The Customer resource is a core entity within Stripe. Use it to store all of the profile, billing, and tax information required to bill a customer for subscriptions and one-off invoices.
Creating and managing customers
Create a customer for every new user or business you want to bill. When creating a new customer, set a minimal customer profile to help create useful invoices, and enable smart-retries (dunning). After creating and configuring this customer, use it to create a subscription and issue one-off invoices.
The following example shows how to create a new customer with an email address and a default payment method.
See the create a customer API documentation for a full list of arguments you can pass to the API.
You can create and manage customers in the Stripe Dashboard. This is especially useful if you don’t want to use code to create a customer, or if you want to manually bill a customer with a one-off invoice.
When creating a new customer, you can set basic information such as Email, Name, and Description. To add further details, you need to navigate to the Customer detail page, and click Update details.
On the Customers page you can also:
- View all customers
- Export a list of customer data
- Edit a customer
- Delete a customer
Available properties and uses
The Customer resource has many useful properties you can set to customize the billing experience. This section explains the properties you can store on the Customer, and the effects of each.
A basic customer profile is useful for invoice and receipt generation, and can generally act as a lightweight customer relationship management system (CRM) for your application.
Minimal customer profile
When creating a customer, set these properties:
- Email address
- Customer name
- Metadata with a reference to the internal customer ID of your application
Store the internal customer ID of you application in the metadata attribute. Like most Stripe resources, the Customer resource includes a Metadata object hash to flexibly store contextual key-value information. To aid in auditing and support, store your internal customer ID as a key-value pair on the Customer resource. This allows you to search for the customer using your internal reference ID. Conversely, we recommend storing Stripe customer IDs against the internal customer model of your application.
Billing and shipping addresses
While a shipping address is most relevant to businesses delivering physical goods, a billing address is useful because it displays on invoices, credit notes, and receipts—a common requirement for tax compliance.
Email and PDF language localization
Localize Stripe-generated emails and PDFs by setting the
preferred_locales property. This property accepts an ordered list of preferred languages, sorted by preference. These preferred locale values are based on RFC-4646. Examples include “en” for English, or “fr-CA” for Canadian French. See the Customizing invoices page for more information.
Per-customer invoice settings
For further details on customizing invoice contents on a per-customer basis, see the Customizing invoices page. It explains custom fields, invoice footer content, and how to customize the invoice number.
All payments are collected from payment details associated with a customer, and a customer can have multiple ways to make a payment, including:
Customers are single-currency, meaning after you’ve assigned a currency, invoiced the customer, or set a customer credit balance, you can’t change the currency. This locked state is visible on the Dashboard in a disabled Currency dropdown.
If you need to bill a single entity with multiple currencies, create a new customer for each currency.
All invoicing related resources are associated with the customer being billed. These resources include:
To meet tax jurisdiction requirements, you might need to include customer tax ID numbers and other information on invoices. It’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure your customer’s invoices contain the correct information. This includes tax IDs, tax exemption status, and addresses.
Tax IDs provide a way to store and render one or more tax ID numbers on invoices. Tax exemption status indicates whether the entity is taxable. By default, a customer’s
tax_exempt status is set to
none, meaning it’s a taxable billing entity. However, you can flag a customer as being responsible for paying the tax on an invoice by setting the
tax_exempt property to
reverse, or flag them as being tax exempt by setting the status to
exempt. You can read more about using
reverse on the Tax Rates page.
This section explains some of the common tasks you might perform with the Customer resource.
Creating a subscription
Before you can create a new subscription, you need to create a customer for billing purposes.
- Create the customer.
- Define your product catalog and prices.
- Create a subscription using the customer created in step one and a price (or multiple prices) from step two.
You can continue to update the customer’s details after you create the subscription until an invoice is finalized. Any changes apply to the next billing cycle, when a new invoice is generated using the latest state of the customer when rendering PDFs, emails, and the hosted invoice page. Read the How subscriptions work page for more detailed information.
Send a one-off (manual) invoice to a customer
Unlike subscription invoices, you manually issue one-off invoices and they don’t follow an automated schedule. This makes them useful for billing one-off orders or work, like setup and installation fees, consultancy fees, physical goods, etc.
- Create the customer.
- Create a new draft invoice by adding invoice line items with a description, quantity, unit price, and tax rate.
- Set the invoice payment method. You can collect payment for an invoice either by automatically charging the payment method on file, or by emailing the invoice to the customer.
- Finalize the invoice.
See the one-off invoices documentation for full details on how to create and collect payment for one-off invoices.
Storing a customer credit balance
The customer credit balance feature allows you to assign credit and debit adjustments to a specific customer. The resulting balance is applied to future invoices for that customer.
Adding and validating tax ID numbers
Displaying a customer’s tax ID on invoice documents is a common requirement. With Stripe, you can add one or multiple tax IDs to a customer. A customer’s tax IDs are displayed in the header of invoice and credit note PDFs. See the Tax IDs page for more details.
Adding a coupon to a customer
A coupon contains information about a percent-off or amount-off discount. Stripe Billing allows you to associate a coupon with a customer, resulting in a discount for all invoices billed.
Creating an invoice—either manually or when generated by a subscription—uses the coupon by applying a corresponding discount to the invoice amount due, subtracted from the pre-tax amount. You can view this information in the invoice footer summary table.
Setting the currency for a customer
currency property is a three-letter ISO code for the currency that you charge the customer in for recurring billing purposes. You can set the currency in the Dashboard by navigating to the Customers > Detail page and clicking Update details.