Accepting payments for your membership site can sometimes be pretty daunting.
While there are 3rd party services like Paypal or Clickbank, they charge 7%-15% or more for the ease of use.
Many membership sites opt for true merchant accounts. Verisign, Authorize.net and Sagepay are example gateways that require you to set up a merchant account before you can use them.
Between paperwork, credit checks and various other hoops to jump through, it can take days or weeks to get a merchant account. For some in the U.K., it can be months as their convoluted banking system is navigated through. Then there is the cost associated with that. It can be $20-$50 month in addition to the per transaction fee ranging from 2.5 to 5% per transaction.
Now there is a very interesting alternative. Enter Stripe.
Stripe allows you to accept payments without a merchant account.
Not only is the sign up process much easier (it takes 5 minutes) but there are no fee's beyond each transaction fee. The transaction fees are .30 per transaction + 2.9% of the amount. That's it. There is no monthly fee of any sort. If you sign up and never charge anything, you will never be billed anything. The only other possible fee is if there is a chargeback. In that case it is a $15 fee. Keep in mind that this is different from a refund. Refunds are free but if they dispute the charge and a charge back happens, that's when the $15 applies.
There are already thousands of businesses that are using Stripe including eHow, Inc., Justin.tv, the Museum of Modern Arts in New York City and more.
Stripe now has huge investors on board including Apple, Sequoia Capital, Elon Musk (from Paypal, Tesla cars and the SpaceX program).
Stripe is available to people living in the following countries:
They also support (in beta) these countries as well. We have found an email to their support team quickly got us in as beta testers when we asked nicely:
Even if you have a merchant account, it may be good to keep this in mind. In case you ever needed a back up for some reason.
For site's doing over $1m a year, they do offer discounts on their fees so keep that in mind as well.
We have quite a few MemberGate clients using Stripe now and we have had nothing but great things about them.
You can read more about Stripe at www.stripe.com
Stripe's Token Payment Option and Security
Stripe's payment gateway system includes a token option. A token gateway saves credit card details at the payment gateway. This allows sites to use the highest level of data security when it comes to credit card information that is no longer stored in your site's database.
The use of a token system option reduces the risk involved as credit card information is not stored on your site. It also increases the ability to consistently pass the PCI testing.
To pass those PCI tests, in the 'Security' setting of your 'Stripe' account check the boxes for:
- We only collect card details with tokenization
- We use SSL on pages where we collect card details
and from the drop down menu in the 'Cards' field choose:
- We Never Save Card Numbers on Our Servers
Then press the Submit button