|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
Founded in 2010, Stripe (stripe.com) is a web application that allows merchants to accept credit card payments through their websites. The service is particularly tailored to merchants with access to web developers who want the ability to customize the application according to their specific desires. Stripe is similar to Braintree Payment Solutions in that it does not charge any setup fees, monthly fees or monthly minimum charges. Interestingly, the company has also received investment capital from the founders of another competitor, PayPal. Stripe was founded by brothers John and Patrick Collison, and Patrick currently serves as the company’s CEO. Stripe’s headquarters can be found at 3180 18th St Ste 100, San Francisco, California 94110-2042.
Video Introduction to Stripe
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||No|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Stripe appears to rely primarily on its website to market its services. The company specifically caters its advertising to web developers who would like to add a payment application to their websites. Stripe appears to quote its rates transparently and truthfully on its website. However, the Stripe website does not prominently list any explanations of its cash reserve and account cancellation policies, both of which appear to be responsible for merchant complaints on this site and elsewhere. Any merchant who is potentially considering doing business with Stripe is encouraged to read the company’s Terms of Service, located here, with special attention paid to section B, item 5 and section C, item 12.
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|Keyed-in rate:||2.9% + $0.30|
|PCI compliance fee:||None|
Stripe’s costs and fees are fairly straightforward with the company charging a flat per-transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30, regardless of card type or locality. The company does not charge an early termination fee, a PCI compliance fee, or a fee for refunds or failed payments; however, there is a $15 Chargeback fee per incident. Overall, Stripe’s pricing and business model resemble that of the mobile credit card processing company Square, but for online businesses.
Like Square, the company’s standard policies regarding fraud prevention and prohibited business activities appear to be cause for complaint among several merchants. Two specific problems have been consistently reported in the complaints shown below this review and on other consumer protection websites. In one scenario, merchants apply for processing with Stripe and are informed that they are approved and ready to go. After processing one or more transactions, these merchants find that their payments have been frozen and their accounts cancelled due to their business’s engagement in prohibited activities of some kind. These cancellations appear to take effect with little or no warning, and merchants report difficulty resolving the unprocessed payments in a satisfactory and efficient manner.
In the second case, merchants express confusion over their payments being held in a reserve account. This is a common fraud prevention practice that we don’t tend to penalize processors for, but it seems that Stripe does not effectively communicate its reserve policies to merchants or warn them when a reserve amount might be withheld. Merchants should be aware that Stripe reserves the right to “change the Payout Schedule or suspend payouts to your Bank Account should we determine it is necessary due to pending disputes, excessive or anticipated excessive Chargebacks or refunds, or other suspicious activity associated with your use of the Service or if required by law or court order,” according to its terms of service.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support?||No|
|Most common complaint:||Fund holds|
As of this review, Stripe does not appear to have a dedicated customer phone support number, which could be a drawback for some merchants. The company does, however, have a help section on its website, a community forum, and email support. We are currently able to locate over 30 negative Stripe reviews on this and other consumer protection websites, some of which express concern that Stripe is a scam or a ripoff. This represents a steady increase in complaints since our last review. Common issues include sudden cancellation of merchant accounts, reserves being withheld without notice, and difficulty reaching customer support in a timely fashion. Complainants who have signed up with Stripe through Shopify also seem to have some trouble activating the “Authorize Only” fraud prevention setting, with both Stripe and Shopify blaming each other for this setting’s malfunction. Overall, Stripe still maintains a relatively low complaint volume, but the trend since our last update is a negative one.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Stripe has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since May 2013 and currently shows a “A” rating on its profile. The company has had 71 complaints filed against it since its account was opened in 2012, with 43 of those related to the product or service, 24 due to billing and collection, two having to do with delivery problems, and two related to advertising issues. All of these complaints were resolved with BBB assistance except four, which were not resolved despite what the BBB determined to be a good-faith effort by Stripe. Given the fact that Stripe has amassed over 70 complaints in the short time it has had a BBB profile, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “B.” To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our rating criteria.
Rated out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-01-01
Stripe rates as an average merchant services provider according to our standards. The company has seen an increase in complaints since our last update, but its overall complaint volume remains low. Stripe’s transparent pricing model appears to satisfy the majority of its clients, while its reserve policy, cancellation policy, and customer support are responsible for most of the company’s complaints. Merchants are encouraged to carefully read Stripe’s terms of service before signing up for credit card processing through this company.
This review was originally published on 7/17/12 and was last updated on 1/1/2015.
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