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Braintree vs PayPal: How Does Braintree Stack Up for Payment Processing?


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PayPal owns Braintree. Therefore, a choice of the Braintree vs PayPal payment platform is a win-win for PayPal. Online sellers and eCommerce merchants may use Braintree and PayPal combined as an integrated product for customer payment processing. 

Overview – Braintree vs PayPal

Braintree and PayPal are unique products, although PayPal bought Braintree. Standard pricing rates per transaction for receiving domestic payments are very similar on the Braintree and PayPal payments platforms. 

Braintree is a payment gateway service platform that integrates with PayPal through the Braintree SDK (software development kit). Merchants can let their customers use a pay with PayPal button for express checkout and use PayPal Credit to pay over time, while the merchant account is paid upfront. 

Like PayPal, Braintree enables the processing of customer credit card and debit card payments by merchants. Braintree also lets merchants process payments with digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and pay with Venmo, another PayPal company.  

PayPal allows users with PayPal accounts to buy and sell specific cryptocurrencies for a fee. Braintree doesn’t offer that type of transaction. 

What is Braintree?

Braintree is a payments gateway platform connecting eCommerce companies to different payment networks to process payments using the web or mobile devices. PayPal acquired Braintree in 2013 for $800 million. 

Braintree is a different service provider and payment processor than PayPal, although it labels itself as Braintree, a PayPal Service, to bring attention to the PayPal ownership. Braintree is marketed as PayPal powered by Braintree when the products are integrated through an eCommerce shopping platform like BigCommerce. (On the Shopify eCommerce platform, Braintree no longer accepts new stores as users.) 

Braintree payment products include Braintree Direct for accepting online product or services payments from customers, Braintree Marketplace, and Braintree Extend, providing payments data sharing tools. Braintree provides online marketplaces payout capabilities to online sellers and freelancers through PayPal-owned Hyperwallet

Braintree’s payment methods include PayPal transactions, Venmo in the U.S., credit cards and debit cards, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Braintree also enables payments through ACH direct debit if customers prefer paying from their bank account. 

Credit cards and debit cards processed through Braintree include:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express (Amex)
  • JCB, and 
  • Diners Club.

Instead of filling out a checkout form, customers can also use saved payment information through a browser like Google with integration using the Braintree Payment Request API. 

Braintree is a Stripe competitor because it offers many of the same payment processing choices, as a service provider.

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What is PayPal?

The product PayPal is a multi-currency digital payments platform for managing and transferring money to business and consumer user accounts. This article focuses on the PayPal brand used for business transactions, although the company, PayPal also owns Braintree, Venmo, Xoom, and Hyperwallet. PayPal has 325 million active account users. 

PayPal account holders can buy and sell certain cryptocurrencies through PayPal, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, for a fee. Users track and manage the cryptocurrencies in their PayPal account. 

PayPal and merchants sometimes have special offers that can result in PayPal credits. For example, PayPal offered a $10 PayPal credit for buying at least $50 in cryptocurrency when the service was introduced in December 2020. 

What is the Difference Between Braintree and PayPal?

Braintree is a payment gateway that lets customers pay merchants using credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, PayPal Credit, and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Venmo. Braintree offers more fraud protection and security features. PayPal is a user account-based payment platform for making commercial and consumer payments through debit cards, credit cards, and money transfers. 

PayPal also offers cryptocurrency buy and sell transactions. The Bitcoin, Ethernet, or other supported cryptocurrency is held in a user’s PayPal account and valued at current rates.

What Does Braintree Cost?

Braintree standard pricing model per transaction for merchants is 2.9% of the transaction amount plus 30 cents, with some modifications for international, charitable organizations, and certain other transactions. Standard processing fees apply to process payments with credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets, including Venmo on iOS, Android, and the web. Additional standard fees from Braintree include chargeback fees of $15 per transaction.

Braintree standard pricing for ACH direct debit is 0.75% of the transaction amount ($5 maximum) per transaction.

Braintree pricing may also be determined by a customized quote to match transaction volume and business model. The customized rates for established businesses consist of flat rates and interchange plus pricing. 

Braintree offers different transaction processing rates to non-profit charities. 

The Braintree standard transaction cost is equal to the PayPal cost for receiving domestic commercial online payments in the United States, domestic PayPal pay later offers payments, and domestic Venmo payments through PayPal. Braintree offers PayPal and PayPal Credit for no additional fee.

What Does PayPal Cost?

PayPal merchant fees for businesses differ by commercial transaction type and country. PayPal transaction rates include a percentage of the transaction and a fixed rate fee, as shown in the following table.

PayPal transaction typePayPal percentage of transaction amount feeAdd: PayPal fixed fee per transaction
Commercial transactions  online – receiving paymentDomestic U.S. 2.9% International: add 1.5% =2.9% + 1.5% = 4.4%30 cents for U.S. dollar transaction; varies by currency received
Commercial transactions in-store – receiving paymentDomestic U.S. 2.7% International: add 1.5% = 2.7% + 1.5% = 4.2%30 cents for U.S. dollar transaction; varies by currency received
PayPal pay later offers – receiving paymentDomestic U.S. 2.9% International: add 1.5% =2.9% + 1.5% = 4.4%30 cents for U.S. dollar transaction; varies by currency received
QR code transactions $10.01 and above – receiving paymentDomestic U.S. 1.9% International: add 1.5% =1.9% + 1.5% = 3.4%10 cents for U.S. dollar transaction; varies by currency received
QR code transactions up to $10 – receiving paymentDomestic U.S. 2.4% International: add 1.5% = 2.4% + 1.5% = 3.9%5 cents for U.S. dollar transaction; varies by currency received
Venmo – receiving paymentDomestic U.S. 2.9% International: add 1.5% =2.9% + 1.5% = 4.4%30 cents for U.S. dollar transaction; varies by currency received

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