This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Stripe is a payment processor that specializes in online sales and offers everything from payment buttons to hosted checkout pages and ecommerce store integrations. It provides merchants with integrated payment tools—both simple and advanced customization options, supported by Stripe’s well-renowned payment security features. Stripe also works with millions of companies in over 40 countries.
What Should You Use Stripe For?
Recurring Billing and Invoicing
Stripe is an excellent choice for growing ecommerce businesses because of its flat-rate pricing, easy integration with hundreds of other applications, flexible payment processing, and customizable payments security features. While it is a “developer-centric” platform, merchants who do not have access to developers can use its simple customization tools.
Businesses with technical expertise can also use Stripe to create highly customized online payment platforms. B2Bs and merchants accepting international payments will appreciate the versatility and level of payment security that it can provide.
Why Online Businesses Love Stripe
Stripe’s sophisticated software makes it highly flexible for creating custom checkouts—and at 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, it’s competitively priced. It offers open-source online checkout tools, programmable in-person payments, smart invoicing and subscription management, and multiparty payments. In addition, it has fast payouts, global support, and dispute management.
It also provides payment processing services to 47 countries, accepts payments in over 135 currencies, integrates with over 650 applications, and has financial services for growing businesses.
Get a complete look at Stripe’s features and pricing.
How Does Stripe Work?
Stripe offers a range of online payment processing services but has also recently expanded to accepting in-person payments. And because it offers a high degree of customization, Stripe can easily adapt its features as you grow your online platform.
Learn more about similar services by viewing our full in-depth guide to merchant accounts.
Stripe for Online Payments
Stripe made our list of the best merchant services specifically for online sales and integrations. It accepts over 135 currencies and dozens of different payment methods, making it perfect for internet sales. You can sell products and subscriptions, run recurring payments (like for dues or utilities), or add it to other marketplaces.
You can create hosted payments pages, design your own payments form on your website with Stripe Elements, accept payments via app with Stripe’s SDKs, and produce payment links for sharing on social media.
Hosted Payment Pages
Stripe Checkout lets you design dynamic hosted payment pages that adapt to your customer’s device for optimization. It also automatically detects your customer’s location to adjust for tax rates and offers additional tools for coupons and discount management. More advanced features include address auto-complete, 1-click payments, and real-time card validation.
Stripe invoicing is an easy-to-use platform (no need for coding) that allows you to create hosted or PDF format invoices with a few clicks and send them to customers both local and international in minutes. You can format it for one-time and recurring payments and customize it with additional line items for discounts and tax rates. APIs are available to set up collection reminders, automate accounts payables, and reconcile transactions.
Stripe’s recurring billing feature is designed to handle different types of business models. Membership-based businesses and professional services that bill through invoicing can use Stripe Billing to develop a highly customized customer-facing sign-up platform. Like Stripe Invoicing, the billing software is available both in code-free and API-based options. The code-free solution already includes the ability to allow customers to self-manage their subscriptions with a link to a secure, prebuilt customer portal.
Global Payments Processing
Stripe is built to accept cross-border payments. You can design your website to process multiple payment methods using local payment services from different countries. Your customers will be billed and can pay in their local currency while you receive the payments already converted to your own.
Stripe is available in 47 countries, and it took the top slot for our best international merchant account for small businesses. Its fees are excellent compared to other international processors and are country-specific. By accepting over 135 currencies, your customers can pay in their own currency and credit cards, while you get paid in your own currency. It also lets you display prices in the native currency, so there’s no confusion. Even more, it will detect your customer’s version and translate the checkout page into their native language.
In the News:
In November 2021, Stripe increased the reach of its Stripe Terminal credit card processor to Ireland, France, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands.
Stripe for In-person Payments
Need in-person payment processing to complement your online sales? While Stripe integrates with popular POS systems like Lightspeed and WooCommerce, it also provides you the coding to integrate into your own POS system.
In addition to a choice of readers that accept swipe, chip, or tap payments, it has SDKs and tools for ordering and managing readers from the Stripe Dashboard. Your POS needs to be web-based or mobile. Stripe Terminal is currently available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands and is in beta in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Stripe for Fraud Protection
Fraud protection is vital for online sales. Stripe is PCI DCS Level 1 compliant, has SSAE18/SOC 1 type 1 and type 2 and SSAE18/SOC 2 type 1 and type 2 reports, is PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) compliant, and has e-money licenses in the EU and UK.
Stripe for Business Management
Stripe is easy to integrate with third-party business management tools such as QuickBooks and Salesforce for CRM. But aside from an all-in-one dashboard that gives you an overall view of your business, Stripe also comes with a range of revenue and financial management tools. These are optional add-ons but you may want to consider these features as your business grows.
In the News:
In September 2021, Stripe agreed to acquire Recko, a provider of payment reconciliation software for internet businesses. The acquisition furthers Stripe’s goal of going beyond payment acceptance and will be offered alongside Stripe Revenue Recognition, Stripe Billing, and Stripe Invoicing.
How Stripe Can Help Grow Your Business
In addition to providing excellent payment processing, Square has tools to help you with your financial needs and your customers’ and employees’ needs. The availability of some is limited to specific countries, while others are best for large corporations—or the ambitious entrepreneur with excellent programming skills.
Stripe for Startups
Stripe isn’t just for established businesses, as its Atlas program is designed specifically for startups. It provides the legal resources to set up your company in the State of Delaware (a common state for incorporation), create legal documents, file paperwork, and apply for your tax number. It then helps you create ownership, so you can issue stock appropriately.
You get discounts from its partners, including $5,000 in credits from Amazon Web Services, and discounts from legal and tax services. Its Atlas community lets you meet other entrepreneurs and get mentoring. Naturally, you’ll have access to Stripe’s other business tools. Atlas costs $500 for setup fees, and there are also other ongoing costs. Stripe offers a free one-month course on the basics of starting your own business.
Stripe Corporate Card
The Stripe Corporate Card is for US Stripe customers only and requires no personal guarantees. It has no annual, late, and foreign transaction fees. Credit is determined by your payment processing and bank history and grows as your business does. It lets you manage spending in real time, and its rewards program gives you 1.5% cash back on every purchase automatically credited back to your bill. It also offers benefits in discounts and credits to 20 companies, from Amazon Ads to software like Slack, Gusto, and Rippling.
Stripe Capital is not a traditional loan. Instead of paying interest and having a set monthly payment for a given number of years, you can instead borrow off your future sales, paying a flat fee for the loan and paying it off with a given percentage of your sales each month. It’s kind of like getting an advance on wages.
Eligibility is based solely on your history with Stripe. Funds generally arrive in your Stripe account the day after approval. Depending on how much you borrow, you will be charged a flat fee, and Stripe will take an agreed-upon percentage from your daily sales to repay the loan.
If your business needs pay cards for employees or contractors and company credit cards you can control, then Stripe Issuing may have the tools you need. You can create your own line of virtual and physical cards with the parameters you specify. You can use them as company cards for employees so that you can limit where they spend company funds. You can change spending protocols in real time or require authorization for expenditure. You can also create your own pay cards for paying contractors and gig workers (needs Stripe Treasury as well). You can brand the cards with your own logo so they look as company-specific as they are.
If you need a scalable financial product for your website, Stripe Treasury lets you enable customers to make accounts, store funds, transfer money, hold payments, pay bills, and more. Stripe has partnered with global banks like Citi and Barclays to enable ACH and wire transfers, interest-earning accounts, and faster access to payments funds. Let customers (or employees) create bank accounts with you, pay with pay cards (using Stripe Issuing), create an internal operations account, and more.
What Is Stripe: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does Stripe do?
Stripe is well known for its online payment processing services. It provides merchants with the ability to set up and customize different ways of accepting payments online.
Is Stripe safe?
Also popular for its advanced payment security infrastructure, Stripe is considered one of the safest payment processing services in the industry. Every Stripe account is supported by an advanced machine-learning fraud detection system that conducts real-time risk assessments for each transaction. You can also set up your own ID, Social Security, and address verification system. Learn about online payment security and PCI compliance.
Is Stripe free?
There is really no legal way to accept payment processing absolutely for free. However, Stripe is often compared to Square and PayPal as one of the cheapest payment processing services in the industry.
Stripe has long been a popular and highly regarded payment processor for online businesses. In recent years, it’s acquired other companies to expand its offerings to online businesses. It’s not just for websites and online stores, but for any small business doing online payment processing, even with invoices. In addition, it offers banking services, credit cards, and business financing. Sign up today.