Failed Payments and Customer Emails in Stripe

Article author
Duncan Hamra
  • Updated

The Stripe dashboard has a great page that can help you make smart choices about failed customer payments and email notifications.

In this article, I'll highlight key settings on a Stripe Business Settings page, offer some tips, and show you a few automated features that could help you collect past-due payments.

Opening the Billing Settings Page

Log in to your Stripe account and then click this link. It opens the Customer emails page (Settings icon > Business Settings heading).

  • FYI  If you're eager to learn more and ready to go down a rabbit hole, read Stripe's documentation. These pages describe a number of automated recovery features, such as sending emails when a failed payment occurs and retrying payments at strategic times. This helps collect unsuccessful payments.

Prevent Failed Payments

Enabling these options is a darn good idea. They inform the customer about upcoming subscription renewals and expiring credit cards and promote transparency (which can prevent time-wasting misunderstandings down the road).


Manage Failed Payments

Retry schedule

This handy feature lets you configure email notification settings for customers with failed payments. You can set your own custom schedule, or trust the Smart Retries tool to select a frequency that's informed by machine learning.


 BTW  Stripe doesn’t retry collecting payment if:

  • The payment method is unavailable.
  • Your customer is using bank debit methods.
  • The connected account is no longer attached.


Customer emails

This feature is off by default, but I do recommend you think about enabling customer emails. When a card payment fails, Stripe sends out a polite reminder. Click the eye icon to preview that message.


Subscription status

This drop-menu answers the question, "What if the customer is unable to complete the failed payment?"

There are three options. The best option depends on your business. I want to note that if you select the third option (leave the subscription as-is), the customer will enjoy free access to your service.


Invoice status

If the customer can't make the payment, what about the invoice? Before choosing an option, it's a good idea to treat subscription status and invoice status together. After all, the subscription drives the invoice.
Our suggestion is to cancel the subscription and mark the invoice as uncollectible. Here's the argument. The cancellation will revoke access to gated content and incentivize the customer to contact you with the aim of reactivating a paid subscription.
If you leave the invoice "as-is" Stripe will attempt to settle any outstanding invoice as soon as it gets valid payment info. This can feel like "double charging" to members and often leads to confusion. 
That's it.
I hope this overview gives you a better understanding of your options when managing failed payments and Stripe's customer emails.

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