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Introducing Stripe Billing

Noah Pepper on April 5, 2018

Today, we’re excited to launch Stripe Billing, a new suite of tools to help companies of all sizes automate, optimize, and scale recurring business models. This new product is an evolution of Stripe Subscriptions and adds many new features.

Increasingly, the most innovative companies are establishing recurring relationships with their customers. As these businesses iterate to find the best pricing and sales strategy, they’re often unnecessarily constrained by what their billing system allows. For some companies that already used Stripe, our Subscriptions product was limiting as well. They needed to do more than just simple subscription management. Based on feedback from many of our customers and others, we built Stripe Billing to provide fast-growing businesses the tools to move quickly and design billing around customer experience.

Stripe Billing has two components. For developers, our APIs provide composable building blocks that make it easy to design and iterate on different billing models. For business teams, we’ve built easy-to-use Dashboard tools that help manage recurring billing from end to end.

Flexible building blocks for billing

Fast-growing companies regularly experiment with billing as they grow their business and expand their offerings. Examples include Slack’s “fair billing policy”, Meetup’s new metered billing, and Postmates’ recently-launched subscriptions offering. As businesses iterate on pricing and launch new business lines, they need the ability to customize billing quickly and easily.

At the core of Stripe Billing are new APIs and Dashboard tools that help businesses intuitively design and represent even the most complex billing models—from simple seat licensing to complex multi-layered tiered metered plans. Stripe Billing also makes it easy to add or change billing models, so you can easily test and roll out different pricing. You can learn more in our docs.

“Expanding into offerings for businesses not only demanded new product features and capabilities but also foundational changes to Meetup’s billing infrastructure. Stripe’s open API and simple, user-friendly interface made it easy for the entire team.”
— Sylvan Boucard, Product Manager at Meetup

Faster payments with Stripe-hosted invoices

Stripe Billing also includes a new way for U.S. businesses to invoice customers. Starting today, Stripe can email your customers an invoice that perfectly matches your company’s branding and will securely collect payments. You can try out our demo or create an invoice from your Dashboard.

In addition to credit and debit card payments, invoices also support ACH and wire transfers in the U.S. This should be especially helpful to businesses that have automated billing for self-serve accounts, but still rely on accounts-receivable processes to handle larger invoices. Behind the scenes, Stripe now generates a unique virtual bank account number for each of your customers, which keeps your company’s banking details private. Any payments received appear in your Stripe balance and invoices are automatically reconciled and marked as closed.

“For large invoice amounts, our customers expect to pay via invoice, rather than credit card. As a fast-growing business, handling invoicing manually quickly became a huge pain. With Stripe, we automate all aspects of invoicing and accepting ACH and wire payments which means we can scale our business faster.”
— Eric Koslow, Co-founder, Lattice

Smart revenue recovery

Nearly a quarter of churn is caused by missed payments or declined cards. Stripe Billing now includes our automated card updater, which saves your customers from having to do data entry if their card is reissued by automatically syncing new payment details (such as updated expiry dates) from our financial partners.

We're also introducing a new feature: smart retry logic. It’s powered by the same machine learning infrastructure behind Stripe Radar. Our algorithms train on data across the billions of payments in the Stripe network to predict the right way to retry failed payments. With smart retry logic, we can reduce involuntary churn, maximize payment acceptance, and decrease toil for your users and customer support teams.

In 2017, Stripe’s recovery tools reduced payment declines up to 45% on average and increased revenue 10% on average.

Bench recovered 12% of revenue through card account updater in 2017.

We’ve made getting started with Stripe Billing as easy as possible. You can start sending invoices today right from the Dashboard. Since Stripe Billing’s APIs are modular, you can choose to build a new metered billing system or run a lightweight pricing experiment for your next product or feature launch. (Flexible billing and smart recovery tools are available globally today. Invoices are available in the U.S. and coming soon to many more countries.)

If you’re using Stripe Subscriptions today, check out our guide to getting started. We hope Stripe Billing helps your business. Let us know if you have any feedback or questions—we’re just getting started and we’d love to hear from you.

Build your recurring business model with Stripe Billing. Learn More

April 5, 2018

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New developer tools in the Dashboard

Romain Huet on March 20, 2018

Today, we’ve added a new Developers section to the Dashboard that helps you build and manage your Stripe integration. You can monitor API and webhook usage in real time, manage API upgrades, and find all our developer tools in one place.

Monitor your requests and errors

The Dashboard now provides real-time charts for your API usage. You can filter errors by endpoint or type, and immediately dive into the logs for the requests that triggered the issues to fix them. You can also investigate webhook events and track the response time for each request sent to your servers. When used in test mode, this can be helpful in debugging requests to Stripe’s API and identifying errors as they occur.

Easily keep your API version up to date

We regularly release new versions of our API that add new functionality and we let you choose when to upgrade. We’ve heard feedback that it’s not always easy to know whether an upgrade might break your integration. The Dashboard now surfaces exactly which API versions your business is using and any potential breaking changes before you upgrade.

Improve your integration

The new Dashboard also offers suggestions on how to improve your integration with suggested best practices. For example, TLS 1.1 deprecation is coming! You can now check if your integration is ready directly from the Dashboard.

We hope you find these features helpful. You can check out the Developers section by signing into your Stripe account.

March 20, 2018

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Completing an upgrade to TLS 1.2

Michael Glukhovsky on February 1, 2018

We’ll be turning off support for all API requests to Stripe from servers using older versions of TLS on June 13, 2018. The TLS protocol is used to encrypt your servers’ communications with Stripe, so it’s important that your integration uses the latest version. (TLS 1.2 is much more secure than its predecessors.)

Since our announcement two years ago, we’ve been working with our users to upgrade almost all Stripe integrations to using TLS 1.2 for API requests.

Here’s the timeline we’ll be following:

  • Monday, February 19: All servers using older versions of TLS will be blocked from the Stripe API in test mode.
  • Wednesday, June 13: All servers using older versions of TLS will be blocked from the Stripe API in live mode.

If you’re not sure you’re running TLS 1.2, you can follow our detailed upgrade instructions to check your version and learn how to secure your servers. While there are usually no changes required to your Stripe code, you might need to upgrade the operating system or packages on your servers.

If you have any questions or need help, just let us know!

February 1, 2018

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Ending Bitcoin support

Tom Karlo on January 23, 2018

At Stripe, we’ve long been excited about the possibilities of cryptocurrencies and the experimentation and innovation that’s come with them. In 2014, we became the first major payments company to support Bitcoin payments.

Our hope was that Bitcoin could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive.

Over the past year or two, as block size limits have been reached, Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange. Given the overall success that the Bitcoin community has achieved, it’s hard to quibble with the decisions that have been made along the way. (And we’re certainly happy to see any novel, ambitious project do so well.)

This has led to Bitcoin becoming less useful for payments, however. Transaction confirmation times have risen substantially; this, in turn, has led to an increase in the failure rate of transactions denominated in fiat currencies. (By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in Bitcoin price mean that it’s for the “wrong” amount.) Furthermore, fees have risen a great deal. For a regular Bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of U.S. dollars is common, making Bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires.

Because of this, we’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease. And of the businesses that are accepting Bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially. Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense.

Therefore, starting today, we are winding down support for Bitcoin payments. Over the next three months we will work with affected Stripe users to ensure a smooth transition before we stop processing Bitcoin transactions on April 23, 2018.

Despite this, we remain very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall. There are a lot of efforts that we view as promising and that we can certainly imagine enabling support for in the future. We’re interested in what’s happening with Lightning and other proposals to enable faster payments. OmiseGO is an ambitious and clever proposal; more broadly, Ethereum continues to spawn many high-potential projects. We may add support for Stellar (to which we provided seed funding) if substantive use continues to grow. It’s possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low. Bitcoin itself may become viable for payments again in the future. And, of course, there’ll be more ideas and technologies in the years ahead.

So, we will continue to pay close attention to the ecosystem and to look for opportunities to help our customers by adding support for cryptocurrencies and new distributed protocols in the future.

January 23, 2018

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Navigate tax season using Stripe Atlas

Arnaud Cavailhez on January 10, 2018

Today, we’re launching features to make business taxes easier for companies using Stripe Atlas.

We’ve heard from many Stripe Atlas entrepreneurs that getting business taxes right is painful. It’s hard to know what taxes you owe, good accountants are expensive and hard to find, and fixing mistakes is even more expensive. All of this takes time away from building your product and company.

Now, Stripe Atlas helps startups handle two primary U.S. tax requirements:

Delaware franchise tax

Paying franchise tax and filing an annual report is a requirement for all Delaware corporations; it’s traditionally involved a bill in the mail and a confusing government website. You can now submit this filing with just a few clicks from the Stripe dashboard and no preparation fee.

A screenshot of the Stripe Dashboard showing the workflow for filing taxes in Delaware

Corporate income taxes

Since every company’s situation is different, we recommend working with an accountant to prepare corporate income taxes. We’ve handpicked experts used by top startups and worked with them to offer discounts of up to 50% for Stripe Atlas users. And Atlas makes it easy to collaborate with them: from the Dashboard, you can select the accountant who's right for you, answer a few questions about your business, and they’ll reach out to finalize your return.

We’ve also published a new guide to help demystify tax season.

We launched Stripe Atlas to make it simple to start a company. With tools for handling taxes, issuing stock to founders, renewing a registered agent, and a post-incorporation checklist, we hope Atlas continues to be helpful as you operate and grow your company as well. If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out!

The best way to start an internet business. Join Stripe Atlas

January 10, 2018

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Better Stripe Connect support in Sigma

Brian Zeng on December 20, 2017

We built Sigma to help businesses quickly analyze their Stripe data and get to insights faster. Today, we’re adding the ability for Connect platforms to query data about their connected accounts as well.

Platforms like DoorDash, Catawiki, OrderMyGear, and others accept money and pay out to hundreds of thousands of sellers and service providers around the world. For platforms like these, analyzing data for specific accounts or across accounts gets very tricky—often requiring paginating and collating responses across multiple API calls or exporting disparate datasets into a custom analytics stack.

Since launch, many platforms and marketplaces have already started using Sigma to query aggregate data about their businesses. With this update, platforms can quickly use standard SQL queries to look up data for both a specific connected account or across connected accounts.

For example, platforms can now generate a summary of their connected accounts with details such as number of charges, total processed volume, and current balance in various currencies to quickly identify parts of the platform that need attention or new business opportunities:

Business name Country Number of charges Gross volume Currency
Rocketship Inc. US 6,230 321252.49 usd
Pampurred Cats US 1,011 22233.49 usd
Vinted Vellum HK 35,508 952146.23 hkd
Monster Cookies CA 62,744 1334934.66 cad

Platforms can also customize the reports to include just the data columns that are most useful. You can look up the verification status of connected accounts and follow up with sellers who haven’t completed the onboarding process or use Sigma to find connected accounts with active disputes:

Service provider Payments enabled Payouts enabled Verification required Account balance
Hemant B. TRUE TRUE 0
Brian Z. TRUE FALSE legal_entity.verification.document -12.98
Charlie M. TRUE TRUE 0

As with any Sigma query, you can turn these platform-specific queries into a daily, weekly, or monthly report—we’ll automatically run the query on the chosen schedule and email you the results.

These new features currently work for Stripe Connect platforms using Custom or Express accounts. (We don’t have support for platforms querying their Standard accounts at this time.)

We hope these new data tables help platforms analyze their business quickly and easily. If you have questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you!

Start a free trial of Stripe Sigma for your platform. Request access

December 20, 2017

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Learning to operate Kubernetes reliably

Julia Evans on December 20, 2017 in Engineering

We recently built a distributed cron job scheduling system on top of Kubernetes, an exciting new platform for container orchestration. Kubernetes is very popular right now and makes a lot of exciting promises: one of the most exciting is that engineers don’t need to know or care what machines their applications run on.

Distributed systems are really hard, and managing services on distributed systems is one of the hardest problems operations teams face. Breaking in new software in production and learning how to operate it reliably is something we take very seriously. As an example of why learning to operate Kubernetes is important (and why it’s hard!), here’s a fantastic postmortem of a one-hour outage caused by a bug in Kubernetes.

In this post, we’ll explain why we chose to build on top of Kubernetes. We’ll examine how we integrated Kubernetes into our existing infrastructure, our approach to building confidence in (and improving) our Kubernetes’ cluster’s reliability, and the abstractions we’ve built on top of Kubernetes.

Read more

December 20, 2017