SCA Grandfathering

    Learn which types of payments are eligible for grandfathering.

    Grandfathering eligibility

    Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requires an additional step of customer authentication, but sometimes you collect payments when your customer isn’t actively using your application. Even if they authenticated in the past, SCA may require your customer to come back online and re-authenticate. To reduce friction in these off-session payments, Stripe built APIs that enable upfront authentication—so you can authenticate your customer on-session once and reuse the card off-session repeatedly. Since September 14, 2019, you need to use these APIs to reduce the chance of failed payments when reusing cards or creating subscriptions and invoices.

    However, off-session payments made with cards saved before September 14, 2019, are eligible for SCA grandfathering. Grandfathering means you don’t have to use Stripe’s new APIs to set up saved cards again, and your off-session payments can proceed normally—without re-authentication from customers.

    How SCA grandfathering works

    All off-session payments that meet both of these conditions are eligible for grandfathering, regardless of payment amount and frequency:

    • You saved the card details before September 14, 2019
    • You explicitly tell Stripe the transaction is off-session

    Stripe automatically looks for a transaction made with the card before September 14. If found, Stripe uses the previous authorization agreement to grandfather the current transaction. If the bank accepts Stripe’s grandfathering claim, the transaction is categorized as out of scope for SCA and can proceed without additional authentication.

    If the bank declines Stripe’s grandfathering claim, it’s like any other PaymentIntent failing the confirmation step. The PaymentIntent’s status changes to requires_payment_method, and you have to notify your customer to complete the payment.

    Saving cards after September 14, 2019

    Now that SCA has taken effect, save and reuse cards with the Payment Intents and Setup Intents APIs to qualify for off-session exemptions. You can also save cards using Stripe Checkout.

    Preparing your saved cards for SCA

    The following off-session payments are eligible for grandfathering. Regardless of how you saved the card, use PaymentIntents and tell Stripe the payment is off-session.

    How you saved the card pre–September 14 Grandfathered after September 14
    By passing a token, source, or payment method to the Customer Create a PaymentIntent with off-session flag
    By creating a SetupIntent or using save_payment_method in a PaymentIntent Create a PaymentIntent with off-session flag

    To grandfather subscriptions and invoices managed with Stripe Billing, refer to the Billing SCA guide.

    Next steps

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