Creating Subscriptions

Learn how to create and use subscriptions in detail. If you need help after reading this, check out our answers to common questions or chat live with other developers in #stripe on freenode.

The quickstart guide runs through the basics of creating subscriptions in Stripe, but the built-in flexibility allows for nearly limitless variations on the subscriptions you make:

Whatever your need, define the standard behavior in the plans and then change the defaults as needed when you create the subscriptions.

Defining plans

A subscription’s particulars are first dictated by the underlying plan. The plan sets the:

  • Base cost
  • Billing interval
  • Currency

The plan should be considered the default behavior for its subscriptions and these three attributes are all fixed on a plan once created.

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.

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:

These adjustments can be made when a subscription is created or as an change to an existing subscription.

One-time billing adjustments can also be made using invoice items.

Supported payment methods

Most subscriptions are billed to credit cards, although Stripe accepts payments using several alternative methods, including: ACH, Alipay, and Bitcoin. Of these, Bitcoin cannot be used for subscriptions, but ACH and Alipay can be.

With Alipay, you must request a reusable Alipay token for subscription use. With ACH, no special steps are required, 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)

Next steps

Congrats! You’ve learned more about subscriptions at Stripe! You may want to learn about: