How Stripe ensures its millions of users are easily and reliably verified with Twilio
Time to read: 3 minutes
The Stripe team needed to be able to securely, reliably verify users across multiple touchpoints in their customer journey, without introducing friction to the user experience.
With Twilio Verify, Stripe users can quickly and easily verify their identity and log in to their accounts.
From multi-million dollar behemoths like Amazon, Peloton, and Shopify, to small family-owned shops, and everything in between, all businesses have one fundamental commonality: the need to manage and process payments.
And for millions of businesses all over the globe, they opt to rely on one complete payments platform for their payment needs: Stripe.
In just 10 years, Stripe has grown from a developer-founded start-up to a market-driving global enterprise, valued at $36 billion, with investors such as Sequoia and Capital G, and boasting clients like Amazon, Shopify, and Zoom.
Companies use Stripe’s tools to accept payments from anywhere in the world, build entire marketplaces, manage subscription payments and invoicing, and even incorporate a business in the US.
To keep those millions of customers safe, Stripe relies on Twilio.
Ensuring user safety—and a seamless experience
At multiple points across a user’s journey with Stripe, a user must verify his or her identity. One common scenario is when a new user signs up, and they are encouraged to set up two-factor authentication for all future interactions.
Most users choose to authenticate via their phone number, and an authentication code is sent to the user via SMS, ensuring they are who they say they are and in fact have their device in-hand.
In other instances, like inside the company’s Connect product, which lets businesses build their own marketplaces or platforms, the user’s business is able to use two-factor authentication to let other vendors log in to their marketplace or platform.
The company focuses on two-factor authentication via phone numbers and SMS because, as Stripe Engineering Manager Suhas Joshi explained, email is less reliable and can be compromised more easily, and because it’s an easy process, making it more likely users will see it through.
“Passwords and email addresses can be compromised, and for these businesses, secure access is critical,” he said. “Using two-factor authentication is great because it increases account security and ensures we’re preventing unauthorized people from accessing an account.”
Verification via SMS, he added, is particularly useful because it’s familiar and easy.
“Most users choose to verify via SMS; it’s the easiest for most people to use,” he said. “It’s the one we find the fewest problems with, and definitely one of the easiest to support.”
Stripe relies on Twilio’s Verify API across nearly 70 percent of all authentication processes to ensure that simplicity and ease of use, Joshi said, and is actively incorporating it into the company’s entire system.
“We want to use Verify for everything,” he said.
“We want to use [Twilio] Verify for everything.”
No verification process is worthwhile if the intended message, code, or link doesn’t get to where it needs to be. With Twilio, Joshi said, deliverability rates are high—higher than regular SMS—and that means more users can be verified more easily.
“If a message is not delivered, we get a phone call and have to get our support people on it,” he said. “Verify greatly reduces our own support costs, over other verification methods.”
In the US alone, he said, conversion rates for two-factor authentication have increased six points thanks to Twilio Verify, and in India, successful authentication rates went from 70 percent to 86.
“[Twilio] Verify greatly reduces our own support costs, over other verification methods.”
By providing a quick, easy, and secure way for users of all kinds to verify their identity and log into their accounts, Stripe is furthering its mission to increase the GDP of the internet and enable businesses to be successful online, Joshi said.
With more companies than ever processing payments and doing business online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added, it’s never been more important to scale with ease. Twilio, he said, lets Stripe do just that.
“It’s a no brainer to use Twilio,” he said. “We never even considered building something in house because there’s so much involved in it and we’re just happy to be able to rely on Twilio to take care of it so we can focus on making the experience for our users simpler and easier.”
“We believe that bringing everything onto Verify will just make things a lot simpler,” he added. “Especially with COVID, more and more people are using the internet for more things. That means more people use Stripe and Stripe products, so having Twilio as the backend for our authentication just allows us to keep growing without any concern.”
“It’s a no brainer to use Twilio... having Twilio as the backend for our authentication just allows us to keep growing without any concern.”