At first glance, this new WooCommerce Payments feature sounds like an all new payment processor exclusively for WooCommerce stores. Mainly because that is exactly how it has been positioned and marketed.
Payments made simple, with no monthly fees – designed exclusively for WooCommerce stores.WooCommerce
Woo has highlighted these two aspects of it’s new “payment gateway”, as the basis of it’s advantage.
- A payment gateway to accept credit and debit cards directly onsite
- A dashboard for managing transactions, including payments, refunds, disputes and deposits, integrated into your site’s WordPress administration area
The key take away is that this new addon is really about convenience. Making it easier to manage your payments from your WooCommerce WordPress dashboard.
It is definitely pretty and appears to have a really nice UI, and I’m sure it is more convenient to be able to manage these different types of payments from within the WP Admin.
- Deposit: Transfer of all or part of your account balance to your bank account or debit card.
- Charge: A payment charged against a credit or debit card for a purchase.
- Refund: Return of all or part of a charge to the card a customer used to pay for a purchase.
- Dispute: Chargeback or inquiry lodged by a customer with their card provider over a charge placed with your store.
- Dispute Reversal: Return of the fees and payment amount withdrawn after a dispute was opened.
Don’t get me wrong, these are really cool features. To be able to manage your transactions from one dashboard will save you time.
UPDATE 09/2020: Regarding Subscriptions:
WooCommerce Payments now supports WooCommerce Subscriptions. You can generate recurring revenue and manage transactions right from your store’s dashboard.
It is unclear from the update notice if you have to pay for the WooCommerce Subscription extension.
It does appear to me that you need the extension to get this feature to work, so I am assuming you will have to pay for it, $199/yr.
So Is It Really Just Stripe?
Well if you’re familiar with Stripe, then this image from the Woo doc site will clarify:
Again, I’m not opposed to this either! Stripe is the processor I’ve been using for years, and I absolutely love them!
The fact that Stripe has the ability to partner with other software applications like this is inspiring.
To allow other platforms to completely integrate and simplify the use of their powerful platform is awesome!
However, there is a real issue for existing Stripe users, which I’ve revealed below.
Oh, There’s A Catch
While reading the Woo documentation, I discovered that the requirements, one in particular, to use WooCommerce Payments will not sit well with many WordPress users.
Here are the requirements as listed on the Woo doc site:
- PHP 7.0+
- WordPress 5.3+
- WooCommerce 4.0+
- Jetpack 5.3+
- An SSL certificate to use the payment gateway in live mode
According to the article, in order to use WooCommerce Payments, you must have your self hosted WordPress site connected to WordPress.com via the Jetpack plugin.
Please note: You’ll need to be running the latest version of Jetpack to authenticate each request…WooCommerce
The use of Jetpack is likely to help them validate that you are a real person, real business, and reduce the amount of fraud.
Personally I’m not opposed to that, I like Jetpack, but I know there is a lot of controversy over the plugin.
What About Existing Stripe Accounts?
If you want to use an existing Strip account, you’re out of luck.
It is not possible to connect an existing Stripe account with WooCommerce Payments.WooCommerce
To use an existing Stripe account with WooCommerce, you must continue to use the Stripe Addon, and manage your transactions from the Stripe dashboard.
Based on the documentation and the fact that this is a “special Express account”, it is unlikely that you will ever be able to use a preexisting Stripe account with WooCommerce Payments.
More Bad News
If you have a need for automatic recurring charges via subscriptions or pre-orders, WooCommerce Payments does not currently support these features.
For now you can manually manage recurring charges with WooCommerce Payments.
As for pre-orders:
WooCommerce Payments may support WooCommerce Pre-Orders in a future version.WooCommerce
If either of these features is important to your business, and you like this integrated approach to stripe, I suggest going to the WooCommerce idea board and adding your vote.
What About Restricting Access?
I didn’t see any mention of this anywhere. But would be a requirement if I was going to use this new payment gateway.
If you work with a support company or a freelance developer, or have employees that access your WordPress dashboard, you may want to restrict who can access this new payments dashboard.
There is a lot of control and sensitive information available in this new dashboard.
There are possibly some existing role plugins that would fill this need, but I think it should be addressed and considered as part of the core plugin.
The Wrap Up
Sounds like this solution is a decent option for new WooCommerce users, or existing users not currently using Stripe.
I’d however, be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone regardless of position. There are too many restrictions currently.
Additionally, if the WooCommerce Payments feature is a “special Express account”, that means if you ever want to move away from WooCommerce, you will have to establish a new Stripe account and start over, losing your data and forecasting ability.
If you want to use WooCommerce, I’d recommend sticking with the essential addons and avoid WooCommerce Payments. It will cost a lot more, since WooCommerce extensions can be pricy, but at least you’ll have the features that you need.