Credit Card Processing, ecommerce

Braintree vs. Stripe: Which is Better for Online Payments?

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The online payment market is getting more and more crowded. While greater competition is good for businesses, the sheer number of payment providers can be overwhelming. Here, we’ll take a look at two of the most popular options, Braintree and Stripe, to see which is better for ecommerce and online payments.

The Braintree vs. Stripe comparison chart provided gives a quick side-by-side overview, but if you want the full details, each section of the chart is explained in depth below. (Click chart to enlarge.)Braintree vs Stripe chart


What are online payment gateways?

A payment gateway is the technology that allows you to take payments online. Gateways are integrated into ecommerce stores to authorize card payments, check for fraud if you have anti-fraud tools set up, and show your transaction history. Payment gateway providers charge fees to offer gateways. Usually you’ll pay a percentage of the total sale and a per transaction fee, though other pricing models exist.

The best known payment gateways are PayPal and Authorize.Net, but many more have come into the market in recent years, including Braintree and Stripe. Additionally, almost every credit card processing company offers a gateway, whether it’s their own proprietary version or an account with a gateway they can support.

With those basics in mind, let’s check out Braintree vs. Stripe.

Fees

The first things most businesses want to know when looking for a payment gateway is how much it will cost. In the case of Braintree vs. Stripe, it’s basically a tie.

Accepting credit and debit cards

Both Braintree and Stripe charge on a flat rate pricing model. The flat fee is 2.9% of every transaction, plus an additional 30 cents per transaction. This works out as follows:

100 $30 charges a month ($3,000) = $117 in fees.
150 $40 charges a month ($6,000) = $219 in fees.
200 $50 charges a month ($10,000) = $350 in fees.

Stripe and Braintree provide volume discounts for businesses taking more than $80,000 a month in sales. However, Braintree will process your first $50,000 of transactions free of charge, potentially saving you $2,000 or more, which may give them a slight advantage.

Neither provider charges setup, minimum, or monthly fees for processing transactions.

Read more about Flat Rate Pricing.


Bitcoin Payments

While Bitcoin isn’t quite mainstream yet, more businesses are considering accepting the new currency. If Bitcoin acceptance is important to you, Braintree is the way to go. While in the past, both Stripe and Braintree let you accept payments via Bitcoin, Stripe discontinued that service in 2018.

Braintree will process the first $1,000,000 of Bitcoin payments for free. After that, they charge a 1% fee to convert money from Bitcoin to USD. The edge goes to Braintree. Even if Stripe didn’t discontinue Bitcoin acceptance, Braintree processing your first $1,000,000 in bitcoin for no charge is a positive.

Chargeback Fees

Advantage: Stripe. Both Stripe and Braintree charge the industry standard $15 fee for chargebacks but Stripe will refund the fee if the customer is found to be at fault and the chargeback is not upheld.

Taking Payment

Clients can pay online in a variety of different ways with both Braintree and Stripe. For the most part, the companies are pretty even, but here’s how it breaks down:

Tie:

  • Stripe and Braintree both accept almost every type of credit and debit card including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, and Discover.
  • Both Stripe and Braintree let you take Apple Pay and Android Pay
  • Additionally, both companies offer recurring billing.
  • Both companies refund fees if you refund payment to a customer.
  • Payments are normally made into your account in two working days, although AMEX processing from Braintree can take four working days.

Only Braintree:

  • Braintree allows you to accept Venmo and PayPal, whereas Stripe doesn’t.

Only Stripe:

  • Stripe lets you take payment through AliPay, whereas Braintree doesn’t.

International Payments

Advantage: Stripe. Both companies let you take payments in over 130 currencies, but Braintree charges an additional 1% fee for international payments (accepting payments in a currency other than USD and then converting into USD and passing the money to you). Stripe doesn’t charge any additional fees for international payments.

Additional Payment Services

Aside from taking credit cards, both Stripe and Braintree offer additional services, as follows:

Tie:

  • Braintree and Stripe both support subscriptions and discounts.
  • Both providers automatically update credit and debit card details as they expire with new information, expiration dates, and security codes. This makes it much easier for customers and means you can continue to take payments if cards expire.

Only Braintree

  • Braintree allows you to provide add-on products and services

Only Stripe

  • Stripe gives you the ability to offer coupons.

What if I already have a merchant processing account?

Advantage: Braintree. If you’re already locked into another payment processing account, you can still use Braintree as your gateway to accept online payments. Braintree charges a flat fee of $49 a month for this, plus 10 cents per transaction.

Stripe doesn’t provide pricing for just acting as a gateway, as it must be used with a Stripe merchant account. In this particular segment of Braintree vs. Stripe, Braintree is the clear winner.

Marketplace Payments

Another tie. If you need to take payments from a buyer on behalf of a seller that uses your platform, both Stripe and Braintree have options to enable that. This service is often referred to as “marketplace” selling – think Etsy or Ebay. The companies themselves aren’t the sellers, but provide a marketplace for sellers and buyers to connect. Stripe offers a service called Stripe Connect, while Braintree’s option called Braintree Marketplace can enable this.

Integrations with Other Services

Both providers offer a range of integrations and other services to make online payments and business management easier. Whether one or the other offers an advantage depends on which other services your particular business is looking for.

Only Braintree:

  • Braintree’s integrations are limited compared to Stripe, but it does integrate with just over 40 different services and apps, including Magento, FreshBooks, Recurly, and more.
  • Braintree OneTouch makes mobile and web payments easier by storing card details and allowing easy checkout.
  • Hosted payment forms from Braintree let you control how your payments page looks while providing additional security.
  • Braintree’s Drop In Payment service makes it easy to add payment options to a website or mobile app, including seamless integration with PayPal.

Only Stripe:

  • You can connect Stripe to many existing accounting systems like FreshBooks, Zoho, or FreeAgent, to make reconciliation and financial management easier.
  • Stripe integrates with over 300 existing apps including: Accounting, analytics, ordering, CRM, POS, financing, forms, inventory management, invoicing, mobile payments, notifications, transaction monitoring, relay, referral marketing, recurring subscriptions, user management and shipping.
  • Stripe Relay lets customers buy your products from other mobile apps like Twitter, ShopStyle, and apps you didn’t build or develop.

Technical Integrations

Advantage: Stripe. As payments get integrated into more eCommerce sites and apps, it’s vital that developers can make changes behind the scenes so you can easily take and process money. Stripe has built its reputation on being the “developer’s choice” with comprehensive tools and resources. When it comes to Stripe vs. Braintree on the technical side, Stripe has the edge.

Tie:

  • Stripe and Braintree can integrate through a variety of programming languages including Ruby, Python, Java, and PHP. Here’s the list from Stripe, and here’s the one from Braintree. Braintree offers native .NET support, whereas it’s only available for Stripe as a third-party add-on.
  • Stripe and Braintree let you take and process payments through mobile smartphone apps, whether that’s via a website app or a native app.
  • Neither company provides POS equipment (e.g. card terminals) – They are both designed for online use.
  • Both processors provide lots of support and documentation to developers to let them create custom solutions, including storing card details.

Only Braintree:

  • V.zero SDK is a special software development kit from Braintree that lets developers easily integrate the platform with other apps.

Only Stripe:

  • Stripe support documentation is more comprehensive and generally considered better written than Braintree’s.

Customer Service Reputation

Advantage: Braintree.
Unfortunately, Stripe doesn’t do very well when it comes to feedback on their customer service. There are a number of complaints about getting in touch with Stripe, unexplained charges, and having funds frozen. Braintree has good customer service reviews, and appear to respond promptly to enquiries and email.

Perhaps most notable, Braintree has a phone number for support but Stripe doesn’t. All enquiries to Stripe need to be made through their web form or via email. As irritated Square users can attest, a lack of customer service phone number doesn’t seem like a big deal until you have a problem, and then it adds to the problem.

Compliance and Fraud

Both providers are fully PCI compliant, and use strong encryption to protect payment and transaction details. They also have state-of-the-art security systems to keep customer and business information safe. Stripe and Braintree have advanced fraud protection technology to reduce problematic transactions.

However, as of 2016, Stripe does not support 3D Secure technology (like MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa) so the edge goes to Braintree for fraud prevention.

Braintree offers this video about PCI Compliance:

Conclusion

In the battle of Stripe vs. Braintree, the ‘winner’ ultimately depends on the type of business you run. If you process lots of international payments, Stripe might be a better option. If you process mainly domestic payments, Braintree’s $50,000 of fee-free processing might be attractive. Both providers offer similar fees, and provide lots of support for developers and integrations.

If you already have a processor and just need a gateway, that’s an option with Braintree, but not with Stripe. If you get disputes that are generally found in your favor, Stripe will refund the $15 chargeback fee, while Braintree won’t.

As you can see, there are lots of factors involved in choosing the right online gateway provider for your ecommerce transactions. You’re not limited to Stripe or Braintree either, and you can see all of the online payment gateways available in our payment gateway directory.

As always, if you have any questions about online payment gateways, accepting payments, or card processing, leave a comment here in our blog. If you want to compare pricing for more gateways than just Braintree vs. Stripe, check out our price comparison tool for processing. It’s completely free and we’ll never give out your contact info.

Please note that services, integrations, and fees can change periodically. This information was accurate as of spring 2016. For the latest details, please check the Stripe or Braintree websites.

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Paul Maplesden

BY Paul Maplesden

Paul Maplesden is a freelance writer specializing in business, finance, and technology. He brings shrewd research skills to CardFellow, resulting in detailed, actionable information for business owners.Paul finds writing about money deeply interesting, and much of his work for CardFellow focuses on the intersection of payments and technology. Whether he's writing about the latest payment app or detailing the differences in popular ecommerce platforms, Paul's work helps businesses understand the myriad products and services available in the processing industry.Aside from writing, he loves Earl Grey tea, pivot tables, hats, and other fine geekery.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. from Nir, on June 13, 2018 13:34:37

    One more consideration is, surprising as it may sound, Braintree can’t be used by non-US companies. (I don’t know about Stripe.)

  2. from Chloe, on March 28, 2018 09:37:51

    Just one correction…Stripe also charges a 1% fee for international transactions.

  3. from Neil, on July 21, 2017 04:45:39

    One other distinct advantage of Braintree is having the ability to set an ‘end date’ on recurring billing payments, which gives you the option of allowing customers to spread their payments over a fixed period e.g. 6 months.

    With Stripe you cannot set an end date on recurring billing, so customers are effectively charged forever unless they ask you to cancel it. I guess this has something to do with Stripes business model and target market of SaaS businesses.

    Braintree gives you both options: charge someone’s card each week/month forever or charge it only for ‘x’ number of times/weeks/months.

  4. from vbwyrde, on June 1, 2017 12:41:41

    One thing that I was interested in that doesn’t appear here is Sales Tax integration. From what I understand Stripe integrates with Avalara, whereas BrainTree does not appear to do so. They offer instead TaxCloud, which does not appear to offer the same level of service as Avalara. Would you happen to have further information on this? Thanks.

      • from vbwyrde, on June 1, 2017 14:55:42

        Thank you for your reply. My impression overall is that Sales Tax compliance must not be very important because there are many payment services that simply fail to provide State sales tax support, of do so in a way that is so limited (PayPal) or doesn’t integrate with full featured Sales Tax Services such as Avalara (BrainTree). Is this a topic you think would be worth pursuing? I’d be very happy to get further insights on this, and a review of Tax Integration services among the various Payment systems. Thanks.

        • from Ellen, on June 12, 2017 10:26:06

          Please send me an email at ecunningham at cardfellow.com.

  5. from Peter, on January 19, 2017 16:00:59

    Unfortunately it looks like the infographic in particular is more wrong than it is right! So here are just a few examples – Stripe’s foreign transaction fees are higher than Braintree’s and hidden. They take a large spread on any currency conversations that Braintree does not take. Braintree is cheaper for foreign cross border transactions into the US and definitely cheaper for our company globally. Both Braintree and Stripe settle in the same timeframes yet you have have awarded that win to stripe because of the Amex settlement timeframe that would only be applicable if you bring your own Amex merchant facility rather than use Braintree’s aggregated Amex offering – so you are not comparing apples with apples. There are other inconsistencies but those financial ones are the most important for me.

    • from Ellen, on January 19, 2017 16:20:04

      Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment. We’re only able to provide information that we can verify, either through the company’s published rates and fees or firsthand experience reviewing statements or using the service. We have not seen a transaction fee for foreign payments, and Stripe’s official website states that there is no additional fee beyond the flat pricing for international transactions. (https://stripe.com/us/pricing)
      Stripe won out in settlement timeframe in part for flexibility. The 2-day deposit time matches Braintree, but merchants can also choose less frequent deposits if they prefer.
      I hope this helps!

  6. from Filippo, on October 10, 2016 12:37:26

    HI,

    I think there is an error on Braintree and International fees. Braintree charges 1.9% +0.30 cents if you are in your home country (which you set at the beginning) and not 2.9%. The international fee of 1% is applied when you have transaction out from your home country and therefore becomes 2.9%.

    It seems to me Braintree is actually winning on this since you pay 1.9% in your home country instead of 2.9 as per stripe and 2.9% from international countries the same as stripe.

    • from Ellen, on October 10, 2016 13:43:39

      Hi Filippo,
      The pricing is taken from Braintree’s website, and can be found here: https://www.braintreepayments.com/braintree-pricing
      The site states pricing for credit cards is “2.9% + $.30 per transaction after your first $50K in card processing. An additional 1% fee applies to transactions presented outside of your home currency.”

      If you have other official and publicly-available information from Braintree stating 1.9%, please feel free to share it and we’ll be happy to update the article.

      • from Filippo, on October 17, 2016 16:37:55

        Hi this is correct only for AMEX while it is not from the same link you provided as they say the following:

        1,9% + €0,30 per transaction after your first €50K in card processing. American Express transactions will be charged 2,9% + €0,30.

        An additional 1% fee applies to transactions presented outside of your home currency

        So still Braintree seems to me more convenient to me.

        • from Ellen, on October 17, 2016 19:25:46

          Hi Filippo,
          The CardFellow blog references rates, fees, and regulations for businesses based in the United States. I apologize for any confusion.

  7. from Pat Kostol, on August 31, 2016 10:59:19

    Useful information, however, Unless I missed it, I did not see the date this article was written. That would have been helpful.

    • from Ellen, on August 31, 2016 14:27:42

      Hi Pat,
      We regularly update the articles on our site so that they stay relevant. I hope this helps!

      • from Zak K, on May 31, 2017 12:56:19

        I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps put the date, and whenever you update the content, update the date with the last updated date.

        • from Ellen, on May 31, 2017 15:44:58

          We’ll be redesigning the blog at some point soon, so I’ll pass that suggestion along to our team!