SamCart vs ThriveCart vs PayKickStart

What is the best Checkout Cart App with integrated Affiliate Platform?

SamCart vs Thrive Cart vs PayKickStart

SamCart vs ThriveCart vs PayKickStart

In this post I’ll review 3 different Checkout/Shopping Cart applications (for sellers of digital info products) with smart sales conversion boosting features (as Price Bumps, One-Click Upsell, Coupon Codes), integration with major payment processors, integration with major email/webinar/membership service providers, plus the possibility to use the app as affiliate platform.

Also these Cart applications have in common that they are way more affordable than InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart, or ClickFunnels (with Backpack plan).

Before I do my comparison, first let me answer this question…

Why do you need a Checkout Cart application?

Well, if you’re selling products online, you can send people directly from your sales page to a payment processor (as PayPal, Stripe,, but all these suppliers only show a simple checkout cart with no possibilities for:

  • Customization of style and content on checkout page (as branding, your contact details, product image, product descriptions/features, custom fields, term & conditions checkbox, testimonials, guarantee, scarcity timer, Trust Seals).
  • ESP/Autoresponder, Membership and/or Webinar Software integration.
  • Price Bumps, Coupon Codes, One-click upsells.
  • Different payment options (i.e. different payment processors).
  • VAT Tax Calculation/Integration.
  • Cart abundance features as save email, auto email or retargeting to people who quit during the order process.

Hence, without doubt, with the right Checkout Cart application, you can increase your sales conversions.

As there are many Shopping Cart applications, I looked especially for apps to sell digital info products (as courses, memberships, and software) and the ones with an integrated affiliate platform.

Note: physical product stores often need the “add to basket/shopping cart” feature and extra input fields (like sizes, colors, M/F). That’s why many sellers use Store Builder software apps with integrated shopping cart functionality as f.e. Shopify.

If you don’t need a complete store, and only want to sell your products via a main front-end sales page or small funnel (with upsells/downsells or price bump), you’ll (just) need a Checkout application – no add to cart functionality.

Prices and different packages

Before I’ll show you the comparison table, let me first tell you about the prices and different packages.

For SamCart there are 3 plans: SamCart Launch ($49.00 p/mo), SamCart Grow ($99.00 p/mo), and SamCart Scale ($199.00).

The Launch Plan is the basic start plan with all basic features but lacks some more advanced features that are included in the Grow and Scale Plans, as Custom Checkout Fields, Pre-Purchase Add-Ons, Post-Purchase Upsells, Multiple Payment Options, Customer Management, Subscription Charge Reminder, Advanced Subscription Cancellations.

With the Scale Plan you’ll get all the Grow features plus extra apps as Cart Abandonment, Built-in AB Testing, Subscription Saver (Dunning), and the Affiliate Center.

The main PayKickStart front-end product costs $99.00 p/mo (the same as SamCart Grow).

And there is a Premium Upgrade with extra features as Demographics, Audience Builder, Facebook Custom Audience Auto-Integration, Survey Builder (Automated), and Uptime Monitoring. But I won’t discuss these features in this article.

ThriveCart has one main front-end product and can be (temporarily) obtained for a lifetime one-time fee of $495.00. (Note: price will increase in near future to monthly fee)

During the checkout process, you can upgrade ThriveCart with the Pro License (with extra $195.00 one-time payment), that gives:

  • Powerful Affiliate Center.
  • Subscription Saver Functionality (Dunning).
  • Automatic Sales Tax Calculation.
  • Intelligent Business Projections.
  • JV Contracts.
  • Advanced User Management.
  • Client Usage Rights.
  • Custom domain name functionality.

Hence, it make sense to compare SamCart Grow with ThriveCart Pro, and the main front-end product of PayKickStart, and discuss the Affiliate Platform/Center features separately.

SamCart vs ThriveCart vs PayKickStart

Let’s start with the most important features:


FeatureSamCart GrowThriveCart ProPayKickStart
Customizable Checkout Page Templates/Custom Fields18 Templates
Custom Fields
4 TemplatesSeveral + API
Checkout Pop-ups
Embeddable Carts
Physical Product Features
via Custom Fields


Different Payment Plans*
1-Click Bump Offer
1-Click Upsells
Funnel Builder
A/B Testing
Multiple CurrenciesNo16 Currencies32 Currencies
Language Support6 Languages10 Languages12 Languages
Real-Time Currency
Exchange Calculations
Transaction Emails and Invoices
Customer Hub
Prospects Collection
(aka Cart Abandonment)
Payment Processor IntegrationsPayPal
Apple Pay
Google Pay
ESP/Autoresponder Integration
Webinar Software Integration
Membership Software Integration
Zapier Integration
VAT/Sales Tax CalculationVia TaxamoBuilt-inVia Taxamo
Client version
User Management
(additional team users)
Live Stats
Affiliate Platform
$495.00 + $195.00
Sales PageBuy nowBuy nowBuy now

All vendors do improve their products and integration features regularly. So, this is just the current situation.

For PayKickStart, watch this full demo video…

To learn more about all features and maybe to answer your questions, visit these help pages:




(But be aware, these are no affiliate links, so to get my bonuses, use the links below)

With respect to the templates, they all use a different approach.

SamCart allows you to choose out of 18 templates.

With ThriveCart you can select 4 main templates for each type of checkout (Tall 1-step Checkout, 2-Step Checkout, Embeddable Checkout, Popup Checkout) – but these templates are very customizable.

And PayKickStart comes with several (one page or multiple steps) templates but as extra feature you can integrate your own pages via their API. Plus you have some editing features (as change colors etc.) to change the look-and-feel of the checkout page.

ThriveCart has the best features with respect to selling physical products Worldwide (with proper VAT and flexible shipping fee calculation) and fulfillment integration with physical product shippers as, Kunaki, Printful, Shippo, and 3 more coming (EasyPost, Lula, ShipStation).

Plus ThriveCart allows you to use Zapier to integrate with for example ShipStation (until the native integration is released). Or you can use Google Sheets (f.e. for any local supplier).

(Note: SamCart has no fulfillment integrations, and PayKickStart has 3 integrations (ShipStation, ShipOffers).

That said, SamCart has the best options to add Custom Fields. Hence you can use these fields to collect information for size, color, date, time, company name, username, password, day of the week, Twitter handle, special instructions, custom engraving, or anything in-between!

All 3 apps do have different Payment Plans as One-time, Subscription, Split Pay, and Trial payment plans.

However, ThriveCart also allows you to offer different payment plans on the checkout page itself!

So, by using ThriveCart you won’t have to use different buy buttons on the sales pages which all lead to a different checkout page.

And ThriveCart also has the payment option to allow your customer to set his own price (don’t worry you can set a minimum!).

With respect to foreign currencies and language support, PayKickStart has the best features. It even allows your buyers to choose their payment currency with real-time currency exchange calculations!

That said, ThriveCart has a (free) built-in EU VAT calculation feature. Where with SamCart and PayKickStart, you have to use and connect to the paid services of Taxamo.

To reduce refunds and support/help desk demand, ThriveCart has introduced the so-called ThriveCart Customer Hub. It lets customers manage and update their personal and billing info, cancel subscriptions, and view invoices and purchases in one easy to use area (without having to remember a password).

PayKickStart has the best/most payment processor integration options with full 1-click upsell PayPal integration. But do you really need these?

With respect to all the possible integration options, check out the individual sales pages and check whether your favorite (ESP, membership, webinar) application can be connected.

But be in mind that SamCart only allows you to use one payment processor and one email provider per account.

While with ThriveCart and PayKickstart you can use multiple payment processors and ESPs.

So, regarding the Checkout Cart features, all 3 apps have (most of) the features you would expect (although SamCart has no 2-step checkout process).

PayKickStart has the most advanced features, but ThriveCart comes close (and has some specific extra features as VAT integration and for physical products).

SamCart, on the other hand, beats the other two with its Custom Fields feature.

In general, the support by ThriveCart and PayKick is the best, while SamCart’s support is sufficient (but can do much better).

So, the winners are ThriveCart and PayKickStart. But of course, it’s a matter what features you really need and want.

However, if you take the price into account, ThriveCart is for most of you probably the winner (as long as the price is still a lifetime one-time fee, and it’s now a matter of days until the price will go up!).

But what about the…

Built-in Affiliate Platform

If you’re selling digital products and want affiliates to promote your products, you were forced to use affiliate platforms as WarriorPlus, JVZoo, or ClickBank.

All have their benefits as having a solid reliable platform, marketplace, extra free marketing, and significant member of affiliates/vendors using the platform.

But for vendors, these platforms come with a price… the (platform) transaction fees for each sale (often 5%).

So, what if you can use your own affiliate management software and avoid these transaction fees?

You bet, you can save a lot of money.

Luckily, the Checkout Cart applications in this review have all built-in affiliate features – especially for solo entrepreneurs or small business who sell digital (info) products.

As discussed above, the affiliate center feature is only included in SamCart Scale ($199.00 p/mo), while ThriveCart Pro and PayKickStart have included the affiliate features inside their “main” product (for ThriveCart you’ll need to buy the “bump” Pro upgrade of $195.00).


FeatureSamCart ScaleThriveCart ProPayKickStart
Instant Commissions
Delayed Commissions
Lifetime Commissions for other
products from same seller
Custom Commission % per Affiliate
Campaign/Sub-ID Tracking
2nd Tier Affiliate Program
Manual & Auto-Approval Options
Promotional Material Area
Affiliate Contest Management
Instant Bonus Fulfillment
Retargeting for affiliates
Partner/JV Contracts
W9/W8 Management
Marketplace for Affiliates


With respect to the affiliate platform, there is one clear winner, PayKickStart.

Maybe not surprisingly, because the vendors Mark Thompson & Matt Callen (Digital KickStart) are very successful product vendors and affiliates who made millions by using the JVZoo platform the last years. They know this market in all aspects and had to find a way to save transaction costs with JVZoo (due to the 5% commission fee, they’ve paid quit a lot of money to JVZoo).


So to summarize. I would go for PayKickStart if you need the most advanced affiliate platform.

If you need an advanced Checkout Cart application (and can live with less advanced affiliate features), go for ThriveCart (especially as long as you can get it for a one-time fee).

In case you just need a basic Checkout Cart app, choose for SamCart Basic.

But whatever solution you’ll choose, you definitely will get a great application that will boost your sales conversions and improves your trustworthy and professionalism with outstanding checkout experiences for your customers, and the possibility to have your own affiliate platform (with more control and saving affiliate platform fees).

Best links to buy any of these Checkout Carts

For PayKickStart, just use this link PayKickStart.

For ThriveCart the special (limited time available) one-time discount price of (only) $495.00, use this link: ThriveCart. (Note: the new price will be $1995.00 soon, so don’t wait too long)

For SamCart use these links: SamCart Launch (14 days trial) – SamCart Grow (14 days trial) – SamCart Scale (14 days trial).

My Bonuses

If you buy through my affiliate link (click on any link on this page other than the help/tutorial links), for each application (product in the funnel) you’ll buy, you can choose 3 (software) products for free on

Just tell me which products you want.

And you get 200 bonus points which you can change for great WP Plugins, Courses and other information products on Select Your Bonus.

Select Your Bonus is my personal bonus page. Almost daily I add new bonuses. You can use your bonus points whenever you want. They will be valuable forever. So you don’t need to hurry to change them into bonuses. Unused points will be kept at your account (until usage). In the animated image below you can see some of the bonuses that you can select.

Select Your Bonus demo

To get your bonus points (and free products), just send your receipt to [email protected] and I will activate your bonus points within 24 hours.

Other products from the same vendors

Some of the other product sold by Digital KickStart and I wrote a review about:

Josh Bartlett is the Founder at ThriveCart, EasyVideoSuite and Audello. All awesome applications where Josh puts his heart and soul into.

Brian Moran and his team (15+) of SamCart don’t sell any other products except SamCart (as far as I know).


How do I get my bonuses?
Just send your purchase details to [email protected] and I will send your bonuses within 24 hours. Read more about my Policy and FAQ about bonuses.

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