If you own a membership site and want to monetize it, choosing the right payment method is a crucial step. With a valuation of $95.6 million (in 2021) and more than 3.1 million websites that use it in the world, the Stripe payment gateway is, by far, one of the most popular contenders to consider.
What is it about Stripe that makes so many business owners opt-in for its payment processing services?
In this article, we take a closer look at the Stripe payment gateway, its main features, and why it is a great option for membership sites. Read on to find out more.
What Is Stripe?
Stripe was founded in 2009 and is a SaaS (Software as a Service) payment processor that allows merchants to accept payments online. Stripe simplifies the process of making (and receiving) payments, enabling merchants to make transactions from any part of the world.
Essentially, Stripe is a payment gateway, an intermediary between you (the merchant/ membership site owner selling courses, digital products, or access to a community, for example) and your customers/ members (the people interested in what you have to say.) This kind of service helps consumers avoid entering their credit card details in a browser (or in a membership app), thus making things easier and more secure for everyone.
How Does Stripe Work?
At a high level, understanding how Stripe works is pretty easy:
- The customer enters their credit card details in Stripe.
- Stripe verifies the payment information, encrypts it, and sends it to the payment processor.
- The customer is then charged for the requested amount.
- The payment processor approves or denies the transaction and sends back a confirmation.
- The money is transferred to Stripe’s bank account and then deposited into your account.
Top Advantages of Using Stripe for Your Membership Site
There are multiple advantages to using the Stripe payment gateway for your membership site. Some of the most touted ones include:
Stripe has a number of security measures in place, including (but not limited to):
- HTTPS and HSTS for secure connections (which prevents attackers from intercepting information)
- Sensitive data encryption (which means that all payments are processed with the highest levels of protection)
- A very thorough vulnerability disclosure and reward program (which incentivizes security researchers to help keep Stripe’s platform safe)
- Single Sign-On (which is a great feature for members of your site who transact regularly)
- Fraud detection (which helps to detect suspicious activity and prevent fraudulent transactions)
- …And more
In other words, Stripe makes online payments secure both for consumers (i.e., your site’s members) and for you, the membership site owner.
Ease of Use
Stripe is extremely easy to use. In fact, you don’t need to be a coding whiz to set up your Stripe payment gateway. The Stripe dashboard is very straightforward and all you will need are some bits of information to connect your Stripe to your website.
As for the user’s end, you’ll be happy to learn that customers can pay easily, with just a few clicks — which creates a great user experience and helps you convert and retain more members in your community.
Stripe enables you to charge money in any way you want. Whether it’s through one-time payments, subscriptions, or even custom payment plans — Stripe makes it all possible. This way, regardless of the payment model you choose, you can rest assured that Stripe will be able to support your strategy.
The Stripe payment gateway integrates with a variety of applications, platforms, and tools (including WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, form builders, e-commerce platforms, and more.) This means you don’t have to start from scratch. In addition, Stripe also offers several APIs and webhooks). This makes it even easier for you to accept payments from your members, without having to do any heavy lifting.
Stripe’s pricing system is easy to understand, straightforward, and transparent. With this payment gateway, there’s no hidden fees and nothing shady. All you have to pay are processing fees for successful transactions.
Disadvantages of Using the Stripe Payment Gateway for Your Membership Site
Using the Stripe payment gateway does have some disadvantages, and you should be aware of them. Generally, the benefits far outweigh these issues, but it’s still important to be mindful of the following:
The integrated version of Stripe is free to use. However, they will charge a fee for each transaction, which can range between 1.5% and 2.5% of the total amount transacted. This is not a downside in itself, but it can be an issue if you deal with very small-ticket items.
The Payment Options
The Stripe payment gateway offers a wide range of payment options. But it doesn’t cover everything. For instance, some customers may want to pay with PayPal or Venmo, both of which are options Stripe doesn’t cover for. You can incorporate them separately, of course, but it may be a bit more of a hassle.
Most times, integrating the Stripe payment gateway with your site is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons. However, sometimes, you may need the assistance of a developer. The good news is that Stripe has set up a Discord where you can ask your more technical questions and get the help you need, quickly.
How to Accept Stripe Payments on Membership Site
One of the easiest ways to accept payments through the Stripe payment gateway on your membership site is by using Ultimate Membership Pro. We are integrated with Stripe; you can get your Stripe payment gateway up and running in minutes. All you must do is run through the setup tutorial for Stripe and Ultimate Membership Pro we have prepared for you.
Essentially, you will have to:
- Create a Stripe account
- Make sure Ultimate Membership Pro is up and running
- Activate Stripe Connect from our dashboard
- Connect your Stripe account
- Activate your Stripe account (if necessary)
- Make sure your Stripe API version is the Default and Latest one
- Set up Stripe Webhook
- Edit any additional settings you may want to
That’s all — going through all these steps takes minutes. And if you need someone to help you out, we’re always one email away.
Stripe is the go-to payment gateway choice for businesses of all sizes, and memberships sites are no exception. It’s a powerful and cost-effective payment solution that comes with plenty of features and integrations. Plus, its user-friendly interface makes it easy to use for anyone.
If you’re looking to set up a payment system on your membership site, Stripe is the perfect choice for you — and you can get it right from Ultimate Membership Pro!