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Media attention itself doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. Services, pricing, security, reviews, and customer service all play a role when finding your ideal processor. In this Stripe review, we’ll take a look at what it can do and what you need to know about processing with Stripe Payments.
Stripe is a payment processing company founded in California in 2010. Officially, the company name is just Stripe but is sometimes referred to online as Stripe Payments or Stripe Credit Card Processing. Stripe is what’s called an aggregator, meaning it doesn’t provide individual merchant accounts to businesses, but rather aggregates them under one umbrella account.
The company has big name investors, such as PayPal co-founder and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, and big name clients such as Twitter, Kickstarter, Lyft, Reddit, and Salesforce. Stripe works with thousands of businesses and processes billions of dollars in payments each year. It’s also known as a "developer-friendly" platform due to its comprehensive documentation.
In January 2018, Stripe announced that it would be ending support for Bitcoin, citing decreased usage. The company has not ruled out the possibility of supporting cryptocurrencies in the future.
In March 2018, Stripe purchased POS company Index, indicating a move to accepting payments in-store in addition to the ecommerce options the company is known for.
Stripe lets you take credit and debit cards through mobile apps or online stores. It’s primarily used by businesses that only take credit cards online, though in-person Stripe payments may be possible through integration with other systems like Shopify, Collect, and POS company Index, which Stripe acquired in spring 2018.
You can accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB using Stripe. It also works with Apple Pay so you can keep your customers who use Apple products happy. Stripe supports other digital wallets (such as Google Pay) as well.
In early 2016, Stripe announced a new feature called Atlas, designed to help foreign entrepreneurs and small business owners get a bank account in the US and incorporate in Delaware in order to conduct business in America more easily. However, in this Stripe review, we’ll focus on services available for US-based companies. If you’d like more information on Atlas, visit Stripe’s website or check out this video from Stripe:
For US clients, you can use Stripe in the following ways:
Stripe also offers Elements, a library of pre-built components that allow you to easily create your own checkout solution on mobile, desktop, or both.
If you need to take payments on the go, Stripe offers seamless integration for mobile payments. Stripe’s mobile services are available for both Apple and Android systems. Mobile payments even lets you collect a card upfront and bill later.
New to the Stripe offerings, Stripe Relay lets you create “buy” buttons that can be used directly within several different apps, increasing the sales from mobile devices. It’s a little different than a shopping cart system and is designed for quick purchases.
If you bill your clients on a recurring basis, such as for monthly subscriptions, Stripe has subscription options with no limit on the type of plans you can offer and charge. If a customer changes their subscription plan, Stripe will calculate the new payment for your customer automatically. Billing information is securely stored with Stripe, and changes in customer information can be made quickly and easily as needed. Stripe also works directly with the banks to make sure that credit card information is up to date so your automatic billing payments aren’t declined.
Recurring billing, called Stripe Billing, incurs separate fees.
As of 2018, the "starter" package costs 0.4% on top of the other charges for accepting payment. For example, if you accept a credit card, Stripe charges 2.9% + 30 cents. So if you accept a credit card through the recurring billing solution, your total fee will be 3.3% + 30 cents.
The "scale" package costs 0.7% on top of other payment charges, but Stripe states that you'll benefit from discounts on its usual pricing.
Note that Stripe currently runs a promotion to waive the 0.4% fee for your first $1 million in Stripe Billing transactions.
While Stripe doesn’t offer in-person payments itself, it does explicitly endorse other services that do, such as Collect for Stripe. Collect allows you to take in-person payments on a smartphone or tablet with a compatible card reader or manually entering card details. Be aware that as a separate service, Collect charges an additional fee on top of Stripe’s fee, which may make it cost prohibitive. Get more details on Collect for Stripe.
Stripe also offers libraries for code in a number of programming languages, allowing access to developer solutions and platform building tools.
In September 2019, Stripe introduced a merchant cash advance program called Stripe Capital.
Like other merchant cash advances, Stripe Capital is not a typical loan. There are no interest rates. Instead, you repay the amount you borrow plus a fixed fee. However, you don't control the repayment - it's tied to your sales. In order to pay off the cash advance, you'll pay Stripe through a percentage of your daily sales, deducted from your credit card sales. The percentage remains the same, but means that you pay more toward the "loan" on days that you have higher sales, and less on days with lower sales. For example, the chart below, from Stripe's website, shows example daily payments for a business on a 12% repayment model. That means that they pay Stripe 12% of their card sales each day.
Some businesses prefer this type of arrangement, while others find it frustrating to not know when the loan will be paid off. However, you do have the option to pay off the advance in full with no early repayment penalty.
Stripe Capital eligibilty is based on your processing history with Stripe. You don't need minimum credit scores (Stripe doesn't even check your credit) or other requirements often found with traditional loan applications.
To check your eligibility, sign in to your Stripe dashboard.
Processing companies can choose to prohibit particular business types from using their services. In the case of Stripe, many industries that are considered "high risk" won’t be able to use Stripe. This includes businesses in firearm sales, adult entertainment, software as a service (SaaS) and more.
Some businesses in "high-risk" industries report that while they were initially able to sign up for Stripe, the company eventually determined that the business was not one that Stripe could support. In those cases, Stripe notified the business by email that the business would have 5 days to locate another processing company. Stripe also suggests to businesses that they consider high-risk specialty processor PaymentCloud.
Stripe and Braintree both offer gateways for payment processing. They both allow you to accept multiple payment types. The biggest difference is that you can’t use the Stripe gateway separately from Stripe credit card processing. With Braintree, you have the option to use the gateway only, with a compatible credit card processor. The chart below gives a quick comparison for key areas of service, or this article on Braintree vs. Stripe provides greater detail.
Stripe is a certified PCI level 1 provider.
Level 1 is the most stringent level of certification available. If you use Stripe’s existing code library you’ll be compliant with PCI requirements. Stripe keeps sensitive data safe, ensuring security for your business and your customers. Still not feeling secure enough? You can also enable two-factor authentication to add another layer of security to accounts. Stripe also continuously monitors charges for suspicious transactions to prevent fraud.
In autumn 2016, Stripe announced a new anti-fraud tool called Radar, a machine-learning system designed to "intelligently" fight fraud. Stripe talks broadly about algorithms and scanning transactions for "signals" that a transaction may be fraudulent, but doesn’t include information on what the signals are. The company states that you can review flagged transactions, set custom rules, and take advantage of existing anti-fraud technologies like Address Verification. The company offers an overview video of Stripe Radar:
As of December 2016, Radar does not cost extra and is automatically implemented in Stripe accounts. However, some customers find that Radar is too aggressive, resulting in declined transactions when legitimate customers attempt to make a purchase.
Related Article: How to Use Address Verification Systems.
Stripe offers real-time reporting tools to make managing your business and expenses easier. A balance history function allows you to export activity, including payments, refunds, disputes, and more. Activity can be viewed for specific periods of time, or individual transactions can be reviewed. Reporting is available using Stripe’s online dashboard, or information and data can be imported into QuickBooks for easy reconciliation with your existing QuickBooks accounting software. For custom reports, the transaction data is also available through an API, allowing you to customize the information you need to see.
Stripe payments acceptance has no setup fee or monthly fee.
You’ll be charged a fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for each payment you accept online.
The per-transaction rate could be less depending on volume. If you process more than $80,000 month, Stripe suggests getting a personalized quote.
Additional charges may apply if you use optional services, such as Stripe Billing for recurring transactions. Recurring billing starts at 0.4% on top of the costs of card acceptance, but may be waived for the first $1 million of recurring transactions you process.
Stripe’s fees are competitive in certain situations, most notably for businesses with low monthly credit card volume (under a few thousand per month) or small average transactions. If that’s not you, it’s definitely worth comparing the costs of Stripe to other processors. You can request a quote from Stripe directly by signing up for a free CardFellow account to compare with any other processors you want.
In addition to the above costs, the may be other fees that Stripe will only charge you if a transaction triggers the fee. For example, Stripe has a chargeback fee of $15 per chargeback. However, Stripe will refund the chargeback fee if the dispute is found to be in your favor.
If you accept payment in international currencies, conversion fees of 2% on top of other costs may apply.
Stripe claims that funds will be transferred to your account on a 2-day rolling basis. The company also boasts no refund costs, but will not return the fees paid on the transaction. For businesses that accept a lot of refunds (such as clothing stores) this may not be an ideal situation. Some processors will return fees paid on a transaction when you refund the customer. In fact, we require that for processors placing certified quotes here at CardFellow.
Read more about fees on refund transactions.
Stripe has no early termination fee, effectively creating a month-to-month contract that can be cancelled with notice. Be sure to read all the details of your contract for specifics.
Stripe supports payments in more than 100 currencies. If you have customers from around the world, offering the ability to pay in their own currency provides convenience and may help drive sales. Stripe can also be configured to offer your customers trial periods or provide coupons to goods and services.
Unfortunately, customer service is a common complaint in Stripe reviews. The company doesn’t prominently display phone numbers for customer service and prefers that clients use email or the support FAQ for customer assistance. The Stripe FAQ contains multiple questions under 8 headings: My Account, Subscriptions, Integrating Stripe, International, Transfers and Deposits, Pricing, Disputes and Fraud, and Accounting and Taxes. Know that it may take a little time and effort to get answers if you have a problem with your Stripe account. Some reviews have complained about frustration and wasted time attempting to contact Stripe to resolve problems.
In the summer of 2018, Stripe took measures to improve customer service by implementing 24-hour phone and chat support. You'll need to log in before you can access the support features.
Now that it has been around for several years, there are more Stripe reviews available online. Unfortunately, many reviews express frustration at certain Stripe policies, including unreliable customer service, lack of contact information, and frozen or held funds. Tracking the response over the past few years has shown an increase in customer dissatisfaction, though there are still good reviews as well. Positive testimonials generally praise the company’s ease of use.
Stripe, Inc. has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2013 but has had a profile with the BBB for longer than that. In 2016, the company bounced back up to an A+ rating after hovering around B+ during 2015. Confusingly, there has actually be an increase in complaints with the BBB despite the higher grade. The company is up to 350 complaints in the past 3 years, although only 139 are within the past year. The vast majority of complaints fall into the category “Problems with Product/Service.” The category “Billing/Collection Issues” accounts for the next most complaints, with “Delivery Issues” accounting for a handful, “Advertising/Sales Issues” accounting for a few and the remaining 1 complaint in the “Guarantee/Warranty Issues” category.
Complaints allege products purchased were never provided, companies weren’t contacted prior to Stripe refunding customer payments, long wait times for funds to be deposited, unexplained charges, and sudden account closures.
Only 78 complaints are listed as satisfactorily resolved. 1 complaint is listed as unresolved due to Stripe responding but not making a good faith effort to resolve the complaint according to the BBB. The remaining complaints are listed as “answered”, indicating that Stripe responded and attempted to resolve the issue, but that the BBB either didn’t hear back from the original business about the complaint, or the business was not satisfied with Stripe’s proposed resolution.
There are also 25 customer reviews for Stripe on the BBB website, up from 7 in 2015. All 25 reviews are categorized as negative and marked as ‘would not recommend’ the company to family or friends. Reviews complain that Stripe is difficult to get set up, that the company holds funds and accuses businesses of fraud, and that Stripe is difficult to reach. Some reviews go further, accusing Stripe of being a scam or ripoff.
At CardFellow, we don’t “rate” processors or offer traditional reviews. We include factual information that we have verified firsthand, such as statement reviews we’ve conducted for current or past Stripe customers. Currently we don’t have additional firsthand information regarding Stripe’s services, pricing and rates, or contracts. As such, we’re not able to offer a Stripe review of our experience.
If you’re considering Stripe, we strongly encourage you to create a free CardFellow profile to request a quote from Stripe directly through your CardFellow account. Requesting a Stripe quote through CardFellow allows our software to show you how the pricing and terms compare to other processors, helping you make an apples to apples comparison so you don’t overpay for processing. You can review your Stripe quote and any other quotes privately without pressure from sales calls.
Are you a current or former Stripe customer? Tell us what you think. Leave a review!
Unlike general web reviews, verified reviews are posted by businesses that have chosen the processor's quote through CardFellow's marketplace, and CardFellow has confirmed with the processor that the business is using its service. Businesses can update verified reviews at any time to ensure the review accurately reflects the processor's performance over time.
Unlike verified reviews which are validated by CardFellow, web reviews can be submitted by anyone viewing this profile. While we validate these reviews as best we can, CardFellow does not verify that a reviewer is using or has used a processor's service.
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Posted by Freddy Huser on Aug 10, 2020
Stripe has withheld funds for 2 weeks and only notified me they were doing so immediately beforehand via email. They claim our website isn't in compliance because it doesn't specify prices in USD. It's a US website and has a $ in front of pricing, so I'm not sure how to remedy this. I have contacted them and the customer service (which is a joke) doesn't know what the problem is, when someone will contact me, or what I can do to fix it. Ridiculous
Posted by Budsakorn Nascimento on Jul 10, 2020
Stripe closed my account saying my business was high risk. It has been holding my funds for 120+ days. There is no support and Stripe won’t return emails.
Posted by T Jones on Dec 06, 2018
Awful, unhelpful, terrible service, ripped off, stay away! Use paypal.
Posted by Sean Spicer on Nov 11, 2018
This company started out great then after processing $14,000 and sending me funds I decided everything was fine with them and just focused on my business. Over the weekend I had a large amount of transactions that totaled over $4,000 and when it came time to pay they froze my ability to withdraw my funds into my bank account. No reasons no info, no response to emails and of course no phone number to call. Almost 4 months has passed and I have taken the initiative to post 1 bad review of them wherever I can until they wake up and pay me my money. They only care about their large companies like Lyft and Sinemia, remember you are a nobody to them and opt out of their arbitration by just sending them an email when you open an account. (Supreme Court ruled forced arbitration is illegal) Use a merchant you can trust or they will ruin your business like they have mine. Good Luck!
Posted by Al Gabriele on Oct 05, 2018
STAY AWAY FROM STRIPE. No customer support, can never get ahold of anyone. They keep your money and then close your account. Worse than PayPal. There are a lot of other credit card processors out there. Don't get burned by Stripe. And what's funny, all the google review answers they give you say please contact support at Stripe. They don't answer your emails, they are a joke. Spread the word. We do websites and we tell our clients to stay away from Stripe.
Posted by CardFellow on Sep 24, 2018
Stripe offers comprehensive documentation for developers and a predictable flat rate pricing structure.
Posted by Nick on Aug 19, 2018
While Stripe offers a nice gateway for online e-commerce merchants and I have used them since their inception, look out when it comes to transactions that customers claim to be fraudulent even though they are not and even when evidence is backed by emails and IP address verification that they ordered merchandise. Stripe does not stand behind you and as mentioned, they basically have zero customer service. We even had a situation where we refunded a customer's purchase and then they claimed they never received it and filed a dispute with their CC company. Stripe immediately debits your account and adds a $15.00 service charge. Now you need to email them support evidence regarding the disputed transaction and in our case it took 3 months to resolve in our favor. We recommend Square as they have a $250.00 chargeback protection program, as long as you follow Square's best practices for accepting credit cards you are covered. No debiting from your account during their investigation.
Posted by Yan on Nov 20, 2017
I'm a business owner from Texas, recently I discovered that unlike other processors, Stripe can do nothing and will do nothing if some bank or card provider is stealing money out of your Stripe account. I had a guest who disputed his charge stating it as a fraud charge. I presented all the evidence including ID card, details, reservation contract, emails and whatever was on the list Stripe recommended. After 2 months the guest's card provider who reviewed it decided that it's fraud. Now if it was I wouldn't bother writing this review. I just want to warn you that even if you have all the necessary evidence your money is not safe and Stripe will do nothing to help you. I won't advertise other companies here but be aware other companies protect you from their affiliates and do not throw you to the dogs like they did with me and my company.
Posted by Jeff on Apr 12, 2016
I've been using Stripe as a payment gateway for my online shop for over a year now. My main product is an auto-renewing monthly subscription. I've never had a single issue with Stripe and it consistently charges my customers automatically each month using WooCommerce subscriptions without any problems. It's also very flexible, allowing you to set the level of checking against various types of cards (e.g. can turn off billing address or CVC validation). After 9 months, I contacted them and asked about any plans or specials they might be able to offer me based on my monthly and to-date volume. They contacted me back almost immediately with a lower per transaction rate that has saved me hundreds beyond PayPal. From that moment on I got rid of PayPal entirely (was previously an option at checkout) and never looked back. Great service, very reliable and affordable.
Posted by Laith on Mar 24, 2016
I set up my account with Stripe just three weeks ago, coinciding with the launch of my product. It wasn't long until I had my first product sale! Excited, I sent off the product, but later got an email from Stripe saying I may want to refund as it was from a fraudulent card. I complied and refunded the card, but had lost my product. No problem, it was a learning experience! I went to the website to check on how to spot card fraud, and then used it for what was a second payment - it was refunded straight away. Cue another fraudulent payment a week later, and again refunded (when you attempt seven different cards from three countries, it's a clear flag). To be clear, at this point, I followed to policies to ensure no fraud payments were through - each and every card refunded. I had followed the exact policies lined out by Stripe to be compliant (with zero chargebacks, I must add). I wake up this morning to an email explaining my account is now blocked. Completely not my fault. I followed Stripe's policies, I lost a product, I got no payments, and it was their system which allowed the payments through in the first place - the outcome is that I lose my account permanently. Ridiculously unfair.