There are really only a handful of online payment processors (in my opinion) that are up to the challenge of safely processing credit cards online and securely sending funds to your bank account electronically. For me, the decision came down to choosing between PayPal and Stripe.
Why not PayPal?
If you’ve made online purchases more than a few times, you’re likely familiar with PayPal. They were one of the first mainstream online payment processors that gained notoriety for their close association with eBay. Not to mention one of the co-founders of PayPal is Elon Musk (one of my personal heroes).
Since I was already very familiar with PayPal as both a developer and as a user, I initially started developing fullride.me to work with PayPal. I was confident in this decision at the time because their popularity would likely make it easier to overcome most concerns about security and encourage students to setup a PayPal account (required to receive donations).
Unfortunately there were two issue with PayPal that forced me to halt development and figure out an alternative approach: (1) donations must take place over on paypal.com, which is notoriously bad for the user experience and (2) there is no way for fullride.me to apply an application fee that helps pay for the infrastructure required in order to provide this type of service. Enter Stripe.
Aside from the fact that Stripe’s investors actually include PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Elon Musk, Stripe is different mainly for the two issues outlined above: (1) they have a system that allows online payments to take place on the fullride.me website and (2) they provide a method for applying an application fee to cover the expense of hosting the service.
The only real issue with Stripe is that they’re not as well known as PayPal, so students may be hesitant to provide bank details and personal information. The truth is, Stripe is widely used on the internet by companies like Target, Best Buy, Adidas, Lyft, Facebook, Kickstarter, Pinterest, and Twitter just to name a few (there’s over 100,000 more).
The real beauty of the system they have in place is that services providers like fullride.me can take the Stripe software and seamlessly blend credit card forms into the website. This not only solves the issue of users leaving your site, but it makes the experience easier and more intuitive than what PayPal currently provides.
My hope is that students will feel more at ease in knowing their information is safe and secure with Stripe and fullride.me.