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Balanced payments is shutting down (balancedpayments.com)
384 points by dynabros on Mar 13, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 172 comments



Stripe cofounder here. I just wanted to tip our hats to the folks at Balanced. Stripe and Balanced have certainly competed against each other in the marketplace space for a few years, but we have a lot of respect for how Matin and his team executed with creatively and determination. While we're of course glad Balanced decided that migrating to Stripe was the best thing for their users, today is kinda bittersweet for us.


Please consider a way to "prefund" amounts in escrow. Or at least existing Balanced escrow accounts. You'll see it all over the comments here. Using a CC to load money into Stripe is much too expensive, when you are paying out marketplace amounts in large sums. We provide Net30 Invoicing for buyers, but immediately payout to our sellers on our marketplace. Not being able to preload a large balance is going to make things very difficult for us.


Any plans for escrow services? That was the one pain point balanced tackled that Stripe has yet to provide a solution for.


You can control the transfer schedule for your recipients, which should effectively cover what you need to do. (Sorry this isn't clearer in the docs.) Feel free to email us, too. I'm patrick@stripe.com.


Any chance you guys are going to support funding the marketplace balance via the bank account?


Great, will do. Good work on the PR, jumping on this. I'm sure you'll have a ton of e-mails today from this comment --- maybe I'll wait a week or two. :)


It's not the same at all. There's a "Pending" balance and an "Available" balance.

If you were to initiate a transfer after a successful charge, you will get an error. You have to wait days for it to make it to your available balance and transfer then.


Your comment came off as a humblebrag at first, but then I read the link and saw that they mentioned transitioning customer to Stripe. So, if anyone had the same reaction as me; just read the link first.


Hm, I can see what you mean -- edited to make clear what our involvement is. (I.e., the migration.)


With the migration, will our data be replicated or ported over to Stripe? I.E. We start the migration and we still have access to Balanced API while we make the needed changes to comply and test with Stripe.

I want to start the migration, but don't want to lose access to Balanced all together until we're ready...


You can start the migration process and continue to use Balanced. Your existing cards, bank accounts, and seller data will be ported to Stripe, and all new cards, bank accounts, and sellers that you create on Balanced will be mirrored on Stripe.


Weird. I was only looking at the Balanced site for the first time yesterday, researching payment services that offer ACH. I understand Stripe has an ACH implementation in private beta though?

Greetings from a fellow "Limerician" btw :)


pc, it appears that the Stripe client libraries do not support Balanced-like features.

i.e. ACH debits, marketplaces, etc.

Migrating over to Stripe sounds great, but having these libraries updated with the proper endpoints seems like a must.


Our bindings actually do support ACH debits. The "source" parameter is a universal param for any kind of incoming payment mechanism. See https://stripe.com/blog/unifying-payment-types-in-the-api for details.

Specifically, for those in the ACH beta you can put a customer's bank account token in that field to charge their bank account.


Will I have the ability to debit ACH w/o verification?

(I currently have this ability with Balanced. Also have very low fraud, chargeback, etc.)


Ahh, you're right.

To make an ACH debit, you'd need to verify a bank account beforehand. And I don't think client libraries support a `bank account resource` w/o curling.

Maybe I'm missing something.


If you don't get it working on Stripe, maybe you'll have better luck with WePay. They're a marketplace payments service like Balanced was, and they support ACH payments.

https://www.wepay.com/developer/facilitate_withdrawals/settl...

https://www.wepay.com/developer/facilitate_withdrawals/embed...

Disclaimer: I haven't actually used them myself. YMMV.


I have used them, stick with Stripe.


WePay cofounder here. Would love to better understand why you say that so we can improve. Bill@wepay.com


WePay doesn't do ACH debits AFAIK.


WePay engineer here. We support ACH debits. Checkout the live example with "Pay with Bank Account" option here - https://www.wepay.com/developer/process_payments/iframe-chec...


I was thinking via API.


I know that Balanced was using Forte for their ACH processing. You might check them out.

https://www.forte.net/devdocs/api_resources/forte_api.htm


This is absolutely not true


Ask Balanced to confirm for yourself. We are Forte are very saddened to see them go, but will continue to support them and their ACH processing until the day that they turn out the lights.


[flagged]


Don't be such a jerk. First, contact Stripe support which is typically very responsive. Second, if you're going to post here, best to assume positive intent.


Hm, apologies -- we don't have any policy against that. Feel free to drop me a note with more details and I'll investigate. patrick@stripe.com.


That's normally perfectly fine, except when banks fuck it up.


Although you should be doing it anyway, you should especially want to be friendly in on-boarding the transitioning customers… so PLEASE release all of Stripe's client-side JavaScript as free/libre/open software so that GNU LibreJS recognizes it.

In other words, while I and many others may wish you to actually get to Balanced's level of public commitment to transparency, the essential item is to allow people to simply use Stripe without being forced to run non-free code on their own machines client-side. Fixing this is as simple as making the source just for the client-side JS be available under an appropriate license and including some header or license file indicating this appropriately.

Please consider this, it will win you a lot of good will and is the right thing to do.


I never used Balanced, but I want to really commend this announcement.

It is the first announcement of such a kind that comes with a well-considered and already provided migration plan for customers to ensure no loss of service.

That's a great standard to work to... leave yourself enough runway to look after your customers.

The Balanced team should feel incredibly proud of managing such a co-ordinated shut down whilst under the stress and emotional turmoil of closing a company. It speaks volumes.


Yes, they should! This is a very mature and responsible shutdown (I'd also expect it to be mature and responsible, since payments are Very Important, but, on the other hand...).

+1 to the Balanced executives for being mature.


Definitely a mature approach, and it's definitely better for Balanced customers to have a migration plan. However, I don't think we can assume that Balanced "[left itself] enough runway to look after [its] customers" or that the primary motivation is maturity.

Balanced may have offered to sell their customer base to Stripe (or sell the company to Stripe, which presumably was refused). If Stripe accepted a deal to purchase Balanced's customer base, then it might have provided as payment, in part, an injection of cash to keep Balanced running for 90 days to implement the migration and hold up their side of the deal. Balanced might have suspended operations already if not for the hypothetical cash payment.

I'm not saying it would be wrong for Balanced to make that decision -- it's certainly better than shutting down! I'm just pointing out that Balanced may have other/more complex motivations for doing this than maturity, altruism, and leaving behind a good legacy. Balanced might be equally looking after its own shareholders by selling its (perhaps) most valuable asset: the customers. (The value of that asset crashes once Balanced ceases operations or announces its intention to do so, since its customers will immediately move to a competitor. Thus, this asset can only be sold while Balanced is still operating.)

I have no data - I'm just speculating. However, would a responsible board allow a company to continue to operate and burn cash for 90 days solely for the purpose of migrating customers to a competitor, and taking further losses in the process, when it could shut down instead and disburse its remaining assets to shareholders and creditors? (I do not intend to cast asperions on Stripe or Balanced. There's nothing wrong about this if it's what happened - it's rational and in everyone's interest.)


Doing the right think for a fair price is pretty much the definition of maturity.


The concept of 'doing the right thing' is a matter of perspective. In other words, people may have vastly different ideas about what the 'right thing' is, in s given situation.


I had similar thoughts and wondered if Stripe had agreed to cover operating costs and a skeleton crew for the transition period. Nothing wrong with this and it speaks highly of all involved that they reached that agreement.

I did also wonder if there were some kind of regulatory requirements around managing the shutdown of a finance company (appropriate warning periods, etc).


Interesting. Google Wallet for Digital Goods shut down last week. It was a service whereby a business might have subscribers on a monthly subscription. Google offered no migration path; businesses had to inconvenience all subscribers by getting them to re-subscribe. It's fascinating that a startup which is going out of business acts in a more responsible manner than a huge tech company.

Kudos to Balanced for doing the right thing.


Not only did Google have no migration path, they emailed all our customers saying their subscription was cancelled with no explanation why, leading to panic.


Additionally, prior to the retirement they had advised that they wouldn't be communicating it to subscribers.

The retirement was so poorly handled that it's changed the way I think about services that I allow my business to depend on. Aside from a slight bias against anything with a "Google" label, I now consider it a lot more important that a service I'm using is the core business of the company providing it.


Really, I hadn't seen them specifically say that they wouldn't email everyone (although if anyone had thought about it they'd realize it was a bad idea).

Yeah, we went with GWDG at the time primarily because it was one of the few good options for a NZ-based company, but it was always a bit strange and I always thought given the lack of maintenance it was likely to get killed. Switched to Stripe and much happier, although I do miss the awesome microtransaction pricing they had...


This is what they said about notifying users:

Google Wallet buyers will not be proactively notified. Keep in mind that if you do not remove your integration before March 2, 2015, your buyers will get 404 errors upon checking out with Google Wallet for digital goods API. To preserve your user experience, we highly recommend removing your integration and migrating to another payment processing solution as soon as possible.

(from https://support.google.com/wallet/business/answer/6107573)


So I guess they didn't specifically say they wouldn't email them when the subscription was cancelled but they sure did suggest it! :)


Very similar situation. AU-based, went with Stripe after, very happy with Stripe but also missing the micro transaction pricing.


I'd like to be as optimistic as you are about this act by balanced, but I can't help but suspect there was some kind of deal between the two companies. After all, this will bring new business to stripe...


Sure. At a minimum, the people running Balanced are preserving their personal reputation by doing this.

I like to take the pragmatic view about such things. Motivations aside, at the end of the day & in similar situations, Google decided to screw customers whilst Balanced decided to offer a smoother migration path. Even if Balanced's customers don't like Stripe, Stripe has a free data portability clause that will allow them to continue on to the payment processor of their choosing. (https://support.stripe.com/questions/what-if-i-decide-to-lea...)


Even if so, is Google above handing off their customers to a service that is similar?


Really, really bummed.

My v1 was orignally built on Stripe and I moved to Balanced quickly after they launched, because they offered ACH and escrow balance, etc.

Whenever I moved over, Mahmoud (Balanced CTO) stayed up past 1am to help me migrate. That instantly won me over. The entire team was super responsive and every interaction I had with the Balanced team was superb. Sorry to see this company go away (tear).

We run a non-significant amount of money through Balanced and hope that Stripe is a good fit. Not looking forward to re-writing our payments engine from the ground-up in 90 days :/


Yea, Patrick phrased it well when he said it's a bittersweet day for Stripe. We have a ton of respect for the team and what they've built.

Hopefully we can make the transition as smooth as possible. If you run into any trouble, feel free to email me at bkrausz@stripe.com.


One side note (from a cofounder of WePay here). WePay is 100% focused on serving the needs of two-sided platforms like marketplaces - and now we're the only company that can claim to do so.

We're bummed to see Balanced go, as I think they have a great product - indicative of what a focus on the space can produce. But we're excited to carry the torch forward.

We process billions annually and have crossed the scale chasm that the article describes (and have raised a fair amount of money to boot).

If any Balanced customer (or other marketplace) would like to chat, I'm happy to do so. Shoot me a note at bill@wepay.com


As a former customer of WePay, I'd like to warn everyone considering using WePay that their compliance department will shut you down multiple times, decline to specify why, then freeze all funds within your account. WePay is completely out of touch with their customers, and I would recommend Stripe over WePay any day.


I used WePay early on when they offered invoicing (which was the service I needed). I never had a problem with frozen funds or any other issues. Was sorry when they shut that service down.


I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience but would be happy to chat if you'd like. It's hard to say what exactly happened without some investigation. Bill@wepay.com


Sounds like PayPal all over again


I guess it's inherently a hard problem serving two sided markets as the Russian criminal types are straight away going to set up a shell companies pretending to be something respectable on one side and feed in stolen credit card numbers on the other. Still you'd think they could do something transparent like delaying sending the funds for a couple of weeks while they contact say 10 credit card owners to see if the transactions are legit.


But you typically need to freeze funds when doing that.


Normally I don't like these types of ransacking infomercials, but I think you, like PC of Stripe, struck the right notes with your tone. I'm a long-time Stripe user but I'll look into WePay.

Good luck to your team!


What is your ACH pricing, you don't display it on your website.



Balanced engineer here. I wanted to say that it's been an invaluable experience to be here at Balanced. In spite of the bad news, I can't but help but be grateful for having had the opportunity to work with the small but extremely competent team here. I've grown immensely and want to give a shout out to @mahmoudimus, @mjallday and @msherry who are the most talented engineers I've ever met. The saddest thing for me is prospect that I might not be working with them in three months from now, but at least I know that they will surely go on to do amazing work.


https://github.com/balanced/www.balancedpayments.com/commits...

Even in death, Balanced's radical commitment to transparency lives on.

I'm not aware of any other companies with similar traction that have literally put their main website on GitHub.

What a sad day.


Compared to stripe[0], balanced[1] took very less funding as per the data. Reading from the comments here, their service seems to be liked by users.

In that case, may be they should have looked into funding aspect rather than shutting down and funding might have helped them to become large,independent player as they wished.

Since YC backed, funding should not have been much difficult either. So it is surprising,seeing from outside. Am I missing anything here?

[0] https://angel.co/stripe [1] https://angel.co/balanced


So let's not make this story about Balanced, but let me spin you a yarn of a totally hypothetical company named FooCorp, which has a plan to disrupt a sclerotic two-sided marketplace.

FooCorp has a team of talented product people working for it. They've got a gleam in their eye and a story on how they're going to attack a ridiculously large market. FooCorp easily sails to an angel round sized in the high six or low seven figures based on this.

FooCorp then hires, say, a half-dozen engineers to help their founders build things out. These engineers have AmaGooBookSoft pedigrees and cost $8k apiece... every two weeks.

FooCorp's product is quite beloved by early users. They accelerate hiring and marketing. Things are going swimmingly.

The founders of FooCorp, having the best of advice from mentors and friends, start trying to put together an A round, which will be millions or tens of millions of dollars raised from professional investors.

"People love us."

"How many?"

"... Well, a growing number."

"What's the monthly growth rate."

"We've got a wonderful graph."

"Kid, I'm a professional at this and have heard every possible dodge. Give me numbers. What's your marketplace volume?"

"Millions."

"NOT A RESPONSIVE ANSWER."

"... Two million."

"Per what?"

"... Total."

"Cool. OK, I think we have what we need here. Keep us apprised of your progress. We really like you and the team." which is VC for "We will not invest but if you want to give us a free no-obligation option on investing because you're new at this then we'll take it."

Seed is raised on the dream. A rounds are raised on the metrics. If you don't have the metrics, you don't raise an A round. If you've hired in the expectation of an A round, and you don't either hit profitability before your money runs out or hit metrics which justify an A round, your company unceremoniously dies. This is by far the most common outcome.

This is sort of the talk-of-town right now, generally phrased as "Series A Crunch."


>>> Seed is raised on the dream. A rounds are raised on the metrics. If you don't have the metrics, you don't raise an A round....

These are golden words which all budding entrepreneurs need to remember rather than getting carried away by seed funding/hype. Thanks.


I guess it may have been too late in the end to get further funding but it they had raised something like Stripe's $100m rather than their $1.55m things could have been different. Not sure what this says about startup strategy - maybe bootstrap if you can but if you raise, raise big?


Wow I am shocked to see how little money Balanced raised. Considering their pedigree and name recognition I would have expected a lot more. They must have either not been interested in raising funds or had really bad financials that scared off any Series A prospects. Hopefully we get some kind of post-mortem once the dust has settled.


Sorry to see Balanced go. They were definitely the most flexible platform available and always pushed the envelope.

If you're not using Spreedly, I recommend it because it's a big help in this situation because it allows you to seamlessly switch services without losing any of your customer card data.


If you're not using Spreedly, I recommend it because it's a big help in this situation because it allows you to seamlessly switch services without losing any of your customer card data.

Strongest possible +1 for this. I did a live migration from Paypal to Stripe in under 30 seconds once. Spreedly made this as easy as flipping a configuration switch. As far as I can tell, we didn't lose any business as a result of the migration.

I don't see any reason I'd ever move off Stripe (+) but it's more than worth just preserving the convenient-doesn't-require-app-rewrite option to do so.

+ Edit to add: Ooh, got one: an acquirer can dictate a move to their favored/house processor as a term of an acquisition, and "Sure, give me six weeks to do engineering work" is not something you want to have to worry about when putting that deal together.


I think it's generally better to code directly to one provider and in the very rare instance you need/decide to change, go ahead and do the relatively easy work.


Read your comment wondering if Spreedly was worth the pricing, hit your Edit, realized its totally worth it for a few hundred dollars a month.


ACH support?


Spreedly already supports vaulting bank account information, and while the number of gateways that we support passing bank account info to is still limited, we're growing that rapidly at the moment.

Our gateway support is heavily influenced by customers, so anyone who has a gateway they'd like to pass bank account info to that we don't support today shouldn't hesitate to drop us a line.


Thx.


Was worried about this for some time. They didn't support major third party shopping carts and ignored Github support tickets for months on end despite IRC help staff suggesting to submit them.

They had great payout rules but when Stripe cut down on those times... Balanced was in a bad spot.

Happy to see they will transition smoothly to an industry leader, even if their platforms aren't even close to being the same.


It's such a shame. They had a really good way of working. Their open API and product roadmap on Github was awesome. They had future plans for cryptocurrency and foreign markets. Their API worked beautifully.

The only reason they've said is that they weren't big enough to be as innovative as they wanted.


hi icelander, Sorry to let you down. If you're a Balanced customer, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about the transition: jkwade@balancedpayments.com


Huge win for Stripe. As a technical lead, I will (personally) never rely on smaller players for payment processing from this point forward. This just cost our engineering team three weeks of work, when we were debating just transitioning an old product to Stripe to begin with. We decided to stick with balanced.

Stripe has now certainly solidified a dominant market position.


(Balanced co-founder)

Hi Keith, sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you and the Storefront team. Feel free to email me if you need any help with the migration: jkwade@balancedpayments.com.

I sincerely appreciate the faith you placed in Balanced. I'm sorry we couldn't keep it going, but you're in good hands with Stripe.


This felt like an April Fool's joke at first. I mean...I understand that Stripe is crushing it, but Balanced has a great product, and it really felt like they were making incremental gains in the marketplace.

No matter how you slice it, competition is good and necessary, and it really sucks to see this happen to a good team.


Sad to hear this news. I had a wonderful time at Balanced. Payments is a very, very hard space, business-wise. All my best to my former co-workers.


ACH(Balanced) is unprofitable if it doesn't have massive volume (fixed$/trans) . CC(Stripe) is more profitable - %rates are toggled.


As a former employee, it would be bad form to respond to speculation by a 4 minute old HN account about the specifics here, so I will not.

I'm not sure why you say Balanced(ACH) and Stripe(CC) when both do both, though.


Profitable companies don't shut down. Also it's not unusual for ACH processor to shut down. it's difficult. they certainly lasted longer than the any startup in the "old boys" space. Stripe will ingest it, has the buffer for the bad margins and will crush the old boys space. this is a good thing. didn't mean to offend.


Doing both is not same as doing both well (what contributes most to gross margin or keeps the lights on)


Thanks, Steve! We miss having you around here :)


<3 <3 <3

I was gonna swing by the office when I'm in SF in a month or two, oh well :/


Why is it hard, specifically?


Getting a money transmitter license in virtually every state, many of them requiring six-figure surety bonds, is just one of the many hurdles before you can take your first customer. First you have to raise the cash, then you have to deal with at least this many government agencies:

https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/licenses


Tons of stuff. Random example: doing international payouts basically requires having a subsidiary in each country you want to pay out to, thanks to the credit card company agreements. This is a pretty high barrier to entry for anyone who wants to get started in the space.


Before this announcement, I'd never heard of Balanced.

Reading comments, some people are saying it was a great service. But, it's shutting down, while services less great carry on.

This is hard for dev people (like myself) to realize, but if you're looking for commercial success, marketing is generally worth more than the quality of your product.


Good marketing is part of a quality product.

A key stage is hearing about a product at all - it is completely useless if you never hear about it.

See my blog post "How to use time-travelling anthropologist pollsters to tell good from evil marketing": http://www.flourish.org/2013/04/how-to-use-time-travelling-a...


Big payment providers can die as well, this has happened 3 times over the last decade alone and the collateral damage of those failures is immense.


> This is hard for dev people (like myself) to realize, but if you're looking for commercial success, marketing is generally worth more than the quality of your product.

Disclaimer: I have an MBA.

I don't think that's the case. The factors that contribute to commercial success very much depend on the market that you're operating in and on your company's individual circumstances.

They can include product quality, marketing and PR, cost structure, reach, scale (and economies thereof), revenues, growth, cash flow, and management's ability in a range of areas from crisis management and dealing with bad publicity, to setting the strategy and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

For startups who will need to raise more investment rounds, attractiveness to investors also becomes a factor.

Processing credit card payments is a mature market with a commoditised product/service and clear business model. Everyone pretty much offers the same service and, for most customers, price (i.e. how much commission they charge) is the most important differentiating factor[1]. It's a very different market from, say, smartphones, where people are prepared to pay a premium for a "better" product (e.g. the iPhone) despite the fact that they all have the same basic functionality.

When it comes to competing on price, you ideally want to have a lower cost base than your competitors, so you can lower your prices (i.e. charge lower commissions), while still making a profit. One way of reducing your cost-per-transaction (or cost-per-customer) is to exploit economies of scale.

You achieve economies of scale by getting more customers and transaction volume. Marketing is an obvious way to achieve this. And, in a zero-sum market like credit card payments, every customer you win is a customer your competitors can't have.

That's why companies like Stripe are focused so much on growth and expanding into different geographical markets. If they can achieve scale quicker than their competitors, they'll have a competitive advantage and they'll be able to undercut competitors who haven't managed to achieve the same scale (e.g. Balanced).

Other markets are different. In some, customers discriminate on product quality instead of price, or technical excellence (i.e. efficiency) enables a lower cost base.

1: Occasionally, a payments processing company will distinguish itself by establishing a lead in a particular area (e.g. ease of integration) but the competitive advantage is usually short-lived. On this thread, there's much commentary about specific features but these don't matter to the vast majority of customers.


The problem is that Stripe requires sub merchants to create an account as well. Whereas Balanced, the account process was part of the API so your customers stayed in your application. That's going to be the biggest blow to the UI.


With our Transfers API[1] you can send funds to recipients in the US without requiring them to sign up for a Stripe account.

[1] https://stripe.com/docs/tutorials/sending-transfers


What are the reasons that you don't support Transfer API in Europe? We would need that but are forced to operate with a different model on a top of Braintree at the moment.


There are a lot of reasons, but the short answer is we're aware of the demand. Stay tuned :).


Awesome! Thanks!


Stripe has end to end white labeled marketplace features as well. https://stripe.com/us/marketplaces


During the migration, is our information ported over to Stripe or is it replicated? I want to start the migration but it doesn't specify whether or not it will cause Balanced users to lose access to the API all together.


Information will be replicated, including newly added information. You can click the migrate button, integrate over the next 90 days, and switch over to Stripe with no discrepancy in information.

Balanced's meta fields will contain the Stripe IDs they were ported to, so you can migrate over to new objects incrementally.


We are very sad to see Balanced go at https://www.artsy.net - we were an early and loyal customer. Balanced has been very good to us throughout the years. Thank you.

We've actually had some support for Stripe too for a small service, an experiment, but were going to delete it and continue using Balanced 100% of the time.


I'd love to hear why you were going to stop your Stripe usage. Totally understand if it was for the sake of consolidation, but if there were product needs that we weren't hitting it'd be great to know :).


Without pre-funding and escrow it's really hard to manage B2B relationships with the Stripe feature set. Ease of disbursement is a use case that made us choose Balanced over Stripe in the first place


Lack of prefunding and escrow was/is a huge one for us.


Definitely consolidation. And we were generally happy with Balanced.

Lack of pre-funding/escrow was not a big factor, but I can see how it can become one.


The inability to transfer funds into Stripe makes it hard to use it as a payouts mechanism like you can with Balanced.


There is a way to transfer money into Stripe, however the percentage is not capped at $5 like Balanced does. Very disappointing.


Is there any good replacement besides PayPal?


90 days doesn't seem enough time at all. We run a big system on balanced. We're fucked.


This is one of those moments where good programming architecture and integration testing becomes obviously useful. We have a payment gateway interface and the transition to Stripe will be relatively painless after accounting for some accounting differences in how fees are charged.


Totally true. We didn't do a great job in this case. At the end, programming can be summarized in two words: interfaces and abstractions.


I agree, it really shouldn't be that painful, unless you hardcoded balanced API calls everywhere and have no abstractions at all.



Sure we can help, alternatively you may consider https://sudopay.com as well ? Just trying to be helpful..


I think it's simply amazing what they built with a very limited amount of funding ($3.6M announced). Looking at there fundraising efforts, it looks like they never managed to get to a Series A. I wonder why?


I'd argue the Balanced dashboard (Ember.js) is superior to the Stripe dashboard. Their technology, design, and engineers are exceptional, but just shows how important market, positioning, and being first is. The "startup game" is brutal. They had everything in place... YC company, top tier investors (Andreessen), great product... The market just overwhelmed them.


That sucks. They were the only people in the payments industry that could (or would) do same-day transfers to your bank account. The best Stripe will do is a 2 day rolling schedule.


Unless you're a large operation that can benefit from the float, it's hard to see how that makes a significant difference.


Stripe does that now too which may have contributed to this.


How do you get that to happen? There is nothing in the docs about it.


Probably by becoming a highly-trusted, low-risk customer. Payment balance float is all about holding some money in reserve in case of chargebacks. The better your stats are, the less money a processor will insist on holding in reserve.


Balanced did it by default.


I'm not familiar with the volume of data that balance collected at signup. But I am familiar with the volume of info in the PCI's "Know Your Customer" initiative. I i'm going to speculate wildly that balanced got to know their customers during onboarding, rather than waiting until after they started processing payments.

Additionally, I think that a company's level of trust with their customers involves some 'coefficient of risk' regarding potential losses to chargebacks against a low or non-existent reserve. I find the topic interesting, especially the consequences at a federal level if you guess wrong and the "customer" turns out to be laundering money.


I'm so bummed about this. We choose Balanced for www.seedwise.com specifically for its per order escrow feature. We'll be missing that in Stripe as we move over.


You can fully control the transfer schedule for any recipient with Stripe -- I think this should do what you want. (Feel free to drop us an email if you're having trouble; I'm patrick@stripe.com.)


you won't notice difference.


It's worth noting that Balanced Payments was YC W11, which probably made the transition to Stripe a little smoother.


they also share same bank. that is bigger contribution to ease of transition.


90 days to rewrite your payment stack.... Damn, I feel sorry for any startups using Balanced. A startup I worked on used Balanced but went under well before this announcement but had I still been working on it this would have been terrible news (it still is). I really liked balanced and "kickstarted" their debit card push stuff (I have a t-shirt from it). I'm sad to see them go, really wish they could have given more than 90 days though, that's a lot of work in 90 days and god forbid the person who wrote your payment stack is no longer with you...


It's too bad. Balanced was the only service of it's kind to provide ACH payments. Hopefully Stripe or Braintree will pick up this feature.


Stripe has an ACH beta we're letting all Balanced customers into.


We're a marketplace that uses Balanced's ACH + escrow for moving money between buyers and sellers. I am glad to hear you will be supporting this on Stripe, but since I only have 90 days to migrate when will api/ruby support be ready and where can we find docs?

Perhaps the docs are available as soon as I migrate? I am hesitant to start that process until I have code written to support Stripe. I don't want to end up with my data on Stripe going stale while I am still using Balanced to move money. Of course I am only assuming that scenario is what would happen, the announcement is pretty thin on details.


The Ruby bindings already support ACH via the "source" parameter (see https://stripe.com/blog/unifying-payment-types-in-the-api). We're putting the finishing touches on a guide to make migrating code from Balanced to Stripe as easy as possible: it should be out soon.


I emailed Stripe this week and got turned down.

Should I email again?


Balanced will be providing a link to migrate your account over to Stripe. This will automatically enable ACH for that migrated account.

If you want to migrate into an existing account you should email support@balancedpayments.com, they can help you out and make sure we put the right settings onto your account.


Check out Forte Payments. That's who Balanced was using for their ACH processing.

https://www.forte.net/


I contacted forte a while ago when i was considering switching from balanced - Their prices were higher than balanced offered:

$19.95 a month for ACH/E-Check $.24 per check verification $.25 per ACH transaction $2.00 Per rejected item fee for ACH Customer Support & Training Included Free Recurring Transaction Manager


How can we get in touch about this?


By default support@balancedpayments.com can help you out, since they have more info on your account. If you have questions that you'd rather direct my way, feel free to ping me at bkrausz@stripe.com


Thank you so much!


What's the cost?


Since it's still in beta we haven't solidified the cost yet. Feel free to reach out to sales@stripe.com if you wanted to discuss pricing for your account. We're honoring existing Balanced pricing, so it'll be at least as cheap as what you're currently paying :).


This is indeed very sad news. We at BillForward (YCS14) found the Balanced payments platform for ACH very well designed.

Plaid and Stripe certainly have caught up and both and offer good ACH alternatives. Best of luck to those migrating. Happy to chat with anyone who is interested in help with gateway independent ACH payments and subscription management. I'm on ian AT billforward . NET


Stripe are definitely kicking ass at the moment.

Paypal's login process is not very well thought out atm. If you go to paypal.com log in, then 90% of the screen is taken up by an ad asking you to sign up ( even though you are logged in ). You need to click on "My Paypal" that takes up 3% of the screen, before you see your dashboard.


Sad to hear. I really wanted to see them succeed because of their open company approach, and hoping it would catch on.


I nearly joined Balanced a little over a year ago, but went another route. I was really impressed with their founding team and employees, very much a class act with some smart, passionate people. Sorry to hear.


I'm sorry to see Balanced go. As CTO, I used their service and was always impressed. The site and docs were clean and obvious, really helpful when dealing with scary things like money. Kudos, Balanced!


What are the chances that Stripe paid Balanced to shut down? For Stripe, it seems like good business to "buy" your competitors when they are young. Plus, they would get a bundle of customers. And for Balanced, if the payment was high enough, a decision to wind down could make sense for the investors.

Competition is generally good for customers. In the short run it seems trivial... but in the long run it could matter in a big way.

Stripe: did you pay for Balanced's customers? If so, was it your idea to buy or did Balanced bring it up?


I dont think Stripe paid Balanced to shut down because the both the parties would look bad.

Stripe could have just acquired Balance allowing the founders of Balanced save face and Stripe gets Balanced's customers very cheap.


Sorry to hear this guys. I really wanted to see you guys triumph.


Not sure how I feel about this. Balanced has, until recently, seemed like the more flexible, DIY option in the payments space. Their API had some pretty neat features that I hope Stripe picks up at some point.

<shameless plug>

If you're looking to migrate a Rails app to Stripe, I wrote a short book that may help you out.

https://www.masteringmodernpayments.com/

</plug>


That's sad. I haven't used their product but I remember them fondly for their excellent blog post about their rigorous unit testing and continuous deployment methodology.

http://blog.balancedpayments.com/balanced-payments-operation...


Long shot. But if any engineers or developers from Balanced find themselves with time in their lives and are interested in working on a marketplace that optimizes prices discovery, I'd be excited for the opportunity to talk to them. Drop me a line, I'm in town and I'd love to take you out for beers.


This is kind of sad. Balanced Payments is one of the companies I look up to. Very sad when you lose a role model.


Really unfortunate development. I preferred using them to Stripe earlier primarily because they made the job so much easier (order level escrow so we din't have to maintain them ourselves). Not looking forward to the migration!

Wish Matin and the team at Balanced the very best for their future endeavors.


I have a lot of respect for a company that provides a clear way forward for their users.


I am unreasonably bummed about this. Balanced was outrageously wonderful to Gittip/Gratipay, which is near and dear to my heart... I would say more, but I'm on mobile and quasi-drunkenly eating a Subway sandwich :/


Our startup Retreat Guru is using Balanced and we were impressed by their vision and support. Sorry to see them go but looking forward to working with Stripe. I wish them all well in their future ventures.


This is truly surprising. Balance was indeed a worthy competitor to Stripe. We chose them in my previous company because of their escrow feature and overall focus on building marketplaces.


wow, this is a real bummer. Good luck guys.

p.s. Classy move on the migration plan.


Migration Woes ? Sudopay once and then keep switching payment gateways easily... :)


Can I just say how goddamned responsible that is. Thank you.


... Wow, after all that work building a product on Balanced.


I interviewed with these guys a few years ago. Nice people, good people. I don't have a web background but they gave me a fighting chance anyways.

I wish them the best.


[deleted]


From where I sit... that's 90 days.


I just want to say to anyone who works at Balanced that your work was exceptional and as a user, it was a huge blow to hear this news.


Couple of months back I made a comment on why SudoPay looks quite useful in this volatile payment domain. This again proves my point.


Is there any chance that the full code base (not just the API and supporting projects) will be open sourced ?


Balanced really had a nice web app. Kudos to their team.


Wonder why I don't see "YC XX" after the company name like we usually see in other recruit or fund raising posts from YC backed company.


The person who submitted this didn't bother to put it in the title.


That tag is for launches and major third-party articles, not for posts by the companies themselves.


What a class act from Balanced. I've never seen anything like this before. I just archived the site.




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