Stripe Payments Review: Is it Right for Your Business in 2021?

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By Rob Binns | Senior Writer | Updated: 20 January 2021

Should your business join over 100,000 worldwide that use Stripe as an online payment processor? Our in-depth review will help you decide

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  • Low fees of 1.4% + 20p for debit and credit cards
  • No fixed monthly charge
  • Intuitive user experience

X Cons:

  • Below average customer service
  • No phone support

Stripe’s client list reads like a who’s who of global ecommerce: Amazon, Deliveroo, Asos, Facebook — it goes on. Which is all very well, but how does the company perform for small and medium-sized enterprises? For the everyman?

In this article, we'll take a closer look at what Stripe has to offer your ecommerce business, and help you decide whether this online payments powerhouse is a good fit for you.

What is Stripe?

Put simply, Stripe is a software platform that allows businesses to process card transactions online. The customer enters payment details into a checkout page on your website; Stripe fetches the appropriate amount of money from their account for whatever it is they’re buying (in a super secure way) and deposits it into yours. Ch-ching.

The benefits of using Stripe include:

  • Multiple payment options – process over 135+ currencies and accept all major card types, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express
  • An intuitive dashboard and slick user interface
  • Excellent data security – no sensitive data ever reaches your server
  • Easy integration with a wide range of accounting apps
  • Easy PCI compliance
  • Stripe credit card fees are fixed, so no nasty surprises
  • Bitcoin! You can actually process Bitcoin payments using Stripe. So that’s exciting, isn’t it?

Stripe merchant services

The company offers a range of different products designed to combat three specific pain points for sellers: accepting payments, managing billing, and connecting third-party sellers.

Stripe’s most popular products include:

Checkout interface: start taking card payments quickly and easily with a fully customisable checkout, integrated into your website with just a single line of code.

Stripe Radar: an automated machine learning fraud system. Stripe Radar checks cards against a global fraud database to minimise the risk of chargebacks to your business.

Stripe Billing: send customers a one-off invoice or set up billing on a recurring basis. Monitor payments and cash flow with easy-to-digest dashboards.

Stripe Connect: a dedicated platform for online marketplaces (think eBay, Amazon etc.). Stripe Connect allows you to pay third-party sellers in over 25 countries.

Stripe fees and pricing

Stripe’s fees are charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you only pay for what you use. There’s no setup fee and no recurring monthly charge. Once you’re set up on the system, funds are deposited into your account on a seven-day rolling basis.

Companies processing £20,000 or less each month pay the following fees:

  • European-based cards are charged at 1.4% of the transaction + 20p
  • Non-European cards are charged at 2.9% of the transaction + 20p

In comparison, PayPal charges between 3.4% and 1.9% + 20p based on total sales volume – so Stripe’s fees are highly competitive for both small and large businesses.

Stripe customer service

Stripe offers first-tier customer support via email only. There’s no number to call, and there’s simply no way to go straight to a live human to explain your problem.

Now, this won’t be a huge barrier to many businesses. The platform is slick, and the odds are that most users will rarely have to bring a problem to Stripe’s attention; even complex processes such as refunds are handled automatically, and fairly painlessly. But if you prefer speaking to live support staff, you may be frustrated with the service.

Stripe reviews — what do customers say?

Stripe Payments reviews from customers are mixed. The company scores a bang-average 3.5 out of 5 on Trustpilot, with the majority of complaints bemoaning the lack of a customer support line, and even positive reviewers reporting a wait of up to three days for an email response.

There are favourable comments, too, about how simple the platform is to use, and how intuitive the dashboards are. But the overwhelming impression is that if you do encounter a problem with your account, Stripe isn’t great at fixing it.

There are also reports of Stripe suspending or canceling accounts without warning because they were found to be in breach of some little-known regulation, buried deep down in the terms and conditions. While this is not uncommon in the merchant services industry, the frequency of these reports does raise a red flag.

So be smart, people: always read the small print to ensure your business is compliant before signing on the dotted line.

Expert verdict

Stripe offers some of the lowest online card payment processing fees around. The platform is robust, feature-rich, and intuitive to use. For most businesses, Stripe works like a dream – but for the small number that do encounter a problem with their account, that dream can very quickly become a nightmare.

If you’re searching for a provider with low transaction fees, then look no further than Stripe.

If you’re happy to pay a little more for the peace of mind that a dedicated customer support team provides, you’re probably better off going with a company like iZettle or PayPal.

If you’re not sure, we recommend comparing prices and services from multiple providers so you can be confident you’re getting the best deal for your business.

Compare Stripe with other leading providers

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This comparison service is completely free. It’s guaranteed to save you time — and it could even save you money.

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Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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