Stripe Payments Review: Is It Right for Your Business?

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Are you a business owner keen on getting insights into your trade? Look no further! Stripe Payments is a payment gateway that fits the bill.

Its crowning jewel is in its low-cost invoicing system, through which you can charge customers with personalised invoices for a very cheap fee –  a convenient saving for those fighting the rising costs of doing business in the UK in 2023.

If you're an online business owner who sells internationally, Stripe Payments is a major catch due to its acceptance of 135 currencies. For owners of brick-and-mortar shops, its seven reporting tools can massively help with their scaling. Accordingly, Stripe Payments scores a solid 4/5 in our research.

If you’re unsure if Stripe Payments is right for you, just give our free quote tool a try. It allows you to get bespoke quotes from our trusted providers for you to compare. If you’d like to know more about Stripe Payments in the meantime, read about our findings below.

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0 out of 0

Stripe

Score
4.0
Best For

Reporting

Cost

From £49 + VAT

Key Features
  • Real time reporting on charges, fees, refunds, transfers
  • Low invoicing fees (0.4%)

Stripe Payments: Quick Fact-File

  • No signup fees
  • 1.4% +20p transaction fee for card payments
  • Two options of hardware (which you can buy outright)
  • Generates invoices – with transaction fees starting at 0.4% for these
  • Its payment gateway can be integrated with webstores
  • Highly-rated customer support available through phone and email
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How much does Stripe Payments cost?

Stripe allows you to take payments without charging monthly fees, like Revolut and Zettle. This aligns it with the current standard of the mobile merchant account market. However, Stripe’s pricey hardware made it the lowest-scorer in price in our research, receiving 3.2/5.

Should you choose to use its service, your main ongoing expense will be transaction fees and Stripe boasts some of the most competitive out there. It charges 1.4% + 20p for European cards and 2.9% + 20p for non-European ones. If a large amount of your payments come from Europe, Stripe’s transaction fee is cheaper than Square’s. Like SumUp, it doesn’t charge fees on unsuccessful transactions.

Stripe sells two PDQ machines: WisePad 3 and WisePOS E. WisePad 3 is a compact, basic card reader that accepts chip and contactless payments. WisePOS E is its advanced counterpart: a touchscreen card reader that accepts chip, swipe, and contactless payments. Stripe's PDQ machine costs range from £49 + VAT (for WisePad 3) and £149 + VAT (for WisePOS E), which makes them the priciest card readers among the ones we looked into.

Stripe has a major perk in its invoicing platform: it allows you to easily create, customise, send, and manage invoices for a very low cost. It bites 0.4% off each paid invoice, or 0.5% if you subscribe to the Stripe Invoicing Plus plan (which we discuss below). These fees are way cheaper than Square’s and Zettle’s, both of which charge 2.5% per invoice transaction. Also, this feature's easy to use was noted and praised in our market-wide merchant account comparison.

Watch out!

Despite the name, WisePOSE doesn’t come with an EPOS system because Stripe doesn’t offer this service. Among its competitors, Square sells the cheapest reader with EPOS integration. It costs £16 + VAT and it contributed to Square’s 3.3/5 score in price in our research.

Stripe Payments' pros and cons

Pros

  • Solid reporting
  • Certified to highest security level

Cons

  • Few third-party integrations
  • Bad for connectivity

✔️ Pro: Solid reporting

Stripe offers six reporting tools to help you get business insights. This makes it the best mobile merchant account for reporting among the ones we analysed, and sees Stripe score 3.4/5 for features in our research, beating Tyl’s 3/5.

Stripe reports in real-time on fees, charges, refunds, and transfers. It produces logs of the payment methods for transactions and the currencies, too. Finally, the provider is unique among its competitors in that it tags deposits with a report detailing the exact transactions and fees it contains. All these are great draws for business owners looking for data insights to scale their ventures.

✔️ Pro: Certified to highest security level

Stripe is certified to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Level 1 –  the most stringent available. The certification is one step further than being only PCI compliant (like Zettle), because it entails a full on audit on the provider’s security protocols. Stripe prevents fraud by encrypting card numbers and, like Square, doesn’t run formal credit checks on new merchants. This means you're able to offer extra security to your customers and be less vulnerable to fraud.

❌ Con: Few third-party integrations

Stripe has a varied portfolio of software solutions related to payment taking and financial management. However, when it comes to merchant accounts, it has very limited integration – something lowered its score in features to 3.4/5 in our research despite its excellent reporting.

It only integrates with accounting platforms QuickBooks and NetSuite. While this can be beneficial for companies that only need this, it doesn’t make Stripe an ideal choice if your business is looking for other integrations, such as with ecommerce services. With this, Stripe allows for way less third-party integration than Zettle (which syncs up with 21 providers) and Revolut (which does so with 16).

❌ Con: Bad for connectivity

Stripe’s readers are handheld cordless devices, but they don’t come with data, and therefore need an external internet connection to take payments. This connectivity shortcoming lowered Stripe’s score in compliance in our research, seeing it score 2.7/5. It also makes Stripe a no-no if you run a business on the go (like a food truck or on-site plumbing). In this case, you’ll be better served by competitors like Zettle and SumUp, which offer readers with mobile data and score 4.8/5 and 4.6/5 in our research, respectively.

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Stripe Payments’ key features explained

Invoicing system

Stripe Invoicing is one of the provider’s greatest assets. This service comes in two plans, Starter and Plus, which cost 0.4% and 0.5% per paid invoice respectively. This makes Stripe considerably cheaper on this front than Square and Zettle, both of which charge 2.5% per paid invoice.

Starter offers an easy and convenient platform to send across slick, customised invoices to your customers. The Plus system also does this, but it also allows you to automate this process and send personalised quotes.

Customer support

Stripe offers 24/7 support, through phone, email and live chat. Unsurprisingly, Stripe scores an impeccable 5/5 in customer support in our research. This makes Stripe better than SumUp, which lacks the live chat channel and therefore scores only 3.5/5.

Like Square and Zettle, Stripe offers a knowledge base. Stripe also sells advanced support plans (Growth, Premium, and Enterprise), but quotes are only available on request.

What kind of business is Stripe Payments best for?

Stripe suits small business owners better due to its cheap transaction fees, low-cost invoice system, and wide reporting. This combination provides these businesses with the necessary features at a reduced cost.

Highlighting this, while Stripe receives a score of 4/5 in our mobile card machines evaluation, it bumps it to 4.5/5 in our ranking for best mobile merchant accounts for small businesses.

Online businesses in particular are bound to benefit from Stripe's virtual terminal – an essential piece of software to take payments through the internet. This feature made Stripe one of the best payment gateway providers we found in our merchant account research.

Based on our audience research, this ranking emphasises the price and features categories, where Stripe’s 0.4% + 20p base transaction fee and invoicing system shone the brightest. These findings reinforce Stripe’s suitability for budding enterprises.

However, starting at £49 + VAT, Stripe’s hardware has a steep price. If you’re looking for cheaper entry points into the merchant account arena, Square and Zettle offer low-cost readers, which start from £16 + VAT and £29 + VAT.

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How does Stripe Payments compare with its competitors?

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0 out of 0

Revolut

Zettle

Square

Tyl

SumUp

Stripe

Score
4.8
Score
4.8
Score
4.4
Score
4.4
Score
4.2
Score
4.0
Best For

Cheap transaction fees

Best For

Convenience

Best For

Faster payouts

Best For

Low-cost hardware

Best For

3G connectivity

Best For

Reporting

Transaction fee

From 1% + 20p online
0.8% + 2p in person

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.75% in-person

Transaction fee

1.50%

Transaction fee

2.5% online
1.69% in-person

Transaction fee

Bespoke online
1.4% + 20p in-person

Key Features
  • Over 21 integrations
  • 25 currencies
  • Free EPOS app
Key Features
  • Supports 25 currencies
  • Certified to PCI-DSS Level 1
  • Integrates with 21 third-party providers
  • Support available on phone, email and live chat
Key Features
  • Countless integrations
  • Next working day transfers
Key Features
  • 4G connected readers
  • Customer support via phone and live chat
  • No credit checks
Key Features
  • Built-in 3G SIM card
  • Unlimited mobile data
  • Highly compliant
Key Features
  • Real time reporting on charges, fees, refunds, transfers
  • Low invoicing fees (0.4%)

Price

Stripe Payments occupies a middle ground when it comes to price, which is reflected in its score of 3.2/5 in this category in our research. For starters, it’s got the second lowest base transaction fee out of all the mobile merchant accounts we looked into. Stripe’s 1.4% + 20p charge makes it cheaper than SumUp’s 1.69% and Zettle’s 1.75%, but more expensive than Revolut’s 0.8% + 2p. This greatly reduces Stripe Payments cost in the long run, because you're not shelling out big transaction fees for every payment you get.

The flip side is that Stripe Payments' got the costliest hardware among the competitors we researched, which means that starting out with the provider comes with a hefty initial investment. With its basic reader priced at £49 + VAT, Stripe is on par with Revolut. However, Square, Zettle, and SumUp all offer cheaper readers. These providers sell their cheapest readers at £16 + VAT, £29 + VAT, and £39 + VAT, respectively. The former two even offer a free EPOS system that is integrated with their readers, which is something Stripe Payments lacks.

Features

Stripe Payments also has a middle-of-the-road offering when it comes to features, which was picked up during our research because it receives a score of 3.4/5 in this category. Stripe is the provider that supports the highest number of currencies among the ones we looked into (135!). This number beats the currencies accepted by Revolut (30) and Zettle (25) and therefore make it a great choice if your business sells internationally.

However, Stripe’s got the longest fund transfer time within the providers we analysed. It takes up to 7 working days to transfer funds to your account – a far cry from the turnaround times pledged by Square (next working day) and Zettle (two working days). This doesn't make it the best provider for business owners who depend on constant cash flow to run their venture.

Does Stripe Payments have good customer reviews?

Stripe Payments has a record of good customer reviews across several online aggregators, such as Trustpilot, Capterra and GetApp, though some bad ones can be found on Trustpilot.

While Stripe Payments scores 4.7/5 on the former two, it only gets 3.3/5 on the latter. Still, it tops the customer score category of our research, receiving 4.5/5. Stripe Payments' ease of use and low transaction fees were particularly praised, while its long fund transfer time drew criticism.

Customer review

This credit card system was easy to learn, seamless to convert to and consistently accurate. All of the interfaces, from tracking a purchase to refunds, are functional and user friendly. Oh, and then that other part – the best financial deal for cc processing that my company has had in 25 years! (sic)

Judith, Stripe user
- Source: Trustpilot
Customer review

“I hate the 2 business-day hold. Someone pays for an item on my website on Friday, but the money's not in by bank account until Wednesday. I would rather they use PayPal where their payment is deposited in my account the next business-day” (sic)

Warren, Stripe user
- Source: Trustpilot

To its credit, Stripe Payments consistently replies to both positive and negative reviews on Trustpilot. To the one above, its answer was to provide guidance around payout speeds & schedules, while also recommending the user set up Instant Payouts.

Our methodology

To give a rundown on Stripe Payments, we looked at five key areas during our in-depth research: price, features, compliance, customer support, and customer score. We also looked at five of its direct competitors to see how Stripe Payments compares with the wider market. We then consolidated the data into the scores we discuss throughout the article.

Based on our findings, we could establish Stripe Payments' high performance in customer support and customer score. It tied with Square and Zettle for customer support with a perfect score of 5/5. It also topped the results in customer score, receiving a 4.5/5. These results allow us to reassure you of the quality of Stripe Payments' service.

In a nutshell...

Stripe Payments is best suited for startups and small non-mobile businesses. These are most likely to benefit from its low transaction fees and insightful reporting, while not being hampered by Stripe Payments' lack of readers with mobile data.

Stripe Payments' invoicing platform is outstanding, allowing for the generation of customised invoices while costing a very low fee. Besides that, Stripe Payments really shines in customer support and customer score in our research, achieving a perfect 5/5 and a 4.5/5 in these categories, respectively. All this led to Stripe Payments' solid 4/5 overall score.

If you’re still unsure whether Stripe Payments is the right merchant account for your business or not, use our quick and free comparison tool. We’ll match you with the providers most suited to your needs, and they’ll be in touch with tailored, obligation-free quotes!

Stripe Payments review FAQs

How does Stripe Payments work?
Stripe Payments works primarily as a payment gateway software, allowing you to process your business transactions. You pay a fee per transaction but don’t need to pay a subscription fee. Combined with one of Stripe’s readers, Stripe Payments allows you to process in-person transactions.
Is Stripe Payments safe?
Stripe Payments is a very safe platform. It’s certified to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Level 1 –  the most stringent certification available. In this regard, Stripe Payments is safer than SumUp and Square, because they are only PCI compliant, not certified. While this means they take steps to secure their data, they’re not audited like Stripe Payments is.
Is it better to use Stripe Payments or Paypal?
It depends on your needs as a business. Stripe Payments is better to use if you plan on incorporating online and in-person payments because it’s got native tools to deal with both of these. If your main form of transactions are online purchases, Paypal is a better option.

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Written by:
Lucas Pistilli author headshot photo
Lucas is a Brazilian-born journalist and Expert Market’s go-to writer for all things EPOS systems, merchant accounts, and franking machines. Having covered business, politics and technology for many years, he’s driven by his passion for the written word and his goal to help people make well-informed decisions.
Reviewed by:
Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.