PayPal (PYPL) is almost synonymous with online payments, but it is not alone in the growing digital money space. Nearly every consumer market is moving online. For example, consider how Amazon overtook Walmart as the world's largest retailer. Consumers are turning to online payment systems in record numbers every year.

The industry for online payment platforms is always innovating, and major players are starting to take notice, as there is a lot of room for competitor services. Apple, Google, and Samsung have all created rival platforms, and there are plenty of lesser-known alternatives already available in the online payments marketplace.

PayPal

PayPal was founded in 1998 as a libertarian experiment by a group of tech superstars, including Elon Musk, Max Levchin, and Peter Thiel. By 2002, it became the go-to brand name in online money management and was bought by eBay. Total PayPal payment volume hit a record in 2019 at $712 billion. In 2018, the volume was $578 billion and in 2012 it was $150 billion. This is significant growth in a short span of time. Despite its growth, PayPal is far from monopolizing the industry.

One advantage that PayPal has is that it is a huge, multi-service platform; competitors are not always as diverse. For example, Stripe is designed for online businesses. Other options compete on multiple fronts, including Google Pay Send. Each brings something unique to the table, so the best alternative likely depends on the individual consumer's online money habits. The following four companies are good alternatives to PayPal.

1. Skrill

Skrill is one of the best-known PayPal alternatives. The major area where Skrill touts its services over PayPal is in terms of transaction costs. PayPal earns 4.5% for a merchant transaction fee while Skrill charges 2.9%.

One area of concern for private users is the inactivity fees; if Skrill accounts are not used for 12 months, a small charge of $5 is assessed. PayPal does not have this feature. PayPal's biggest advantage over Skrill is in terms of merchant acceptance. It is simply easier for many shoppers to use PayPal because almost every major retailer is PayPal accessible. For private users, though, Skrill is a good option as it has zero deposit fees, zero fees for withdrawals, and sending and receiving money is free.

2. Payoneer

Payoneer is one of the most popular electronic platforms in the world. It started around the same time as PayPal, and like PayPal, operates in more than 200 countries.

Payoneer has two types of accounts: one that is free and allows for money withdrawal directly into your bank account. The other account calls for a prepaid card that is only available to individuals and costs $29.95 a month. Payoneer charges a transaction fee of $1.50 for local bank transfers.

Payoneer also provides a service called Billing Service that allows for a business set up for requesting payments from customers. This is a 3% fee for credit cards and 1% for debit cards. Payoneer is a strong alternative to PayPal that provides a lot of functionality and services for both individuals and businesses.

3. Google Pay Send

Several big-name competitors could have been listed here, such as Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay; however, none of these services have quite the full range of options of PayPal, although they do not lack for resources and are all determined to be serious competitors in the future. Instead, Google Pay Send gets the nod for its ability to attach payments to Gmail messages, and the fact that Google is one of the few companies that dominate the online world.

Like PayPal, Google Pay Send is great for sending money to and from anywhere for virtually any reason, but Google Pay Send does not charge a fee on debit transactions, whereas PayPal charges 2.9%.

There are no setup or cancellation fees for Google Pay Send, and it is available for Android and iPhones. The biggest advantage for Google Pay Send is the merchant function that allows for a variety of tools to manage your business and incorporate loyalty programs and other advantages. It makes a big difference for businesses to be able to put a "Buy with Google" tab on their websites.

4. Stripe

Stripe competes against PayPal for online business customers but not much else. This service is only available to U.S. and Canada-based businesses, but payments can come in from any source. Fees are very clear; Stripe charges 2.9% plus 30 cents on every transaction. The checkout process for Stripe is self-hosted; it occurs on the business owner's site rather than sending customers to an external site such as PayPal, which saves businesses from monthly fees for the trouble.

Another convenience of using the Stripe platform is with bank account deposits. Suppose a customer purchases a product from a business through Stripe. The Stripe network automatically deposits the funds into an outside bank account; this means fewer manually initiated transfers, which is a constant hassle for many businesses, and fewer opportunities for disastrous events such as fraud or account holds.