Stripe VS Authorize.Net: Which Is Better?
eCommerce merchants searching for a payment gateway inevitably come across these two names: Stripe and Authorize.Net. Although there are dozens of payment gateways available on the market, these two firms are among the most popular with both domestic and international merchants.
Both companies offer a powerful suite of payment services along with robust support for developers who want to integrate their services into their websites. They also provide excellent support for foreign eCommerce transactions. However, Stripe and Authorize.Net aren’t exactly the same type of company.
Authorize.Net is primarily a payment gateway-only service designed to work with your existing merchant account (although it can set you up with payment processing services as well if you need them). Stripe, on the other hand, is an all-in-one service that offers everything you need to accept online payments and run an eCommerce business.
Table of Contents
- Stripe VS Authorize.Net: Quick Look
- Features: Payment Processing, Security, Developer Tools, & More
- Comparing Stripe & Authorize.Net Pricing
- Ease Of Use
- Customer Service & Support
- User Reviews, Complaints & Criticisms
- Stripe VS Authorize.Net Integrations
- Which Is Best For My Payment Gateway Needs?
- Neither Option A Good Fit For You? Try These Alternatives To Stripe & Authorize.Net
- Comparing Authorize.Net & Stripe Payments: The Final Verdict
Stripe VS Authorize.Net: Quick Look
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While both companies feature a payment gateway as their primary product, Stripe and Authorize.Net differ in that Stripe includes the gateway as part of an all-in-one processing solution. Authorize.Net, on the other hand, is designed to work with your existing merchant account. Both companies offer a wide variety of integrations.
Keep reading to get the full scoop on Stripe vs. Authorize.Net!
Features: Payment Processing, Security, Developer Tools, & More
I struggled with this one for a bit because, at a glance, Stripe seems to be a far more massive service than Authorize.Net. That begs the question of whether it’s a fair comparison.
Stripe is designed to be a one-stop-shop for your payment processing needs. Authorize.Net focuses on a much smaller part of the payment processing environment. If it offered everything that Stripe does, it wouldn’t be Authorize.Net anymore. In fact, Stripe can be overkill for a lot of businesses. If all you’re looking for is a payment gateway, it just doesn’t make sense to choose Stripe over Authorize.Net.
Authorize.Net has some niches where it excels, particularly where security is concerned, but let’s give credit where credit is due: Stripe can just plain do a lot more than Authorize.Net. From its more comprehensive support for global eCommerce to its more flexible development environment and its plethora of add-on features, it lives up to its “full-stack” claims.
Stripe is a powerful brand for international eCommerce. Stripe is available to businesses in 44 countries. The company’s reach, however, is significantly greater; you can accept payments from all over the world thanks to Stripe’s support of over 135 currencies and numerous regional payment methods.
Stripe Supported Payment Methods
Stripe breaks its support for payment methods into two categories: universal, for payment types accepted throughout the world, and local, for payment methods that are only supported in specific regions, with particular attention given to the US, European, and Chinese markets.
Stripe accepts the following universal payment types:
- Apple Pay
- Click to Pay
- Credit and Debit Cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, etc.)
- Google Pay
- Microsoft Pay
- WeChat Pay
Stripe supports these local payment methods in their respective markets:
- ACH credit transfers and debits
- Bacs Direct Debit
- BECS Direct Debit
- Pre-authorized debits in Canada
- Przelewy24 (P24)
- SEPA Direct Debit
Stripe Core Features
Listing all of Stripe’s features would make this article unreadable. It’s an enormous ecosystem, with numerous optional add-ons. Here’s a quick rundown of the main features:
- Payments: Stripe Checkout is a prebuilt form that you can just drop into your site. If you need something more customizable, Stripe Elements will let you design a form that suits your needs. You can build payments into your website or your mobile app.
- Connect: Stripe’s Marketplace tools are some of the most robust out there, allowing you to build and manage your platform, including automated payouts to your merchants. Connect also facilitates connecting Stripe to other services (such as building native payments into eCommerce software).
- Billing: “Billing” now encompasses all of Stripe’s subscription, invoice, and recurring billing tools. Stripe’s subscription tools have always been powerful, but with the addition of invoice capabilities and the option for metered billing, it’s safe to say that you really can’t beat what Stripe has to offer.
Additional Stripe Features
- Sigma: Stripe offers an assortment of standard reporting tools in its dashboard. However, if you want advanced reports, then you’ll need Sigma. For an additional monthly fee (based on volume, see the pricing section below for more details), you can generate custom reports based on SQL queries.
- Radar: Stripe’s fraud monitoring tools include machine learning to identify and flag suspicious transactions. Merchants can review and override transactions they know to be legitimate or set up custom rules for fraud transactions, all with far less fuss than you’ll see with Braintree. If you’re very comfortable with fraud management, this is definitely an advantage.
- Multicurrency Displays & Conversions: Stripe has spent a LOT of time billing itself as the platform of choice for global businesses. It should come as no surprise then that Stripe allows merchants to display pricing in local currencies and automatically handles the currency conversion. You can connect multiple bank accounts to save money on conversion costs, too.
- Account Auto-Updater: Keep recurring transactions from failing when customers get new cards. Stripe will automatically update card data in your vault to ensure continuity of subscriptions.
- Atlas: Atlas allows international businesses to incorporate in the US, set up a US bank account, and get tax and legal guidance. Stripe says it has had more than a thousand startups apply in more than 140 countries, and it has added more than 100 partners to the network since the service launched.
- Payouts: This is an automation toolset designed to help you send mass payouts to sellers, freelancers, or service providers. It’s also designed to help simplify compliance requirements with third parties and global markets.
- Relay: Relay’s features allow merchants to link their eCommerce catalogs with your app or directly upload product information. Relay creates in-app buy buttons and forwards all the sales information to the merchants to fulfill the order.
- Integrations: Stripe has more than 300 integrations with all kinds of other software and services that a business might need. The sheer number of supported integrations could be a significant advantage for some merchants. Consult the Stripe website for a searchable database of apps and extensions.
Stripe Developer Tools
Stripe has built a reputation for being extremely developer-friendly, and, to be fair, it’s largely earned it. Stripe’s SDK is easy to work with for novices and extremely customizable for experts. Stripe’s documentation is also second-to-none, with detailed tutorials, clone-able boilerplates, and support for mobile platforms.
Stripe supports the following server-side languages:
Authorize.Net’s business support isn’t quite as widespread as Stripe’s; it’s only available to merchants in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. Its currency support is also more limited. Authorize.Net supports different currencies, depending on the region in which your business is located.
- US & Canada: USD, CAD
- The UK & Europe: CHF, DKK, EUR, GBP, NOK, PLN, SEK, USD
- Australia: AUD, NZD, USD
Authorize.Net Supported Payment Methods
Authorize.Net supports the following payments methods:
- American Express
- Apple Pay
- Visa Click to Pay
- eCheck payments
Authorize.Net Core Features
Authorize.Net’s feature set is considerably smaller than Stripe’s, but at their core, they do many of the same things.
- Payment Gateway: If you’re working with Authorize.Net, you’re there for the payment gateway. Or even more likely, the payment services company you signed up for is using Authorize.Net as its gateway. It is, however, possible (though not necessarily advisable) to work from the other end and sign up directly with Authorize.Net, in which case the company can help set you up with a merchant account through one of its partners. Just be aware that, unlike Stripe, the merchant account isn’t in-house.
- Virtual Point Of Sale, Mobile Point Of Sale & Simple Checkout: Authorize.Net offers ways to accept cards both on the web and through mobile devices. The virtual terminal also allows you to key in card information manually. Authorize.Net is integrated into a dizzying number of third-party shopping carts through Simple Checkout, enabling you to generate HTML snippets for “Buy Now” and “Donate” buttons to add to your website easily.
- Recurring Billing: Authorize.Net allows you to process recurring subscription payments and permits you to not only customize pricing but also offer free trials and installment packages.
Authorize.Net Additional Features
- Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS): Included for free with your account, AFDS consists of a set of thirteen filters that you can customize to your own needs to help flag and block potentially fraudulent transactions. This feature helps to prevent inventory loss due to fraud and lowers your liability for chargebacks. While Stripe’s security features are nothing to sneeze at, Authorize.Net’s security features have a reputation for being some of the best in the business.
- eCheck Processing: This is an optional feature. You can add echeck processing to your existing merchant account or sign up for the eCheck Only Pricing Plan. Pricing is 0.75% per echeck, a much lower rate than you’ll pay for credit or debit card transactions.
- Customer Information Manager (CIM): The CIM, one of Authorize.Net’s most powerful standard features, allows you to securely store customer information, such as billing address, shipping address, and payment method information. Because this includes your customers’ sensitive credit card information, the data is securely encrypted. As we’ve noted, however, this security comes at the expense of data portability (see the user reviews section below).
- Sync For QuickBooks: While a QuickBooks integration is fairly standard these days, it’s still nice to have and will keep your accountant happy, especially if that accountant is you.
Authorize.Net Developer Tools
Authorize.Net also has a healthy developer subculture with excellent online resources and the option to create a sandbox account to test out your code. It doesn’t support quite as many languages as Stripe, but where the two overlap, you’ll probably see variable preferences from developer to developer.
Authorize.Net supports the following languages:
Comparing Stripe & Authorize.Net Pricing
Both Stripe and Authorize.Net offer similarly priced services, although making a direct comparison isn’t easy. For purposes of this comparison, I’m only looking at the costs of features the two companies have in common. If you want a complete look at Stripe’s pricing, check out our guide.
If you take Authorize.Net up on its merchant account partnership offer, you’re looking at identical flat-rate transaction costs for both Stripe and Authorize.Net. Beyond that, you have to dive into the secondary fees. If you process a lot of subscriptions, you may incur a processing fee with Stripe. On the other hand, Stripe’s chargeback fees are $10 less. International transactions are more expensive with Authorize.Net unless you need to do a currency conversion, in which case Stripe is more expensive.
Keep this in mind: You can buy Authorize.Net as a humble gateway service without any other bells and whistles. With Stripe, if you want to use the gateway, you’re also getting the payment processing bundled up with it.
What ultimately breaks the tie in Stripe’s favor is its lack of a monthly fee. Stripe’s fees are almost entirely usage-based, making it easier to get a sense of where you’re getting value and where you’re not. By comparison, if you’re interested in Authorize.Net, it’s often cheaper to get it bundled with another service than directly from the company.
Authorize.Net Fees & Transaction Costs
Authorize.Net breaks its services into three plans:
- All-In-One (includes a merchant account with one of Authorize.Net’s partners)
- Monthly Gateway Fee: $25
- Card Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
- Payment Gateway Only
- Monthly Gateway Fee: $25
- Per Transaction: $0.10, daily batch fee $0.10
- Enterprise Solutions (for companies processing over $500K/year)
- Contact Authorize.Net for pricing info
International transactions cost an additional 1.5%. Chargebacks cost $25 per occurrence. Note that you may be subject to additional fees associated with the merchant account provider you are paired with should you choose the All-In-One package.
Stripe Fees & Transaction Costs
Since Stripe has a lot of add-on features that Authorize.Net does not, we’re going to ignore those for purposes of this comparison and just compare pricing for those features that they both offer.
- Card Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
- Subscription Fee: 0.5% after the first $1 million
Stripe charges $15 per chargeback incident. International transactions cost an additional 1%, with another 1% added on if currency conversion is required.
Ease Of Use
Both companies are reliant on a mix of do-it-yourself developer culture and third-party services that integrate Stripe or Authorize.Net into their product.
Starting with the first case, as we touched on above, both companies offer extensive documentation for developers who want to add payment functionality into their websites and apps through the services’ APIs. Stripe’s documentation, support, and interfaces feel just a little more extensive and modern than Authorize.Net’s, but your mileage may vary.
Some users report that Authorize.Net is a little bit faster on average when it comes to payment processing time (one to seven business days vs. two to seven business days).
On the third-party side, your ease of use will depend entirely on the method of integration you’re using (for example, a shopping cart such as WooCommerce). With most of these services, activating your payment gateway is pretty simple, just tweaking some toggles and entering security keys; the challenge with most of these is mastering the eCommerce environment more than the payment integration.
Where Stripe Excels
- All-in-one solution
- Better documentation
- Better customization options
Where Authorize.Net Excels
- Compatibility with third-party services
- Flexibility in choosing a payments processor
- Slightly faster transaction funding
Customer Service & Support
Both Authorize.Net and Stripe offer numerous ways to resolve problems should they arise.
- Telephone Support: This avenue of support is available 24/7, minus major holidays.
- Support Center: The online resources include a knowledgebase, articles, white papers, and video tutorials.
- Ticketing System: You can open a support case online through the integrated ticketing system.
- Social Media: You can reach out to Authorize.Net on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can also check out video tutorials and customer testimonials on YouTube.
- Phone Support: This avenue of support is available 24/7.
- Live Chat: This is also available 24/7 to customers.
- Knowledgebase & Documentation: Stripe’s documentation is the gold standard. Developers will have no trouble here, whether they’re searching for a term or clicking through the sidebar. The knowledgebase is a little more sparse but serviceable.
- Email: Stripe offers 24/7 email support but doesn’t give an exact time frame on how quickly someone will get back to you.
- Freenode IRC Chat: Stripe’s developers seem to spend their time in the #stripe channel if you need technical assistance. Unsurprisingly, most developers seem to like this aspect of support.
While Stripe offers more contact methods, Authorize.Net seems to have a better reputation for quick, responsive, and useful customer service. Stripe’s made efforts to improve — including offering phone support — but it still has some ground to make up.
User Reviews, Complaints & Criticisms
Both Stripe and Authorize.Net have avoided any scandals grave enough to drop their BBB ratings below an A+, though both register a fairly typical spread of complaints. They tend to garner similar scores on various review aggregators, with a few outliers here and there rating one substantially higher than the other.
Stripe High Points
- Pricing: While it’s not the cheapest possible option, it does offer a lot of functionality for the price.
- Global Utility: Stripe is a truly international platform, giving businesses the ability to conduct eCommerce worldwide and in different currencies.
- Freedom & Control: Stripe’s API allows for great flexibility for developers and makes it a good fit for various integrations.
Stripe Low Points
- Account Holds & Terminations: Like all payment service providers (PSPs), Stripe ends up doing a lot of its due diligence after the fact, which means it’s easy to run afoul of its opaque quality control processes. Most user complaints about Stripe fall into this category.
- Lack Of Fraud Protection: While Stripe’s security features are strong, most of the advanced ones cost extra, leaving some users more exposed to chargebacks than they’d like.
- Unresponsive Customer Service: While Stripe’s customer service is much improved, many customers were frustrated by the company’s inability to resolve or contextualize sudden account holds and terminations.
Authorize.Net High Points
- Recurring Billing Support: Many users were pleased with how easy this feature was to activate and use.
- Flexibility: Between Authorize.Net’s robust API and the ability to pair the service with any merchant account, users were generally happy with the amount of freedom it offered them.
- Customer Service: Many positive user reviews involve good experiences with Authorize.Net’s customer service.
Authorize.Net Low Points
- Billing Issues: Most of the complaints you’ll see about Authorize.Net revolve around that pesky monthly fee. The timing of the monthly payments seems to confuse a number of customers, resulting in disputes over what interval of time they were paying for.
- Non-Refundable Fees: Related to the previous issue, customers found it difficult to recover fees they believed they were wrongly charged. Be aware that if you sign up for an account online, you will be charged the gateway fee.
- Data Portability: Authorize.Net has a reputation for being a difficult platform to migrate from, although some of this appears to be due to issues that have been at least partially addressed.
Stripe VS Authorize.Net Integrations
If you’re running your credit card through any eCommerce site, there’s a very good chance it’s passing through a Stripe or Authorize.Net gateway. The number of integrations for both services is staggering, and both can be easily plugged into most eCommerce environments with just a few lines of code. In general, you should have very little trouble getting either to play nice with the program of your choice.
Since we are splitting hairs, however, it’s worth mentioning that Stripe is just a bigger fish in the pond, possessing a higher market share and more widespread adoption. That translates to more integrations, should you need to work with something more niche and obscure. But again, both are extremely well-supported.
Which Is Best For My Payment Gateway Needs?
We’ve arrived at the moment of truth. Here are my recommendations regarding Authorize.Net vs. Stripe.
Choose Stripe Payments If…
- You Need Payment Services In Addition To A Gateway: Stripe works best as a comprehensive, all-in-one platform offering both a payment gateway and payment processing. It delivers the gateway functionality at the same per-transaction cost as Authorize.Net — without the monthly fee.
- You’re Doing Business Globally: Authorize.Net’s support for foreign transactions is good, but it’s not anywhere near as extensive as Stripe’s. Stripe supports local payment methods in addition to the popular international brands and can handle over 135 currencies.
Choose Authorize.Net If…
- You Already Have A Merchant Account You Like: If you’ve been taking card payments for a while and are pleased with your merchant account provider, you won’t be able to take it with you if you migrate to Stripe. On the other hand, you can simply add Authorize.Net to your existing services.
- You’re In A “High-Risk” Industry: Because it’s a payment service provider, Stripe isn’t keen on taking chances with industries that are flagged as high-risk. As a payment gateway, Authorize.Net has far fewer restrictions regarding the types of businesses it’s willing to partner with (just make sure your merchant account provider is also cool with your industry).
Neither Option A Good Fit For You? Try These Alternatives To Stripe & Authorize.Net
Stripe and Authorize.Net are both excellent gateway options, but they’re not the only ones. If Stripe has too much bloat and Authorize.Net feels too much like a clumsy add-on, consider one of the following options.
Braintree is a PayPal-owned company that offers a payment gateway and integrated processing services and is very similar to Stripe in many ways. It offers the same flat-rate pricing (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction) and extensive international support but isn’t quite as overwhelming in its options and add-on services.
If you’re looking for a Stripe alternative with brand name recognition, PayPal’s a no-brainer. PayPal covers most of the same bases as Stripe. It’s a payment service provider/gateway combo that plays nice (even better, arguably) with international markets. Like Stripe, it’s a sprawling platform with tons of optional add-ons. Unfortunately, recurring billing support is one of them, and it will cost you an extra $10 per month.
Square is another popular “full-stack” payment services provider. Compared to Stripe and PayPal, Square is a bit more focused on brick-and-mortar transactions, offering a wide variety of productivity-related functionality as well as POS hardware. Square supports eCommerce, but don’t expect the international support that Stripe offers.
Comparing Authorize.Net & Stripe Payments: The Final Verdict
The battle between Stripe vs. Authorize.Net comes down to a big hearty buffet vs. a tasty side dish that can be served with almost any meal. Newer businesses that don’t want to add unnecessary complexity will probably prefer Stripe’s comprehensive payment services. Veteran businesses with stable merchant accounts that want to add gateway functionality may appreciate the flexibility Authorize.Net offers them.
If you’re scratching your head over a lot of the terms used throughout this post, don’t feel bad; payment processing is a very confusing industry. If you want to learn more about it, start with our complete guide to getting a merchant account. You may also want to read more about what a gateway is and how it fits into accepting payments online.