Stripe VS Paypal

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Both Stripe and Paypal provide payment processing services to help you accept money through your website. But in my opinion, Stripe is easier to use and understand, simpler to setup, more flexible, and better value for about the same price as Paypal.

The goal of your payment processing system is to offer a convenient method for exchanging real money securely so your customers can trust buying products from you online. Both Paypal and Stripe fulfil this goal. That said, not every payment processing service is created equal and it is my opinion that Stripe provides a better overall value compared to Paypal. There will be initial effort needed to adjust to a new system (if you already have integration with an existing system, like Paypal, perhaps this is costly), but in the end I believe time and money will be saved by Stripe over Paypal and that the switch is worth the effort and expense.

Overview of Stripe's Benefits

What other people are saying

"Call it a coincidence but since we switched to our new payments platform a month ago, sales have gone up."


"'Using Stripe is almost as easy as embedding a YouTube video into a website,' says Mike Moritz, a venture capitalist with Sequoia Capital."

Business Week

"Stripe has no setup fees, no monthly fees, no minimum charges, no validation fees, and no card storage fees. There’s also no charge for failed payments. You’ll never have to decipher a complex statement, because you know what you’re charged in advance."


"[I] realized the biggest mistake I’ve What I found was that a number of customers filled in our order form, went off to Paypal or Google Checkout, but never completed the order...Call it a coincidence but since we switched to our new payments platform a month ago, sales have gone up."


User Experience





Paypal Signup Process

Paypal's setup process is lengthy and confusing. I felt like I just got the manual for a fusion reactor. I didn't look forward to completing it...


Stripe Signup Process

Email, password, password confirmation, done. How easy is that? It was so fast I still retained some of my initial excitement and wanted to push further with my app just to see what I could do with Stripe. With Paypal, I just wished that the process would end.


Each has similar costs, but Paypal has a lot of fine-print extras that Stripe doesn't have. Stripe is a simple transactional cost of 2.9% + 30 cents (only for successful transactions) and nothing more.

Stripe VS Paypal Costs



"All three of PayPal, Google, and Amazon suck, but I will honestly say that PayPal is probably the worst developer experience I've had in that same time period. And this was for a very simple implementation of a single product one-time purchase.

  1. It took hours to figure out what product I wanted. PayPal's product assortment is a trainwreck. What the hell is the difference between Web Payments and Web Payments Pro and Adaptive Payments and about a dozen other things with idiotic names that all sound the same. The chart that tries to help you pick a product is useless.
  2. The layout of paypal's website is labyrinthine. Even after I figured out what product I needed, assembling all the relevant documentation was hard.
  3. The documentation is flat-out wrong in several (rather important) places. For example, the IPN guide (naturally, a PDF) on page 9 clearly states that you must explicitly post back messages to paypal to get them to stop sending (which is [stupid] and screws up transactions), but HN says that this is not the case. You can see my venting about this almost a year ago here.
  4. Posting a technical question to PayPal's forum gave me an unhelpful response from a clearly first-level "read the flowchart" technical support rep. Pointless exercise.
  5. PayPal's APIs all feel like they were designed in the 1990s. Seriously, I would be horribly embarrassed to publish an API like that. I put more thought into (and produce better documentation for) my opensource projects. Useless crap websites like Foursquare can come up with solid APIs, there's no excuse for a company that handles actual money to be this janky."



"When a customer of ours had an issue placing his order, I wrote Stripe to see if they could offer any insight as to what errors they might be seeing on their end. While the error was unrelated to Stripe itself, they were so awesome that they actually took the initiative to browse through our checkout page and point out the spot that they thought to be the issue. A company that stands beside you when debugging your checkout page, maintaining swift response times on an issue that isn't even theirs? That's customer support."





Interface and Analytics

Stripe VS Paypal Dashboards

I'd hardly even call what Paypal has an interface. It's just a bunch of tables of text that don't make a lot of sense. Stripe, on the other hand, shows beautiful graphs and charts and makes the data comprehensible and clear.

Use Stripe next time you need online payments

Stripe is hands-down the way to go for payment processing online, in my humble opinion. When I tweeted that they launched in Canada they even sent me a free t-shirt! Do you think Paypal even cares that you exist? But the bottom line is that Stripe will save you money, give you less hassle (even make you feel good inside), and show you a clear picture of your bottom line.

NOTE: I'm not affiliated with Stripe nor am I benefiting from recommending them in any way. I just think they're what I've been waiting for for years and maybe they're what you've been looking for too.