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Stripe Connect gets the money train rolling for online shops

Stripe enables any Web site to take credit card payments with no merchant account. Now it's extending that service to stores and groups that use platforms like Shopify, Reddit, or Skillshare.

Merchants or community managers that sell goods or accept donations through larger platforms like Shopify, Reddit, or Skillshare can now quickly start taking credit cards, thanks to a new system from the online payments company Stripe.

Called Stripe Connect, the new system is designed to make it easy for any online shop or group to process credit-card payments from donors or customers.

At the same time, Stripe Connect is also giving Stripe partners a way take advantage of analytics software, CRM systems, and other financial packages in order to see real-time account data. Indeed, the company is hoping that developers will create new and innovative applications that leverage their Stripe data.

Stripe, a San Francisco startup that has raised $38 million from A-list VCs such as PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and Max Levchin, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and others, is taking on established powerhouses like PayPal and newcomers like WePay in the online payments space. The company emphasizes its ability to get almost anyone with a Web site up and running with credit-card payments almost immediately, without a merchant account, and with a simple fee structure -- 2.9 percent plus 30 cents on all transactions.

With Stripe Connect, the company is hoping its platform partners will extend that simplicity to their own customers. So, for example, a service like Shopify -- which lets people set up an online store to sell just about anything -- can in turn provide those store owners with the ability to immediately accept credit cards without further ado.

Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison explained that a service like Ballpark, which provides invoicing tools for freelancers, is a great example of a partner with a non-e-commerce use case. Collison said that by integrating Stripe Connect, Ballpark will be able to let freelancers using its system accept credit card payments for their work.

Similarly, a service like Skillshare -- an online teaching marketplace -- will now make it possible for tutors to take credit card payments. And people setting up communities through Reddit will be able to accept donations by credit card thanks to Stripe Connect.