Chargebee vs. Stripe: Which Should I Use?

May 3, 2023

Jonathan Charpentier

The TLDR Overview:

  • Chargebee is the go-to choice for subscription management, SaaS products, and other recurring transactions.
  • Chargebee has more capability for more nuanced subscription revenue tracking (like upgrades, downgrades, trials, coupons, etc).
  • Stripe dominates online payments. While it can handle recurring payments, it was originally purpose-built for one-time payments.
  • Stripe has a bit more to offer in terms of security (like Radar, which actively searches for and denies potentially fraudulent payments). 

Understanding Chargebee and Stripe

What is Chargebee?

Chargebee is a subscription billing and recurring payment management platform dedicated to automated subscription management. As stated in the TLDR, Chargebee is purpose-built for companies that have a recurring revenue stream. Chargebee also places a high priority on helping their customers preserve the recurring revenue streams by providing features that help with upgrades, downgrades, and dunning. 

What is Stripe?

Stripe is a payment processing platform that facilitates secure online payments for e-commerce businesses. Stripe boasts an easy-to-use interface and supports multiple payment methods and currencies, making it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes across the globe.

Stripe also provides features to help businesses manage their payments–things like fraud protection and customizable checkout pages. While it may lack in its subscription management capabilities, it definitely is a strong choice when it comes to advanced security protocols.

Key Features Comparison

Payment Processing

Both Chargebee and Stripe are solid options for payment processing. However, Chargebee goes above and beyond in regard to the range of payment options it receives. Some of Chargebee's accepted payment methods include:

  • Credit card 
  • PayPal
  • ACH
  • SEPA 
  • More

Stripe, on the other hand, primarily supports credit cards, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay, which limits the payment options for customers.

Chargebee even allows users to route payments to different payment gateways based on specific criteria. This is especially useful for companies that operate in more than one count country and might need to comply with local regulations. This can however be seen as a negative if you were hoping to use Chargebee itself as a payment gateway. 

Subscription Management

Subscription management is the bread and butter of Chargebee and something Stripe was not necessarily purpose-built for. With Chargebee, you can manage upgrades/downgrades, trial periods, coupons, and churn reduction. This is especially relevant when dealing with high churn rates, as Chargebee is able to provide you with tools to help combat churn.

Chargebee also offers flexible subscription billing models, such as usage-based billing and metered billing, which can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business.

Lastly, Chargebee even has subscription management capabilities for a company’s users. For instance, Chargebee offers a self-service portal where customers can manage their own subscriptions, update payment information, and access billing history. 

Invoicing and Billing

While both platforms provide invoicing and billing capabilities Chargebee's tools and functionality outperform Stripe’s. With Chargebee, you can handle invoice end-to-end customization, leverage tiered pricing, and account for complex billing rules and logic. Then again, if your billing structures are less complicated in nature, then Stripe would probably be the better choice.

Reporting and Analytics

Both Chargebee and Stripe offer robust reporting and analytics dashboards, providing you with the data insights you need to make informed decisions. Chargebee does seem to go the extra mile by giving users access to more reports that are relevant depending on the use case. 

We will cut to the chase on this one. The most obvious difference in reporting differences between Chargebee and Stripe is their SaaS metrics reporting capabilities. While Stripe could be a good start to SaaS metric reporting, it certainly is not a SaaS reporting solution. This is because Stripe records individual transactions, not entire subscriptions. Producing accurate SaaS metrics requires more than just individual transactions, it requires raw contact data. 

Pricing and Plans

In this section, we'll take a closer look at the pricing and plans offered by two popular payment processing platforms: Chargebee and Stripe.

Chargebee Pricing

Chargebee offers a range of pricing plans to suit businesses of all sizes. Chargebee’s free plan provides options for companies with less than 100K in revenue. The most basic paid plan starts at $249 per month for up to 200 customers. This plan includes all of Chargebee's core features, including recurring billing, payment gateway integrations, and customer management tools.

If you have more than 200 customers, you'll need to upgrade to one of Chargebee's higher-tier plans. These plans offer additional features, such as advanced analytics and reporting, and start at $549 per month for up to 1,000 customers. On top of the monthly cost, Chargebee does have overage fees–meaning you will need to pay a percentage of each transaction on top of your monthly cost if you surpass a set limit of processed transactions. 

Stripe Pricing

Rather than charging a monthly fee, Stripe charges a fee of 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. This fee applies regardless of the size of your business or the number of payments you process.

The pricing model is arguably more straightforward than Chargebee, making it relatively easy to forecast costs and calculate various scenarios based on your expected transaction volume.

Ultimately, the right payment processing platform for your business will depend on a variety of factors, including your budget, the size of your customer base, and the features you need. If you’re looking for a clearer, more straightforward pricing protocol, then Stripe is the way to go. 

Integration and Compatibility

It's important to ensure that the payment gateway you choose integrates seamlessly with your existing software and is compatible with the tools you use to run your business. In this section, we'll take a closer look at the integration and compatibility options available with Chargebee and Stripe.

Chargebee Integrations

Chargebee integrates seamlessly with a wide range of e-commerce, finance, and analytics tools. Integrate Chargeee into HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more than 30 different integrations. 

In addition to its CRM integrations, Chargebee also integrates with commonly-used e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. This makes it easy to set up and manage your online store, regardless of the platform you use.

Stripe Integrations

Stripe dominates when it comes to e-commerce integrations. Stripe has great compatibility with popular website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. This makes it easy to set up and manage your online store, regardless of the platform you use. Not only does Strip have great out-of-the-box integrations, Stripe has a slew of API documentation on their website to help with the integration process.

Security and Compliance

Ensuring the security and compliance of your business is crucial to building trust with your customers. Chargebee and Stripe are two companies that take this responsibility seriously, investing heavily in security measures to protect your data and financial information.

Chargebee Security Measures

Chargebee uses 256-bit SSL encryption to ensure that all data exchanged between your business and their servers is secure and protected. Additionally, Chargebee is PCI-DSS compliant, meaning that they adhere to strict security standards set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This compliance ensures that your customers' credit card information is protected from theft and fraud.

Chargebee also offers advanced fraud prevention tools, including customizable fraud detection rules and thresholds. This allows you to set specific parameters for what types of transactions should be flagged as potentially fraudulent, helping to protect your business from chargebacks and other fraudulent activity.

Stripe Security Measures

Stripe is also heavily invested in security and compliance measures to protect your business and your customers' data. Stripe's online security protocols are implemented through 3D Secure, which adds an extra layer of authentication for online transactions, and TLS encryption, which ensures that all data transmitted between your business and Stripe's servers are secure and protected.

Similar to Chargebee, Stripe is also validated PCI compliant. This compliance ensures that your customers' credit card information is protected from theft and fraud.

Stripe also offers a number of other security features, including Radar, which uses machine learning algorithms to proactively identify and prevent fraudulent transactions. While this feature is unique to Stripe, it is technically accessible through Chargebee when using Stripe as your payment gateway.

Final Thoughts

In the end, Chargebee is mainly a subscription management platform and Stripe is mainly a payment gateway. While there is substantial overlap between the two, you should be asking yourself these questions:

  1. “Do you need to process a sizeable volume of one-off payments on the Internet?” If the answer is ‘yes’, then you might want to consider Stripe.
  2. “Do you need to manage recurring payments, free trials, and different payment tiers?” If the answer is ‘yes’, then you might want to consider Chargebee.
  3. “Is security your biggest concern?” If the answer is yes, both Chargebee and Stripe are good options and you should ask yourself questions 1 and 2.  

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what works best for your business. To us, the answer is clear: Stripe is for one-off payments and Chargebee is for recurring payments. 

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