Stripe vs. Shopify—Which Is Right for You?

Written on April 19, 2020
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If you’re running an online store or other ecommerce business, the way in which you accept payments is integral to your operations. After all, you want your payment process to run smoothly so that you can actually get paid—plus, you want to be able to offer your customers the best possible experience so that they continue to purchase from your business. This being said, much of your ability to achieve these goals depends on the online payment processor you choose.

Ultimately, there are a variety of merchant services solutions available to you. If you currently or plan to use an ecommerce software, like Shopify, you might find that your platform actually offers their own payment processing service, like Shopify Payments. On the other hand, you might choose to work with a specific payment gateway provider or third-party payments platform, like Stripe. So, is Shopify Payments or Stripe right for your online payment processing needs?

This Stripe vs. Shopify comparison is here to help you find out. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Stripe and Shopify—including how the two are inherently different—so that you can decide which is best for your business.

Overview

If you’re researching online payment solutions, it’s likely that you’ve come across Stripe, Shopify, or both—as both of these companies are big names in the ecommerce industry. However, even at a surface level, Stripe and Shopify are pretty different. 

To explain, Stripe is first and foremost an online payments platform—meaning that the purpose of Stripe is to facilitate and process online (and sometimes in-person) payments. Therefore, when you sign up for a Stripe account, you receive access to their payments platform, which gives you the ability to accept payments in the way that works for your business. You can integrate Stripe with your ecommerce software, customize their embeddable checkout, or create your own checkout using the Stripe APIs.

Shopify, on the other hand, is first and foremost an ecommerce platform. Generally, the purpose of Shopify is to allow you to create, customize, and manage an online store—which, of course, includes payment processing. This being said, Shopify is a fully hosted, all-inclusive software, meaning once you sign up for an account, you receive access to all of the tools and settings as they exist in the Shopify system. 

With this in mind, the important distinction to understand with Shopify is that as an ecommerce platform, Shopify offers their own payment processing service, Shopify Payments—and this service is actually powered by Stripe. By using Shopify Payments, therefore, you can accept and receive online payments through your ecommerce store or through the Shopify POS to accept in-person payments.

In this way, the true comparison is between Shopify Payments and Stripe, as Stripe integrates with, but does not offer, ecommerce software. You can find a summarized version of this comparison in the table below:

Stripe vs. Shopify Payments Comparison

Stripe Shopify Payments
Transaction Fees
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments; 2.7% + $0.05 per transaction for in-person payments
With Basic Shopify ($29 per month) 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments; 2.7% for in-person payments
Merchant Account
Payment service provider that does not require a dedicated merchant account
Payment service provider that does not require a dedicated merchant account (Shopify Payments is actually powered by Stripe)
Payment Types Accepted
-All major credit and debit cards
-Apple Pay, Google Pay, other wallet payments
-International and local payments
-ACH debit, credit, and wire transfers
-All major debit and credit cards
-Wallet payments
-International and local payments
-Option for manual payment for pick-up orders
Currencies Accepted
135+ currencies
85 currencies
Countries Available
Available in 36 countries
Available in 15 countries
Average Payout Time
Two business days for U.S.-based businesses; can vary with customized payout schedules
Two business days for U.S.-based stores
Mobile App
Stripe mobile dashboard app available for iOS and Android
Shopify mobile app (iOS and Android) available for managing your online store; Shopify POS app available for accepting in-person payments
Integrations
Over 450 integration options including platforms and extensions
Nearly 4,000 apps available to integrate with Shopify platform as a whole; not all apps will be compatible with Shopify Payments
Customer Support
24/7 customer support via phone, chat, or email
24/7 support via chat and phone
Best For
Business owners who are looking for a more customizable, flexible payments solution; business owners who don’t use Shopify as an ecommerce platform
Business owners who currently or plan on using Shopify to host their online store

Stripe Features

With this overview in mind, let’s get into the details of our Stripe vs. Shopify comparison, starting with what each of these payments solutions has to offer in terms of features. 

First, with Stripe, you can sign up for an account quickly and easily online and start accepting payments almost immediately. As a payment service provider, Stripe aggregates all of their customers’ funds in a single merchant account before distributing them to their respective business bank accounts—and therefore, you do not have to go through an extended underwriting process or apply for a dedicated merchant account when using Stripe.

This being said, with access to Stripe’s standard payments platform, you’ll be able to:

  • Accept major debit and credit cards, including wallet payments like Google and Apple Pay
  • Accept international payments (over 135 currencies) and local payment methods
  • Accept ACH direct debit, credit, or wire transfers

Additionally, to actually accept these different types of payments, Stripe offers:

  • An embeddable checkout for desktop, tablet, or mobile
  • Custom UI toolkit for building your own unique payment form
  • Online invoicing through Stripe Billing
  • Stripe terminal (the physical terminals must be purchased separately) to accept in-person payments
  • Stripe Connect to add payments capabilities to your existing platform or marketplace (this is actually how Shopify is using Stripe to power Shopify Payments)
  • Stripe Sources to process physical checks sent directly from customers
  • Integration opportunities with over 450 platforms and extensions like WooCommerce, Squarespace, BigCommerce, Xero, Wave accounting, FreshBooks, and more

stripe vs shopify, stripe checkout

Example of a pre-built Stripe checkout page on desktop and mobile. Image source: Stripe

Plus, on top of their payment-specific tools, your Stripe account also includes:

  • PCI-compliance
  • Data security and encryption
  • Authentication and authorization logic for revenue optimization
  • Unified payouts with the option for instant payouts (requires additional fees)
  • Fraud protection through Stripe Radar
  • Real-time and unified reporting
  • Business dashboard to manage your operations and data, including roles, permissions, and collaboration notes
  • iOS and Android dashboard apps
  • 24/7 customer support via email, chat, or phone

Finally, in addition to all of these features—which are part of the standard Stripe payments platform—Stripe also offers other options and advanced tools at associated costs. Some of these add-on options include a custom version of Stripe Connect, advanced fraud protection through Stripe Radar, chargeback protection, Stripe Sigma for SQL-based data, Stripe Atlas for starting a business, and Stripe Premium Support.

As you can see, there’s a reason Stripe has become such a well-known name in the world of online payments. Between the functionality that actually allows you to accept payments online and their additional tools, Stripe offers a customizable, flexible, and robust payments platform suitable for a variety of ecommerce businesses. 

Shopify Features

As a reminder, the biggest difference between Shopify and Stripe is that whereas Stripe is strictly a payments platform, Shopify is an ecommerce software platform. Therefore, Shopify provides everything you need to start selling online—with Shopify, you can create and customize your online store, list and manage products, take and ship orders, and market your business. Additionally, one of the most significant features included with a Shopify subscription is the ability to accept payments. 

Although Shopify allows you to integrate with over 100 third-party payment providers (specific availability varies based on your location), including top names in the U.S. like Adyen, PayPal, WorldPay, and Authorize.Net—they also offer their own service, Shopify Payments. To reiterate, Shopify Payments is actually powered by Stripe. 

It’s important to mention that Shopify Payments is only currently available in 15 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. By contrast, Stripe is available in 36 countries around the world. If Shopify Payments is available in your country, however, it will be immediately available for you to use as soon as you sign up for a Shopify account.

This being said, Shopify Payments allows you to accept all major payment methods—debit and credit cards, mobile wallets, and local currencies—within your Shopify store, without requiring you to add an integration or manage your account through another platform.

Additionally, using the features within the Shopify software, you’ll be able to customize your online shopping cart and checkout page, add a buy button to an existing website, and sell on additional channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Amazon.

stripe vs shopify, shopify checkout

Here’s an example of a Shopify Payments checkout. Image source: Shopify

You’ll also be able to use Shopify Payments to accept payments in-person with Shopify POS. In this case, you’ll be able to use the Shopify POS app and a compatible card reader to accept credit cards, create custom payment options, split payments, take partial payments, customize discounts and fees, and more.

Moreover, Shopify Payments includes payment data encryption, PCI-compliant servers, 3D secure checkouts, as well as payment and order tracking through your Shopify account. On top of these features, Shopify Payments also offers:

  • Payout notifications and adjustable settings
  • Option to enable AVS and CVV fraud filters
  • Customizable tax settings
  • Different options for store currency vs. payout currency (your payout currency has to be the same as the location of your bank account and Shopify POS can only be used in your payout currency )
  • Option to allow customers to shop and pay in their local currency (85 options) with automatic conversions and rounding 
  • Automatic integration with PayPal
  • Accelerated checkouts with saved customer and payment information
  • Option to set up and accept manual payment methods
  • Payment-specific analytics and reports

To use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay for one of the Shopify subscription plans. With your Shopify subscription, you’ll have access to all of the features included with that particular plan, as well as Shopify Payments (as long as it’s available in your country). Plus, with your Shopify account, you’ll also have access to the hundreds of payment-specific and other integrations in the Shopify app marketplace, as well as 24/7 customer support.

On the whole, Shopify Payments provides you with the tools you need to accept and process payments within the same platform with which you run your online store or point of sale system. In this way, Shopify Payments makes it easier for you to monitor your transactions, view analytics, and receive payouts, without having to balance and manage two separate accounts and logins. 

Along these lines, however, it’s important to remember that Shopify Payments, unlike Stripe, is only available to Shopify users, and only those users within a set of 15 countries. You cannot use Shopify Payments with another platform; you must have a Shopify subscription to use Shopify Payments.

Stripe Pricing

Now that we’ve explored Shopify Payments vs. Stripe in terms of features, let’s break down how each of these providers prices their service. 

Starting with Stripe, there is no monthly or annual fee to sign up for a Stripe account and use their payments platform on an ongoing basis. Stripe also does not charge for setup, PCI-compliance, account cancellation, or any other similar hidden fees. It is important to note, however, that Stripe will charge a $15 fee for chargebacks.

Overall, though, the only Stripe fees you’ll pay will be transaction fees. Stripe charges these fees at the following rates:

  • Online credit and debit card payments: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction; international card payments will require an additional 1% fee, plus another 1% if currency conversion is required
  • ACH direct debit payments: 0.8% per transaction with a maximum fee of $5
  • ACH credit: $1 per payment
  • Local payment methods: Starts at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction but may vary based on the specific type of payment
  • Online invoicing: 0.5% per recurring transaction after your first $1 million in recurring payments
  • In-person credit and debit card payments:  2.7% + $0.05 per transaction; the same international card policy applies

In addition, if you plan on using Stripe to accept payments in-person, you’ll need to purchase a compatible credit card reader at either $59 or $299. Moreover, if you choose to utilize any of Stripe’s advanced tools, you’ll pay associated costs depending on the individual add-on and your plan. To this end, it is worth noting that Stripe does offer customized pricing for businesses with larger payments volumes or unique business models. You can find out how much a customized plan will cost your business by working directly with the Stripe sales team.

All of this being said, with flat-rate, transaction-based fees, Stripe is generally affordable and offers pricing that is both transparent and easy to understand. 

Shopify Pricing

With Shopify, on the other hand, there are two overarching pricing components to take into account. First, there is the cost of your Shopify subscription. Shopify offers three standard subscription plans, as well as Shopify Lite (which only allows you to sell on an existing website or social media) and Shopify Plus (their enterprise-level solution).

The features you receive with Shopify as an ecommerce software will depend on which of the subscription plans you choose. Shopify charges their subscription fees on a monthly basis as follows:

  • Shopify Lite: $9 per month
  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month
  • Shopify: $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
  • Shopify Plus: Quote-based pricing customized for your business

On top of the monthly subscription fee, you’ll also have to pay credit card processing fees. In this regard, Shopify gives you two options. First, you can use Shopify Payments, or second, you can use a compatible third-party payment processor. 

If you use Shopify Payments to accept payments—which includes all of the features we’ve discussed thus far—you’ll pay a different transaction rate based on your plan:

  • Shopify Lite: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments;  2.7% per transaction for in-person payments
  • Basic Shopify: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments;  2.7% per transaction for in-person payments
  • Shopify: 2.6% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments;  2.5% per transaction for in-person payments
  • Advanced Shopify: 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments;  2.4% per transaction for in-person payments
  • Shopify Plus: Quote-based pricing customized for your business

Plus, like Stripe, Shopify will charge a 1% additional fee for international cards. 

As you can see, with the higher subscription plans, you’ll receive credit card processing at a lower rate. This being said, however, it’s important to note that if you do not use Shopify Payments and instead opt for a third-party provider, like Adyen or Authorize.Net, for example, Shopify will charge you an additional fee on top of the transaction fees you pay to that provider.

Therefore, if Authorize.Net charges you 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments, Shopify will tack on their own transaction fee to this rate. Again, these fees will vary based on your plan:

  • Shopify Lite: 2%
  • Basic Shopify: 2%
  • Shopify: 1%
  • Advanced Shopify: 0.5%
  • Shopify Plus: Quote-based pricing customized for your business

In this way, Shopify makes it not only easier, but more affordable for you to use Shopify Payments for payment processing instead of utilizing another provider. 

With this in mind, it’s also worth noting that, like Stripe, Shopify does not charge setup fees, cancellation fees, PCI-compliance fees, or other similar extraneous fees. They will charge the same $15 fee for chargebacks, however. Moreover, it’s also important to remember that if you want to accept in-person payments with Shopify, you’ll need to purchase a compatible credit card terminal (the Shopify POS app is included with all standard Shopify plans). If you buy directly from Shopify, these terminals start at $29. 

Ultimately, if you’re using Shopify Lite or Basic Shopify with Shopify Payments, you’ll pay the same transaction fees for online payments as you would for using Stripe. Nevertheless, regardless of your plan, your in-person processing rates will be cheaper than they would be with Stripe. Of course, on the whole, Shopify will be more expensive than Stripe—Shopify, however, not only includes their payment solution, but a full-service ecommerce website builder as well. 

In this way, if you were to use Stripe for payment processing and wanted to integrate their platform with another ecommerce software, like BigCommerce, for example, it’s important to remember that you’d be paying the fees for Stripe, as well as the monthly subscription fee to use BigCommerce (or any other solution) as your ecommerce software.

Stripe vs. Shopify: How They Compare

So, based on all of this information, it’s likely that you have some sense of what our final Stripe vs. Shopify comparison looks like. At the end of the day, even with the distinction between Shopify vs. Stripe and Shopify Payments vs. Stripe, this isn’t an equal comparison. While Stripe is first and foremost a payments solution, Shopify (even though they offer their own payment processing) is first and foremost an ecommerce platform.

Therefore, although both Stripe and Shopify have their benefits, the right option for you will largely depend on what exactly your business needs. 

Benefits of Stripe

At a high level, Stripe is much more of a flexible and customizable solution than Shopify Payments—in fact, Stripe’s platform powers Shopify Payments. In this way, Stripe is likely going to be a better option in a few scenarios:

  • If you aren’t or don’t plan to use Shopify as your ecommerce platform
  • If you want to be able to customize your payment solution and checkout form outside the constraints of a pre-built system
  • If Shopify Payments isn’t offered in your country
  • If you’re looking to be able to accommodate a currency not offered by Shopify Payments
  • If you want to be able to accept ACH payments
  • If you’re going to be billing customers and accepting online payments via invoice

In all of these situations, the makeup of the Stripe platform will be a better fit for your business’s needs. On the whole, if you’re not using Shopify as your ecommerce platform, Stripe will be a top solution for online payment processing. There’s nothing to say that an alternative ecommerce software, like Volusion, or payments platform, like Adyen, won’t be able to offer you a service that’s better-suited for your business than Stripe—however, in comparison to Shopify and Shopify Payments specifically, Stripe is the superior payments solution. 

Along these lines, as you’ll find with more directly comparable solutions—as in the case of Adyen vs. Stripe, for example—Stripe will stand out with their advanced API and customization tools; flat-rate, transparent pricing; vast integration options; and 24/7 customer support.

Benefits of Shopify Payments

As a payment solution, Shopify Payments (as long as it’s available in your country) will be the ideal choice if you currently use or are planning to use Shopify as an ecommerce platform. Not only does Shopify Payments make it easier for you to manage your payment process along with the rest of your ecommerce operations, but it will likely be more affordable to use Shopify Payments over an alternative option.

It’s worth repeating that if you choose to use a third-party provider instead of Shopify Payments, Shopify will charge you an additional fee on top of the transaction fees from that provider. Therefore, unless you’re using a provider that charges extremely low rates in the first place, it’s going to be more expensive to use a third-party processor. Plus, if you opt for the Shopify or Advanced Shopify plan—and use Shopify Payments—you’ll be able to take advantage of the reduced transaction rates. 

In addition, it’s worth noting that if you want to offer PayPal as a payment option to your customers, you can do this from the start with Shopify Payments—and you won’t have to pay extra transaction fees. With Stripe, on the other hand, although it’s technically possible to integrate PayPal, it’s not easy to do so (as the two are direct competitors). Moreover, regardless of which Shopify plan you choose, it will be cheaper to use Shopify Payments to accept in-person payments than Stripe. Plus, Shopify actually offers a fully functional POS app as part of their subscription plan, something that Stripe does not offer.

Ultimately, it’s hard to argue that if you’re using Shopify, you shouldn’t use Shopify Payments—if it’s available. Along these lines, it’s worth noting that Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms on the market. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean Shopify is right for your business, if you’re looking for an all-in-one ecommerce software with integrated payment processing, Shopify is certainly worth considering.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, despite the distinctions we’ve discussed in comparing Stripe vs. Shopify as well as comparing Stripe vs. Shopify Payments, the inherent differences between these two products makes direct comparison difficult. 

With this in mind then, the right choice for your business depends on your specific needs. With Stripe and Shopify, Stripe will likely be a suitable option for businesses looking particularly for an online payment solution, and not necessarily an ecommerce platform. On the other hand, if you currently or plan to use Shopify as your ecommerce software, it only makes sense to use Shopify Payments. 

Therefore, if you’re looking for an online payment solution, like Stripe, we’d recommend exploring some additional direct Stripe competitors—like PayPal, Adyen, and 2Checkout. If instead, you’re looking for an ecommerce platform that offers integrated payment processing, we’d suggest you consider options like Square, Volusion, and other Shopify alternatives. This way, you’ll ensure that you find the actual payment or ecommerce platform that’s best for your business’s needs.

Randa Kriss

Randa Kriss is a staff writer at Fundera, where she specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions. She has also written for PeopleKeep, Zoho, KNF&T Staffing, and Planted. Randa has a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Iona College. Email: randa@fundera.com.
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