The Billing Quickstart guide runs through the basics of creating subscriptions, via the Stripe API. However, Stripe Billing’s built-in flexibility allows for nearly limitless subscription variations that match your customers’ needs. As examples, you can create subscriptions that:
- Add one-time costs
- Discount a few subscription payments, or all of them
- Charge taxes
- Create a free trial period
- Subscribe a customer to multiple plans
- Control when the customer is billed
This page covers subscriptions’ basic components, before linking to instructions for these and other options.
Defining products and plans
A subscription’s particulars are first dictated by the underlying plan. The plan sets the:
- Unit cost
- Billing interval
These three attributes are all fixed on a plan once created, it is not possible to update the value of these attributes later. Instead, you can create a new plan with the desired characteristics.
The currency is fixed not only on the plan but also on the customer: once a customer starts a subscription using a specific currency, the
Customer object in Stripe can only be charged that currency.
Every plan is attached to a product, which represents the application or service offered to customers.
Products can have more than one plan, reflecting variations in price and duration—such as monthly and annual pricing at different rates. Refer to the product and plan documentation to learn how to create a product and attach a plan.
Changing the amount billed
The plan defines the base cost of a subscription, but the amount actually billed to a customer each interval can be adjusted on a per-customer or per-subscription basis using:
- Metered billing
- Coupons to create discounts
- Per-seat licensing (i.e., multiple quantities of a single subscription)
- Multiple subscriptions (i.e., simultaneous subscriptions to multiple plans)
Supported payment methods
Most subscriptions are billed to credit cards, although Stripe accepts payments using several alternative methods, including ACH debits. No special steps are required for ACH, but:
- As with all ACH payments, it takes up to 5 business days to receive confirmation of the payment’s success or failure
- If an ACH payment on a subscription fails, the subscription automatically moves to its final state per your settings (i.e., ACH subscription payments are never retried)
Congrats! You’ve learned more about subscriptions at Stripe! You may want to learn about: