How cards work

How cards work

See how a credit or debit card payment works online, step by step.

Cards are one of the most popular ways to pay online, with broad global reach. There are different types of cards and several steps in the process. To build a Stripe integration that supports all of your customers, see what goes on behind the scenes of a card payment.

Checking card details

Stripe checks that the details provided are formatted correctly (e.g., the expiry date is not in the past). There is no guarantee that the card itself is valid yet.

Customer authentication

Some banks, especially in regulated regions like Europe and India, may prompt the customer to authenticate a purchase (e.g., by texting the customer a code to enter on the bank's website). Watch our video to learn more.


The bank checks for sufficient funds and, if successful, holds the amount on the customer’s account to guarantee it for the merchant.

A sample credit card statement that shows a pending charge


The money moves from the issuing bank to the merchant's account.

A sample credit card statement that shows a completed charge
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