March 2nd, 2016 WordPress

growing-upWhen 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.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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I used Paypal for years on my old website where I sold practice exams. It did the job but there were always attributes of Paypal I didn’t like. I think the Paypal sandbox was clumsy and Paypal documentation has been less than adequate. I run 2 websites and you can’t have more than 1 website setup under a single paypal account. From experience, I haven’t been too thrilled with Paypal support either.

About 1 year ago we launched our new website running Learndash with iThemes exchange running the stripe integration. Stripe addressed all the issues listed above and more! Stripe is so easy to use for both the merchant and customer. And Stripe is also a little cheaper. I have also experienced support from both Paypal and Stripe and I think Stripe support is better.

There is no doubt Paypal has certainly been the main player and highly trusted by customers for years. However, I think Paypal have rested on their laurels and have seen both of these steadily decline over the years with people increasingly happy to use credit cards through other payment gateways.

I think Stripe is providing some serious competition for Paypal. I think it provides a better experience for the merchant and the customer. I for one am very happy with Stripe and have no intention going back to Paypal.

Avatar Andrew P

Thanks for sharing your personal experience Andrew, I think it’s one that would be shared by many others who have been involved with selling online. Stripe’s approach to this industry is resonating with developers and casual users alike.

The flawless integration into websites and particularly with WordPress had us sold on Stripe from the get-go. We are having a few issues with getting account issues resolved in a timely manner, but other than that, have only good things to report. GrantWatch is seeking a Stripe professional, a consultant of sorts, that may be able to help us resolve these issues in a more timely fashion.

If you know of anyone who is able to assist, remotely or locally in the SouthEast United States, please let us know and we’ll be sure to let them know who recommended their services to us.

Thanks for a great read!

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