Honestly, the API docs and Gem are so good you don't need a book.
From sitting down can looking over the docs to charging my debit card for a monthly subscription took about an hour (and I'm not even that good with ruby, if you're a pro you could do it in half an hour I reckon).
I manage a drop-in Rails engine for adding Stripe subscriptions to an app (http://github.com/andrewculver/koudoku) and the number one piece of feedback I get is that people wish they had heard of it before they integrated Stripe subscriptions in their app. This tells me that there is room for gems like mine and books like Pete's in the little ecosystem Stripe has created.
My debit card is from Visa, and Visa is a supported payment system.
I think that's why he makes a point of saying American Express in the blog post too, it's one of the more obscure payment systems in the UK.
On a side note, I remember my mother, who runs a corner shop, giving anyone who pays on AmEx the evil eye because they have a higher merchant fee in the UK and it takes a few extra days to clear.
I wonder if Stripe UK have the same fees for AmEx...
The restaurant refused the company amex card of the team manager and one of the better off senior members of the team had to put it on his debit card and claim it back.
Yep, we have the same fees for American Express transactions: 2.4% + 20p + VAT per successful charge.
Does Stripe have "operations" in the Republic of Ireland?
Will Stripe shuffle UK sales/transactions through Dublin in order to avoid paying corporation tax in the UK?
Quite a lot of people in the UK are sick of companies coming across the Atlantic and playing international tax games.
The issue that's caused a lot of grief is that a lot of companies set up what pretty much accounts to shell companies in Ireland, with the bare minimal operations they can get away with, and route massive amounts of revenue through it in creative ways that have nothing to do with where the actual operations and revenues of the company are.
Especially the "double Irish with a Dutch sandwich" arrangement has drawn a lot of ire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Irish_arrangement
Sounds like fun
When we started Teddle the landscape for payments in the UK looked very very different. At one point PayPal looked like our best option. In reality their product would have killed our business (matching customers with independent house cleaners), with their punitive withholding of funds and lengthy clearing times.
Then Andy and the guys at Stripe UK came along and blew the competition out of the water. They have been doing an outstanding job. The product is ridiculously good, the documentation is awesome and the customer service is human, friendly and reliable. Honestly I can't praise the product enough.
Well done guys!
BUT seriously (going on a disappointed rant here): Belgium & the Netherlands get into private beta and Germany gets nothing? I mean: Come on. BE + NL together have 27m people - Germany has some 80m AND a world-class economy. I don't want to bash on our neighbors (God knows we've done that one or two times in the past), I just want me some Stripe.
I know that the delay is probably because of some ridiculous red tape in Germany. :-(
tl;dr: Please absolve us from PayMill & the Samwer brother
This is why I won't use them until customers beg me to.
The fee Stripe charges are pretty high. We would never agree to a percentage of the sale, only a fixed price. The fact that you can't change who process you credit card payments (can you?) excludes you from getting any good deals on fees. If you shop around you can save a lot of money.
Honestly getting a merchant account, if that's the excuse for using Stripe, isn't that hard.
Is that really realistic? I thought all credit card transaction fees were percentage, while most ACH is fixed-rate (so if someone is charging you a percentage on ACH, you are getting screwed.)
If stripe has a transparent charging structure, that would be a massive plus to me.
Have you tried getting a merchant account in Europe for a company taking online payments with little to no history of processing card payments?
Most banks will laugh you out of their offices.
Once you've established 2-3 years history and some volume, sure, you can start negotiating drastically lower rates.
2.4% + 20p sounds great to me!
You could use a company like PayEx, NetAxept, DIBS or ePay ( there are many more of cause ). You pay them a flat fee per transaction, I know at least one of them will do it for a fixed monthly fee and $0.04 per transaction. The you need someone to handle the actual merchant account, someone like Teller, SwedBank, Handelsbank ( again there are many more ). Many of these will process VISA and MasterCard for less than 1% of the amount and in some case a lot less.
Stripe is wonderfully simple, but if you want to process any real amount of credit cards they seem really expensive. For quickly starting up I get why you would go with Stripe.
We can do that too! (We can't specifically do SEK yet, although we're working on it - should have it soon)
We've tried to make all of this as easy as possible - you can associate bank accounts in different currencies with your Stripe account. If you make a charge in a currency you have a bank account for, we'll transfer it directly; otherwise we'll convert to your account's default currency and transfer it to that currency's bank account.
We done have some special needs though, so I doubt Stripe is right for us. We need a few more currencies and we expect to have the money transferred without any currency conversion ( If the customer pays in Swedish Kronor, we want the amount transferred to us in that currency ). Also we need support for at least one local card.
It's not meant as a put down or anything, I just fail so see what the big deal is with Stripe.
Not even debit cards are that cheap to process. What you are missing at the very least are the fees to the card associations.
You need to compare Strip to SagePay's full merchant services, not fees for just using their software or whatever it is you're getting for 10p. E.g:
But even then, a large differentiator in merchant services cost is your risk profile and sales volume, as well as type of product.
We have just under a thousand transactions a month for totals just into five figures, both in store and online, and we pay around £140 a month in fees. As a proportion it's not gone over 1% of the total in the last year. That covers _everything_, including card fees, online fees, the instore pdq machine, support etc. Only a small proportion of transactions are credit cards, most by far is debit.
It's not a straight comparison with Stripe, because Stripe doesn't provide any of the instore stuff.
What appeal ought Stripe to have to us? Why would we pay 2.4%? Genuine questions.
If anyone from Stripe is reading, in your announcement you say:
"In addition to keeping the best parts, we've also built multi-currency support: the ability for UK businesses to charge customers around the world in US dollars, British pounds, and Euro. We'll automatically handle all the conversions for you and deposit daily into your bank account."
My understanding was that we would need a USD account in the UK in order to charge customers in USD. Have you now fixed that? I can't find anything in the docs? Or are you saying that we can just charge people GBP no matter where in the world they are?
We've fixed it :-)
How do we do it?
In the docs https://stripe.com/docs/api#create_charge there is no reffrence to exchange rates. Do you return a response that shows what the exchange rate was and so how much we will be paid in GBP after charging in USD? (paypal (yuck) do this)
You can auto expand the balance transaction upon charge creation by passing expand=balance_transaction, or you can retrieve the balance transaction directly: https://stripe.com/docs/api#retrieve_balance_transaction.
I would be very keen to have an individual conversion on each card payment as that is how our internal database sees the world.
This is exactly what we wanted. Thanks!
Granted your bank will probably want a decent chunk for doing the conversion for you.
Anyway I do more and more api for my personal projects (thanks to AngularJS and mobile) and the Stripe api & docs have been my main inspirations and technical references.
If so, I may experience the rare emotion of "happiness".
There's also the German Stripe clone, Paymill. Also, not every country is heavy on credit/debit cards (think, Poland, Japan, etc) and Adyen is able to support all kinds of local payment methods.
We've been using Shareit for selling software for many, many years and it's basically 4.9% as fees. The first interesting part for me is the currency conversion rate. We operate in GBP and all of our sales last month were in USD. Working out the average rate we got 1.54 USD to 1 GBP. Looking at the exchange rates for July  that seems reasonably close to the mid market rate.
I'd be interested to know how Stripe determine their conversion rates. If it's mid-market then we're looking at 4.4% against 4.9%.
The next issue when exporting is whether you have to register formally in the country you're selling to in order to avoid withholding taxes 
The countries we've come up against this to date are the USA, Portugal and India. The volume we do with the US justifies registering with the IRS and making a W8-BEN form available to all companies we sell to.
The process for the US is doable and the volume we sell there easily justifies it. The process for Portugal is awful and the process for India comprises about 6-8 weeks of utter bureaucratic bullshit . The sales volume from these countries were not worth going through the process.
If we didn't go through this process and sell directly in these countries the buyer would have to withhold a proportion of the purchase, usually around 20%.
Shareit is an actual reseller, legally. Stripe isn't, AFAIK. So, Shareit can deal with the admin in these countries and pass over the same amount they do as for any country. A few years ago, we hadn't heard of withholding taxes, it's becoming more and more common as countries try to clamp down on tax evasion.
It's more strictly enforced the larger the payment amount gets, but my point is to be aware of the legal differences in payment processing services regarding foreign withholding tax rules.
Edit : There's actually a third issue as well and that's whether your insurance covers you to take card information on your site (up to details regarding the type of SSL certificate you have installed) and, if it does, whether you comply with all the security constraints the policy imposes. You may find that the additional premium is more than the cost savings.
I work for a US company whilst being in the UK, and a W8-BEN form took most of a day to finish, and I remember calling the IRS direct to help - and they were surprisingly helpful and courteous. Nothing like as bad as they are painted :-\
With a long polish family name and residing in a city with a long German (with umlauts) name the whole call over a low quality transatlantic line wasn't a walk in the park. But the IRS employee always stayed nice and helpful. (I think the address entry took us good 20 minutes alone).
Somehow this does not click with my CFO experience.
We use the live exchange rate at the time of the charge, and there's a 2% fee for currency conversion on top (compared to e.g. 2.5% from PayPal). You can how much you'll receive for each charge in GBP immediately afterwards.
Somewhat unrelated but:
This is my absolute dream job description, unfortunately as a CS undegrad I think I'd find myself somewhat under qualified for it.
asking this as an ex-Rocket guy with my own startup that needs payment integration soon. I've started the Paymill process but not sent the docs in yet.
- https://stripe.com/chat VS email
-You usually don't need to "send the docs in" (being hungarian, they asked for my ID, but email was fine), which reduces time to launch
-After having launched with Paymill, production started throwing strange errors. Root cause analysis revealed, that they don't have USD / EUR acceptance enabled by default; and they asked for extra paperwork to have that. This is not a good problem to have when users are hitting the payment wall.
One thing we've hit is that there's a requirement to specify the first amount you're going to charge (which you might not know at that point) when you get a customer's CC data, that can be a real pain.
Not sure if it's related but at around that time Braintree changed the pricing to add Interchange fee that depends on the card used, service offered etc. Making the final pricing somewhat confusing but maybe more affordable as a result.
Does anyone know if Stripe account setup&approval for UK is just as straightforward as for US? With Braintree they ask for financial (turnover & EBIT) and shareholder information when applying as an EU company, no idea if it's also the case for US companies.
Yep; it's the very same instant setup.
That makes them quite uncompetitive in most countries where credit cards are just one of the many online payment methods, and completely useless in countries where most only payment has already shifted to direct transfers without the cost and hassle of going through credit card companies.
The movement is now towards harmonizing direct payments and mobile payment. Using credit cards for online payment feels so yesterday to me.
"harmonizing direct payments and mobile payment" -- I assume direct payments are direct debit from savings account? What is a "mobile payment".
How are these direct debit payments made? Do you know of any payment processors that process this type of payment?
I'm keen to hear how other parts of the world handle payments. Thanks.
Stripe may work out more expensive than PayPal, but that extra cost is probably offset by the amount spent on heart medication.
For a more detailed cost comparison with PayPal:
Stripe's pricing starts at 2.4% + £0.20 per transaction + VAT. Stripe charges 2% for foreign conversions (i.e. charging in EUR, when you want to be paid out in GBP).
PayPal's pricing starts at 3.4% + £0.20 per transaction. In addition to their published rate, you'll also pay:
* £20 per month if you want to design and host your own checkout pages.
* If you process in other currencies other than your local currency, PayPal will charge you a fee of 2.5% above the wholesale exchange rate (https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/cross-border-and-conve...).
* If you receive payments from customers outside of the UK, PayPal will charge you a fee of anywhere from 0.4% to 1.5% (https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/cross-border-and-conve...).
* If your customers pay with American Express, PayPal will charge you a fee of 3.5%.
* If you issue a refund, you will pay a fixed fee portion of the original transaction fee.
We are looking for a payment provider we can integrate in http://makeplans.net but it has to be with no fixed costs as our clients are small businesses. Please get in touch if you need someone to be part of the beta rollout here in Norway: firstname.lastname@example.org
"extra cost is probably offset by the amount spent on
"Enjoy PayPal's sandbox test environment! It's about
as fun as extracting one's teeth with a pair of pliers."
Paypal has tiered pricing:
So, it depends on which tier you're on for PayPal, it may go either way. However, I suspect most people are sitting on 3.4%+20p on PayPal will find Stripe cheaper.
Stripe's strategy is all about developer-led adoption, and their approach to their tech belies this. Unfortunately, in reality, developers have as much say as to which PSP their client uses as the cabin boy does what course the captain should sail.
I run an eCommerce firm - we've mooted stripe to all of our customers, as we like the look of their approach - but none will adopt, purely on the basis of cost.
That is a nice problem to have (and in fairness it's a .5% different or about about 75 quid).
On 15,000 billable I'll take a 300 a month hit to never have to deal with PayPal again.
Broken sandbox, flaky API, customer service reps from the Hannibal Lecter school of customer service, payment frozen, ridiculous demands on holding cash and proving you are who you say you are, high pressure sales.
Screw PayPal, I'll drive to my customer and take cash before I use them again.
There are also cases where developers do have some say, especially since many clients don't even care as long as they can accept payments--the fee is more or less on par. It's a favorite for me because when you look at Stripe.js + the API you can tell it was developed for use by other developers and not as an after thought.
We have a few clients who are smaller, and therefore more willing to listen to recommendations and suggestions, but the big guys just steamroll on with whatever the advertorial in the trade journal told them to do this month. Very hard to convince a 40 year veteran FD that you know more about payment solutions than him.
Could you drop me a line? email@example.com. I have an idea I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on.
Fix this, and we'd move in a heartbeat.
- Stripe has instant signup. Braintree does not (yet). You have to send us a few documents; the signup process takes a few days.
- Stripe multicurrency support is limited to USD, EUR, and GBP. Braintree can accept payments in 130 currencies and settle in the following currencies:
AUD - Australian dollar
CAD - Canadian dollar
DKK - Danish krone
CHF - Switzerland francs
EUR - European Union euro
GBP - British pound
HKD - Hong Kong dollar
JPY - Japanese yen
NOK - Norwegian krone
NZD - New Zealand dollar
SEK - Swedish krona
USD - US dollar
ZAR - South African rand
Being able to settle in DKK, CHF, NOK or SEK might make a big difference to merchants with large customer bases in Northern Europe.
- Stripe charges a 2% currency conversion fee if you settle in a different currency than you present. Braintree does not.
- The pricing structures are different. Stripe charges 2.4% + 20p per charge; Braintree charges on an interchange plus model: IC + 0.9% + 10p, with a 100 GBP monthly minimum.
Finally, of course, our products are different as well. Braintree.js and Stripe.js don't work the same way, and our APIs have different capabilities.
GoCardless and Stripe tend to solve very different problems. We're a Direct Debit provider, whereas Stripe do card payments.
In short, Direct Debit is great for recurring payments and variable billing. It's traditionally really hard to get access to in the UK if you're a smaller business; but we allow people to sign up instantly and start using it without having to go to the bank.
DD is a great solution if you're in a service business or are charging a similar set of people each month. It's a less good solution if you're doing e-commerce/physical goods, since you need fast payment timings/clearing. That's the sort of problem cards (and therefore Stripe) are optimized for.
More info here: https://gocardless.com/direct-debit/use-cases/
You are doing great and fast. Keep going.
Between Stripe and gocardless we finally have a viable zero-friction way of taking payments.
This is brilliant!.
Would love to see them continue spreading East.
People from Stripe. If you're reading this, I'd like to work for you.
Can we talk?
https://stripe.com/jobs & firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for responding :)
When can US customers start charging UK customers?
Edit: Did a bit of research and it looks like Danske is finally offering Visa Debit as an option.
GG to the stripe Team