Stripe takes on PayPal launching in Australia

Stripe has launched in Australia aiming to take on PayPal and to be a solution for merchants not only at checkout but to run their entire business.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

With operations already running in the US and UK, online global payment solution Stripe said on Tuesday it is entering the Australian payments markets.

Similar to PayPal, Stripe's technology can be seamlessly integrated into a merchant's app or website as long as the business has an Australian bank account to allow merchants to begin accepting payments in more than 100 different currencies, including Bitcoin and China-based Alipay, and receive deposits in Australian dollars in their current accounts.

It is implemented via an API (application programming interface) so merchants are free to customise the interface that sits on top.

Pricing for Stripe in Australia will be 1.75 percent + 30c for domestic transactions, and 2.90 percent + 30c for international and American Express transactions. Earnings are transferred to a merchant's bank account on a seven-day rolling basis.

Co-founder and president of Stripe John Collison told ZDNet while PayPal, which works "okay in some context", in other situations "it doesn't make a lot of sense for various reasons", particularly as merchants are increasingly looking to build in integrated apps into their system. 

"PayPal use to innovate at a very rapid between 1999 and 2002. They did an awful lot of development to online payments but the products have kind of stood still since then. That's why you see popular apps like Uber or Airbnb don't actually run on PayPal, they can collect the payment directly from the user and handle the payment themselves.

"This is the way we see the world going, and this is the way PayPal saw the world going too, that is what is so powerful about Stripe, it's very clear there is a huge number of businesses going to be started, they're going to need some way of charging their users."
Collison said Stripe's mission is not only be a system that can used for the point of checkout but also help businesses manage payments for the entire company.

"Stripe is not just a way of accepting payments at checkout, but it's a true payment that businesses use to run their entire business," he said.

"For example if you're a subscription business, such as Atlassian, Stripe helps manage your recurring payments on a monthly basis and so all of your operations and there, and if you're a global marketplace like 99designs it not only helps you collect money from your buyers, but also remit money to the sellers."

According to Collison, Stripe addresses the main gripe of many merchants when it comes to online payments, and replaces complicated matrixs of bank accounts, gateways, and third-party software.

"Generally, merchants want to own their checkout experience themselves, they want to be able to design and have a nice checkout rather than someone else do it for them. So that's one thing that is a core essential to Stripe because it will just feel like you're entering your details in the app or site rather than having to go through someone else," he said.

"We think it's a more natural fit because when you go buy coffee, the coffee shop doesn't send you down the street to put money into their account, and then you come back to collect your coffee, you just pay for it at the store. That's a little be like when you're in an app or on a website, you want to just pay for your item and get one with what you were doing."

This was a similar selling point for Visa when it rebranded its V.me product to Visa Checkout last week, and explained its checkout process does not take the customer away from the merchant's website.

Stripe currently powers companies including LIFX, Canva, Sitepoint Group, BigCommerce, BlueChilli, Guardian News & Media, Rackspace, Shopify, Reddit, and Foursquare.

The four-year-old company has more than US$130 million in venture backing by investors including rival PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Elon Musk, as well as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures

Stripe is up in running 17 countries, mainly in test format, and Australia is only the fifth country in the world where the company has launched.

"In general we think the Australian startup scene, we're here it's going to be a big market and if you look at the examples to do date that that are not only focusing on the local market but competing and winning on the global stage," Collison said.

"One of the traditional things limited from large business is banking infrastructure is so hard to collect money from around the world, I hope is play a small part in helping these products really successful global businesses."

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