February 7

We used both: The lowdown on Stripe vs Paypal fees in Singapore


I looked at my PayPal account, scarcely imagining what was happening.

Were they serious?

How were they taking so much money from me?

I had just made my first online sale from the postcards we designed. Whilst it was just a paltry $16.90, it was still money.

Merchant Fees Remarks
Stripe 3.4% of the transaction, with $0.50 for every transaction The money goes straight into your linked bank account.
Paypal 3.9% of the transaction, with $0.50 for every transaction

You have to pay $1 every time to withdraw the money into your bank account if the money is less than $200.
The money goes into the PayPal wallet, which you have to pay $1 to withdraw.

PayPal puts money in their wallet, not yours

What was even more surprising was how much money PayPal took from me.

Just look at how much they charge. Their fixed fee is $0.50 for Singapore.
Just look at how much they charge. Their fixed fee is $0.50 for Singapore.

On top of the 3.9% (with 50 cents per transaction) they were charging, they were still charging me $1 for every withdrawal out of the PayPal balance.

You’ve been warned. Every transaction that goes through goes into the ‘PayPal balance’, which is a wallet that PayPal charges you to take out your money.

Just look at the fees charged by PayPal!
Just look at the fees charged by PayPal!

Stripe is a little more straightforward

The fees are more transparent with Stripe.

Fees are far clearer through Stripe.
Fees are far clearer through Stripe.

They move the money straight into your bank account after you get paid.

But there’s also another reason why I enjoy Stripe so much more than PayPal.

Stripe has far more transparency on where your money is

For businesses, cashflow visibility is very important.

Else, you wouldn’t know:

  1. When the money your customer has paid you is actually coming to you
  2. When you can pay your staff/contractors/yourself/things you buy

With PayPal, what’s worse is that you’ve no idea where your money even is. For example, when I first got paid through PayPal, I thought the money would go straight into my bank account.

When I received my first ever payment, this was all I got via email.

Little did I know that the money was kept in the PayPal balance. All PayPal does is to send you a notification telling you you’ve been paid, without telling you where you’ve been paid.

But if you look at Stripe, after every purchase from you, you get 2 emails.

  1. You get the order confirmation email.
  2. You get the email sharing when the payout is expected.

It gives you a lot more visibility on your cashflow.

Stripe has better transparency on what the fees are about

If you look at the payment someone made to me via PayPal, all I saw was that there was a PayPal fee. I didn’t know what it was for, and there was no clarity around what I was exactly paying.

If you compare this to Stripe they break down the fees for you into the:

  1. Processing fee
  2. Tax

Whilst you still have to pay, you feel that there’s a greater sense of transparency from the folks at Stripe, compared to those at Paypal.

Stripe’s user interface is clearer

Take a look at the PayPal site, and you would be forgiven for thinking that you were back in the 1990s, navigating an old and outdated site.

For one, the font is horrid.

With Stripe, they quickly show you the two most important things.

  1. Your sales (Payments)
  2. And when you get money from your sales (Balances)

This is a simple accounting practice.

What you sell, doesn’t immediately translate into money in the bank, until the money is put into your bank account.

With payment processors like PayPal, they have chosen to stiff small businesses by keeping the money in the PayPal balance.

Stripe clearly shows you when your money will arrive in your bank account.
Stripe clearly shows you when your money will arrive in your bank account.

But you also wouldn’t know where your money is at any point in time.

Sure, there’s the PayPal balance they display for you, but they don’t tell you that the money there is not in your bank account. You have to infer it.

If you look at Stripe, you would quickly see that it’s built for businesses to receive cold hard cash in their bank account, something that’s particularly important in Singapore.

This is because not many businesses in Singapore may accept payments via a PayPal balance.

Stripe, the better option for Singapore

Ultimately, Stripe is better for Singaporean businesses because of how you do not have to pay extra to withdraw the monies out, and how it gives you clear visibility on when the money will come into your bank account.

Beyond that, the Stripe payment processor is also more ‘ethical’.

I like it because of how it’s built to help small businesses, rather than trying to stiff them.

Choose Stripe.

I don’t think you’ll regret it.



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