As most businesses move from paper to digital, the way we send and receive payments is changing. Online payment processing has become a popular form of transacting, giving customers the ability to easily pay with a debit or credit card.
Stripe is a company that has helped build the payment infrastructure that facilitates digital transactions. Small businesses across the world use the open Stripe API to customize their own payment gateways, while Stripe earns a fraction of every transaction.
As a PCI Service Provider Level 1, Stripe payments are always safe. Thousands of big brands use the platform including Lyft, Reddit, and Instacart.
Stripe is best for online credit card processing and works with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. It’s a platform that’s easy to implement and allows a business to partner with a multitude of e-commerce platforms.
Stripe Top Features
- Stripe Connect – Make payments without the hassle of accounting, security challenges, or legal compliance. Stripe takes a small fee.
- Stripe Atlas – Step-by-step assistance for enterprises. Includes stock issuance, incorporation, documentation, and a basic Stripe account for accepting payments.
- Stripe Sigma – Uses SQL that enables in-depth reporting and analytics.
- Stripe Relay – Best for product publishing, ordering, payment, and partnering with other vendors all managed by the Relay system.
There’s a good reason why a vast majority of small businesses use the Stripe platform. Some advantages include:
- Very affordable with no extra fees for PCI compliance
- Flexible customization with an open API for developers
- Users do not need to sign up for a monthly subscription
- Multiple options and integrations are a top benefit
Stripe has just as many disadvantages as it does benefits. Consider some of these:
- Stripe can freeze, hold funds, or shut an account off completely due to suspected fraud
- The platform is not a single processor for both offline and online payments
- Stripe does not support PayPal in any sense
- Standard pricing for all credit card payments means it’s costly for a high-volume business
Since there is never a “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to selecting a payment processor, you have a lot of options to choose from. Stripe is not the end-all-be-all. Write down your top five business needs and consider these Stripe alternatives:
The Top Stripe Competitors
|PayPal||2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for online payments. 2.7% for in-person.||Top brand with instant payment across the globe with just an email address.|
|Square||2.65% per transaction in person, 2.9% + 30 cents invoice/online, 3.4% + 15 cents manual entry,10 cents for Interac chip & PIN, or tap sales.||Developer-first platform enables easy customization with an open API.|
|2Checkout||2SELL – 3.5% + 35 cents 2SUBSCRIBE – 4.5% + 40 cents2MONETIZE – 6.0% + 60 cents.||Coverage in 200+ countries with 45 payment methods, and 30 languages.|
|Authorize.Net||$25 per month gateway fee and 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.||Advanced fraud detection prevents chargebacks and theft with secure data processing.|
|Braintree||2.9% + 30 cents per card or digital wallet transaction. ACH deposits .75% per transaction.||Includes a dedicated merchant account and is a subsidiary of PayPal.|
|ChargeBee||Launch – $0/month – 3 usersRise – $249/month – 10 usersScale – $549/month – 25 usersEnterprise – Custom||Variety of billing models like recurring billing, one-time, or billing-per-usage.|
|Wise||1% for a transfer and a fixed fee to send money depending on currency.||Uses real exchange rate for global transfers which is 19x cheaper than PayPal.|
When you think of payment processing, PayPal is probably one of the first brands that come to mind. The company has years of experience in the online payments space and enables a business to accept payments in a variety of ways.
The simple payment gateway service allows a small business to create a hosted checkout page or you can use PayPal Here for in-person payment processing. The platform charges similar fees to Stripe, is very straightforward, and comes with a free mobile app.
- Top encryption data technology to safeguard against fraud
- Online invoicing and payments with shopping carts and express checkout
- Barcode scanning and inventory tracking
- Register customer cards for hassle-free checkout experience
- Customization for invoices, pre-built templates, integrations, and more
The current merchant fees for PayPal include 2.9% + a fixed fee (depending on the countries transacting) for online payments. In-store payments cost 2.7% + a fixed fee. QR code transactions below $10 cost 2.4% and those over $10 cost 1.9% + a fixed fee.
- Instant payment across the globe with just an email
- PayPal Here is easier than Stripe for accepting in-person payments
- Sponsors special discounts for selected retailers
- No free trial and can be difficult to cancel a subscription
- PayPal excludes some important currencies like the Indian Rupee
- Fees for non-PayPal payments can double your costs
Square is one of the best Stripe alternatives for a small business. It works as a point of sale (POS) application on any iOS or Android device. The Square platform also tracks live sales and inventory which enables a business to keep track of payment updates, inventory levels, and sales opportunities.
With multiple forms of payment, in-depth reporting, and easy drag & drop features, Square helps a small business manage its financial performance efficiently.
- Invoice tracking with real-time reporting and analytics
- Digital receipts and inventory management with daily stock updates
- Integrated payment processing with Square API
- Employee management, email marketing, and customer profiles
The cost to use Square depends on what you’re doing. There is no monthly fee and the charges start at 2.65% per card-present transaction. It’s 2.9% + 30 cents for a paid Square Invoice or Square Online sale.
If you manually enter a card, it costs 3.4% + 15 cents per transaction. Any Interac chip & PIN or tap sales are an additional 10 cents.
- Free subscription and first chip card-reader free
- Square Dashboard is easy to use with direct inventory management and reporting
- 24/7 support center with FAQ, videos, and articles
- Not a suitable platform for high-risk industries
- There have been account stability issues with some users
- Does not match Stripe in the number of available integrations
Small businesses looking for a global reach may want to consider 2Checkout. It works best for an internationally focused business that doesn’t want to do a ton of coding. As one of the top Stripe competitors, 2Checkout works well as a payment gateway for a global merchant account.
A business can receive online payments from credit cards around the world with a system that adapts well to multi-currency, languages, and payment methods. If you run an online business that requires global payments, this is a great option.
- Optimize your e-commerce pages with A/B testing, global taxes, and subscription management
- Recurring billing with customized checkout options
- Coverage in over 200 countries with over 45 different payment methods
- 30 languages with 100 display and bill currencies
- Handles global sales tax, VAT management, global compliance, and fraud monitoring
2Checkout offers flat-fee pricing. The platform has three plans with different offerings and no credit card required. You only pay when you start selling.
The three plans are:
This is the easiest package and simplest way to sell globally. The rate is 3.5% + 35 cents per successful sale. This plan includes access to recurring billing, commerce in 200 countries, and integration with 120+ carts.
This plan helps to develop and boost your subscription business. It includes everything in the 2SELL plan, plus renewals, upgrades, analytics, and subscription management. The rate is 4.5% + 45 cents per successful sale.
This all-in-one plan is perfect for a business looking to sell digital goods globally. The rate is 6.0% + 60 cents per successful sale. It includes everything in the 2SUBSCRIBE package, plus global tax and regulatory compliance, invoice management, and access to 45+ payment methods.
- Ease of use with PCI data security standard
- Integration allows for a single platform with multiple uses
- Comprehensive admin panel with many options for checkout
- Cannot process card-present transactions
- Lengthy approval system with lots of documentation
- Issues with WooCommerce integration
Authorize.net is a payment gateway solution offered by Visa that features in-depth reporting, secure data processing, and fraud protection. It is not a merchant account or payment service provider.
The platform facilitates the actual payment process but doesn’t necessarily provide the account you need to accept payments. Therefore, unlike Stripe, Authorize.net must be used in conjunction with a third-party merchant account. However, this offers a level of unparalleled flexibility with very low fees.
- Virtual terminal that accepts payments in-person or over the phone
- 13 different configurable fraud filters you can change based on top concerns
- Supports everything from credit card to PayPal, Apple Pay, and E-check
- Developer center with suite of tools including APIs, SDKs, and documentation
- Free mPOS app to view transaction history, change settings, and perform voids/refunds
Unlike other payment platforms on this list, Authorize.net charges a flat-rate monthly gateway fee of $25. Additionally, a business should expect to pay 2.9%+ 30 cents per transaction—which is considerably lower than market average.
Please note that Authorize.net also relies on third-party resellers to distribute the software. This means pricing is not set in stone and can be negotiable in some instances. In others, it can also be considerably higher than the rates quoted here.
- Customize email notifications for both individual transactions and end-of-day
- Operates seamlessly to process online payments with in-depth reporting
- The Address Verification System works well with online customers
- Admin homepage is a bit cluttered and could use more drop-down lists
- Lack of data portability can be an issue for some users
- Must obtain a merchant account through a third party
Braintree is a billing platform that stores credit card data directly from the merchant’s system on a secure server. It’s a lot like Authorize.net in that it’s a payment gateway provider designed to accept payments online.
However, Braintree includes a dedicated merchant account as part of their service. In fact, the brand is sponsored by PayPal and offers the merchant services that PayPal often lacks.
This makes the platform more secure, with additional account stability for the same prices that Stripe offers.
- Add a full-featured page with a few lines of code or a custom UI to build your own checkout page
- Braintree can integrate with PayPal to accept in-person payments
- Multiple payment types with a reliable system that’a easy to use
- Exceptional integrations, especially with BigCommerce
- Accept credit card payments without the need to become PCI compliant
There are no monthly fees with Braintree and you only pay for what you use. The standard rate is 2.9% + 30 cents per card or digital wallet transaction. ACH deposits cost .75% per transaction and PayPal payments (including PayPal Credit) incur no fee at all.
Verified charitable organizations (501(c)) are eligible for discounted rates.
- Easy to use customer portal with same login as PayPal
- Knowledgeable customer service staff that handles issues quickly and efficiently
- Ability to void transactions before they cross over into a refund
- Not a thorough subscription management platform for a SaaS business
- Does not provide API access to discount and plan creation
- Difficult to configure charge details in the customer’s bank statement
ChargeBee is a cloud-based payment solution that enables a business to set up a variety of billing models. This includes recurring billing, one-time, or billing-per-usage.
Startups can easily scale with a user-friendly API and a large selection of integrations. It’s a one-stop solution for online payment processing that can accommodate a business of any size.
The real-time data and analytics feature with revenue calculation and usage tracking, make it a strong competitor for the Stripe platform.
- Excellent option for automated billing and recurring invoicing system
- User-first experience allows you to experiment with pricing structures, product catalogs, and subscription lifecycles
- Users can run promotions without any technical help, offer discounts, and run revenue details
- Workflow automation with payments collection, discount management, and invoice generation
- Plug revenue leaks by aligning GTM and finance across processes, geographies, and business models
No setup costs, monthly contracts, or hidden fees. The platform offers several different plans with monthly or annual payment options.
Launch – $0/month – 3 users
This is for early-stage startups that want to spend more time on growth and less on manual operations.
Rise – $249/month – 10 users
Works for agile small businesses that want to grow revenue with quick experiments and data-driven analysis.
Scale – $549/month – 25 users
A plan for fast-growth startups that want to maximize efficiencies in their revenue operations.
Enterprise – Custom
This plan is for large businesses looking for enterprise-class compliance while diversifying revenue channels.
- Account managers and support team are knowledgeable, helpful, and responsive
- Feature-rich and consistently adding new updates each quarter
- Automated signup and management for customers simplify the account setup process
- Interface is slightly confusing, could be a little more intuitive, and mobile-optimized
- No easy way to allow users to select their own plan option
- Cannot see total price before you invoice or add to unbilled charges – leads to chargebacks
Wise (Formerly Transferwise)
Wise is the newly rebranded global payments platform that gives you everything needed to grow a business and operate internationally. The platform enables global money transfers with affordable exchange rates and enables a business to pay invoices in 70+ countries.
Receive overseas payments without high conversion fees and pay up to a thousand people at once. Wise also helps a brand get an IBAN, routing number, and sort code, all within the same business account.
Your team can spend online and in-store with no foreign transaction fees and you can move money between accounts in seconds.
- Invoice payments are 19x cheaper than PayPal and all you need is a recipient’s email and bank details
- International payroll, employee reimbursements, and recurring payments with just one click
- End-to-end encryption with top institutions like Barclays and multi-currency banking options
- Withdraw from online sellers or trading platforms using your IBAN and other account details
- Debit cards for business expenses in any currency without foreign transaction fees
Wise charges 1% for a transfer and no hidden fee for the currency exchange. Typically cheaper than banks, Wise offers insanely transparent pricing with an entire page dedicated to calculating your exact rates.
It’s free to open an account and the fixed fee to send money will vary by currency.
- Great solution to make repeated transfers to individuals overseas
- In comparison to banks and other services like Western Union, Wise is very cheap
- Can send money anywhere without handing over access to the business bank account
- Accepts fewer currencies than other Stripe competitors
- It can take a lot of time to complete certain transfers
- There have been issues with the system accepting certain credit cards
Moving Up: Stripe Alternatives for When Your Business Grows
If you plan on drastic upward mobility, or are just curious about Stripe alternatives for big business, here are two of the top payment processors for larger organizations:
This is a platform built for mid to large-sized businesses with a high processing volume. Fattmerchant is a traditional merchant account provider with a unique, subscription-based pricing model.
They offer more affordable transaction fees than Stripe and a direct cost of interchange transaction fees. The price starts at $99 per month, plus custom interchange and transaction fees.
Adyen is a great Stripe alternative for bigger companies with high transaction volumes. It includes features for risk management and transaction optimization tools.
Adyen is a merchant account provider that offers customizable online payments with a focus on omnichannel sales and fraud detection. The pricing is quote-based. It includes an interchange fee, processing fee, and payment method fee per transaction.
Stripe has grown to massive proportions. In fact, the brand claims there’s an 89% chance any given credit or debit card has been used on their network. Pricing, customization, functionality, and customer support are all things that make Stripe an ideal solution for payment processing. However, it is not—and never will be— the only solution.
As every business has dynamic needs, so reflects the payment processing market. There are many Stripe competitors out there that are a better fit for your business. It all boils down to your operational needs and the offerings of the platform. Consider some of the following when choosing a Strip alternative:
- Do we need a merchant account?
- Do we need to make global payments?
- Do we need a solution for e-commerce?
- What types of integrations do we need?
- How fast do payments have to occur?
- Are we making payments in bulk?
Additionally, you might want to look at the pricing model. Some brands offer a monthly subscription with a lower cost per transaction. Other platforms offer cheaper exchange rates for global payments.
Once you have your needs in order, it’s easier to align them with the top features of a payment processing tool that will drive revenue and help your business grow.