A common question we get is "Can I not use Stripe and connect with xyz Merchant Account, aka Merchant Processor, aka Gateway?"
The short answer is "No, Stripe is the only processor we use", you are likely reading this because you think you can get a better deal with another processor, here are some of the reasons why that great deal may not be all its cracked up to be.
- Stripe does not have shady business practices like almost every other processor out there (including your bank). We think this is very important. Stripe are set up with a flat fee structure so you know exactly what you are paying for every transaction. They also don't have hidden fees, but more on those 2 points below.
- Flat Fee vs Variable Fee. When you are talking to a processor salesperson (not Stripe), they will anchor you in at a low transaction %, say 1.9%... wow you think, that crushes Stripe at 2.9% ... well, not really. Because what they will likely neglect to explain to you is that rate they quoted is only good for 'non-rewards', 'debit cards', 'not AMEX', 'Keyed in only' etc etc. Essentially maybe only 5% of your transactions could go through at this rate, and in reality the majority of your transactions could be north of 3%. What you really need to know to compare apples to apples is the average rate. Which that wont be able to tell you until you have been using them for a while ... even though they will tell you it will be less than Stripe, "trust me" they say. ha!
- Hidden Fees. Stripe have no monthly fees, actually no other fees except for the per transaction charge. Other processors are pretty smart about hiding these fees all over the place with bizarre names. Things like 'batch processing fee', 'statement fee', 'Authorize.net fee' etc etc. Unlikely all those extra fees will not be on your statement in the same place to calculate easy, and in many cases will not all be on the same statement. Some they will charge separately at later times. Unless you know what to look for, you will not find all these fees. When you factor the hidden fees into your transaction cost, you will be surprised how your low <2% climbs to >3%.
- Stripe is a modern processor, they use modern technology, their code and API (what we use to connect with them) if world class, far more robust and advanced than traditional merchant accounts. For the most part this affects us more than you, but where you benefit is the easy on-boarding process. No other gateway have it that effortlessly where you can get approved and ready to charge in minutes.
- How do we know all this? Every year we conduct a statement analysis survey with other gym owners specifically in our industry. We do this to keep an eye on the market and make sure Stripe is offering competitive rates. We analyze statements from dozens of other merchant accounts and compare the actual average transaction cost. Results are usually shocking. One key question we ask is "what rate do you think you are paying?". In almost every case its a full percent lower than their actual average rate. There are a small amount where the rate does beat Stripe, but its minimal, its 2.7% at best (vs Stripe at 2.9) and only if they have been using them for a while and logged hours negotiating down a better rate with threats to leave. We don't want to put you guys through that headache and uncertainty.
Bottom line is 'we got your back'. We are acutely aware of the ever changing landscape in the merchant account market and are always on the lookout for the best service and rate for you guys. Today your best deal is Stripe for so many reasons. We are always on the lookout for a better deal, we vet many Stripe competitors every year, so far no one has come close.
Heres some background history on how Stripe has risen to dominate effortless payments