Whatever the industry, there’s one thing all businesses have in common: they need to charge customers and collect payments from them. With the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and the subscription economy, this process has become more complicated than handling simple one-time purchases.
For subscription-based businesses with a recurring billing model, it’s imperative that you have the right subscription and revenue management technology. Stripe and Chargify are two well-known subscription billing and payment solutions, but their features, pricing models, and integrations differ.
In this article, we’ll cover how they compare across a variety of factors and whether to consider an alternative like Chargebee. You’ll walk away with a detailed understanding of Stripe and Chargify and an introduction to how Chargebee compares for different subscription billing and management use cases.
Table of Contents
- Stripe Overview
- Chargify Overview
- Stripe vs. Chargify: Pricing Comparison
- Stripe vs. Chargify: Deep Dive Comparison
- What Do Customers Have to Say About Stripe and Chargify?
Stripe is a popular payment gateway that businesses use to accept and process payments. While you can set up recurring payments in Stripe, it is primarily designed for payment processing.
Stripe users need to add the supplemental product, Stripe Billing, in order to manage subscription billing and payments. That being said, Stripe Billing is an add-on to Stripe, not a standalone product and is a less robust option.
If you use Stripe Billing for subscription billing and payment, you will be limited to Stripe as a payment processor.
- Accepts 135+ currencies and serves merchants in 47 countries
- An easy way to add subscription billing and payment functionality if you already use Stripe
- Extensive technical documentation makes it a developer favorite
- Stripe Billing limits you to Stripe as a payment processor
- Difficult for non-technical users to set up and use
Chargify is a subscription billing and management tool designed for SaaS companies. This means its primary purpose is to help businesses create, bill, and manage subscription plans. Unlike Stripe, Chargify doesn’t offer a payment gateway or processor. You’ll need to use a payment gateway along with Chargify to accept recurring payments.
It’s also important to note that Chargify is merging with SaaSOptics, a financial operations platform, and adopting Maxio as its new name.
- Offers revenue forecasting tools
- Ease of use
- Works with payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, and Square
- Additional charges for revenue recognition and CRM integrations.
- No free plan
- Lackluster reporting features
Stripe vs. Chargify: Pricing Comparison
Let’s take an in-depth look at how Stripe and Chargify price their products.
Like most payment processors, Stripe bills by transaction. For successful credit card transactions, they take 2.9% in addition to a flat fee of $0.30. If you choose the Stripe Billing Starter plan, it charges an additional 0.5% on your recurring payments, amounting to 3.4% of the transaction and the $0.30 flat fee.
But to access their “complete billing and reporting solution,” you’ll need the Stripe Billing Scale plan, which charges an additional 0.8% on both recurring payments and one-time invoice payments. This means that each credit card transaction will cost you 3.7% plus $0.30.
Since Stripe processes a variety of other payment methods, they also have pricing structures for those mediums. For example, bank debits and transfers (ACH payments) are charged at 0.8%, with a maximum fee of $5.00.
Unlike Stripe, Chargify and many other subscription billing and management tools are priced at a monthly rate.
Chargify has three different plans available. Only the Essential plan, however, lists the monthly cost. Chargify’s Essential plan starts at $599 per month and allows you to bill up to $75,000 per month. Once you reach this limit, they charge an extra 1% on additional billings.
The Growth plan’s main differentiation from Essential is that it offers more advanced reporting features like summary visualizations and click-through details. The Scale plan is more suitable for enterprises and offers CRM and ERP integrations, multi-site functionality, and dedicated support.
Stripe vs. Chargify: Deep Dive Comparison
Let’s look at some crucial capabilities to consider in a subscription billing platform and how each product measures up.
Recurring Billing and Payments
Recurring billing and payments are at the very core of why you’re looking for subscription and billing management software. When it comes to Stripe, customers would need to purchase its add-on product, Stripe Billing.
Chargify, on the other hand, is made to support a variety of recurring billing and payment models: freemium, trial, one-time charges, and different billing frequencies.
A survey found that 23% of consumers are motivated to sign up for a subscription when there are a variety of plans or pricing options. This is why the ability to create different plans and experiments is so valuable. As a straightforward payment gateway and processor, Stripe doesn’t offer sophisticated subscription management.
Analytics and Accounting
Stripe does offer reporting and analytics on the transactions they process, but it has little to offer when it comes to calculating MRR, trial effectiveness, and other metrics important to subscription-based businesses.
Chargify offers pre-built financial reports that are designed to meet compliance and accounting standards. Reporting and analytics improve when you choose the Growth or Scale plan, but its lack of pricing transparency makes it difficult to gauge the value.
Dunning and Recovery
Stripe Billing offers reminder emails and payment retries to help you recover failed payments. Stripe also works with credit card providers to automatically update information.
Chargify’s approach to dunning and recovery prioritizes the messages and notices users set up for subscribers. You can send end-of-trial emails, renewal notices, and more.
Within Stripe, you can set tax rates and apply them to invoices and payments. For automated tax calculation, users need the add-on product Stripe Tax.
Chargify users can configure taxes for individual products and plans. They support European Union tax setups for businesses based there. Chargebee has a similar configuration process.
Multi-Currency and Global Service
Stripe supports 135+ currencies, allowing you to display prices in a user’s native currency.
Chargify supports 35 different currencies and allows you to designate multiple currencies for your site.
Beloved by developers, Stripe’s APIs means it can integrate with just about any tool (with varying levels of effort).
Chargify has 30+ integrations with common apps and tools like HubSpot. One reviewer noted, however, “Chargify doesn’t integrate well with my other apps, so I’m needing to create webhooks and Zapier integrations.”
Stripe’s offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through email and chat. Stripe doesn’t have an inbound phone number, but you can request a phone call on its help site. Developers can chat about Stripe on its Discord server.
Chargify users have access to a help and documentation site where they can also submit requests.
What Do Customers Have To Say About Stripe and Chargify?
When you look at real customer reviews, Chargebee outperforms Chargify and Stripe in most categories, including revenue forecasting, discounts, plan changes, and automation. Chargebee is by far the superior subscription billing and payment management solution.
While customers praise Stripe for its reliability, multiple reviewers expressed frustration at fees and how they were applied to refunded or discounted transactions. Here’s what one developer said about its fees: “Stripe Billing charges you fees on the full amount, even if you are earning $0 by the customer using a coupon. This behavior has not been described anywhere, and I had to contact support to get it cleared up.”
Chargify customers note its relative ease of use, but there are consistent complaints about their unresponsive and slow customer support. Mediocre reporting was another repeated complaint: “There could be more robust reporting options, as it stands right now it just exports all data and you have to manually sift through all of it.”
Don’t Settle for an Inferior Solution
The right subscription billing and management tool can have a huge impact on your business. When you look at Stripe and Chargify, you can see just how different these solutions are.
Chargebee beats Stripe and Chargify across a wide range of features, with solutions for any subscription billing and payment issue you may run into. Built-in integrations and their flexibility with respect to payment processors make revenue collection and management that much easier.