Stripe vs Braintree: In-depth feature-by-feature comparison
As businesses increasingly shift their operations online, the ability to process transactions smoothly and securely has become a critical success factor. This is where the role of payment gateways becomes paramount. Among the many options available, Stripe and Braintree emerge as two leading contenders in the market. Both offer robust, feature-rich solutions that cater to a wide range of business needs. However, choosing between these two can be challenging, given each platform’s unique strengths. This article aims to demystify this choice by providing a comprehensive comparison of Stripe vs Braintree, thereby assisting businesses in making an informed decision that aligns with their specific requirements.
What are payment gateways?
Payment gateways are the digital equivalent of a point-of-sale terminal found in physical stores. They are essential tools in the world of online commerce, facilitating the secure transfer of information between a payment portal (like a website or mobile app) and the bank or payment processor.
When a customer places an order from an online store, the payment gateway performs several tasks to finalize the transaction. First, it encrypts the data to keep the details secure. It then sends this encrypted data to the merchant’s bank, which forwards it to the customer’s bank. The customer’s bank then decides whether to approve or reject the transaction. This decision is communicated back to the payment gateway, which then sends a message to the merchant to either proceed with the order or inform the customer that the payment has been declined.
Payment gateways are crucial for businesses for several reasons. They provide the infrastructure needed to process online transactions, enabling businesses to accept various payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets. They also offer security measures to protect sensitive data, thereby fostering trust with customers and complying with industry regulations.
In the context of our discussion, both Stripe and Braintree offer payment gateway services, each with its unique features and capabilities, which we will explore in the following sections.
Stripe and Braintree overview
Stripe and Braintree are two of the most prominent players in the payment gateway landscape, each with its unique history and market presence.
Stripe was founded in 2010 by Irish entrepreneurs Patrick and John Collison. It was designed with a focus on developers, offering a set of flexible APIs that allow businesses to customize their payment processes. Over the years, Stripe has grown significantly, serving millions of businesses in over 120 countries. Its client base includes high-profile companies like Lyft, Instacart, and Khan Academy. Stripe’s market presence is substantial, with a significant share in the online payment gateway market.
Braintree, on the other hand, was established in 2007 and later acquired by PayPal in 2013. It provides businesses with the ability to accept payments online or via a mobile application. Braintree’s services are available in over 45 countries and support over 130 currencies. Its client base includes renowned companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Dropbox. Despite being a part of PayPal, Braintree operates as an independent entity, offering its unique features and services.
Both Stripe and Braintree offer robust, reliable, and feature-rich solutions that cater to a wide range of business needs. However, they each have their unique strengths and features, which we will explore in more detail.
Key features comparison
When choosing a payment gateway, it’s essential to consider the key features that each platform offers. Let’s dive into a comparison of the main features of Braintree vs Stripe.
- Payment methods: Both Stripe and Braintree support a wide range of payment methods. They accept all major credit and debit cards, along with digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. However, there are some differences. Stripe supports additional regional payment methods and cryptocurrencies, while Braintree offers exclusive integration with PayPal and Venmo, which can be a significant advantage for businesses targeting PayPal’s large user base.
- Supported currencies and countries: Stripe and Braintree both have extensive global coverage. They support transactions in over 130 currencies and are available to businesses in numerous countries worldwide. However, there are some differences in their geographical availability, which businesses targeting specific regions should consider.
- Fraud protection: Both platforms offer robust fraud protection features. Stripe provides a machine learning fraud detection system called Radar, while Braintree uses Fraud Protection tools powered by Kount, an established leader in fraud prevention.
- Developer tools: Stripe and Braintree both offer comprehensive and flexible developer tools. They provide well-documented APIs and SDKs that allow for a high degree of customization. Stripe is often praised for its excellent developer support and easy-to-use APIs, while Braintree offers a unique software development kit named V.zero SDK.
- Recurring payments and payment plans: Both Braintree and Stripe support recurring payments and offer tools for managing subscriptions and other payment plans, making them suitable for businesses offering subscription-based services.
These are just a few of the key features that Stripe and Braintree offer. The choice between the two will depend on which features are most important to your business.
While Stripe and Braintree share many common features, each platform also offers unique capabilities that set them apart.
Stripe’s unique features:
- Regional payment methods: Stripe stands out for its support for a variety of regional and local payment methods, which can be a significant advantage for businesses targeting specific regions or countries.
- Business loans: Stripe offers a service called Stripe Capital, which provides businesses with quick and easy access to business loans. This feature can be a valuable resource for businesses looking for additional funding.
- Fast onboarding: Stripe offers a streamlined onboarding process, allowing businesses to get started quickly and easily.
Braintree’s unique features:
- PayPal and Venmo integration: As a subsidiary of PayPal, Braintree offers seamless integration with PayPal and Venmo. This feature can be a significant advantage for businesses looking to tap into PayPal’s extensive user base.
- Merchant account: Unlike Stripe, which operates on a shared merchant account model, Braintree provides businesses with their own dedicated merchant account. This can offer greater control and stability.
- Interchange-plus pricing: Braintree offers interchange-plus pricing, which can potentially lead to cost savings for businesses with a high volume of transactions.
Understanding the pricing structure of a payment gateway is crucial as it directly impacts your bottom line. Let’s compare the pricing models of Braintree vs Stripe.
- Transaction fees: Both Stripe and Braintree follow a similar pricing model for online transactions, charging a standard fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per successful transaction. However, custom pricing is available for businesses with large payment volumes or unique business models.
- International transactions: Stripe doesn’t charge any additional fees for international transactions, but currency conversion charges apply. On the other hand, Braintree charges an additional 1% fee if the payment involves a currency conversion.
- Chargeback fees: In case of a chargeback, both Stripe and Braintree charge a fee. Stripe charges $15, while Braintree charges $20. However, if the dispute is resolved in your favor, Stripe refunds the chargeback fee, which is not the case with Braintree.
- Special pricing offers: Braintree offers interchange-plus pricing, potentially leading to cost savings for businesses with a high volume of transactions. Stripe offers a service called Stripe Capital, which provides businesses with quick and easy access to business loans.
It’s important to note that while the pricing structures of Stripe and Braintree are quite similar, the overall cost can vary depending on your specific business model, transaction volume, and the types of transactions you’re processing.
The geographical availability of a payment gateway is a crucial factor for businesses that operate in multiple countries or plan to expand internationally. Let’s look at the geographical coverage of the Stripe Braintree comparison.
- Stripe: Stripe provides its services to businesses in 44 countries, and customers can pay anywhere. It supports processing payments in over 135 currencies, allowing businesses to charge customers in their local currency while receiving funds in theirs.
- Braintree: Braintree is available for businesses in 45 countries and supports over 130 currencies. Like Stripe, it allows businesses to charge customers in their local currency.
While both Stripe and Braintree have extensive global coverage, there are some differences in their geographical availability. For example, Stripe is unavailable in the United Arab Emirates, and Braintree is not an option for companies targeting users in Norway.
Therefore, businesses should consider their target markets and expansion plans when choosing between Braintree and Stripe.
Ease of integration
Both Braintree and Stripe offer comprehensive APIs and SDKs that allow businesses to integrate the payment gateway into their websites or apps. Stripe is often praised for its well-documented and easy-to-use APIs, which make the integration process straightforward. Braintree also offers robust integration options, including its unique software development kit named V.zero SDK, which simplifies the integration process.
- Checkout experience: The checkout experience is crucial as it can impact conversion rates. Both Stripe and Braintree offer customizable checkout experiences, allowing businesses to maintain a consistent brand image. They also support one-click checkout and mobile payments, providing a smooth and convenient payment process for customers.
- Developer tools and support: Both platforms offer extensive resources and support for developers. Stripe provides detailed documentation, libraries in multiple languages, and a prebuilt checkout page. Braintree also offers comprehensive documentation, along with a sandbox environment for testing and a dedicated support team for developers.
Customer support is a vital aspect to consider when choosing a payment gateway. Reliable and timely support can make a significant difference in resolving issues and ensuring smooth operations. Let’s compare the customer support provided by Stripe and Braintree.
- Stripe: Stripe offers a variety of support options, including email and chat support. However, it’s worth noting that Stripe does not provide phone support, which could be a disadvantage for businesses that prefer direct communication. On the positive side, Stripe has an extensive knowledge base with guides and tutorials and a community forum where users can share experiences and solutions.
- Braintree: Braintree provides multiple channels for support, including email, phone, and chat support. This gives businesses the flexibility to choose the most convenient method for them. Like Stripe, Braintree also has a comprehensive knowledge base with guides and FAQs to help businesses troubleshoot common issues.
Regarding the customer support Stripe Braintree comparison, both companies offer robust options. However, Braintree’s phone support gives it a slight edge for businesses that prefer having a direct line of communication with their payment gateway provider.
Managing payments between multiple parties is crucial for businesses operating a marketplace, multi-vendor platform, or economy platform. Both Braintree and Stripe offer solutions tailored to these business models.
- Stripe Connect: Stripe Connect is a powerful solution for marketplaces and platforms. It allows businesses to accept money and pay out to third parties, providing features like multi-party payments, holding funds, and flexible money routing. Stripe Connect also supports over 25 countries, making it a good choice for platforms with international users.
- Braintree Marketplace: Braintree Marketplace is designed to make it easy for marketplace businesses to manage payouts to their sellers or service providers. It offers features like split payments, escrow functionality, and the ability to charge service fees. However, as of the time of writing, Braintree Marketplace is only available to US-based businesses, which could be a limiting factor for international platforms.
E-commerce and CRM integrations
The ability to integrate with various e-commerce platforms and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems is a valuable feature of a payment gateway. It allows businesses to streamline their operations and provide a better customer experience. Let’s look at the integrations offered by Stripe and Braintree.
- Stripe: Stripe offers integrations with a wide range of ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. This allows businesses to easily add Stripe as a payment method on their online store. In addition to e-commerce platforms, Stripe also integrates with various CRM systems, such as Salesforce and Zoho, helping businesses manage their customer relationships more effectively.
- Braintree: Like Stripe, Braintree also provides integrations with popular e-commerce platforms, including Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify. However, Braintree’s standout feature is its seamless integration with PayPal, given that it’s a PayPal service. This allows businesses to offer PayPal as a payment option on their online store, potentially attracting PayPal’s large user base. In terms of CRM integrations, Braintree doesn’t offer as many options as Stripe, but it does integrate with Salesforce.
In summary, both Stripe and Braintree offer valuable integrations with e-commerce platforms. Still, there are differences in terms of CRM integrations and the added advantage of PayPal integration that Braintree offers.
Looking at businesses that use Stripe and Braintree can provide valuable insights into how these platforms can be utilized. These examples illustrate the flexibility and robustness of both Braintree and Stripe, demonstrating their ability to handle complex payment structures and serve businesses of different sizes and industries. Here are some notable examples:
Stripe’s client base includes many businesses, from startups to established companies. Some notable examples include:
- Lyft: The popular ride-sharing service uses Stripe to handle payments, including split payments between riders and drivers.
- Instacart: The online grocery platform uses Stripe to manage its complex payment structure, which includes payments to grocery stores and independent contractors.
- Khan Academy: The educational non-profit uses Stripe to handle donations, allowing them to accept payments from supporters worldwide.
Braintree also serves a diverse range of clients, including:
- Airbnb: The global home-sharing platform uses Braintree to handle transactions between hosts and guests.
- Uber: The ride-hailing giant uses Braintree to manage payments to drivers and to accept payments from riders.
- Dropbox: The cloud storage service uses Braintree for its subscription payments, allowing users to pay for their monthly or yearly subscriptions.
Choosing the right platform
Choosing between Braintree and Stripe depends largely on the specific needs and circumstances of your business. Here are some factors to consider:
- Business model: If your business operates a marketplace or multi-vendor platform, you might find Stripe Connect or Braintree Marketplace particularly useful. Evaluate the features of each to see which aligns best with your business model.
- Target market: If your business targets customers in specific regions, consider the popular payment methods. Stripe supports a variety of regional payment methods, while Braintree offers seamless integration with PayPal and Venmo.
- Pricing: Both Stripe and Braintree have similar pricing structures, but there may be differences depending on your transaction volume, international transactions, and chargeback occurrences. Consider your average transaction size and volume when comparing costs.
- Integration and user experience: Evaluate the ease of integration and each platform’s user experience. Consider your technical resources and the level of customization you want to provide in the checkout experience.
- Customer support: Consider the level of customer support you need. If phone support is important to you, Braintree might be a better choice.
- E-commerce and CRM integrations: If you’re using an e-commerce platform or a CRM system, check the integrations offered by both Stripe and Braintree.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best platform for your business depends on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s worth taking the time to thoroughly evaluate each platform and seek advice from a payment consultant or your development team.
Alternatives to Stripe and Braintree
While Stripe and Braintree are two leading options in the market, businesses might consider several other payment gateways as alternatives. Here are a few:
- PayPal: As one of the most recognized names in online payments, PayPal offers a variety of payment solutions for businesses of all sizes. It’s worth noting that Braintree is a PayPal service and offers seamless integration with PayPal.
- WorldPay: WorldPay is a comprehensive payment processing platform that supports a wide range of payment methods and currencies. It’s particularly strong in multi-currency support and is a good option for businesses with a global customer base.
- Amazon Payments: Amazon Payments allows businesses to leverage Amazon’s massive user base by offering customers the option to pay using their Amazon account details. This can help improve conversion rates by providing a familiar and trusted payment method.
- Adyen: Adyen is a global payment platform that supports various payment methods, including popular digital wallets and local payment methods. It’s known for its transparent pricing and comprehensive reporting features.
Choosing the right payment gateway is a crucial decision for any business operating online. Both Stripe and Braintree emerge as powerful, reliable, and feature-rich options, each with its unique strengths.
Stripe stands out with its developer-friendly APIs, support for a wide range of payment methods, and innovative solutions like Stripe Connect for marketplace businesses. On the other hand, Braintree shines with its seamless PayPal integration, dedicated merchant accounts, and robust customer support options.
However, the choice between Stripe and Braintree isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on your business model, target market, technical resources, and specific needs. It’s essential to thoroughly evaluate each platform and consider the factors that matter most to your business.
While Stripe and Braintree are leading options, remember that other payment gateways like PayPal, WorldPay, Amazon Payments, and Adyen might better suit your business needs.
In the end, the best payment gateway is the one that provides the features you need at a cost that fits your budget while offering a seamless and secure experience for your customers.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stripe and Braintree.
Here are some commonly asked questions about the Stripe Braintree comparison:
- Are Stripe and Braintree secure?
- Yes, both Stripe and Braintree adhere to the highest industry standards for security. They are PCI DSS compliant, meaning they meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.
- Can I use both Stripe and Braintree for my business?
- Yes, using both Stripe and Braintree for your business is technically possible. However, it might complicate your operations and finance management. It’s generally more efficient to choose one platform that best meets your needs.
- Do Stripe and Braintree offer mobile payment solutions?
- Yes, both Stripe and Braintree offer mobile payment solutions. They provide mobile SDKs that allow businesses to integrate their payment gateway into mobile applications.
- What types of businesses can use Stripe and Braintree?
- Stripe and Braintree cater to a wide range of business types and sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. They are suitable for businesses that need to process online payments, including e-commerce stores, subscription services, marketplaces, and platforms.
- How quickly can I start accepting payments after setting up a Stripe or Braintree account?
- The setup process for both Stripe and Braintree is relatively quick, and you can start accepting payments shortly after your account is verified. However, the exact timeline can vary depending on various factors, including your business type and location.