Stripe comes to Europe, starting in the U.K. — but serious competition awaits

The payments company Stripe has officially moved beyond North America, taking itself out of beta in the U.K. on Thursday. The move means Stripe supports the British pound and the euro for the first time.
Stripe is a rival to the likes of PayPal(s ebay) and Braintree, in that it offers startups a way to embed payments functionality in their services. Stripe’s big selling point is its ease of integration – all it requires is the insertion of a few lines of code.
The service has been in beta in the U.K. since the start of March this year, and it remains in beta for now in Ireland, France and the Netherlands. British customers who have signed up during that beta period include Virgin Pure and
However, Stripe is not without direct competition in Europe. The company, which was founded in 2011, saw its product cloned a year ago by Berlin’s notorious Rocket Internet in the form of Paymill, which raised $13 million in January of this year and a further $5.3 million in February.
Paymill has closely, shall we say, tracked Stripe’s development. When Stripe modified its service to support online marketplaces in June, Paymill did the same in July (although to be fair, Braintree also followed suit a few days ago). Paymill has also used Stripe’s absence to steam ahead of it across Europe – and with execution experts Rocket having raised yet another $500 million on Wednesday (seriously, these guys attract money like flowers attract bees), there’s no reason to think they’re going to start slacking off anytime soon.
That’s not to say Stripe is necessarily too late, though. It carries with it the cachet of having clients such as Foursquare and Grooveshark, it supports e-commerce platforms such as Shopify (as does Paymill, admittedly) and Bigcommerce, and it has partnerships with British accountancy platforms FreeAgent and Kashflow.
Stripe has already set up an office in London (it’s hiring) and has its sights set on the rest of Europe, and also Australia. So really, it’s game on now.