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Stripe Review: UK Fees, Features & Alternatives ms payment logos

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Stripe Review: UK Fees, Features & Alternatives Harry Jones

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Updated 6th Feb, 2024

6th Feb 2024: Rewrote article with more comprehensive data on what Stripe offers, greater detail on fees for UK SMEs and how Stripe compares to competitors like Paypal, Adyen, Square, Worldpay and

29th Nov 2021: Updated information on Stripe fees.

Stripe Review: UK Fees, Features & Alternatives

Founded in 2010, Stripe has quickly become one of the largest payment processors in the world. Early on, Stripe prided itself on its software and API accessibility, which helped it gain loyalty from tech-savvy startups around the world. But, do they still deliver on their promises for all types of SMEs in 2024?

What Stripe Does Well

Stripe is known for its:

  • A simple, transparent fee structure
  • No setup, cancellation, or monthly fees
  • A Broad range of payment methods and currencies are accepted
  • Strong developer tools, integration, and no-code solutions
  • Great checkout UX

Downsides of Using Stripe

Stripe has four main drawbacks:

  • Fees higher than competitors
  • Regular holding of funds to cover potential chargebacks
  • Less tolerant of higher-risk industries
  • Mixed reviews on customer support

Stripe’s Founding Story

Stripe’s story begins with two brothers from Ireland, John and Patrick Collison, who moved to the U.S. to study. Shortly after dropping out of college — and after a short-lived venture with a different startup — the brothers founded Stripe in 2010.

With seed funding from Y Combinator and early backing from Elon Musk, Stripe quickly gained recognition. They promised to deliver a developer-friendly payment platform, where the API integration would require very little maintenance. Stripe has since received $9.21 billion in funding over 24 rounds and was valued at $50 billion during its March 2023 funding round.

Stripe continues to roll out new products, with recent additions of Tap to Pay on iPhone for in-flight payments and Climate Orders. New integrations frequently appear, such as the Google Workspace partnership to accept payments in Google Calendar, along with the JCB partnership, allowing better access to Japan’s ecommerce market. Japan has become increasingly important to Stripe, as it is only one of two languages offered in customer support.

Stripe Revenue Growth

What Are The USPs of Stripe Payments

Stripe’s popularity comes from its ability to service all types of businesses. These services are split by business size, with startups being offered easy, no-code setups. Scalability is smooth though, as enterprise solutions allow for more powerful developer tools and integrations down the line.

Stripe For Startups and SMEs

It’s quick to get off the ground with Stripe, as startups are offered products tailored to their business type: SaaS, marketplace, ecommerce, and even banking-as-a-service. Businesses can easily send payment links, and invoices, or have a pre-built checkout in their low-code setup.

SMEs can accept in-person payments too through the Stripe Terminal: card readers, mobile tap-to-pay, and developer tools are available. Stripe has a pay-as-you-go model of charging 1.50% + 20p for online payments using standard UK cards, with no setup or monthly fees. With no long-term contract, this model is suited to businesses in their early stages.

Stripe For Enterprise

Stripe offers more complex and bespoke solutions for those who want it. Enterprise use of Stripe can improve their ERP systems, build automated reports, and provide unique customer portals.

Pricing for enterprise businesses is based on the Interchange Plus (IC+) model, which has transparent and adaptable pricing structures based on volume, along with country-specific rates and multi-product discounts.

Online Payment Processing

Embedded Checkout vs Stripe-Hosted Checkout

Stripe has two low-code options for checkouts. Embedding a checkout into your website allows you to style and arrange the form based on preferences and accessibility, giving you more freedom for branding.

Stripe-hosted checkout is when customers are redirected to a Stripe page. Customisation is still possible and various functionalities are on offer, like subscription and promotion codes. This may help reduce checkout abandonment if your brand isn’t trusted yet, as a Stripe page instils confidence.

Stripe deems both options to be very similar: low code, limited customisation, responsive, and with tax built-in.

Stripe Billing For Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are possible on both the embedded and Stripe-hosted checkout. With no code, it’s possible to have free trial and coupon features, along with a start and end date subscription.

Stripe subscription API has more customisation potential, such as membership tiers, upgrade/downgrade options, and fixed contracts with penalties. Usage-based subscriptions for activity outside of Stripe are also possible, along with a variety of pricing models (flat rate, usage-based, per seat, etc.)

There are two billing prices for recurring payments. Starter charges 0.50% on recurring payments, and this allows businesses to create subscriptions, discounts, free trials, and manage billing.

For a 0.80% charge on recurring payments (and one-time invoices), Scale offers a few more features like quote estimates, smart payment retries, and one-time invoicing.

Both packages have a customer portal that lets customers manage their billing on a Stripe-hosted page.

Payment Links For Email Invoicing

Businesses can send a sharable link that leads customers to the Stripe-hosted payment page. This no-code payment solution is ideal for businesses without a website, as it enables them to send payment requests via email or instant messaging. This is also a good way of keeping track of business payments with no web development.

In-Person Payments With Stripe Terminal

The Stripe Terminal is a way to process payments in a physical location, like when customers pay with a physical debit card. Stripe offers various products, from mobile readers that pair with a POS device to smartphone software for accepting contactless payments.

The two pre-certified card readers available cost £49 and £179 respectively, which is more costly than many competitors, with both offering cloud-based fleet management.

In-person payments are cheaper at a rate of 1.40% + 10p for EEA cards, though smartphone contactless payments cost an additional 10p per authorisation.

Stripe User Growth

Over 1.3 million live websites currently use Stripe.

75% of Forbes Cloud 100 companies use Stripe.

Approximately 56% of the websites using Stripe are in the US (739,460). 

The UK is the region with second largest number of uses with 77,792.

Stripe Fees (UK & International Business)

Stripe uses a per-transaction pricing model with no setup or monthly fees. Fees are reasonably competitive at 1.50% + 20p for standard UK cards and 1.90% + 20p for premium UK cards. Unusually, fees are the same for debit and credit cards.

The 20p flat price always remains, while the percentage fee rises to 2.50% and 3.25% for EEA cards and international cards respectively. Currency conversion is less competitive, at a commission of 2%.

Stripe-hosted link payments are 1.20% + 20p for all UK cards, while a custom domain can be used for $10 per month. Recurring payments add an additional 0.50% to the existing processing fee.

Additional fees:

  • Billing: 0.50% or 0.80% depending on package
  • Invoicing0.40% per invoice paid
  • Tax reporting0.50% per transaction (+40p when integrating tax on custom checkout)
  • Revenue reporting: 0.25% of volume
  • Sigma (business intelligence, SQL query templates)starting at 1.5p per charge
  • Data pipeline: 2p per transaction
  • Radar (risk management): 4p to 8p per transaction
  • Chargeback protection0.4% per transaction
  • Identity lookup and selfie verification: 40p per lookup and £1.25 per verification respectively
  • Atlas (form an LLC, open a US bank account, issue stock): One-time $500
  • Card creation: £3.50 per physical card

Some smaller additional fees to consider:

  • Adaptive Acceptance: 0.08% per card charge
  • Local payment methods1% (20p minimum fee)
  • Instant payouts: 1% (40p minimum fee)
  • Disputes: £20 per dispute
  • Post payment invoices: 0.40% ($2 cap per invoice)

Stripe Alternatives & Competitors

Stripes main payment gateway competitors are below and you can also see how it compares with a more comprehensive list of payment gateways for UK businesses here

Stripe Vs PayPal

Both Stripe and PayPal share similarities in what they offer for low card turnover businesses. though PayPal may be one of the few companies with an even easier onboarding process. For larger businesses, Stripe has more customisation and enterprise-level tools and is a far better option than PayPal.

Stripe is cheaper than Paypal for local transactions (PayPal charges between 1.20% to 3.40% + fixed fee), though PayPal has lower fees for international transactions. This, to some extent, is balanced out by PayPal’s more expensive currency conversion.

Despite both offering embedding and hosted links for payments, the experience for the customer can differ as they need to sign in with PayPal for payments. This is not the case when using PayPal Payments Pro (£20 a month), as you can now access full checkout integration.

PayPal still has a larger market share, but Stripe is catching up due to offering far more currencies, lower domestic fees, and in-person customer service.  

Stripe Vs Adyen

Adyen is a growing Dutch payment processor that offers mobile, ecommerce, and POS payments. Both companies offer similar payment processing services, with risk protection and dynamic reporting, and no setup or monthly fees.

Adyen offers flexible multi-currency payouts and highly varying fees. For Visa and Mastercard payments from UK cards, Adyen charges 0.60% + 10p in addition to the scheme and interchange fees.

The example below shows the fees charged on Mastercard debit, credit and business cards on a £25 purchase for a business with a Merchant Category Code 5999 (Miscellaneous and Speciality Retail).

Other card types and payment methods may have higher fees. For example:

  • Klarna: 4.99% + £0.20
  • AMEX: 3.95%

Adyen does a good job of linking bank accounts from different currencies to avoid converting the currency for you. This makes it more competitive than Stripe when dealing in various international markets. Plus, the tokenised encryption of card details means you can spot returning customers without storing card data.

Adyen’s omnichannel solutions offer a lot of flexibility, such as paying in-app yet collecting in person, or using a QR code to pay. Adyen has more POS devices to choose from than Stripe, with all data returning to a single, clean dashboard.

You can view Adyen’s fee calculator for UK businesses here.

Stripe Vs Square

Square was launched with the intention of making credit card payments easier for SMEs. However, this grew into offering online, remote, smartphone, and manually entered payments too. The processing rates of using Square in the UK are:

  • UK cards (online): 1.40% + 25p
  • Non-UK cards (online): 2.50% + 25p
  • In-person (contactless, chip and pin, mobile): 1.75%
  • Manually entered: 2.50%

A big selling point of Square is its pricing simplicity. There are no hidden fees, no chargeback fees (£20 at Stripe), and is cheaper than Stripe for most transactions and hardware. However, there are far fewer developer tools or software features compared to Stripe.

Stripe Vs Worldpay

Worldpay, otherwise known as FIS Global, offers a comprehensive suite of business solutions. Two initial areas where it differs from Stripe is that it lacks simplicity and that it charges various monthly fees. Card processing fees will heavily depend on your average annual card turnover, business type and average transaction value (ATV) making it hard to project costs.

As an example, the following fees are for retail businesses with annual card turnovers ranging from £25,000 to £10,000,000 and an ATV of £25. The higher the card turnover, the lower the fees.

  • In-person debit card fees: 0.30% to 0.60%
  • In-person credit card fees0.70% to 1.50%
  • Online / MOTO debit card fees: 0.70% to 1%
  • Online / MOTO credit card fees1.10% to 1.90%

The good news is that if you have high revenue, you will benefit from very competitive fees from Worldpay. But, Wordlpay’s monthly fees can include £49.99 for a card machine, £9.99 for over-the-phone payments, £19.95 or £45 for a standard or advanced payment gateway packages, and a minimum service charge of £15 — Stripe is cheaper in these areas.

Its broader range of services and fee structure means that Worldpay makes more sense for larger businesses to consider.

Stripe Vs Checkout

Checkout offers payment processing services on a month-to-month contract with very low fees. Checkout is a British firm that resembles Stripe quite closely; its website is modern, and it boasts of API simplicity and developer-friendly tools. One key difference, though, is that they’re even more focused on enterprise solutions than Stripe.

Checkout accepts payments in over 150 currencies, meaning it can lower costs through accepting payments in local markets. Checkout is global enough to accept Alipay and WeChat Pay.

For card processing, Interchange++ pricing is used, and prices are reflected by your “business profile and risk category”. However, the flexible pricing makes it difficult to compare with Stripe, and while the reviews regarding price are positive, it may not be suited to small, no-code merchants.

Stripe Fees Compared

  Stripe Square Adyen PayPal
Debit Cards (Online) 1.50% + 20p 1.40% + 25p 0.60% + 10p + Interchange Fees + Scheme fees 1.20% + 30p (2.90% + 30p for Payments Pro Express Checkout)
Visa & Mastercard Credit Cards (Online) 1.50% + 20p 1.40% + 25p 0.60% + 10p + Interchange Fees + and Scheme fees 1.20% + 30p (2.90% + 30p for Payments Pro Express Checkout)
Business Cards (Online) 1.90% 2.50% + 25p 0.60% + 10p plus Interchange + Scheme fees  
International Cards

EEA Cards: 2.50% + 20p

Non-EEA cards: 3.25% + 20p

+ 2% if currency conversion is required

2.50% + 25p 0.60% + 10p plus Interchange + Scheme fees 1.20% or 2.90% + fixed fee depending on currency
Recurring Transactions Transaction cost + 0.50% Transaction cost   £20 per month
In-Person Costs

EEA cards: 1.40% + 10p

non-EEA cards: 2.90% + 10p

Tap to pay on mobile app: 10p per authorisation

1.75% for all cards 0.60% + 10p plus Interchange + Scheme fees 1.75% via Zettle
Chargeback Fees £20 £0 £8.20 £12 (£24 for High Volume Dispute Fee)
Payment Link No additional fee 2.50% + 25p   1.20% + 30p 
Local Payment Methods

1% Bacs Direct Debit.

Minimum fee of 20p (£2 cap)

Direct Debit

1% starting at 

20p capped at £2.00

    1.20% + 30p
Bank Transfer 0.50% capped at £5.00 (50p per successful refund)   €0.11+ € 0.50 (Open Banking) 1.20% + 30p
Instant Payouts 1% (Minimum fee of 40p) 1%   No fee

Stripe Customer Support

Although Stripe is often considered to be a dev-first solution, you’re by no means left to your own devices. Stripe goes beyond offering user-friendly visual guides — their API documentation is considered state-of-the-art. Stripe have even made sample projects for you to clone from Github.

If there is still a problem, there’s a Stripe-hosted Discord chat for technical conversation. For general support, merchants can email (< 24-hour response time), use instant chat, or request a phone call.

Reviews can be a mixed bag when it comes to over-the-phone support, with some instances of long waiting times and people feeling stranded.


Stripe has several free reports, such as balance and payout reconciliation, which can be downloaded as CSV files or viewed in the dashboard. All reports are complimented with guides on how to navigate them, with QuickBooks + NetSuite support also available.

Real-time reporting and advanced business insights are available, such as revenue recognition, cash accounting, and reconciliation automation. Some reports, like revenue recognition, come at a transactional cost (0.25% of volume).

Payment data can be viewed in the dashboard. Sigma is the feature where you can leverage SQL and create custom reports. Pricing becomes preferable at larger charge volumes, with 1000 monthly charges estimated to cost approximately £34 per month.

Is Stripe Secure?

Stripe is extremely secure and places a large emphasis on fraud detection. With Fraud Radar, machine learning techniques are used to detect and block fraudulent transactions. Equally, a focus is placed on misdiagnosing threats to ensure acceptance rates are not lower than they need to be.

However, there are still many experiences of merchants having their funds held by Stripe for months at a time due to Stripe’s own risk management strategies.

Is Stripe Safe?

Stripe is generally considered to be safe. It’s compliant with many reputable financial regulators around the world and has a sophisticated cybersecurity infrastructure. However, there are issues regarding fraud and chargebacks that have left many merchants short-changed.

Steve Chou, from, faced a series of fraudulent transactions and chargebacks that led to Stripe suspending his account. With minimal notice and limited support, Steve had to transfer his 7-figure membership business to a different payment processor. A simple Reddit search highlights that holding funds isn’t an uncommon issue.

Typical Feedback from Stripe Customers


  • Ease of Use: Stripe is appreciated for its user-friendly interface, suitable for both no-code users and those requiring complex customisations.
  • Fast Setup: Users often praise the quick and straightforward setup process.
  • Reliability: Many long-term users find Stripe reliable, with consistent pricing and transaction handling.
  • Positive Customer Support Experiences: Many users have found Stripe’s customer support to be pleasant and helpful.


  • Changing Developer Tools: Over time, Stripe’s API has become more complex, drifting slowly away from its initial promise of simplicity.
  • Payout Issues: A significant number of reviews report problems with paused payouts and account balances.
  • Selective Service: Some merchants express frustration over Stripe refusing to serve them shortly after setting up.
  • Slow Support Response: Customer support is often criticised for being slow to respond.

One of the most common points of praise for Stripe is its ease of use. Despite its powerful customisation potential, it remains accessible for no-code users — people often praise how fast the setup process was. The only caveat here is that, while Stripe once promised an extremely simple API, it has become more bloated over time.

Though it may be survivorship bias, many reviews claim it is a reliable company that they have used for years without issue, highlighting its consistent pricing and transaction handling. It’s also common for user reviews to express their confusion regarding customer support complaints, claiming they found support to be pleasant and helpful.

Regarding issues, pausing payouts and without balances are by far the most common complaints, along with outright refusing to serve some merchants after some time. After these complaints, support is frequently slated as taking too long.”

Businesses Prohibited By Stripe

Just because your business is legal, it doesn’t mean Stripe will do business with you. First and foremost, you cannot do business with any high-risk jurisdictions, which Stripe determines to be Crimea, Donetsk, Syria, North Korea, and a few others.

You cannot use Stripe when your business is involved with illegal drugs, ID-providing services, and many other illegal services or products that infringe upon property rights (music distribution, counterfeit goods etc.). Adult content and services (including dating services) are prohibited, as are industries that are legal but considered high-risk (firearms, gambling etc.).

While there are many jurisdiction-specific prohibitions, ultimately, you may find yourself to be deemed high risk by Stripe without reference to any literature. Some reviews claim to have paused payouts early on due to being labelled, to their surprise, as high risk.

A full list of Stipe’s Prohibited and Restricted Businesses can be found here.

Business Information Required To Use Stripe

Stripe must verify both your business and its risk level before working with a merchant. Business identification involves providing a business address and ownership, website ownership, and a bank account. This needs to be followed up with what you sell and whether that is allowed, and then Stripe will verify the risk level of your business.


For startups and low-risk merchants processing under £10k monthly online, Stripe is worth considering due to their easy set-up, strong checkout UX, and flat rate pricing. But despite its strong developer infrastructure, it may not be optimal for a large enterprise.

However, for high-risk businesses and/or SMEs processing over £10K per month, there are better options. There are other merchant account providers with lower fees that will have sufficient fraud protection, chargeback prevention, and more responsive customer support.

By contacting us, we can get you quotes from alternatives to Stripe that typically save you significant monthly transaction charges.

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