Since its initial launch in 2011, San Francisco-based Stripe has become one of the most recognizable brand names in online payment processing. Used by online businesses in over 200 countries, Stripe has recently expanded its electronic payments offerings with the introduction of its in-store card reader, the Stripe Terminal.
Stripe has a number of third-party competitors, including industry-giant PayPal, but one of the most experienced of them all is BAMS – a full-service electronic payments processing provider that has served thousands of merchants all over the globe since 2006. BAMS wider set of merchant services and solutions are designed for both in-store and online use, and when compared head-to-head with stripe, there are some notable differences in each company’s offerings and the benefits they offer to merchants.
Pricing directly impacts profitability, and as such, it’s of primary importance when comparing prospective payment processors. There are different pricing models in place across the various players in the payment processing industry, and not all are created equal.
Stripe offers pay-as-you-go as well as custom enterprise-level payment processing solutions. Their pay-as-you-go account – the most common option selected by users – utilizes a standard fee structure of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for domestic debit and credit cards. International cards are charged an additional 0.6% on each payment processed.
Unlike Stripe and most other competitors, BAMS uses interchange-plus pricing, a pricing model described by LendingTree as “one of the most fair and balanced pricing schemes used in the payment processing industry,” thanks in part to its unmatched transparency. Interchange-plus pricing is made up of the interchange fee plus a markup set by the processor, in this case, BAMS. This pricing model varies from transaction to transaction, as each type of card carries a different interchange fee, but in general, it offers some of the lowest per-transaction fees possible, with interchange fees on some cards, like Visa Debit, as low as 0.8%.
Advantage: BAMS transparent interchange-plus model minimizes average transaction cost.
Support is obviously a major concern for all merchants, as a problem with payment processing has the potential to mean not getting paid at all. Stripe and BAMS each take a different approach to customer support, resulting in a very different experience for the end-user.
Stripe’s support focuses primarily on volume. It offers customer support via email and web-based chat, but it does not currently have an inbound calling number – a common factor among tech organizations focused on transactional relationships and minimizing their support load. Customers in need of help can either utilize the chat client for generic help, email customer support with an expectation of a delay of up to 24 hours, or “request a call” and wait for a Stripe service agent to call back.
Despite BAMS’ large transaction volume, customer service is approached from a viewpoint more in line with smaller companies. Personal service and successful long-term relationships with customers are the goals, and the service experience is designed to reflect that. BAMS offers customer support via email and an inbound toll-free support number, and all BAMS customers are assigned a dedicated representative tasked with providing assistance and managing support tickets.
Advantage: BAMS personalized, dedicated support beats out generic web-based alternatives.
Reporting provides merchants with the data and useable business intelligence they need to not only track their payments and profitability, but also to build accurate forecasts and strategies for growth and future success. Both Stripe and BAMS offer advanced reporting, albeit delivered in two very different ways.
Stripe offers clients the Stripe Dashboard, a web-based analytics portal that enables users to view their account details and transaction data through a standard web browser. The dashboard can also be used to manage certain actions, like refunds and subscription cancellations. The dashboard can be used to generate reports and data exports in common formats like CSV. While the Stripe Dashboard is a fully-featured and thorough reporting tool, it does not offer much functionality beyond reporting and basic account management.
BAMS also offers advanced, in-depth reporting on account activity, including transaction, deposit, and chargeback reports. BAMS reporting can be broken down and organized based on a number of criteria, including, but not limited to, date, transaction type, and card type. Highly detailed reports and exports can be generated just as with the Stripe Dashboard, but unlike Stripe’s web portal, BAMS customers get free access to IRIS CRM, BAMS’ proprietary customer resource management platform designed specifically for the payment processing industry. IRIS CRM is a fully-featured CRM tool that goes well beyond reporting, offering BAMS customers unparalleled account insight and control, as well as valuable productivity tools for all other areas of business.
Advantage: Access to IRIS CRM and its full suite of productivity and reporting features puts BAMS well ahead.
While Stripe is certainly the right solution for certain merchants, especially those only looking to dip their toes into payment processing and in need of services more in-line with PayPal’s offerings, for merchants with more serious needs, BAMS is the ideal choice. Contact us now to receive our custom five-step price comparison designed to show you in detail how partnering with BAMS can lower your transaction fees and make your business more profitable today.