When is it time to move away from Stripe?

June 4, 2024

When you first set up Stripe, it was great. The UX was intuitive, the set-up was straightforward and it allowed you to quickly accept payments while you focused on improving your software.

But bit by bit, you started encountering issues. Your customer had an account frozen and it took 2 weeks to get resolved. You want your logo on the application page, but Stripe won’t allow it. You want to implement a custom payment flow, but you’re struggling to get Stripe’s customer support on the phone. Eventually you realize: you’re processing millions of transactions and the 2.9% + $0.30 fee is starting to feel expensive.

Moving away from Stripe is inevitable when you’ve reached the next level in your business and want more control over your payments. But knowing if it’s the right time to move and how to proceed to the next step can be difficult. 

That’s what we’ll cover in this article. Specifically: 

  • The challenges you’re likely facing with Stripe
  • Three signs it’s time to move away from Stripe
  • How Fiska operates as an alternative solution to Stripe

Looking for a new payment partner? Reach out to us to find out how we can help. 

The challenges you’re likely facing with Stripe

Stripe is one of the most popular payment processing solutions for a reason. They’re easy to set up, have a great UI, and are fairly reliable.

But if you’re a growing SaaS, you’ve probably encountered at least one of the following challenges with Stripe: 

You’re stuck with the out-of-the-box tool and cannot customize the payment experience

As a software company, you take pride in offering a seamless and frictionless customer experience. You likely founded your business to better serve your customers with intuitive software features that align with your business ethos.

While Stripe is suitable for many payment situations – especially when you’re first starting out – it has its limitations. For example, you can’t personalize your billing platform. The entire payment experience also has the Stripe brand, which sometimes leads to additional questions from your customers as to why you’re using a third-party service for payments.

Additionally, Stripe’s process redirects customers to its platform (and away from yours) when your customers set up payment. This reduces your visibility into their experience and prevents you from assisting them with any issues.

While Stripe makes it simple to accept payments, you feel you need a more customizable payment solution if you want to offer the best possible customer experience.

When something goes wrong, it’s hard to get support and customers get angry

Stripe works well 90% of the time. But that 10% of the time when things go wrong, that’s what you and your customers remember.  

Imagine you have a customer who runs a gymnastics club. Every 6 months, they open registration for 2 weeks and customers sign up, and the club relies on your software and Stripe’s POS system to continuously accept payments. One day during that 2 week sign up period, their system suddenly stops working. Day after day, the system is down and the club cannot accept payments. The frustration of lost sales starts to mount.

They reach out for help to the brand on their sign up page: Stripe. But Stripe only offers an online support system and a self-service knowledge base. These tools might work for developers, but they’re far from ideal for a small business owner without technical knowledge. The gym club owner just wants to speak to a human who can quickly resolve the issue.

Desperate and anxious, the gym club owner turns to you for support. But with Stripe’s limited assistance and the fact that you have no visibility over their payments, you’re left struggling to provide the help they need. This lack of timely support can lead to angry customers, damaged reputations, and ultimately, churn. 

Merchants should be able to trust that you can handle payment issues swiftly and effectively. You can’t do this if Stripe is your payment provider.

Stripe is expensive, making it difficult to mark up prices and make payments profitable 

To make an income from payment transactions, you’d need to mark up Stripe’s hefty 2.9% + $0.30 fees.

But that mark up risks making your software too expensive for customers and pricing you out of the market. 

And as you’ll probably already know, Stripe rarely negotiates on fees. Securing a discount is nearly impossible unless you’re processing an enormous volume of daily transactions (such as Uber). 

Three signs it’s time to move away from Stripe 

It’s likely you’ve already encountered those challenges with Stripe, but how do you know it’s the right time to switch and work with someone else?

Here are three signs it might be time to move away from Stripe:

1. Your customers are having their funds frozen or cannot accept payments, and you can’t help them

Stripe will often freeze funds without clear explanations or quick resolutions, leaving your customers in the dark.

Your customers are understandably frustrated because their funds are frozen, or they can’t accept payments. Because Stripe is a third party provider, you can’t help them. 

If your customers are frequently getting their funds frozen or are getting a lot of outages that stop them from accepting payments – and leading them to leave your platform – it’s time to switch away from Stripe.

2. Your payment volume is increasing and you’d like to turn payments into an income stream, but Stripe is too expensive

It’s hard to turn payments into a revenue stream for your business when you’re with Stripe.

Marking up their fees makes you less competitive as a solution, but not marketing up means you’re not benefiting financially from offering payments. Stripe is eating all of the profit. 

While Stripe’s fees might be easier to digest when you have a low volume of payments, they can start to sting if you’re processing hundreds of thousands of transactions. The inability to generate revenue from payment processing due to Stripe’s high fees and restrictive practices can stifle your business growth. 

When you’ve started to process millions of transactions and Stripe feels expensive, that’s when it’s time to look for a Stripe alternative. 

3. You want to take your payment strategy to the next level and need a partner you can rely on

Your payment volume is increasing, and you’re ready to earn an income from payments while improving the overall payment experience. Stripe was a fantastic starting point, but you’re facing some important questions as your business grows. 

Should you become a PayFac or an ISO? What is interchange – and how can you set your own pricing? Should you pick a fixed rate or interchange plus pricing model?

Ideally, you want support and a payment partner who can advise you on the best move for your business.

But Stripe is an out-of-the-box solution: it doesn’t offer the support needed to navigate these questions. This lack of support makes it difficult to take things to the next level unless you have an in-house payments expert or team, which can be expensive. 

If you don’t have an in-house payment expert and are looking to take payments to the next level with a different partner, then it’s a big sign it’s time to switch away from Stripe.

A lot of the challenges ISVs face with Stripe is what inspired us at Fiska to start a better alternative that allows software companies to fully customize and control the payment experience, turn payments into a revenue stream, and be able to offer full support to their customers. 

How we operate as an alternative solution to Stripe 

At Fiska, our focus is to help ISVs turn payments into an enabler rather than an obstacle. With our API, you can integrate payments into your software as well as use our white-label merchant onboarding application to customize how your customers sign up to your software. We act as a payment infrastructure partner that allows you to focus on what you do best: building software. 

You can learn more about how we started Fiska here: Integrating payments as a software company is expensive, complex and time-consuming. Here’s how we’re solving it.

Here’s how we differ from Stripe: 

You’ll benefit from multi-channel support, and additional technical support for your merchants 

With Stripe, you’re limited to online self-help guides, often falling short in critical moments. When your merchants face urgent payment issues, the lack of direct support can lead to frustration, delays, and a poor customer experience. Self-help guides are no substitute for real-time assistance, especially with complex or time-sensitive problems when emotions are running high.

At Fiska, we offer a more comprehensive support system that you can tailor to your needs:

Level 1 support for ISVs: We are your first point of contact for any issues or questions about our platform. Our team is here to help you with inquiries and troubleshooting, ensuring your payments run smoothly.

Level 2 support for your customers: If there are more complex issues requiring deeper technical knowledge that you don’t have in-house, we can extend support directly to your merchants. This alleviates pressure on your team and ensures your merchants receive the help they need.

Our multi-channel support system allows you to reach us via call, email, or Slack, ensuring you have multiple ways to get the assistance you need. This accessibility means that you can always find a way to connect with our support team, minimizing downtime and stress.

By offering a comprehensive support package, we can free you up to concentrate on innovation and growth.

You have the freedom to set your own pricing, so you can turn payments into a revenue stream 

With Stripe, you’re stuck with the same old pricing: you have to accept the 2.9% + $0.30, or move along.

Fiska doesn’t do this. Our cost basis is interchange, and we don’t retain a minimum profit margin. We share all profits above interchange with our ISV partners. We won’t dictate what you should charge your customers – they’re your customers.

We operate on a partnership model, which offers three main benefits:

  • No exclusivity: Our ISVs are free to work with other payment partners at any time.
  • No minimum volumes: We don’t require our ISVs to hit specific volume targets to receive their profit share.
  • No upfront or minimum fees: We don’t charge our ISVs implementation or setup fees to get started or any monthly minimum fees for using our platform.

fiska model

With Fiska, you get a transparent and fair partnership that allows you to focus on growing your business without worrying about hidden costs or restrictive terms.

You’ll get a fractional Head of Payments you can rely on

With Fiska, you can set up payments in just a couple of weeks. Like Stripe, you’ll be set up with all the necessary certifications from the beginning. 

But unlike Stripe, we also help you build your payment strategy. Think of us as your fractional Head of Payments. Instead of hiring an internal team, you can rely on Fiska to handle this side of your business so you can focus on growing your business.

When you start working with us, we’ll conduct workshops to help you understand the implications of each payment channel and guide you through key decisions. We’ll educate you on the payments ecosystem, including the differences between a PayFac and an ISO, and when it makes sense to become one or the other.

You can call or Slack us with any questions, and we’ll be hands-on, helping you set priorities and make informed decisions. We’ll assist you in creating a roadmap and selecting the best pricing strategy. 

With Fiska, you get a partner who not only sets up your payments but also helps you optimize and strategize for long-term success.

Moving away from Stripe is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be difficult

To take your payment strategy to the next level, you’ll need to move away from Stripe. It might seem daunting, but the benefits far outweigh the costs when you get to personalize the customer experience, increase revenue and better support your customers. If you’re seeing one of the three signs mentioned above, then you know it’s time to start looking for an alternative.

With Fiska, we’ll support you every step of the way, from understanding the ecosystem to making key decisions that align with your business strategy. With our hands-on approach, we’ll ensure a smooth transition and help you optimize your payment processes for long-term success.

Ready to make the change? Get in touch with us.