WooCommerce Payments is now available to select merchants who apply to the program. It’s a big step for WooCommerce toward establishing stronger SaaS-like feature parity with Shopify.

Built using Stripe’s best-in-class merchant tools, WooCommerce Payments will immediately offer broad payment support for the vast majority of WooCommerce users.

Deposits, transactions, refunds, and disputes can all be managed directly through the WordPress dashboard. Store owners will not require a Stripe account, but a dedicated WooCommerce Payments account is required. It offers the same general fee structure as Stripe: 2.9% + $0.30 per US-based transaction.

Automattic’s General Manager of WooCommerce, Paul Maiorana, told Post Status that the payout schedule for merchants is on a rolling two-day basis.

Most of the features in WooCommerce Payments will be familiar to existing Stripe users. The big benefit here is for WordPress users who have made the decision to use WooCommerce and are most comfortable managing as much of their business as they can directly through WooCommerce accounts and their WordPress dashboard — thereby eliminating the need to manage yet another account via a merchant processor.

WooCommerce Payments also offers a nice revenue stream for a percentage of all platform sales to Automattic from all merchants who decide to use it.

Shopify has had in-house payments for years, and it’s been wildly successful. This is a no-brainer and a smart move by Automattic to establish better feature parity with the popular SaaS platform.

We should expect WooCommerce to establish many more methods for connecting stores to services via WooCommerce itself, helping to create a more unified experience for store owners that’s simpler to set up.

The big difference between WooCommerce and Shopify will continue to be freedom and choices. With WooCommerce, store owners are always able to use all of the fully self-hosted, self-managed software they need for their business, and independent merchant services (among others) will always be an option too. There is significantly less lock-in when using WooCommerce, which Automattic can and should lean on as a feature for folks seeking greater autonomy for their online business.

We look forward to offering more information and analysis around Automattic’s WooCommerce strategy in the coming days for Post Status club members when we interview Paul more formally. Meanwhile, he’s answering some questions in chat for members. Join us!