Braintree Review: Is It Right For Your Business?

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Braintree Review: Is It Right For Your Business?

Good online credit card processor, especially if you're looking to process many payment types

Good for

  • Businesses that process a lot of international sales
  • Companies that want to process other forms of payment, outside of credit and debit cards

Bad for

  • Those without developer resources who can't use Braintree's API
  • Firms that want an integrated online and offline solution

Editor's Rating


Braintree, a PayPal company, is a good online-only credit card processor for all businesses, but especially those dealing with international sales. Out of the big three online credit card processors – the other two being Stripe and PayPal – Braintree charges the lowest fee for currency conversion. You pay just a fixed 1% for payments that need to be translated into USD. The company doesn't provide any in person credit card processing solutions.

Review: Should You Get Braintree?

Braintree is a good credit card processing option for startups that only need an online solution. Unlike PayPal, Braintree's parent company, it can accept other types of payments outside of the standard credit, debit and PayPal transactions. Therefore, if you want a payment processor that also handles things like bitcoins, this is a good choice.

Good For…Bad For…
Businesses that process a lot of international salesThose without developer resources who can't use Braintree's API
Companies that want to process other forms of payment, outside of credit and debit cardsFirms that want an integrated online and offline solution

Companies that process a lot of international sales can also save a lot of money by choosing Braintree. The company charges more affordable fees for currency conversion than some of their competitors, like Stripe and even PayPal. You need to pay just 1% on top of your ordinary processing costs with Braintree. However, if you are operating in China, keep in mind that Braintree cannot process AliPay – the nation's largest online payment method. If you want integration for handling these payments you'll have to go with something like Stripe instead.

A major disadvantage to Braintree is that it has no easy native implementation for non-developers. If you want to rely on Braintree alone, you need to use their API to build them into your website. If you aren't a programmer, you will need to hire one to do this for you. Unless you have one on staff, maintaining this code in case something breaks or updates can be quite costly. You can integrate Braintree into a pre existing eCommerce platform and simply use it as a payment gateway. However, this can introduce further overhead costs, especially for more feature-rich solutions. If you don't care about customizability and simply want something easy to set up, we recommend looking at PayPal instead.

Bottom Line: Braintree is an excellent online credit card processor. We recommend it to companies with developer resources who want to code their own store. If you are after something simpler, consider going with PayPal instead.

Braintree Fees, Features & Benefits

Braintree charges a standard 2.9% + $0.30 fee for every transaction you process through it. This applies to all Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Amex credit card and debit card transactions. There are no additional monthly or annual charges and no minimums to meet. There is also no additional charge to access Braintree’s API, which means you can build yourself a custom website that uses it to process credit card transactions.

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Braintree Credit Card ProcessingDetails
Transaction Cost
  • Online (regular): 2.9% + $0.30
  • Online (nonprofit): 2.2% + $0.30
  • Retail/Swiped: Unavailable
  • Bitcoin: 1% ($5 cap)

Networks Accepted

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express
Currency Conversion Fee1%
Monthly FeeNone
Monthly MinimumNone

Note: Additional $0.15 fee is charged per American Express transaction.

Braintree also offers a special discounted rate for non-profits. If you operate a 501(c)(3) company, you can pay just 2.2% + $0.30 for each transaction. That marks a 24% discount. This applies only to Visa, Mastercard and Discover transactions. Braintree is unable to discount American Express payments, so you will need to pay 3.25% + $0.30 for each of those if you sign up for the non-profit discount.

Whenever Braintree processes a transaction outside of your home currency it charges an additional 1% fee on top of that. This is lower than what other processors tend to charge and is in-line with how international Braintree is. It currently operates in more over 46 countries. Processing international PayPal transactions will be generally more expensive. Braintree charges a 3.9% fee plus a fixed amount that is based on the currency of the international sale.

How Much Can Braintree Cost Your Business?

If you want a better idea of what the actual cost of using Braintree will be for your company, take a look at the table below. We modeled the cost of using Braintree for a few different monthly sales amounts. For the purposes of the calculations, we assumed an average ticket size of $100 and that all the transactions were on either the Visa or Mastercard network.

Transaction Volume (Monthly)Standard CostNonprofit Cost
$80,000At this level, you can get customized volume discounts.

How Does Braintree Compare to Other Credit Card Processors?

It’s always best to compare all your options when shopping for anything, and it’s no different when it comes to credit card processors. We took a look at how Braintree stacks up against other notable competitors.

Braintree vs PayPal

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Though PayPal owns Braintree, there are a few notable differences between the two services – namely the types of payments they support. Braintree can accept bitcoins, while PayPal cannot. Therefore, if you want your business to accept this crypto currency, this is an important consideration to make. Bitcoin continues to gain popularity, especially among the privacy community, so merchants shouldn't discount it.

Unlike PayPal, Braintree doesn’t charge any extra fees for custom integration. You get access to their API free of charge and can start building your eShop right away. With PayPal, you need to sign up for PayPal Payments Pro, which charges $30 per month. On the flipside, PayPal’s most basic integration can be more novice friendly, as it doesn’t require much expertise or coding. If you want the same with Braintree you will need to combine it with a pre-built eCommerce platform.

PayPal Here offers offline solutions for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. Braintree does not have such options. Therefore, if you’re looking for a single credit card processor to handle both online and offline sales, you should go with PayPal over Braintree.

PayPal Highlights

  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • PayPal here provides in person credit card processing
  • No monthly fees or minimums

Braintree vs Stripe

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Stripe is often compared to Braintree because both are online-only credit card processors that have become immensely popular with small business owners in the last few years. Stripe cannot process any PayPal transactions, which can be limiting for some businesses with how popular PayPal is online as a payment method. To make up for that, Stripe does process Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments and works with AliPay, a Chinese payment platform. Braintree accepts neither of these. If you are interested in accepting either of these payments, this is an important consideration to make.

Stripe is significantly more expensive for processing international credit card payments than Braintree. You must pay a 2% fee for each currency conversion Stripe performs. Therefore, if a significant chunk of your sales come from abroad, you should consider the savings you’d receive by using Braintree.

Feature-wise Braintree and Stripe are quite similar. They all offer fraud protection and support for recurring billing. Their API also supports Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Node.js, Go, Android, iOS.

Stripe Highlights

  • Online only
  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Doesn’t accept PayPal payments

Braintree vs

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What you get in return for the higher costs is an advanced fraud detection suite that promises to help fight against chargebacks. If you are in a high-risk industry, like travel, this may be an important consideration to make. Excessive chargebacks can ultimately lead to higher transaction fees or your account being frozen or shut down. Highlights

  • $49 setup fee
  • $25 monthly gateway fee
  • Fraud and chargeback protection services included