AUSTRALIAN STRIPE RIVAL HARKS UP ON CLAIMS OF MARKET SUPERIORITY

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Matt Bullock, the founder and CEO of online payments system eWAY has called out new rival Stripe, claiming it fails to meet the needs of Australian businesses.

The CEO accused Stripe of lying by saying it was the only service offering global currencies, easy set-up, end-to-end facilities, and multi-currency NAB-backing.

“These services are matched and exceeded by eWAY,” Bullock said.

However, a spokesperson for Stripe told Techly that “as far as we know, Stripe is the only payments company offering true multi-currency support in Australia, meaning that Australian businesses don’t need to set-up a separate multi-currency merchant facility and open currency accounts for each currency they want to accept.”

Bullock said he was baffled as to Stripe’s claim that a feature which allowed merchants to control how the checkout experience looks was unique.

“eWAY has been doing exactly this for 16 years,” Bullock said.

However, Stripe said that “while eWAY and others may support some of these use cases with constraints, Stripe’s toolset provides much greater user flexibility than has ever before been offered”.

On top of its alleged misleading advertising, the eWAY CEO said Stripe’s pitch to Aussie businesses “just doesn’t stack up”.

“Stripe does not understand the needs of Australian businesses,” he said.

Bullock cited seven-day settlement periods and zero phone support as two of “many reasons” Stripe’s viability as a business needs questioning.

“Local merchants are used to same day settlement, and would be wondering why they have to wait seven days to receive their money,” he said.

Stripe copped to this particular criticism, claiming it was in the process of working on a solution for the seven-day turnaround.

“We definitely understand the cash flow pain point created by a seven-day turnaround,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We’ve begun to address this issue by offering a two-day transfer schedule in the US to most users, and we are actively working to speed up transfers for all of our users around the globe, and especially here, for our users in Australia.”

However the company maintained that it was “fundamentally different” from its competitors and the rest of the market.

“Stripe entirely eliminates the need to worry about merchant accounts, merchant facilities, and gateways, and integrating with complex, legacy financial systems infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said before Stripe, Australian businesses had two choices: either set up all the merchant accounts themselves, or get started with a streamlined merchant account application process, but merchants are then still tied to the underlying bank’s constraints for expanding their businesses.

“eWAY requires you to open a NAB multi-currency merchant facility and separate currency accounts for each currency you want to charge in other than Australian dollars,” the spokesperson said. “This can be a costly and time-consuming process.

“With Stripe, accepting payments in multiple currencies is immediate – there are no extra accounts to open, no extra forms, no extra phone calls, no additional technical implementations, no merchant facilities, no gateways to integrate with, no additional bank accounts or any such thing.”

Of course as the CEO of one of its main rivals, we should recognise Mr Bullock’s potential for bias or subjectivity. On the other hand, Stripe’s response could equally be read as an opportunity to plug its services.

Though Mr Bullock is more than entitled to set the record straight on any misleading or inaccurate information presented by Stripe, I cannot help but feel this smacks more of opportunistic corporate chest-beating.

We’ll leave you to make up your own mind, but it’s a good reminder to remain ever vigilant and sceptical in the face of claims made by anyone trying to sell you anything.