Also: congrats to Courtland on building an awesome site! I've been enjoying the interviews on it since it launched. It's very refreshing to hear from so many people who are quietly building real businesses with real revenues.
Atlas sounded interesting to me (doing product dev atm), however it's based on incorporating in the US.
The US seems like it's gone in a seriously bad direction for non-US citizens (I'm Australian, living in the UK), with no positive end to that in sight. So incorporation in the US isn't really a goer (personally speaking).
Most western countries also have CFC laws you need to be aware of. CFC laws are essentially "see through" taxation laws to combat tax avoidance, looking through certain corporate structures you would use to avoid tax, e.g. by somehow siphoning off money (legally, through IP payments, interest payments, etc) to a zero or low tax entity somewhere.
I've had some tax disputes before and I can tell you: most of these civil servants are unaware of the international context they're operating in. They mainly audit local restaurants, bookstores, etc. Nothing "exotic". Talking to them, before you meet with some people higher up, can literally be a crapshoot. Some countries, for example, might try to tax your US LLC income as dividend income, before applying corporate (or personal income) tax to it again.
This is obviously often incorrect, but given most people set up US entities because they're cheap / etc (or at least some of the people using Atlas do), you should be aware that a dispute with your local tax authority can follow. Because they are the ones losing current and future revenue. Those can have nasty consequences if you don't have the funds available to hire, say, a good tax lawyer.
That said, totally agree Atlas (or setting up a US LLC) can be super valuable. Just make sure your tax situation is looked at, at home.
Cheap compared to where? EU or UK?
A lawyer can easily take care of that for you for a reasonable fee, but most bootstrappers won't consider it, given the price.
However, the UK is moving in a strange direction as well. For a decent EU option, look at Estonia. Get a digital ID card from one of their embassies and you can use that with your computer to open a company and manage everything digitally.
Yep, https://www.tide.co (even MetroBank which I used was all online and only took a few days.
My co-conspirator :) is based in Germany, so setting something up there might be the better idea.
Haven't researched that at all (yet), as we're still focused on getting the foundational tech working decently first (progressing fairly well, it's mostly grunt work).
But, keeping an eye open meanwhile... :)
Source: a prospective customer. :)
Can you say a little more about how you hope to ensure it becomes successful? I mean, what can Stripe do to help the site?
You might spend some money on it, but that might have been done more cheaply without acquiring it. Do you plan to add some sort of features? advertise it broadly?
Longer term, there's a lot that we're interested in adding. (The site isn't even a year old yet -- check out https://indiehackers.com/timeline. There was no forum or podcast in the beginning.) But we're flexible on the details there and we'll experiment and adapt based on what we learn along the way.
For example, Centurylink lets you pay online via debit card with just the card # alone. No CVV, address, expiration date, etc. For low fraud industries, this is a way to leverage very cheap debit card rates (eg $0.65 flat for small bank/credit union debit & 0.05% + $0.21 for large banks that are regulated debit), while making it simple to use debit cards compared to a credit card. If Stripe were to offer something like this, it would be a harder sale to make when I come in and review their phone/payment processing/ISP bills and pitch them $XXX savings.
Another thing is on credit, not offering over interchange pricing essentially limits you to only working with very small businesses. A supermarket I work with (4 employees including the owner) does $100k volume a month average, and is paying only 0.83% to 0.85% ($830 to $850 a month in total fees on 100k volume) a month, how can Stripe get anywhere close to that?
These types of issues could limit Stripe to a small & shrinking niche long term, especially with Mercury offering similar APIs with more features (though less accessible) at rock bottom pricing, and Heartland, Gravity and others piling on in a race to the bottom. IMO the reasonably easy to access & inexpensive API is the differentiator keeping Mercury viable.
Not everyone can afford an iPhone, but Apple still is filthy rich from the people who can.
No one looks at their SMB customers and says "To hell with that market, they'll just leave once they're big enough!" The market for people building from scratch is enormous.
We use PIN, a Stripe clone, for some currencies where they could offer us a better rate/ settlement. For our primary AUD transactions we are just using a bank on a much better rate.
That being said, $15 is a low chargeback fee (damn close to cost the issuing bank & platform charge), generally you'll see a $25 to $30 chargeback fee with a $20 to $75 retrieval fee.
WTF? It is amazing that card industry still works with such horrible security.
Centurylink has your name/address/SSN and can cut your services off at a whim if anything happens, so fraud would be inadvisable.
So if you want to process USD to US clients in HK with stripe the fees are 5.9% which is fairly laughable.
With 4+ million USD yearly volume, the only discount I could get would be 1% off the conversion fee to start.
> I'm surprised this article is still up when it seems pretty clear it's a scam and all the comments on Hacker News agree.
Honestly, given IndieHackers promotes obvious bullshit that could make 4-5 figures of cash for a few minutes effort I have to seriously question the wisdom of associating it with Stripe.
Too bad they are only US-based.
I love that notion. To come out of nowhere with super high quality everything.
Who could I talk to about this?
A serious question...