Reactivate Stripe Subscriptions After Payment Failure

Specifically with Stripe (check with your payment processor on this), when the retry process wraps up a customer can either be marked as unpaid, or canceled.

Depending on your retry settings, this could happen anywhere from day 3 after the initial failure, or day 22. You can review your settings here:

When it’s set to “Mark as Unpaid”:

After a subscription is marked as unpaid, Stripe won’t automatically reattempt payment of that invoice.

So let’s say it’s marked unpaid on day 9. When a customer updates their card on day 10… They will have a new card on file, BUT their subscription won’t have an automatic payment attempted.

Let that sink in for a second. No payment attempted.

We work with companies that have monthly payments exceeding $1000. Can you imagine that vanishing across multiple accounts at scale?

And the worst part: future invoices will continue to get generated, but future payments won’t be attempted.

So you’re left with a valid payment method, a happy customer, and no revenue. This is the purest definition of involuntary churn, or payment churn—aka the churn most people don’t know they have.

When it’s set to “Cancel Subscription”:

This scenario isn’t much better.

Let’s assume the same schedule: subscription canceled on day 9, card updated on day 10. The new card will be stored, but since there is no subscription anymore, payment won’t be attempted and future renewals won’t occur.

In either case, it may even look like you saved the customer depending on your reporting tool. But they’ll never pay you again.

At early stage, you should manually bring subscriptions back into an active state following a late card update. When this becomes too labor intensive, you’ll need to write code or automate handling of these scenarios.


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