What is a Stripe Payment: the Essential Guide

By:
Olivia Pompeu

Even those who knew what Stripe is got dumbfounded by the recent news that the company, now valued at a staggering $95 billion, is the most valuable startup in the US.

It seems not too long ago that we’ve started to see startups making the headlines in the mainstream media. What once was perceived as a bold move by brave young entrepreneurs using technology to provide disruptive products or services, startups now have become the main players.

We’ve seen many successful startups emerge over the years offering innovative solutions to everyday problems that we can’t fathom living without now.

Just grab your phone and count how many apps you got downloaded in there, ranging from transportation, communications, task management, food delivery, among many other categories, all making our lives much easier.

Fintechs, as startups in financial technology are called, are one of those impacting daily life, definitely shaping a bankless, cashless, and cardless future.

Safe, accessible, and reliable online payment solutions are in even higher demand since the pandemic, so Stripe’s astonishing valuation makes sense. 

MightyForms is part of the Stripe Partner Program and we’ve talked before about how easy it is to build a payment form to uncomplicate your online business and attract more shoppers.

But now it’s time to really go in-depth about what is a Stripe payment. No matter what end of the deal you are, whether the payee or payor, Stripe can benefit both. Online payments are here to stay so let’s put a spotlight on the most valuable player, shall we? Here’s the essential guide on Stripe.

 

What is Stripe

Technically, Stripe is a software as a service (SaaS) company offering financial services. In general terms, Stripe is an online payment platform, powering eCommerce websites all over the world.

stripe.com home page

Founded by Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison in 2010 in the high-tech birthplace city of Palo Alto, in California, Stripe was then just a concept to improve payments on the internet.

The Collison brothers were determined to solve the painful problem of the complex and expensive payment process for selling goods online, which usually involved a variety of credit card and bank operators. Not to mention the time spent on the process, which was incompatible with the idea of fast and convenient shopping experience eCommerces were trying to establish.

Stripe is now defined as a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. It operates in more than 140 countries, simplifying payment processes for small merchants and big companies alike.

It’s actually fair to say that Stripe enabled a whole new range of businesses to exist, like food and groceries delivery, streaming services, even freelance work and gig websites. Small businesses simply could not have survived if they had relied on the old process of high fees and the long wait for credit card payment authorization.

 

How Stripe Payment Works

Stripe has set a bold mission: to increase the GDP of the internet, which represents now a modest 3% of all global commerce. There’s definitely plenty of room for growth and Stripe wants to make it happen as fast and safe as possible.

By eliminating regulatory complexity and barriers to online commerce, the economy and trade thrive, benefiting sellers and shoppers.

The way Stripe Payment works is by providing the API (Application Programming Interface) that developers can use to integrate a seamless payment process in their own website or mobile apps for iOS or Android. 

Oh, and Stripe can handle it. The company gets more than 250 million API requests per day! From your local corner shop to giants like Amazon, Shopify, and Google, just to name a few of its users.

The robust Stripe platform works as a fully integrated suite of payment solutions. By combining with four different applications available, it helps its users to manage and customize funds flow:

Radar

It helps detect and block frauds while allowing legitimate customers in without a hitch. Radar’s algorithm scans every payment to automatically assess risks.

Sigma

It supplies quick data analysis of every transaction based on SQLs (Structure Query Language). Sigma provides financial analysis readily available to help businesses make better data-driven decisions.

Billing

Just like MightyForms helps users build custom forms by simply dragging and dropping fields, this Stripe app makes invoice setup as easy as it gets. It simplifies the end-to-end billing process, no code required.

Atlas

This app was designed for businesses to reach wider audiences, even overseas ones. Forget the legal bureaucracy of headquartering an international business, tax filing, and currency issues, Atlas helps you welcome any customer around the globe.

How much is the Stripe fee?

The charging fee is also pretty straightforward: a fixed rate of 2.9% (or 4.9% for international transactions) plus $0.30 per online transaction.

It’s a fair deal when you do the math. Stripe’s interface does the job that would normally require a small staff to perform. Besides, Stripe’s trustworthy badge attracts more shoppers, since about 90% of the adult population in the US has bought from businesses using Stripe at some point.

 

Stripe Payment Methods

Imagine trying to set up your online business and having to make arrangements and sign contracts with each payment processor like banks and credit card operators. This is so cumbersome and costly, that most entrepreneurs, in the beginning, were able to only offer one or two payment options tops. It would significantly limit sales opportunities, growth, and scalability.

More than a middleman, Stripe acts like an aggregator, by allowing its users to “borrow” their merchant account with all these financial systems. Users just have to sign up to start collecting payment right away, while Stripe deals with financial paperwork and worries about liability.

Stripe infrastructure enables accepting payment or sending payouts in more than 135 currencies and through dozens of payment methods. This flexibility maximizes acceptance since it offers customers their preferred payment method, helping businesses to grow their revenue.  

Here’s the list of supported payment methods through the Stripe platform:

  • Debit or Credit Card linked to a bank account (all major brands like American Express, Discover, Diners, Mastercard, and Visa)
  • Digital Wallets linked to a bank account or to a card, or stored balance (Click to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Microsoft Pay)
  • Bank Debits and Redirects (ACH)
  • Bank Credit Transfers (ACH)
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (immediate financing for fixed installments)
  • Cash-based Vouchers

Note: Although Stripe is heavily focused on online payments, there’s also an in-person payment solution. You can request a Stripe Terminal to be available at your point of sales as a physical checkout option. This is great for retailers looking to leverage and extend Stripe expertise to their store locations. 

 

Stripe Benefits

Regardless of your type and size of business or purpose, the beauty of Stripe is that it can be completely customized to fit your needs and your business identity. Its developer-friendly interface enables you to set up a reliable payment gateway within minutes.

If turning something complex like a payment setup into something easy and convenient is already impressive, there are even more benefits to win you over.

Even if you feel forced to take your business online because of pandemic times, the advantages of Stripe payments might convince you that you should have done it sooner. For recurring or one-off payments for products or services, consider these Stripe benefits:


Accessibility

Perhaps you would have a broader audience interested in your product or service, but without providing instant and trustworthy payment options, you might scare them off. Whatever was keeping you from providing proper payment options to customers is no longer an excuse. 

Stripe payment is easily accessible to anyone and simple to set up. Accessible for those charging and for those doing the payment. There’s no more begging bank managers to approve a payment method for your business or waiting for the credit card operator’s validation.


Customization

The main reason why Stripe stands out as the best payment gateway in the market is that it allows pretty much full customization and adaptation of its payment API. You can set up a basic payment page layout in minutes from their dashboard or simply add a Stripe field into a MightyForms payment form, for instance.  And because Stripe is very developer-centric, they make it very easy to customize every element of their product to suit your needs or accommodate a unique feature in your business model. 

 

Variety

There’s no need to make your customer accept whatever payment option you were able to provide when you can easily adapt it to their preference. As we’ve mentioned earlier, Stripe covers all payment methods, allowing you to offer a variety of options to your customers. You’ll be able to even cater to international orders since Stripe’s unified API will handle other currencies and foreign operators.

 

Security

We all know that scams can happen at both ends of a financial transaction. Online form security is very important, and when your payment option is powered by Stripe, you can eliminate customers’ fears. Every transaction is end-to-end encrypted by Stripe, besides rigorous constant audit. For your business, Stripe can anticipate and address any risk and compliance issue, through a 3D Secure check, thus reducing fraudulent attempts and disputed payments. All funds from payouts are safely deposited by Stripe into your bank account.

 

Connectivity

Stripe infrastructure can easily be integrated with other platforms, so you get to automatically accomplish all steps of the sales process without wasting time. MightyForms and Stripe native integration allows you to build all-in-one order forms, for instance. Then through Zapier connection, you can connect your orders to Google Sheets for inventory, to Google Calendar for booking, or to Salesforce for customer follow-up. Seamlessly set up connections with apps that better suit your business model.

 

Fixed-Rate

Every payment method has its own rules and rates for setting it up. Stripe’s unified API simplifies the process by charging a fixed rate per online transaction, period. No monthly costs, no limits for the number of transactions (minimum or maximum), no setup fee. The starting pricing of 2.9% + $0.30 per successful charge can even be negotiated to a lower percentage for companies with large payments volume or unique business models.

 

Stripe Use Cases

One might get the idea that Stripe is suitable only for eCommerce, but in reality, it can empower any business or organization whenever a financial transaction takes place at any point.

And because of their continuous expansion and infrastructure improvement, you can rest assured that Stripe will offer the latest and best solution for your type of business. Or they can help you build a custom payment solution that meets your specifications.

Even if you’re just starting, since there’s no transaction minimum or subscription fee, Stripe is a great ally to help you grow your business. The range and reach offered by Stripe payments enable infinite possibilities

But if you’re looking for an even faster head start, MightyForms offers ready-to-go templates for Stripe payment forms. Fully responsive, fillable, customizable, automated forms by MightyForms powered by Stripe payment solutions is the perfect combo to convert more leads, increase revenue, and scale your online business.  

Let’s take a look at what Stripe has to offer for the main use cases and which MightyForms template can help each reach the goal faster:

Ecommerce businesses: Grow Revenue

If you’re online to sell products, then Stripe can activate optimized checkout flows with hosted payment pages. Easily offer all major payment options to your customers with proven best practices in design, tools, and security.

Speed up sales by using the MightyForms Payment Form template. Customize this form with information and image of all your products, synchronize it with your Stripe account, and it’s ready to go! Gather buyer’s information, get accurate order data, and collect one-time payment straight on the form.

SaaS businesses: Ensure Loyalty

Stripe makes it easy for those selling subscription plans of their software services. You can create a subscription portal for any billing model, based on any plan lifecycle for hassle-free recurring payments.

Get people to sign up faster to your product or service plans by using the MightyForms Subscription Form template. Just customize the form with your pricing information and easily collect payment information and manage invoices. Map out your audience with Form Analytics in order to create a better user experience that fosters loyalty.

Single Offer businesses: Increase Conversions

If your business is focused on a single product or if you’re a service provider, then most likely you won’t need a full eCommerce setup. Stripe can simplify your operations with customized invoicing and direct debit payment through ACH.

MightyForms can help you collect signatures and manage obligatory ACH authorization forms to keep your business safeguarded and compliant. Close the loop of your Stripe ACH payment with the Payment Authorization Forms template by MightyForms. For instant payouts on one-product or service purchases, try the Stripe Fixed-Price Payment Form template.

Fundraisers: Encourage Donations

Whether you’re still at the stage of gathering funds to start your business or you’re collecting donations for a cause, then Stripe payments will boost your credibility. Providing a convenient and safe payment method for patrons to endorse your idea or cause will not only help you reach your donation goal faster, but Stripe’s Sigma app can help you demonstrate transparent accountability back.

MightyForms can help you set up a successful fundraiser. You can provide your donors with a single Donation Payment Form or customize the Recurring Payment Form for long-term sponsorships.

 

The flexibility, versatility, and reach of Stripe Payments can help anyone or any business to simplify any financial transaction. This essential guide highlights how Stripe covers all bases when it comes to payments. Well, not all, MightyForms can pitch in with optimized payment forms for an even faster Stripe payment gateway!

By:
Olivia Pompeu

Olivia Pompeu is a Communications, Public Relations and Marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in global companies, overseeing communications strategy aimed at promoting business objectives to stakeholders.