The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Stripe Fees: What You Need to Know

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Stripe Fees: What You Need to Know

If you’re a small business looking for a payment processor, you’ve likely come across Stripe. A leading payment gateway, Stripe is worth a staggering $50 billion, processing payments for some of the world’s biggest organizations. 

Stripe, in fact, processes payments for millions of companies globally—from startups to the Fortune 500. According to their website, 90% of adults in the United States have bought from a website that uses Stripe to accept payments. There is no denying that Stripe is a leader in the eCommerce payment processing space. Their suite of APIs is a developer’s dream. But in this article, we’ll take a look specifically at their services and Stripe fees to determine whether or not it’s a feasible solution for small business owners. 

Stripe Fees and Pricing: An Overview

There are two avenues to explore with Stripe as a payment provider: 

  • Integrated Plan. A pay-as-you-go option that is best suited for small businesses. 
  • Customized Plan. A highly customizable solution for large teams with in-house developers. 

Stripe’s Credit Card Processing Fees

Through the Integrated Plan, the Stripe fee structure is quite transparent and straightforward for basic payment processing. There are no annual or monthly Stripe fees. Just the credit card transaction fees and an interchange markup that is standard in this type of business model. 

In-Person Transactions: Card and Digital Wallets

In-person debit and credit card processing is charged at 2.7% plus $0.05 per successful transaction. Whether your customers use debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallets (such as Android or Apple Pay), American Express, or Visa with the Stripe Terminal card reader, the costs remain the same. For manually entered card information, there is an additional +0.5% fee. 

Online Transactions

Online card charges are all processed with a fixed fee of 2.9% plus $0.30. This pricing, again, remains the same no matter which card or payment method is used at checkout and applies for debit and credit card payments, as well as digital wallets used in online transactions.

Types of Stripe Fees

In addition to the typical transaction types, Stripe pricing also accounts for the nuances of international payment processing, but this is where costs can add up. 

Stripe’s International Fees

Accepting payments online gives your business the potential to connect with an international customer base. But those transactions come at a cost. International payments for both online and in-person transactions through Stripe attract an extra 1.5% for international cards and 1% for currency conversion if required. 

These international card Stripe fees also apply to in-person payments: 1.5% for international cards and 1% for currency conversion if required. 

However, international Stripe fees are a bit more complex upon further examination of their fee structure. For example, payment methods such as Bancontact, EPS, and giropay range from 1.4% plus $0.30, while other methods such as iDEAL are a flat rate of $0.80. In short, international fees are rather complicated, so if your business completes a large number of international transactions, it’s worth doing more due diligence in pricing research.

ACH, Checks, and Wire Transfer Fees

Automated clearing house (ACH) bank transfers, checks, and wire transfers all come with their own cost structure. Because ACH fees are capped, these can be a more cost-effective option for large payments or recurring payments. 

  • ACH credit payments attract $1 per payment
  • ACH direct debit payments can range from 0.8% of the transaction total, with  a maximum of $5 
  • Every failed ACH direct debit transaction will incur a $4 fee
  • Disputed ACH direct debit transactions incur a $15 fee
  • Wire payments are $8 per payment
  • Checks are $5 per check
  • Bounced checks incur a $15 fee
  • For a faster settlement (two-day), there is an additional 1.2% charge
  • For instant bank account validation, there is a flat $1.50 fee

Stripe’s Specialized Solutions and Fees

Given the enormous variety of businesses that Stripe supports, they have a range of packages tailored to meet the most typical business needs as well as more unique business models.

Stripe Connect

Used by WooCommerce, Wix, Twitter, Salesforce, and others, Stripe Connect is for marketplaces and software platforms. Connect comes with programmable APIs and various developer tools to build end-to-end payment solutions. Stripe Connect is used for payment routing and payouts, collecting recurring payments, and can also manage connected accounts. One example of this in use are service providers that allow for instant payout, such as Lyft or Postmates.

This highly customizable solution comes with different pricing than those above. Connect comes in three tiers: Standard, Express, and Custom.

Standard has no platform-specific fees. Express charges 0.25% plus $0.25 per payout sent, plus $2 per monthly active account. And Custom fees are the same as Express, but additional features can be added for additional costs. 

Stripe Billing

Used by Postmates, Ring, and Atlassian, Stripe Billing is for recurring business, such as subscriptions or invoicing. It comes with tools to help build and scale custom billing programs, which can be managed from your dashboard. 

There are two Billing plans to choose from: Starter and Scale. 

Starter costs 0.5% on recurring payments. And Scale can go to 0.8% or more as it offers more advanced integrations and is used for recurring payments and one-time invoice payments as well. Invoice automatic reconciliation on the Starter plan will cost $7 for each invoice, while the Scale plan has this feature included at no cost.

Stripe Checkout 

Ideal for businesses that need a no-frills online payment experience, Stripe Checkout is a pre-built payment page that is hosted by Stripe. Designed with efficiency in mind, Stripe Checkout has features like auto-complete addresses, real-time card validation, 1-click payments, and more. Stripe Checkout is customizable to your brand, available in more than 30 languages and 135 currencies, and accepts all major payment types.

Stripe Radar

Used by Fitbit, Kickstarter, and Deliveroo, Stripe’s Radar solution offers fraud protection Built-in machine learning is used to identify fraud by comparing billions of data points throughout its network. Businesses on the standard Stripe payment plan can get access to this service for no additional fee. 

If you want to use this without already being on a standard plan, the charge for screening is $0.05 per transaction. Businesses needing a more advanced option have Fraud Teams, which charges $0.02 per transaction screened if you have a standard price plan. Or $0.07 per transaction screened if you use this without a standard plan. 

Also in the Radar package is Chargeback Protection, automatically covering disputes without requesting evidence. The charge for this is 0.4% each time.

Stripe Atlas

For entrepreneurs taking their first step toward launching their business, Atlas provides a smooth path to launch. From company incorporation to setting up a bank account, registration, tax ID, and everything else in between, Atlas is a one-stop business launch shop. 

Paperwork, legal hurdles, and hidden fees are all managed and minimized through the Atlas platform. All you pay is $500. 

Stripe Sigma

Sigma is powered by SQL to help businesses get fast insights through the analysis of their business data. With pre-built query templates, Sigma is accessible even to businesses without in-house analytics specialists. 

Fees for businesses with low charge volumes are $0.02 per charge. Once you reach more than 5,000 charges per month, this rises to $0.14 per charge. An infrastructure fee is also charged, which can be anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on the sales volume. 

Stripe Issuing

Used by Postmates and NexTravel, Stripe Issuing allows businesses to issue their own cards—virtual or physical—for just $0.10 per virtual card or $3.50 per physical card. These give you total control over where they can be spent, as well as spending controls to cap amounts. 

For the first $500,000, there are no transaction fees. After that, charges are 2% plus $0.20 per transaction. International payments attract extra fees, as with all other Stripe account solutions. There is also a $15 fee for lost disputes.

Stripe Terminal 

With this offering, Stripe demonstrates that it’s not just for online businesses. Designed for in-person payments, Stripe Terminal integrates with a number of POS systems to streamline payments at physical locations. It also syncs with other Stripe products; so if you’re using, say, Stripe Connect or Stripe Billing, you can manage all payment-related activities from one place.

Stripe Processing Fees: FAQs

With so many service combinations and fees to consider, it can be difficult to narrow down whether Stripe is feasible for small businesses. Here we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions to help you assess Stripe for your business needs. 

Does Stripe Offer Volume Discounts?

Volume discounts are available only through the Customized pricing package, which we discussed at the very beginning. It is not available for businesses with high volumes going through the Integrated plan.

If you are on the Customized plan or intend to go onto the Customized plan, get in touch with their support team to find out if you qualify as high volume. 

Does Stripe Offer Discounts for Nonprofits?

Nonprofits accepting charitable donations may be eligible for discounted rates through Stripe, but there are a few barriers to eligibility. 

As expected, you will need to show your nonprofit status to qualify. And you will also need to demonstrate that 80% or more of your organization’s donations will go through Stripe. 

Processing ticket sales, tuition payments, membership fees, and other payments that help fund NFPs are not likely to help you qualify. The discount is largely based on organizations that rely primarily on charitable donations. 

To find out if you qualify, it’s best to contact Stripe’s phone support to discuss your situation.

Is Stripe Better Than PayPal for Small Businesses?

It is never simple to say definitively which solution is best for small businesses, as everyone has different needs. Both PayPal and Stripe have variable fees depending on the payment method and transaction volume, so let’s compare some fees to see how they stack up against each other.

PayPal charges the same as Stripe for online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents. Their additional service fees include: 

  • Adding PayPal buttons to your site: 2.9% + a fixed fee
  • Adding PayPal to your checkout: 2.9% + a fixed fee

In-person payments are more expensive than Stripe, with PayPal charging:

  • 2.75% for chip, pin, and contactless payments
  • 3.4% plus $0.30 for magstripe payments 

Stripe has far more options for the Customizable plan, but it can work out to be expensive. Compared with PayPal’s services, Stripe’s Integrated plan works out to be more cost-effective. There are no setup fees or monthly fees, and the pricing remains fixed no matter the card type. 

How Does Stripe Compare With Square for Ecommerce?

Square is a small business star, offering great point-of-sale (POS) solutions for small business merchants. Like PayPal, its online transaction rates are the same as Stripe: 2.9% plus 30 cents.

For in-person transactions, Square is more competitive with Stripe than PayPal. They charge:

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments
  • 2.5% for keyed entry
  • 1.75% for card transactions.

In contrast, Stripe charges 2.7% plus $0.05 for all in-person transactions. 

Square cannot compare with Stripe for online customizability and offers fewer options overall. As a solution for startups and small businesses, Square and Stripe won’t really compete in the same way PayPal and Stripe might. Square is a great solution for brick-and-mortar business models that also have an online presence. But if you have a predominantly online business, Stripe is the better option. 

How Does Stripe Compare with Payment Depot?

As far as fees go, Payment Depot will likely come across as a more cost-effective option for businesses that process at least $5,000 per month in credit card payments. This is because unlike Stripe, which takes a cut out of each sale, Payment Depot gives you access to interchange rates without the markup. 

You simply pay a flat membership fee. And depending on your credit card transaction volume, this pricing structure can save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars per month.

Does Stripe Charge Merchants for Refunds?

There are no fees for refunds. If refunds need to be issued, Stripe will subtract this from your Stripe balance or your bank account if there are no funds available in your Stripe balance. 

The initial processing fee will not be returned, but there are no extra charges to worry about unless there is a dispute. Any disputes over transactions will attract a $15 fee.

Stripe Ratings and Reviews

When it comes to what merchants and experts are saying about Stripe—it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The company’s star ratings range from 2 stars to 4.5, depending on who you ask.

Let’s start with the positives. Stripe is praised for its robust and developer-friendly platform that has hundreds of features. 

Merchant Maverick, which gives Stripe 4.5 stars, describes the solution as “a massive transactions platform built on the back of powerful developer tools and support. Regardless of what anyone might think of Stripe’s reliability or customer service, there’s no question that the developer features are industry-leading, and the documentation exceeds just about anything else out there.”

On the other end of the spectrum, some businesses have complained about how Stripe has handled fraud and disputes. Here are some examples of Stripe reviews from businesses.

“When we had fraud on our account customer service was extremely difficult to contact and not helpful. We had 29k fraudulent charges and a week later nothing was done to mitigate this and nobody was able to tell me where we were with resolving the charges.” – Annissa

“A client accidentally double-charged their card when ordering. We refunded the duplicate charge. However, Stripe did not refund us the $116 credit card transaction fee). We contacted Stripe and they responded that they don’t refund transaction fees on refunded payments! So not only do you have to pay Stripe 2.9% of all sales you process via their service, but you also have to pay them 2.9% of sales you DID NOT make! We are shopping for a different processor.” – Mon Nasser

Looking at another trusted review site, Capterra, Stripe comes in at 4.7 stars, with top features listed as ease of use, customer service, and value, and 83% of reviews indicating a likelihood to recommend the product.

Is Stripe Right for Small Businesses?

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Stripe shines brightest for its developer tools, which will typically not be needed by small businesses. But there are still benefits for SMBs. Stripe does not lock you into contracts, and PCI compliance is included in the processing fees. Stripe payment processing also accepts all major payment options, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and digital wallets such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more—making them a viable service provider for any size business that can scale with your growing needs.

When considering a payment processing provider, the best approach is to crunch the numbers. See if it saves you money based on your business model and payment volume. Per transaction fees can add up, so consider this in your assessment.

Wholesale rates can be a smarter option for small businesses to minimize per-transaction costs. A provider like Payment Depot that offers web API, virtual terminal, recurring billing, encryption, mobile processing, and every other online need, may be a more cost-effective option. Payment Depot offers subscription-based payment processing starting at $79 per month and is backed by Stax, a leader in payment processing. Payment Depot is also highly rated on sites such as Capterra and Forbes Advisor, with a 4.7-star rating on both, and reviews consistently mentioning the ease of use and customer service.

If you’re researching a payment processing partner, you’re probably well aware of how complicated the fee structures are. Figuring out the true cost requires either extensive math or a lot of trial and error. Interested in learning how Payment Depot can simplify payments for your business?

Contact our award-winning customer support team today to learn how Payment Depot can help your small business save up to $400 per month in credit card processing costs.

FAQs about Stripe Fees

Q: What is Stripe and how does it benefit small businesses?

Stripe is a major payment gateway with a market value of over $36 billion. It offers a range of payment processing solutions specifically designed for online and offline businesses. For small businesses, it provides a transparent and straightforward fee structure for basic payment processing without annual or monthly fees.

Q: What are the charges for in-person debit and credit card processing through Stripe?

In-person debit and credit card transaction costs via Stripe are charged at 2.7% plus $0.05 per successful transaction, irrespective of the card type or mobile wallets used.

Q: How are online card transactions processed through Stripe?

Every online card transaction through Stripe incurs a fixed fee of 2.9% plus $0.30. These rates remain uniform regardless of the card or payment method used.

Q: What additional costs can businesses expect when using Stripe for international transactions?

International payments via Stripe come with an extra 1% charge for international cards and a further 1% for currency conversion, if applicable. These charges also apply to in-person international transactions.

Q: What are the costs associated with ACH credit and direct debit payments through Stripe?

ACH credit payments through Stripe are charged at $1 per payment, whereas ACH direct debit payments range from 0.8% up to $5. However, failed ACH direct debit transactions will result in a $4 fee, and disputed transactions will incur a $15 charge.

Q: What are the various tiers offered under Stripe Connect and what are their pricing structures?

Stripe Connect offers three tiers: Standard, Express and Custom. The Standard tier incurs no platform-specific fees, whereas the Express tier bills 0.25% plus $0.25 per payout sent, plus $2 per monthly active account. The Custom tier has the same fees as the Express tier, but additional features can be included at an extra cost.

Q: How do the costs and pricing of Stripe Billing’s starter and scale plans differ?

The Starter plan under Stripe Billing charges 0.5% on recurring costs, while the Scale plan is rateable starting from 0.8%, offering more advanced integrations. In the Starter plan, each automatic invoice reconciliation costs $7, whereas this feature is included for free in the Scale plan.

Q: What fees do businesses have to bear when using Stripe Radar to protect against fraud?

Businesses on Stripe’s standard payment plan can access the Radar service at no additional cost. However, to use Radar without a standard plan, the charge is $0.05 per transaction screened. More advanced requirements are met by Stripe’s Fraud Teams, which bill $0.02 per transaction if the business has a standard plan, or $0.07 without one. Additionally, the Radar package includes Chargeback Protection at a cost of 0.4% per transaction.

Q: What are the costs involved in using Stripe’s Sigma and Atlas services?

Sigma, a business data analytics solution, charges $0.02 per charge for businesses with low charge volumes, increasing to $0.014 per charge once more than 5,000 charges per month are reached. An infrastructure fee is also levied, ranging from $10 to $100 based on sales volume. Atlas, Stripe’s business launch facilitation service, is available for a flat fee of $500.

Q: How do the costs of Stripe and other payment gateways such as PayPal and Square compare?

Comparatively, Stripe’s Integrated plan appears to be more cost-effective than PayPal’s services. It provides a fixed rate of 2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments, regardless of the card type and without setup or monthly fees. For in-person transactions, Square competes closely with Stripe, charging 2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments and lesser for in-person transactions. However, Stripe outperforms in terms of online customizability. Payment Depot, on the other hand, offers access to interchange rates without the markup, potentially saving businesses significantly if they process at least $5,000 per month in credit card payments.

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