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A primer on machine learning for fraud detection

Michael Manapat on October 27, 2016 in Engineering

Stripe Radar is a collection of tools to help businesses detect and prevent fraud. At Radar’s core is a machine learning engine that scans every card payment across Stripe’s 100,000+ businesses, aggregates information from those payments into behavioral signals that are predictive of fraud, and blocks payments that have a high probability of being fraudulent.

Radar’s power comes from all the data we obtain from the Stripe “network.” Instead of requiring users to label charges manually, Radar obtains the “ground truth” of fraud directly from our banking partners. Just as importantly, the signals we use in our models include aggregates over the entire stream of payments processed by Stripe: when a card is used for the first time on a Stripe business, there’s an 80% chance we’ve seen that card elsewhere on the Stripe network, and those previous interactions provide valuable information about potential fraud.

If you’re curious to learn more, we’ve put together a detailed outline that describes how we use machine learning at Stripe to detect and prevent fraud.

Read more

October 27, 2016

Introducing Veneur: high performance and global aggregation for Datadog

Cory Watson on October 18, 2016 in Engineering

When a company writes about their observability stack, they often focus on sweet visualizations, advanced anomaly detection or innovative data stores. Those are well and good, but today we’d like to talk about the tip of the spear when it comes to observing your systems: metrics pipelines! Metrics pipelines are how we get metrics from where they happen—our hosts and services—to storage quickly and efficiently so they can be queried, all without interrupting the host service.

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October 18, 2016

Stripe in Japan!

Daniel Heffernan on October 4, 2016

本日、日本へ向けて Stripe の標準機能をいよいよ正式リリースいたします!

これより日本のすべての企業は Stripe に登録し、Stripe の全機能を活用できるようになります。主な機能は — 即時アカウント登録、130 通貨以上の決済への対応、Connect のマーケットプレイス機能、国内最速レベルの振込周期 — など、今までの日本市場には存在しなかったものです。

昨年日本でベータ版を開始した際、スタートアップ・エコシステムの急成長、新しいビジネスへの要望 ( サースやマーケットプレイスなど ) やグローバル展開を視野に見据えた日本企業からの関心の高さを受け、私たちのプロダクトが日本の起業家たちに変化をもたらす、新しい機会を与えると感じました。

昨年以来、これらの機能は何千もの革新的な日本企業と共に、徹底的なテストが行われてきました。Peatix ( コミュニティの育成・管理を行うためのツール開発 ) 、Gengo ( 世界中のビジネスに向けた翻訳サービスを提供 ) 、ANA ( 日本最大の航空会社 ) の各社を含め、これまでフィードバックをお寄せいただいた皆様のおかげで、日本で無事に安定した製品をリリースできますことを深く感謝いたします。



日本ですぐに支払いの受付を開始する。Stripe にユーザ登録

Today, we’re excited to publicly launch Stripe in Japan!

Every business in Japan can now sign up for Stripe and take advantage of the complete Stripe stack. Many core Stripe features—instant setup, support for 130+ currencies, the ability to build marketplaces, fast and frequent transfers, and more—have not been available in the Japanese market before.

When we started our beta in Japan last year, we saw an opportunity for our product to make a difference for local entrepreneurs: there is a growing local startup ecosystem, an appetite to build new types of businesses (like SaaS companies and marketplaces), and an increasing interest from Japanese companies to expand beyond the local market and go global.

Over the last year, thousands of the most innovative Japanese companies have battle-tested these features with us. Companies like Peatix (which builds tools to manage and grow communities), Gengo (which provides translations for businesses around the world), and ANA (the largest airline in Japan). We’d like to thank all our beta users for their feedback as we’ve rolled out and polished our product for Japan.

To support our Japanese users, we’ve also built a local team to provide reliable Japanese-language support out of our Harajuku office. If you’re interested in joining our growing team, please reach out!

We’re looking forward to seeing what these and future users will build on the new infrastructure we’re bringing to Japan. And if you have any questions or feedback, just drop me a line.

Start accepting payments instantly in Japan. Sign up for Stripe

October 4, 2016

Stripe in Singapore!

Piruze Sabuncu on September 20, 2016

Today, we’re excited to fully launch Stripe to all Singaporean businesses—any entrepreneur in Singapore can now instantly start accepting payments.

Since our beta launch just last year, we’ve been thrilled to work with many innovative Singaporean companies to start and scale their businesses. Between subscription companies like Tradegecko and Guavapass, on-demand platforms like Grab, e-commerce startups like Grain and Hipvan, and new kinds of marketplaces like Oddle, more than 50% of venture-backed companies in Singapore now use Stripe. In addition, we’ve worked with global platforms like Shopify, Deliveroo, and Kickstarter to make their services available in Singapore.

With more than 90% of the population already using a smartphone, Singapore is one of the heaviest adopters of mobile technology in the world. And so, out of the box, we’ll enable Singaporean businesses to accept both Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Pricing is simple and predictable: 3.4% + S$0.50 per successful charge. Volume pricing is available for businesses at scale—please get in touch if you expect to process more than S$50,000 a month.

Founded as a nexus for trade between India, China, and Europe, Singapore embodies international commerce. We’re excited to support the next generation of global businesses being built by Singaporean entrepreneurs.

On that note, we’d love to grow our team in Singapore to help more businesses manage their global payments easily and securely. If you’d like to work with us in Singapore, or elsewhere, please reach out!

Start accepting payments instantly. Get Started with Stripe

September 20, 2016

Instant Payouts for Marketplaces

Dave Coen on September 19, 2016

Starting today, marketplaces using Stripe Connect can send Instant Payouts to sellers or service providers on their platform. To start, it’ll be available to marketplaces in the U.S. using Managed Accounts.

Unlike traditional bank transfers that can take several days, Instant Payouts are deposited and available in just minutes. This way, marketplaces can give service providers a much better product experience by sending them their earnings faster than ever—and greater flexibility and control over when they get paid.

We’ve been testing Instant Payouts as a beta with platforms of all sizes, including Lyft, Instacart, goPanache, Postmates, and Across our beta users, service providers for on-demand marketplaces are thrilled to receive earnings faster.

Lyft, which was the first platform to integrate last November, has already sent over $500 million to drivers using Instant Payouts. In fact, Lyft now sends the majority of its driver payouts instantly—the only ridesharing company to do so. (Check out what Lyft driver Justine had to say about Lyft’s Express Pay.)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Collect debit card details: An increasing number of marketplaces are building their payout flows around debit cards. Bank details are hard to dig up and error-prone, but everyone has a debit card in their pocket. (Stripe will also automatically verify the details when a debit card is added.) Instant Payouts can be sent directly to service providers’ debit cards and funds are automatically deposited into the bank account linked to the debit card.
  2. Let sellers request Instant Payouts: Platforms typically offer Instant Payouts as an option in addition to their regular payout timing. Marketplaces can also customize when service providers can request a payout to their bank accounts. For example, Lyft offers an instant payout option in addition to their weekly transfer—and only once a driver earns $50.
  3. Send the payout: For the vast majority of payouts, funds are deposited within minutes. Initiating an Instant Payout requires just one additional parameter when creating a transfer:
curl \
  -u sk_test_jId8tWpQJuUpj7dtRQnkyH3t: \
  -H "Stripe-Account: acct_102lvT2rmKZAYQkm" \
  -d amount=5184 \
  -d currency=usd \
  -d destination=default_for_currency \
  -d description="Transfer to" \
  -d method=instant

Check out our docs for more details on how to integrate. Instant Payouts cost 1.5% of the payout amount, with a minimum fee of 50¢.

We’ve consistently heard from marketplaces of all sizes that attracting (and retaining) more service providers is crucial for growth and that this is often the tougher side of the marketplace to build. We’ve already seen that offering Instant Payouts has helped our beta users achieve that goal and we’re looking forward to more marketplaces enabling this feature soon.

If you have any questions, feedback, or need help getting started, please contact us!

Everything marketplaces need to get sellers paid. Explore Stripe Connect

September 19, 2016

Get ready for Apple Pay on the Web

Charles Francis on August 29, 2016

Update: We’ve now published our full guide for Apple Pay on the Web. Get started with your integration by reading our docs.

Apple Pay on the Web will be available later this fall. (Apple has not yet published an exact date.) We’ve received a lot of questions about how the integration will work and we’ve been working closely with Apple to ensure that the implementation will be quick and easy for Stripe users.

Today, we wanted to give a quick overview of the steps that will be required to support Apple Pay on the Web to help you prepare for its release:

  • Register your domain

    In order to prevent fraud, you’ll need to register the domain of your checkout page with Apple. You’ll be able to register your domain directly in the Stripe Dashboard, which lets you skip all the steps that’d otherwise be required, like manually provisioning and generating certificates in your Apple Developer Account. You’ll also be able to register multiple domains easily via our API.

  • Check for Apple Pay support

    We’ll be updating Stripe.js with a handy function to check whether your customer can use Apple Pay. (To start, Apple Pay will only be available in Safari to macOS Sierra and iOS 10 users.) The check will involve a straightforward conditional:

    Stripe.applePay.checkAvailability(function(available) {
      if (available) {
        // Display the Apple Pay button
        // Add a click listener to present the payment dialog
      } else {
  • Customize the payment form

    We’ll support all the fields you can use to customize what shows up in the Payment Sheet (the dialog that presents the transaction’s details to the customer). At minimum, you’ll just need to provide the amount to charge and the currency:

    var paymentRequest = {
      currencyCode: 'usd',
      total: {
        amount: '217.49',
        label: 'Warby Parker'

    As you’d expect, you can also use the Stripe integration to get your customers’ shipping info via Apple Pay or charge on a recurring basis for subscriptions.

  • Create a charge

    If you use Stripe.js, no sensitive data will ever hit your servers—we’ll handle creating secure sessions with Apple, decrypt the payment info, and pass along a token that you can use to create a charge.

You can sign up to be notified as soon as Apple Pay on the Web is available—we’ll be sending our full guide first to people on this list. In the meantime, if you have questions about Apple Pay (or Stripe in general), please drop me a line!

Get ready to support Apple Pay on the Web. Create a Stripe account

August 29, 2016

Why some businesses aren’t allowed

Danika Lyon on August 12, 2016

We’re building business infrastructure. As with other kinds of infrastructure (like hosting or electricity), we'd like to make it available to as broad a set of users as possible. While we may personally like some businesses on Stripe and disapprove of others, we want to make as few judgements as possible as a company. The world doesn’t need more gatekeepers.

That said, we provide financial services, and there are consequently a non-trivial number of restrictions regarding the use of our products. These restrictions have always been outlined in our Services Agreement, which we’ve tried to make as readable as possible. Given that they’re often a source of confusion, though, we figured it could be useful to try to explain some of the broader context around them and to describe the approach we want to take.

Why can’t we work with some businesses?

Behind the scenes, we work closely with payment networks (such as Visa and Mastercard) and banking partners across more than two dozen countries. Each institution has strict legal regulations that govern them and specific rules about the types of businesses they do and do not work with. Through our partnerships, we are bound to uphold those requirements. In addition, we must also—of course—uphold the laws of the countries we operate in. Lastly, we need to be careful regarding the financial risks that different businesses may pose to their customers or to Stripe.

In software terms, this is a leaky abstraction. In our ideal world, businesses using Stripe needn’t worry about how payment systems are implemented underneath the hood. In practice, however, every payment involves multiple financial companies whose restrictions may manifest themselves in Stripe.

As a result, the decision to support a business is not solely up to Stripe; it involves the various financial companies in the credit card processing chain. Their restrictions tend to be broad and, as a result, often pretty confusing.

Why are entire business categories prohibited or restricted?

Rather than evaluate each business in isolation, many financial institutions choose to make decisions around broad categories of business. Below are a few categories that are often restricted or prohibited from accepting payments. As you can see, the restrictions can function more like hammers than scalpels—tools designed to bluntly manage risk, not support the maximum number of businesses possible.

  1. Illegal businesses

    This one’s pretty straightforward. Quite simply, Stripe can’t support businesses selling or supporting illegal products or services. Many financial institutions enforce a blanket-ban on products that are legal in some states but not others.

    Some businesses exploit short-lived legal loopholes: for example, trivial drug variants that aren’t illegal yet. These are generally more hassle than they’re worth for everyone involved.

  2. Regulated businesses

    Some businesses live in heavily-regulated spaces and are only legal if compliant with the industry-specific rules. These rules can at times be difficult to verify and enforce online: for example, are we confident that an online pharmacy is checking prescriptions or whether a liquor store app is carding people? (How do you even card people online?)

    We can often support these businesses! It just takes more work. More on this later.

  3. Shady businesses

    The credit card industry is successful because consumers are confident that using their credit cards will be safe and predictable. By extension, they expect that the product or service they purchase will be of high quality and delivered as promised. Businesses that consistently leave their customers unhappy are bad for the overall integrity of the payment network. Because of that, some consistently-troublesome categories are restricted even though they may be within the law.

    We assess these businesses individually by looking at how the business is marketed, analyzing what is being sold, and by monitoring ongoing dispute rates by customers. We don’t support businesses that consistently deceive customers or leave them unhappy.

  4. Financially-risky businesses

    If a business becomes insolvent and fails to deliver goods or services it has already sold, Stripe loses money: the business’s customer can initiate a chargeback and Stripe covers the loss. This is a bigger risk in businesses with a very long wait time between purchase and delivery, or in pre-sales of highly speculative or pre-production products.

    We look at businesses individually to determine the overall level of financial risk based on industry, stage of product development and shipment, and overall exposure. We’re familiar with newer business models (like crowdfunding) and do our best to be permissive. If you’re going to be accepting large amounts of money for a product or service that’ll be delivered much later, it’s always better to get in touch with us first.

  5. Businesses that attract money-laundering or fraud

    Most service providers aren’t required to closely police usage of their services. Financial institutions, however, are obliged under US and international law to actively monitor usage to prevent money laundering and other criminal activity.

    Some types of businesses attract more fraud than others; others accidentally or deliberately mask the origin of funds, making them an easy venue for illegal dealings. Businesses in these categories are not inherently problematic, but might need extra scrutiny or extra help in preventing fraud.

  6. Businesses that pose a brand risk

    Financial institutions and payment networks care about the brand and reputational risk that associated businesses pose. There are a set of businesses that our financial partners do not want to be associated with even if there is market demand for them. Stripe doesn’t independently reject businesses based on brand risk—we have many unpopular businesses and causes on Stripe—but we’re at times obliged to enforce the restrictions of our partners. This category is highly subjective and therefore the one we like enforcing least.

    We don’t think Stripe should be accepting or rejecting businesses based on a subjective determination of brand impact, and we feel the current brand restrictions (such as on sex toys) are often outdated and overly moralizing. We have only had limited success in supporting businesses in this category; there are many legitimate businesses we can’t support. Over time we hope to broaden the set of businesses in this category that we can support.

Stripe’s approach

We want to grow global online commerce and support as many businesses as possible—especially those based on new business models or founded by first-time entrepreneurs. Wherever possible, we eschew risk assessments based purely on categorical labels. Instead, we use a combination of transaction history, machine learning, supplemental business information, and common sense. We want to understand the actual risks posed by a specific business, with the fundamental goal to support as many businesses as possible, rather than just looking at the industry or category. We work with our financial partners to relax restrictions or remove prohibitions wherever possible.

Here are a few examples of niches where we’ve successfully worked past unnecessary restrictions:

  • Marketplaces

    Historically, many payment companies have been leery of marketplaces that "aggregate" funds on behalf of other sellers due to the possibility of fraud or money-laundering. But avoiding marketplaces would mean failing to support many of the most exciting businesses of the last decade: new business models like crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo), commerce platforms (Shopify, Squarespace), and on-demand services (Lyft, Postmates). Multi-sided marketplaces are clearly legitimate businesses providing useful coordination services for consumers. Stripe built Connect, one of the first products that serves as a compliant way for marketplaces (including all of those mentioned) to operate at scale and ensure that any money collected on one side was paid out to the correct parties on the other sides.

  • Alcohol

    The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution left the responsibility of repealing the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) to individual states. The result has been a dizzying array of local, state, and federal laws, as well as a 3-tier system (producers, distributors, retailers) where each has different regulatory responsibilities. As more commerce moves online, customers and businesses are interested in buying and selling alcohol online. Stripe saw legitimate businesses (like Broc Cellars and 750 Commerce) unnecessarily impeded by the effects of antiquated local alcohol regulations.

    750 Commerce is a platform that provides website design, development, and direct-to-consumer wine order management for upscale wineries. Stripe worked with 750 Commerce to address specific regulatory concerns including state-to-state shipping and age verification at delivery. Broc Cellars ran into similar complications for its wine club and we addressed concerns including confirmation of licenses, marketing, and importantly, age verification at delivery. In each case, we enabled direct to consumer online alcohol sales.

  • Pharmacies

    The payments industry has traditionally assumed that "internet pharmacy" was code for illegal business, often operating cross-border, selling highly-controlled prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Valium, and Viagra without prescriptions or without appropriate medical supervision. As such, credit card networks imposed stiff restrictions that led to an exceedingly high bar to starting a technology-enabled community pharmacy.

    PillPack is a startup that delivers a better full-service pharmacy experience over the web. We worked with our partners to determine the necessary qualifications to support online pharmacies including qualifying exceptions, licenses and certifications, internal controls, and VIPPS registration. Once we identified the necessary requirements, we partnered with PillPack to verify and get approval for the business. Since then, we’ve advocated for several other online pharmacies: ScriptDash and NowRx both run on Stripe. Supporting on-demand community pharmacies is still a work in progress and we’re working to make this process faster, easier, and more transparent.

  • Pseudo-pharmaceuticals

    femMED was founded in 2007 to empower women to take a more natural approach to health and wellness. femMED has a nine-year history of helping women and has created 24 different licensed natural health products. Pseudo-pharmaceuticals are another historically-restricted category because of untested or unapproved products and exaggerated claims that often accompany the products. But we saw a business that had superb customer satisfaction, proven track record, and honest marketing claims. We highlighted the processing history and product approval by Canada’s natural health regulatory body that directly addresses key concerns of this industry and our financial partners agreed. femMED is the first (of hopefully many legitimate) supplement businesses that we can support.

  • Travel

    Technology companies like OpenJet run into the same objections that banks tend to raise for airlines: customers book far in advance and the credit risk is significant. Travel is a broadly-prohibited category because airlines and cruise lines present enormous credit risks in payments due to a history of bankruptcies and insolvencies of U.S. airlines. (TWA, Pan Am, United, American Airlines, and many others have all gone bankrupt at some point.)

    We recognized that the private jet market is different and analyzed financial statements, payment flows, customer profiles, and more to fully understand the underlying mechanics of the business. We modeled OpenJet’s business and determined that the credit exposure was within an acceptable range. We engaged our banking partners with concrete financial analysis, put in controls to monitor risk as the company grows, and OpenJet successfully launched on Stripe.

  • Adult products and services

    OMGYes is a sex-ed startup that conducted the first-ever large-scale research about women’s sexual pleasure in partnership with researchers at Indiana University and The Kinsey Institute. OMGYes decided that instead of writing another book with the results of the study, they’d create a website to provide honest, actionable information about sex and women’s pleasure. The website was endorsed by Emma Watson and was recently featured in Elle, Forbes, and Wired. The business approached us and we were eager to work with them, but after a month of deliberations, our financial partners did not agree. Instead, because the website has explicit tutorials, it still falls under the umbrella of unsupportable businesses. While we were not able to persuade our financial partners this time around, we will continue to holistically look at and advocate for businesses that sell adult products and services.

What this means for you

While Stripe lives in a tangled thicket of regulations and restrictions, we want to support as many businesses as possible. We have a dedicated team of friendly risk and compliance analysts, support personnel, and financial partner experts for this very purpose.

We’re here to make it easier for great new ideas to be implemented. If you’re building something cool and innovative, we want to help support you. If that idea ostensibly falls into one of our restricted categories, please get in touch with us! We’ll do whatever we can to help.

August 12, 2016

Managed Accounts in Europe

David Schreiber on July 5, 2016

Today, we’re thrilled to launch Managed Accounts for Stripe Connect to marketplaces based in the U.K., Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

Connect powers thousands of marketplaces around the world—companies like Kickstarter, Lyft, Shopify, and Deliveroo that are transforming the way we buy and sell today. With Managed Accounts, marketplaces like these can fully customize the experience for sellers or contractors that provide the services on their platform.

Using Managed Accounts, multi-sided marketplaces in Europe can now design lightweight setup flows, configure payment schedules, decide who pays fees, determine when information is collected, and more. Stripe gets out of the way so your sellers never have to leave your platform.

You can craft fully-customized signup flows and dashboards for service providers on your marketplace.

Since the launch of Managed Accounts in the U.S. and Canada last year, we’ve already helped millions of sellers get paid. We’ve worked over the past year to ensure that the experience of building, running, and scaling your marketplace is as easy as possible no matter where your business is based:

  • Just like U.S. and Canadian platforms, marketplaces in Europe can now spin up Managed Accounts for sellers or contractors in any of the 25 countries that Stripe supports today without having to register a local business entity or establishing banking relationships in each region—a process that can take many months and reams of paperwork. In other words, you can instantly expand your business internationally to new countries without having to build payments infrastructure to meet local requirements.
  • You’re also no longer required to acquire licenses or decipher per-country compliance intricacies by yourself. Stripe will help you verify seller identities (to comply with know-your-customer laws and prevent fraud), collect and verify your sellers’ banking information, track seller earnings, help sellers get paid on the right schedule (and in their preferred currency), help handle tax reporting requirements, and more.

Modern marketplaces are building more than just simple apps; they provide an end-to-end experience for both consumers as well as the drivers, restaurants, sellers, or contractors on their platform. We’re excited to see the experiences entrepreneurs in the U.K., Ireland, and the Nordics will build with Managed Accounts and how they’ll use Connect to scale internationally not only in Europe, but around the world.

If you’d like to learn more about how to integrate, we’ve put together a guide to getting started. We’re also constantly adding improvements and support for more countries to Connect, so if you have questions or feedback, please drop us a line!

Learn more about Connect Get in touch

July 5, 2016