Catering to the online marketplace of buyers and sellers, gateway company Stripe is streamlining the sign-up process for sellers. As the following article reports, many of these sellers are start-ups or micro businesses that lack financial and credit history, but need a way to accept payments.
Stripe, the fast-growing fintech startup that’s now worth around $9 billion, has announced that it’s making it easier for marketplace companies to onboard new sellers. Founded in 2010 by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, Stripe provides the technical and banking infrastructure to enable companies and individuals to accept online payments. With Stripe Connect, which was relaunched two years ago, the San Francisco-based company powers on-demand marketplaces such as Kickstarter, Lyft, Instacart, Shopify, Jinn, and TaskRabbit, providing them with all the back-end technology they need to sell to consumers globally, including identity verification, tax reporting, and support for multiple currencies.
Today, Stripe is lifting the lid on a new kind of Connect account in the U.S. that allows sellers (e.g. couriers, merchants, and drivers) to sign up to Stripe Connect-powered marketplaces in less than two minutes — drastically undercutting the current state of play, which can take several weeks. With “express” accounts, Stripe is using automation to fast-track signups, as it’s significantly faster than manually having to call-up sellers to verify their identity, for example. Stripe is adamant that it’s not cutting corners, and says the onboarding process still fully takes into account the local considerations specific to each seller’s market.
Express also offers sellers a pre-built dashboard with easy access to information like how much money they’ve earned and when they can expect payment. Before, marketplace owners on Connect would have to build their own custom dashboard, or give them access to a standard Stripe dashboard. Ultimately, Express is aimed at sellers who are perhaps less ecommerce savvy and who don’t need full access to the broader Stripe service. The other existing Connect accounts may appeal to marketplaces that need a completely customized experience for their sellers, where they are willing to pay for the resources and engineering to design each step of the onboarding process — something that a tech giant such as Lyft would prefer to use.
The gig economy has greatly expanded the number of individuals that deliver services via online marketplaces or aggregators for pickup and delivery services. The normal merchant account set-up process takes too long for them, plus they may not even have a financial paper trail to assess. Stripe not only enables individual entrepreneurs to begin a needed revenue stream but also gains by adding to its payment processing volume and the fees that go along with it.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group
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