The 2 giants of the online payment space in the UK are Stripe and Paypal.
If you are a business who takes online payments you’re probably facing the dilemma of choosing which payment processor to use. Which is safer? Which is cheaper? Which is easier to navigate? These are all important questions and with so many out there to choose from, it can be a little confusing.
Although there are an incredible amount of payment processors on the market, two names that you have probably heard of, or come across during your research, are PayPal and Stripe. Together, they are the joint kings of online payments, helping businesses across the globe process transactions in a secure way.
Although they are pitted against each other as competitors, the services that they offer are actually vastly different. To help you work out if one of these super-payment processors are right for you and your business, we’ve put together this comparison guide which will focus specifically on PayPal’s Payments Pro package Vs Stripe as a whole, to make it fair.
Who are Stripe and PayPal for?
Whilst Stripe focuses its visions on attracting the developers and tech companies of the business world, PayPal is often favored by smaller businesses with simpler expectations. That being said, both offer a wide range of services that cater for all business types and sizes.
What exactly do they do?
When you make a purchase, companies like PayPal and Stripe process your payment and make sure that you money reaches the company safely.
How do they describe themselves?
PayPal say: Whether you’re looking for a payment gateway or want to add PayPal as an additional and more secure payment method on your website, we can help you get set up.
Stripe say: Stripe is the best software platform for running an internet business. We handle billions of dollars every year for forward-thinking businesses around the world.
Which is the simplest to use?
PayPal has more than 87 million active accounts in 190 markets and 24 currencies around the world, which means that it seems to be keeping a lot of people happy. It is simple to set up because it is designed for anybody to use and you do not need to be tech savvy to navigate it.
Stripe, however, targets the developer market and has a more complicated, technical side. It offers customisation to suit every customer, with its developer tools. To get the most out of Stripe you will either need to be a developer, or know one that you can work with.
The bottom line: if you are a developer, or have access to someone with technical skills, Stripe is a better choice as it provides options to create a bespoke service. However, if you are looking for a service which is easy to use and requires minimal set-up then PayPal is the best option for you.
Which is the most flexible?
Stripe was built on the idea that some companies need functional, yet flexible payment processers. Its API is known for being easy to navigate for developers and there’s an extensive library of programming languages available including Node.Js, Java, PHP, Python and Ruby – making Stripe suitable to use for the majority of web projects.
Although PayPal, on the other hand, does claim to be ‘flexible’ when it comes to payment processing, this is on a much smaller scale. The system simply does not have the functionality that Stripe offers.
The bottom line: If you need flexible, multi-functional payment processing or want to use programming – choose Stripe.
Which is the most secure?
It goes without saying that payment processing companies, which handle customers’ personal details and payment information need to take security very seriously. Both PayPal and Stripe have an excellent security system and are known for being a safe way for consumers to purchase goods.
That being said, Stripe has taken its security system up a notch, by offering its users something called Stripe.js. If a merchant runs Stripe.js on their website, it means that, when a customer enters their personal details at the point of purchase, that data goes straight to Stripe’s system and will not be held by or accessible to the merchant. In a world where we worry about companies using and abusing our data and with such strict laws designed to prevent this, Stripe.js. gives merchants something less to worry about.
The bottom line: Both PayPal and Stripe are secure and take security very seriously, but the latter comes up trumps with its innovative system designed to take data responsibility off of merchants.
Which is the most costly?
When you are running a business, it is, of course, essential that you find the most cost-effective systems to help you run it.
We had a look at what both PayPal and Stripe charge businesses: What does it cost?
|What does it cost?||Stripe||PayPal Pro|
|Fee per month||FREE||£20|
|Transaction fees||1.4% + 20p||1.9% + 20p|
|£10 transaction charge||£0.34||£0.39|
|£100 transaction charge||£1.60||£2.10|
Although we have chosen to compare PayPal Pro to Stripe’s base-line package to make it a fairer comparison and there is a free version of PayPal, it is impressive that Stripe offers its like-for-like service free of charge.
Stripe seems more cost-effective across the board. It is worth noting that both payment processors offer volume-related pricing, where the more transactions you process, the cheaper the cost per transaction is. However, that does mean that for small businesses with a lesser monthly turn-over, PayPal would be even more costly to use.
The bottom line: If money is the biggest deciding factor in which payment processor you choose, Stripe is absolutely the one for you.
Which offers the best customer service and technical support?
This is important because if you encounter an issue with your payment processor, you will want to get the problem as soon as possible to keep the money ticking over.
Both Stripe and PayPal have FAQ style areas of their website, designed to cover the basics. They both also have social media accounts, but only PayPal has a dedicated ‘ask PayPal’ account, specifically for issues and questions. As is becoming more common for companies to offer, Stripe ad PayPal have live chat platforms, where you can engage with a customer service rep without having to pick up the phone.
A lot of the time, when you have a problem, human-to-human conversation, where you can fully explain the problem that you’re experiencing is the preferred way to get help. Both PayPal and Stripe have phone support systems in place with varying reviews on the quality of help one will receive. Slightly ahead of the game, Stripe has a call-back service which eliminates frustrating on-hold times and slightly improves the customer journey. Unfortunately, PayPal’s phone support has inconsistent reviews, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have a bad experience.
When it comes to developer help, Stripe wins with its freenode-based chat support. You can reach Stripe’s developers for all of your technical questions. There is also a library of developer documentation so that anyone can learn more about Stripe’s features and what it can do.
The bottom line: When you need help, both PayPal and Stripe have mechanics in place to help you. Stripe’s assistance service is however slightly more advanced.
What’s the verdict?
This might be a little unsatisfying, but there really is no way of telling you which payment processor is right for you. Only you can decide, but hopefully, the analysis above will help.
The best thing to do is to work out exactly what you require and what are the essential things that your payment processor needs to have in order for your business thrive. From there you can run PayPal and Stripe against these requirements to see how they measure up. Remember, there are other payment processors available, so shop around!
It is worth noting that neither Stripe nor PayPal requires you to sign a contract to use their services, so you could try each of them first before committing and always compare card processing via our price comparison engine.