In 2018 I launched Charge for Stripe, a payment processing app that allows businesses of all sizes to accept payments directly on their mobile phone without the need for fiddly card readers. Tow truck drivers, real estate agents, jewellery designers, beauty therapists, boutique hotels, stylists and many other businesses from around the world have since jumped on board, using Charge for Stripe to accept payments from their customers.
Instead of only offering a way to accept payments, I wanted to make it more useful so business owners could also see how their business is going with useful charts, view past and upcoming payouts, processing refunds as well as processing pre-authorization payments, something most of the other apps in this space are not doing, probably because it’s complex to do all of this. My vision was an app that was equal parts functional and beautiful, that would give insight into their business and the tools to learn, track and expand.
“This is the kind of data I would want if I was using it for my business, so I wanted my wife to have all of this available for hers.”
Charge for Stripe was originally created with one user in mind; My wife. In 2016, my wife started her own small business. She would buy in small quantities of natural stone beads, carefully (and beautifully!) knot them together with gold thread and create beautiful, bespoke jewellery. She was focused and determined, by day being an amazing mum to our FIVE small children and by night creating her products. I loved watching her knit together these pieces. When my wife started doing markets, we researched the options for card readers that she could take to accept payments. What we found were fiddly and expensive, made by companies that wanted more than was fair. After watching my wife pour her creativity and time into her work each and every night, in the only time that she had, I decided that these companies did not deserve such a generous slice of her business.
I set out to build an app that my wife could use by day to accept payments, and by night as a tool she could use to analyze the data from the day, identify trends in sales and give her a clear snapshot of where her business was heading. We had seen so many people at markets switching on and off their readers, apologising for the lag or saying things like “I don’t know how this thing works” and I knew that I definitely didn’t want that experience for her. I wanted her to be empowered by it. We discussed the limitations found in other card readers and payment apps, and I listened to what she actually wanted and needed, not just as a business, but also as a person I love and respect very deeply.
In setting up the app, I decided to only charge a small fixed fee ($0.20USD or equivalent in other currencies) instead of the % fees which are charged by most of the other offerings in this space, or the ridiculous subscription fees being charged by some. I did this because I felt it was fairer. Whether someone sells a $25 bracelet or a $15,000 car, it doesn’t cost me any extra, and grabbing a bigger slice of the pie seemed greedy, so I decided on this small fixed fee and hoped that people would find the app as useful as my wife does.
In making this decision I wasn’t sure what kind of impact it would have on the overall profitability of the app, because it all comes down to the number of payments people process rather than the value of those payments. Let me explain:
If there were 5 payments being made each day for $10,000 each, I would make $1/day, however if there were 10,000 transactions made each day for $5 each, I would make $2000/day. That’s a big difference!
So right now you’re probably wondering what the ACTUAL figures are, and while I’m normally a very private person when it comes to money, to celebrate passing $15,000,000 in payments processed using Charge for Stripe, I decided to share this data for the sake of demonstrating the point I made in the headline. Here’s how it looks:
- Value of payments processed: $15,619,045
- Fees generated: $12,660
- Fees equivalent % = 0.08%
So the apps out there adding 1% on top of the Stripe fees are making over 12x more than me. But I’m ok with that.
So instead of making over $150,000, I made just $8,199, but it’s not about the money for me. I’ve invested MUCH more than that in time and money getting the app to market, however, I never set out to make millions of dollars. I just wanted something better for my wife. Something beautiful, incredibly functional and most importantly, a tool that would put the power back into her hands. The decision to launch publicly came as her friends saw her using the app and wanted to use it too. Now, if this ends up earning me enough for a Coke Zero at the end of the week (my drink of choice) then that’s a bonus. My heart has always been in small business, and I’m blessed to work a day job (kind of) helping others grow theirs. That’s what puts food on the table for my family, and for me, that is enough.
If you’re a small business owner wanting to accept credit card payments directly on your mobile phone with lower fees and (significantly) better functionality, check out Charge for Stripe on Android and iOS to give yourself a pay rise.