At ByteJam, we’ve been doing ecommerce for a long time. Lin likes to say we’ve been doing it since the Internet was steam powered. Lin likes to say things like this. Hyperbole aside, we’ve been helping our clients make money on the web for over fifteen years, well before Stripe existed. We’ve used a lot of products for payment processing, and relatively early on, PayPal’s suite of products became our preferred tools. We’ve crafted solutions using many of their offerings.
On the hunt for PCI Compliance
As the ecommerce landscape changed, with an increasing focus on PCI compliance and security, we looked to migrate to a solution that reduced the PCI burden for us and our clients. Web security and keeping the payment card information off our server became top priority.
Early solutions involved redirecting the customer away to a payment form hosted on the payment processor's’ site, not ideal for a high-profile shopping website. The payment form was usually limited to minimal branding and was “clunky,” to say the least. We wanted a checkout experience that was seamless from the consumer’s perspective.
Then we heard about a new offering from PayPal that seemed to give us exactly what we wanted. That solution, now called PayPal Payments Advanced, involves embedding a form hosted by PayPal directly within one of your site’s pages. It purports to offer a fairly seamless user experience, and at the time it first debuted, it was one of the better choices out there. We field-tested this product in its infancy and our clients were some of the first to roll out e-commerce solutions based on it.
Mobile-friendly payment bliss
As is the nature of the Internet, the landscape continued to evolve. We found that more and more consumers were using mobile devices to visit our clients’ sites. With that came the rise of responsive design, a topic I’m sure you will see more of in this blog at a later date. The upshot of all this is that the bloom was off the rose for PayPal Payments Advanced. As an iframe based solution with fairly fixed dimensions, it did not really offer an ideal mobile experience, nor did it play nice with our shiny new responsive framework toys, like Foundation and Twitter Bootstrap.
It came time to look for something else.
We looked, and what we found was Stripe. They have two distinct options for presenting the payment form experience: Checkout and Stripe.js. Checkout is a very slick, predesigned modal window payment form that looks great and plays nice on mobile devices. If you do a lot of shopping online, chances are you’ve seen it. Stripe.js, however, is even more intriguing. It is a solution that lets you have total control over the look and feel of the payment form. They’ve figured out a very clever way transmit card information securely to them for payment processing without the card information ever hitting your web server.
Using Stripe really does ease the PCI burden. Per their documentation, all you have to do is:
- Use either one of their products: Checkout or Stripe.js.
- Serve your payment page under SSL.
- Answer some questions they provide from the Payment Card Industry’s Security Questionnaires.
That’s it! They even pre-fill your PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) for you.
More reasons to love Stripe
The benefits of Stripe go beyond excellent mobile/responsive support and ease of PCI compliance. Their administrative tools are fantastic, and are a joy to turn over to clients for their use. Reports are easy to generate, and refunds, when necessary, are a breeze to process.
We’re doing more and more international ecommerce, and Stripe excels in this area. Businesses based out of the US or Europe can accept payments in 135 different currencies. US businesses automatically have foreign currencies converted to US dollars prior to funds transfer to their bank account.
Stripe offers exciting tools for developers, too. Through their API and Webhooks, we can do some pretty incredible custom solutions for our clients, such as specialized fraud monitoring and prevention.
We’re always looking for best-of-breed vendors to partner with, and right now, Stripe is at the top of the payment processing game. We’re pretty jazzed about their upcoming support for Android Pay. We hope to bring you more information about this exciting development in an upcoming blog post in the near future.