If you run an online business, a payment processing program is necessary. There are many different options that may work for you, including Stripe.
What is Stripe?
Stripe is an online payment processing software boosted with an API (an interface that allows applications to talk to each other) that enables businesses to accept and make a wide range of payment types.
Stripe’s software powers businesses via fully integrated payment tools designed to eliminate tasks, such as managing payments, tax reporting, and paying out to multiple parties. The software intends to simplify money transactions and offers other features.
With Stripe acting as a uniform payment platform, businesses and customers can accept a range of payment types, both domestically and internationally, and support instant payouts.
What are Stripe’s main features?
Move customers along a seamless sales flow
- Apply discounts when customers are checking out
- Provide the option for cancelation of, for example, a subscription
- Select different payment methods
Some of the many payment methods accepted include:
- Domestic and international payments
- Credit/Debit cards
- ACH credit transfers and ACH debits
- Apple, Google, and Microsoft Pay
- Digital Wallets
- Bank Debits
- Cash payments
- WeChat Pay
You can see the full list of payment options here.
Easy to integrate and scale to need
Stripe libraries are available in every coding language and are designed to be used by both tech-savvy web developers as well as those with a much more limited computer literacy.
This is one of the reasons that Stripe is scalable and can be leveraged by small, simple businesses that can quickly sign up for an account and only need to fill out some forms providing basic information to large companies that need a payment platform capable of handling millions of transactions, while also guarding against fraud and maintaining system security.
HTTPS secure connections
Encryption of sensitive data
Their own security team to investigate concerns
Get creative and issue cards
Stripe allows you to create and issue both physical as well as virtual payment cards to be used by individuals or business entities.
Business owners can get a customized card that can be created and activated quickly, instantly if virtually, and within a few days if a physical card.
An example is the Stripe Corporate Card, which is a Visa credit card that, upon use, allows for easy integration with other Stripe features such as real-time expense reporting and be connected to other Stripe tools or even Quickbooks.
The Corporate Card carries zero fees, is eligible for 2% cashback on purchases made in the top two spend categories of the card holder, and can also be configured with different spending control limits which can be applied to a particular person, expense category, or dollar limit per day.
With Stripe’s billing features, you can easily manage and simultaneously support different business strategies and income sources.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do in terms of billing.
Choose the Billing plan that is right for your business:
As your business grows, you can scale up your Stripe plan depending on certain factors like how many paying customers you have, the number of monthly transactions needed, and whether or not international payment support is needed.
How does Stripe support different business strategies?
The billing features can essentially support nearly any type of billing need you can think of:
- One-time and/or recurring payments
- Easily allow the customer to apply discounts or coupons
- Establish different fees depending on your customer type
- Set up promotions and trial periods
Protect subscription payments from European customers
Since a 2019 regulatory change, European banks will deny subscriptions payments unless the bank obtains permission (called Strong Customer Authentication, or SCA) from the account holder. Unless your european customer provides SCA, your subscription revenue is at risk.
Stripe mitigates this potential problem by proactively seeking SCA from these customers by emailing them and asking that they confirm their subscription. The emails are customizable to fit your business’s image and voice.
Stripe allows its users to create customizable invoices, with or without code. Or you can use one of their invoice templates. Either way, you can make it your own and send invoices in 13 different languages.
Create an appealing and easy-to-read invoice with itemized charges, the ability to calculate and apply different taxes, and allow for a coupon code to be applied.
If you have clients that you bill on a recurring basis, Stripe has a ‘Starter’ and a ‘Scale’ option for invoices that each come with additional features that can make recurring billing easier. Recurring invoices do come with a fee.
Stripe also works with dozens of payment, billing, invoicing, bookkeeping, and other financial service partners. Information can be shared and integrated across many applications.
Who is Stripe for?
Stripe’s products “Power online and in-person retailers, subscription businesses, software platforms and marketplaces, and everything in between.”
The software can be used by businesses small and large, from solo freelancers, to startups, to fortune 500 companies and even non-profits.
Some very notable Stripe users
- Yelp, Twitch, Shopify, Instacart, Turo, Postmates, Squarespace
- Amazon, Uber, Lyft, GitHub, Google, Taskrabbit, Target
- Expedia, National Geographic, Reddit
- UNICEF, Charity: Water, Khan Academy, Habitat for Humanity
The bottom line is that a high quality, fully integrated, and easy-to-use payment software can help any business attract customers and ultimately contribute to business growth.
Who isn’t Stripe for?
Stripe provides a product that takes the incredibly complex process of processing local and global payments and simplifies it to the point where many businesses simply need to sign up for use and click some buttons to configure Stripe to their needs and liking.
However, the fact remains that what Stripe does ‘behind the curtain’ is very complex and must meet the strict regulations and laws of a financial product across more than two dozen countries.
Because of this, Stripe is unable to work in some industries, or has to consider things on a case by case basis.
According to Stripe, its product may be unusable with pharmacies, liquor stores, multi-level marketing, get rich quick schemes, or other financially risky endeavours.
Also, Stripe comes with fees. If your business model and strategy are simple and you are able to confidently manage payments and are satisfied doing so, there is no reason to pay someone else to do it. Keep as much of your hard earned money as possible.
As mentioned above, Stripe is a robust platform that comes with many tools and features. Depending on what you need, the cost will fluctuate.
Stripe charges fees for payments. Exact fee amounts depend on the transaction type.
Stripe also offers additional packages and features
Package names: Connect, Radar, Terminal, Sigma, Atlas.
Each comes with a different pricing model.
Depending on the particular package, tools and features include support for multiple-party payments, automation of 1099 forms, in-person card processing, or machine learning to enhance fraud protection and seek SCA as well as device finger-printing.
Premium support - starting at $1,800 per month. Get customized features, dedicated support, and prioritized responses
View a detailed breakdown of prices here.
Creating a Stripe account is easy and free (transactions and certain features come with a cost, but sign up is free).
You just need an email address and to set up a password.
Once your account is created, you’ll be able to view a dashboard, connect bank accounts and begin to configure Stripe for your business, adding the tools you deem necessary.