My Experience with Stripe

Posted Sat Oct 13 @ 09:43:58 AM PDT 2012

Stripe is a payment processor that takes aim at PayPal. PayPal is an awful company to work with, and they really needs some competition so they're forced to improve. I use PayPal to process payments on all my sites and while it works, it is barely tolerable. The experience for customers goes like this:

  1. Fill out account information on my site
  2. Go to another page (on my website) with a button to go to PayPal
  3. Go to the PayPal page (where it badgers you to create an account, even though you don't need one)
  4. Find and click the tiny link that says pay by credit card
  5. Enter in your credit information and submit
  6. Confirm
  7. Look for the tiny link back to my website
  8. Wait for the Instant Payment Notification to come through, so their account gets activated

I signed up for a Stripe account, and within an hour or two, had fully implemented their payment system on two of my websites. Here's how the whole process goes now:

That's pretty simple. But here's the disappointing thing: My conversion rate hasn't changed much since I switched from PayPal:

Website PayPal Stripe
JeopardyLabs 0.2320 0.2060
Testmoz 0.0708 0.0794

It means 0.2320 percent of people who entered in their account information on JeopardyLabs, actually end up going through the entire PayPal checkout process (i.e. I get money from them). But for some reason, only 0.2060 complete the checkout process with the crazy simple Stripe implementation! It's hard to believe it has actually gone down. But in the case of Testmoz, the conversion rate is slightly higher. I have had 826 sign ups since I implemented Stripe, so maybe the sample size is too small. I don't remember anything from my statistics class...

Aside from the disappointing conversion rate (which Stripe can't do anything about), there are some things I'm not happy about with Stripe:

  1. No discount on fees. PayPay drops the fees down to 2.5% + $0.30 if you do $3,000+ in monthly sales. You have to do $1,000,000+/year to get any discount from Stripe.
  2. They keep the entire transaction fee for a refund. PayPal just keeps the $0.30, but Stripe keeps the 2.9% too. Fortunately, I only handle a few refunds a year, and the payment ranges from $10-$50. But if you have to give a refund on an expensive product, that is something to consider.
  3. They won't let you dynamically set the memo line (I don't know if that's what it is called, but it's the line of text a customer would see on their credit card statement). If you sell on a lot of different websites, you have to pick one name to put on the customer's credit card statement. They also force you to put a phone number on the memo line too (Google voice to the rescue). In their defense, they allow you to setup multiple accounts, and each account can have its own memo line.
  4. They require SSL (and they should). But SSL is a pain if you don't have a bunch of IPs available to you, or you don't want to pay for a $500 SAN/UCC certificate!
  5. They only display times in UTC! Sheesh, would it kill them to render times in the user's timezone?

Even with that list of petty nitpicks, compared to PayPal, they come out on top.

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