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Stripe is one of the most popular online credit card processors on the market, but is it right for you and your business? Read our review to find out if you should be using it…
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Stripe Review: The Ultimate Online Payment Processor for Businesses
As a payment service provider, Stripe has made quite the name for itself thanks to its massive portfolio of industry leaders including Pinterest, Lyft, Wish, etc. In this Stripe review, we’ll find out if this 3rd party payment processor lives up to the hype.
The whole idea behind Stripe is to make it easy for both entrepreneurs and large businesses to conduct business online. It handles everything from accepting payments for subscription-based business models to creating custom shopping carts to provide the ultimate shopping experience.
If you’re looking for a reliable payment processor that’s reasonably priced, then Stripe has got you covered. It’s excellent at processing credit card payments, and with its fast setup process, anyone can quickly begin selling online.
Stripe also comes with an API that allows you to quickly build a custom e-commerce shopping experience if you’ve got some developer experience. That said, for those of you with little to no developer experience, Stripe is compatible with a variety of popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify—but at an extra fee.
You’ll be able to accept payments securely in a matter of minutes on both mobile and desktop view.
With over 135 currencies to choose from and being a developer-focused platform, Stripe lets you create flexible payment solutions for nearly all online business models. It offers you the best developer tools, security protocols, and a variety of international modules geared towards helping you build a successful online business.
As a credit card processor for online-only businesses, Stripe has quickly become a household name when it comes to accepting payments online.
It’s quite the achievement considering that it made its debut a little less than a decade ago. It’s the brainchild of two rock star Irish developers, Patrick and John Collison who also happen to be brothers.
Since its inception, Stripe has continued to maintain its developer-first approach while maintaining a fair payment processing fee and gives businesses that gross more than $80,000 in monthly sales flexible discount options.
It provides online businesses with the banking, technical, fraud detection, and prevention infrastructure necessary to handle payment processing online. With its innovative and forward-thinking solutions, Stripe was built to help businesses overcome the barriers surrounding online commerce.
Whether you’re looking to start, grow, or scale your business online, Stripe gives you the necessary economic infrastructure to help you achieve your goals. It supports nearly all types of companies, regardless of size from startups to public companies to not-for-profit organizations.
To supplement its core services, Stripe partnered with a variety of organizations, including financial institutions, financial regulators, consumer wallets, and payment networks.
As a cloud-based SaaS company, it provides businesses with a reliable, scalable, and secure payment infrastructure designed to help them grow and thrive online.
It does this by providing online businesses with a wide array of applications from Radar designed to help you fight fraud, to Sigma built to give you the data to help you run your business more efficiently.
That said, it does come with a few caveats that may be deal-breakers for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to get started accepting payments online. These include problems with processing PayPal payments and that it supports a limited number of countries.
Key Features of Stripe
Being a 3rd party payment service provider (PSP), Stripe comes with a chock full of features designed to empower online businesses and a developer-oriented focus. It doesn’t just process card payments online; it also helps create unique shopping experiences for your customers.
That said, its main focus is to provide online business with the best-in-class developer features and tools combined with a reliable infrastructure and customer support. You can rely on Stripe to take your business to the next level regardless of your industry or business model.
It seamlessly handles everything from monthly subscriptions to split payments to in-app payment processing etc. While we couldn’t possibly cover all the features of Stripe in our review, here are some of the key highlights about this media darling.
Dashboard and User Interface
Stripe is an excellent tool for managing your online business and comes with a feature-rich and easy to use dashboard. You’ll be able to manage your businesses sale and payments conveniently, offer refunds, handle disputes as well as monitor your integrated applications.
They designed their dashboard to provide you with all the necessary information about your business at a glance. You’ll get insights to help you make business decisions using data aggregated from their real-time charts and diverse array of analytical tools.
Stripe’s dashboard is organized into a few primary sections with each section catering for a specific component or function of its API. For instance, the “Payments” section handles the Charge object function of their API and Sigma gives you access to valuable business insights.
Most of the time, you’ll use their Dashboard for performing specific actions such as canceling subscriptions or issuing refunds without having to use their API—making it a pretty nifty tool for handling your businesses day to day operations
Stripe also supports a test environment and lets you view the data when you navigate to their “View test data” section on the dashboard. It’s worth noting that your choice of API keys will determine whether or not a transaction is initialized in a live or test environment.
To improve productivity, they also included a report generator to help you quickly generate reports and also find specific information using their search tool. You’ll be able to zero-in on specific customer details, filter your data and even export it in QuickBooks or CSV format.
Stripe gives you plenty of options for accepting payments. They offer subscribers four main options for processing payments depending on the platform, and these include Checkout, Elements, Terminal, and SDK for mobile users.
Stripe make it easy for businesses to create conversion-focused checkout forms, and they even host your pages for you. Checkout is Stripe’s very own smart order page that’s built for conversions and is super easy to add to your pages—simply copy a couple of lines of code.
It supports some of the most popular methods of paying online, including Apple Pay, Debit, and Credit cards. What’s more, it supports two of the most popular payment plans; subscription-based billing and one-time payments.
When it comes to securing your transactions online, Stripe spared no expense to keep you and your customers’ data safe. Their dynamic 3D secure authentication protocol adds an extra layer of protection when processing credit card payments to protect you from fraudulent purchases.
And if that’s not enough, they’ll also be adding extra layer protection later this year called Strong Customer Authentication or SCA. It’s expected to play a significant role in processing payments from Europe.
SCA will require your European customers to employ 2-Factor Authentication when making purchases, which is a lot similar to 3D Secure. And with localization support for up to 14 different languages, you’ll be able to set up payment pages in different languages.
Elements is Stripe’s very own UI component library that allows you to collect sensitive customer data such as credit card numbers securely. Stripe process of payment processing involves two main steps:
- Collecting sensitive information from your customers securely
- Using the above information in a Charge Request.
Elements let you quickly create payment forms that will securely collect your customers’ information and also saves you the hassle of having to store the information yourself. Once collected, Stripe subsequently converts that sensitive information into Tokens.
That said, if you don’t have the technical know-how to implement Elements or don’t have the time to create an order form, then feel free to use Stripe’s hosted Checkout pages.
Currently, in beta mode, Stripe Terminal is designed to help you bring all your payment channels under one roof. Terminal is Stripe’s way of assisting businesses to integrate their offline in-person purchases thereby extending its payment processing features to your POS system.
It’s built for the contemporary development environment, comes with a variety of tools for managing and ordering readers as well as an easy to use Software Development Kit (SDK).
Stripe Terminal was designed to work with all of their products, and let you create a marketplace with Connect, create a SaaS platform and subscription-based billings. It was designed to minimize the red tape involved in logistics, deployment, and compliance.
It does come with some caveats; for instance, it’s restricted to individuals residing in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii and only supports one currency—Benjamins (USD). That means if you’re outside the geographical bounds of the US you won’t be able to access it.
That said, they do allow you to take Terminal out for a test drive when you request an invite.
4. Mobile Apps
For those of you who haven’t noticed, the trend of consuming media online is steadily shifting to mobile. Nowadays, most users prefer using their phones to browse online, and Stripe is quick to capitalize on that shift using their out-of-the-box IOS and Android SDKs.
It makes it incredibly easy for businesses to integrate in-app purchases with Stripe’s API. This provides mobile users with a seamless shopping experience combined with powerful and highly customizable User Interface elements for collecting sensitive credit card details.
Furthermore, by collecting sensitive data for you, it saves you the hassle of having to parse the data to your servers each time a transaction is initiated.
Connect is Stripe’s very own flexible payment solution for all business types and models, allowing you to process payments, pay service providers, and sellers quickly. Connect also allows you to tailor your integrations in a variety of ways including:
- How money is transferred from your customer to your business to your vendors
- How you’ll collect payment for your services
- How payments will be made and in their schedule
- The types of Stripe accounts that will be supported
But we’re only scratching the surface with this tool. Stripe’s connect also supports a wide variety of use cases; from invoicing solutions like FreshBooks to E-commerce platforms such as Shopify to Crowdfunding solutions such as Indiegogo.
Whatever the industry or business model you’re running, Connect has got you covered. What’s more, with Connect Payouts you’ll be able to access pretty much the same funds being routed, compliance, verification as well the recipient UIs that are available with Stripe Connect.
Stripe’s Sigma gives you access to all the data saved in SQL format from your transactions on your Dashboard in an interactive environment. You’ll be able to create fully customizable reports by writing queries which utilize Stripe’s detailed Schema.
You can create reports using the data from nearly every section of your dashboard from payments to customers to subscriptions and much more. Stripe also gives access to their vast library of queries that cover most of the commonly asked questions.
Results of your queries can either be displayed on your browser or downloaded as Comma Separated Values, i.e. CSV format to be used with your applications or spreadsheets. What’s more, Sigma lets you set schedules for your queries to run to automate reporting.
If you’re looking to start your first internet or online business, then you definitely want to check out Stripe Atlas. Atlas makes it easy for individuals to start US-based companies.
From opening LLC companies to C corporations to getting an EIN to opening a business account in a US bank; Atlas gives you plenty of options to start an online business. Stripe Atlas has helped thousands of individuals from all over the world set up tech and internet businesses.
That said, there’s only one caveat with Stripe Atlas is that there are a variety of countries that it doesn’t support. So be sure to check out this page to see if your country is in the list before committing.
Stripe is, without a doubt, one of the best online payment service providers on the market and with its low-point pricing, it might also be among the cheapest. That said, Stripe was built by developers for developers.
So you may have to brush up on your technical skills, hire a developer, or use a 3rd party platform, e.g. Shopify—in which case, you should be prepared to chuck out some extra cash to pay for it.
That’s it, folks, that’s the end of our Stripe review, we hope you loved our guide and that it will help you choose the right payment processor for your online business.
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