What Percent Does Stripe Take? An Expert's Guide to Stripe Pricing & Fees - DirectPayNet
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What Percent Does Stripe Take? An Expert’s Guide to Stripe Pricing & Fees


As a leading payment processor, Stripe has revolutionized the way businesses handle online and in-person transactions. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, Stripe has become a go-to choice for merchants of all sizes.

However, one question that frequently arises is, “What percent does Stripe take?” In this guide, we’ll dive into its pricing structures, exploring the various Stripe fees and charges associated with their payment processing services. From standard transaction fees to additional costs like chargebacks and currency conversions, we’ll provide you with an expert’s perspective on navigating Stripe’s pricing model effectively.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a high-volume enterprise, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to optimize your payment processing expenses and make informed decisions for your business.

What Stripe Takes

Stripe offers two main pricing packages for payment processing, both of which are flat-rate – the Standard and Premium plans.

The Standard Package Rates

  • 2.9% + $0.30 for online credit card transactions (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
  • 2.7% + $0.30 for in-person payments using a card reader (i.e., point-of-sale; POS terminal)
  • 0.8% for ACH credit and debit transactions
  • 1% for wallet payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Additional fees may apply for international cards, currency conversion, chargebacks, etc.

Stripe’s standard rates are competitive but non-negotiable for most merchants. The fees are automatically deducted from each card payment before the remaining amount is transferred to your bank account.

The Premium Package Rates

For larger merchants processing over $1 million annually, Stripe offers customized Premium pricing which can provide lower rates:

  • Interchange+ model passing through interchange fees plus a markup percentage
  • Potential for lower overall fees, especially for qualified card-present rates
  • Customized pricing evaluated based on projected volume, business model, risk factors

The Premium pricing utilizes interchange-plus or cost-plus pricing, where the merchant pays the actual interchange and assessment fees from the card networks plus Stripe’s markup percentage.

This model can yield savings compared to Stripe’s standard rates for high-volume merchants able to qualify for the lowest interchange pricing tiers.

Non-Negotiable Fees

While Stripe does offer customized pricing for some high-volume enterprise merchants, their standard rates are generally fixed fees and non-negotiable, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.

Stripe takes a straightforward approach to pricing without complex tier systems or long-term contracts.

The transparency and simplicity of Stripe’s pricing model is one of its key advantages, allowing businesses to easily forecast costs. However, it also means there is little room for negotiating lower baseline fees based on volume or tenure as a customer.

The same rings true for Stripe’s top competitors in the 3rd-party credit card processing industry; PayPal and Square.

Lowering Payment Processing Fees

While Stripe’s standard rates are competitive, there are several strategies businesses can employ to further reduce their payment processing costs.

Strategies to Reduce Costs

  • Encourage customers to use payment methods with lower fees like ACH direct debit or digital wallets.
  • Batch and schedule non-urgent payouts to take advantage of lower fees.
  • Properly categorize transactions to qualify for lower interchange rates.
  • Avoid unnecessary currency conversions by using multi-currency pricing.

Contacting Stripe for Preferential Pricing

For high-volume merchants processing over $1 million annually who are dead-set on using Stripe (even if we warn you not to at that volume), it may be worthwhile to contact Stripe’s sales team to request preferential pricing. Stripe evaluates these requests on a case-by-case basis factoring in projected volume, business model, and other criteria.

PCI Compliance Importance

Maintaining full PCI DSS compliance is crucial for avoiding unnecessary fees and fines from payment brands. Non-compliance can lead to higher transaction rates and monthly fees from processors like Stripe. Investing in security best practices pays off through lower overall processing costs.

Payment Processing Optimization

In addition to reducing baseline processing fees, there are several optimization strategies businesses can employ to further decrease costs with Stripe.

Utilizing Alternative Payment Methods

While credit and debit cards are popular, they often come with higher processing fees compared to methods like ACH direct debit (0.8%), digital wallets (1%), and bank transfers/wires. Offering and incentivizing these lower-cost options can significantly reduce your overall processing expenses.

Understanding Dispute and Chargeback Fees

Chargebacks can be costly, with Stripe charging $15 per dispute in addition to the transaction amount. Implementing fraud protection tools, clear refund policies, and excellent customer service can help mitigate chargebacks. Disputing illegitimate chargebacks is also advisable to avoid unnecessary fees.

Reviewing and Renegotiating Statement and Annual Fees

Stripe charges monthly statement fees, annual fees, setup fees, and other recurring costs (as does most providers). Periodically reviewing these ancillary charges with your Stripe account manager ensures you are not overpaying. For high-volume merchants, renegotiating or waiving some of these fees may be possible.

Expanding Payment Options

While credit cards remain the dominant payment method for many businesses, expanding your accepted payment types can unlock significant cost savings and cater to diverse customer preferences.

Adding Alternative Payment Processing Methods

Integrating digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and popular Buy Now Pay Later services like Klarna allows you to process those transactions at lower rates compared to credit cards. ACH bank debits and wire transfers also tend to have much lower fees.

Market-Specific Payment Modes

Different geographic markets may have entrenched local payment preferences. For example, iDEAL is a leading online bank transfer method in the Netherlands. Accepting these regional payment options can reduce cross-border fees and enhance the checkout experience for international customers.

Expanding your international payment processing capabilities is a wise strategy to reduce Stripe’s cut of each sale while also improving conversion rates and providing payment flexibility for your global customer base.

Cost-Plus Pricing Strategy

For some larger merchants, Stripe offers customized cost-plus pricing that can potentially reduce processing fees compared to their standard rates. However, this option requires meeting certain criteria.

Exploring Cost-Plus Pricing with Stripe

Stripe’s cost-plus pricing model passes through the actual interchange and assessment fees from the card networks to the merchant, plus a fixed markup percentage. This can yield savings for businesses with significant transaction volumes, particularly for qualified rates.

To be eligible, merchants generally need to process over $1 million annually and have very low chargeback rates. Stripe evaluates cost-plus pricing requests individually based on projected volume, average ticket size, customer verticals, and other risk factors.

Transaction Types and Customer Data

The fees on a cost-plus plan can vary significantly based on transaction types (e.g. card-present vs card-not-present) and the data transmitted. Providing complete billing/shipping details and level 3 line-item data can help qualify for lower interchange rates from the card brands.

Level 2/3 Data and Fee Reductions

Businesses able to pass along level 2 and level 3 transaction data pay lower interchange rates compared to those only providing level 1 data. This richer data allows the card networks to better categorize and qualify each sale.

Misconceptions about Free Payment Processing

While the idea of free payment processing may sound appealing, there are several misconceptions that businesses should be aware of before opting for these types of solutions.

Debunking Myths of “Free” Processing

Many providers advertise no monthly fees or zero processing rates, but the reality is that there are always costs involved. These “free” solutions typically pass along the processing fees to the customer at checkout, resulting in higher cart abandonment rates.

Even if the merchant doesn’t pay explicit fees, the provider recoups costs through other means like higher interchange rates, monthly minimums, annual fees, or marked-up equipment leasing.

Implications of Passing Fees to Customers

While passing processing fees to customers may seem like an easy way to avoid merchant costs, it often leads to a poor checkout experience at the payment gateway. Customers expect businesses to absorb these operational expenses.

Surprising shoppers with additional fees during checkout can significantly impact conversion rates and brand perception. It also makes pricing less transparent for customers.

Maintaining Customer Satisfaction for Online Businesses

For online merchants, providing a seamless and transparent checkout flow is crucial for maximizing sales. Introducing unexpected costs or friction at the final step can undo all the hard work of optimizing the customer journey up to that point.

Free online payment processing options may seem enticing, but prioritizing customer satisfaction by absorbing processing fees is generally advisable for ecommerce businesses. Profitable operations and long-term growth rely on keeping customers happy.

While free payment processing is marketed aggressively, understanding the hidden costs and implications on conversion rates reveals why most established online businesses choose transparent, paid processing solutions especially for international transactions.


About the author

As President of DirectPayNet, I make it my mission to help merchants find the best payment solutions for their online business, especially if they are categorized as high-risk merchants. I help setup localized payments modes and have tons of other tricks to increase sales! Prior to starting DirectPayNet, I was a Director at MANSEF Inc. (now known as MindGeek), where I led a team dedicated to managing merchant accounts for hundreds of product lines as well as customer service and secondary revenue sources. I am an avid traveler, conference speaker and love to attend any event that allows me to learn about technology. I am fascinated by anything related to digital currency especially Bitcoin and the Blockchain.