Did you receive a charge on your credit card statement that stated, “Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation”? You aren’t alone.
This charge isn’t nothing to be scared of—as long as you recently made a purchase that’s along the lines of the charged amount.
It’s possible that you’ve recently noticed charges to your credit or debit card that don’t look familiar. We’ve gotten a few questions about these charges and wanted to explain what they are and why they’re showing up on your credit card statement or PayPal account.
What does “EEA” stand for?
EEA stands for the European Economic Area. STEL stands for Short Term Establishment License. The license is used by companies domiciled in the EEA to process electronic payments on behalf of EEA-domiciled merchants.
What does “STEL” mean?
STEL stands for Short Term Establishment License. The license is used by companies domiciled in the EEA to process electronic payments on behalf of EEA-domiciled merchants.
What does “Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation” mean?
Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation can be broken down like this:
- Stripe = Stripe, the payment aggregation company
- EEA = European Economic Area
- STEL = Short Term Establishment License
- Aggregation = A collection of fees/charges
Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation is a payment processing fee. When you make a purchase, the merchant pays a percentage of your transaction amount to their payment processor. In this case, it’s Stripe checkout.
Some banks show the merchant’s name on their customers’ statements, but others show the payment processor instead. In those cases, you may see Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation on your statement instead of the merchant’s name.
Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation is not a subscription or recurring charge.
Fun Fact: an aggregator in terms of payments processing is a 3rd-party service (e.g., Stripe, PayPal, Square) that processes payments using a single merchant account with sub-accounts given to its users. It’s not a payment processor on its own, it’s simply a merchant offering a share of its processing power.
What is “stripe eea stel aggregation dublin”?
Sometimes, this appears as “stripe eea stel aggregation dublin 2”.
When this shows up, it means your payment is being processed by the Dublin entity instead of the UK-regulated one Stripe billing usually uses.
What is “stripe eea stel aggregation amex”?
If you are an Amex cardholder, you may have noticed “Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation” on your statement.
Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation is a payment processing platform that allows merchants to process payments in currencies other than the traditional USD currency.
Stripe also has a partnership with American Express to allow merchants to accept payments through the American Express network. Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation Amex is a platform that allows users to pay for products and services using their Amex cards in over 100 currencies around the world.
For Customers: Why do I see STEL aggregation on my statement?
If you see Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation on your statement, it means that the merchant has enabled this option in its account settings which adds extra expenses to the bank account during transactions.
The merchant has to pay these fees over time, which is why they pass these costs onto customers.
For US Customers
If you see this on your bank statement, then it means the e-commerce store operates from the EEA. The store might have charged you in USD using dynamic currency conversion (DCC), and that’s why you weren’t aware it was a European store.
Now, because it is a non-US store, there are other fees incurred in the transaction like currency conversion fees and possibly VAT (value-added tax) or other operational fees. These are being passed on to you by the merchant so the store doesn’t have to pay it.
For EU Customers
The Stripe API enables businesses in the European Economic Area (EEA) to accept online payments in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). Stripe charges a fee on all payments processed through Stripe. When customers pay using SEPA Direct Debit or SEPA Credit Transfer, these fees are listed on their statement as “Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation”.
Stripe has a legal obligation to make sure merchants charge customers in the EEA a special fee called a “value added tax” (or “VAT”) in addition to the regular amount of fees paid by customers.
The charges appearing on your bank statements might appear different than what you typically see. Whenever a merchant in the EEA sends you an invoice, it will include a line item called “Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation.”
In some cases, Stripe aggregates all of their EEA customers’ Stripe fees onto one invoice and bill them on the merchant’s behalf. Total fees for these customers are then charged all at once, which is why you may see a large charge from Stripe to your credit card or debit card.
For Merchants: Why am I seeing STRIPE EEA STEL Aggregation on my merchant statement?
If you’re a Stripe user who has recently gone to check your statements, you may have noticed a new line item on your statement that reads “Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation.”
This is not a fee. Rather, it is a reporting item intended to meet European Union requirements under the financial services directive known as PSD2. It indicates that the amount being reported was aggregated.
PSD2 is European regulation that requires Strong Customer Authentication (like 2FA and PCI compliance in the US).
What you’re seeing here is a payment processing fee that’s been itemized on your statement. The fee covers the costs of collecting and aggregating your payments in the U.S., then transferring those funds to your account in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The fee may appear as Stripe EEA STEL Aggregation, Stripe EEA ACH Aggregation, or simply Aggregator Fee.
For Customers: What should I do about seeing “stel aggregation” on my credit card statement?
If you’ve recently made a purchase from an online store, then you can do some investigating. Go to their website and see what country they operate from. If it’s in the EEA, then this charge is from them.
Alternatively, you can contact your own bank or credit card company and ask them to get you more information.
HOWEVER, if you did not make a recent online purchase or the charge appears suspiciously high, then you can dispute it through your bank. Keep in mind that this is the last resort option, so please do some investigating first.
For Merchants: What should I do about “stripe eea stel aggregation” appearing on my customers’ statements?
We’ve written up a few tips you can follow to minimize the number of chargebacks or refund requests you receive due to this extra charge. You can read those by clicking here. Below, you’ll find the bullet points.
Notify Your Customers Via Email
When customers receive their receipt of purchase from your store, include this line item in the email.
The best way is to have a graphic or screenshot of what the charges might look like. This prevents customers from freaking out and immediately hitting the big red refund button.
Change Your Descriptor
Rather, you can add information to your descriptor that could notify customers or at least their bank about upcoming additional charges.
Changing your descriptor anyway can help with fraud prevention in terms of friendly fraud. Your stripe.com account backend will give you options for your descriptor, so log into your Stripe account and make sure it displays what you want. While you’re back there, you should look into Stripe Radar for even more fraud protection as well as SDKs and plugins that can help with your descriptor.
This is a service you can opt out of if you’re operate in the EEA. IT’s a shortcut to entering individual transactions, but this extra charge is the consequence and can lead to an increase in chargebacks.
Simply opt out of using it and you’re good to go. Since you use Stripe payments, the option should be in the backend of your account. If you can’t find it, call or email Stripe customer service and they’ll get it fixed for you.
Open a Merchant Account
Stripe is not a merchant account nor is it a payment processor. That’s why things get messy when you try to expand or offer services that simply cannot provide.
While Stripe supports major payment methods like credit cards from American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, it may not offer all the options your customers need.
The best solution is to open your own high-risk merchant account. DirectPayNet provides merchant accounts to online businesses, connecting them with a payment processor that supports their business type. We’ll also set you up with a shopping cart and payment gateway that works with your payment service provider.
With your own merchant account, you’ll be able to accept credit card payments via card number, Apple Pay, or even in-person payments via card readers and a POS. Customize it to your needs—even the pricing.
This is the only way to truly, 100%, get rid of the stripe eea stel aggregation line item.