Why I use Stripe for Credit Card Processing

Processing credit card transactions is part of nearly every website I design and develop for my clients these days. While “brochure” style websites–ie, those that are just there to serve as an information hub for an organization–are still something many a small business owner may require, most folks want their websites to make them money in a more literal way.

Thankfully, a few years ago Stripe was invented, with the marketing angle of the product being easy for developers to work with.

And you know what? It absolutely was, and still is, super easy to use.

Of course, there were plenty of players around before Stripe came into existence. PayPal and Authorize.net were the big boys on the block, and arguably still are, though I see vastly more Stripe implementations when I walk into a project halfway than either of the other two.

PayPal is fine, specifically the version of it where you click a button, get taken to PayPal with your cart, total, etc. pre-filled and you make a payment. But many of my clients don’t want to disrupt the experience that way, and integrating PayPal as a form on your own site is still a pain in the ass.

And Authorize.net? Well, it’s a nightmare. For a technology company we’re supposed to take seriously when it comes to handling our customers’ credit card information, when I login and see 1997 all over my screen, I just wonder where the priorities are – serving developers and customers, or just making all the profit they can?

authorize.net's terrible user interface
Sweet website, Authorize.net, now I can spend my afternoon reading instead of quickly getting my API info.

By comparison, this is what Stripe looks like:

stripe.com's beautiful user interface
Wow, it’s like I want to be hanging around in here looking at money and stuff.

It’s not just about how pretty one site looks compared to the other. Stripe has an easy to understand menu and plenty of little tool tips spread across the site to help you understand what you’re doing.

The Biggest Reason I use Stripe

Some folks argue that Authorize.net is less expensive, and it certainly can be if you don’t use their POS (Point of Sale, ie an in-person, brick and mortar type register). However, I don’t buy things just because they’re more affordable. I buy things because they deserve it.

Authorize.net has been around for eons, just like PayPal. But PayPal puts plenty of time into both the transactional and ease-of-use in the interface side of things. PayPal has been improving their product all along, where Authorize.net feels enormously sluggish and out-of-date.

But it was Stripe who lead the charge. They came out and made things easy, did it beautifully, and their stuff just plain works.

It would take a huge change in thinking at Authorize.net–and PayPal for that matter–for me to one day think, “Oh, maybe I should give them a try now that they’ve caught up to the little guy.”

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