Why do I see Incomplete Payments in Stripe?

You may have noticed inside your Stripe account you sometimes see a number of payments marked as “Incomplete” inside the Payments screen when using the “All” filter:

This is perfectly normal, and nothing to worry about.

The reason you see this is as follows:

When using the Stripe system for processing payments, their system requires a “payment intent” to be created as soon as we know the amount being charged on the checkout form.  

This payment intent initially starts as a “Incomplete” payment.  This allows stripe to setup information such as tax charges and customer location.

If the visitor/buyer completes the transaction with a valid credit card, this payment intent gets confirmed and Stripe creates a charge based on it.  You then see a successful payment inside your Stripe account.

If a visitor leaves your checkout without completing the checkout, or in less common occurrences where more than one payment intent is created for one customer (This can sometimes happen on upsell pages where you have multiple order buttons) – you may still see an incomplete payment logged.  

This will not hurt your account, and is actually following the exact logic that Stripe requires.

Why do I not see incomplete payments for subscriptions?

Subscriptions work in a completely different way and do not use payment intents directly. Stripe internally handles every invoice (recurring charge) by creating a payment intent and attempts to charge it with a credit card on file. 

If it fails then it is possible that there will be failed subscription payment intents as well.

Updated on November 28, 2022

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