When using Stripe Connect, you need to create an account (known as a connected account) for each user that receives money on your platform. These accounts are generally created when a user signs up for your platform. The type of accounts you create impact what you need to build and can determine who is responsible for chargebacks, user support, etc. There are three account types you can use with Connect, each of which is designed for different use cases:
Choosing an approach
There are many factors that go into choosing the best type of account to use. The table below lists many of these factors, but integration effort and user experience are particularly important. For example, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time building onboarding flows, Standard or Express accounts might be easier to implement. Or, if you need more control over the connected user’s experience, Express or Custom accounts might fit your needs. Your platform can support more than one account type, although that adds complexity to your integration.
|Integration effort||Lowest||Low||Significantly higher|
|Integration method||OAuth integration||OAuth integration||API-only|
|Fraud and dispute liability||User||Platform||Platform|
|Platform can specify payout timing?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Onboarding||Stripe||Stripe||Platform or Stripe|
|Identity information gathering||Stripe||Stripe||Platform or Stripe|
|User can access the Stripe Dashboard?||Yes, full Stripe Dashboard||Yes, Express Dashboard||No|
|User support provided by||Platform and Stripe||Platform and Stripe||Platform|
|Automatic updates for new compliance requirements||Yes||Yes||No|
|Support new countries without integration changes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ideal for users that are||Experienced online businesses||Any type||Able to dedicate significant engineering resources|
User refers to the person with the connected account (i.e., the person being paid for providing goods or services through your platform). With Standard accounts, the platform assumes fraud and dispute liability when using destination charges, but the user is responsible when using direct charges.
Note there's an additional cost for using Express or Custom accounts.
A Standard Stripe account is a conventional Stripe account controlled directly by the account holder (i.e., your platform’s user). A user with a Standard account has a relationship with Stripe, is able to log in to the Dashboard, can process charges on their own, and can disconnect their account from your platform.
You can prompt your users to create Stripe accounts or allow anyone with an existing Stripe account to connect to your platform.
Standard accounts are best when you:
- Want to get started quickly and don’t need a lot of control over your user’s experience
- Want to use direct charges
- Have users that are familiar with running online businesses or might already have a Stripe account
- Prefer that Stripe handles communication for account issues directly with the user (e.g., to request more information for identity verification purposes)
To get started with Standard accounts, read more about the onboarding flow.
An Express Stripe account provides the platform with the ability to specify charge types and the responsibility for handling disputes and refunds, which is similar to a Custom account. But with Express accounts, Stripe handles the onboarding and identity verification processes. Although your user will have some interactions with Stripe, they’ll mostly deal with your platform, particularly for the core payment processing functionality.
With Express, the platform has the ability to set the connected account’s payout settings programmatically. Express account holders have access to a minimal Stripe Dashboard that allows them to manage their personal information and see payouts to their bank.
You should probably use Express accounts when you:
- Want to get started quickly (letting Stripe handle account onboarding, management, and identity verification)
- Want to use destination charges or separate charges and transfers
- Want significant control over your user’s experience
To get started with Express accounts, read more about the onboarding flow.
A Custom Stripe account is almost completely invisible to the account holder. You—the platform—are responsible for all interactions with your user, including collecting any information Stripe needs. You also have the ability to change all of the account’s settings, including the payout bank or debit card account, programmatically.
Custom account holders do not have access to a Stripe Dashboard, and Stripe will not contact them directly.
You should probably use Custom accounts when you:
- Want complete control over your user’s experience
- Can build the significant infrastructure required to collect user information, create a user dashboard, and handle support
- Want to handle all communication with your users, rather than having your users contact Stripe directly
Because creating and managing Custom accounts requires much more integration effort than using Standard or Express accounts, we’ve dedicated several pages to the topic, starting with the fundamentals of Custom accounts.
If you do choose to expend significant integration effort to use Custom accounts, use Connect Onboarding for Custom accounts to collect onboarding and verification information from your users.
Choose your account type
Know what type of integration you'd like to have? Read more about the specific account integration steps.
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