Accepting Stripe payments

Accept one-off and recurring card payments on donation, membership and event forms

Updated over a week ago

Stripe is a world-leading payment gateway, built for simplicity and with a focus on ease of integration. Today it's used by leading charities including Oxfam, Unicef and Comic Relief.

Connect a Stripe account to Beacon to enable you to take both one-off and recurring card payments on your donation, membership, and event registration forms.


Connect Stripe to Beacon

To accept credit card payments through Beacon, you'll need to connect your Stripe account to Beacon. If you haven't got a Stripe account already, you can sign up here.

You can then connect Stripe to Beacon in just a few clicks.

  1. Go to Settings > Payments in your Beacon sidebar

  2. Click Connect with Stripe

  3. A new window will open to log in to your Stripe account

  4. Select the account you'd like to link with Beacon, and click Connect

  5. That's it! You'll now see credit cards as a payment option on your donation forms - powered by Stripe. When new donations come in, you'll see them in Beacon as well as in your Stripe account.

How do we get paid through Stripe?

Beacon never touches the money you raise. When you receive a payment through a Beacon form, the money goes from a supporter's card directly into your Stripe account.

Stripe pays your organisation through something they call payouts. Every few days, Stripe will send you a single payment for charges that have recently been made, minus any fees taken by them for processing the payment.

As such, this means that you will not see an item on your bank statement that directly matches up to each and every donation that's been made.

For more information about how this process works, read Stripe's documentation about payouts. If you have the Finance element, Beacon will also create a Payout record for each Stripe payout.

Note: You can see how individual payouts were calculated
in Balance > Payouts inside your Stripe dashboard:

Finding payments or subscriptions from Stripe

Every charge in Stripe that's made through a Beacon form will match up to a payment record in Beacon. Specifically, we set the External ID field to include a unique identifier of the charge in Stripe:

All charges from Stripe will start with 'ch_'. As such, you can use a filter based on the 'External ID' field to find the Payments that were processed by Stripe:

Similarly, recurring payment schedules exist as Subscriptions in Stripe (and Beacon), and they can be seen in Beacon by using the 'External ID' on the Subscription record:

All subscriptions from Stripe will start with 'sub_'.

The Stripe card

Beacon makes it possible to see the current status of a Stripe subscription and make changes to it right from within your Beacon account in the Stripe card.

The Stripe card also allows you to change the recurring subscription amount, and cancel it.

Tip: Can't see the Stripe card? While viewing a Subscription, enter customisation mode, click Add card on the right hand side, and choose 'Stripe subscription':

Changing or cancelling subscriptions

To change things like amount, payment frequency, card details, or to cancel a subscription, we've got a step-by-step guide to our Stripe card available!

Automatically import manual Stripe payments

If you process any manual transactions in Stripe, such at telephone or postal donations ('Mail Orders or Telephone Orders' or 'MOTO'), Beacon can import these automatically for you.

This would include manually keyed payment processing like MOTO, as well as manually adding a payment for an existing customer with a stored payment method. You'll see a section in Settings > Payments > Stripe called 'Import manual payments', where you can also set fixed data to be set for the records that are being created.

You will need to create your customer, payment, and subscription records manually in Stripe. Remember to add a name for your customer record - Beacon pulls the name for the Person record from the Stripe customer record.
Beacon will create these records:

  1. A Person record for the donor

  2. A Payment for the charge

  3. A Subscription if it has been set up

Find out more about Stripe's MOTO function here.

Frequently Asked Questions

My Stripe account won't connect, why might that be?

There's a few reasons that you might get errors with connecting your Stripe account.

  1. You already have another account connected to Stripe.
    Stripe now only allow one external platform to be connected to each Stripe account, so if it's being used by other platforms then you'll need to create a new Stripe account for this.

    1. Click the dropdown arrow on your account name:

    2. Choose 'New account':

  2. Your Stripe account hasn't been verified yet
    Stripe requires identity verification for your charity, and this not being fully completed can sometimes cause connection/functionality problems. Check in your Stripe account or reach out to Stripe support for further guidance.

What emails can get sent to supporters and us by Stripe?

Stripe can automatically send a variety of emails to your supporters when particular things happen, such as:

  • When a payment attempt fails

  • When a card on file is about to expire

  • When a payment requires 3D Secure

You can configure which emails get sent, and your branding on those emails, from within your Stripe account. See the full list of customer notifications that can get sent in Stripe's documentation here.

The emails that Stripe can send to you include:

  • A payment is successfully made to your Stripe account

  • A payment is disputed by a cardholder

  • A payment is marked as elevated risk by Stripe

See the full list of account notifications that can get sent in Stripe's documentation here.

Tip: If you'd like to be notified when a subscription gets cancelled, you can use Beacon's notification feature to send a notification when the 'Status' field changes.

A donor would like to change the day of the month that their donation is taken, is that possible?

No, once a subscription has been processed it will continue to hold the same billing period. If you'd like to change the date that it's collected, you would need to cancel their existing subscription, and either manually add a new subscription for that supporter in Stripe if they still have saved card details (remember to also update Beacon with the new subscription ID!), or ask them to complete your donation/membership again.

We've accidentally cancelled someone's Stripe subscription, can we reactivate it?

No, Stripe don't allow you to resume a cancelled subscription. You can either manually add a new subscription for that supporter in Stripe if they still have saved card details (remember to also update Beacon with the new subscription ID!), or ask them to complete your donation/membership again.

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