Stripe is a great tool for businesses. Particularly SaaS companies are looking for a solution that manages all aspects of billing. Stripe acts as your Merchant of Record or MoR giving the company access to multiple payment processors when accepting payments globally while taking the liability of all the transactions from you.
Through innovation, Stripe has helped change how businesses receive money and build a payment infrastructure that facilitates digital transactions. The reputation of the service has seen it being used by millions of small businesses and some of the largest ones as well, like Lyft, Reddit, and Instacart.
As resourceful as it is, Stripe is not the go-to for all businesses, and sometimes, it might not offer the features or the service you have in mind. That’s why you need to consider other alternatives.
Most Stripe alternatives are either payment processors or billing solutions. Only a handful can do both. Still, you might find that one or several of these provide better services for your business.
Benefits of Stripe Payments
Before looking at the alternatives of Stripe, let’s look at what it does really well and what you could be leaving on the table. These benefits depend on your company’s needs and how well they fit in. For some businesses, they might not fit in.
Stripe has a robust API, which is why it is so widespread. If you’re comfortable writing code or know someone who can do it for you, you can play around with the features to customise it to your needs. Stripe makes things even easier if you’re not technical by providing pre-built store pages, configurations, and integrations to choose from.
Few apps can rival Stripe in terms of global reach. Because eCommerce does away with trading boundaries, your business needs a payment platform that allows it to receive payments from anywhere in the world.
Keeping in mind the challenges that come with doing business outside your borders, Stripe can smoothen out the experience and make it possible to receive money in over 130 currencies from 47 countries. It will also help you navigate local policies like sales tax and VATs.
It is definitely not the cheapest service and could do better, but its flat rates are predictable and transparent for the most part. Considering Stripe’s features and impact on businesses, it’s safe to say you get a lot of value for what you pay.
Stripe has a robust feature set that includes billing and subscription management. It supports recurring payments, making offering recurring subscription services or products easier.
No monthly fee
With some alternatives, you need to pay a monthly fee to access the core services, which can be an added cost. Stripe offers a flat rate that allows businesses to pay as they go. That way, if you’re not using Stripe actively, it costs you nothing.
The Downside of Stripe Payments
As great as it is for most businesses, there are downsides to Stripe as well, which might knock it off the list of best choices for your business.
Account stability is a common problem among third-party payment processors, and Stripe is not immune. Stripe users might be at a higher risk of account freezes and holds than those that use a traditional merchant account. Even worse, resolving these issues when they occur can be challenging and time-consuming.
Stripe’s approach to customisation is great for newer businesses, but the costs can add up quickly for smaller businesses that are unable to negotiate their own deal with Stripe. Larger businesses can negotiate the fees and the features they access.
Limited support for in-person transactions
Although the Stripe Terminal has made some massive changes, it’s still an eCommerce-centric tool. Businesses that make the occasional in-person sale are locked out.
The developer-friendly approach is ideal for businesses with the resources or know-how to implement it. But it can be challenging for non-programmers that want to use the platform. They will need to get it pre-built into their sales platform.
Best Stripe Alternatives
Stripe is popular, but it’s not the only option. You can choose from various alternatives available depending on your business’s size, nature, and needs. Some of the more popular and often sought-after options include;
Square is an excellent option for new startups. It is one of the most accessible payment processing tools on the market, offering a wealth of features and functionality with little to no overhead for businesses.
It also has one of the easiest interfaces to use. The rates and features are transparent, so knowing how much you’re spending on credit card processing is easy.
Square offers a world of features dedicated to new and existing businesses. These include invoicing, credit and debit card processing, location management software, a free online store, inventory management software, buy now pay later options, financing options and other bank-like services.
Businesses can enjoy these and more features with standard and affordable pricing. This is what makes Square an excellent option for new businesses that need its features without adding too much to their overheads.
One reason Square is such a great option is that it is much easier for the average person to set up. You can still build an API system that can easily accommodate online and in-person sales, reporting inventory and many other features.
Although Stripe still has a hand over Square with its extensive number of integration, you don’t need master-level programming experience to set it. It is easy enough for non-technical users to set up an online store.
- Predictable flat-rate pricing
- Large feature set
- Affordable chip card readers
- Square has a limited international reach
- Suffers from account stability issues like many other business payment processors.
Pay iO has been a gem in the business and corporate community allowing businesses to receive and send money to supply quickly and efficiently.
Although Pay iO has been primarily used for sending money across Europe, it has many more features and functions available for any business that is looking for something simpler, more effective, and more affordable than Stripe.
With Pay iO, small businesses can get payments directly from their customers and use the platform’s features to manage transactions and expenses in one place. Big businesses get even more features and functions, including the ability to receive global payments in different currencies. You can also use Pay iO to manage your account and reduce administrative costs. With mobile and web access, you have everything you need to run your business’s finances at the tips of your fingers – literally!
Pay is also has a merchant account with advanced security and fraud prevention features that many eCommerce businesses can appreciate.
Features like the Merchant Account allow you to connect to banks using the Open Banking API infrastructure to deliver cutting-edge payment solutions.
The greatest advantage of Pay iO has always been the fast onboarding process. Businesses often lose money while waiting for approvals that take too long to go through. Also, once you’re on board, setting up your account to start receiving money is a breeze.
It’s a simple tool that works for small businesses with a lean team that wants to minimise their overheads with big business features that you can implement when you need them.
Cost-wise, Pay iO is more competitively priced than Stripe, not to mention that the charges are transparent and upfront. It makes it much easier for businesses to know how much they’re spending and plan their finances better.
- Pay iO is perfect for small businesses that want an easy yet robust system that can grow with them.
- The costs are lower, especially because businesses can hold their money in different currencies saving on currency conversion fees.
- Ideal for small and big businesses
- It doesn’t require advanced customisation to match your needs
- It doesn’t have the same level of customisation as Stripe
PaymentCloud isn’t as popular as some of the alternatives you might see on this list. Perhaps that could be because its target market isn’t also very popular.
PaymentCloud is an excellent option for high-risk businesses that want a quality merchant account.
Unlike other high-risk processors that take advantage of such businesses’ difficulty to get a merchant account, it minimises unnecessary fees.
The pricing can still vary depending on the backend processor PaymentCloud pairs you with, but most high-risk businesses end up paying less with this service than you would with most of its competitors. And just to be sure PaymentCloud will give you $200 if they can’t beat your current rate.
The service goes all out in its features and functions, prioritising efficiency and safety. The features include high-risk credit and debit card processing, eCheck and ACH processing, cryptocurrency processing, QR Code payments, Merchant cash advances, and shopping cart integration.
You can get all these and more at competitive rates. Unfortunately, the rates are not standardised. They vary by customer profile. So some customers might end up paying more.
PaymentCloud shines in its aggregator model. While Stripe goes for low-risk businesses, PaymentCloud has higher-end features. You might end up having a better experience with it because the accounts are less prone to account holds and freezes.
- PaymentCloud doesn’t have an account setup fee
- It specialises in high-risk accounts
- There’s a free credit card terminal available
- The pricing is not publicly disclosed
Small businesses are spoilt for choice when looking for a payment processor. The same can’t be said for larger businesses. Most options offer some features that large businesses can use, but rarely the full package. This is where Ayden comes in.
Although it has a small customer base, it specialises in producing massive amounts of payments. It is a business built to chase after the big fish. Some of its largest customers include Etsy and eBay.
That’s not to say the platform has locked out small businesses. There is plenty for small businesses as well, and the nature of the platform means it’s primed to grow with you and even accept international payments without breaking a sweat.
Ayden’s features are everything a large business is looking for. They include debit and credit card processing, omnichannel payments, dynamic reporting, and international processing.
Its fees are jaw-droppingly low for a company that specialises in handling large transactions. The fees start at 0.6%+0.12 per transaction.
Ayden and Stripe are alike in their global reach. They also do a decent job supporting localised payment methods across Europe, South America, and Asia-Pacific. But Ayden pulls away because it supports PayPal transactions, which is rarely available among other companies not owned by PayPal.
- Ayden is perfect for large, low-risk businesses
- It has the perfect features to support international merchants
- There are no setup or application fees necessary
- No monthly charges
- You need to have minimum monthly transactions
- There are mixed customer reviews about the platform
Why You Should Consider Stripe Alternatives
Every business has a different reason why they should be looking around for Stripe alternatives. Maybe you just want better rates or perhaps something that is easy to work with and better suits your needs. Some of the common reasons why businesses consider looking for alternatives for Stripe include;
Stripe is only one layer in your payment infrastructure. It’s not a complete solution. You need to integrate and maintain other tools to manage subscriptions, taxes, and invoicing, which is too much for your teams, especially if you have limited capacity.
Stripe makes it even harder by preventing you from integrating common payment methods like PayPal, which increases the scope of integration, implementation, and maintenance.
Additional maintenance work
Stripe is not only tedious to set up, but you also need to up your maintenance schedule to keep it working. Your developers will also need to maintain the other tools to support your subscriptions, like taxes and invoicing, or build your own.
When looking for an alternative payment processor, you need to factor in how long it will take for the APIs to be functional. For Stripe, if you want full functionality, that can take a bit of time, impacting your business negatively. You need an API with a fast onboarding process that will keep money coming while providing maximum benefits and features to your business.