Stripe VS Braintree: Which Online Payment Processor & Gateway Is Right For You?
These are both powerhouse gateways and online payment processors with many similar features. But the overall experience between the two is very different.
|Ideal For||Low-volume merchants, eCommerce, international transactions||Low-volume merchants, eCommerce, PayPal support|
|Online Transaction Pricing||Card: 2.9% + $0.30, ACH: 0.8% (Max $5)||Card: 2.59% + $0.49, ACH: 0.75% (Max $5)|
|Availability||Open to merchants in 46 countries; supports 135+ currencies||Open to merchants in 8 countries; supports 135+ currencies|
|Standout Features||Broad support for regional payment methods, quick onboarding, excellent developer support||Full merchant account, PayPal integration, excellent developer supports|
|What’s Missing||Account stability, consistent customer support||Account stability|
If you need a tech-driven platform to power payments for your business, Braintree and Stripe should make it onto your shortlist of potential processors. 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.
Before committing to either of these platforms, it’s important to understand that you’ll need a developer or someone on your team with decent coding ability. While there are integrations that can get you around this, you’d still end up missing out on a large portion of what these services have to offer.
But does one company excel more than the other? In the Stripe vs. Braintree debate, which company comes out on top?
Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- Stripe VS Braintree: Core Services
- 3 Key Differences Between Braintree & Stripe
- Stripe & Braintree Pricing Comparison
- Braintree & Stripe Features Compared
- Braintree Or Stripe: Which Payment Gateway & Processor Is Best For My Business Needs?
- Alternatives to Braintree & Stripe
- Comparing Stripe VS Braintree: The Final Verdict
Stripe VS Braintree: Core Services
In most regards, when it comes to the Braintree vs. Stripe competition, the two are very closely matched. In fact, an overwhelming majority of the services overlap, and they cater to a very similar clientele. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.
- Flat-Rate Credit Card Processing: This means you’ll be charged a consistent rate to process credit cards, regardless of the type of card or interchange fees. This model tends to favor lower-volume businesses.
- Mobile Wallet Support: You can process Apple Pay and Google Pay on these platforms.
- ACH Processing: ACH is the main bank-to-bank transfer system in the US and is often used for recurring billing and subscriptions.
- Third-Party Integrations: Both services are well-supported by third-party integrations, which can help close gaps in their services. While it’s not exactly “third-party,” Braintree, in particular, is reliant upon PayPal integration for many of its features.
- Strong Developer Support: Both Stripe and Braintree are developer-centric services. To get the most out of them, you’ll want to have a developer on your team or be willing to contract with one.
- International Commerce: While Stripe’s range is more extensive, both services are usable by merchants based outside the US. They both also support transactions in over 135 currencies.
- Reporting Tools: Both services offer tools for analyzing and gaining insight into your transactions.
- Payouts: This is the ability to send payments to suppliers and contractors.
- Anti-Fraud Tools: If you’re worried about fraud, both companies offer tools that help reduce your exposure to malicious actors.
Stripe Payments Also Includes…
As much as Braintree and Stripe overlap, there are some differences. Stripe distinguishes itself with the following features.
- Regional Payment Method Support: Stripe doesn’t just allow foreign businesses to process credit cards; it also supports region-specific payment methods, such as Alipay, Interac, and SEPA.
- Business Loans: Stripe Capital allows qualified Stripe customers to borrow against revenue coming to them through Stripe’s infrastructure. While you can get loans through PayPal, Braintree itself doesn’t offer that service.
- Invoicing: Here again, Stripe offers invoicing as a bundled service, whereas with Braintree, you’ll have to rely on integrations.
- Fast Onboarding: As a third-party processor, Stripe can get businesses up and running quickly. This comes with some trade-offs in terms of account stability.
Braintree Payments Also Includes…
Braintree Payments vs. Stripe has its own unique perks.
- PayPal Integration: If Braintree can seem a little lean in some areas, remember that it can always call in the big guns: its sister service, PayPal. As you might expect, the massive PayPal ecosystem plays very well with Braintree and can fill in a lot of the gaps in the primary service. It also supports Venmo payments.
- Independent Payment Gateway: Stripe’s payment gateway can’t be separated from its payment processing services. It’s all or nothing. Braintree allows you to do this, albeit at an inefficient cost.
- Merchant Account: Each Braintree business customer gets its own merchant account, in contrast to Stripe and PayPal. This translates to a slower onboarding process but better account stability.
- Interchange-Plus Pricing: Though only available at the “custom” level, high-volume businesses can potentially get interchange-plus pricing through Braintree.
3 Key Differences Between Braintree & Stripe
Let’s zoom in on some of the key differences between Braintree vs. Stripe.
1) Pricing Frameworks
While Stripe and Braintree both use flat-rate pricing, there are some important differences in what they charge and when. We’ll delve deeper into pricing below, but for now, understand that Stripe uses an additive, à la carte system for its premium features that add expenses to each transaction. Braintree, on the other hand, bundles just about all its services into its core package.
2) Third-Party Processing VS Merchant Account
As we mentioned above, Stripe and Braintree employ different methods to collect your transaction fees. As an aggregator, Stripe groups customer accounts into a common pool and deducts fees from that. Braintree, on the other hand, gives each customer their own merchant account. Aggregators can onboard customers more quickly, making them convenient for new businesses, while established businesses seeking more stable accounts will often want their own merchant account.
3) Payment Method Support
The short of it is that Stripe supports far more regional payment methods than Braintree. This won’t be much of a factor for American businesses that sell domestically, but international merchants will have more options with Stripe. On the other hand, Braintree can process PayPal and Venmo transactions.
Stripe & Braintree Pricing Comparison
|Online Credit Card Payments||2.9% + $0.30||2.59% + $0.49|
|ACH Payments||0.8% (Max $5)||0.75% (Max $5)|
|PayPal Rates||N/A||By PayPal account terms; Venmo: 3.49 + $0.49|
|Invoice Rate||25 free then 0.4% or 0.5%||By third-party/PayPal integration|
|In-Person Transactions||2.7% + $0.05||2.29% + $0.09 (with PayPal Zettle integration)|
|Refunds||No additional fee, but the initial transaction fee isn’t returned||No additional fee, but the initial transaction fee isn’t returned|
Stripe and Braintree pricing used to be even more similar than it is now, but Braintree is among the PayPal services to see its fees change in 2021. Both services use flat-rate processing, which means you’ll be charged consistent variable charges (the percentage part) and flat charges (the other part) with each transaction.
Understanding Braintree Rates
Of the two services, Braintree has a simpler pricing system. There are different transaction rates for online, in-person, Venmo, and ACH payments, but these include all of Braintree’s core features. Note that it’s possible to negotiate interchange-plus pricing instead if you’re a high-volume merchant.
Check out our full breakdown of PayPal ecosystem fees for more information.
Understanding Stripe Rates
Stripe’s basic rates are pretty straightforward, but things can get more complicated if you add premium features. As a general rule, Stripe charges an additive transaction fee to transactions that employ the premium feature. For example, activating the “Adaptive Acceptance” security feature adds 0.08% to each successful charge.
Check out our Stripe pricing feature for a deeper look at how this system works.
Which Is Cheaper: Braintree Or Stripe?
Nobody likes hearing “it depends” as an answer to the question of which service is cheaper, but in the case of Stripe vs. Braintree…it depends. Let’s see if we can give you a more satisfying answer, though.
In the pricing table above, you’ll notice that Stripe tends to charge a higher variable transaction fee, while Braintree charges a higher flat markup per transaction. This has the effect of making Stripe cheaper for smaller transactions and Braintree cheaper for larger transactions.
Let’s take the online credit card transaction rates, for example. For a $20 transaction, Stripe will charge you $0.88. Braintree will charge you around $1.01. For a $100 transaction, on the other hand, Stripe will charge you $3.20, while Braintree will charge you $3.08. The breakeven point is around $60, so if your average eCommerce transaction falls under that, Stripe is cheaper. If it’s over that, Braintree is.
Braintree & Stripe Features Compared
|Credit Card Processing||✔||✔|
|Regional Payment Method Support||X||✔|
|Marketplace Solutions||✔ (Braintree Marketplace, included with account)||✔ (Stripe Connect, basic features included with an account, advanced features cost $2/month plus 0.25%+$0.25 per payout)|
|Advanced Security||✔ (3D Secure)||✔ (Stripe Radar, included with standard accounts, otherwise $0.05 per screened transaction)|
Stripe and Braintree cover very similar niches and, as you might expect, offer many of the same features.
Braintree Or Stripe: Which Payment Gateway & Processor Is Best For My Business Needs?
Payment processing isn’t one-size-fits-all. In the end, you’re looking for the best payment service for your particular business.
Choose Braintree If…
- You want your own dedicated, stable merchant account
- You want to use the gateway independently of other payment services
- You want access to PayPal’s infrastructure
- You don’t mind relying on integrations for some functionality
- You’re looking for a lightweight platform that covers the basics
- Your average transaction is over $60
Choose Stripe If…
- You want to get your payment services up and running as quickly as possible
- You want to accept regional payment methods
- A large portion of your sales are international
- You want a less integration-dependent platform
- You want access to a variety of best-in-class tools and don’t mind paying a little extra for them
- Your average transaction is under $60
Alternatives to Braintree & Stripe
Stripe and Braintree are both quality payment processors, but they’re not the only games in town. If neither service sounds ideal for your business, consider some of these alternatives.
- Square: If you have a small brick-and-mortar business and you’re looking for an easy-to-use payment platform with flat processing rates, Square offers incredible POS hardware and infrastructure with no monthly fees or commitments. While secondary, Square’s eCommerce tools (such as the ability to use Click To Pay) are nothing to sneeze at even if they lack the international reach of Stripe or Braintree.
- Helcim: Like Braintree, Helcim offers individual merchant accounts. One of the biggest selling points Helcim has over Stripe or Braintree is that it exclusively offers interchange-plus pricing. While this model isn’t ideal for low-volume businesses, it’s one of the best for mature businesses. Helcim’s transaction fees scale with your volume, making it a great choice for businesses in growth mode. Helcim also features extensive international reach and currency support.
For more alternatives, consult our guides:
- The 11 Best PayPal Alternatives For Business
- The Best Stripe Alternatives & Competitors For Small Businesses
Comparing Stripe VS Braintree: The Final Verdict
When two options are as similar in appearance as Stripe and Braintree, it can be difficult to choose the best option for your business. Hopefully, however, you now have a better sense of how these services differ from one another.
You should 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.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them below! We’ll be happy to help you!