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Choose your app's payment provider: Stripe VS SagePay VS PayPal

May 31, 2018Alice Breton4 min read

When deciding what external payment service you want to use, you need to take into account several factors: the price of the payment provider, the amount of time of implementation, the ease of customising and styling the form, the trust of users to the company ... and see what is best suited for your needs. There is not one best online provider, but this article will help you chose one that fits you project.

At Theodo we use different online payment providers: SagePay, PayPal and Stripe for our websites. For each one of them we have discovered advantages and drawbacks, that I will share with you.

Keep in mind that using a payment provider such as one we are going to talk about allows to easily be PCI compliant, which is essential for any website dealing with card data.

Overall price

The overall price covers the development cost and the transaction fees. Additional costs for setup, refunding and breaking the contract may also apply.

Development cost:

Here is in order a comparison of the three payment providers we use:

  • 1 - Stripe: ~1day. This "development first" payment provider is specially built for an easy integration to websites. Therefore it is no surprise that it is a good choice if you want to quickly handle payments. In our company we like to use it when building MVPs because it takes less than a day to integrate and design with Stripe Elements.
  • 2 -PayPal express checkout: ~ 2/3 days. You can usePayPal Express Checkout on your website to allow your customers to proceed to aPayPal payment. This will momentarily redirect the client to the PayPal login page and then a summary page where he can pay he will then be sent back to your website. Integrating Paypal takes a couple of days.
  • 3 - SagePay: ~ 1 week. Out of the three payment providers we use, this is definitely the one that takes the longest to integrate - all in all more than a week. You can use an iFrame to send the card data. However the documentation is not that clear and styling the form is complex (you need to send the styling files to SagePay that will then add them to the iFrame).

Fees per transaction:

The price depends on:

  • Number of transaction per month
  • Price per transaction you will charge
  • Debit or Credit card

From our experience we found that for websites selling lots of products at small prices (~10€) it is worth using SagePay. But if there is a smaller traffic and higher prices Stripe might be a better solution. In both casesPayPal tends to have higher fees.

Finally, companies often negotiate the price fees directly with the payment providers to get more interesting offers, but this can take some time.

Here is an example of what you would be paying to the different companies:

If your company sells 100 products a month at an average price of £40 (total of £4,000), these would be the prices:

  • Stripe: £81
  • SagePay: £103.5
  • PayPal: £136

But if your company sells 350 products a month at an average price of £10 (total of £3,500), these would be the prices:

  • Stripe: £136.5
  • SagePay: £93.05
  • PayPal: £171

Here are the fees that you can find on the 3 websites:

  • Stripe:
    • For VISA Mastercard and American Express:
      • 1.4% + 25p / transaction for European cards
      • 2.9% + 25p / transaction for non European cards
    • As they say on their website: ’No setup, monthly, or hidden fees’.
    • Over £20,000 per months you can negotiate for lower fees
  • SagePay:
    • £19.90/month: 350 free transactions per month then 12p per transaction after
    • £45/month if max 500 free token purchases per month then 10p per transaction
    • If more than 3000 transactions per month you will need to contact Sagepey to get a corporate account
    • + 2.09% for Mastercard or Visa credit cards + 40p for debit cards (fees a quite hidden)
    • Cancelation fees can be high, a minimum of 3 months notice is necessary.
  • PayPal:
    • Less than £1500/month: 3.4% + 20p per transaction
    • Less than £6000/month: 2.9% + 20p per transaction
    • Less than £15,000/month: 2.4% + 20p per transaction
    • Less than £55,000/month: 1.9% + 20p per transaction
    • More: personalised amount

Website Integration / design

The design of the form is very important. Users probably will not trust a website with cheap design. Also, paying is not the most pleasant moment of a customer's journey. A seamless flow should be a must-have to get customers to pay and come back. Do not underestimate the design of your form!

  • Stripe: you can easily style the different inputs so the payment is consistent with the rest of your website. This is something we really appreciate with Stripe Elements.
  • PayPal: as the payment is done directly onPayPal website you won’t have any design to do! Users would find this option reassuring because they know how there money is being processed.
  • SagePay: it is difficult to get a flawless and consistent design, as you have to send files to SagePay so they can handle the iFrame styling.

What we recommend

If you wish to add a payment method to your website for the first time and that the project is short, we would recommend Stripe. As it is really easy to integrate and style it is perfect for these projects. If your website has a lot of traffic, SagePay is a good choice because of its low fees with a lot of transactions. However keep in mind that the implementation can take time. Finally it is a nice option to add aPayPal button on top of your existing payment methods as some customers are reluctant to input the card details on websites.