Something many users don’t think about while using a subscription service is what happens when their card expires or is declined. Payments can fail for a lot of reasons, some are expected like not having enough money in your bank account, but some aren’t what you’d expect, like if the United States suddenly declares sanctions against your country and your bank is cut off from global banking networks.
We use Stripe as our payment processor, and for the most part they do a lot of the hard work for us. If you have a credit or debit card with a major bank like Chase, they have a partnership with Stripe where Stripe can automatically detect if you’ve updated your card’s expiration date, and Stripe will communicate that to Comradery and your subscription is uninterrupted. If your card is declined, it’s possible it may have been a fluke or isolated problem, and Stripe automatically re-tries the payment a handful of times during the month until either the payment works or 30 days passes.
Up until now we have been relying on these Stripe features to make sure Creators get paid without requiring a lot of extra steps from supporters. Since global financial systems are complicated, there unfortunately were a number of things that Stripe didn’t catch or fell through the cracks. If a supporter’s payment failed many times in certain cases their subscription would be silently canceled and we didn’t have a good way to handle that. We needed a robust system for communicating payment failures, expired cards, canceled subscriptions, and how to re-activate subscriptions that have lapsed in the past.
Today’s update fixes many of these problems. If any subscription goes into a state of failed payment, we now have clear email contact for what that state is and how to fix it. Even better, if a supporter lets a subscription completely lapse (no payment for over 30 days) and Stripe wipes the record of their subscription, Comradery will keep a record of what Creators and tiers a supporter was previously subscribed to. Once they decide to re-subscribe, there is a brand-new checkout flow for quickly and easily reactivating all subscriptions.
Our primary goal is always consistent, sustainable payments and income for Creators on Comradery. This is a big step to eliminate the messiness of failed and lapsed payments and giving supporters a clear way to resolve these problems without needing any hands-on intervention from the tech team or outreach committee. Ultimately this will mean more money for Creators and a more consistent and less confusing experience for supporters.
We’re looking forward to a great summer with more updates coming soon,