Many of the kitchens on The Food Corridor are setting up their Stripe accounts for the first time.  They are coming to us to help with their billing, invoicing and scheduling issues.  One of the selling points is that we collect payment information from their clients and bill the clients automatically, helping kitchen cash flow.

However.

Stripe has the concept of a payment (which is when the buyer gets charged and money moved into Stripe’s system) and a payout (which is when the money moves from Stripe’s system into a seller’s bank account).  These are definitely not synchronous, for what I assume are concerns about fraud and money to be made from float.  The first time you charge against a Stripe account, they hold the funds for 7-10 days at Stripe before paying out.  As a user, you can see the funds, but you can’t access them.  (You can’t pay rent with a Stripe account balance.)  This was frustrating to many of our clients, and a horrible first experience with our billing system: “we said we’d help with your cash flow, and we will, it will just take a month”.

To alleviate this, as soon as their account is set up, we make a small charge against our own credit card and send it to them (a pre-charge).  This starts the clock on the 7-10 days mentioned above.  This happens before the first real client billing, which means that the first real client billing will be paid out in 2 business days.

One of the things I love about working on a product for a period of years is that you get to make these types of refinements which are not technically difficult, but truly matter for the user experience.

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