Based in San Francisco, Stripe began operations in 2010. They are a complete payments platform and very much technology-focused. While they do offer card readers for card-present transactions, they will suit e-commerce stores best. You can accept payments in over 135 currencies, and their cost per transaction is cheaper than most other providers. And they offer access to their powerful APIs and software solutions.
All this makes them an ideal choice for tech-savvy merchants and developers. But that is not to say you need to be a computer genius to use their services. They have more than enough features that you can implement with ease. So if you take the time to understand how to use Stripe properly, you will have one of the most powerful platforms behind you. You can customize your e-commerce store to your liking, and adding products like Stripe Radar will afford you extra security.
There are many reasons why we love Stripe. Not only do they offer a huge range of services, but their pricing is completely transparent. It is best to think of Stripe as providing you with a menu. They have a basic pricing structure and you can add on as many extras as you like. It depends on how secure you want to be, how much you wish to grow, and how much data you wish to collect. They provide all the tools you could ever need to expand your business.
But it is important to know that Stripe technically does not deal with high-risk merchants. This can be quite confusing for many merchants to understand. In reality, they do support many merchants that may be high risk, but each case is unique. If you deal in a large sales volume or have a unique business model, then they can customize a plan for you. However, when you set up your account, the onus is on you to determine if you are high risk.
Anyone can set up an account with Stripe, but they evaluate your risk level constantly. If they later determine you to be too high risk, then several things may happen. They may ask for clarification of your business, set a reserve, or terminate your account. So if you are low risk, they are a great option. High-risk merchants may need to do a little more research.
Low-Risk Businesses Pricing
Stripe’s pricing model revolves around a flat fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. But, for a card-present transaction, you get an incredibly low rate of 2.7% + $0.05. If it is an international transaction you simply add 1%. The same rate of 1% applies if a currency conversion takes place. ACH transactions pay 0.8% up to a ceiling of $5. And all chargebacks are $15. That is the standard model and should be more than enough for any small business.
There are no setup fees, monthly fees, or hidden fees. But from this, you can add the features you wish to offer your customers. From additional payment methods to 3D secure authentication or instant payouts, you simply add what you see fit. You can add customer billing for an extra 0.5%, invoicing for an extra 0.4%, or automate tax calculation for 0.5%. The options are endless.
High-Risk Businesses Pricing
While Stripe is ideal for small businesses, a high-risk merchant may need to consider other options. A mistake many high-risk businesses make is to set up a standard account. Stripe evaluates all accounts on a regular basis and may close your account if they deem you to be too high risk. Stripe has three labels to categorize new merchants. First, adult and gambling providers are too high risk and will not get approval.
Next, is merchants with delivery tracking. The third is high-risk merchants. If you fall in the third category, it is best to contact Stripe to arrange a custom package for you. You can receive volume discounts, country-specific rates, and interchange pricing. They will give you a custom rate depending on your industry and what services you provide. They may ask you to opt for a premium support add-on, with a dedicated support manager.
One of the biggest advantages of using Stripe to accept payments is the richness of features it offers. They give you everything you need to build a website or app that can accept payments globally. They cater to land-based retailers as well as software platforms and subscription businesses. From credit card payments to e-check processing, anything is possible with Stripe. Your e-commerce payment gateway can deal with all types of payments and you get access to advanced fraud prevention. You can use features like Atlas to turn your idea into a startup, or Sigma to get access to more data.
Credit Card Processing
With Stripe, you can accept all major debit and credit cards from customers in every country. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Customers have different reasons for using different cards. As a merchant, you want to offer as many options as possible. Stripe probably offers the most credit card processing options among all providers. With standard flat-rate pricing for all credit card payments, it is ideal for a small business. However, if you find that you process more than $10,000 volume per month, it may be better to ask for a custom rate.
eCommerce Payment Gateway
While Stripe does cater to land-based businesses, it is best suited to an e-commerce store. You can leverage their free API to customize the experience for your customers. If you have coding or developer experience, then there is no better processor out there. They offer client and server libraries in React, PHP, and iOS. You can build a complete e-commerce environment with Stripe’s API. But you can also use Stripe without computer know-how. You can partner up with many e-commerce platforms to build a store. The Stripe Partner Program features thousands of companies like Shopify, DocuSign, and WooCommerce.
Many customers like to pay by check. While paper checks are a thing of the past, e-checks are quite popular. They rely on the ACH network to process payments. With Stripe, you can accept ACH payments much the same way as you accept credit card payments. However, bank accounts must first be verified and authorized by the customer. Offering e-check processing to your customers allows them to set up recurring payments. The fees are less than credit card payments, so it is useful if you have customers paying in installments.
Stripe has an up-and-down relationship with cryptocurrency processing. They did accept Bitcoin payments until they later reversed that decision in 2018. Bitcoin rates fluctuate at an extremely fast rate. By the time a transaction completes, the rate you are first offered may have changed, and Stripe likes standard pricing. So they feel that it is not in their interests to accept cryptocurrency at this time. However, they state on their blog that they are monitoring the crypto ecosystem. So we would expect them to venture back into having a crypto payment system in the near future.
Stripe Ease of Use
Scoring Stripe for ease of use is a difficult thing to do. It really depends on how many of their features you use. If you are a developer, you will absolutely love Stripe. Their platform is incredible, offering tools for virtually everything a business could need. Their extensive documentation makes integration with your payment gateway simple and elegant. You can customize your gateway to your brand and offer your customers a great experience.
If you are not a developer, you can still use Stripe as your payment processor. They integrate easily with all of the top shopping carts and e-commerce giants. But to truly get the most from Stripe, it may be worthwhile to learn how to implement their features into your store. There are countless tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere. This can help you unlock the true power of Stripe and grow your business.
One of the benefits of using Stripe is the fast and easy approval process. In most cases, approval is instantaneous and you can accept payments right away. That is why it is the perfect choice for a small business. You do not need to wait for a bank to approve your merchant account. The online application takes a few minutes to complete. You need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license from any country. You will also need to have your website up and running and a physical bank account.
Stripe is really designed for e-commerce stores. It is feature-rich, and you can add on countless tools to grow your business. But they are starting to move more and more into brick and mortar stores. They offer several plug-and-play add-ons that may suit your needs, but they will require some setup. You can buy a reader to accept credit cards in person, and they also offer more competitive rates for card-present transactions. You can use their readers straight from the box and pay 2.7% + $0.05 per transaction. This makes them a viable choice now for land-based stores.
Fraud and Chargeback Protection
Stripe is a technology-focused payment processor. And this is very evident with their approach to security. Many fraud protection methods do not work well with today’s online markets. They often block legitimate payments because they cannot adapt to different cases. With Radar, you can detect and block fraud using AI. Their machine learning trains on data from millions of global companies. It comes prebuilt into Stripe so there is no setup required to use it. Radar’s algorithms adapt quickly to any new fraud patterns. This helps reduce chargebacks for your business.
Stripe Technical & Customer Support
As a payment processor that focuses on technology, they offer excellent documentation. The self-help knowledge base has everything you could ever need. They offer code snippets and explanations for all the major programming languages. This makes integrating their features into your site incredibly easy. For general queries, including partnership opportunities, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But if you have any issues installing software or hardware, they also offer live support. You can access their live chat features directly from their website. They are available 24 hours a day and the operators can pass you to a technician if required. You can also use their live chat on discord or call their hotline. Overall their support is fast and very reliable.
Is Stripe a Good Fit for Your Business?
Whether Stripe is the right choice for your business depends on several factors. As with any third-party payment processor, they are ideal for a small low-risk business. If you deal in low volume or you are just starting a business, they get you up and running almost right away. There are no contracts or early termination fees, so you can test your business and see if it is viable. But if you are high risk or deal in high volume, it may be better to consider getting a merchant account.
Overall, we absolutely love Stripe. The amount of features and add-ons they provide is incredible. From AI learning to combat fraud to marketing tools, they offer everything a small business could need. While they are best suited for e-commerce stores, they will also suit many retail stores. They technically only deal with low-risk merchants, but they offer a custom plan for unique businesses.
If you are a developer or are comfortable adding code to your website, you will love their services. You can add countless tools and features that will help you expand and grow your company fast. Their customer support is excellent, and all of their products are completely customizable. Overall, we rate them extremely highly and recommend them for any small, new, or low-risk business.