Stripe is, hands-down, the best payment gateway out there for most online stores and eCommerce sites. Stripe is the default payment gateway for both WooCommerce and Shopify for several reasons: they’re the easiest to use, have great customer service, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. It makes you wonder why there are over a hundred other payment gateways out there—why shouldn’t you use Stripe?

Five Reasons Why You Should Use Stripe

To get us started on a positive note, here’s what Stripe has going for it:

  • Stripe has the best pricing. There’s no setup fee and no monthly fee. Just a 2.9% + 30¢ domestic transaction fee (3.9% for international transactions).
  • Stripe doesn’t require a long-term agreement. You can start and stop using Stripe any time—there’s no long term subscription agreement or termination fee. Use it when you need it, and pay nothing when you don’t.
  • Stripe doesn’t require a merchant account. Unlike old-school gateways like Authorize.Net or WorldPay, you can use Stripe with any old bank account as long as the bank is located in the same country as your business.
  • Stripe supports subscription payments. If you want to charge for a recurring service or membership a lot of payment gateways don’t make it easy for you, but Stripe supports it right out of the box.
  • Stripe has the most capable and best-documented API. If you’re a programmer, I don’t need to say any more. But if you’re not a programmer, this means that if the off-the-shelf Stripe Gateways are missing a feature or integration you need, it’s easier for a programmer to add on to it than any other gateway, because Stripe was designed to be that way from the ground up. That’s how Stripe was able to add support for Bitcoin so quickly compared to the more established payment processors.

With all of those Pros, what could possibly be in the Cons column?

Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Stripe

Don’t get me wrong: Stripe has no fatal flaws or issues that should scare you off. But there are some things that Stripe doesn’t offer that might force you to look elsewhere.

  • Your Business is in a Country Stripe Doesn’t Support. Stripe is mostly limited to North America, Western Europe, and eastern Asia. If the country that your business is incorporated and located in isn’t on this list, you can’t use Stripe.
  • You need to Accept Credit Cards that Stripe Doesn’t Support. Businesses in the US can accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club cards. Businesses in Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore can accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Again, if what you need isn’t on that list, Stripe isn’t for you.
  • You want to accept PayPal or Amazon Payments. PayPal and Amazon have their own payment gateways, and neither Stripe nor the other traditional credit card processors accept them. Luckily PayPal and Amazon offer free gateways for most eCommerce platforms.
  • You want to accept Payflow ACH (Automated Clearing House) Payment Service payments or E-Checks. If you need to accept these, look at Authorize.net AIM, CIM, or SIM to start with.
  • You don’t and can’t have an SSL certificate installed on your website. If you’re selling products online you really, really need an SSL certificate to protect your customers’ personal information, even if they aren’t actually typing their credit card info in on your site. But if for some reason you can’t get one for your website, you have to use a payment gateway like Authorize.net SIM that takes customers completely off your site to collect all payment information.

I guess the only question left is, “What Should I Use if I Can’t Use Square”? But you’ve already made it through six hundred words, and I don’t want to keep you here for another 6,000 today. The shortest answer I can give is that Authorize.net has terms almost as favorable as Stripe, and supports just about everything that Stripe doesn’t (WooCommerce has a good article comparing different flavors of Authorize.net). That, and everyone needs to have PayPal available even if they already have another payment gateway set up, because even though there aren’t as many of them as they used to be, PayPal-only buyers are loyal and vocal.

For everyone else, just use Square.