees can be broken down into several types:

  • Setup fees
    This is a one-time cost that a business pays when it first creates an account with a payment gateway. This fee covers the initial configuration and integration of the payment gateway with the business’s sales system.

  • Transaction fees
    Payment gateways charge these fees every time a transaction is processed. They can be a fixed amount for each transaction, a percentage of the sale amount, or sometimes both. This fee compensates the gateway for processing the transaction.

  • Monthly fees
    Some payment gateways charge businesses a recurring monthly fee for access to their services, regardless of the number of transactions processed.

  • Chargeback fees
    When a customer disputes a charge and a transaction is reversed, the business may incur a chargeback fee. This fee covers the administrative work involved in managing the dispute.

  • Refund fees
    If a business issues a refund, some gateways might charge a refund fee. This fee covers the cost of returning funds to the customer.

  • PCI compliance fees
    Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is mandatory for businesses that handle credit card transactions. Some gateways might charge a fee for maintaining this security standard.

  • Termination fees
    If a business decides to cancel their account before the end of a contract term, they may need to pay a termination fee. This compensates the gateway for the early end of the service agreement.

  • Miscellaneous fees
    Payment gateways may charge other fees for additional services, such as international transactions, currency conversion, or using premium services such as advanced fraud protection. These fees can vary from one payment gateway to the next.

Different payment gateways have their own fee structures, and businesses typically select a service based on how these costs align with their sales volume and business model. Some payment gateways might have lower transaction fees but charge higher monthly fees, making them more suitable for businesses with a high number of transactions. Others might have no monthly fee but higher transaction costs, which could be more economical for businesses with lower sales volumes.

It’s important for businesses to review these fees carefully to determine the most cost-effective solution for their particular situation.

Stripe’s payment gateway fees

Here’s a list of the fees Stripe charges businesses for various payment processing services:

  • Transaction fees: Stripe charges 2.9% + 30¢ for each successful card charge. Additional fees apply for specific scenarios: 0.5% for manually entered cards, 1.5% for international cards, and 1% if currency conversion is necessary.

  • ACH direct debit: For ACH direct debit transactions, Stripe charges 0.8% with a cap at $5.00 per transaction.

  • Additional payment methods: For payment methods such as iDEAL, fees start at 80¢ per transaction.

  • 3D Secure authentication: Stripe offers this security feature with a fee of 3¢ per 3D Secure attempt for accounts with custom pricing.

  • Card account updater: For saved customers, Stripe automatically updates expired or renewed card information, charging 25¢ per update for accounts with custom pricing.

  • Machine learning models for authorization: Stripe includes machine learning models to help increase authorization rates, charging 0.08% per successful card charge for accounts with custom pricing.

  • Instant payouts: Stripe provides instant payouts for 1% of the payout volume, with a minimum fee of 50¢.

  • Dispute charges: Stripe charges $15 per dispute. This is also known as a chargeback fee.

Stripe does not charge setup fees or monthly fees, and there are no hidden costs associated with Stripe’s standard pricing model.

Comparison with other payment gateway fees

Here’s a look at the pricing and fees for a few other leading providers.


PayPal’s fee structure is as follows:

  • Setup fees: None. It’s free to set up a PayPal account.

  • Transaction fees: PayPal charges a fee that ranges from 2.99% + 49¢ for standard credit and debit card payments to 3.49% + 49¢ for PayPal digital payments.

  • Monthly fees: PayPal offers some services with monthly fees, such as PayPal Payments Advanced for $5 per month and PayPal Payments Pro for $30 per month.

  • Chargeback fees: PayPal charges a $20 chargeback fee, which can be waived with chargeback protection services that cost additional per-transaction fees.

  • Refund fees: PayPal does not refund the transaction fee on refunds, the cost of which is the original transaction fee amount.

  • Instant transfer fees: PayPal charges 1.5% of the transfer value with a minimum fee of 50¢ for instant transfers.

  • Payout fees: PayPal charges a fee for payouts—2% per transaction when using a spreadsheet (capped at $1), or a flat fee of 25¢ per payment via API (application programming interface).

  • Direct comparison: Stripe does not charge monthly fees, setup fees, or have a tiered structure for card-present or card-not-present transactions. PayPal has a more complex fee structure with a variety of transaction fees, some monthly fees for additional services, and other specific fees (such as chargeback protection).


  • ACH direct debit: Square charges a 1% fee with a minimum of $1 per ACH bank transfer transaction.

  • Additional payment methods: For Afterpay, Square charges a fee of 6% + 30¢ per transaction. This applies to different payment types, including in-person and online sales.

  • Chargeback fees: Square does not charge for chargeback and dispute management.

  • Direct comparison: Square has a straightforward fee structure, with a consistent rate for card-present transactions and a higher rate for keyed entries. However, Stripe provides more granular visibility with additional fees for specific scenarios such as manual card entry and currency conversion. Square may be advantageous for larger businesses with its lack of chargeback fees and the potential for custom rates at high sales volumes, while Stripe may provide more options for businesses with international customers with its additional fees for certain types of transactions.


Adyen, another payment provider, isn’t as transparent about its fees as Stripe and Square are. Here’s a rundown of the available fees:

  • ACH direct debit: Adyen charges 13¢ + 27¢ per ACH or direct debit transaction within the US for ecommerce and point-of-sale payments.

  • Alternative payment methods: For methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, Adyen charges a transaction fee of 13¢, with the actual payment method fee depending on the card used. For Klarna, the fee is 13¢ + 4.29% + 30¢. For Afterpay, it’s 13¢ + 4.99% + 30¢​​.

  • Chargeback fees: Adyen charges a fee for chargebacks, and this fee varies by payment method. But information about the exact amount and nature of the fee is not readily available​​.

  • Other fees: Adyen does not charge setup fees, early termination fees, annual fees, monthly account fees, PCI compliance fees, gateway fees, or additional processing fees for currency conversion​​.

  • Direct comparison: Adyen has a similar fee structure as Stripe for ACH direct debit transactions, though with a lower minimum fee. However, for alternative payment methods, Adyen’s fees can be higher than Stripe’s, especially for services such as Afterpay. Adyen’s requirement of a minimum invoice amount or transaction volume may also make the gateway less accessible for smaller or new businesses compared to Stripe, which has a more open policy.

When choosing a payment gateway, it’s important to consider how your provider will affect customer satisfaction and conversion rates. For instance, a gateway that provides an intuitive and secure checkout experience can lead to higher customer retention and more sales. Choosing the right payment gateway for your business means looking at more than just the costs—but the costs do matter as well. Learn more about Stripe’s pricing structure.

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