Understanding Recurring Billing & The Various Softwares That Make it Work

If you want to add subscriptions to your business model, or already have a subscription-style product or business, you may want a new recurring billing platform.

If you are interested in adding subscriptions to your business model, or if you already have a subscription style product or business, then you may be in the market for a new recurring billing platform.

In case you are new to this type of pricing model, we wanted to provide a little insight into what it is, and the software platforms that make it happen.

What is recurring billing?

Recurring billing is a revenue model that allows your customers to purchase a subscription or membership, and then be billed monthly for the service or product. This type of model is very popular, and it has the potential to be lucrative.

Juniper Research recently found that “the global market value of the subscription economy will grow to $275 billion in 2022.” According to their study, three particular markets are the most likely to generate the highest revenue from a recurring billing model:

  • Physical goods
  • Digital video
  • Digital music

Even so, there seems to be earning potential from a recurring billing subscription model in many different market segments.

What is a recurring billing platform?

Speaking generally, there are two primary ways to manage recurring billing and payments. As we explain in our blog, these include direct arrangements with eCommerce platforms and third-party subscription billing platforms.

If you already have an eCommerce platform, your payment processor (like Stripe, Square, or Quickbooks) can generally be set up to accept recurring payments. As we explain elsewhere, “many eCommerce platforms charge much higher fees for recurring transactions than they would for an individual transaction.”

It may then be worthwhile to investigate third-party recurring billing platforms. Generally, these providers will charge a monthly subscription for the service, and then a percentage of each transaction.

On the other hand, a third-party recurring billing platform will offer a much more customizable experience. it can also provide access to additional services that can help with customer retention, such as free trials and membership tiers.

Recurring or subscription billing platforms to consider

If you are thinking of going the third-party route, here are a few providers that you may wish to consider.

Recurly

One of the most popular recurring billing platforms, Recurly is all about maximizing profits through “optimizing subscription growth”, and “nearly eliminating involuntary churn.” Investopedia explains that

“With Recurly, you can create and support any subscription combination you can think of, such as fixed recurring, quantity-based, usage-based, one-time charges, and hybrid options. If you work with international customers, Recurly makes it easy to accept global payment as it supports over 20 different payment gateways.”

Chargebee

Chargebee is “the subscription billing and revenue management platform that lets you solve for your today, and scale for your tomorrow.” Chargebee specializes in automating tasks, with hundreds of recurring billing options and scenarios that you can choose from.

Chargebee is particularly popular with SaaS customers and offers a wide array of reporting and analytics features. These come together to make Chargebee an excellent subscription management platform.

Zuora

If you are a high-revenue company, you might want the recurring billing platform that runs many Fortune 500 companies. Zuora offers “over 50 pricing models, including recurring, one-time fees, and usage charges.” Their platform allows users to “Apply different discounts, enable code redemption, and set billing triggers and time limits with effective dates.”

As Investopedia explains, Zuora is unique in that it “allows its customers to choose from a collection of features. Companies can tailor a package that best fits their precise needs. Zuora can help your subscription-based company to launch, manage, and optimize subscription billing with its cloud-based software.”

Chargify

B2B companies may be interested in Chargify (which will be rebranding as Maxio), a recurring billing software that specializes in subscription billing for B2B Saas clients. Chargify invites users to “Bill the way you want, from simple subscriptions to complex usage and events-based models.”

eCommerce-Platforms.com tells us that “Chargify is packed full of amazing features, including billing built for B2B SaaS strategies, subscription management tools, and accounting functionality. There’s also state-of-the-art data and analytics for monitoring revenue, customer trends, and product purchasing behaviors.”

Wave

Wave has our attention primarily because it’s ostensibly free. While it charges transaction fees like its competitors, Wave offers recurring invoices, accounting, and banking functionality in a single free tier. It also offers payroll services and expert advisors for a monthly fee.

According to its website, Wave “makes money through our optional, paid money management products. Depending on your business needs, you can choose to pay for online payment processing, payroll, and 1:1 advisors.”

This makes Wave an attractive option for startups or small businesses.

Zoho

Another option for those just getting started in recurring billing is Zoho. Zoho lets you “Set up billing frequencies, and cycles for your product or service, and then cool off. Zoho Subscriptions will automate your recurring billing and based on the billing frequency sends out professional-looking invoices before due dates, so you don't have to.”

Another cost-effective option, Zoho may be best suited to small businesses and freelancers, as its integrations with other systems are not always seamless.

Rebilla

If customizability is vital to you, then Rebilla may be the way to go. The Rebilla platform offers a “flexible subscription builder, easy, transparent UI/UX, and dozens of supportive software integrations.“ You can connect Rebilla to your existing merchant account, and use the software on a range of point-of-sale systems.

How to choose the best recurring billing platform for you

With all of these choices, it might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, Swipesum is here to help. Our consultants can work with you to make sure that you get the right recurring billing solution at the best price.

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