Recurring Subscription with Trial

When setting up a recurring Subscription with an "X" Day Trial you will need to configure the following:

Stream2 Setup Items

  • You will need to set up the Stream2 form used to sell the subscription with a trial period.
  • You will need to set up the Stream2 form you want to display when the trial option is not available for a customer.

    A customer is no longer eligible because they already had a matching stripe subscription that was cancelled. This is in place to help prevent abuse of the free trial.

Stripe Setup Items

  • Stripe Product and Price
    Setup the Product(s) and Price point(s) you want to sell as a recurring Subscription.

    Here is a support article on How to setup a Product and Price in Stripe
  • Branding
    Customize how your brand appears globally across the Stripe products your customers use: Upcoming card expiration, failed card payment, etc...

    Here is a link to the Branding settings in Stripe

  • Customer Portal
    Let your customers manage their subscription and credit card payment method using a Stripe-hosted portal.
    We provide you a URL that you will use to link customers to the portal.

    Here is a link to the Customer Portal settings in Stripe See below in the Stripe section for the recommended settings. Specific setting are very important.
  • Custom Email domain
    You can specify a custom domain in your Stripe account Dashboard from which Stripe will send emails to your customers.  Note:This is an advanced, technical feature that requires working with your Domain Name Service (DNS) provider to accurately add your DNS records to your domain’s server.

    Here is a link to the 3 step process Custom Email Domain Setup

  • Subscriptions and Emails Notifications

    Manage free trial messaging
    Use these settings to help your organization comply with card network requirements for free trials

    Prevent failed payments
    Configure whether you'd like to email customers to keep their payment information up to date.

    Manage failed payments
    Configure the steps you'd like to take when charging a customer's payment method fails.

    Manage disputed payments
    Configure the steps you'd like to take when a dispute is opened on a recurring card payment.

    Manage payments that require 3D Secure
    Configure how you'd like to handle 3D Secure, an authentication step required for some European cardholders.

    Here is a link to the Subscriptions and Emails Notifications settings in Stripe

Tessitura Setup Items

  • Tessitura Fund
    "Digital Subscription Fund" is a suggested Fund name
  • Campaign, Appeal, Source(s)
    Set up these as you would for your organization. From a naming standpoint, using the "Digital Subscription" naming convention makes sense.
  • Memberships Organizations
    "Digital Subscriber" is a suggested Membership Organizations name
  • Membership Level
    "Digital Subscriber Monthly "is a suggested Membership Level name
  • At least two Constituencies
    Suggested Trial Period name = "Digital Subscriber Trial"
    Suggested Membership Level name = "Digital Subscriber Monthly"
  • Reporting
    List Manager
    Membership Reporting

Things to consider when setting up a Subscription with an "X" Day Trial.

  • When a trial is started there is no initial credit card charge. A customer is created in stripe and a subscription product is assigned. Additionally, the credit card is setup for future payments.
  • For future payments, the card information is verified when the card is saved, but it only verifies that the information is valid: by default it doesn't check credit limits or account balances to guarantee that a card will have sufficient funds when you do decide to charge it. To ensure that the card can be charged, Stream2, will generate a $1 authorization on the card. If the authorization fails, the patron is provided a message of the failure.
  • With free trials, there are specific rules around what you must communicate to the customer regarding the trial ending and messaging that needs to go on the first invoice. This is just one of the many reasons why letting Stripe handle all notification email is the best approach for compliance.
  • Tessitura doesn't have a specific feature for recording a trial so we use a constituency as a marker to record the trial status with a start and end date. This can be used in list building and reporting to identify constituents that are in trial mode.
  • A trial can be cancelled and no money will ever be charged. In Tessitura, you will have a constituent with an expired "Digital Subscription Trial" constituency and no Membership Level or Membership constituency.
  • To further prevent abuse of the of the free trial, we only allow 1 trial per email/subscription. If we sense you are trying to trial again, it is not allowed and you will be redirected to a Stream2 form you that you designate t as a non-trial signup form. It is not possible to catch every situation. For example, a patron can use a different email and different credit card. We use the email address and look for a Stripe Subscription using a matching Product and Price along with a cancelled Subscription. Additionally, we authorized the card for $1 to ensure that it is able to take a charge in the future.

Do not configure the following in combination with a recurring Subscription

  • Do not setup Presale. It makes no sense and we can't think of a good use case.
  • Do not use Cover Costs as this will affect the charge total and it won't match the recurring product setup in stripe. It is possible to create a faux cover cost using 2 different pricing configurations and 2 matching Stripe recurring products. In Tessitura, your membership level using and fixed price could be a small range that included subscription with the cover cost amount and the standard subscription.
  • Do not use Gift Certificate Redemption should not be used since this can generate a no cost transaction and therefore no credit card can be setup with the recurring subscription in Stripe.
  • Do not use Gifting for a Recurring Subscription. While it may be possible, gifting a subscription is not a common practice. Leave the gifting functionality to products that aren't a subscription. If you want to sell access to a SVOD as if it was a TVOD, you can. You can offer 30, 60, 90, etc... day access that are not recurring payments as a Gift.

We highly recommend that you don't do the following with a recurring Subscription

  • Do not use a Tessitura receipt - let Stripe handle it.
  • Do not use the message manager email as a receipt - let Stripe handle it.

We highly recommend doing the following with a recurring Subscription

  • Setup Stripe to handle all the email communications surrounding expired card notification, failed payment, invoices, etc... There is a multitude of options that you should familiarize yourself with when it comes to the power of Stripe 

Stream2: Form Payment Page

Enter 4.99 (or the price point you have determined). This must match the Stripe Product Price selected on the form. Complete the additional text fields to describe your product, payment terms, trial length, etc...

You may want to include text similar to this somewhere on your form.
I authorize [your business name] to send instructions to the financial institution that issued my card to take payments from my card account in accordance with the terms of my agreement with you.

Stream2: Tessitura Constituency
Select the constituency from the drop down menu. The constituency options will need to be setup in your Tessitura System Tables > TR_CONSTITUENCY. If you have any issues finding the item in the drop down, make sure that the correct control group and if needed, use the "Refresh Cache" in your Tessitura LIVE or TEST configuration.

If you are using a Trial, you will select a Constituency that indicates a Trial. For example, Digital Subscriber Trial. When using a Stripe recurring product and a trial is active, the constituency will only be set the first time, when the order is created. Remember, with a trial no charge has happened. Tessitura doesn't have a specific feature for recording a Trial so we use a constituency as a marker to record the Trial status with a start and end date. This can be used in list building and reporting to identify constituents that are in trial mode.

Stream2: Stripe Product Form Configuration
You will setup a Product in Stripe along with a Price. Once these are created they will show up in your drop down menus.

You can use either Stripe Coupons or a Stripe Trial period. You cannot do both. 

  1. Select Yes
  2. Select your Stripe Product
  3. Select your Stripe Product Price
  4. Set your Trial Period to "X"
  5. If using a trial, Select the form you want to redirect to if a trial is no longer an option for this patron.
    The redirected form should communicate that a trial is no longer available and should provide the option to purchase a subscription without a trial.

Stream2: Tessitura Form Configuration
Set your Fund, Source, and Channel


You are going to sell a Subscription product in Stripe. You will need to configure a Product and Price.

Stripe Product & Price
Here is a support article on How to setup a Product and Price in Stripe

Key items are:

  • Name
  • Pricing model = Standard pricing
  • Price (what you want to sell it for)
  • Select Recurring
  • Billing Period = Monthly or Yearly or what ever you want
  • Finish by clicking Save Product


The end result looks like this.

Stripe Customer
When orders are processed, you will have customers in Stripe with the product attached to their record. Everything will be in place to process their subscription on the desired cadence or to start charging after the trial has expired.

Customer in Stripe
Showing the authorization charge, Trial Period, Charges, and Cancellation

  • The Trial is reflected in Tessitura as a Constituency with a "X" day from today end-date.
  • All payment charges are reflected in Tessitura as a fixed price membership and constituency with a start and end date.
  • Cancellation is reflected in Tessitura as Recurring CSI, expired Constituency and expired membership when a new payment charge is not processed.

Customer Portal
Patrons can use the self service Customer Portal to update their payment method or cancel their subscription.

You can configure these settings in Stripe. We recommend the following settings. Choosing anything other than what is shown below can have adverse affects on tracking the status of a patron.

This is what the customer portal looks like. You have control over the color and logo in the branding section of Stripe settings.

You will need to configure a Fund, Constituencies, Membership Organization & Level

You can setup a specific Fund for Digital Subscriptions
You will setup a Constituency for Trials and for Monthly (and any others you may need)
You will setup a Membership Organizations for the Digital Subscriptions and a Membership level for each fixed price amount.

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