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 created when a user signs up for your platform. The type of account you choose for your user determines the Stripe integration you need to build (from being Stripe-hosted to completely custom) and operational responsibilities such as chargebacks, user support, etc. There are three account types you can use with Connect, each of which is designed for different use cases:
There are many factors to consider when choosing an account type, as listed in the table below. Integration effort and user experience are particularly important because they can affect the amount of engineering resources spent and your conversion rates.
Stripe recommends you use Express or Standard accounts for an easier integration effort. If you want more control over the user experience, Express or Custom accounts might meet your needs better. To know which account type is recommended for your business, refer to your platform profile.
There’s an additional cost for using Express or Custom accounts.
|Integration effort||Lowest||Low||Significantly higher|
|Integration method||API or OAuth||API||API|
|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 Dashboard?||Yes, full 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 platforms||With experienced online businesses as users||Any type||With significant engineering resources to dedicate to a fully white labeled experience|
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 user is responsible for fraud and disputes when using direct charges, but this may vary operationally for destination charges.
With Express accounts, Stripe handles the onboarding and identity verification processes. The platform has the ability to specify charge types and set the connected account’s payout settings programmatically. The platform is responsible for handling disputes and refunds, which is similar to a Custom account.
Although your user will have some interactions with Stripe, they’ll primarily interact with your platform, particularly for the core payment processing functionality. For Express account holders, Stripe provides an Express Dashboard (a lighter version of the Dashboard) that allows them to manage their personal information and see payouts to their bank.
You should 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
Examples of platforms that would use Express accounts include, but are not limited to: a home-rental marketplace like Airbnb, or a ride-hailing service like Lyft.
Global compliance requirements do evolve and change over time. With Express, Stripe will proactively collect information when requirements change. For best practices on how to communicate to your users when this happens, see the guide for Express accounts.
A Standard account is a Stripe account that’s directly controlled by your user, the account holder. 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 ask your users to create Stripe accounts or allow anyone with an existing Stripe account to connect to your platform.
You should use Standard accounts 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 direct communication with the user for account issues (e.g., to request more information for identity verification purposes)
Examples of platforms that would use Standard accounts include, but are not limited to: a storebuilder like Shopify, or a software as a service like Invoice2go.
Global compliance requirements do evolve and change over time. With Standard, Stripe will proactively collect information when requirements change. For best practices on how to communicate to your users when this happens, see the guide for Standard accounts.
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 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 the Dashboard, and Stripe will not contact them directly.
You should 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
Creating and managing Custom accounts requires a larger integration effort than the other account types. To learn more, see Using Connect with Custom accounts.
Global compliance requirements do evolve and change over time. For best practices on how to communicate to your users when requirements change, see the guide for Custom accounts.
If you decide to use Custom accounts, Stripe recommends you use Connect Onboarding for Custom accounts to collect onboarding and verification information from your users. This would decrease your integration effort and eliminate the need to update your onboarding form when requirements change over time.
Read more about the specific account integration steps.