May 17, 2013
Stripe, a Y Combinator graduate, has become one of the most popular ways for startups to accept payments online. Sites like Reddit, Foursquare, Heroku, and Hipmunk are all up and running with Stripe.
But Stripe is a developer product: you have to integrate it into your website’s code, or download a Stripe plugin for WordPress or Drupal. Dodd Caldwell saw how difficult this could be for the non-tech-savvy, so he launched MoonClerk in February.
With MoonClerk, non-developers can just add a link to their website and start accepting payments via Stripe. Their speciality is recurring payments, for companies like coworking spaces, code academies, and subscription marketplaces. Only available in the United States, MoonClerk also lets you design a customized checkout experience and sends automatic receipts.
The fees for MoonClerk are pretty standard: Stripe’s fee of 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction, plus an additional $9 to $75 per month. Stripe’s fee is the same as that of PayPal, which is available internationally, and Google Checkout, which is available in the United States and the United Kingdom. Other recurring-payment options include Chargify ($65 to $495 per month, with no transaction fees) and Recurly (1.25% plus $0.10 per transaction, plus a $65 monthly fee).
For startups choosing a payment method, Caldwell suggested a few things to consider (besides fees, of course).
Speed. With too few hours in the day, startups should look for solutions that don’t waste their time during setup and beyond. He’s happy to report that MoonClerk (and Stripe) can be set up in about five minutes.
“It’s a lot different than the traditional route of: we’re going to go to a merchant account, get a gateway, get an SSL certificate for security, make sure you’re PCI-compliant, do all the programming. Even integrating an API that already does recurring payments and then getting all that up and running, you could be looking at a lot of time in doing that – and with a small startup, time is money,” says Caldwell.
Portability of data. Startups should have the ability to extract and move customer credit card data to another payment processor, if they so choose. PayPal doesn’t offer this.
Dealing with headaches. Look for payment processors who automatically handle sticky situations like expired credit cards, refunds, and chargebacks.
If that’s all taken care of, you can just sit back and watch the dollar signs come flowing in.
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