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Stripe is an online, third-party credit card processor with a keen focus on empowering online businesses by offering powerful tools for developers. The company processes payments for many big-name merchants like Lyft, Blue Apron, Pinterest, TaskRabbit and more.
|Merchant Solutions||Payment processing|
Add-on products & services
|Type of Processing Fee||Interchange-plus|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Visa |
& dozens of popular payment methods around the world
|Payout Availability||2 business days|
7 business days for high-risk merchants
|Early Termination Fee||No ETF|
Although it might seem basic at first glance, Stripe offers pretty useful tools you probably didn’t even know about. Most products and services can be broken down into two main categories: payment processing and developer tools.
Like Square and PayPal, Stripe gives you instant access to payment processing. It’s a third-party processor, AKA aggregator, which means Stripe will approve you quickly.
However, the company will follow your account very closely. If any red flags come up, Stripe could but your account on hold or even terminate it. Traditional merchant accounts, on the other hand, determine your level of risk in advance and offer more account stability.
Stripe can process over 135 currencies. You can display prices and process charges in a customer’s preferred currency. This helps to improve sales while allowing the customer to avoid conversion costs.
Let your online customer check out faster with wallet payment methods that digitally store credit and debit card information. It offers a quick and convenient way to pay, eliminating the need for customers to manually enter their card and billing details every time they want to make a purchase.
You can set up local Stripe accounts to maximize acceptance rates and lower costs while your customers save on foreign exchange and cross-border fees.
This is the meaty part of Stripe. The application programming interfaces (APIs) that the processor provides make up a powerful and well-rounded framework for developers to efficiently and effectively integrate the Stripe payment platform using a number of languages. It’s a great way to build a solid foundation on which you can build on and expand your business.
You can also take advantage of Stripe’s payment processing without having to use APIs by utilizing its plugin or one of its 300 integration partners. Integrate with shopping carts (3Dcart, BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix, Weebly and more), CRM software, invoicing platforms, business analytics, accounting, shipping tools, referral marketing and more.
Add-On Products & Services
Whether you want to send one-off invoices or manage monthly subscriptions, Stripe Billing has all the management tools you’ll need. It allows you to bill your customers as frequently as you want and to create plans based on usage, number of users, flat fees or a number of other models that align with your business.
Stripe Billing also includes marketing tools like promotions and free trial periods.
This tool suite is designed for marketplaces and platforms – like Kickstarter or Uber – to accept money and pay out to third parties. It works in over 25 countries around the world and automatically converts transactions for you.
Connect can also verify international sellers, add descriptor text onto credit card statements, automate payments for sellers and create a custom payment schedule.
Way better than what you would get with Square, Stripe Sigma lets you create truly custom reports using SQL. So you can quickly analyze your Stripe data and get faster business insights.
Instead of paying an expensive monthly subscription fee for these tools, Stripe uses sliding scale pricing for Sigma. Based on the number of charges per month.
Currently by invite only, this end-to-end platform was designed to quickly create, distribute and manage physical and virtual cards. Stripe has eliminated extensive development time, complex requirements, long-term contracts and significant upfront fees that come with traditional card issuance. So you can create cards faster and scale more efficiently.
This feature allows international business to incorporate in the United States, set up bank accounts there, and get tax and legal advice. All for a flat fee of $500.
Since its launch, Stripe reports that it has had more than 1,000 startups apply in over 120 countries.
A solution to eCommerce fraud, Radar 2.0 uses machine learning to identify and stop credit card fraud. It takes into account a giant stream of data to determine the likelihood of a fraudulent transaction, including previous Stripe transactions on the card.
Radar will also take a look at your business’s payment processing and compare it against a bunch of data models to determine which will work best for your business. This reduces fraud and prevents false alarms.
For enterprise-scale businesses, you might be interested in Radar for Teams. It gives merchants tools in their dashboard to:
- Set specific rules for transactions
- Test what impact those rules have based on previous data
- Reduce the amount of manual work your team has to do
This fraud prevention is layered on top of other tools, like AVS and CVV checks.
Stripe is a pay-as-you-go processor with a very clear pricing structure.
|Credit & Debit Cards||2.9% + $0.30|
|International Cards||+ 1%|
|ACH||0.8% (capped at $5)|
Non-profit organizations benefit from discounted rates, but the actual numbers are not disclosed You also have the option to design a custom package if you’re a merchant with a large transaction volume or a unique business model.
It’s important to note that Stripe will not return its processing fees, not even for returns and refunds. Because of this, make sure to revise your return policy accordingly.
Add-On Products & Services
|First $1 million on recurring charges||Free||0.7%|
|After $1 million on recurring charges||0.4%||0.7%|
The trade-off with the Scale plan is that it offers discounts on ACH credit and wire transfers. Plus it gives you access to Stripe Sigma, which comes at a cost on its own.
|Accounts||$2/month + 0.25% of account volume||Per active account|
|ACH Payouts||$0.25/payout||Takes 2 business days|
|Instant ACH Payouts||1.5% (minimum $0.50)||Arrives within minutes|
|Account Debits||1.5%||No need for card information|
|International Accounts||Fees vary by country||More info here|
Keep in mind, Stripe is willing to negotiate with you if you have unusual business needs. So you might be able to get a deal that’s better suited for your business.
As mentioned before, Sigma is an advanced reporting tool that is priced on a sliding scale. Based on your overall transaction volume. This pricing method actually works well because it lets small businesses access powerful tools for a very reasonable price.
Stripe offers two integrated card readers:
- BBPOS Chipper 2X BT ($59)
- Verifone P400 ($299)
|Radar (Standard)||2.9% + $0.30/transaction|
|Radar for Teams|
(Optional Add-On Bundle)
In all honesty, most businesses won’t need this feature. You might consider advanced fraud protection tools if you’re a very large business with many employees.
Stripe also has a chargeback fee of $15, which is an industry standard. If the customer’s bank resolves the dispute in your favor, the fee will be fully refunded.
If you run into any issues, customer support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over email, phone or live chat. There’s also an extensive self-help knowledge base online for you to reference.
Since 2013, Stripe has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and currently holds an A+ rating.
Gathering complaints from across the internet, I found the following common themes: account holds and terminations, unresponsive customer service, not user-friendly and lack of fraud protection.
Stripe does not charge an early termination fee (ETF), ever. The company will even help you export your customer data to take with you, if you decide to leave.
Read the fine print of the terms of service before you sign on the dotted line. As is the case with most third-party processors, Stripe can terminate your account or implement a hold if your business is determined high risk. If you want more stability, Stripe won’t be a good fit for your business.
Stripe ranks pretty high up among its peers, especially when it comes to online card processors. It offers everything that small to large merchants want, but falls short on one point: account holds and terminations. However, this is a common drawback to payment aggregators.
If stability is a priority, you may want to go with a traditional merchant account provider, like Chase Payment Solutions (a direct processor). Another alternative quite similar to Stripe would be Square.
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