Make it Easy to Accept Payment Online With Stripe
No matter what kind of freelancer you are, you need a way to accept payment from your clients. Out of all the payment options available, how do you choose the right one?
Being able to collect credit card payments is key. While some of your clients will still prefer to pay by check, many would like the opportunity to pay by credit card. Wouldn’t it be nice to run a credit card payment right from your own website, without having to push your client off to a third party site to process the transaction?
Stripe is a simple way to accept payments online. It was created by developers who believe that accepting credit cards on the web should be easy, inexpensive, and efficient for everyone.
Who’s Behind Stripe
Patrick and John Collison are the founders of Stripe, both have impressive development backgrounds having sold their first company while in their teens for 5 million dollars. They are backed by Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, as well as PayPal cofounders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. Yes, being backed by Paypal cofounders is a bit ironic, but shows how much niche experience is behind these guys.
The stripe team is made up of experienced developers and entrepreneurs who have seen the problems that have plagued credit card payment systems first hand, such as: confusing costs, cumbersome setup, and poor customer experience. This team’s mission is to fix these issues.
There is quite a bit of buzz about this company after Stripe recently raised another 20 million dollars in investment funding and reported close to half a billion dollar valuation.
Who’s Using Stripe
Stripe has proven its worth through the thousands of sites that currently use the technology to accept online payments. Here are some of Stripe’s clients that you may recognize:
- Fast Company
- The Museum of Modern Art
Stripe Makes it Easy
If you have to chase a client down for payment, there may very well be a good reason—you’re not making it easy enough for them to pay you! Having to hound for payment is a bother to you and a waste of your time. Make it easy for your clients to pay you and everyone will be happy.
To your client a Stripe-powered site looks normal, it integrates into your website seamlessly, using similar credit card submission forms as found elsewhere.
Whether you are selling something, like a product or an ad, or you need to accept payment for services rendered, you need a tool that makes it easy for both you and your customer. You want to get it right the first time and provide a positive experience. Your clients are as busy as you are, and if you give them an easy way to pay, they’ll appreciate it and, hopefully, hire you for more work in the future.
To your client a Stripe-powered site looks normal, it integrates into your website seamlessly, using similar credit card submission forms as found elsewhere. So to the end user it appears familiar and professional. Stripe doesn’t get in the way of the transaction (unlike Paypal or Google). It doesn’t require users to jump to a separate payment site to complete a transaction. Keeping transactions on your site results in ease of use for your clients and a higher completed transaction ratio, which means more money in your pocket.
Payment Systems Should be Affordable
With other credit card processing applications, you need to go through a rigamarole just to set up an account. With PayPal, you need to figure out if you will be accepting payments through a business or personal account. Then you need to set up an account and figure out what kind of a plan you need and want, the Standard (free), Advanced ($5 a month), or Pro ($30 a month).
Authorize.net is another gateway to accept credit card payments online. Their fees include:
- Setup Fee: $99
- Monthly Gateway Fee: $20
- Transaction Fee: $0.10
- Batch Fee: $0.25
Authorize.net also makes you pay extra monthly fees for fraud detection, automated recurring billing, and customer information manager. This all adds up! Who wants to spend more if you don’t have to?
With Stripe, there are no annual or monthly fees. The only fee you pay is a 2.9% + $0.30 on each successful transaction. Here’s an example: If you charge $100 for something, you make $96.80 and Stripe keeps $3.20. PayPal has the same fees per transaction, but depending on the plan you choose, you will also be paying PayPal a monthly fee.
You might be thinking that setting up credit card processing on your site is going to take a lot of work. It’s not…if you choose to go with Stripe. Their online tutorials clearly walk you through the process so you can start accepting credit cards in 30 minutes or less. You don’t have to be a web genius to understand their directions—which is the way it should be!
Creating an account on Stripe.com is super easy. From creating the form your customers will submit for payment to requesting payment from Stripe, this blog tutorial on Nettuts+ will walk you through it step by step.
Safety and Security is Key
One of the great things about using Stripe is that your customer’s credit card information is never stored on your server. When a client enters in their information, it goes directly to Stripe’s server and you get a “token” back that contains an ID number and not the credit card details.
One of the great things about using Stripe is that your customer’s credit card information is never stored on your server.
This is good news for you, because if your server was collecting credit card data, you have to take extra precautions to safeguard that data. If your server were to be hacked, all of your client’s credit card information would be up for grabs. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life!
Stripe also allows you to set up a subscription so that you can charge a certain credit card a specific amount on a predetermined schedule. For example, if you sell web ads on your site, you can charge Client XYZ $100 on the first of every month for however long their contract lasts. You can also save and store a client’s credit card information on Stripe. You set it up and they store the information on their server, allowing you to bill the card whenever necessary.
The only downside to Stripe at this moment is that the program is currently only available to businesses in the United States. While it does accept payment from credit cards the world over, you have to be based in the U.S. to sign up for an account (though a private beta for Canadian businesses is underway).
Stripe is currently working on expanding their reach, so all you Europeans, Australians, etc…be patient. You can also sign up at Stripe Global to be notified when Stripe is available in your country.
Accepting credit card payments from your clients should be easy and cost effective—and that’s what we think Stripe is! Check it out for yourself. Once it’s up and running, it should be smooth sailing. Your clients will thank you for it.