Choosing your payment processor can be a difficult decision with so many options out there. What works for another company may not be right for you. That’s why you need to understand all of the heavy hitters in the payment processor world to determine which features match up best with your business use case.
Stripe and Braintree are two well-known payment processors.
Stripe is designed for businesses that aspire to expand into international markets. Stripe is a highly secure, scalable, and intelligent payment processor and allows for regional payment methods around the world.
PayPal owns Braintree. It’s designed for teams with developer resources that want a high level of customization in their payment system or need individual merchant accounts and custom pricing to suit their growing businesses.
But how do Stripe and Braintree stack up to one another? Here’s an in-depth comparison of Stripe and Braintree.
Table of Contents
- Stripe and Braintree: A Quick Overview
- What Are the Differences Between Stripe and Braintree?
- Stripe or Braintree: Features
- What Do Customers Say About Stripe and Braintree?
- Stripe and Braintree: Offerings
- Stripe and Braintree Fee
- Braintree or Stripe: Which Is Better for Your Subscription and Recurring Billing Needs?
Stripe and Braintree: A Quick Overview
Let’s start this deep dive with a summary of the type of businesses Stripe and Braintree suit, their fee structures, and call out some key features.
What Are the Differences Between Stripe and Braintree?
The first major difference between Stripe and Braintree is that the pricing frameworks for the two services are vastly different.
Stripe’s premium features are offered through an a la carte service and must be selected and purchased separately. This allows customers to pick and choose the features they want or need instead of paying for features they may never use.
Optional extras include add-ons like Stripe Sigma. Sigma is an in-platform data processing tool that helps customers analyze their financial information. Pricing for Stripe Sigma is a flat rate based on transaction volume — if you process up to 500 transactions per month, you’d be charged a $10 monthly fee plus two cents per transaction per month.
Likewise, you could opt to add Stripe Invoicing. This feature costs a flat rate of 0.4% per paid invoice if you’re using the Starter plan, or 0.5% if you’re using the Plus plan.
Braintree takes the opposite approach and bundles all of its services into a premium package.
With Braintree, you get a merchant account and payment gateway, recurring billing, and reporting access to third-party integrations in exchange for a flat rate per transaction in which the price is based on the payment method.
For example, Braintree charges 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction for card payments, 3.49% plus 49 cents per Venmo transaction, and 0.75% per ACH transaction.
The two services are also different from one another in terms of settlement.
Stripe is what’s called an “aggregator.” That means Stripe groups the accounts from all of its business customers into big, shared merchant account. Stripe then deducts its fees from that common pool, which makes onboarding faster for customers.
Braintree, however, provides customers with individual merchant accounts. Larger and more established enterprise businesses typically prefer this. That’s because merchant accounts effectively front businesses the cash they’re owed from pending transactions — minus the merchant account provider’s fee. In turn, merchants can get cash to continue funding operations without having to wait until each and every customer pays their credit card bill.
3. Payment Methods Supported
Stripe and Braintree also differ in their support of payment methods.
Stripe offers more regional payment methods, which work far better for international merchants. Braintree can seamlessly process Venmo and PayPal transactions, as all of these services fall under the same corporate umbrella.
Stripe can’t directly process PayPal or Venmo payments — so if you want to use both services, you’ve got to use them separately or integrate both tools into a third-party platform.
Stripe and Braintree: Features
When it comes to key considerations like transaction fees, ease of use, and fraud protection, who comes out on top? Let’s take a look.
What Do Customers Have To Say About Stripe and Braintree?
Stripe has a score of 4.3 out of 5 stars on the review website G2.
One of the main positives reported by Stripe’s users is that its UX design is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Stripe is also well-liked for its integrations, with consumers on G2 claiming that it works with “just about anything.”
The G2 users have rated Braintree with an average of 3.4 out of 5 stars.
Braintree receives a lot of love for its third-party integrations. Several features, such as the ability to search for specific transactions and easily void sales or issue refunds, were also lauded. Some users compliment the UI and payment terminal for being simple to use. The reports generated by the service were praised pretty heavily by G2 users.
Stripe and Braintree – Offerings in Detail
Here’s a more detailed comparison between Stripe and Braintree.
Invoicing and Billing
When it comes to invoicing, Stripe offers a bundled service where users can get 25 free invoices per month. Once those initial 25 are used up, the system charges a fee of 0.4% per paid invoice. The additional charge for invoices has been noted as a key complaint among Stripe users.
Stripe also has a separate invoicing product called Stripe Invoicing. This add-on tool enables users to create invoices, send them out, and reconcile payments from one location.
Unlike Stripe, Braintree doesn’t natively enable customers to create invoices. Instead, customers have to integrate with third-party invoicing software. That means Stripe includes invoicing as one of its add-on features, but it isn’t a built-in service offered through Braintree.
You can find a full list of invoicing software that Braintree integrates with here — but if it’s recurring billing functionality you’re after, Braintree customers can also integrate with Chargebee.
For recurring payments, Stripe works through Stripe Billing. Stripe Billing is one of many add-on services Stripe offers, and it’s a modular solution that lets you create subscriptions and send invoices — enabling you to accept recurring payments from anywhere..
By contrast, Braintree has recurring billing built-in so that you don’t need to integrate a third-party invoicing solution to handle recurring payments. This feature lets you create payment plans and then regularly and automatically bill your customers against these plans.
It should be noted that both of these services can integrate with Chargebee to manage subscription billing and recurring payments.
This is an important point to bear in mind because subscription businesses need robust tools to accept recurring payments and manage subscriptions — and most payment gateways simply aren’t able to handle the complexities involved.
Whether you’re already operating in other countries or want to scale up and grow in new markets in the future, you’ve got to consider the global coverage of your payment services provider early on. That means understanding how many countries you can accept payments in — and in which currencies.
Braintree is available in 45 different countries and accepts over 130 currencies. But it’s important to note that, to accept local payment methods through Braintree, you’ll first need to integrate those methods with your organization’s Paypal account.
Chargebacks and Refunds
A chargeback is when a payment amount is refunded to a customer after they’ve disputed a charge or returns a purchased item — and they can create big headaches for merchants.
When customers dispute charges using Stripe, the system will notify you through the dashboard, the API, your email, and webhooks.
A chargeback fee is taken when the disputed amount is debited from your account. This dispute fee is $15, which can add up over time.
There is no fee for refunds issued through Stripe, but the transaction fee that you initially paid to the service isn’t returned. Stripe also offers an add-on service called Chargeback Protection. With this service, Stripe will cover any disputed amount and waive dispute fees if your business gets saddled with a fraudulent dispute. This add-on costs 0.4% per transaction.
Like Stripe, Braintree has a chargeback fee of $15 for every chargeback issued. These chargebacks can also be disputed if you feel that a customer is trying to take advantage of you.
All refunds through Braintree can be processed through the service’s API or the user control panel. In terms of support, Braintree facilitates arbitration — but doesn’t accept liability or offer extra protections like Stripe does in terms of chargebacks or disputes.
Pricing and Transaction Fees
Having looked at the key features for both Stripe and Braintree, let’s dig into the numbers and talk fees.
Stripe and Braintree are actually extremely similar when it comes to fee structure. Neither has setup or monthly costs and fees for transactions, currency conversion, and chargebacks are almost the same.
Ease of Use
When deciding between Stripe and Braintree, it’s also important to consider ease of use. Many finance teams are stretched or don’t have the coding knowledge to build and maintain loads of integrations and APIs — so it can go a long way to select a platform that makes life simple in terms of payments, invoicing, and billing.
Stripe has been hailed by many for its ease of use. It boasts a simple setup that’s quick and easy, even for someone with absolutely no coding knowledge. Non-developers don’t have to worry, as the no-code options extend beyond the initial setup.
Of course, there are some more advanced developer options as well. If you don’t have developers on your staff, you’ll be able to work with a Stripe partner who can help you build out your store. These Stripe developers and consultants are also around for custom integrations.
Next, you’ve got Braintree. The core elements of Braintree are easy to navigate because of its close relationship with other PayPal tools. The dashboard and functionality are easy to navigate, and those familiar with PayPal should feel instantly at home.
That being said, Braintree is a service that was created specifically for developers, so it can be more complicated than Stripe if you’re opting for serious customizations.
While it might be more complicated, Braintree can be used to create more personalized custom payment systems. Of course, functionality on this level requires more development knowledge, so it might not be as easy for beginners to pick up and use right away.
Stripe has a large partners directory, which includes all of its featured consulting and technology partners.
Some notable integrations available with Stripe include Chargebee, Amazon Web Services, IBM, Bench Accounting, Capital One, Fiverr, Mailchimp, and more. Of course, as we mentioned before, when using Stripe developers and consultants, you can create custom integrations, allowing Stripe to integrate with just about any software you’re already using.
Customer Service and Technical Support
When it comes to choosing between platforms, it’s important to consider the customer and technical support available to you. After all, if issues arise, you’re going to want to know who you can get in touch with and what type of services to expect.
Stripe’s customer service is available 24/7 through email, live chat, and phone support.
The average live support wait time for users is only three minutes, so there’s not much sitting around and waiting.
The longest anyone would have to wait would be those who choose the email support option. These emails are returned within 24 hours.
Braintree doesn’t provide 24/7 help, but it does offer support from Monday to Friday.
Stripe provides technical help through a live chat system. The service allows you to communicate live with developers who provide technical assistance. This service is run through the chat app Discord.
Braintree also offers technical support, though not through any kind of live chat interface. The only developer-led technical support available comes through an online form that lets you search for your issue and describe the problem in detail.
Compliance and Security
It goes without saying compliance and security have got to be a top priority on your list when shopping around for a payment services provider. Compliance is particularly crucial if you’ve got customers in more than one country — as rules on cross-border payments can vary from currency to currency.
Fortunately, when it comes to compliance, there’s very little to worry about from either of these services.
Stripe is a Level 1 PCI Service Provider and an ISO 27001:2013 certified business.
From a security standpoint, both Braintree and Stripe are solid options. The two services are Level 1 PCI service providers. This is the strictest certification available for the payments industry.
Stripe has a special security system in place called Stripe Radar. It provides machine-learning fraud detection based on observations from millions of transactions worldwide. It employs this information to detect and prevent fraud.
Stripe’s developer tools are relatively straightforward, and they’re laid out on the company’s website. Stripe’s API documentation is extensive and written in plain, easy-to-understand English. That means you shouldn’t have to be a world-class developer to understand the Stripe API.
It’s also useful because Stripe’s API comes with a large library of built-in and ready-made solutions that you can use to get started. From there, all you need to do is make small tweaks to customize the gateway so that it works perfectly alongside your existing tech stack.
You can use the Stripe CLI to test resources from the command line. Once you build your custom integrations, you can test them out in this environment and manage them as needed.
From the dashboard, you can:
- Manage your API Keys
- Set up listeners
- View your request logs
- Set up webhooks
Braintree developer tools include a custom checkout UI, the ability to add on payment methods — as well as tools that help you store customer data (including payment information) securely.
You can use Braintree’s API to:
- Vault payment methods
- Set up clients
- Create transactions
There are also tools for:
With Braintree, it’s possible to use the Braintree developer tools to share data with other platforms or service providers, thanks to OAuth, the Grant API, and the Forward API.
Recap – Pros & cons of each tool
Braintree or Stripe: How can you decide?
When trying to determine whether Braintree or Stripe would be better for your subscription and recurring billing needs, one first has to look at what those needs are. What works for one company might be completely unnecessary for another.
Stripe’s recurring payments system is run through a separate add-on, while Braintree’s recurring billing feature comes bundled with its other services.
Both Stripe and Braintree offer a range of benefits for merchants wanting to accept recurring payments. But both platforms fall flat when it comes to managing subscriptions and recurring payments.
On one hand, Stripe’s add-on billing feature is lacking when it comes to tax configuration and complex billing use cases. Its API has huge potential, but it can complicate things when it comes to customizing your tax profiles.
On the other hand, Braintree’s billing function doesn’t support role-based access for subscription management.