Stripe VS Braintree: How To Choose The Right Online Payment Processor For Your Business
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If you need a tech-driven platform to power payments for your business, Braintree Payment Solutions (read our review) and Stripe (read our review) should be at the very top of your list. In addition to powerful developer tools with support for multiple programming languages, both companies are global services that can reach customers all over the world. But does one company excel more than the other? In the Stripe vs. Braintree debate, which company comes out on top?
Here’s the good news: Because their core offerings are so similarly aligned, it’s really easy to draw direct apples-to-apples comparisons. And in most regards, Stripe and Braintree are very closely matched. They both cater to some very large and/or innovational businesses with industry-leading tools for online and mobile commerce, global business, and subscription/billing management.
Before committing to either of these platforms, it’s important to understand that you need advanced coding knowledge or a developer to make the most of them. You can go it alone with minimal knowledge, but you’ll be unable to harness the full potential of Stripe and Braintree. If you’re not tech-savvy or you don’t have a developer on your team, another solution may be a better fit.
Braintree differs from Stripe primarily in that it issues merchants with their own merchant accounts. In contrast, Stripe is a third-party processor that aggregates payments. That means Braintree has much greater account stability than Stripe. Braintree also provides its tools at no additional cost beyond its flat-rate processing, whereas Stripe will assess small fees for the use of select services. So Braintree could very easily become the more cost-effective solution.
However, Stripe has made a name for itself with industry-leading tools, and if you’re particularly interested in marketplace or subscription tools, Stripe is the standout option.
Usually, a merchant account is suited to merchants processing more than $10K/month (though some work with merchants with volumes as small as $5K/month). Braintree has no minimum and no monthly fee and says that it works with businesses of all sizes. That’s quite a big difference. With its similar pricing, Braintree is just as attractive an option as Stripe for new and small-but-growing enterprises.
The best solution for a business isn’t immediately clear here. You’ll need to look at what features are must-haves; you’ll also need to consider costs. And if you are leaning toward Stripe, it’s worth considering the tradeoffs that you’ll make regarding account stability. Ultimately, it’ll be down to you and your developer to decide whether Stripe or Braintree is right for your business.
Read on for a more in-depth analysis of these two online payment gateways. Got any questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a comment!
Table of Contents
Products & Services
First things first: Both of these companies support all kinds of payments, from directly on a website to inside mobile apps. They both offer a choice of pre-built and completely customizable payment forms. They also offer tools for businesses that operate on marketplace or subscription models. The differences between the two platforms come down more to the nitty-gritty details. You can also find out more about each company and its offerings by checking out our complete Braintree Payments and Stripe reviews.
Braintree’s payment processing and gateway services support merchants in more than 45 countries, versus 34 for Stripe. However, merchants can reach customers all across the globe with support for 130+ currencies. One of the biggest draws is Braintree’s PayPal integration. Because Braintree is a PayPal-owned company, it makes sense that the integration between the two would be seamless.
Braintree’s SDKs support both Android and iOS for mobile developers as well as six other languages. And you’ll find support for major payment methods across the globe as well.
Braintree Supported Programming Languages
Braintree Supported Payment Types
- ACH direct debit
- Credit cards
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Amex Express Checkout
- Visa Checkout
Braintree Core Features
Braintree categorizes its core offerings into four services. I like the way they are grouped because it helps to better explain what Braintree is capable of doing for different kinds of businesses.
- Braintree Direct: If you want to sell directly on your website, this is the solution for you. Direct includes subscription tools (see below for more information).
- Braintree Marketplace: Braintree’s marketplace tools allow you to create your platform and manage the sellers and payouts with automation.
- Braintree Auth: “Auth” (assuming that’s short for Authorization) is Braintree’s platform for other service companies to integrate the Braintree gateway into their solutions. It allows these companies to securely access their merchants’ data and take authorized actions on their behalf. For example, an invoicing company could use Auth to create an integration with its platform and allow Braintree merchants to connect their accounts and populate invoices based on data from the customer vault. Auth is also the tool that lets businesses make it possible to onboard merchants and accept payments natively.
- Braintree Extend: Formerly called contextual commerce, Braintree has expanded its offerings here. The merchant hosts the payment checkout and transaction data but can share the transaction data with partners. This creates a seamless, frictionless commerce experience for customers and keeps them on your site. Extend would be the appropriate platform for booking sites (hotels, airlines, event tickets, etc.) and other businesses that want to empower merchants/partners to sell through their website or app.
Additional Braintree Features
- Fraud Management Tools: Braintree separates its fraud management tools into two tiers. Basic tools include control over AVS and CVV checks as well as risk threshold analysis. Advanced fraud tools require more work to enable but include a partnership with Kount, a fraud management service. There’s no charge for Kount Standard. If you want more control over transactions and your risk management policies, you can implement Kount Custom. You must meet the company’s requirements, and it will cost more. In addition to all of that, Braintree also supports 3D Secure for additional verification.
- Multi-Currency Displays & Conversions: Braintree allows merchants to display prices in local currencies rather than just the merchant’s default currency, which can help entice international sales. Braintree even automatically does the conversions for you. Global businesses with bases of operation in several countries can connect multiple bank accounts and help reduce processing costs by eliminating the need for conversion.
- Recurring Billing & Subscription Tools: Braintree has some powerful recurring billing and subscription tools, whether you sell software or physical goods. However, you will notice a shortage of some specific features, such as invoicing. Stripe’s suite of tools is more advanced than Braintree’s in this regard. However, if invoicing is a concern, don’t forget that Braintree integrates pretty seamlessly with PayPal, so you can use PayPal or another integration as an extension.
- Account Auto-Updater: Reduce failed transactions and canceled subscriptions with Braintree’s Account Auto-Update feature. Expired and re-issued cards from certain institutions will automatically update with new card data to ensure continuity.
- Reporting: Braintree offers a smattering of default reports in its control panel, including transaction-level reporting. However, even the company admits that you’ll probably outgrow the standard reports. Braintree’s Reports API allows you to generate custom reporting based on the criteria you set. And unlike Stripe, this feature costs nothing at all.
- Integrations: Braintree does support a variety of integrations, including eCommerce shopping cart software. You can browse available integrations on Braintree’s site.
I certainly think Braintree has everything most merchants will need. It does lack a few features that Stripe offers, but it’s a hugely capable system. And the seamless Payal integration could be a significant draw for some merchants who have loyal PayPal customer bases.
Stripe is available to merchants in 34 countries at the time of writing this. You can check out Stripe’s Global page for a complete list. However, regardless of the merchant’s location, you can accept payments from all over the globe. Stripe supports 135+ currencies.
Also, Stripe’s SDKs include support for Android/iOS and seven other programming languages. Accepted payment methods depend on the merchant’s location, but Stripe supports many popular local payment methods in the EU and China in particular.
Stripe Supported Programming Languages
Stripe Supported Payment Methods
Stripe’s supported payment methods can be broken down into universal methods and local payment methods. Whereas Braintree focuses on universal payment types, Stripe has worked hard to add support for payment types common in markets such as the EU and China. Stripe is currently in the process of transitioning its existing Tokens and Sources APIs to its Payment Methods API. So at the moment, some payment methods are supported in one, the other, or both. Let’s start with universal payment types:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Microsoft Pay
- Amex Express Checkout
- Masterpass by Mastercard
- Visa Checkout
- WeChat Pay
Local Payment Methods are only available in the regions where they are most popular, generally speaking:
- SEPA Direct Debit
Stripe Core Features
Stripe claims to offer more than 100 features, though it’s not exactly clear how it defines a “feature.” Still, you can do an awful lot with this company. Here’s a quick primer on what you can expect:
- Payments: Stripe Checkout is a prebuilt form that you can just drop into your site. But 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) in the same way as Braintree Auth.
- 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.
Despite the differences in how these companies market and present their tools, Stripe still has many of the same functions as Braintree. They’re just framed and presented differently.
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.
- Multi-Currency 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 120 countries, and it has added more than 100 partners to the network since the launch.
- 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 a business might need. The sheer number of supported integrations could be a significant advantage for some merchants. You can browse integrations by category on Stripe’s “Works With” page.
If everything is starting to sound really similar, it’s because these two companies are virtually equal in most regards. It comes down to little details — such as the fact that Stripe is a third-party processor while Braintree issues traditional merchant accounts. Or the fact that Stripe has far more ready-to-go integrations than Braintree.
Braintree has an advantage in that it’s available to merchants in nine more countries (Stripe has been closing the gap). However, both companies are evenly matched in the number of currencies accepted and their multi-currency displays. Also, Braintree’s pricing model (see below) is far more straightforward and will save merchants money versus Stripe, which now charges merchants for access to many of its advanced tools.
My overall impression is that, for the most part, Stripe is willing to give you more freedom with less oversight. The tradeoff, of course, is account stability. For example, you have complete control over your fraud monitoring tools and which transactions are approved, but it’s also entirely possible to make a mistake and find yourself in hot water. Braintree offers a comparable set of features, but there will be a couple more hoops to jump through if you want the same degree of control over fraud management as you get with Stripe.
You’ll also find that Stripe’s subscription tools are far more advanced than Braintree’s. However, an integration (though more costly) could put Braintree on a more even keel here.
All in all, Braintree and Stripe are pretty equivalent, and it’s hard to call one superior to the other. So much depends on what features you need and what payment methods you want to accept, or if you’re a developer, on your particular programming preferences.
Fees & Rates
Baseline pricing for Braintree and Stripe is pretty simple and similar. However, because Stripe has started charging for access to some of its features, merchants will find themselves paying more with Stripe than they will with Braintree.
Let’s start with transaction rates:
- Card Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per card transaction for both Stripe and Braintree
- ACH Processing: 0.75% for Braintree, 0.8% for Stripe (both capped at $5)
If you’re wondering, the $5 cap for ACH transactions will kick in at $625 for Braintree and about $665 for Stripe transactions if you go by the 0.8% number. However, Stripe says the $5 cap starts at $625. For many merchants, however, the wibbly-wobbly space between $625 and $665 won’t be much of an issue.
It’s also worth mentioning that with Braintree, you can accept PayPal and PayPal Credit transactions. Those transactions process at the rates determined by your PayPal account, but for the most part, you can expect them to be 2.9% + $0.30.
Both Braintree and Stripe allow you to accept cards from outside your home country. Those will cost an additional 1% per transaction; if the transaction is processed in one currency and settled in another, another 1% fee also applies for both companies.
Discounts & Alternative Payment Plans
I want to point out that Braintree does offer alternative payment plans for some merchants:
- Interchange-Plus Pricing: Available in Europe as well as to high-volume merchants (more than $80,000/month) in the US
- Nonprofit Discount Rate: 2.2% + $0.30 (Amex processed at 3.25% + $0.30)
Braintree doesn’t offer its own micropayments plans, but you can integrate Braintree with PayPal and use PayPal’s micropayments plan (5% + $0.05) instead.
Stripe also offers some discounts:
- Volume Discounts: Stripe doesn’t specify the threshold for enterprise pricing/custom discounts. It also doesn’t indicate anywhere easily found whether those custom discounts include interchange-plus pricing.
- Nonprofit Discounts: Stripe mentions that 501(c)(3) nonprofits may be eligible for custom discounts. It doesn’t disclose what those rates are. Also, the wording used on Stripe’s website sounds more like “we’ll see if we can work something out,” so it’s safe to assume not all nonprofits will qualify.
- Microtransactions: Stripe says its sales team will work with merchants who want to implement micropayments, but it doesn’t specify what the cost is.
You’ll notice a trend here: a lack of disclosure. All of these pricing features are available, but Stripe fails to mention them. This likely indicates that the pricing isn’t consistent from one business to the next (usually volume and industry are two of the biggest contributing factors). It’s not a red flag, but it’s disappointing when you look at Braintree with its disclosures.
Both Stripe and Braintree assess a $15 fee per chargeback incident, which is the industry standard.
Stripe does not refund processing fees for refunded transactions. This is (somewhat surprisingly) stated very clearly at the bottom of Stripe’s pricing page.
Likewise, Braintree no longer refunds transaction fees for customer refunds — although merchants who have been processing with the company before August 2018 are grandfathered out of the change.
This change in policy brings Braintree in line with PayPal, which altered its policies on credit card refund fees and no longer refunds even partial fees.
Generally speaking, Braintree charges absolutely nothing for access to all its features and tools. However, you may incur additional charges for using 3D Secure depending on your rate plan. Using Kount Custom as part of your advanced fraud monitoring will also incur additional costs.
Stripe has modified its pricing to include additional fees for its subscription, marketplace, and reporting tools.
Stripe Billing (including all of the formerly free subscription tools) now assess a small percentage charge. Pricing is lumped into two tiers:
- Starter: Free for the first $1 million in transactions; afterward, 0.4% in addition to processing costs
- Scale: 0.7% in addition to processing costs; this includes additional features and discounted processing costs
If you used Stripe’s subscription tools before April 5, 2018, you are grandfathered out of these costs and can use Stripe Billing at no additional charge. That’s quite nice and somewhat unexpected.
Sigma, Stripe’s reporting tool, is priced on a sliding scale based on volume. I’ll admit this is a fair way of pricing this kind of service. It’s better than tiered packages that are divided by the amount of info available or the number of queries you could generate. This way, small businesses get a very fair price for advanced business info.
- <500 Transactions: $0.02/charge plus $10 infrastructure fee
- 501-1,000 Transactions: $0.018/charge plus $25 infrastructure fee
- 1,001-5,000 Transactions: $0.016/charge plus $50 infrastructure fee
- 5,000-50,000 Transactions: $0.014/charge plus $100 infrastructure fee
Beyond that point, your business moves into enterprise-level pricing, and you’ll get a custom quote. You can test out the pricing tool for yourself on the Stripe website.
Costs for using Connect, Stripe’s marketplace tools, are laid out on the website pretty clearly, which is nice to see given how little other information is out there.
Also, merchants who are on a custom payment plan will pay an additional $2 per active account, plus 0.25% of payout volume, plus $0.25 per payout.
One final point of consideration: With Stripe, you can’t access the gateway separate from the company’s processing services. But you can do that with Braintree for $49/month + $0.10 per transaction. That’s a bit pricey for a gateway fee, but it could easily be worth the cost to access to all of Braintree’s tools.
All in all, Braintree is the winner here simply because it offers most of its features at no additional charge beyond processing costs, and that translates to savings for merchants.
Ease Of Use
Both Braintree and Stripe offer a similar point of sale experience for users. What we’re talking about with both services is, “How difficult are they to get up and running?” It should be stressed that both require some technical know-how to get set up, so be aware that neither is “easy” if you’re looking for something you can just pick up and start taking payments.
Both Stripe and Braintree maintain pretty thorough online developer references for navigating their APIs, but whereas they’re satisfactory for Braintree, they’re exhaustive for Stripe. Not only that, but they’re sticklers about updating references, telling you what is currently in beta and how to accommodate changes to the API. It’s the little things that count here, such as tabs that let you select code snippets in your language of choice instead of having to find a separate reference. And, if you’re not a developer, Stripe offers links to partners that provide eCommerce services with Stripe built-in.
The average developer will probably be able to get Stripe up and running faster than Braintree.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
I’m always happy to say when any processor is fair, honest, and transparent. In this case, I am extra happy to say both companies fit the mark. You won’t find any deceptive sales tactics, misleading quotes, or pushy sales reps here.
You’ll pay exactly what you’re quoted with both Stripe and Braintree, which is awesome. I like that both companies use flat-rate pricing by default. It’s hard to compare that number to interchange-plus models, which are usually the most cost-effective. However, you know exactly what you’ll pay for every transaction regardless of the card brand. Flat-rate pricing is far more transparent than tiered pricing models, too.
You’ll find both companies are great at pushing out information about new features and how to use them as well. Plus, they’re upfront about matters such as customer service channels, integrations, and more.
Perhaps the only mark against Stripe is that it can terminate a merchant’s account at any time for any or no reason. Even though this is spelled out in Stripe’s terms of service, plenty of merchants seem to gloss over this or forget it entirely…until it happens to them. Stripe is a third-party payment provider, which means that the company doesn’t do extensive underwriting or investigation into your company when you apply for an account. The tradeoff to quickly getting your account set up is that you will face more intense scrutiny after the fact. Stripe has been known to terminate accounts with no warning, whether it’s for too many chargebacks or the company’s risk assessment team identifies a pattern of high-risk transactions. When this happens, there’s no appeals process to reinstate an account. You just need to move on and find a new processor.
To be fair, Braintree seems to exhibit some of this same behavior, even though it isn’t a third-party processor. When you sign up with Braintree, you do get a traditional merchant account. However, while I have seen complaints about this behavior, the overall volume is incredibly low, especially for a company as large as Braintree. So my honest assessment is that while it can happen, it occurs only rarely with Braintree users. Account terminations are more common with Stripe because of its third-party processing model — but again, an account termination is an exception to the rule, rather than the norm. Most importantly, you should be aware that this is a possibility, but you can take steps to protect yourself.
First, make sure you check out Stripe’s Prohibited Businesses list and then also look at Braintree’s Acceptable Use Policy. Both of these documents outline what kinds of merchants they won’t work with, so make sure your business isn’t on the list.
You can also check out our resources, including our guide on how to avoid holds, freezes, and account terminations.
Contract Length & Cancellation
With both Stripe and Braintree, merchants have no multi-year contracts. Everything is pay-as-you-go, so if you find a better service, you are free to leave at any time, which is always good to see. But what’s even better is that both companies will help you migrate your data (customer database and card vault) securely to ensure seamless continuity. And that’s not just good — it’s awesome.
Customer Service & Technical Support
One of the most challenging parts of assessing customer support is that experiences vary so much from one merchant to the next. With some notable exceptions, it’s pretty common to see at least one negative review about a company’s customer service for every good review that praises it. So as a reviewer, I look for patterns that can clue me into what, if anything, is going on. But it’s also important to look at what support channels are offered and how they serve merchants. Being able to talk to a real live person in real-time is a necessary aspect of quality service for many merchants.
Braintree has long been the clear winner in this category, but Stripe has recently taken great pains to expand its customer service options. It now offers more points of contact, for more hours of the day, than Braintree. The winner is no longer as clear as it once was. That said, it doesn’t seem like Stripe’s customer service reputation has caught up to its enhanced efforts just yet. That, combined with the unstable nature of third-party processors, still puts them a little behind Braintree for now.
Braintree Support Options
- Email: Email support is available from 5 AM to 12 AM US Central Time Monday-Thursday and 5 AM to 8 PM Friday. It’s nice to see the extended weekday hours, but the lack of any sort of weekend hours is a bit disappointing.
- Knowledgebase & Documentation: In my experience, Braintree makes it much easier to find information about particular features and how to use them than Stripe does. The self-service knowledgebase includes extensive guides so that even merchants who aren’t technically inclined can make sense of Braintree’s features without having to wade through the documentation. And generally speaking, developers seem to approve of Braintree’s documentation and the available resources. The company appears to have made some major strides forward and is not too far behind Stripe in terms of documentation quality.
- Phone Support: Hours for Braintree’s phone support are 8 AM to 7 PM US Central Time Monday-Thursday and 8 AM to 5 PM Friday. Again, I think the lack of weekend support hours is disappointing, but it’s nice to see extended weekday hours.
I do want to point out that Braintree does make one additional promise about its customer support:
Of course, we offer emergency support via email 24 x 7 x 365, and have support reps and engineers on-call at all times.
So it’s nice to know that in an emergency you’ll at least know someone is there to answer your questions and help get your business running again. But I have no data about whether this emergency support is effective (or even necessary).
Stripe Support Options
- Phone: After having developed a reputation for being impossible to reach in real-time, Stripe surprised everyone by rolling out 24/7 phone support for all customers.
- Live Chat: Live chat is also available 24/7 to all Stripe customers.
- Knowledgebase & Documentation: Stripe’s documentation is the gold standard. So 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 they’ll 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.
Stripe seems to have taken a lot of the criticism it has gotten over the years to heart and now offers several ways to get in touch with customer service in real-time. That is a massive change in the right direction for Stripe.
The overall quantity of complaints is only one factor we use to evaluate a merchant because you also need to consider the overall size of the business.
Braintree doesn’t publish current numbers for its merchants, and Stripe is vague about it. All we know is that the number exceeds 100,000, which is a good number for any merchant services provider. But we do know that both Stripe and Braintree are large companies that handle billions of dollars each year. Part of that is because they both serve some huge, high-profile clients. But you’ll certainly find plenty of smaller businesses and startups using these platforms, too.
On the whole, Stripe has far more complaints floating around than Braintree does on BBB and elsewhere (though it’s worth noting Stripe is BBB accredited while Braintree is not). That isn’t too surprising because third-party processors, including Stripe, tend to have a high number of complaints overall, usually for one main reason:
- Holds & Terminations: Third-party processors or aggregators can’t offer the same sort of stability that you get with a traditional merchant account. That’s because the onboarding process for new merchants doesn’t include the traditional in-depth analysis of the business and underwriting. That means accounts are more likely to face termination for suspicious behavior after they get up and running. That’s the pattern we’ve seen with Stripe, and it is one of the two biggest complaints about the company.
The other major complaint about Stripe is:
- Poor Customer Service: One of the biggest gripes in the customer service department had been the lack of phone service. Stripe now offers phone service. However, it still seems to end up with a higher volume of dissatisfied customers and complaints about customer service than Braintree. That’s particularly true in cases of funding holds or account terminations. I don’t see many complaints about the quality of support for everyday sorts of issues.
And then there’s Braintree. Braintree overall has far fewer complaints scattered across the web. (Considering this is a PayPal-owned company, this is somewhat surprising.) However, you will see some similarities to Stripe complaints:
- Account Terminations: I want to make it clear that references to merchants who have had their accounts terminated are few and far between. They aren’t the majority of Braintree complaints, and even if they were, they would still be uncommon. From what I can tell, an account termination usually occurs when Braintree deems a business to be high risk. Whether this is a flaw in the screening process or a determination made by analyzing processing history or particular transactions, I don’t know.
- Poor Customer Support: Complaints in this category seem to center on slow response times for email support as well as inconsistent answers from support reps. However, I do see other merchants praising Braintree for the quality of its customer support, too.
- Long Setup Times For Accounts: Some complaints focus on the fact that it can take a while to establish an account with Braintree. As it’s a merchant account provider, this is normal; there’s a lot more screening that goes into it. Still, if you’re used to third-party processor speed, you might be impatient with the setup time.
Stripe is a media darling, for sure. There’s no shortage of articles about the company’s co-founders, the Collison brothers, or about how large the company is, the way it disrupts payments technology, etc.
Braintree doesn’t get quite as much press, but its parent company, PayPal, does.
But press coverage doesn’t tell the whole story.
Most of Stripe and Braintree’s big success stories come from household names. Big companies that you’ve probably heard about. You can see a shortlist of logos from prominent Braintree clients on its homepage; you can find a longer list on the Merchant Stories page.
However, what I like best is that Braintree has case studies on how these different companies have used Braintree to build successful businesses and process payments. These case studies aren’t exactly common, so it’s nice to see them — and so many, at that.
Stripe’s client list is no less impressive than Braintree’s, though. You can find a shortlist on the homepage as well, but a more in-depth list on the Customers page. It offers only brief snippets instead of case studies, but the page does showcase the ways you can use Stripe.
But what do everyday merchants have to say? What do developers say?
Both Stripe and Braintree are popular with developers, and the consensus is that they both offer good documentation, extensive libraries, and powerful features. As we touched on earlier, Stripe seems to come out a little bit ahead here, providing more comprehensive and up-to-date references. I also see Stripe get a lot of compliments for its well-designed website and the intuitive user interface in the dashboard.
Braintree’s merchants praise the company’s customer support — at least, the customers who don’t have a problem with the customer service praise it. It appears the customer service excels on both the technical/developer side and the merchant side.
Overall, though, Braintree seems to draw a similar amount of positive attention and less that’s negative, so I’m giving them the nod for User Reviews.
When two options are as similar in appearance as Stripe and Braintree, it can be tempting to say “Eeny Meeny Miney Mo!” and point to one and roll with it. But I hope you’ve got a slightly better understanding of where Stripe and Braintree align and where they are very different. Despite Braintree coming out slightly ahead in our evaluation, understand that it doesn’t mean it’s the better choice for every business.
The stability of a merchant account can be a considerable draw. Some businesses won’t want to sacrifice that even if it means spending a bit more on integrations to get the features they need. On the other hand, Stripe has several best-in-class tools, such as its Billing tools, that some businesses may find essential. The risk of account termination is relatively small, so long as your business model is sound, you’re not on the list of prohibited business types, and you take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of fraudulent transactions and chargebacks.
Both of these companies integrate with some major shopping cart software options. If you’re looking primarily for an easy way to take payments, you can certainly go that route. But having a developer will make it possible to harness the full capabilities of both companies.
You should sit down, make a list of must-have features, and a list of “would be nice” features. If you can’t make a choice based on those criteria, have a discussion about the account stability issue and decide how much risk you’re willing to tolerate. Also, consider the customer support that each company offers and the fact that you may end up having to pay more for using some of Stripe’s best features.
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