MoonClerk is a new company that's targeting a distinct segment of the payments technology market—the startups and small businesses that want to build a Web payment acceptance engine, but don't have the right tech expertise in-house.
"My co-founder is a programmer, I'm not a programmer. I saw Stripe, which offers payments tech for developers and though it would be great to allow non-developers to use Stripe more easily," says Dodd Caldwell, who co-founded MoonClerk with Ryan Wood, who acts as the company's chief technology officer.
Stripe posts sample code on its website to demonstrate its ease-of-use to developers. MoonClerk's model client is the one that finds even that kind of hand-holding approach to be too complex. MoonClerk partners with Stripe, which handles payment processing.
To use MoonClerk, businesses fill out a plain-English registration form on MoonClerk's site. The forms determine the checkout configuration, style and colors of the user interface. MoonClerk matches a business's registration form to the proper Stripe program, and returns a link to the user, which can then start accepting payments. By using a Stripe product called Stripe Connect, MoonClerk enables immediate sign-up for businesses.
MoonClerk's site includes instructions on how merchants can link to their new payments function from email, Twitter, Facebook, and their own websites. Its instructions cover dozens of other digital payments topics, including card maintenance; how Stripe manages funds and processes payments; how in-person, Web and mobile-pay acceptance works; and how MoonClerk manages failed payments for recurring bills.
"The businesses easily receive their customers' credit card information or set up whatever payment plan the person has," Caldwell says. MoonClerk's early customers include a record club and a local gym.
MoonClerk's rates adjust based on payments volume. The monthly rate is $9 for up to $1,000, $15 for $1,000 to $2,000 and $30 for $2,000 to $4,000. The Stripe processing fee is 2.9% plus $0.30. For example, a business accepting $920 in payments for a month—with each payment averaging $230—would pay Stripe $27.88 in fees and MoonClerk $9.
There is a demand in the business community for extra programming expertise, because not all startups are equipped to handle the technology burden—particularly for smaller businesses that collect recurring payments, says Nick Holland, a senior payments analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research.
"There is an absolute need that can be addressed here. Normally as a startup with a website, you need someone to do the coding for the company for card acceptance," says Holland. "[MoonClerk] has made something straightforward that can be used to accept payments right out of the box."
Stripe is one of a number of payment tech companies that support other payment startups. Similarly, other companies offer services like MoonClerk's. Dwolla, for example, has a number of products for small businesses without tech programmers on staff, says Jordan Lampe, a builder at Dwolla.
The "Dwolla button" software automatically creates a custom payment button based on information that a business provides to Dwolla. The merchant pastes code generated by Dwolla into its e-commerce site.
Other Dwolla products include a hub page, which "provides an account with an easy way to hyperlink on a site and collect payments and donations," Lampe says.
Dwolla also offers the Dwolla on Codecademy Partnership, a course for non-developers on the basics of the Dwolla API.