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25 Comments

Alternatives to Stripe?

What's a good alternative to Stripe?
We have been using them for 3+ years, but in that time they have sprawled so many new products and normalized their models to the n-th degree and it's frankly become too complicated for us.

They are also clearly going after the enterprise players rather than indie hackers.

Who is today's choice for indie hackers? What Stripe used to be: Simple, Easy, Listening and just doing the job.

  1. 4

    Can you explain what's complicated about them? They have some of the best documentation and easy to use APIs out there.

    1. 1

      They have a lot of documentation, that's for sure, but I'm not sure how easy to use it is.
      The main issue is really that they have so many different named services - several that are overlapping. So the first complication is to find out which service to use in the first place.
      We started using them 3+ years ago when there was just one service. It was really easy to work out. Today, when I want to extend our implementation I first need to find out what the service we use has morphed into. Is it Connect? Is it Billing? Is it something else? If I can't easily work that out I can't find the documentation.
      Second, the documentation assumes everyone is using the latest API version. A lot of the features they use in their documentation are simply not available in the version of the libraries and the API we use. So where can I find the documentation that is relevant for me? I could, of course, upgrade to the latest versions, but it means re-architecting/implementing our whole subscription/payment management just to implement one small change.
      Finally, as I mentioned, they are increasingly complicating their models.
      Subscriptions used to be Plans, which had prices. Then subscriptions became part of Products. Now, Plans have been changed to Prices. So if you want to change a customer to a different subscription plan, you have to change them to a different price, but keep them on the same subscription plan.

      I am sure this is not an issue at all if you want to start a fresh implementation with Stripe today. Our challenge is that we can't start a new implementation with the latest API, the latest service name and the latest modelling ontology every time we want to implement a minor change to our billing.

      But this is not really Stripe's fault. They have just outgrown us and we need to find a simpler service that better match our needs and is laser focused on delivering solutions for SaaS entrepreneurs.

      1. 2

        Yeah I get how all these changes can be frustrating but if you're thinking of trying out a new service you have to compare that to upgrading to the latest Stripe version and forget the sunk cost of the old system. Chances are Stripe will be cheaper and easier to implement.

        They have actually simplified some of their products - look at Stripe Checkout and Stripe Customer Billing Portal for subscriptions. They are offering more managed services which make life much easier for developers.

        You can also reach out to them with questions on Twitter. They are super responsive and usually get back to me within a few hours.

        1. 3

          @Flemming I'm sorry that you've run into this. I'm a bit biased since I work at Stripe, but like @seattlehacker says here, the bulk of our product focus remains with developers like you. Some of the feedback that we use in product development comes from indie hackers on this very site! In just the past few months: better invoicing, improvements to Checkout, or coupons with the Billing customer portal. Things that enterprise players can easily build with large engineering teams, but Stripe wanted to make simpler for indie hackers.

          Sure, Stripe is growing and we have a sales team now dealing with larger companies, but that doesn't take away from how we design for developers (and if only, it's given us more capability—the number of employees working on improving Checkout has multiplied).

          Connect and Billing are not new and have been around longer than I have been at Stripe (over 5 years)—but yes, you'll see new products introduced by Stripe in the future. To hopefully fulfill requests we're seeing from our users and not to confuse you. And we're iterating on our docs to prevent confusion. The docs are being improved so you can navigate them better, with new integration guides to choose between products (and some more improvements coming soon). But it does sound like you still need some assistance here—our support team is more than happy to help, and I'd love to chat too to see how we can make Stripe easier for you: [email protected].

          1. 1

            I agree, and thanks for chiming in. I see Stripe branching out into different streams but I never felt they lost focus, and are very much a developer-centric company.

  2. 3

    Paddle? Haven't used it but I know some people who're really happy with it.

    https://paddle.com/

    1. 2

      Does anyone have an idea of how much paddle is starting out? Pricing is behind an email form that requires a website but I don't have my landing page up yet. Just an email capture page.

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        No cost to use it, just 5% + $0.50 per transaction

        1. 3

          Ah that is a lot higher than I thought it'd be.

    2. 1

      I've tried to start two projects with Paddle and it was sent to review by their risk team and I never heard back from them either time. Anyone else deal with that?

    3. 1

      We use Paddle. Its great. The payment withdraw isn't instant as stripe but they release the payment on the 15th of every month.

    4. 1

      Thanks Momoko - will check them out. Much appreciated.

  3. 2

    There's Braintree, a subsidiary of PayPal. It's similar to Stripe but with a lot of PayPal integrations. Some of the differences: https://www.fundera.com/blog/stripe-vs-braintree

    (obligatory disclosure this isn't a sponsor, I work as an engineer for Braintree)

    1. 1

      I use braintree and really like it and it has paypal built right in

    2. 1

      Thanks a lot. Really appreciate it. - will check out Braintree!

      1. 1

        Old thread I know but any feedback on Braintree?

  4. 1

    I'm using 2checkout for USD payments @ Kingmailer.co give it a try?

  5. 1

    Maybe some Revenue Operations SaaS as a kind of "Middleware" makes sense for you? Like chargebee.com

    1. 1

      Thanks thanish - I have looked at them, but we are probably still to small.

      1. 1

        They have this "startup plan", where the first 50k in revenue (total value) is free, don't know if that suits your needs or may get too expensive over time (after reaching 50k, you will automatically be upgraded to a plan that costs $99 + 0.5% commission). I have been using this with one project and it really helped me building things up.

    1. 1

      Great overview - thanks!!

  6. 0

    GoCardless has better rates if you're doing bank to bank payments.
    https://gocardless.com/en-us/pricing/

    1. 1

      Last I checked they couldn't handle simple SaaS things like "Subscribing to a quantity of items".

    2. 1

      Interesting. I have paid via them before, but never used them to handle payments. Will check them out. Much appreciated.

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