A Developer-Friendly Payment Processor
Founded in 2010, Stripe is a web application that allows merchants to accept credit card payments through their websites. The service ranks in the top three of our best merchant accounts for web developers, and its capabilities include recurring billing, accepting bitcoin, and facilitating payments on marketplace-style platforms. Stripe is similar to Braintree Payment Solutions in that it does not charge any setup fees, monthly fees or monthly minimum fees.
Is Stripe Holding Your Funds Right Now?
Thousands of merchants have had their payments frozen by Stripe. If you’re one of them, then you might find these resources helpful:
- How to Make Your Payment Processor Release Your Money
- How to Fight Chargebacks
- Best Merchant Accounts for Hard-To-Place Business Types
Headquartered in California
Interestingly, Stripe 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 185 Berry Street, Suite 550, San Francisco, California 94107.
Stripe Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Stripe offers a month-to-month contract with no early termination fees. The company charges a flat transaction fee and provides the option for interchange-plus pricing.
- Complaints & Service: Stripe has received more than 300 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Stripe currently has an “A+” rating and 375 complaints and 93 reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2013.
- Sales & Marketing: Stripe does not hire independent sales representatives and has received only a few merchant complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Avoid Fund Holds With Stripe
Video Introduction to Stripe
Are you a decision maker with Stripe? Claim this review.
Products & Services Offered
- Debit and credit card processing
- Simple checkout buttons
- Mobile app integration
- Custom coupons
- Recurring billing
- Multi-currency support
Types of Businesses Served
Our unbiased reviews are supported, in part, by helping you find highly rated merchant accounts. You can learn more here.
Stripe Rates, Fees, and Costs
|ACH & Bitcoin Rate||0.8% (Capped At $5)|
|Debit & Credit Rate||2.9% + $0.30|
|International Rate||3.9% + $0.30|
|Early Termination Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|Equipment Lease Terms||None|
Simple, Fair Pricing
Stripe’s costs and fees are fairly straightforward. The company charges a flat per-transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30, regardless of card type, and adds a 1% fee charged to cards that are not issued by the US bank. Merchants using the platform’s instant payout feature can have funds transferred to their bank account immediately, albeit with a 1% fee. 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 (refunded if the chargeback is reversed). Overall, Stripe’s pricing and business model resemble those of the mobile credit card processing company Square, but for online businesses.
Interchange-Plus Pricing Available
According to the company’s website, Stripe also provides interchange-plus pricing to merchants. Merchants can contact Stripe for custom pricing plans if they process a high volume of transactions. These merchants can also receive a volume-based discount to their tiered rate structure.
Not All Merchants Welcome
Like Square, the company’s standard policies regarding fraud prevention and prohibited business activities appear to be cause for complaint among many merchants. Merchants report two specific problems in the complaints 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 canceled due to the fact that their sales are considered “high risk processing” by Stripe. 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.
Forthcoming Pricing Changes
Effective April 1, 2020, Stripe will be implementing changes to its refund policy and currency conversion fee. After that date, Stripe will lower the fee that it charges to convert currencies. Stripe had previously attached a 2% fee for currency conversion for international transactions but that will soon be lowered to 1% Perhaps more notably, Stripe’s refund policy will also be adjusted. Moving forward, Stripe will no longer refund the transaction fee to merchants who refund customers for transactions.
Stripe Has Total Control Over Your Money
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 cash reserve might be withheld. Merchants should be aware that Stripe reserves the right to “suspend Instant Payouts to you at any time, including (a) due to pending, anticipated, or excessive Disputes, Chargebacks, Refunds, or Reversals; (b) in the event of suspected or actual fraudulent, illegal or other malicious activity; or (c) where we are required by Law or court order,” according to its terms of service.Are you happy with your Stripe fees? Tell us about them before your go!
Stripe Complaints & Customer Reviews
|Total Online Complaints||300+|
|Live Customer Support||No|
|Most Common Complaint||Fund Holds|
Fed Up With Stripe?
We recommend Fattmerchant as the top alternative to Stripe. While both services offer an API for developers, a month-to-month contract, and integrated mobile payment options, only Fattmerchant provides a lower per-transaction fee, a customer support phone line, next-day funding, and QuickBooks integration.
“Where’s My Money?”
Common issues include sudden cancelation of merchant accounts, reserves being withheld without notice, and difficulty reaching customer support in a timely fashion. This is a common practice among merchant account providers, but Stripe’s lack of live support compounds the issue. 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.
Very Popular, But the Backlash Is Real
Overall, Stripe still maintains a relatively low complaint volume considering its ease of sign-up and the size of its user base, but the trend since our last update is a negative one.
On February 1, 2019, Boom Payments! sued Stripe for patent infringement in the matter Boom! Payments, Inc. v. Stripe, Inc. et al. The lawsuit alleges that Stripe infringed upon two patents awarded to Boom Payments! by the US Trademark and Patent Office to process millions of transactions through its platform.
Stripe Customer Support Options
As of this review, Stripe appears to offer 24×7 phone support in English for all Stripe users but does not publicly list a dedicated support phone number. This is a primary factor keeping it from being considered one of our top-rated providers. However, the company does provide a help section on its website, a community forum, and email support. We are currently able to locate over 300 negative Stripe reviews on this and other consumer protection websites, many of which express concern that Stripe is a scam or a ripoff. This represents a steady increase in complaints since our last review.
Stripe BBB Rating Summary
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||187|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||160|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||10|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||1|
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
Over 350 Complaints Filed
Stripe has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since May 2013 and currently shows an “A+” rating on its profile. The company has had 375 complaints filed in the past 36 months, with 187 of those related to the product or service, 160 due to billing and collection, 17 having to do with delivery problems, 1 related to guarantee/warranty, and 10 related to advertising issues. 51 of these complaints were successfully resolved with BBB assistance, while 324 were answered but did not receive a final response from the merchant.
What Merchants Say
Stripe has also received 93 reviews on its profile, 88 of which are negative, making only 5 positive in tone. It should be noted that these reviews are not subject to verification by the BBB. The most recent review was written by a Stripe user who faced difficulties using the app after being declared a high risk merchant:
We belong to a website that offers the use of Stripe. We signed up, gave all of our critical information; social security number, bank account, etc and they said our customers are a high risk. We have had our website for over 24 years and do not have one customer complaint, return, or otherwise. They will not answer any of my emails and I have several times try to cancel my account and remove my information and NO ONE will return my email with any type of answer other than a form email. We represent several musicians that use this website portal and will tell everyone and anyone I see not to sign up for Stripe!!
“C” Level Performance
Given the fact that Stripe has amassed 366 complaints in the short time, it has had a BBB profile, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C.”
Truth In Marketing & Advertising
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Stripe appears to rely primarily on its website and traditional advertising to market its services. The company specifically caters its advertising to web developers who would like to add a payment application to the websites they manage. Stripe appears to quote its rates transparently and truthfully in its official marketing materials.
Watch Out for Fund Holds
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 numerous Stripe complaints on this site and elsewhere. It is our opinion that Stripe could do a better job of explaining the circumstances under which merchants might experience holds before these merchants sign up for the service, and we have slightly lowered the company’s score to reflect this. Any merchant who is potentially considering doing business with Stripe is encouraged to read the company’s fraud policy (excerpted below), which is similar to most other payment processor fund holding policies:
We may refuse, condition, or suspend any Transactions that we believe: (i) may violate this Agreement or other agreements you may have with Stripe; (ii) are unauthorized, fraudulent or illegal; or (iii) expose you, Stripe, or others to risks unacceptable to Stripe. If we suspect or know that you are using or have used the Services for unauthorized, fraudulent, or illegal purposes, we may share any information related to such activity with the appropriate financial institution, regulatory authority, or law enforcement agency consistent with our legal obligations. This information may include information about you, your Stripe Account, your Customers, and Transactions made through your use of the Services.
Stripe Marketing Example
About Phillip Parker
Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.
Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services
I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.
From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers on this website.