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Stripe Billing (stripe.com)
620 points by craigkerstiens on Apr 5, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 353 comments



Stripe cofounder here.

For anyone wondering about pricing, here's our approach.

- For new Stripe customers, this is free up to the first (lifetime) $1M of payments.

- For existing customers, there's no pricing change. You just get more functionality than before for free. This is what we generally try to do: we want Stripe to continually become better value for you over time, as you get more functionality for the same price.

- What we've seen over Stripe's history is that customers handling large amounts of revenue have been forced to pay substantial amounts for expensive third-party systems. So, we've decided to build something that we think will be better and cheaper -- and that will, over time, increase the net revenue of businesses built on Stripe.

I'm sorry about any confusion in our communication around this!


Its not just a communication problem, it's a pattern. You guys did the same thing last year when you stopped returning fees on refunds.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that you weren't returning fees anymore. I get not returning the flat 0.30 transaction fee, but not returning the % fees smacks of being more worried about the corporate bottom line than customers. Many processors refund the % fees, and there's no way you couldn't negotiate special dispensation with "the various payment partners we work with" to at least be able to return the % fee.

I used to unabashedly recommend Stripe as the best payment processor -- a little expensive on the rate, but easy to set up and no monthly or hidden fees to worry about.

That changed as soon as I had my first new customer screaming about getting whacked with fees on a refund. Didn't affect my account, and your messaging was horrible on that change as well, so I blissfully recommended unaware of the change until a new customer to whom I'd sung the praises of Stripe got hit and had to yank all of the Stripe code and go to a direct processor.

Just because you grandfather existing customers doesn't mean you get off scot-free on unfavorable policies.

My recommendation immediately changed to only use Stripe if access to special niche features like Stripe Connect or non card payments were required, and otherwise use a direct card processor with defined fees (and much lower rates, like 0.5% lower at least).

Clearly your focus has changed from doing right by the little guy to "customers handling large amounts of revenue" and policies tilted toward the bottom line vs "rightness". That's fine, and a natural part of many corporations during growth... Just telling you how it's affected my perceptions of Stripe and my recommendations to customers.

Negatively.


Stripe has become masters at patronizing customers. We all know it is about the bottom line and the act is getting old at this point. The company was built on developer referrals and now that they are at critical mass - all of the "little guys" get drown out.


Which payment processor would you recommend now?

Edit: See also https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16772655


Depends on volume and risk profile. There are many very sharp Authorize.Net resellers out there that will work with you to get a great rate for your situation. I've seen 2.2% rates on 50k/mo of processing for low risk customers. Of course, with that you get some additional fees to factor in -- monthly statement fee, international, Amex, etc... but it pencils out to way lower than 3% at a decent volume.

For example, these guys: https://www.netcompaysystem.com

And many of these processors will give you gross deposit which is the only way to make things easy for an accountant. The net fees model Stripe uses is a nightmare for reconciliation at any sort of scale.

This isn't to say I've abandoned Stripe entirely -- there are some cases where it makes sense, when you're actually using some of the advanced features and API, not just a straightforward card charge.

I just completed a Stripe Connect integration that handles millions a month for several clients... but even there you run into half baked/stapled on feelings when you try to produce a full featured process that works at scale. For example, there's no straightforward way to provide a batch report for a Stripe Connect client -- the charge ID's don't match up with the platform account, and the only way to fully map which charges/refunds/chargebacks are in a given deposit for the client account is to link them up by amount and date/time....


How about for new startups (with low or no volume)?


Research around. Many of the same processors will work with you even at low volume, although the rate wouldn't be as good. Of course, with little or no volume, the rate doesn't matter as much.


Any information on support for Europe? And if support for Europe were to be in the pipeline, would it be for the whole of Europe or only specific countries? We'd love to use Stripe for billing as well, but because Stripe is an American company, we feel like as Europeans we're constantly an afterthought and would therefore prefer a European provider. What's your opinion on this?

Btw, I was at the Stripe offices 2 years ago and it was an amazing experience. I really like what Stripe has done over the years. Keep it going and thanks!


> we feel like as Europeans we're constantly an afterthought

Agreed.

Ahem, Stripe team. May I have your attention?

Could you please, please, please do something about helping your customers with calculating, charging, and tracking VAT to EU countries? It is currently a glaring omission from your services.


Or, adding support for SEPA/EU Bank payments to Stripe Checkout?

I know it's in the main Stripe API, but if I'm going to have to roll my own integration, I'm just going to go use PayPal. PayPal has much cleaner API for non-card payments.

With Stripe I need two different codepaths for bank payments and cards....


You can use the sources API for both cards and SEPA: https://stripe.com/docs/sources/cards

On the UI side, mind shooting me an email at eduardo@stripe.com? I can share some stuff we're working on!


while you are talking about SEPA, i know that there is a support for SEPA Direct Debit, but are you thinking about implementing Swiss Direct Debit, right now there are two sub implementation one from Postfinance and one from the Banks, there are talks about combining it in one system in 2 years or so but right now its kinda shitty + i would rather work with stipe api then with camt and pain files.


I am very happily using Paddle. They treat me very well, but what makes their product really sticky is the (global, not just EU) VAT handling. I basically do nothing, and it just happens for me.


This is a big one. For EU customers, we are using a different payment gateway which can collect vat on our behalf.


I would like to know which payment gateway you are using.


Paddle.com is one gateway that offers this.


EU support is coming! The market is quite different, as you obviously know, and we want to take the time to test Billing properly with European users. But enabling support for Europe is a high priority for us.


Does "EU support" mean you will eventually want my money? (I'm in Poland) Until now your EU support has been rather disappointing.


Hi, I'm working on our CEE expansion at Stripe, with no firm timeline to share at this time. Mind dropping me a line? I'm pglootz@stripe.com.


We're definitely waiting for you in Poland.


Hi, we're working on adding support for Poland, but don't have a fixed ETA at this point. Mind sending me a note so we can talk more once we're ready? I'm pglootz@stripe.com.


What about non-EU Europe, e.g. Georgia?


I wonder why the EU is an afterthought when you need to spend millions on compliance for every new feature


Against all my instincts, even though this post is unconstructive and snarky and flame bait, and even though I am European (or perhaps because of it), I have to upvote this. European people, those voting for representatives voting for representatives (!) making the laws, need to start feeling the negative feedback of the regulations. I’m not saying there are no benefits to consumer protection; there are, I am a massive GDPR fan, but we are too unaware of the opportunity price we pay for this.

Be aware, fellow Europeans: there is a cost to all regulation. If you feel like a constant afterthought, maybe it’s because you are.

(I know these are not necessarily specifically related to this Stripe product. It’s more of a cultural undertone. What I’m trying to say is: the parent comment has a point.)


As a fellow European living in the US I feel divided about this: while the opportunity cost is high and the business environment is definitely stifled by regulation, the quality of life and health consequences of the lack of regulation in the USA are massive and there's very little recourse for the little people against the criminal misbehavior of corporations.

There must be a happy medium between the two positions, I don't know that a country has gotten it right yet but the US is no paradise.


There is no lack of regulation in the USA, it's just the USA has some wrong regulations that creates horrible results you see sometimes. Most of it is from a lack of single payer healthcare and a public culture of infrastructure neglect with high amounts of waste compared to pretty much everywhere else in the world.

I really think it comes down to legislation philosophy. In the english speaking countries, cost of compliance is something that is thought about for small businesses, so many regulations are small business exempt until you get to certain employee counts or revenue numbers.

In the EU, that concept doesn't seem to exist and businesses of 1 are assumed to be $100M revenue businesses that can afford to do things like GDPR properly.


If you are a 1 man show, how about not collecting data you most likely don't need anyway? And the 4% global revenue fine the GDPR is famous for does exactly what you want -- scales with the means of the business.


Last I saw there was a minimum fine of x million Euros.

Edit: had to verify. It seems a bit more reasonable: """Article 83 of the General Data Protection Regulation provides details of the administrative fines. There are two tiers of fines. The first is up to €10 million or 2% of annual global turnover of the previous year, whichever is higher. The second is up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover of the previous year, whichever is higher.""" - https://www.gdpr.associates/what-is-gdpr/understanding-gdpr-...


Yes, because a minimum fine of $10 million for a 1 person business is totally reasonable, unless by the grace of the bureaucracy, they decide to give you a warning instead. /s

Also the GP post, there is more than 'avoiding collecting data'. If you have text field comments form and a 3rd party puts 'personal data' in that, then that is GDPR liable! You also need audit logs and and list of other requirements that needs multi engineer teams to implement properly.

As a result, most small businesses with email are probably not going to be properly compliant on some level and you can prosecute anyone. Just like the new-ish VAT laws, large stores are going to be compliant because they can afford it, while some petty bureaucrat will prosecute the small online shops instead.


The ten million is a maximum, not a minimum.


“Whichever is higher” is a max(), not a min(), i.e. it’s a “minimum”

(counter-intuitively)


I thought since they said a fine "up to X" it would mean that X was the upper boundary. So you could certainly be fined a lot less than $10 million.


Seems like something like

=max(whatTheJudgeThinks, max(10mEUR, 0.02*turnover))


I don’t see your logic. Of course new features of a US company are going to be focussed on their home market first.

And claiming that regulation in EU is stifling business is a bit naive. Regulation is everywhere. Have you ever tried to sell an app that uses encryption (like TLS or SSH) on the app store? The stuff you need to do in the US for „export compliance“ is ridiculous (even if it‘s an app that wasn‘t written in the US in the first place)


His opinion "I wonder why the EU is an afterthought when you need to spend millions on compliance for every new feature" is not backed up by any facts. If he had said that meeting the legal requirements in 28 different independent and sovereign countries adds too much cost then he would be correct.

Remember the EU Single Market and Custom Union does not cover every aspect of commerce and industry across all 28 member states.

Having said that, the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) which applies to Stripe, will remove any remaining barriers and costs that still exist between member states when applied to the provision of electronic payments. If one was to add in the eIDAS directive then meeting compliance for identity, fraud, etc will soon be irrelevant.


Sure but the EU does levy rather large fines.


I doubt that EU regulations are more onerous than their US counterparts. And, obviously, the EU is mostly just replacing country-specific regulations, making it about 16x easier to enter the European market.

I'd also like people to name specific regulations they disagree with, yet any time I challenge s/o they slink away.

In this case, a stripe rep in this thread posted a list of their todos for the EU. Note that literally "putting VAT ID numbers on invoices" makes their top 5! Can't be that bad after all:

"localize the invoices, add EU specific payment methods to invoices, improve tax support, make default invoice templates EU compliant with VAT ID"


I lead a payments team.

US requirements around what we put on invoices: 0 EU requirements around what we put on invoices: Still figuring it out

The technical implementation is not difficult. It's dealing with all the lawyers and accountants who have to understand regulations of 27 different countries.

There is a significant difference between "not regulated" and "regulated at all". The burden of understanding the regulation itself is a cost, even if the actual compliance turns out to be simple.


The EU has been moving towards more standardization for quite a while now. The most prominent example is the euro coin. And although the GDPR may seem to many like another regulation to comply to, it's actually a unifying regulation because now you don't have to deal with separate privacy laws for each member state.


From a tax point of view, EU is a lot easier to deal with than the US if you have to collect sales tax in the US.

There are two big differences.

Let's say I'm selling some digital good online. Consider three purchasers, one in the US in the state of Washington, one in Germany, and one in France.

First, how much tax do I have to collect from each?

For the German customer, that is easy. It is 19% VAT. I don't have to care where in Germany they live.

For the French customer, that is easy. It is 20$ VAT. I don't have to care where in France they live.

For the US customer in Washington...it is not easy. There is a state wide 6.5% sales tax, but there are also county, city, and other sales taxes that I have to collect. For example, if the customer is in the city of Seattle, I'm supposed to collect the 6.5% state tax, plus a 2.7% city tax, plus a 0.4% for something called the "Regional Transit Authority"...that's 9.6%. If that person is over in Bellevue instead of in Seattle, it would have been 10% (6.5% state, 3.5% Bellevue).

For the US customer, I have to care where in their state they live. Also, tax boundaries are not guaranteed to line up with postal code boundaries, so to do that tax accurately I really would need to collect their full postal address (which since I'm selling a digital good I have no use for except for calculating taxes).

Second, what do I do with the tax I collect?

For the EU, I sign up for the VAT MOSS system in a single EU country. Then each quarter I have to file a simple form with the tax authorities in that single EU country that simply lists each EU country, what my total taxable sales were in that country, the VAT rate I used, and the amount of VAT collected. I turn the collected VAT over to that single country's tax authorities. Then they deal with distributing it to all the other countries.

For the US...I have to deal with each state I collect tax for separately. Each has its own forms. Each has its own place to file them. Each has its own place to pay.

If you have to deal with more than just your own state and maybe a handful of others in the US, you pretty much have to use a third party service that specialized in handling all of this. For companies in lines of business that are only barely profitable, this could be prohibitively expensive.

If Congress ever decides to require online companies to collect tax for all states, instead of just those that they have a presence in, and they do not require that the states use something like the VAT MOSS system, and they do not require that each state has a single rate for out-of-state non-present sellers, it's going to be nightmare for small companies, and possibly drive many out of business.


The situation wouldn’t be nearly as bad if the federal government offered some sort of API or search service to which all states would have to report, but this is currently only being addressed by the private sector. And at kind of a prohibitive price for very small businesses, in some cases.

Fortunately, there’s almost no enforcement at all with respect to small- to medium-sized businesses collecting and reporting interstate sales tax. Do the best you can with it.


The core Stripe Billing features actually work in the EU: flexible billing, our recovery tools, and invoicing. You can use subscriptions with all of the payment methods on Stripe, including SEPA DD, ideal, and more. But as Patrick mentioned, there's a lot we can do to make the experience great for European companies and that's what we're focusing on right now. We're thinking about ways to localize the invoices, add EU specific payment methods to invoices, improve tax support, make default invoice templates EU compliant with VAT ID, and more. If you'd like to try early betas, let me know!


We're about to re-evaluate our billing system for StyleCI and as we're based in the EU, we'd love to give this a go. My email is james [at] alt-three.com


We are in France and we already use Stripe subscriptions. We'd like to try early betas of Stripe Billing for EU. My email is nicolas at vocationcity dot com.


Heya! Would like to be in beta for this. I'm mike, at certsimple dot com.


+1 for Austria and yes, we (lingohub) want to be in the early beta.


+1 for Europe

Is there anything like it in Germany?


FWIW, since Stripe has been completely ignoring Central Europe (I'm in Poland), I've been using Braintree (https://www.braintreepayments.com), which does want my money.

It's not as hip and fashionable as Stripe, but does work fairly well. They do subscriptions, but I had to take care of invoicing myself.


Relevant Self-Promotion: https://www.monsum.com is our solution which offers besides stripe other PSPs aswell.


Could you tell your web developer not to mess with scrolling on the website? It's always a thing that bugs many people, including me.


You're losing customers by not having your website available in English as well.


It's available, but not properly linked, fixing it shortly: https://monsum.com/en/


Paddle.com (disclaimer: I work there)


+1 for italy


> For existing customers, there's no pricing change. You just get more functionality than before for free. This is what we generally try to do: we want Stripe to continually become better value for you over time, as you get more functionality for the same price.

The email that existing customers received was ambiguous on this point. It said this: "Since you used Stripe Subscriptions in the past year, the Stripe Billing Starter plan is included in your current pricing."

Many existing customers that rely on basic subscriptions probably think their rates are about to go up. Maybe you guys need a follow-up email to explain that they're not?


Absolutely this. I got the email this morning and was left confused about the basic point - "do I pay any more for my current usage?"

I'm glad that I now know the answer, but I would've been asking Stripe support if I hadn't stumbled across this by chance.


Very sorry about the lack of clarity in the email! You will get all of the functionality that you have now, plus anything additional that we add to Stripe Starter, at the price you currently pay to Stripe. No additional fees here, even beyond $1M lifetime cap.


We signed up for Stripe account on February 9, but are yet to start processing paymens, will our account be grandfathered in as well? I sent you email yesterday asking about it too. We did not receive Stripe email about changes. Could you please clarify it? Thank you!


This comment needs to be stuck to the top of this thread—the thread has already got out of hand wrt/ the confusion on how this affects current customers.

Thanks for clearing up the communication on this! I've been a happy Stripe user for years, now!


Yeah, we messed up in not having this be clearer. Apologies!


No, thank you for getting in front of this, clarifying your messaging, and responding to questions as quickly and actively as you have!

Stuff like this is part of the reason I love Stripe so much.


Hi,

we use stripe subscriptions now quite a lot, and I'm a bit worried about the whole invoice pricing - could you please clarify that a bit?

the web site says invoices are free for up to first 2K, then $1 per invoice. our recurring charges to customers now are around $2.99 per month, I hope you're not planning to take $1 more away from that. does the invoice price apply for each recurring payment cycle, or am I reading something wrong here?


Recurring invoices aren't affected, so no $1 charge. I forget where that was mentioned.


@pc

Any thoughts on either acquiring https://baremetrics.com/ or creating similar functionality within Stripe?

Seems like a natural extension to Billing to also have Revenue Analytics.


I've been using Profitwell, switched away from Baremetrics.

Its a lot better, cleaner, more featureful and it's free.


Would love to hear what "more featureful" means for you and your business! What are the big features they have but we don't? (I honestly don't pay attention to them so not sure what features they offer...genuinely curious how we could be serving businesses like yours better.)


Josh to be honest we used you guys for almost a year and repeatedly gave large amounts of feedback, none of it which was really acted upon. To the point it felt that Baremetrics had essentially stalled. In fact, the only change I remember from the time we used Baremetrics is that the colors of the dashboard changed to be more pastel.

Baremetrics is a great "early release" product, but we don't see development on it, nor even a hint at a roadmap. Profitwell has a lot more features (Paypal support, customer tracing, a powerful UI, etc) and we constantly see new features being added.

I could tell you the same stuff I said when we unsubscribed: Paypal support, a better API, "cancel at period end" support (which Profitwell does have), etc... Wish you well with it, and I hope for your success as I really like how transparently you run Baremetrics, but the product just doesn't cut it for us. And I think you should definitely pay attention to what Profitwell is doing (or any competitors really).


Fair enough! 2017 was a tough year for us (especially May to December). You're correct that we launched very few improvements in that time. On the backend we were doing a complete rewrite, which ultimately set the stage for us to roll out really powerful new features like Segmentation (https://baremetrics.com/features/segmentation) which launched a couple of months ago.

Since January we've been on a roll, releasing a slew of new features and updates and have a ton more on the way.

Certainly wish we'd handled that big rewrite differently since it did leave a bad taste for some folks, but it is what it is. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The features that are crucial to one business are inconsequential to others, so I appreciate your perspective on what you guys really need.

Would love for you to give us a try again down the road and thanks again for taking the time to give feedback!


Josh

As an outsider, comparing BareMetrics vs Profitwell - all I have to say is thank you for 2 specific reasons.

1. BareMetrics has a live demo. Profitwell tried to make me schedule a call with a sales person just to view the product.

2. BareMetrics has simple pricing. With Profitwell, I literally couldn't figure out how much it'd cost if I were to use them.


Hey Tiffany - Patrick from ProfitWell here.

I know you wrote this to Josh, but just jumping in here to address the ProfitWell side. :)

1. You're 100% right. We don't have a live demo. We're working on a solution for you here, but it's been delayed for some other cool features. Happy to share when we launch something for you. I know a call can be annoying, but it wouldn't be a sales person. Most metrics demos are from our product/engineering team. :)

2. As for pricing - we don't typically hear it's confusing, but it's 100% free forever. We make money through our add-ons. There's definitely something here to get better at though, so I'll take this back to the team to make it rock.


Do you sell user data in any form?


The silence is deafening. I’ll answer for Patrick; here is ProfitWell’s privacy policy:

https://www.profitwell.com/privacy-policy

The short answer to your question is, “Yes.” The long answer is:

> INFORMATION SHARING

1. With Third Parties:

We may share your information with third-party business partners...

...

2. With Service Providers:

We may share your information with third parties who provide services on our behalf...to which these services may include:

Payment processing

Providing customer service

Sending marketing communications

Conducting research and analysis

Providing cloud computing infrastructure

...which also means, “Yes.” In particular, “research and analysis” is not clarified (nor would a clarification outside the formal ToS be legally binding). As long as there is a defensible interpretation of these clauses, they can freely sell all of your information. This also might be of interest to you:

> We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe. In certain circumstances we may be required by law to retain your personal information, or may need to retain your personal information in order to continue providing a service.

There is a legitimate reading of this clause which allows ProfitWell to retain your data indefinitely because they’re providing a service to someone.


Let's back up a second. The silence isn't because I/we don't want to talk about this, it's because it was 2am here in Boston and I was sleeping at that point (coincidentally after leaving the office around 1130pm pouring over our new GDPR paperwork).

The short answer is 100%, absolutely no - we do not, have not, and will not ever sell your data. We say this pretty clearly at the top in our terms and services, which you didn't link to (found here: https://www.profitwell.com/terms-security). For context, there's a difference between a privacy policy and a terms of service. I'm not a lawyer, but from my understanding the reason here we structured things this way (as a lot of BI/analytics providers do) is because one handles the actual handling of data, especially pursuant to EU/International/US law, and the other handles the actual service of that data. For instance, we will share your email address with our email service or with our payment processor. The terms are inclusive of the privacy policy.

From a terms perspective, we don't access someone's account unless given permission for QA, analysis, and the like. We do aggregate data for research purposes, but there needs to be a minimum of 30 companies in that data set and if you'd like to opt out of that we're more than happy to sign/put together custom Ts&Cs, which we do with almost every company that requests one.

Additionally, with GDPR the nature of our privacy policy is going one step further beyond EU/Swiss Privacy Shield compliance to offering up DPAs and a whole host of new functionality to make sure we go beyond the requirements.

Apologies if I'm coming off any bit passive aggressive/defensive. Just trying to explain and sometimes the legalease can be tough to sift through. I started my career working in network security/intelligence, so I personally take this really seriously and we put a lot of work into all of this fun stuff (pen tests, training, our policies, etc.), so I take it too personally when hearing someone misinterpret how we work. We can always make this clearer, as we tried to do with the pre-amble to our terms, but happy to do what some other companies have done and really refine the plain speak of our terms and privacy policy (especially since they're shifting a bit with GDPR). Assume you meant the best here with your comments though, so hope this clears this up at least a bit.

From a monetization perspective, we do offer a service to _someone_ - our customers. We sell Price Intelligently, ProfitWell Retain, ProfitWell Recognized, and ProfitWell Premium. All of these products are feature and performance based - and more than paying the bills for us to continue to invest in building the company without a drop of funding (which is intentional to keep us independent).

The reason we set up our monetization this way is that frankly we don't think there's a whole lot of value in taking your data and putting it into a bunch of graphs. I know that's trivializing BI/analytics, but that's the crux of the industry right now. Plus, doing willingness to pay and pricing analysis supports this - hence why most BI companies have to go upmarket to survive/grow. Instead, metrics are the gateway.

The world we're building is one where ProfitWell can show you the one graph (or few) that you need to look at - not the 60 you need to sift through to truly understand if there's a problem or not. Then we're going to help you see exactly the metric you should worry about (and the ones you shouldn't worry about) before offering up resources to help you fix it or a product that takes care of that metric for you with 0 work on your part through what we call an anti-active usage product (like ProfitWell Retain). This just feels like the right move to best serve our customers and the greater community.


You should resolve the discrepancy between this comment and your Privacy Policy. A message board comment is not legally binding, and what I linked to has substantial wiggle room in interpretation.


Yup - a HN comment is definitely not legally binding. Given some of the flame wars on some of the threads over the years, that would definitely be a scary world.

Based on a number of lawyers (we've gone deep on this over the past several years), I'm confident this is resolved through the combination of our terms and privacy policy - the EU/Swiss privacy shield stipulations, which drove the privacy policy encompasses the specific data there that's shared (check out the section entitled "Collection", which is then what's referenced in the shared section). These are common information to engage in internet commerce like email, billing info, etc. This is actually specifically why we had language in our Terms to encompass the actual financial data. The ironic part of all this is we repeatedly told our legal folks we needed to simplify, simplify, simplify.

All that being said - you clearly came to the page and thought the worst based on the language, so I guess it doesn't really matter if we're legally doing the right thing, we need to make sure you (and other folks who reach us) are interpreting and seeing what we're doing as intended.

Give me/us a little bit of time to figure out how to make this instantly obvious. As I mentioned, we're in the midst of clearing up our house based on GDPR requirements, so it's a good time to revisit. Really appreciate the feedback - only way we get better. :)


For greater context, the reason why I’m saying your Privacy Policy needs to be revised for precision is because:

1. I have experience acquiring data for the financial industry, and your privacy policy looks like the kind used to discreetly allow data brokering for free apps that have a lot of user data, and

2. I’ve seen executives who do sell data deny that they sell data by being overly literal and obtuse about what users mean when they ask if their data is sold. When users ask if their data is sold they’re usually including “data sharing with affiliates”, even if they aren’t savvy enough to use that terminology. The concern there is that user data collected by third parties is allowed to be reshared by their affiliates and under opaque terms that do not preclude monetization.


In EU, you need to write something like "...share data with third-party service providers..." already if you use AWS, because customer data will not only be held at your premises, but also held by another company (Amazon).

It seems to be difficult to phrase the Privacy Policy in a way that will satisfy this condition, and at the same time remove the 'wiggle room' you see.


Call out the third party service providers explicitly.


That has the big disadvantage that if you switch from AWS to Google Cloud, you need to notify all of your customers about the changed policy and ask them for consent again. I have not seen any Privacy Policy yet which lists the service providers.


You don't need to ask for consent, because it's typical that a clause will simply state, "Continued use of this service indicates acceptance of these terms", etc. That seems like a non-problem as far as these things go.

The reason you don't see privacy policies which list that information is not because it has an exorbitant inconvenience cost, it's because they benefit directly from that information asymmetry.


You actually do, because now you want to send data to Google Inc., for which you don't have the consent of your customers yet. They only agreed to sending it to Amazon. You can't make them agree to any future changes of your Privacy Policy.

edit: yes, you can send out a notification on every change and tell your customers that it is an implicit consent if they don't object. But I still wouldn't want to do that for every change of service provider, and there can be quite a few such providers in an SaaS.


If I understand correctly, finishing the last citation with:

"[in order to continue proving a service] to you."

would at least resolve the problem of retaining user data indefinitely, but I also totally agree with the free interpretation of "Conducting research and analysis".

Also, because Profitwell is available to customers in Europe, it will soon have to align with GDPR requirements (which also includes the right to being forgotten), even if it's not a European company or otherwise face fine risks.


Re: privacy/terms - hope the other comment I just made clears some things up. Happy to answer any questions if not, of course.

Re: GDRP - you're absolutely right. We'll be required to align with GDPR in just over a month. We're all set from an engineering perspective and rolling through all the fun documentation, agreements, compliance records, and trainings from a legal perspective now.


Hey Joewee - wanted to answer this directly here in case the other longer, more in-depth comment gets a bit buried - short and long answer is no. We have never and will never sell user data. We monetize through a bunch of products that help optimize different pieces of your business - pricing through Price Intelligently, churn through ProfitWell Retain, revenue recognition through ProfitWell Recognized, etc.

I explained this in depth in response to one of the comments here, but the crux of this is that metrics are the gateway, which allow you to see the problems in your business. We then offer resources or products to help with those problems.


FWIW I love that Baremetrics has a live demo as well and it's what turned me towards them in the first place. But I don't understand what you mean by "simpler pricing". Profitwell is literally free, I don't get how that's not simpler pricing.

They do have an opt-in "Recover" product, just like Baremetrics, which is priced exactly the same way as Baremetrics.


> it's free

For non-basic usage, that's a con, not a pro.


But it's better than Baremetrics, so I don't get your point. It being free just makes it both better and less expensive.

ChartMoguls is excellent if you want to be on a paid plan. It's also super expensive.


We don't want to be perceived as cheap, but super expensive isn't our plan either. We're free for companies below $10K MRR, then charge on subscriber volumes. We can offer custom pricing to high-volume/low-margin businesses, feel free to reach out if you'd like to discuss nick [at] chartmogul.com


Thanks so much for the love here. :)


Hey Dictum - we're free for non-basic usage, basic usage, and everything in-between. I explained a lot of why this is the case in the blog post link below (when we went all in for free), but it really comes down to the following:

PHILOSOPHICAL 1. In software (and the subscription economy) we're moving away from function based pricing to outcome based pricing. Putting this simply in the context of analytics/reporting means that if I just take your data and put it into a bunch of graphs, it's helpful, but not valuable, even if they are the right graphs (and most of the time they aren't the right graphs, at least in most BI/analytics products).

2. Based on this, we believe in outcome based pricing. We make money by selling products like Retain, Price Intelligently, etc. that all have a specific number we can point to (in your free ProfitWell account :)) that we helped move in the right direction. For some of these products we then only perfectly charge based on our performance. Others where we can't measure this precisely, we still price on a value metric axis.

ANALYTICAL 1. Metrics/analytics are a terrible business from a willingness to pay and unit economics perspective. People don't really appreciate how much work goes into 100% accuracy (that's our thing compared to our competitors fwiw). It took years to be perfect and even now we're still finding edge cases of edge cases. Multiply this by the number of billing systems and it takes a lot of work to support this free product.

Here's the thing though - back to that lack of appreciation - when measuring the willingness to pay for analytics/metrics, people just aren't willing to pay that much. We measured this well ahead of going all in on free and found that our unit economics, especially in a market that's weak in number of logos (subscription market is much smaller than people think). As a result, most BI/analytics companies go up market. We're upmarket and do have an enterprise plan for all the fun enterprise fixings people need, but we don't want to waste massive amounts of CAC fighting for $50/month or even $150/month. Creating a phenomenal user experience (we're not there yet) is so much valuable. Plus, we're able to show our customers they have a problem that we can then sell an add-on for.

Long story short, this business and space requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer for growth. Hope that's helpful. Always up for answering questions.

Here's the blog post we wrote up with some of the data, too: https://www.profitwell.com/blog/why-we-released-a-better-pro...


Hey Patrick, thanks for this comment.

"Plus, we're able to show our customers they have a problem that we can then sell an add-on for." - I really like that part.


Great. :)

We don't plan on stopping. Admittedly this gets us in some trouble being a growing company, because we need to make sure our free product is the best for our customers AND we offer up stellar paid products. A whole lot of surface area, especially for a bootstrapped company (although we're past the Ramen stage - $10M+ ARR and 45 folks :)).

There's a lot of work we did to make sure we're learning as quickly as possible that really helps advance the mission on all fronts.


We have been using Stripe for 3 years. Every time we need a new feature, Stripe comes up with it when we need it.

We were literally looking for a Billing solution that works with Stripe YESTERDAY. T

This is phenomenal timing for us. Thanks Stripe!


For existing customers, there's no pricing change. You just get more functionality than before for free.

Will anything change for those of us who might not need that new functionality? The wording in the email is that Stripe Billing "replaces" Stripe Subscriptions, but historically Stripe has been good at not breaking its API. We're concerned about another situation like GoCardless last year, where existing integrations would get broken.

The one thing we'd love to see improved is fixing failed charges. We've never been able to find much documentation on the previous settings for Dunning management, and support emails on the subject went unanswered. However, our stats for churn caused by mysterious Stripe payment failures are consistently quite a bit worse than the ones you mention in your publicity today, and relatively few of our customers resubscribe after their subscription is cancelled like that even if they were previously happy and active users so this does significantly hurt growth. This has been our #1 problem with Stripe for a long time. If this new system leads to better Dunning management and better documentation about how it works, that would be positive.


On your integration -- you won't have to change anything if you're currently using Stripe Subscriptions. You can continue as you are.

On high decline rates -- Of course, we're hoping Smart Retries and automatic card updater help you here without any additional work on your side. That said, drop us a line! There's actually quite a few things you can do on your end to minimize declines (pass us the right information at the time of charge, segment your decline reason codes in Sigma, experiment with trials, etc.) that can help reduce passive churn. (Docs on declines here: https://stripe.com/docs/declines)


Thanks for the reassurance on the current subscriptions integration. A first look at the API suggested that updating to the latest Stripe API was now going to involve some breaking changes, e.g., introducing products and requiring one to set up a plan.

On the decline rates, we actually have dropped you (Stripe) a line -- many times, in fact, and via multiple channels. In some cases, we never received a reply at all. In the others, the reply was essentially that you didn't know why the failure rates were so high and there was nothing actionable you could suggest to improve them.

I appreciate the link to the declines page, but I think that information has been available for quite a while now. What we have really needed is the detail about exactly what would happen if we configured the existing Dunning management to retry things, for example which objects get created in your system and/or get reused on retried payments, and which webhooks get sent at which points in the try/retry/give-up process and which objects they refer to. As far as I'm aware, none of this has ever been included in your usual documentation areas.

With today's announcement, it would now also be helpful to know the differences between the previous Dunning controls and the new Billing system, and how to migrate between them if necessary. The controls for the new smart retries feature seem to be in the same area on the dashboard, but as with the older controls, if there's any documentation anywhere about what any of these settings actually do under the hood, or how to simulate the relevant scenarios for integration and testing purposes, I can't find it.

It would also help to fix some limitations of the current tools, and again maybe the new Billing system helps with this but we haven't spotted it yet. For example, one problem we've run into a few times now is that address verifications are all-or-nothing. Either we don't use them (presumably worse for fraud detection) or we do (but then if a customer moves house and doesn't tell us, their next charge on a subscription will fail). In terms of risk, it would seem to make sense to check the details that don't appear on the card itself for the first payment(s), but after a while to trust that the card really does belong to the customer claiming it and downgrade/ignore those signals in later fraud checks, but this doesn't currently seem to be possible.

I appreciate that you're probably all very busy today with the roll-out of the new system, but I'm sure we're not the only ones who would be grateful if these kinds of documentation gaps and any actual limitations in the functionality could be addressed when time allows.


I'm a manager on Stripe support. I'm incredibly sorry that happened. Can you email me at edwin@stripe.com and I can look into this further?


Thank you for the invitation, but as this happened several times over a period of years, there's not really any specific communication worth following up at this stage.

If you'd like to help, I'd suggest that the online documentation pages would be the most effective area you could look into. As Stripe has grown, gaps have appeared from time to time, where dashboard features or API calls weren't fully described. In this case, the entire feature set seem to be missing at the moment, so if there's anything you can do to fill in that gap and provide the kinds of specific details I mentioned in my previous comment, that could help others in a similar position to us as well.


In the rare cases where an existing customer is forced to migrate accounts (due to incorporation/moving elsewhere) is that considered an existing customer?


Yes! Just drop us a line.


Hi,

Can you share some details on when Stripe will be available for Israeli start-ups? There's quite a big ecosystem here dying to use Stripe but we just can't.


Working on it, but no real news yet. Have you signed up at https://stripe.com/global#IL yet?


A long long time ago :)


Please add a way to set the invoice's email address and cc address vi API. Also the invoice might need to go to multiple email addresses.

Most of our clients have an accounts payable department that's different from the main contact email.


Also wondering how the new invoice and receipt emails are sent out?

> Under invoices there are two new documents "Invoice PDF" and "Receipt PDF" which are different from the standard e-mail receipts. Are these documents emailed to the customer automatically? Is there a way to control this?


(Pm on Stripe billing) There's a param in the API that indicates whether you want an invoice to be sent out or charged automatically -- you want `billing` to be `send_invoice`: https://stripe.com/docs/api#invoice_object-billing

For receipts, you can turn them on in your account settings: dashboard.stripe.com/account


(I work at stripe) Hey! Great feature request -- we plan to add it in the next couple weeks.


Great. We had to roll our own receipt emails using the old subscriptions to get this feature (along with card expiring/expired call outs).


Does "existing customers" mean someone (like me) who has a Stripe account set up, but who hasn't (yet) started accepting payments? Am I grandfathered in?


The email sent by Stripe says "Since you used Stripe Subscriptions in the past year, the Stripe Billing Starter plan is included in your current pricing."

So... based on that, it seems that "existing customers" means "customers that have actually used the product we're replacing".

I think we'd all appreciate a confirmation or clarification, though. :)


We'll make sure you're taken care of here. (If you're just running test subscription charges right now, you're still grandfathered. You can ping me any time if you have questions.)


Any luck if we weren't quite running test charges yet? Just wanted to use the subscription abilities.


I wish Stripe interface was more friendly. Looking at Freshbooks and Stripe, Freshbooks makes it look so simple and nice. Any plans to make your user interface more friendly to casual users who are not devs? Thanks.


This looks great, but I also see a lot of functionality being restricted to USA. That would be quite limiting for us as we are based in Europe and have the vast majority of our customers there. :(


Can you clarify what "Advanced reporting with Sigma" refers to in the Scale tier? Which fraud features are included in the base tier and which are a paid upgrade? Thanks in advance?


I assume Sigma refers to their SQL-based analytics product [1]. I think (and might be wrong) that most fraud-prevention features are included by default in all Stripe products, including Radar?

[1]: https://stripe.com/us/sigma


Oh, my mistake! I mixed up Radar and Sigma.


Sorry to hijack this thread but I wanted to ask if there's any news about supporting payments in Brazil. I've requested an invite 2 years ago and never heard a word.


we are a current enterprise subscription customer with more then 200k subscription transactions per year - we also have more then 40k a la carte transactions (non subscription w/no invoice) per year. If we move the a la carte transactions to the new invoice model will we be charged per invoice?


Thanks for the hard work, this is awesome


I'm looking very forward to using it. Thanks!!


So as a customer of yours who still has to use PayPal because so many Europeans have "bank cards..." What do you recommend? Using both PayPal & Stripe? PayPal is a work around because, for example, a US Stripe account can't take EU "bank cards" (which account for about 1/3 of payments coming from the EU, as I see in Stripe's error logs) or non-US ACH.


> a US Stripe account can't take EU "bank cards"

Wait, what? What do you mean? I'm not seeing this at all.


Yes, like StavrosK said, for anyone who has significant customers outside of the US - there are lots of countries that use various types of "bank cards." Netherlands iDEAL is fairly well-known, but I get lots of customers with Visa & Mastercard "bank cards" in Italy, Germany, etc - all whose payments fail on Stripe (but they try anyway, not realizing theirs is not a typical "credit/debit" card).


Right yeah -- that's actually one of my main issues with Stripe right now. Hopefully they add it soon.


I think he means countries like the Netherlands, where they have some weird system of non-credit/debit cards.


I see a new 0.4% to 0.7% fee, that is enough to make me start shopping competitors on Monday. The stripe processing fee is already high. It seems that all I get is some hosted invoice stuff.. which I could build in a weekend and not have to pay a fee on?

Thinking about it, a medium sized SaaS company billing 15 million a year. 14,000,000 *.004 = 56k a year? For the same product they already had?

Obviously it is cool if you want metering and the advanced features, but I wonder if there is a way to opt out and use the old simple stripe without the new fee - or if this is to push those users into braintree / etc?


(PM for Stripe Billing here) It’s a good question, and one that we thought a lot about before launching the product. At Stripe, we are particularly interested in making startups (especially recurring billing startups, in the case of this product) successful on Stripe. It’s one of our most important goals.

For all businesses -- not just startups -- we waive Stripe Billing fees for your first $1M in recurring billing volume so that you’re not worried about fees when you’re in the early days of growing your business. We also hope there’s much more additional value from the full set of Stripe Billing features that are included in this price -- the increase in revenue you get from our recovery product, the savings in manual operations that you get from automatic invoice reconciliation, and the flexibility in building new business models that you get from improvements we made to the core billing engine (better upgrades, prorations, metered billing & more.) And, we’ll continue to invest in building more features and creating the best end-to-end billing system for fast-growing businesses.

If you’re an existing Stripe Subscriptions user, there’s no change to your pricing or your integration: you can continue as you were. We’ve sent an email to existing users on how this affects you -- please let me know if you still have questions! (tl;dr there’s no changes to your existing pricing.)

If you ever have a question on pricing or the product, I’m happy to talk about it any time. I’m tara@stripe.com.


We also hope there’s much more additional value from the full set of Stripe Billing features that are included in this price -- the increase in revenue you get from our recovery product

Just as a friendly warning, I think your (Stripe's) position on this is maybe not coming across the way you would like.

Mysterious failing payments is an area where Stripe has been historically awful compared to other payment processing services, at least in the experience of my professional network, with very obvious negative effects on KPIs. We're in "you had one job" territory here.

Now it looks like Stripe finally has a way to improve that situation. However, instead of trying to roll out those improvements as quickly and widely as possible, they're being bundled into a new service with as-yet unclear implications for integration and somewhat confusing messaging on pricing.

You might like to consider whether that comes across as having a great new feature or as being the sales guy who sells you $100 broken software but then offers you a gold support contract for only $500/year so you can report the bugs.


Well said.

I just examined the changes to the Stripe dashboard, and, coupled with the email I received from Stripe and the web page about the new "Stripe Billing", I'm utterly confused about several things.

I suspect I'm going to have to unexpectedly spend some time updating my Stripe integration to the latest API, without much gain for my current business.

Stripe doesn't normally drop the ball but I feel like they did on this one.

BTW, Stripe team: the feature people here in the EU really want from you is help with calculating and tracking EU VAT. But you know that, right?


No one on our team has received this email.

Also I don’t know if this is on purpose but you’re not answering the question people are actually asking: what if you’re an existing user and you hit $1M... then what?

Yesterday: 0% extra Today: 0.4% extra

Right?


(PM from Stripe) If you're an existing user, there's no extra fees, even if you are past the $1M threshold. For existing Stripe Subscriptions users, Stripe Billing is included in your current price. (You should have received an email about this earlier today)


Hi, another Stripe customer here who hasn't received an email from Stripe about this, and has found all of this highly confusing! I'm in the UK, if it makes any difference.


Happy to check on this for you! I'm tara@stripe.com


Existing users that hit 1 mil won't get a new 0.4% fee added?


Correct.

> tarstarr 7 hours ago [-] (PM from Stripe) If you're an existing user, there's no extra fees, even if you are past the $1M threshold.


"build in a weekend"


I'm working in my spare time on a series of articles about the curious psychology of the software development world. This one is near the top of my list!


Got an email signup for that?


+1 on the email sign up--I'm very interested. Or at least post it to HN?


Also interested in newsletter/update.


I could write that series in a weekend.


If your needs are basic, why is that surprising? Anyone who uses multiple payment processing services, for example in different countries or to support different payment methods, is probably already doing their own thing at that level anyway. Big, complicated APIs and invoicing systems and so on are not your friend in that sort of environment.


Have you ever built a basic invoicing app? I have.


Did that include accepting credit card payments?


Yes, you can accept CC payments in 15 minutes via Stripe, PayPal, or Braintree.

(Which is kind of the full circle of this thread)


I just rebuilt about 60% of our invoicing system this past week. So yes, depending on your needs, it can be done.


So... 2.5 weekends, and you're only 60% done.


And as they say, you get 90% of the work done in 90% of the time and the remaining 10% in 90% of the time.


80% done, only 80% to go!


20% of the time, it works every time.


It was already done, we just reworked a large portion of it. Done with that already, 3 days of work.


Yeah, i'm building | built an invoicing app, it's not too much work for the basics.


Looks like Stripe Payments (the minimum you need to process credit card payments) is still 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction, for existing Stripe recurring billing users. For any new projects I'll be using Braintree for recurring billing.

Edit: the fee increase is only after $1M in revenue so still makes sense to use Stripe in a project's early stages.


Isn't that the same as BrainTree's pricing? https://www.braintreepayments.com/braintree-pricing


I'm curious how it could possibly go much lower than that. The credit card processors impose fees on everyone, including Stripe.


I could be wrong but the 0.4% fee only seems to kick in after $1M. It's not clear if that is $1M a year or $1M lifetime.


I think they're hoping that the reduced churn rate will make up for the added fees. A "whoops please update your card" email gives people the opportunity to decide whether a sub is valuable, while a quiet background payment tends to be less noticed.


But we already built that ourselves...


Isn't it my job as a Stripe Customer to build that functionality into my own app so that I can manage it in the way that works best for my customers?


Or you can continue to improve your actual product while Stripe takes care of the rote billing issues. That's essentially Stripe's whole pitch, you could do everything they do on your own, but it's expensive and not central to your business.


Easier said than done when your product requires that you integrate with dozens of gateways.


You could say the same thing about invoicing!


Why not use Spreedly then? Way cheaper, and removes a lot of the headaches from the make-it-yourself approach.


Shameless plug here! We also created something we called our Smart Router engine at https://processout.com, which helps you connect to dozens of payment providers and optimize your transactions.


Why don’t you let people decide what they want to spend their time on?


I also am confused. I've made sure that Stripe will not send any emails directly to my customers (disabling emails for successful payments, refunds) since I integrated with Stripe's webhooks for my own custom emails. Is there now some other option that I have to turn off for CC update emails?


(PM on Stripe Billing here) All emails from Stripe to customers (like credit card update emails to your customer, etc.) are off by default. This behavior is the same as all of our other emails to your customers: if you prefer to listen to webhooks & send your own, that's great!


so all the invoices I now see automatically created for all my pre-existing subscriptions, with their own Stripe-generated Invoice ID are NOT being sent out, are they?

How can I make sure of that? They have nothing to do with the actual invoices we already generate, send our customers, pass to our accountants and so forth and should any of these "Stripe-generated invoices" be made visibile to our customers it would create a HUGE accounting issue.


in fact I've just checked and

"Email invoice to customer when it is created"

was on by default but it appears only for "Invoices sent to customer for manual payment"


It's all about the fraud control and the reduction in chargebacks. Yes, you can hack up a credit card payment gateway in a long night (been there, done that), but on the modern web you'll get killed by fraud. That's the hard part and if it is your own merchant account you're always going to be a few chargebacks away from losing that merchant account and by extension getting into really hot water with your business.


The point is they already had this yesterday.

It's literally a bunch of 'value add' features maybe you'll use for a 0.4% increase in fees you didn't ask for.

Let me opt in to the new stuff.


Yeah the development of existing functionality is a sunk cost that should be optimized and depreciate in cost over time with additional volume, not incur additional charges after you're already invested the integration effort to lock yourself in to their gateway. Here they've auto-enrolled us into a new pricing scheme we didn't want or asked for.


> It's literally a bunch of 'value add' features maybe you'll use for a 0.4% increase in fees you didn't ask for.

Except that's not how it works.


Speaking as someone who leads a payments team (for recurring subscriptions!), no. No you could not rebuild this in a weekend.


CEO of Cheddar here.

I think this is a big step in the right direction for Stripe (unclear pricing aside). We’ve been thinking about usage based billing for a long time now. We built a bunch of apps using Stripe and found there was a lot missing if you wanted to track activity and bill for it, as well as with reporting and revenue optimization. Having not dug into the platform too far, this definitely looks like it could fill some gaps.

I will say I’m not a fan of taking a percentage for billing on top of taking a percentage on payments, though. There is risk involved for payments (chargebacks, fraud, etc), but billing is transactional. A percent there feels like a money grab to me.

The only other problem I see with this is that it all seems a bit convoluted. I get that it has to be tacked on to their existing platform. But we’ve found that the secret to an awesome usage based billing system was to track activity in real time, then apply automated billing to that tracked activity. It’s a different approach and we’re working on polishing that up and bringing it to market over the next few months.

Would love to hear more about how folks are thinking about consumption and usage based billing and pricing. I think it’s the next big wave in Internet monetization, so it’s important to get right.


Appreciate the kind words! To the point on pricing: believe in revenue-based business models because it's the clearest way to align our incentives with those of our customers. We want to be forced to find ways to generate more revenue, via smart recovery, better invoice payment methods, more payment method support, etc. Our fees are actually significantly less expensive than those of our competitors, and we only make money when our users make money here (instead of charging a flat fee, which can penalize companies that are bootstrapping.)

Excited to check out Cheddar when it launches!


Billing (recurring or one time) is a transactional activity and should be monetized as such. There should be a per invoice or per customer type of rate. This whole % of revenue seems crazy to me. There is no inherent risk involved like payment processing. You can get paid no matter what in a tx model...

Based on what I see in the market with other billing/subscription providers, they all do the same thing (rev share). Since these businesses are not the payment gateway they try to do a revenue grab with the % share.

I hoped Stripe would be able to disrupt this by already being positioned as a payment gateway and offer this on top in a transactional model....

Hope they rethink this strategy. And no first $1MM isnt going to cut it. Any serious business will see this as a growth challenge. Backend billing flows are challenging to build and once you are committed to this you are locked in for quite sometime from the roadmap perspective.


Thanks for the feedback. To your risk point -- there is often risk involved, as businesses that have worked with large ACH payments know.

More broadly, we believe in revenue-based business models because it's the clearest way to align our incentives with those of our customers. We want to be forced to find ways to generate more revenue, via smart recovery, better invoice payment methods, more payment method support, etc.


Maybe you can provide clarity on ACH risk. Seems like businesses have most of the risk there.. and not the billing system (keeping the gateway out of this).

Secondly, transaction/user based models are also aligned with customer incentives. With growth, customers will execute more transactions on the system.

Frankly, Smart recovery is an area where I can see you can ask for % share. Other features like payment methods etc sound transactional again.

Finally, Stripe has a payment gateway business already. This will ensure growth on that side of the business. Optically this seems like a revenue grab. You have the opportunity to disrupt the ecosystem.

Thanks for responding to my comment. Appreciate the interaction.


Lowering revenues doesn't really align with IPO'ing, though. The issue is the VC model that will keep us trapped in this, until there are less greedy given the resources to disrupt these systems. Capitalism works well, it shouldn't necessarily have a stake in foundational systems - which is why we need governance to manage.


Yikes, I've been using Stripe subscriptions happily for a few years and now I'm upset to see they're going to be charging a fee. It's unclear if the fee starts at $1MM total revenue or $1MM/year. $1MM/total would hurt a lot of the small lifestyle businesses for no gain in service--we already had subscriptions built in to the cost and we don't need invoicing or any of the other new-fangled stuff :(

Paypal has free recurring billing. Sure it's a pain to set up but once you've built it in it works pretty damn well with little to no maintenance. If you do even a smallish amount of business through them you can set up daily sweeps into your bank account to stave off the famous Paypal "random freezing of funds" nonsense.


Did they email the announcement to you? If you already used Stripe subscriptions in the past, you'll be grandfathered in for free. This is the relevant line:

"Since you used Stripe Subscriptions in the past year, the Stripe Billing Starter plan is included in your current pricing."


Yeah, but the Starter Plan starts charging an additional fee after $1MM (yearly? total?) revenue. So it's not grandfathering in at all, we just get shunted to the temporarily-free plan that everyone else has to start on.

Edit: Since my posting this Stripe has clarified that existing customers get the Starter package at no further cost, we we are grandfathered in.


(PM from Stripe) If you're an existing user of Stripe Subscriptions, you get Stripe Billing features included in your current price. (To be clear, there's no extra fees for existing users.)


I have a Stripe account with several sub-accounts (different apps). If I create an additional sub-account, will it be subject to the new fees?


No extra fees for the first million, or no extra fees period?


Period!


Dude.. you need to communicate this better to existing customers and preferably not on HN.


Everyone is on the starter plan though. That makes no sense.


(PM from Stripe) If you're an existing user, there's no extra fees, even if you are past the $1M threshold. For existing Stripe Subscriptions users, Stripe Billing is included in your current price. (You should have received an email about this earlier today)


This was very unclear from the email. Here's what I got:

> Since you used Stripe Subscriptions in the past year, the Stripe Billing Starter plan is included in your current pricing.

Which implies you're opted into the Starter Plan with the regular 1+mil fees.


This is great news.

The initial communication left some room for clarity, which really had me confused in the same way as others in this thread. Really outside of the norm for Stripe, who's communication is usually very clear.


No thanks. When that "random freezing" happens your entire subscription business model is at PayPal's mercy.


Also take notice that there is a charge of $1 per invoice when you send more than 2,000 per year. That's crazy!


(PM at stripe here) This is $1 per one time invoice (an emailed invoice you send to users via the Stripe dashboard) rather than recurring invoices. If you're sending thousands of subscriptions invoices, you will not get charged this fee.


Stripe has always been one of those products so well presented and with guidelines so simple. But this presentation today is a total failure. Makes the billing complicated and everyone doesn’t understand what the service does with detail. You’ll need to update the page to explain a lot.


This thread highlights the following lesson:

When communicating important and potentially difficult to understand information: have some non-insiders read the text and ask them what they think it means.


Free for the first $1 million of recurring charges.

After that, 0.4% on recurring charges

Does this mean recurring charges don't carry Stripe's standard 2.9% + $0.30 charge? Or is the free at first/then 0.4% _on top of_ the 2.9% + $0.30 charge?


It seems to me that Stripe has gone from easy to cheer for underdog, to payment processor that wants to eat the world (ala Facebook).

I love that they are constantly innovating, but every time they do, I have to refactor my product, and then decide how much of my current product's custom functionality can be replaced by Stripe. Then I have to decide if I want to double down on Stripe (at the peril of other integrations), or create a wacky payflow that acknowledges dozens of additional gateways.

I don't want a single product that does everything. I want a great product that does a few things really well. This is starting to kill my love affair with Stripe.


>This is starting to kill my love affair with Stripe.

More and more I feel Stripe catering to the non-engineers who just want a simple workflow at the expense of customization.

I still dislike v3 for the fact it tries to push me to use their own interface.

I was happy hooking your library up to my form. I know I can "customize" it (change the css classes... wooo) but it completely replaced v2 with no way to get that functionality back.

I wish Stripe would have "full tricycle wheels, we charge a bunch" or "barebones, we get out of the way and charge you very little".


I think the changes in v3 might have been for PCI compliance reason as much as anything


payment processors such as Stripe use this strategy to make even harder for you to switch for a different provider, if you ever feel like it. (payments industry expert here)


Does this mean I can still create classic subscriptions (that are free of the 0.4% surcharge) and process them myself?

Edit: The answer is no.

This announcement has burnt through a lot of goodwill that’s accumulated over the years. Not cool!


If you're an existing user, you do get this without the additional fee: classic subs are free forever for existing users.


I just signed up a few weeks ago with the intent of using the subscriptions feature, but since I haven't actually processed any yet, I guess I don't get the feature as advertised when I signed up. Great.


> Does this mean recurring charges don't carry Stripe's standard 2.9% + $0.30 charge? Or is the free at first/then 0.4% _on top of_ the 2.9% + $0.30 charge?

Charges do carry the standard fee.

There are two different products, each with different pricing models.

Billing - tools to manage reoccuring subscriptions. Payments - tools to accept/charge a credit card.

Payments pricing: 2.9%+ $0.30 per-charge.

Billing pricing: 0.4% after the first $1M in reoccurring subscription charges.


To me, it looks like the 0.4% is on top of the 2.9% + $0.30. There is a "Looking for payment fees?" section on the pricing page.


I have the same question.

"Free for the first $1 million of recurring charges." would actually be a better deal for early startups than their standard pricing of "2.9% + $0.30 charge".

Also, since they've migrated old subscriptions into this new "Billing" product, does that mean I'll start NOT paying fees on existing recurring subscriptions?


That's better than Recurly. They take 1% plus $99/month or $299/month if you want accounting software integration. And there's no free tier.

I'm game.


Stripe already did recurring billing without a 1% though


Yeah, but now Stripe is adding in features like email invoices, presumably the ability to for customers to update payment info, etc. I don't know how much exactly has been added incrementally and how much is available in this release, but I'm optimistic that soon I will be able to phase Recurly out of our stack...If someone from Stripe wants to build a Recurly -> Stripe migration toolset, I'd love that!


But I don't want invoices?

Stripe needs to decide if they are a b2b API, or b2c checkout and invoicing product.


As we speak, we are writing code to move from stripe to recurly/adyen.

The analytics/easy plan mgmt and email invoicing in recurly is something stripe doesn't have.

Would you advise against that ?


No, I would not advise against that. There is a reason I pay the (annoying) 1% + $99/$299 fee to Recurly.

I was hoping that this signaled that Stripe was beginning to integrate that valuable featureset into the Stripe platform.


Last time I looked, which was several years ago, recurly was shockingly expensive. Over the top outrageous that it was an automatic no go for my business. PayPal, which I personally hate was a better option


Recurly is actually 1.25% plus $0.10 per transaction plus $99/month (core) or plus $299/month (professional).


Looks buggy to me. I created a test invoice and specified that it should be payable at a later date and only via ACH.

I checked the preview link and the only option to pay was by credit card. I sent the invoice anyway and the test user's credit card was immediately charged.


(Engineering Manager at Stripe Billing) Ah - sorry about that, a last minute fix caused a bug. This is now fixed in production. Thank you so much for reporting!


Thanks for the update. Am I understanding the ACH payment flow correctly:

1) Send a user an invoice

2) The user copies the auto-generated bank details and manually initiates a transfer from their bank?


That's correct - if you want to learn more specifics, we wrote a guide which is available at https://stripe.com/docs/billing/invoices/reconciliation


Thank you for the link.


Two nits... 1) on Safari 11.0.3 on MacOS 10.13.3, clicking on the Documentation link in the upper right leads to an HTML file download, not a valid link; 2) couldn't find where you can customize the invoice design within the UI or the docs?

Hope to move away from Wave Accounting to Stripe invoice, once I can match the design... thanks!


Are you sure it's a charge and not a hold?


It was a (failed) charge.


same here


How is this any different than the subscriptions they previously offered? And what do services like Recurly do that Stripe subscriptions don't? And when is Stripe going to automatically handle sales tax?


I still have not found a single subscription solution that seamlessly handles adding sales tax and properly reporting it. Stripe does not. Recurly does not. TaxJar does not work with subscriptions. Avalara does not work with subscriptions...

What are people doing?


What are people doing?

With my UK small business hat on: Sometimes, it is just easier and cheaper to build it yourself than to rely on an outsourced service that doesn't do exactly what you need.

We have a database table of VAT rates per country with starting dates when they come into effect. All customer accounts are tied to a specific country, so all payments or subscriptions for an account can look up the current rate from the database and apply tax as necessary.

All successful payments (one-off or recurring) are recorded in our DB, triggered by webhooks from the various payment services we use. The DB records include all the tax information that applied at the time of the payment, including things like country and proof-of-location as required under EU VAT rules, and also including generating a sequential ID for each payment to comply with the rules there. This is also the point at which we do any necessary currency conversion calculations, and we then generate and send customers an email automatically with all the same details.

A little scripting looks up the necessary sales and tax figures from the database for the various VAT returns we are required to file for UK and for other EU customers.

The significant limitations are mostly around keeping that VAT rates table up-to-date (I know of no acceptable automated method for doing this, so we just have to review the information manually at frequent intervals) and around handling money repaid (refunds, or if we do ever get a chargeback or similar). As far as I'm aware, none of the automated services is even close to getting these things right either, so we're still no worse off having to do a few things by hand in these relatively rare situations.

Setting that lot up was a decent chunk of work, particularly all the hassle around EU VAT, which we had to retrofit in at least one case I can recall. However, it's certainly achievable for an average developer within a few days.


Superb comment, thank you. This is the worst pain point:

> I know of no acceptable automated method for doing this, so we just have to review the information manually at frequent intervals.


Smells like a service someone should make and sell. VAAS - VAT-as-a-service


That's what businesses like Avalara are trying to do, but the EU VAT rules are such a mess that even the specialist businesses trying to do it still haven't nailed it several years later.


Same problem here. We use Avalara and just manage the subscription piece ourselves, i.e submit the transaction once we receive the webhook from Stripe.


Not collecting sales tax ;)


or pretend to collect them but keep the money for themselves


Previously they only offered tiered billing (e.g.: gold, silver, bronze plans), further, the API for that was structured so you're billing for the next month.

This announcement suggests "usage-based", which is how AWS and Google Cloud bill you: for how much you used during the previous billing period.


This. Also, how does it compare to something like Chargebee?


I think most difficult problem is still proper accounting. I'm with a client right now, based in Europe and we had >really good time< integrating Recurly with Stripe and use it as their payment provider, but we got stuck when we figured out that there was a need to hire an accountant to handle the cancelations for us.

Having a service like Cleverbridge [1] / Avangate [2], where they end-up having someone to manage this for them for a bigger % of the sale, was the better deal.

Not sure how the startup-scene will solve this, but it's actually still really hard to do this properly.

My best solution would be to have Stripe doing whole-sale solution, where they invoice customers and you simply invoice them each month.

It just takes too much efforts to do this >legally< in Europe if you are on your own.

1 : https://www.cleverbridge.com/corporate/

2 : http://www.avangate.com


(Stripe PM here) We're actually working on exactly this problem right now. :) More to come in the next couple months, if you're interested in beta testing let me know! (tara@stripe.com)


And that's before you get into VAT-MOSS and all that jazz. That's the real issue if your payment gateway doesn't do a perfect job of it, even better if you have to issue refunds.


>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.

As someone who is completely oblivious to how payments work behind the scenes (for the most part) could someone please explain how this became necessary?


I used to work on billing and a bit of payments stuff for a large SaaS company, so I have some experience with this.

When you charge a credit or debit card, send a bunch of messages that end up going to an organization called a payment processor. Payment processors do stuff like make sure your account has enough money/remaining credit and also have fraud checks and other security features. Sometimes, the payment processor rejects a payment because of insufficient funds, suspected fraud, their system being down or a malformed request. Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff is pretty archaic and there are a few layers between your servers and the processor, so it's very hard to debug. On your end, you could simply retry payments if they get rejected, but that might lead to a set of ping pong failures that might even trip fraud alerts to the customer. You can also have retry logic that uses an exponential backoff, just like any other request. That's a reasonable strategy, but you can probably do better.If you're a big company, involuntary credit card churn is actually a pretty sizeable source of churn for you. 99% transaction completion rate sounds pretty good until you realize it means a guaranteed 1% churn rate (assuming people don't sign up again), which is not insignificant. You really want to get this as low as possible.

Enter Stripe: Stripe has handled a very very large number of payments, and they probably have really comprehensive data about failure rates. This allows them to identify patterns and come up with some rules around retries. A simple (fully hypothetical) example is: If a transaction is declined for insufficient funds, retry again on the 15th and the last day of the month (usually when people get paid). These rules can get really complicated. We had some rules that were as complex as "If the cardholder is in Spain, and the card is Amex, retry in three days before 5pm if it's a weekday, otherwise wait until Tuesday."

Overall, this is a pretty nice feature for large customers with high transaction volumes. We did the data analysis/rule generation ourselves and hand rolled the retry logic in our system, but offering it as a built-in service is a convenient (albiet probably expensive) perk.


Woah, TIL. Thanks for the comprehensive response, tschwimmer.


That's a good question. AFAIK Stripe already had their magical Dunning rules for retries, which were supposedly already optimized via machine learning. I'm curious if this is substantially different from that.


People are focusing a lot on invoicing but the real power here is that you can create multi-part and tiered billing schemes now. Imagine something like "$100 a month and $10 per user" -- that was not possible using Stripe subscriptions without your customer getting two invoices. Honestly, it was laughably bad.


It was possible, using one off charges with a webhook.


Yeah, people seem to have missed the forest for the trees here. Being able to iterate on billing easily seems the killer feature here, to me. I would like to see exactly how it works.


If anyone from Stripe is here, question: We currently use Chargebee for all our subscription and Stripe to actually process the payments. With Chargebee V3 [1] we've just dropped in their js and then we get an overlay/pop-up for both subscription and then subscription management, like editing subscription, invoicing etc. Is this a replacement for Chargebee on the integration and coding side that we get without work? [2] We'd like to reduce the number of services we integrate with and if Stripe Billing provides this, then we would like to directly use it.

[1] https://www.chargebee.com/docs/checkout-v3.html [2] https://www.chargebee.com/docs/assets/screenshots/images/cha...


As far as I can tell this is just dashboard and api only. But I guess they're moving towards that. Ironic as the connect partners that helped them grow are now having their toes be stepped on. Not a nice way to play. Burn the community who helped you get there in the first place.

Turn and burn it seems


You can't expect that Stripe doesn't expand their feature set. Seeing that there are hundreds of services built around stripe (https://stripe.com/works-with/types/stripe-extensions) it's really expected that some of them will be cannibalized eventually.

Subscription billing has been in Stripe for many years... it's just been very weak until now. Totally makes sense for them to work on this and if you built a subscription billing company on top of Stripe you should have known it was only a matter of time before theirs got better.


They’re also shooting themselves in the foot. They’re without a doubt less competitively positioned from a developer POV now. In my opinion. Even from a startup who isn’t technical. More percentages just get scary when you have people like Braintree keeping it simple...

Also Stripe still rely on their partners to drive business to them at the end of the day. No denying that it’s a big part of their funnel. A startup looking at their offering cold now will just be confused as well. What even is it? Some people think it’s a checkout when it’s not. It’s just s slightly more advanced subscription api with a price tag.

Also by cannibalising their partners will dry up their eco system. Chances are the partners do a better job as they’re focused on it. Can’t be perfect at everything.

I’ll see what they have to say on the call I have with them tomorrow.


To be clear there is no doubt it’s a sensible direction and a great product but charging for it is not IMO. Superior product will drive more business to them regardless. The market of payment gateways is competitive already.

But congrats and good job Stripe. Just reconsider the pricing.


Of course, I’m just saying to charge for it when they built their success on this is leaving a bitter taste... the community that made them are being pushed aside in favour of short term profit


It seems on par with many platforms in the past. Twitter, FB, Paypal etc. See what was built on top, see what is succeeding and they add that to the offering.


Yeah makes sense. I’m mostly upset they’re charging for it. We offer way more than what Stripe offers our customers. Not worried about that.


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