People will choose a payment gateway for a variety of reasons including transaction fees, ease of setup, cards/payment methods accepted, support, and of course “coolness”. Without a doubt the coolest gateway on the block right now, and our unabashed favorite, is Stripe.

Born out of a desire to remove the “pain” from payment processing, Stripe has achieved this goal by creating a payment processing option that’s beautiful, simple, and (dare I say) fun to use. Those of you with experience with some of the conventional payment gateways are probably questioning the use of the words “fun” and “payment processing” in the same sentence, and having implemented solutions in a number of the most common traditional gateways (I’ll let you guess who) I can fully understand the sentiment. Inscrutable, incomplete or downright incorrect documentation, drawn-out and opaque sign-up processes, high fixed monthly costs or minimum transaction requirements, and complex integrations are only some of the joys commonly experienced with the old school processors, and fortunately avoided with Stripe.

Setting Up an Account in 5 Seconds

Okay, perhaps it takes a few more than 5 seconds to begin collecting that first payment, but you can have a test account dashboard all of your own with a signup that literally takes seconds. Even your email and password are not required to have access to a Stripe dashboard and start poking around:

From Zero to Test Account in Under 5 Seconds

From Zero to Test Account in Under 5 Seconds. Literally!

Stripe takes the all-important eCommerce principle of reducing friction to the extreme, allowing you to create and start playing around with their account dashboard without any risk or waiting.

Finalize your account by providing an email address, phone number, business address, and a bank account to link for transfers and you can start taking payments with Stripe. Within a week or two, a friendly Stripe employee will verify your account and possibly email you with some requests to complete your account creation. The last time I created a new Stripe account, it was for a site that we hadn’t launched (or really started on) yet, and Violet from Stripe requested that we create a list of products or services we were offering, as well as a means for customers to contact us; both things that we needed to do regardless. After taking care of those two minor requirements, our account was finalized and able to transfer payments to our bank account.

Transparent Pricing

In keeping with their principle of simplicity and convenience, pricing is 2.9% + $.30 per successful transaction. While the transaction fees are higher than what can perhaps be found with some of the traditional processors, this is offset by the lack of a signup or monthly fee. This lack of a fixed cost was a big selling point for me when choosing a payment processor for my very first eCommerce venture when I had no customers, revenue, and a limited budget to work within. The transaction-based pricing model meant that I was only paying for processing services if I was actually making money and helped keep my monthly overhead very low.

Simple Integration

Stripe has broad support among all the major eCommerce platforms (including almost every WordPress platform), so integrating it with your cart software is generally as simple as copying and pasting in your secret keys found in your Stripe dashboard. Need a custom integration? If you’re a developer you’ll find the extremely readable documentation and code samples make taking credit card payments easier than you might expect. Finally, if you just need a simple and quick way to safely collect credit card details for charging later on, you can use Stripe Checkout to add an attractive credit card form popup which handles validation, error handling, and securely transmitting payment information to Stripe servers:

Stripe Checkout

Stripe Checkout

Miscellaneous

Stripe is widely regarded to have outstanding support, and while I wish I could talk about some specific experiences, the truth is that accepting payments with Stripe has been so easy and straightforward that over this past year and a half I haven’t yet had any reason to get in touch with their support staff.

Chargebacks are an unfortunate reality of business, and as you might expect Stripe makes managing chargebacks frankly as painless as it can be. With a simple notification system and response interface it’s easy to manage and contest undeserved chargebacks. Just be sure to keep good records and save those server logs!

Who Shouldn’t Use Stripe?

If you’re an existing business with an established relationship, especially a brick-and-mortar branching into online sales, and you already work with a processor that supports eCommerce transactions, then I can understand sticking with them. However, if you’re a new e-shop just getting started, or are fed up with your existing payment gateway and want to try something new, we’d highly recommend giving Stripe a look and a test drive.

Read More

Here are some other recommendations for using Stripe:

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Posted by Justin Stern

Justin is a cofounder of SkyVerge and a frequent Sell with WP contributor. He loves writing technical reviews and how-to articles, but thinks writing code is far easier than writing words.

12 Comments

  1. The only ‘drawback’ to Stripe is the PCI compliance, even the WP Engine servers don’t quite count as PCI compliant so Stripe can’t be used and be compliant. If you send it through Mijireh then sure you’re fine.

    1. I can’t remember if the Stripe WC gateway uses this or not, but an easy way to get around the PCI compliancy issue is using their javascript library (https://stripe.com/docs/stripe.js/switching) which tokenizes the card prior to POSTing it to the server.

      We used Braintree’s similar solution (https://www.braintreepayments.com/docs/javascript) for the Braintree WC gateway and it works really really well.

      1. I just checked the markup for one of my sites using the Stripe WC gateway and it is not using the javascript tokenizing library.

        1. Yeah not sure which library they’re using or not. Best to submit a support ticket at http://support.woothemes.com and ask them about it 🙂

        2. I put in a support ticket and they said the stripe gateway for WC was using stripe.js. I had assumed it didn’t because I did not see the stripe markup on the form fields. On further investigation, I see that the gateway extension uses a javascript solution that is different from Stripe’s example and doesn’t require the same form field markup.

        3. Ah, very cool…thanks so much for looking into this. Appreciate you taking the time to come back and let us know Doug!

  2. Great post. I’m really looking forward to the day Stripe replaces PayPal as the default payment gateway people choose to sell online. It’s easier to develop against, easier to test, easier to debug, easier to manage, basically a better experience all around for developers and store managers.

    I’d love to see WooCommerce take the lead and bundle Stripe free, removing PayPal Standard and offering it as an add-on. Stripe would need to be available in a lot more countries before that can happen though, which, fortunately, seems to be a big focus for them now.

    1. Hey Brent, totally agree! A bundled Stripe in WC would be a pretty fabulous deal for WC users. Hopefully Stripe continues to expand their offering throughout the world, they have a fantastic product and I’m sure adoption would be high.

  3. Another reason for choosing Stripe is cost savings. The transparent rates are simple to understand, but at first glance it looks like it might be more expensive than other options. However, I found that not to be the case. I recently compared a year of sales data for thousands of transactions made with PayPal and a traditional card processor to see what it would have cost using Stripe. The traditional processor, in particular, applied the ideal low advertised rate to few of the transactions and added plenty of fees each month. And in both cases it was either negligibly close or Stripe saved money.

    1. Hey Doug, thanks for joining in! Interesting to see the cost comparison; I know I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more for the super convenience Stripe offers, but it’s pretty awesome to see that it may even be more cost effective for people in addition to being easier to use. Thanks so much for sharing that analysis!

  4. I haven’t used Stripe before, but have been giving Paymill ( https://www.paymill.com ) a shot. It looks like it does more or less what Stripe has been doing, and fills a gap in the European market.

    If I ever do something UK/US based I’ll definitely try Stripe. Their costs seem okay, and if setting it up is such a breeze as you say, I can hardly wait!

  5. We had a very unpleasant experience with Stripe. A week after we chose to partner with them, we received an email accusing us of committing fraud. We barely ran 3 transactions for our guests and they chose to close our account. All this was on Valentine’s day weekend when we had many customers waiting to pay the invoices we issued. You can imagine how difficult it was lost to find alternative payment methods on a Friday. Not to mention, our app was already integrated with Stripe.
    We offered to submit to Stripe any kind of document to resolve the issues, including for them to contact our customers and confirm the transactions. They don’t have any phone support and they replied 5 days later with a standard email. We will not continued to work with them and other companies should be advised of their unprofessional attitude.

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