Using Stripe

Stripe

Recently, I am helping out couple projects which need a payment capability. While I know Stripe is opening as beta in Hong Kong, I want to try this new service who has an amazing user experience.

Applying for Beta

The rumor started around April this year. I was organizing AngelHack Hackathon back in time. So I thought I would be cool if I could get connected with Stripe, and see if we can work out anything together.

We ended up setting up a Skype call, and later a in-person meeting. I applied as beta user and got an invitation in June.

Testing the payment gateway

In using any payment gateway, the first thing is to try out the sandbox environment. Payment is a sensitive feature in any system, because it is related to the income, the money. The sandbox is really important to test out the APIs.

Stripe has a very nice sandbox environment, which replicates the whole live environment, besides using fake credit/debit cards. It allows me as a developer and business owner to check out the dashboards, and ensure everything works properly.

Activate the account

In order to turn the account into live mode, which means able to charge customers, one should activate the account. This means 2 steps, providing the business information, and validates the identity of the account owner.

I was warned that some other payment platforms may take up to two months in setting up this. I urge the business owners I work with to activate the accounts. The amazing thing here is that the process actually takes so short, it is done within the same day. The process is very straight forward, as like how the payment works. I want to give a big thumb to it.

Integrate the APIs

While Stripe supports most of the major platforms, like web-based Node.js and Ruby, and mobile-based iOS and Android, I am integrating Stripe in a web-based environment. The web interface of Stripe was first known and became famous. It is carefully designed so that the interface is so seamless and easy to use.

In fact, in integrating the system, I shall look through the documentation. In the beginning, I felt this is a bit messy. The documentation is full of text, which is also quite long and detailed. I am asking for two things:

  1. A workflow diagram
  2. A simplified vs complete documentation
Visual workflow like this will help a lot

My impression was that Stripe should be so simple to integrate, that the work shall be just one line of code. The workflow shall be easy to understand as well. It may have grown big over time, I could not see this attitude in the documentation.

Summary

In the end, I needed a custom form for the input of credit card information, and then pass that to Stripe for a token. I didn’t use much of the functions Stripe provides, like product, subscription, coupon code, etc. I am going to put Stripe into production soon. I really look forward how Stripe can power up the businesses I help with.

P.S. For business owners using Stripe, you should check out Stripe Dashboard iOS app. It is for sure another awesome craft by the team.


I am taking a challenge to write a post every day for 180 days. The content will be related to my life as a father, entrepreneur, developer and trainer.

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