Due to its world-class developer tools and general commitment to innovation, the payment processing company, Stripe, has become a darling of the digital economy.
Mega companies, such as Target, and Under Armour, exciting upstarts such as Lyft and GrubHub, and world-renowned organizations such as UNICEF, all use Stripe to design and run their payment platforms. Not to mention the thousands of smaller companies most of us have never heard of but are the engine of the global economy.
As a result, while searching for a payment processing system, we can guarantee you will come across Stripe Payments, one of the many services Stripe provides
Yet, what exactly is Stripe and Stripe Payments? What’s it designed to do? And what can it do? But most importantly, is it right for your business?
Inevitably, our review of Stripe Payments also includes a commentary of Stripe. Stripe Payments is a powerful tool, but its main benefit is the access it provides to the suite of services Stripe offers that can help you grow your business. Read on for our full analysis.
What is Stripe Payments?
Stripe Payments is a third-party payment processor that allows you to accept payments from a variety of different sources.
Stripe Payments being a third-party processor means it aggregates accounts. Transactions will be automatically approved, and then Stripe will review these transactions at a later data should evidence of fraud emerge.
This is how they are able to process transactions more quickly, but it’s also why fees are higher than if you worked directly with a credit card company, which would investigate your transaction history before approving you.
All the merchant services companies we know of, including Stripe, PayPal, and Square, do this.
What Does Stripe Payments do?
With Stripe Payments, you can process the following transactions:
- All major credit and debit cards
- International credit cards
- Google Pay and Apple Pay
- Bank transfers (ACH direct debit, ACH credit, and wire transfers)
- Local payment methods, such as Giropayu, Bancontact, SOFORT, and WeChat Pay
The only notable payment method missing from this list is PayPal, but since Swipe and PayPal are direct competitors, this only makes sense.
However, Stripe Payments is just one part of what Stripe can offer. It is also a rich set of developer tools that allow you to build your own payment platform. It specializes in designed systems for mobile interfaces, and it works to implement solutions that can grow as you scale your business.
When it comes to these developer tools, Stripe really is leagues ahead of the competition.
As a payment processor, Stripe offers a wide range of options at reasonable fees, and it also offers ready-made eCommerce solutions for those who need them, making it a viable merchant services option.
Who Should Use Stripe Payments?
While Stripe Payments is a perfectly acceptable choice for your payment processor, it makes the most sense for businesses that are:
- Interested in creating a custom payment system for their online store or marketplace
- Looking to develop an app-based mobile payment platform or marketplace
- Experiencing low transaction volume but that are expecting a period of rapid growth
- Processing lots of transaction and need help with fraud prevention and also data analytics
- Operating in multiple countries and looking to a) process payments in multiple currencies, or b) incorporate in the United States
If you’re a freelancer or other small business owner sending mostly invoices and processing in-person payments, you can certainly use Stripe Payments. But you won’t be making the most of what it offers.
However, if you run a medium to large business and are ready to make an investment in the future of your company, then Stripe can handle your payments in the short term and provide you the tools you need to develop a solution that will support business growth.
Stripe Payments Fees
When evaluating a payment processor, fees are of utmost importance. After all, it’s money you’re paying to make. Keeping these fees down not only makes smart business sense, but it just feels right.
With Stripe Payments, the fees you pay will depend on which services you use.
If you’re looking to use Stripe Payments as strictly a payment processing tool, here’s a summary of the per-transaction fees:
- Credit and debit cards – 2.9% + $.30
- Credit and debit cards processed with the Stripe Terminal – 2.7% + $.05
- International cards – 1% more
- Bank transfer (ACH debits) – 0.8% with a $5 cap
- Local payment methods – 2.9% +$.30
These fees are slightly higher than the competition, but they come with some additional features. For example, when you start using Stripe Payments, you’ll receive access to the standard version of Stripe Connect, which gets you:
- Full Stripe Dashboard to manage your sales
- Hosted onboarding and verification
- Support in 25+ countries
Furthermore, you’re entitled to the basic version of Stripe Radar, which is a fraud protection service.
If you purchase the Stripe Terminal, then you can take advantage of lower fees.
However, these devices are not made by Stripe. Instead, they are third-party hardware that
Stripe calls its “pre-certified in-person payment readers.”
Options start at $59, which is on par with what you would get from other services.
If you’re interested in getting more from your Stripe Payments account, then you can supplement it with any of the following services:
- Stripe Billing (.4% on recurring charges) – Automate invoicing and manage subscriptions.
- Stripe Connect Custom or Express (.25% of account volume) – Pay your employees and manage payroll
- Stripe Radar for Fraud Teams ($.02 per transaction) – Protect against fraud when information is shared amongst employees
- Stripe Sigma (Starting at $.02 per charge) – Collect and analyze data from your transaction history
- Stripe Atlas ($500 one-time fee) – Get set up as an online business in the United States
- Stripe Premium Support (Starting at $1,000 per month) – Have a dedicated support manager and personalized optimizations
- Stripe Issuing (Invitation Only) – Issue virtual and physical credit cards to employees
What We Like Most About Stripe Payments
The list of things you can do with Stripe Payments and other Stripe services is long. But what stands out are its:
- Wide range of payment methods
- Ability to process payments in many different currencies
- Around-the-clock fraud protection
- Developer tool-kit for those who want to build more custom payment solutions
- Ready-made eCommerce integration, both from Stripe and third parties, that makes it easy to “plug and play” Stripe into your online store
- Fair and transparent pricing
What We Wish Stripe Payments Had
Stripe obviously has a lot to offer, but no one is perfect. Here are some things we wish Stripe Payments had:
A Free Version of Recurring Invoicing
Charging a per transaction fees on subscriptions isn’t going to break the bank, but we wished there was some way to include it into the standard version of Stripe Payments.
The way it is now, you’ll wind up paying to not only send the invoice every set period of time but also to process the payment. We understand why they charge, but we just wished there was another option.
More Reader Options
Stripe Payments basically forces you to buy one of their “pre-certified” readers, largely because the fee structure is so different as compared to if you used other readers. Competitors, such as Square, for example, offer a free reader and lower fees, and it would be nice to see Stripe Payments do something similar.
A Better Relationship with PayPal
It makes sense PayPal wouldn’t work with its major competitor, but it would be nice if they did. PayPal is a hugely popular form of online payment, and customers love the convenience it provides. It’s too bad there isn’t a way to combine this with Stripe’s powerful developer toolset.
Overall, Stripe Payments is a great tool for not only accepting payments but also implementing solutions that support the growth of your business.
The things we wished it had are hardly make-or-break. So, if you think you’re ready to take the next step with your business and you need a merchant services tool to help you do it, we feel confident Stripe Payments won’t let you down.