Answer by Cristina Cordova:
Depending on your specific use case for payments, there can be more differences to highlight, but here is some background to start. Prior to Stripe, when looking for payments service providers, you could basically go in one of two directions:
1. PayPal, Google Checkout, Amazon Payments.
- They host payment pages for you, which makes the front-end integration easier, and helps limit PCI requirements.
- You can get started immediately, and don’t have to get your own merchant account.
- Simple pricing, by and large.
- Limited control over the user experience — you have to redirect your users to another site, show various logos, etc.
- APIs that are not well-documented or very flexible.
- Often quick to freeze accounts when suspicious of fraudulent activity.
2. More traditional payment service providers (Authorize.net, ChasePaymentech).
- Complete control over the checkout experience.
- You handle sensitive card data, which forces you to invest significant time and resources in PCI compliance programs.
- You have to get your own merchant account, which involves lots of paperwork and waiting days or weeks while the underwriting process happens.
- Indecipherable/unpredictable pricing.
- Legacy APIs.
Stripe gives you the best of both worlds with the kind of payments API that should always have existed:
- Complete control over the checkout experience.
- Stripe shoulders the PCI compliance burden by ensuring that you never need to handle sensitive card data.
- You can launch immediately — no need to get your own merchant account.
- Simple pricing.
With that for context, here are some reasons our users have chosen Stripe over PayPal:
Stripe has an an elegant, powerful API. Our API makes it quick and easy to integrate with Stripe. See what people are saying about our API here: . Based on what our users have told us, our API is much easier to integrate when compared to PayPal’s. To illustrate, here’s a blog post from one of Stripe’s users about why they switched from PayPal: . Because Stripe’s API and documentation are so much easier to work with, we save our users engineering time, both when initially launching and maintaining their integrations over time.
Build your ideal payment experience. With Stripe, you have the complete freedom to create the payment experience you want. Users can also use Stripe’s clean and elegant checkout experience, if they prefer to not build their own: . With PayPal’s primary merchant services, you’ll redirect your customers to a PayPal branded webpage in order to pay. This can push customers into a completely different user experience that they’re unfamiliar with. (If you want to design and host your own payment experience with PayPal, you’ll need to use PayPal Payments Pro for an extra $30 per month, and contend with PayPal’s API, or you can also use PayPal entirely as an API/gateway via Payflow Pro, which has the same strengths and weaknesses as other traditional payments service providers listed above.)
Stripe has competitive, crystal-clear pricing. Stripe charges you one rate for each transaction—-that’s it. There are no additional charges for failed transactions, American Express cards, international cards, stored cards, currency conversions, refunds or recurring payments. See more about our pricing here:
PayPal’s fees can make it very difficult to project what you’re going to make from sales and what the true cost of payments processing is. In addition to PayPal’s transaction fees, you might incur the following fees:
- $30 per month if you want to design and host your own checkout pages.
- 1% cross-border surcharge and/or a 2.5% currency conversion fee (see international fee calculator here:) if you want to accept payments from another country
- 3.5% transaction fee when your customers pay with American Express.
- A fixed fee portion of the original transaction fee when you issue a refund.
Stripe offers rapid help from real people. Our users can jump into our real-time community chat for immediate assistance from Stripe staff and our growing community of users, or email us for a fast, personal response. See an example from one of our customers here:“I am not easily emotionally moved by git command lines, but this is clearly somebody who understands me and what I need in life. In addition to exactly diagnosing the problem…he fixed it for everyone else. Sidenote: This is one of the very few times in my life where mailing support@ made me a better engineer.” -
Based on what our users have told us, PayPal’s customer support has left users wanting more:
- A PayPal user discusses how his account was erroneously shut down:
- “A combination of being unhappy with customer support and the disruption of our checkout process with redirects led to us searching for alternatives.” -
- A PayPal user describes an exchange with customer support:
Stripe prides itself on having fast and thorough support from our engineers to help when you need it.
A fast, powerful dashboard. Stripe’s interface is fast, exposes everything from bank transfers to HTTP request logs, provides instant type-ahead search over all your data, and generally makes managing your business simple and enjoyable. Once they get up and running, PayPal users often run into issues with the account management interface. It’s slow and it’s hard to perform functions like refunding transactions.
We hope you’ll find that Stripe makes it easy for you to build and scale a business on the internet, and we’d love to get your feedback on how we can do even better.