Paypal or Stripe

These two payment processors are very different from one another in the way they work. The one thing that they both have in common is that they both can accept payments via credit card (at least they can in those countries where using Stripe is even an option). As I have been making use of Paypal for many years and have also spent a significant amount of time testing Stripe to see if it would make a suitable alternative payment method for my club membership software I thought that producing a comparison of these two payment processors might be useful to others trying to choose which payment processors to offer.

Can be integrated into your site so that your site can perform additional processing when a payment has been accepted. Yes - offers a number of ways to advise your site when a payment has been successfully processed. I use IPN which was the first way that Paypal offered for this purpose. Yes - stripe provide code to install on your site that allows the requests to be passed back and forth between your site and theirs in real time.
Payment methods available. Paypal to Paypal, echeque, credit card (via Paypal or direct). Credit Card (direct)or BitCoin (USA only)
Requires your site to be PCI compliant. No. You can transfer the payer to the Paypal site for them to make the payment and have them return to your site after the payment is made so that the payment processing never comes anywhere near your site. (Actually this makes your site effectively PCI compliant by default). Yes - the supplied code ensures that the credit card details never get saved on your site but as the payment appears to be made at your site you need to be able to demonstrate that it is in fact compliant. Theoretically you can change the supplied code to capture the credit card details on your site which would then breach PCI compliance. There would also be complaince issues if you collect credit card details other than via the web.
You can access the money straight away. Yes - Where Payapal collects payments via credit card the money collected is immediately deposited to your Paypal account. For other payment types where Paypal have to wait to receive the money you can delay the subsequent processing until the payment is deposited to your account. No - If Stripe validates the credit card payment they hold onto the money for several days and then do a bulk deposit to your bank account. You are expected to do the subsequent processing straight away as if you had already received the money.
Reconciling payments. You can supply the invoice number for Paypal to use for each payment. Paypal will return this invoice number when the payment is successful allowing you to match the payment to previously collected information when determining what subsequent processing to apply. The Stripe processing returns to the same page where the payment was initiated from so all the previously collected information is still there. Reconciling the actual payments to your bank account is not so easy. Stripe do provide access to see which charges are included in a given payment via their dashboard but there is no facility for exporting this information so as to actually reconcile the individual charges.
Offline payments Obviously Paypal requires access to a computer to use it but the payment need not be made by the person who is making the purchase. There is nothing to prevent that person from having someone else who does have access to Paypal from making the payment for them. While the credit card details could be supplied via alternate means and then entered into the computer by someone associated with the site, there are all sorts of potential PCI issues relating to this if the person the payment is for and the person making the payment are not physically at the same location at the time the payment is made.
Chargebacks and Fraud See Dispute resolution process. Paypal tries to get disputes resolved before they become a chargeback. See Disputes and Fraud. Note that Stripe charges a $15 fee for handling a dispute (refundable if the dispute is resolved in your favour).

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