Payments startup Stripe is making an interesting move in the world of marketplaces that should make it significantly easier for collaborative consumption startups to take and process payments. The company is debuting a technology that allows for payments to be distributed to multiple bank accounts.
Here’s the problem many marketplaces face with many of the existing technologies. When a buyer of a service (i.e. a person using Lyft for transportation) pays, the money can only be transferred to one account. So Lyft has to have payments sent to their own account, and then sent to the driver (i.e. the seller). With Stripe’s new technology, you can insert a few lines of code into your app, and you will enable the ability to add multiple accounts to where money can be sent.
The new feature can send bank (ACH) transfers to anyone with a U.S. bank account. To use this feature, a marketplace would charge customers as they normally would. Once they have enabled production transfers via the new API, the marketplace will be able to pay out any number of accounts instead of having funds automatically deposited in one main bank account for distribution. You can collect payee bank account details directly with Stripe’s API or with Stripe.js (which means sensitive details never touch a marketplace’s server). Once you create a recipient, you can transfer funds to them with a single API call. It costs a flat $0.25 per transfer.
Co-founder John Collison tells me that marketplaces like Lyft, Sidecar, Exec, and Postmates are the company’s fastest-growing segment of enterprise users. It made sense to develop this technology to better suit their needs.
In the future, Collison says we can expect additional international expansion beyond the U.S., UK and Ireland. Stripe, which is currently processing millions in transactions every day, just acquired Belgian collaboration startup Kickoff and launched a partnership with Facebook-acquired, mobile app development platform Parse.