It’s easy to see why: automatic subscription costs are simple and handy for customers, as well as predictable and sustainable for businesses. Whilst recurring billing appeals to many people, it is not without problems. Several considerations must be considered when billing in this manner, and employing an appropriate pricing plan becomes critical to success. This article covers the fundamentals of recurring billing, such as how to manage subscriptions, how to use a billing solution, and how to save time and recover more income.

What is Recurring Billing?

When a merchant charges a consumer for goods or services on a predetermined schedule, this is known as recurring billing. It necessitates obtaining the customer’s information. The vendor will then make recurring charges to the customer’s account without prior authorization.

Any product or service to which a consumer subscribes with regular payments may be a strong candidate for recurring billing. Cable bills, cell phone bills, gym membership fees, utility bills, and magazine subscriptions are all examples. Automatic bill payment and recurring billing are two different terms.

How Does Recurring Billing Work?

Recurring billing can help both businesses and consumers by allowing consumers to pay for goods and services on a predetermined schedule such as daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. A recurring billing agreement can be set up with a business immediately online, over the phone, or in person using a payment form.

To set up a recurring billing agreement, you’ll provide the company with your payment information, then choose a payment amount and, if available, a payment interval.
Depending on the service, the agreement may expire on a specified date or after a certain amount of payments, or it may last eternally as long as you are a customer. Once the agreement is in place, the company can handle the payment without requiring any additional information from you.

Another service that would benefit from recurring billing is a gym membership. You may enter your bank account information to cover your regular monthly subscription payment until the conclusion of your contract, if applicable, or until you discontinue your membership.

What are the Different Types of Recurring Billing?

There are two types of recurring billing:

  • Fixed, or regular billing
  • Variable, or irregular billing

#1. Fixed Billing

Every payment cycle, the consumer gets charged the same amount under fixed billing. Fixed recurring billing is best suited for firms that offer fixed-priced services. Subscriptions to newspapers and gym memberships are two common examples.

Fixed billing ensures consistent and consistent revenue for the company and provides opportunities for upselling.

#2. Variable Billing

In variable recurring billing, the amount collected from the consumer may vary from payment cycle to payment cycle. The customer’s product usage is tracked in order to generate a fresh, dynamic bill for each cycle.
Metered and quantity-based billing are two types of variable billing:

  • Metered Billing: Metered billing is a method of invoicing consumers on a recurring basis based on their service usage. It’s sometimes referred to as usage-based billing. Internet services and utility bills are two such examples. A subscription that employs metered billing often has a basic plan. The users are charged extra for any use that exceeds the coverage of the base plan.
  • Quantity-based Billing: Customers are invoiced based on the quantity agreed upon when they purchased in quantity-based billing. SaaS vendors, for example, sometimes charge consumers based on the number of licenses or seats acquired. Volume-based cloud storage services are another common example.

What Types of Organizations Benefit the Most From Recurring Billing?

Any business that provides recurring services can benefit from recurring billing.
Some common businesses that use recurring billing include:

  • Telecom companies that offer usage-based (metered) billing
  • Newspapers and magazines subscriptions
  • Gym Memberships to gyms
  • Saas applications like Google Apps, Slack, and Dropbox

Is Subscription Billing the Same as Recurring Billing?

Because they are so similar, the words subscription billing and recurring billing are used interchangeably. Both subscription and recurring billing entail an auto-pay system, the storage of payment information for the client, and the periodic withdrawal of credit from the customer’s account. Other payment methods, such as cash and check, are accepted in both subscription systems and recurring billing, in addition to auto-charging.

The pricing plans are the primary distinction between them. Subscription businesses can have numerous pricing plans, and clients can switch to a higher or lesser plan at any moment based on their company needs. However, in the case of recurring billing, distinct pricing tiers are unnecessary because the billing method remains the same regardless of the pricing plan.

It should be noted that recurring billing is appropriate for any form of business, not just subscription businesses, albeit it is most commonly used by subscription firms.

Benefits of Recurring Billing

  • Revenue that can be predicted: Your cash flow is more predictable with recurring billing. Recurring revenue helps to mitigate market volatility. It enables firms to scale by improving forecasts, resulting in more effective capital allocation and a higher ROI.
  • Revenue growth opportunities: It is an opportunity for SaaS organizations that employ tiered pricing plans to increase revenue by upselling and cross-selling existing customers to higher-value plans and add-ons.
  • Convenience and customization: Customers are more satisfied since they are not harassed for repeated payments. That saves businesses time and money (longer commitments result in discounts!) and gives them a more personalized consumer experience, such as custom-made subscription boxes.

What are the Challenges in Recurring Billing?

Despite its numerous benefits, organizations that use a recurring billing model may face significant difficulties.

  • Payment Failures: Payment failures in recurring billing might occur as a result of card expiration, insufficient funds, or inaccurate card info. Businesses that use recurring billing must have a plan in place to cope with payment failures of this nature. It is possible to recover failed payments by using effective subscription management solutions. Dunning management can assist by retrying the customer’s card after a set period of time. If it also fails, the business owners and customers can be notified of the payment issue so that they can work together to remedy it.
  • Payment Security: Payment security is critical in any organization, including recurring billing. It is a tremendous duty to protect consumers’ sensitive financial data against digital fraud. Subscription management technologies that apply strict PCI compliance can assist you in protecting sensitive data in accordance with industry norms. Fraud detection and prevention solutions can be linked with your recurring billing system to further limit the likelihood of fraudulent payment processing.
  • Managing payment mistakes: When a payment problem occurs, alerting customers can be time-consuming, especially if your client base is growing. This should be made easy for you if you use an effective recurring billing system. For example, before the next payment is made, the system can allow approved clients to alter their payment details via the self-service portal.

Should You Create Your Own System for Recurring Billing?

Whether you run a SaaS or subscription business or want to establish one, one of the most important and unpleasant issues you’ll face is pricing. Yet, if your pricing is reasonable and you deliver value, your customer base will grow.

If you don’t use a recurring billing platform to support your pricing strategy at this point, it’s like pouring jet fuel into a steam engine. “Complexity is like a leak in your roof,” explains Jason Fried. It begins tiny. Nonetheless, it causes significant harm over time. And once the harm has occurred, it is difficult to reverse. It’s best to avoid it in the first place.”

The billing requirements of expanding enterprises are continuously changing. Invoices can be generated automatically by an in-house system, but the bubble will eventually burst. Domestic billing systems are unable of handling the complexity of recurring billing for fast-growing organizations, which includes global expansion, pricing experiments, discounts, and add-ons.

How to Set Up a PayPal Recurring Payment

Merchants can bill their consumers on a regular basis for goods or services by using PayPal Recurring Payments. A PayPal Business account is required in order to set up PayPal Recurring Payments. PayPal provides thorough instructions on its website for setting up subscription plans and accepting PayPal, credit, and debit card payments on your website when you have a PayPal Business account.

How To Stop a Recurring Payment on PayPal

If you are a customer and wish to cancel a recurring payment, subscription, or automatic billing agreement with a merchant, the first thing you need to do is log in to your PayPal account. Choose “Settings” at the top of the page. Then, select “Payments.” Then, select “Manage pre-approved payments.” Lastly, click “Cancel” or “Cancel automatic billing” and proceed as directed. Additional information is available on PayPal’s website under the question, “How can I cancel a recurring payment, subscription, or automatic billing agreement I have with a merchant?”

Canceling a Credit Card Recurring Payment

Contacting the service provider directly is the best approach to stop recurring payments on a credit card. You should be able to contact them online, by phone, in person, or by mail, depending on the service. If you want to avoid making an additional payment, contact them at least three days before the next planned payment date.

Canceling a Debit Card Recurring Payment

You have a few choices for stopping automatic debits from your account. You can notify the firm directly, either in writing or by phone, that you are withdrawing your authorization for the company to take automatic payments from your bank account. After that, contact your bank or credit union and inform them that you have canceled authorization for the corporation to take automatic payments from your account.

Even if you have canceled your authorization with the company, you can go the extra mile by calling your banking institution and requesting a “stop payment order.” A stop payment order asks your bank to prevent the company from withdrawing funds from your account.

Yearly Billing Cycles vs. Monthly Billing Cycles

Client retention is critical to the profitability of any recurring revenue firm.
Consumers must believe that they are receiving value from the service over time. They will churn if they do not. They will renew if they do. On the surface, it appears simple, but managing churn is anything but—it’s a process that looks different for each organization and market.

But, there is one important feature that can assist reduce churn in practically any subscription-based business: prolonging subscription cycles. Yearly billing has been demonstrated to be more effective than monthly billing at minimizing churn.

Administratively, annual billing cycles eliminate the need for monthly invoice administration, freeing up time for more useful activities. Because the greater upfront payment requires a larger commitment from customers, it allows companies more time to demonstrate their worth before customers decide whether to renew or cancel. And this added value directly correlates to lower churn.

Recurring Billing Alternatives

There are additional ways if you do not wish to set up recurring billing directly with a firm.

#1. Online Bank Bill Payment

Many banks, as well as prepaid debit cards, provide automatic bill pay, allowing you to manage more of your bills in one location. Rather than signing up for recurring billing with a company, you can set up a recurring bill payment through your bank by entering the company, amount, and due date.

#2. Gift Card Prepaid

Many music and video streaming services provide gift cards that can be used to cover the cost of a subscription. When you load a gift card into your account, the company uses the card balance instead of billing your bank account or credit card.


Recurring billing is a system that allows a company to receive regular payments while only collecting card information from customers once. It is comparable to a subscription system in many aspects, although it does not always have the pricing tiers that a subscription system provides. Business owners benefit from recurring billing because it ensures regular cash flow and saves time and resources. To address issues such as payment failures and fraudulent payments, a suitable recurring billing system may be built with the help of the correct subscription management solutions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like