There are a lot of factors that come into play when picking the right payment gateway for your WooCommerce store. Within this article, we’re going to provide some quick info to help you decide if Stripe is the right fit for your store and some caveats when using Stripe (or other gateways) within your online store.
Where do I start when picking a gateway for my online store?
When you are making your decision about a payment gateway here are some general topics/questions you should ask and/or research prior to making your decisions.
- Security and PCI Compliance and liability. Thankfully the top-rated payment gateways including Stripe are incredibly secure. For brevity, I won’t be sharing explicit security details here as there are numerous articles that can be found online regarding this topic.
- Costs: Stripe traditionally has a per-transaction cost 2.9% + 30¢ USD as a baseline. Though for volume sellers there are custom packages available.
- Contract: Generally speaking there isn’t a “term” contract for Stripe from a monthly fee standpoint. You are paying per transaction. However, there are numerous supporting products that all have different agreements and you can also negotiate based on volume if your store is large enough.
- Accepted payment methods: U.S. businesses can accept Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, JCB, Discover, Diners Club, Union Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay. Australian, Canadian, European, Hong Kongese, Japanese, and Singaporean businesses can accept Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, Google Pay, Apple Pay.
- Compatibility: The Stripe WordPress plugin is an official Automattic and WooCommerce plugin. It has extensive documentation and hooks to customize it even further.
- Integrated vs. non-integrated: This is particularly important if you are integrating with a Point of Sale (POS) System
- Customer service: Generally speaking, the support from Stripe has been adequate for our Linchpin shop and our clients.
So why use Stripe with Woocommerce?
The first few quick arguments are, it’s pricing is competitive, it’s easy to set up and most integrations involve nearly zero development support in order to get going.
The WooCommerce and Stripe integration is directly supported by Automattic/WooCommerce. This gives assurance that the plugin and its functionality is going to be well supported. Users also benefit from free updates and new innovative functionality as Stripe launches new features and products you can expect those features to be supported by the Stripe WooCommerce plugin as well. Not only that, but we also have out of the box support for the following features:
- Accept all major debit and credit cards as mentioned earlier
- Benefit from Stripe Elements, which helps your users input their payment information quickly and correctly at checkout
- Achieve PCI-DSS compliance with Stripe Elements hosted input fields
- Supports Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)
- Optimized for mobile and fast checkout with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Payment Request API support
- Better detect and prevent fraud with the help of Stripe Radar and 3D Secure
- Easily capture authorizations and process refunds from your WooCommerce Dashboard
- Support recurring payments with various payment methods via WooCommerce Subscriptions
- Get paid within minutes with Stripe Instant Payouts, if eligible. Keep in mind that not all banks support this feature.
What are some gotchas?
I’m already setup and I have subscription based products and/or services
This gotcha is less about Stripe specifically and more about subscriptions in general. More and more of our clients are providing their customers the ability to subscribe to virtual/downloadable products along with physical products as well.
If your online store is going to provide this functionality (not just now but in the relative near future), it’s important when selecting a payment gateway that you research if your gateway supports this functionality, AND it is properly integrated with WooCommerce and potentially WooCommerce Subscriptions if you utilize that plugin as well. PayPal has historically had additional complexity with subscriptions not only needing to be managed in the WooCommerce admin but also within PayPal itself (specifically when canceling a subscription). This has caused issues with some of our clients that are locked into older integrations with PayPal. This has made management and customer service more cumbersome in those scenarios.
The other challenge to think about is the migration of active subscriptions to a new payment gateway if you do decide to change in the future. When making a gateway change you may need to support both your current payment gateway and your new payment gateway for a period of time (short or long depending). This can add overhead to your customer service team, developers, and accounts receivable. Just as importantly this could potentially lead to a loss in subscriptions if that transition process is not done in a way that minimizes the negative impact on your customers.
For smaller businesses, be mindful of your accounting/bookkeeping and how changing your payment gateway may affect how you reconcile your books. Stripe primarily utilizes “instant payments” vs say a service like Authorize (which handles payouts differently). This can result in an unexpected amount of overhead. Example: If you use Stripe as your payment gateway and you are using Quickbooks Desktop, reconciling orders becomes a bit of a manual process (exporting orders from Stripe and importing into QBD). This isn’t typically an issue for most of our clients, but it has come up.
Note** If you utilize Quickbooks Online reconciling orders within your receivables/chart of accounts is a nearly automated process.
What about my developer?
Between the WooCommerce Stripe Plugin, it’s available “hooks”, and the Stripe Developer API, there hasn’t been a challenge that the team at Linchpin has not been able to solve from a pure integration and functionality standpoint. Your results may vary if your checkout flow is customized, or you are providing specific use cases within customer accounts.
Again this isn’t a feature that separates Stripe from others though they do make integrating and testing within their sandbox incredibly easy for developers. Running test transactions gives peace of mind that new fixes, features, and updates are working properly. If your current payment gateway does not support a sandbox environment (even through a custom request), it may be time to look for a more modern partner to handle payments within your website.
Making the Switch
When making the switch to any new payment gateway it all comes down to timing. If all the features, benefits and pricing work for you and your business, it’s about deciding when to make the change. Again, see the section above regarding subscriptions and how to best mitigate any challenges with that.
Multiple Payment Gateways
It’s OK to have multiple gateways! If you’re apprehensive to make a big change (and let’s face it, changing payment gateways is a big change) for any online store; Know that WooCommerce can support multiple payment gateways. So you can always give Stripe or another payment gateway a try and if it isn’t working for you can always remove it after a period of time. Please note the challenges with subscriptions before deciding if such a “trial run” is the right fit for you.
Need help making the switch to Stripe with your WooCommerce store? You can always reach out to our team.