Stripe payment in Singapore: What it is and how to use

Shermaine Tan10 minutes
Guides
Stripe payment in Singapore: What it is and how to use
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If you’re searching for payment gateway services, you may have heard of Stripe. Since its 2016 launch in Singapore, this payment processing platform has helped SMEs and corporations accept secure payments online and in store. 

Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on Stripe payments in Singapore, how it works, its features, and fees. We’ll also explore alternatives to Stripe, and how Airwallex’s payment gateway can help you reduce foreign exchange fees when you accept international payments.

What is Stripe?

Stripe is a payment processing platform that lets businesses collect one-time or recurring payments via their website, apps, eCommerce marketplaces, or physical locations. 

With Stripe, customers can make secure online payments using major debit and credit cards, digital wallets like Apple Pay, and bank payments like PayNow. Businesses can also accept in-person payments through Stripe’s various point-of-sale (POS) systems and card reader alternatives. Stripe also supports 135+ currencies and a variety of international payment methods.

Stripe’s ecosystem is built around 3 key components. The payment gateway is what lets your business accept and process payments in Singapore and overseas. Stripe’s payment gateway has features like fraud protection, automatic currency conversion, and customisable checkout interfaces. Stripe’s other core product is their APIs - tools that developers use to connect the payment gateway with your eCommerce platform, mobile app, payment methods, and other services.  In other words, APIs allow Stripe to work with your website. Lastly, Stripe offers a suite of developer tools designed to simplify its integration and management. This makes it easier for your developers to debug and test how Stripe integrates into your website or app. 

How does Stripe work in Singapore?

  • Payment gateway. This is the virtual system that handles the secure collection of customers’ payment information. In other words, a payment gateway is a digital card terminal that allows eCommerce stores to accept payments. Stripe’s payment gateway comes with features like customisable user interfaces and checkout optimisations.

  • Payment processing. This is the system that manages the secure transfer of funds. Its purpose is to check the customer’s transaction details, confirm that funds are available, and authorises the transfer of funds from the customer’s account to the business’s bank account.

  • Subscription management. Stripe lets businesses collect recurring payments through various payment methods.  Its APIs also let you create custom billing logic for various pricing models like flat rates or per-seat billing.

  • Invoicing. With Stripe, you can generate single or multiple invoices with your business’s branding. Each invoice has a Stripe-hosted payment page where clients can pay using cards, bank transfers, and other leading payment methods. Invoice creation can also be automated to save you time.

  • Stripe Terminal. For brick-and-mortar stores, Stripe offers card readers, POS terminals, and software for accepting magstripe cards. Certain Stripe terminals even allow you to customise the welcome screen, gather customer feedback, or run your own POS app.

  • A/B testing. Stripe’s new A/B testing tool lets businesses trial new payment methods on a small subset of customers and assess its impact on conversion rates and average order value versus other payment methods. 

  • Stripe Sigma. Stripe’s custom analytics and reporting tool allows businesses to query their payment data using SQL. Stripe Sigma provides deep insights into patterns like customers who are most likely to return.

  • Stripe Connect. This comprehensive toolkit is made for marketplaces and software platforms. It facilitates payment routing among sellers, customers, and other recipients, making it simple to handle payments or payouts for users on your platform.

  • Stripe Link. This new feature automatically fills in your customers' payment information during checkout. Stripe claims that Link lets customers check out in just 6 seconds.

Stripe’s fees and charges

Like Airwallex, Stripe has a transparent pay-per-use pricing model. Businesses pay for every transaction processed, and the fees are automatically deducted from the final payout. There are no sign-up fees, subscription fees, or administration fees to watch out for. Businesses with high transaction volumes or unique business models can also request custom pricing. 

For each transaction, Stripe offers two pricing models: Interchange ++ pricing and Blended pricing. 

Interchange ++ pricing is a model that breaks down the cost of credit card processing into 3 parts: an interchange fee for the card issuer, a card scheme fee for the card network, and a markup for the payment gateway. This gives merchants full transparency by offering a breakdown of the costs incurred for each card transaction. However, as the interchange fee changes with each transaction, the total cost can vary. 

On the other hand, Blended pricing charges a fixed fee for each transaction, which covers all processing costs. No matter how the transaction is processed, you'll always pay this fee.

The table below looks at Stripe’s blended pricing compared to Airwallex’s:

Sources: Stripe and Airwallex  as of 18 April 2024.

Is Stripe safe?

Security is critical for any payment gateway. It protects businesses from fraudulent transactions while safeguarding customers’ financial information.  Like Airwallex, Stripe takes payment security seriously and has the following features to protect financial data.

  • Certified PCI Level 1 Service Provider. This is the strictest level of PCI-DSS certification in the payments industry. PCI-DSS certification ensures that businesses who handle card transactions meet strict security standards to protect cardholder data.

  • TLS (SSL) encryption. Stripe encrypts card data whether it's being sent or while it's stored. The systems that handle credit card numbers and other primary account numbers (PAN) operate on a different infrastructure and do not share any credentials with other Stripe services.

  • EMVCo Level 1 and 2 standards. Stripe Terminals meet EMV compliance standards, which means they can process chip-enabled debit and credit cards securely.

  • NIST security framework. Stripe's information security policies are designed to align with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and minimise risk.

What are the benefits of using Stripe?

From heartland SMEs to Fortune 500 companies, Stripe is used by hundreds of businesses for the following reasons:

  • Comprehensive payment system. Stripe provides a complete payment system with access to 100+ international payment methods. It also delivers a unified solution that supports both retail and eCommerce sales channels.

  • Centralised dashboard for online and in-person payments. Stripe streamlines all transaction data in a single platform. This allows businesses to easily monitor, analyse, and reconcile their transactions across online and offline channels without switching systems.

  • Highly customisable interfaces and payment logic. Businesses who want full control over their checkout experience and payment flows appreciate the  extensive array of developer tools, documentation, and APIs that Stripe offers.

  • Simple pricing structure. Pay-as-you-go pricing means you pay for what you use, eliminating the need for hefty upfront fees or long-term commitments. 

  • Robust security measures. Although no provider can guarantee perfect payment security, Stripe provides one of the strongest safeguards available. Security measures like TLS (SSL) encryption come standard with every account at no additional cost.  

Stripe may be a good match for these businesses or use cases:

  • Omnichannel retailers. By supporting countertop card terminals and POS systems, Stripe offers a fully integrated suite that caters to the needs of omnichannel businesses.

  •  eCommerce businesses.  Stripe has the necessary tools for accepting payments online and optimising the checkout process. Learn more about how to start an eCommerce business through our detailed guide.

  • Subscription-based businesses.  Stripe simplifies monthly payment collection by offering flexible billing models. Businesses can set billing at any frequency, link charges to usage, establish tiered pricing plans, and incorporate discounts and trial periods.

Comparing Airwallex vs Stripe vs Paypal in Singapore

When comparing alternatives to Stripe, you’ll find that Airwallex and PayPal each offer distinctive features tailored to different business needs. 

Here’s a quick look at the differences between the three:

Sources: Airwallex, Stripe, Paypal as at 18 April 2024.

Stripe vs Airwallex and Paypal vs Airwallex

PayPal is perhaps the most widely recognized among the three payment gateways. If you've made an eCommerce payment through PayPal, you've experienced the checkout process that redirects you to a PayPal-branded page. 

While PayPal’s payment gateway is easy to implement, and the PayPal brand instills a high level of trust among customers, the off-site checkout can be disruptive to the customer experience. Whereas Stripe and Airwallex are both engineered to integrate with eCommerce platforms, enabling customers to transact without leaving your website. Businesses can also tailor the checkout experience to match their shop's branding and design.

When it comes to prices, PayPal’s seller fees are complex and vary according to the seller or buyer’s region. On the other hand, Stripe uses a straightforward pay-per-use model with transparent fees. 

If you want to show your customers a trusted brand during checkout and are willing to accept complex pricing, PayPal could be a good choice. 

However, Stripe may be a better option if you prefer to minimise gateway fees, want a fully customised checkout, and have the budget to hire developers.

Airwallex is a fintech platform that simplifies global payments for businessses. Unlike Stripe, Airwallex has more to offer than a payment gateway. Its core product is an all-in-one Business Account and Global Accounts allows you to receive and hold 12 currencies.  Airwallex also has partnerships with local payment rails in 110+ countries, which means international transfers bypass SWIFT. 70% of transfers arrive as fast as 1 business day.

Like Stripe, Airwallex’s Payment Gateway (setup guide) can accept one-time and recurring payments from 180+ countries in 160+ payment methods. What makes it unique is its like-for-like settlement feature. It lets you accept and hold 11 currencies directly into your Airwallex multi-currency account, without automatically converting them to SGD.  

This means you can avoid unnecessary conversion fees when you collect payments in USD, GBP, and 9 other leading currencies. You can pay suppliers in the same currencies, which helps you avoid another set of conversion fees.  In contrast, Stripe only offers like-for-like settlement in USD if you connect a USD bank account. 

One other key difference is that Airwallex doesn’t offer POS terminals. However, the Airwallex app lets you generate QR codes or payment links for in-person payments. See how Wine Kin elevated their customer experience through Payment Links.

Both Stripe and Airwallex have pay-as-you-go prices and custom pricing. Singapore SMEs like Dreamcore have saved 5% on payment gateway fees with Airwallex’s bundled pricing.

Stripe may be a good choice if you have brick-and-mortar locations and want to centralise omnichannel payments in one dashboard. 

If you have a digital-first business with international customers, Airwallex’s payment gateway lets you accept payments in multiple currencies and centralise all your global payments without unnecessary conversion.  This leads to significant savings, as you can hold multiple currencies in your Airwallex account without converting them to SGD and converting again to your supplier’s preferred currency.  Plus you get the full features of the Airwallex Business Account - like Global Accounts, multi-currency Borderless Cards, bill payments, and expense tracking - at no extra cost.

How to get started with Stripe

Here’s a quick overview on how to set up a payment gateway. For a detailed guide, we recommend viewing Stripe’s support page and developer documents.

Step 1: Create and activate your Stripe account

Opening an account is free. To comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations and Singapore’s Payment Services Act, you’ll need to provide identifying documents and documents about your business before you can start using Stripe.

Step 2: Choose how to accept your first payment

You have two options for accepting payments. 

Stripe’s no-code solutions let you accept one-time or recurring payments through payment links, invoices, and the Tap to Pay mobile app.

If you want to add Stripe to your website or app, you can integrate it with eCommerce plugins or customise the checkout experience through developers.

Step 3: Add a bank account for payouts

You need to add a bank account to receive payouts. 

Simply navigate to “Bank Accounts and Currencies” and then click “+ Manage Currencies”. Select your bank account’s currency (SGD or USD) and then click on “Add Bank Account”.

Step 4: Choose how to receive payouts

In the Dashboard’s Balances section, you can either send manual payouts or schedule weekly or monthly payouts. Instant payouts are also available, but there is a 1% fee per payout.

To mitigate risks, your first payout will be available 7 days after adding your bank account and receiving your first payment.  

Use Airwallex to accept global payments without unnecessary conversion fees  

Stripe is a versatile payment gateway known for its strong API capabilities, customisation options, and developer documents. It processes payments through a variety of payment methods and currencies, and has terminals for accepting in-person payments. 

This makes Stripe particularly appealing to businesses that prioritise a smooth integration with their existing systems and want a consistent omnichannel experience across eCommerce and retail stores.

However, for global businesses operating across multiple borders, Airwallex may be the superior choice due to its specialised focus on cross-border payments and currency management. 

Besides offering competitive exchange rates and lower gateway fees, Airwallex’s payment gateway has like-for-like settlement in 11 currencies. These features are ideal for businesses with customers and suppliers in different countries, as you get to hold multiple currencies without unnecessary conversion into SGD.

For ambitious global businesses, Airwallex offers a streamlined and cost-effective solution for accepting eCommerce payments. See how Singapore businesses like yours have used Airwallex to reduce gateway fees and accept payments globally.

Frequently asked questions

1. What types of payments does Stripe accept?

Stripe supports a wide range of payment methods such as major credit and debit cards, digital wallets like Apple Pay, bank transfers, direct debits, and local payment methods like PayNow in Singapore. 

2. What are Stripe alternatives?

Stripe alternatives include PayPal, a well-known brand with a strong consumer trust factor and wide acceptance. Adyen provides an integrated solution that's particularly well-suited for physical retail and mobile businesses. If your eCommerce store is on Shopify, you can accept major payments instantly with the default Shopify Payments gateway.   

For online businesses operating globally, Airwallex’s payment gateway processes payments in 160+ payment methods and offers like-for-like settlement in 11 currencies. This helps you avoid hefty foreign exchange fees that come with automatic foreign currency conversions to SGD.

 Each of these platforms comes with its own set of features, allowing businesses to choose the solution that best fits their specific needs.

3. Is Stripe the same as Paypal?

Stripe and PayPal are both payment processing platforms, but they have different features and target audiences.

Stripe has customisable payment solutions that integrate seamlessly into websites and apps, making it ideal for eCommerce businesses looking to maintain a cohesive brand experience. 

On the other hand, PayPal is recognized for its consumer-friendly interface and trusted branding. Its payment gateway requires no coding, making it ideal for small businesses with limited developer resources. 

4. Is Stripe payment legit?

Yes, Stripe is a legitimate and highly reputable payment processing service used by hundreds of businesses.  It has a robust security infrastructure that complies with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and uses encryption to protect transaction data. Additionally, Stripe continuously monitors and manages potential vulnerabilities through regular security assessments and upgrades. 

5. Is it safe to link my bank account to Stripe?

Yes, it is safe to link your bank account to Stripe. Stripe implements strict corporate security measures among their employees. They continuously gather data from Stripe-issued laptops to monitor for any signs of malicious processes, connections to suspicious domains, and other unauthorised activities.  

Sources & references

1.  https://stripe.com/en-sg/payments/link

2.  https://docs.stripe.com/security/guide

3.  https://www.nist.gov/frameworks

4.  https://www.paypal.com/sg/webapps/mpp/merchant-fees

5.  https://docs.stripe.com/payouts/alternative-currencies?account-country=SG

6.  https://support.stripe.com/topics/getting-started

7.  https://docs.stripe.com/payouts/instant-payouts

8.  https://support.stripe.com/questions/waiting-period-for-first-payout-on-stripe

***Note: This publication does not constitute legal, tax, or professional advice from Airwallex nor substitute seeking such advice, and makes no express or implied representations/warranties/guarantees regarding content accuracy, completeness, or currency.

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Shermaine Tan
Manager, Growth Marketing

Shermaine leads the development and execution of content for businesses in Singapore and the SEA region.

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