Feature Friday: The Checkout Form

One of the most aggravating things about commerce online and on mobile is the inconsistent checkout experience site to site and app to app. It's one of the many things that keeps me shopping at Amazon and clicking on the PayPal button when its available. That and stored payment credentials.

Last week I saw something that makes me think we may be heading in the right direction. Stripe, the fast growing payments company, introduced Stripe Checkout. Now, if you choose to use it, Stripe will give you a standard checkout form for both web and mobile. It's a few lines of code in your app and Stripe takes care of the rest. It is optimized for the user experience and for the device. And they plan to keep optimizing it so that developers who use it will see better and better conversion rates.

But this is also great for the buyer. Now when I see this button below, I know I am going to pay with Stripe and I know what I am in for in terms of user experience.

Stripe button

It's like the good housekeeping seal of approval. I know I am going to get a simple and easy checkout flow.

The next thing I'd like to see from Stripe is stored payment credentials. Then they would enter the land of Amazon and PayPal for me for sure.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Frank Denbow

    Have been using Stripe Button (now checkout) on the Startup Threads site and have had good luck with it. Having the payment data processed on the front end really makes it simple to implement and their dashboard is very robust to boot. I’m super impressed with how quickly they put out the right tools.Still collecting conversion data, but I think there still needs to be some sort of consistent lock/seal for extra reassurance, though. I dont think enough regular consumers know of Stripe yet to make the button powerful on its own.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      If Stripe were around when I launched Portfolio Armor, I might have used it then. Certainly seems a lot simpler than the alternative of payment gateways, processors, etc.

  2. Humberto

    US & Canada only.. Dislike.Its amazing how fragmented payment platforms are. Perhaps the only coherent shopping experience available in the world right now is the one you get on the iOS, Mac, Apple.com…The ones who claim to be international charge ridiculous fees (>>5%)

    1. Humberto

      the WORLD wide web is a myth except for user generated content.

      1. kidmercury

        virtual currency is way around all nation-state payment regulations. alas, laws are getting more nation-state legislation is becoming increasingly draconian.

        1. Wavelengths

          Mortgages were a type of virtual currency. That might take a minute to think about, but it was a way that Mr. and Ms. Everyperson could do what the USG is doing now. Why did they suddenly get into such an uproar? Because a few years after the rules and regs had become the standard way of doing business, someone figured out that the little guy had the same access to virtual money as the govt and the rich folks.No-no-no! Can’t have that!My support for the intelligent use of mortgages is as passionate as your commitment to educating everyone about the behind-the-scenes action around 9/11.

    2. William Mougayar

      Are u in Europe? Try Paymill. I know they work in Germany, maybe other countries too.

      1. Humberto

        yep, i’m in europe. they work in my country alright, but they are way too expensive @ 3%+0.28€ per transaction.

    3. Aaron Klein

      They’re getting there. Slowly but surely.

      1. Humberto

        *very* slowly, and *surely* with different fees and rates. its a shame.

  3. Dave Pinsen

    Would be interesting to see what would happen if Stripe and Dwolla merged.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I’m doubting either party would be able to agree / decide on what they’re each worth..

  4. William Mougayar

    Figuring out payments on the Internet is such an old problem. I’m glad it’s being figured out finally after almost 20 years of tinkering with it.Paymill & Brainstree are also doing similar things.

  5. jason wright

    Could Dwolla go there too?

  6. JimHirshfield

    What’s their unique value proposition? Why would a merchant switch or favor this over PayPal, Amzn pymts, Google Wallet, etc?

    1. fredwilson

      You check out on your own site/app and it feels like you built it from scratch

      1. Frank Denbow

        You also don’t need a merchant account to sign up

        1. awaldstein

          Not having to have a separate merchant account is a big deal.

      2. JimHirshfield

        Hmm, I guess I need to see it in action.

        1. fredwilson

          I think Disqus uses it for the self serve stuff

        2. andyswan

          https://voomly.com/andyswan click to buy you’ll see Stripe integration. We like it, pretty seamless…easy to use.

          1. William Mougayar

            Pretty cool. So that’s what’s under the hood!

          2. JimHirshfield


    2. Barry Nolan

      Built as an API – be going in minutesInstant merchant approval – versus papwerwork clusterf**kPay as you go – no recurring ‘subs’ on top of txVaulted payments – no pci complianceBrillant service – paypal anyone?Most importantly, they are obviously powered by a bunch of Irish paddies.

      1. JimHirshfield


  7. RichardF

    that’s why I like to see Google Wallet and Amazon Payments as options, particularly Amazon, they are a trusted brand for me.

  8. awaldstein

    We are planning on using Stripe for theLocalSip 2.0 (in development) as the payment system for merchants.Developer friendly. Smart and easy.Pinged my networks for recommendations and this came back time after time.

    1. christmasgorilla

      Just be careful with your avg transaction price. At Kitchensurfing, we often end up with an AMEX issue on transactions over $350 with Stripe payments.Stripe started off more promiscuously and Braintree started more conservatively, but they’re both converging on the same point. If you have a very high avg transaction price, Braintree is worth looking at as well.

      1. awaldstein

        Word from the wise…thanks!Next phase is smaller transactions, packages, recurring, US only. If we start to broker online purchases between users and shops for wine itself, that will be an issue.

      2. pointsnfigures

        Braintree is a great company. They have a good culture for employees as well.

        1. Jim Ritchie

          Agreed, we use Braintree at Delicious Karma and they have a great vault and support for recurring payments.

  9. Drew Meyers

    I backed a kickstart campaign the other day, and it worked totally seamlessly with Amazon payments. Was an awesome experience; hadn’t paid for something through a site that hooked to amazon for payments before.

  10. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    GLOBAL = Gotta Learn Online Businesses Aren’t LimitedUS = Uninteresting SubsetWhile I have to choose Paymill solves more problems than stripe

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Paymill is the Stripe clone the Samwer brothers funded, right? It’s easy to execute fast and create more features when someone else is coming up with the design layout, business model / plan for you, etc..

      1. Elia Freedman

        That’s part of being successful. Stripe knows it. These innovations aren’t coming because they have no competition and clones.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Of course. My comment is more in reference as to why Paymill may solve more problems for @kwiqly:disqus

          1. Wavelengths

            Hey Matt, looking forward to your response!

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Half-written. Need to review it – have busy week. Monday is when I do some housekeeping and can finish it up. 🙂

    2. awaldstein

      US = subset of global certainly.US = uninteresting subset is just plain wacko.

      1. Aaron Klein


      2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Arnold – If I can trade in Europe, South America, Australiasia and China without Stripes but not if limited to stripes then I am left with an uninteresting subset.What is of interest is subjective and I know my subject.Whether I am whacko – remains to be diagnosed

        1. awaldstein

          If you are making the statement that globally the US is an uninteresting subset, I hold to my statement.If you are saying that there are other markets beside the US of course you are correct.But–there is no Western market that is a better proof point nor economic on its own right to build for. Asia, is and has always been a different story.You made the statement. The statement unqualified is wacko. Has nothing to do nor intended to be about you personally.

          1. David Semeria

            I agree 100% with Arnold. The US market is key for anyone with global ambitions.

    3. kidmercury

      USA = Uninformed & Self-Absorbed

      1. awaldstein

        Not the same as uninteresting as a market though!

        1. kidmercury

          that is the next step, already under way.

          1. awaldstein

            Not in any business plan that touches what I do.

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            As I noted above – it is subjective – Or ? !

      2. ShanaC

        i’m very us, and I am not uniformed

        1. kidmercury

          a country that thinks 9/11 was pulled off by a guy in a cave in afghanistan is deeply uninformed. ignorant is a word i prefer, although unfortunately it didn’t work as well with this acronym.

    4. Aaron Klein

      I’ll take the other side of that trade any day.We’ll branch out eventually, but we have to connect to international market data feeds and internationalize screens first, much less establish distribution in each market.The US is an amazing market to launch in.

  11. Barry Nolan

    Stripe already store card information in ‘vaulted’ services. The original motivation was to remove the cost and complexitiy of PCI compliance for the ‘merchant’.But the biggest offshoot is the removal of all friction from payment – most especially in mobile. Two of my go-to apps are Hailo and Hotel Tonight. Both store my card so the pay process is literally one tap. ‘Vaulted’ payments, aka ‘1-click/tap/swipe’ are a total game changer – most obviously in mobile.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Barry Nolan

        yup. sprinkled with awesome sauce

      2. christmasgorilla

        We use Stripe at Kitchensurfing and the stored info is great. I think the biggest issue there is how to brand forms as Stripe / share that information without users feeling like we’re infringing on their privacy / security.Having a checkout flow that’s similar to the Disqus login—here’s your Stripe icon, click it and you’re done, would be awesome.

      3. Barry Nolan

        Well done on the investment Fred

      4. Barry Nolan

        Well done on Hailo Fred. Awesome sauce.

  12. Richard

    Who owns the transaction data, merchant or stripe?

  13. matthughes

    “good housekeeping seal of approval”Ha!

  14. Toby Bryce

    What’s your gripe with Amazon, specifically? I find it seamless, particularly 1-click when I’m shipping to my default address.PayPal, on the other hand, is a nightmare; and it does give me pause buying anything that requires use of PayPal.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t have a gripe with Amazon or PayPal. i think i said in the post that they are my go to transaction processors

      1. Aaron Klein

        Stripe has replaced both for me. I’ve switched every company I’m involved with over to it. That and Xero for cloud/mobile accounting.

      2. Toby Bryce

        Sorry misread. I do think AMZN UX much (much) smoother than PayPal.

  15. awaldstein

    Fred–my developer pinged me that Stripe does indeed do stored payment credentials, and even subscription payments.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, but i wonder if they save them from merchant to merchant. if i use Stripe to book a chef on Kicthensurfing and then show up at LocalSIP, will they know its me and not ask me for my credentials?

      1. awaldstein

        Don’t think so. That’s the philosopher’s stone for certain.Been toying at a lower level with the obvious idea that you can show up at theLocalsip and buy across any of the shops with one account.

      2. ShanaC

        they might not be able to due to cookies involving purchase. They have to expire after 20 minutes for fraud reasons

        1. awaldstein

          Even doing this within marketplaces when it ties back to a POS system is a hurdle.Easy to have an account (think Etsy) and you can buy anything that the merchants put in the system.Harder to have an account that let’s you buy anything that that merchant has in their inventory out of the marketplace. For wine, that is what you want.

      3. Brad Lindenberg

        Fred this is what BuyReply does but we allow the merchant to use any gateway – stripe, paypal, authorise.net etc. it’s stripe abstracted a layer above which gives merchants flexibility – don’t need to be locked into Stripe. Also allows us to roll out countries without regulatory issues.

        1. fredwilson

          do you have any evidence that merchants care about that? i wonder if they are just going to pick a payments vendor and go with them

          1. Brad Lindenberg

            Yes merchants care. There are many reasons someone selects a gateway. Eg PayPal supports 6 currencies via their API. Stripe support 2. What if a merchant wants 1 click buying in EUR or GBP… What if LocalSip are being charged 1.75% with Braintree? Why should they have to pay 2.9% with Stripe? What if LocalSips returns, refunds, order processing is connected to Braintree – making them rebuild this for Stripe is a lot of work. There is huge potential for a cross gateway, cross currency, cross merchant, cross media frictionless checkout solution. It’s what we’ve just built.

    2. Elia Freedman

      I’ve been watching Stripe for a while as we are in the market soon. They really do an incredible job of services and simplicity. (We will use them for subscriptions.)

  16. Shripriya

    Pretty cool from a user’s perspective because instead of updating your card at every merchant, you update it just once with Stripe. If your card is stolen or the number changes, you just have to update them.From their perspective, they end up collecting some great data and will know real purchase info across multiple sites. And they will not bear any risk since they won’t be the merchant of record, but if any merchant takes a hit with a chargeback, they could be informed. Smart.

  17. Can

    It looks beautiful and works seamlessly. I’m sure it’ll increase number of conversions significantly.If we compare it with PayPal -we don’t need to- it still makes me feel better to see a PayPal button because I know what I’ll experience after clicking.However with this Stripe button, till the customer clicks “pay with card” button, he doesn’t know what she’ll get.If we assume that stripe will be default payment system for masses, I think the button should be unique somehow. In terms of design…

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Well, that is unique on its own, the wording, etc.. It will be a matter of websites integrating it which will teach consumers what it is and set their future expectations when seeing the button elsewhere.

    2. ShanaC

      i think white label also can be awesome

  18. pointsnfigures

    like the payments space. invested in feefighters which was bought by groupon. watch braintree. very cool company that is well lead and has a great culture.

  19. Dan Wick

    Stripe’s admin is particularly useful for managing subscriptions and recurring billing, which can be tricky. Their web hooks also make it easy to attach it to a email system like SendGrid. With minimal development, you can have a payment management and storage system set up and be PCI compliant.Have built ecommerce systems over the past 6 years for Red Stamp, checkout is by far the most complex feature to build, but also the most crucial.Stripe’s focus on mobile friendliness is yet another great feature. The latest version of their Pay With Stripe button works flawlessly on mobile. Great experience.

  20. ShanaC

    I don’t see it as like “good housekeeping seal of approval”. Good Housekeeping actually does tests. Stripe can’t really tell me if the thing I am buying is awesome or not.Since they have some credit card data, I wonder if they could start profiling my purchases to help me decide what is awesome for me

  21. Guest

    We have the same thing in mind – not payment processing (heavens no). The problem as I see it with eCommerce is too much friction in user experience when it comes to checkout. Different sites use different payment gateways requiring different payment methods e.t.c,. Too many sales lost, (I know i’ve given up enough times)The solution that’s along my thinking is Square (A universal Buy button). One time entry of your payment credentials allowing you a consistent and frictionless payment experience anywhere! Along with this model comes so many synergies and efficiencies they could realize in order to “perfect payments as a social interaction”. Their words, Damn!

  22. Luke Chamberlin

    I came on here to discuss design (Stripe has an amazing design team) and it’s a bunch of USA-bashing!?Do you really think companies like Stripe don’t want to be all over the world? It’s not as simple as flipping a switch. People are talking about it like it’s an arbitrary product design decision.It took PayPal almost 10 years to enter the European market because of EU regulations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… ). The transfer of money is incredibly regulated in most places and differs greatly from country to country.You can’t launch a payment product in a new country without spending a lot of money on lawyers. It’s expensive and time consuming and in many cases you have to know the right people (to the person I saw in this thread wonder why Stripe isn’t in China – LOL).

    1. Aaron Klein

      +1. Totally agree.

    2. Robert Holtz

      Thank you so much for saying that. My reaction was exactly the same as yours.Going global is the goal of just about every entrepreneur but, as a startup, it is always best to start at home — wherever it is that may be — and expand from there. Going worldwide is no some minor undertaking that can be achieved at the snap of one’s fingers.One can make the case for global resoundingly without having to bash any one nation. And why all the hating and bashing anyway? That’s just not necessary. And speaking as an entrepreneur, there is no market or subset of a market I will EVER regard as “uninteresting” — if they want to pay me money to use my service or buy my product, that automatically makes them QUITE interesting.I do agree that, in the big picture especially when you’re talking about payments, it is “Go Global or Go Home” but Stripe iS a startup and they’ve gotta start somewhere.

  23. Brad Lindenberg

    The issue with this is how do you manage freight, shipping, limited inventory, etc… As it stands its we’ll designed if you are selling a simple product that has no sizes or variations. Still need to code all the other stuff… Or use a service that’s sits on top of stripe like buyreply.com which handles stored cards and product/inventory management etc which enables 1 click buying after the first checkout.

  24. Wavelengths

    Remember that moving money is “creating money.”People who used to be able to write a check today knowing that their paycheck would be deposited tomorrow knew exactly how this worked.The mortgage business was a way of creating money. I believe that the crackdown, and the major public emphasis on “bad borrowers” came from some high-level realization that mortgages were enabling the person-on-the-street to access “virtual money” that could then be spent.And consider that the 50 US states have 50 different sets of laws around mortgage banking. So, don’t be surprised it if takes more time and painstaking effort to get “global” acceptance of a payment strategy.I speak from a place of knowing that, in the mortgage story, many of those “bad borrowers” were reducing their payments and reducing their overall debt when they refinanced and used the power of a 30-yr-mortgage to get rid of the dentist’s bill that was going to court, and the HOA fees that were about to create a foreclosure situation.And those so-called bad borrowers were two-income families that had been making over $200K and lost jobs due to industry changes — not their fault. Creative and conscientious re-mortgaging allowed people to get their feet on firm ground again and be more likely to pay the monthly bills if the two-incomes only added up to $80K or so.

  25. aminTorres

    Fred, I got a bit late to this one but I just wanted to add (although some may have already) that in addition to Stripe’s beautiful design, implementing the payment system into native apps is just a dream. Their testing tools are great, and switching from developing mode to production is just a dream as well.I don’t know if this is what you meant but my one big complaint is that you can’t store multiple cards in a given app. Right now we are using Stripe on Spread’s development and the flow to add a new cards is awkward because the user has to delete the current card first inorder to add a new one. I believe this is the same for editing a card information.Anyways, a great product, I love their pricing model… when I first saw Stripe I immediately thought to my self: How is this not an USV company? 😉

  26. Semil Shah

    Stripe is an amazing company. You may be interested to hear CEO Collison talk more about how he runs the company. In my opinion, they were the breakout tech company of 2012: http://techcrunch.com/2012/

  27. Jim Ritchie

    Way late, but Braintree just announced a nice one touch mobile payment called Venmo touch. http://blog.venmo.com/post/