When it came to selling anything online, the industry standard for many years has been PayPal.
With its roots in eBay, PayPal is very much a household name. Heck, they even have a Super Bowl commercial!
Given PayPal’s market presence most online shopping cart providers (both in the WordPress space and elsewhere) have made PayPal an optional, free payment gateway for their users.
Our WordPress learning management system follows suit: if you want to sell your courses with PayPal you simply add your email address.
Over the years there have been many attempts to disrupt PayPal but with little success.
I remember the days of “StormPay”, among others. If you haven’t heard of StormPay, it’s with good reason – they are no longer in business.
That said, in recent years a new challenger to the PayPal dominance has come about: Stripe.
To some, Stripe feels “less bloated”. It’s also been said that it is far more developer friendly, making it easy to use for commerce components of applications.
Stripe Meets WordPress
Given its ease of use it didn’t take long for Stripe to enter the world of WordPress.
Many of the major shopping cart providers made it available as a premium payment gateway. This made sense given that Stripe (at one time) was relatively new and had a limited use across countries.
However, today the landscape is different.
Stripe’s availability is growing steadily in other countries and is often the preferred method for accepting payments (in some cases over PayPal).
Given their meteoric rise we have seen a change in the way applications incorporate it into their offering.
The shopping cart iThemes Exchange introduced Stripe as a free add-on in its early years, one of the first (to my knowledge) to do so. Recently, the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugin (WooCommerce) decided to offer their Stripe add-on for free as well.
And in case you were wondering, yes the LearnDash Stripe add-on is also free 🙂 .
I think it’s safe to say we’ll see this trend continue across many applications.
PayPal or Stripe – Which to Use?
If you’re in one of the countries that Stripe supports then you may be wondering which gateway to use.
Whether your selling an online course or a physical product my recommendation would be to use both.
PayPal is still a great option to make available for your customers. People generally feel comfortable making payments over PayPal and there is no sense in taking away that security.
That said, don’t be surprised to see that the PayPal users will be in the minority. Many will choose Stripe (i.e. credit card) as their method of payment.