How to Accept Bitcoin as a Payment Method
Do you have an online business? Do you already accept Bitcoin as a payment method? If not, you definitely should start as soon as possible to avoid losing potential customers. Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, countless businesses around the world have started accepting cryptocurrency payments, including Overstock, Subway, Microsoft, Reddit, Expedia, Namecheap, and OkCupid, just to give a few examples.
Because Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that verifies individual transactions by network nodes through cryptography and records them in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain, it works on the peer-to-peer basis without the need for intermediaries, giving it several advantages over traditional payment methods.
- Privacy-oriented: To complete a Bitcoin payment, customers don’t have to disclose any personal information, and all businesses have to do is give out a Bitcoin address and indicate how much Bitcoin users need to pay.
- Low transaction fees: With the average Bitcoin transaction fee being just $0.20, Bitcoin payments are much cheaper to make than traditional transfer methods, especially international bank transfers. What’s more, Bitcoin never takes a fixed percentage of your payment.
- Instant: Bitcoin payments are processed much faster than bank transfers. Depending on the exact transaction fee amount, it takes as little as 10 minutes for a Bitcoin transaction to be processed.
- Everywhere and anytime: Because of its open nature, Bitcoin doesn’t depend on any specific software. Countless Bitcoin wallets, which are special software programs where Bitcoins are stored, have been developed for all popular platforms, including mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS, allowing customers to complete their purchases from everywhere and anytime.
- Many payment processors: Just like there are many Bitcoin wallets to choose from, there are many payment processors that make it incredibly easy for businesses to start accepting Bitcoin as a payment method. Payment processors instantly convert Bitcoins into fiat currency, protecting businesses from Bitcoin’s volatility.
Bitcoin is particularly useful for businesses that sell digital goods or services, but virtually any business can accept it. We say virtually because there are certain legal considerations to keep in mind, especially since the legal status of Bitcoin varies greatly from country to country. To learn more about the legality of Bitcoin, we recommend you read this Wikipedia article.
Best Bitcoin Payment Processors
There are several ways how businesses can start accepting Bitcoin. In this section, we’re taking a closer look at five best Bitcoin payment processors, whose goal is to make it as easy as possible for businesses to accept Bitcoin payments.
1. Accept Bitcoin Payments Manually
We’ve already explained that one of the main advantages of Bitcoin is the fact that it works on the peer-to-peer basis without the need for intermediaries. In practice, this means that businesses can start accepting Bitcoin payments just by generating a Bitcoin address and providing some basic instructions on how to use it.
The main problem with this method is that it makes the business vulnerable to Bitcoin’s volatility. It’s also inconvenient for people who have never used Bitcoin before. Not everyone knows how easy it is to buy Bitcoin on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Digital Surge. As such, this method can be recommended only to businesses that expect to accept Bitcoin payments only from time to time and in a small volume.
Coinbase is not only one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the world, but it’s also a leading Bitcoin payment processor, allowing businesses to start accepting Bitcoin payments in minutes and without any additional fees. Coinbase integrates with most leading e-commerce platforms, including PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and OpenCart.
Coinbase gives its users full ownership of their cryptocurrency assets, while providing all the benefits of a mature hosted platform. Over 2,000 merchants around the world are already accepting Bitcoin using the platform’s merchant service and taking advantage of its robust API, customizable payment buttons, and hosted checkout pages.
Launched in 2011, BitPay is a US-based Bitcoin payment processor that offers checkout services to businesses that want to accept Bitcoin. It charges a simple, flat 1 percent settlement charge to customers who want to accept Bitcoin and get direct bank deposits in their own currency. Compare that to credit cards, which often take up to 3 percent in processing fees on every transaction, and it should be obvious why businesses find BitPay so attractive.
BitPay has a global presence and it offers direct bank deposits in 33 countries and invoicing in 40 languages. The platform has been designed with multi-user support in mind, so businesses can securely share role-based access to their BitPay account. Just like Coinbase, BitPay is compatible with most leading e-commerce platforms, and it offers payment buttons and hosted checkout pages that can be implemented just by copying and pasting a few lines of script.
CoinGate is based in Lithuania, from where it offers its cryptocurrency payment gateway to over 4,500 business clients and 80,000 registered users. Accepting Bitcoin payments with CoinGate is extremely easy. Businesses simply set the desired price in the currency of their choice, and CoinGate automatically converts the price to Bitcoin. Customers can then pay with Bitcoin or several other cryptocurrencies.
CoinGate charges a 1 percent processing fee, which is paid by the business and not the customer. Thanks to CoinGate API, businesses can integrate and accept Bitcoin payments on any online store and customize everything to fit their needs. Those businesses that have no need for complex customization can effortlessly implement CoinGate payment buttons, which make it possible to accept Bitcoin donations and other simple payments on their sites.
GoUrl is a unique cryptocurrency payment gateway that’s 100 percent free, open source, and hosted publicly on GitHub. GoUrl differs from standard gateways because it’s possible to integrate it fully with standard web pages so that no external payment page opens when customers pay for goods and services. In fact, you don’t even have to have your own site because GoUrl makes it possible to monetize digital goods and services via its Monetiser Online solution.
GoUrl doesn’t keep its customers’ money on its servers. Instead, it automatically forwards all payments to external wallets within 30 minutes from receiving them. On top of that, this unique cryptocurrency payment gateway uses industry-leading security technology to provide the same level of security and privacy to its customers as commercial payment processors.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen with Bitcoin in the future. At the moment, however, there are many reasons why businesses of all sizes should consider accepting this disruptive cryptocurrency as another payment method. Payment processors such as Coinbase, BitPay, CoinGate, and GoUrl make it very easy to start accepting Bitcoin without too much technical knowledge, and cryptocurrency exchanges such as Digital Surge allow customers to effortlessly buy Bitcoin, creating one-of-a-kind cryptocurrency ecosystem that doesn’t depend on any single centralized actor.