Braintree vs. Stripe: Which is Better for Online Payments?
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.)
- What are online payment gateways?
- Braintree vs. Stripe – Fees
- What if I already have a merchant account?
- Marketplace Payments
- Integrations with Other Services
- Customer Service Reputation
- Compliance and Fraud
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.
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.
While Bitcoin isn’t quite mainstream yet, more businesses are considering accepting the new currency. If Bitcoin acceptance is important to you, either of these options will work. Both Stripe and Braintree let you accept payments via Bitcoin. Stripe charges 0.8% of the transaction amount, capped at $5. 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. Neither company offers a distinct advantage in this particular area, but we’ll give the edge to Braintree for processing your first $1,000,000 in bitcoin for no charge.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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.
- Braintree allows you to accept Venmo and PayPal, whereas Stripe doesn’t.
- Stripe lets you take payment through AliPay, whereas Braintree doesn’t.
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:
- 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.
- Braintree allows you to provide add-on products and services
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- V.zero SDK is a special software development kit from Braintree that lets developers easily integrate the platform with other apps.
- Stripe support documentation is more comprehensive and generally considered better written than Braintree's.
Customer Service Reputation
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.
Braintree offers this video about PCI Compliance:
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.
Paul Maplesden is a writer specializing in business, finance, and technology. He finds research and writing about money deeply interesting.