Launched in 2010 with backing from Y Combinator, Stripe is a new breed of payment processor designed for use online and in mobile apps. In nine short years, Stripe has developed from a fledgeling startup to an industry standard, used by hundreds of thousands of organisations in 25 different countries.
However, just being successful isn’t enough for us to recommend Stripe to our readers. That’s why we’ve spent the last few weeks testing Stripe and poring over user reviews to put together this in-depth review, covering everything from functionality to fees. Hopefully, it will help you make up your mind when you’re looking for your next payment processor. Let’s get started.
What is Stripe?
Stripe has a couple of different products but the main one we’re talking about is Stripe Payments. Stripe Payments is a flexible payment gateway designed and built specifically for use in custom digital developments. (For more information on what a payment gateway is and how it works, check out our blog What is a payment gateway?)
In terms of functionality, Stripe will do pretty much whatever you want it to. And thanks to its outstanding documentation and flexible API, it’s relatively easy to actually implement that.
If you want a way to accept payments in an app, Stripe can do that. If you want to accept payments on an eCommerce website, Stripe can do that too. if you want to set up some crazy complicated payment system in an online application, that’s no problem for Stripe.
Stripe provides merchants with both the payment gateway and merchant account components required for processing payments. (If you’re new to online payment processing, check out our payment gateway primer for some background on how it all works.)
Since Stripe provides an all-in-one product, it can quote an all-in-one fee. Here’s how much they charge:
Let’s say you sell furniture. If a customer buys a new armchair for £200 using a Visa debit card, Stripe charges £2.80 plus an additional 20p, making for a total payment processing charge of £3.00. That’s not a particularly competitive rate (especially at high transaction volumes) but Stripe’s main selling point is its flexibility and not its pricing.
For a full breakdown of Stripe’s current and past pricing, check out our article How much does Stripe charge?
If you’re technically minded and want to learn more about the features that make Stripe an outstanding payment gateway, this is the section for you! But if you’re just looking for a reputable payment gateway for your website, you can probably just miss this section out.
Okay, preamble over. Here’s a quick tour of Stripe’s best features:
- User-friendly API: Stripe’s API and related documentation is probably the best in the market. It’s powerful, flexible and super easy to understand and use.
- Customisable checkout: The in-built checkout is immensely customisable.
- Mobile payments: Stripe supports mobile payment integrations from services like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- International support: Stripe operates in 25 different countries and supports virtually all mainstream payment options.
- Accounting integration: Like all good payment gateways, Stripe will integrate with your existing accounting system for stress-free bookkeeping.
- Security: Stripe meets the PCI-DSS requirements, including two-factor authorisation and that takes a whole load of responsibility off you.
Rightly or wrongly, Stripe is usually compared to PayPal. Which has better support? Which is more flexible? Which is cheaper? Basically, which one is best? We’ve actually got a whole article on the subject—see Stripe Vs. PayPal — Which should I choose?—but here’s a quick snapshot of the differences in pricing.
|Transaction Fees||1.4% + 20p||1.9% + 20p|
|Example £10 Transaction||£0.34||£0.39|
|Example £100 Transaction||£1.60||£2.10|
Now, there’s obviously more to both PayPal and Stripe than just the pricing so I recommend you read our full comparison article for a fuller discussion.
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read the full thing, here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of Stripe.
- Very flexible service
- Outstanding documentation
- Transparent and fixed pricing
- Relatively high payment processing fees
- Credit and debit cards charged at the same rate
- Strict terms and conditions
- Swift account cancellation policy
By now, you should have a good feel for what we think of Stripe. So, to introduce some impartiality, we’ve also rounded up some independent reviews for Stripe to give you a better feel for how good it really is. (These reviews are correct as of May 2019.)
- Trustpilot — 2 / 5 (914 reviews)
- Capterra — 4.5 / 5 (1,017 reviews)
- GetApp — 4.68 / 5 (1,017 reviews)
- TrustRadius — 4.6 / 5 (66 reviews)
And that gives an average score of 3.9 / 5, which is pretty respectable if you ask us! It’s also worth noting that Stripe’s Trustpilot score was significantly higher one year ago (4 / 5) but they have experienced a flurry of one-star reviews. Stripe’s overall review score last year was 4.40 / 5.
Find Your Next Payment Gateway
While Stripe is a really great payment gateway, we always recommend merchants review the market and see what’s actually on offer before they decide on a provider.