This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Stripe is a highly secure online payment processing solution best for B2B and ecommerce businesses. It is widely known for its sophisticated features for creating customized payment gateways and online checkout, including open-source online checkout tools, programmable in-person payments, dispute management solution, smart invoicing, subscription management, and multicurrency payment options.
For those who do not have access to web development skills required to maximize these tools, Stripe also has simple payment links you can share online. Signing up for a merchant account is free and there are no monthly fees. Stripe’s processing fee is at 2.9% + 30 cents per successful transaction.
When To Use Stripe
After spending years reviewing merchant services, we can say Stripe stands out as the best payment solutions provider for growing, tech-savvy online and B2B businesses. Its developer-friendly platform is particularly popular among software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses, direct-to-consumer ecommerce businesses, B2B platforms, and large online marketplaces.
In particular, Stripe is best for:
- Creating a fully customizable and secure checkout: Stripe comes with a “developer-centric” platform to provide the most flexible and scalable solution for designing checkout carts. It also includes the assurance of strict PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance in its free account. It’s one of our top picks for customizable payment gateways and online checkouts.
- Fast-growing ecommerce businesses or service providers: Stripe’s highly customizable nature will easily keep up with fast-growing ecommerce businesses and service providers that process recurring online payments. Software developers can scale their business’ checkout process using reliable APIs and integrations as it develops from startup to enterprise.
- B2B businesses: Stripe is our leading B2B payment solution for online businesses. It can process international transactions in over 135 currencies and accept extremely small, as well as large, payments. Aside from recurring billing and invoicing, Stripe can process domestic ACH transactions.
Stripe Payments Calculator
Enter your current in-store and/or online sales volumes and average order values for an estimate on the monthly fees you would pay using Stripe.
When Stripe Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Businesses processing primarily in-person transactions: While Stripe now offers the ability to create your own in-person checkout solution, most small businesses would be better served with a plug-and-play option that does not require a custom build. Those needing to accept mobile or in-store payments would benefit more from using Square over Stripe. Many of our other top-recommended merchant services, including Payment Depot and Stax by Fattmerchant, also offer solid support for in-person transactions.
- Businesses lacking access to technical expertise: Stripe is a “developer-first” platform, so a certain level of technical expertise is expected among its users to maximize its features. So, while subscribing to Stripe is free, the complexity of its setup process affected Stripe’s ranking in our evaluation of the best free merchant accounts.
- Ecommerce businesses requiring only a basic setup: Some small and startup online businesses do not require a highly customized checkout process. If all you need is credible online payment processing, a more recognized brand like PayPal is a better fit than Stripe.
Stripe may not be the best fit for all types of online businesses. Based on your requirements, you may prefer alternatives to Stripe that are simpler and more affordable or offer additional features.
Stripe Alternatives & Fees Comparison
Payment processing for occasional sales
Invoices and recurring payments for established businesses
High-volume storefront or multichannel merchants
Starts at $0
Starts at $0
Starts at $99
Starts at $59
Card-present transaction fee
2.6% + 10 cents
Starts at 2.29% + 9 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Keyed transaction fee
3.5% + 15 cents
3.09% + 49 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Ecommerce transaction fee
2.9% + 30 cents
Starts at 2.9% + 49 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Looking for the lowest rates? The payment processing rates you will pay can vary based on your business’ size, type, and average order value. To find the most affordable option and compare multiple processing rates, read our guide on the cheapest credit card processing.
Since our Last Update:
Stripe has upgraded its Stripe Connect service to add cryptocurrency in their list of accepted international payment methods, although this service is still limited to Stripe users who run their business and accept payments on Twitter. Stripe has also upgraded its ACH Debit service by allowing users the ability to accept back debits (both one-time and recurring) from any kind of Stripe integration.
Stripe supports many integrated payment methods, including card transactions, digital wallets, bank transfers, and international payments. Fees start at 2.9% + 30 cents per successful transaction—and there are no monthly or additional gateway fees for simple online transactions.
2.9% + 30 cents
In-person via Terminal
Starts at 2.7% + 5 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
0.5% or 0.8% depending on plan
0.4% or 0.5% depending on plan
$5/payment or $15/bounced check
ACH Direct Debit
0.8% capped at $5 or $4/failed payment
International Payment Methods
Starts at 80 cents
- Stripe Checkout: A Stripe service ($10/month) for users who want a highly customizable, pre-built hosted payment page with your own custom domain.
- Cards payments and digital wallets: For online, in-person, and digital wallet payments, Stripe charges an additional 1% for international cards and another 1% if the transaction requires currency conversion.
- ACH direct debits: Option for two-day settlement at 1.2% fee and $1.50 for instant bank account validation. Disputed ACH direct debit payments are charged a fee of $15.
- Instant Payouts: Access with an eligible debit card, costs 1% of Instant Payouts volume, and has a minimum fee of 50 cents.
- Contract length and fees: There are no long-term contracts, early termination, or account closure fees
Though limited, in-person payments are also available through Stripe Terminal, which works with pre-certified third-party hardware and a software development kit (SDK) for either a native mobile app or a web platform. Note that you need to create an account first with Stripe and order the hardware from your Stripe Dashboard.
Stripe Reader M2contactless, and swipe payments.
Strike SDK for iOS and Android
Stripe Reader M2 is Stripe's newest Bluetooth-enabled card reader that accepts EMV chip, contactless, and swipe payments.
Strike SDK for iOS and Android
The BBPOS Chipper 2X BT is a battery-powered card reader for mobile point of sale. Features include Bluetooth connectivity, end-to-end encryption, and EMV chip, contactless, and swipe payment processing.
BBPOS WisePOS E
Strike SDK for iOS, Android, Desktop, and Mobile Web
The BBPOS WisePOS E is a hybrid countertop and handheld terminal for in-store and curbside payment processing. It features a 5” touchscreen display, end-to-end and point-to-point encryption, EMV chip, contactless, and swipe payments processing, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Setup & Application
Stripe comes with a wide range of features that help you build an easy and seamless online payment processing experience for your customers. It also has advanced solutions for optimizing online payments, more so if you know how to code. However, setting up a Stripe account is not as complicated.
Creating a Stripe account starts with a click of a button and is completed in minutes. You will then be prompted to activate the payment features by providing information such as:
- Business or trade name
- Physical address, email and phone number
- Tax identification number
- Business website URL
- Nature of your business or activities
- Business owner/owners information
- Designated Stripe Account administrator
Underwriting will be required to give you access to Stripe’s payment processing services so expect to be asked for additional information as follows:
- Copies of financial statements, reporting, and other documentation that will help Stripe conduct risk assessment
- Other records to support your ability to comply with the merchant agreement
- Personal or company guarantee
Access to your Stripe account is temporary until underwriting is approved.
Contract & Terms of Service
Stripe has a variety of products which carry its own service agreement. However, the general terms of service outlines details regarding account setup, approval, maintenance, and fees among others.
- Stripe reserves the right to revise its fees at any time with at least 30 days’ advance notice before revisions become applicable.
- High dispute rates are described as exceeding 1% of your total sales and can result in the suspension of your access to Stripe’s payment processing services.
- Stripe may suspend your Stripe account as well as your access to funds in your Stripe account after determining, based on its sole discretion, that you are in breach of any provision within the service agreement.
- Stripe also reserves the right to set up and determine terms of a reserve fund in the event that your account is deemed to carry a higher than normal risk of doing business.
- Consult Stripe’s list of Restricted Businesses before registering for and opening a Stripe Account.
This is Stripe’s hosted checkout page where you can create customizations and decide on the level of customization you would like to provide your customers. It is optimized for accepting one-time or subscription purchases and can accommodate both local and international payments—all while ensuring key considerations such as page load time, animations, device screen compatibility, and language.
Stripe Payment Links
Stripe’s invoicing tool allows you to build custom invoices for any type of pricing model with options for either a Stripe-hosted invoice (no-code required) or API to add more advanced customizations—such as adding automatic email reminders and aging reports generation. You can collect one-time or recurring payments, add line items, specify discounts, and customize tax rates directly to your invoices.
Stripe Invoicing Plans:
- Starter Plan: Costs 0.4% per paid invoice, has 25 free invoices per month, and includes hosted invoice page and insight and analytic tools
- Plus Plan: Costs 0.5% per paid invoice and adds estimate building, automatic collection, and auto reconciliation tools on top of the Starter Plan
Stripe’s billing feature is especially useful for subscriptions where you can design different pricing structures such as one-time, recurring, usage-based and tiered pricing. You can also set up billing adjustments if you offer promotions and trial periods, and customize the billing frequency.
Stripe offers its billing tools in two plans:
- Starter Plan: Charges 0.5% for paid recurring charges and includes automatic collection and customer portal tools
- Scale Plan: Costs 0.8% on recurring charges and adds estimates building tools and NetSuite integration (through Stripe Connector) on top of the Starter plan
This is Stripe’s in-person payments solution for mobile and web platforms. It includes an SDK and pre-certified third-party hardware but will require a separate point-of-sale (POS) software subscription. You will also need to configure the integration yourself—unless your POS comes with a pre-built solution.
There are no extra fees for using Stripe Terminal, except for a different in-person fee of 2.7% + 5 cents per transaction. You will also need to purchase a mobile card reader that starts at $59.
Stripe offers financing options for businesses requiring short-term funds (loan is payable for up to 18 months). There is no lengthy application process, and qualification is determined by your credit history with Stripe. Once you’re approved, you get access to the funds as early as the next business day.
Stripe Capital charges a flat fee based on a percentage of your daily sales, which you can customize depending on your preferred loan terms. This means that repayment is automatic until your loan is paid—and you don’t incur any late fees.
This is Stripe’s machine-learning fraud prevention tool that uses billions of data points to continually adapt to how you do your business. It includes advanced payment, hardware and account protection tools, and secure data migration—so transactions are protected from start to finish. For businesses accepting international payments, Stripe also includes an identification recognition feature that can recognize IDs from over 33 countries.
Stripe charges 5 cents per screened transaction, but this fee is waived for payments that are billed the standard 2.9% + 30 cent transaction fee.
Customization is key for Stripe’s advanced security features. Aside from built-in PCI compliance, chargeback protection, and dispute management, it has developed payment, hardware, and account protection tools that go beyond the standard. For instance, you can customize your acceptable payment risk by setting your own risk level scores. It also offers secure data migration, so you can safely transfer transaction details and customer payment information to and from different payment processors.
Stripe Ease of Use
- Deposit speed: Stripe deposits your funds into your account in two business days. Meanwhile, Instant Payouts is Stripe’s solution for providing you instant access to your funds by sending them to a supported debit card or bank account (available for a fee).
- No code, social media selling: Create payment links to sell products or services, start a subscription, or collect a donation—which you can post on social media or send to your customers via messaging or email.
- Ready-to-go checkout templates: Users with basic software development skills can start their customization with Stripe’s checkout forms and templates, which include extensive tutorials and a knowledge base for easy setup.
- Unified dashboard: This is where you can manage roles and permissions, make notes on your collaborations, and take action via the dashboard app on your iOS and Android devices.
- Global payments: Stripe can cater to 195 countries and 135+ currencies, subsidiary support, and local payment methods (such as ACH Credit or Direct Debit, wire, checks, Alipay, iDEAL, EPS, and SEPA Direct Debit). Note that you cannot accept PayPal payments with Stripe.
- Dispute handling: Evidence submission is automated, and you can measure and monitor all disputes. Stripe also integrates directly with card networks.
- Plug-and-play integrations: Adding Stripe as a payment processor is easy if you already have your online store. It offers a wide range of plug-and-play integrations for all of its third-party platform partners, so it will only take minutes to set up Stripe as your checkout option.
- Developer integrations: Experienced coders can utilize comprehensive testing tools, over 450 platforms and extensions, and a dedicated developer dashboard.
- Data security: Stripe keeps all payment information encrypted and secure during collection with a PCI Service Provider Level 1 certification, the highest level awarded to a payments software provider.
- Third-party platform sign-up option: Users can sign up quickly without writing any code by registering through Stripe’s third-party partner platform.
- Customer support: Stripe offers 24/7 email, phone, and chat support for its users. You also get access to its comprehensive knowledge base, detailed API documentation, and FAQs. Premium support is also available as an add-on purchase.
Stripe has over 450 integrations for accounting software, CRM platforms, POS systems, and more. Its most popular ecommerce tool integrations include WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, BigCommerce, and 3dcart.
What Users Think of Stripe
Stripe gets mixed feedback from users. Most positive Stripe reviews are for its seamless integration with popular online platforms. In particular, users found Stripe’s customization and subscription features extremely useful for creating invoices and recurring payments.
- Capterra: Over 2,400 users rated Stripe an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- G2: More than 160 users rated Stripe an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Negative Stripe reviews from users highlight charges they got from disputes and the lengthy payment holding time. There are also some complaints of refunds being provided to customers without prior notice. Users also cite a learning curve in using most of Stripe’s features, so if your business lacks access to a certain degree of software development skills, Stripe may not be the right fit.
Users Don’t Like
Dashboard and reporting features
Refunds to customers without notice
Handy developer tools
Poor customer service
Compatibility with most ecommerce platforms and marketplaces
Extended holding time of payments before being credited to the bank
Stripe is a pay-as-you-go payment platform for ecommerce businesses and service providers. It provides notable features—such as exceptional data security, global payment capabilities, unified dashboard tools, and machine learning fraud prevention.
It is also developer-friendly, which means it offers integration and customization options that require a certain degree of understanding software development. To help with this, Stripe offers an array of free and open-source tools to help users customize their online checkout. Head over to Stripe to create a free account.