With a valuation of $35 billion, and 1,000,000+ businesses using its services, Stripe is the biggest digital payments company in the world. That’s no coincidence, as they are determined to simplify digital payments. That’s how they came up with Stripe Connect, their service to help entrepreneurs build marketplaces without needing to worry about payments.
Marketplaces and platforms use Stripe Connect to accept money and pay out to third parties. Connect provides a complete set of building blocks to virtually support any business model, including on-demand businesses, e‑commerce, crowdfunding, fintech, and travel and events.
One of the best features that Stripe Connect includes is what they call Custom Accounts. In this article, we will try to explain how Custom Accounts work.
Custom Accounts lets your platform build a complete experience for your users to your exact specifications. Custom offers all of Connect’s functionality, and enables you to build custom onboarding, verification and reporting UIs for your users.
To better understand this, we first need to learn some terminology. In every marketplace, there are usually three members:
- Customers: people willing to pay for goods or services.
- Service providers or sellers: people offering products or services.
- Platform: the middle man that connects customers with service providers. Usually the owner of the marketplace.
When using Custom Accounts, each service provider will have a Stripe Account that will be managed by a Platform Account which, by the way, is also a Stripe account. I.e. Custom Accounts and Platform accounts could charge customers, manage subscriptions, make refunds, and more. The difference is that all the operations in the Custom Account will be created and controlled by the Platform Account.
Custom Accounts are perfect for those marketplaces that want to completely customize the user experience, including the onboarding, dashboard, and reporting UIs. It also helps to manage how money flows through all the participants of each transaction. A Custom Account is invisible to the service provider as they don’t know that they have an account in Stripe. The platform is responsible for creating those accounts -by collecting the required information- and for designing and building the application to process payments from customers and send money to the service providers. It seems to be a lot of work, isn’t it? Well, it requires more visual work, but Stripe simplifies most of the problems with payments.
As mentioned, the service provider can’t access her/his dashboard in Stripe. So, all the required information to create the account will be collected and sent to Stripe by the owner of the Platform Account. That’s where the term Connect comes from: a main account -platform- has one or more connected accounts. For this article, Custom Accounts, but could also be Standard or Express.
But let’s take a break with theory for a while and do some practice. Let’s suppose that Ana runs two companies:
- On the one hand, a real-state agency that charges rent in a couple of buildings.
- On the other hand, a gym where clients pay a fixed rate monthly.
Ana started doing things manually and asked each customer to make an ACH to a bank account she owns. As she is well-organized, she used two different bank accounts, one for each company. Things work at the beginning but when her companies scaled, it was really difficult to keep track of everything.
That’s how she decided to ask a friend of her to build an application using Stripe. She created a Stripe Account and connected two Custom Accounts. So, Ana has a Platform Account and each of her companies has a Custom Account. Clients access to an application with a user and a password and pay for their service. Money from clients that use the gym automatically goes to one bank account while money from the rent goes to the other. And, as Stripe solves everything and was easy to do it, she also includes more payment methods such as credit and debit cards. Now Ana can review all the transactions from the Stripe Dashboard and make refunds if necessary. Also, she can fill tax separately for each of her companies.
But that’s just one possibility. Ana could also charge a fee for providing the payment service and money could be kept in the platform account and then sent to a third bank account. Or she could decide to bill her customers from the gym regularly, using Stripe Subscriptions while allowing her customers from the building to pay when they want. Or even better, she could have one Custom Account for each of the buildings she manages to keeps things even more organized. That way, she could manage all the buildings’ transactions from one place while receiving money in different accounts. All the customers use the same application to pay, but payments from tenants from Building A goes to a bank account, while payments from tenants from Building B goes to a different bank account. And we could continue with more examples.
As you can imagine, the alternatives are endless. Custom Accounts brought simple and efficient solutions to every kind of business. With Connect, you can focus on your strategy, expanding into new markets quickly, and launching revenue-generating products.
Can you think of any other example where Custom Accounts from Stripe can help? Are you interested in building your marketplace or directly processing payments from customers? Feel free to leave a comment below or contact us on our website: unagi.com.ar. We have a bunch of experience building applications that integrate with Stripe and would love to help you enhance your business or idea.
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Unagi (unagi.com.ar) is a software company that designs and develops high-quality software to help clients to develop their ideas and optimize what they already know how to do. Our team includes engineers and analysts with more than 10 years of experience. We are all happy doing our work and we love getting into new experiences.
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