Best Recurring Payment Systems (Nov 2020)

Which Will You Choose?

Whether you're launching a subscription-based product or service, setting up customer payment plans, or conducting ongoing work for your clients, you'll want the best recurring payment system for your budget.

If you can relate, never fear, because you're in the right place. In this round-up, we're going to explore some of the best recurring payment systems on the market. Hopefully, by the end, you'll be better positioned to decide which (if any) of these platforms meet the billing needs of your online business.

As you can imagine, there's lots to cover, so without further ado, let's dive on in!

Square

square invoices accept recurring payments

There are two ways to manage your recurring billing process with Square:

  1. Recurring invoices with a card on file (CoF): This automates your recurring billing for fixed amounts over any given billing cycle, making it a good option for managing a subscription service.
  2. Stand-alone invoices with CoF payments: This enables you to invoice repeat customers for fluctuating dollar amounts…and fast.

Pricing 💰

  • Invoices are free to send
  • Processing automated payments via credit card is also free.
  • Taking debit or credit card payments cost 2.9% + 30¢ per invoice.
  • To securely store a card on file, you're charged 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.

The Pros 👍

  • Within minutes you can set up recurring online payments and schedule them to go out whenever you want.
  • Square automatically notifies subscribers when they have an outstanding invoice by email.
  • Square's processing rate is competitive.
  • All online customer payments are processed securely.
  • Invoices are printable
  • When customers authorize you to store their credit or debit card on file, automated billing kicks into play straight away.

The Cons 👎

  • Square isn't ideal for huge enterprises processing massive transactions.
  • Some users complain about account stability issues.
  • Square isn't suitable for high-risk industries.

Who's Square Recurring Payments Best For? ✅

Square is an ideal solution for startups and small to medium-sized businesses. From dog walkers and fitness studios to subscription-based products and consultancy services, Square Recurring Payments provides a convenient solution for managing your recurring billing and customer split payments.

For more info about Square, check out our more in-depth Square review.

MoonClerk

moonclerk recurring payments

MoonClerk is a recurring billing software that enables business owners to receive either one-off or recurring payments, subscriptions, or donations.

You can create payment forms for customers to fill out, where you have the option of either generating direct links to these forms or embedding them on your website. Rest assured, you can modify these forms to provide customers with an on-brand experience. For example, you can change the colors, themes, logos, and images.

As you go about creating your payment form, you can either set a fixed amount, a suggested amount, or leave it free for the customer to donate or pay what they wish. The choice is yours!

Pricing 💰

MoonClerk's pricing is based on your monthly transaction volumes and is as follows:

  • $0-$2000: $15 per month
  • $2000-$4000: $30 per month
  • $4000-$7500: $50 per month
  • $7500-$12500: $75 per month
  • $12500-$20000: $110 per month

The Pros 👍

  • Setting up with MoonClerk is incredibly quick – in theory, you could be up and running within minutes
  • MoonClerk hosts everything for your and handles security on your behalf
  • You can access MoonClerk on both mobile and desktop devices
  • You don't need technical know-how or coding smarts to use this software to the fullest
  • A merchant account isn't required.

The Cons 👎

  • There's a lack of payment options. It only connects with Stripe – you can't use MoonClerk alongside any other payment solution.
  • Following on from the above point, MoonClerk's only available in the countries that can access Stripe.
  • If you’re running a non-profit and you want to enable donors to choose the amount they give each month, there's no option for that. I.e., you can't allow donors to specify how much they give regularly.

Who's MoonClerk Best For? ✅

MoonClerk is ideal for anyone looking for an intuitive solution. You don't need to code anything, which is one reason MoonClerk works for big and small businesses alike. Within minutes you can start using this software and receiving payments. Also, if you're a tiny business or just got up and running, and you don't have a website yet, MoonClerk is an excellent option because it hosts everything for you.

If customization is important to you, again, MoonClerk's a fantastic choice. It doesn't matter whether you're setting up recurring payments or one-offs; you can customize them all, including their:

  • Start dates
  • Billing frequency
  • Trial periods
  • Checkouts

Handy, right?

To find out more about Moonclerk, check out our full review!

Braintree Recurring Billing

braintree recurring billing

Founded back in 2007, Braintree Recurring Billing was launched with a mission to provide unparalleled customer service. Fast forward to 2013, and PayPal bought out the company for a whopping $800 million. Since then, Braintree processes over a billion transactions per quarter and is used by the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Casper, Marketplacer, impressive, huh?

Braintree provides dedicated merchant accounts, and if you're a PayPal user, you'll soon familiarize yourself with its user interface because it's incredibly similar to PayPal's. You'll also be pleased to hear that Braintree accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Android Play, Apple Play, ACH, Union Pay, and Bitcoin.

Pricing 💰

Generally speaking, Braintree charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

The Pros 👍

  • Braintree's flat-rate pricing makes your expenses predictable.
  • It's easy to keep an eye on critical metrics, and its reporting tools are excellent.
  • There are tons of add-ons available.
  • Braintree doesn't charge fees for your first $1,000,000!
  • There are loads of multicurrency options available, making it fabulous for international businesses.
  • You're not locked into lengthy contracts. In fact, you can leave Braintree whenever you want and take all your data with you…without paying a dime!

The Cons 👎

  • Braintree doesn't work with high-risk industries.
  • Braintree doesn't support custom SQL queries.
  • Some users complain that it takes a while to get your account up and running.
  • Some Braintree customers report having their accounts closed and funds withheld without any warning.

Who's Braintree Recurring Billing Best For? ✅

Braintree is an excellent choice for near-on any type of business (especially enterprises). However, it's not as simple to use as PayPal’s plug and play approach. But, having said that, you can't fault the freedom and flexibility that comes with its customization features. So, if customization is essential to you, Braintree could well be the solution for you.

It's also a fabulous choice for international businesses. Braintree supports 130 currencies across 45 merchant locations, including the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia – so there's a good chance the currencies and countries you do business with are amongst the list!

To find out more check out our Braintree review.

Chargebee

chargebee recurring payments

Chargebee is explicitly designed for subscription-based businesses. It provides everything you need to capture and capitalize on money-making opportunities with its recurring billing system, subscription billing software, and robust revenue analytics.

Pricing 💰

Chargebee offers customers three paid-for plans to choose from (costs below are based on annual billing):

  1. Rise: $249 a month
  2. Scale: $549 a month (allegedly Chargebee's most popular program!)
  3. Enterprise: As its name so aptly suggests, this package is best suited for organizations boasting “sophisticated revenue operations and advanced compliance requirements.” If that sounds like you, contact Chargebee directly for a customized quote.

As you've probably already guessed, the more expensive the pricing tier, the more Chargebee features you unlock.

The Pros 👍

  • Chargebee's dunning automation is excellent – if a customer fails to make a payment, Chargebee will intelligently retry to collect the funds at a future date.
  • Chargebee's customer service is reportedly first-rate.
  • Chargebee is very easy to use – it requires little (if any) training to get you (and your team) up and running.
  • Chargebee lays a great foundation for helping you to prompt customers to update their expired cards. Chargebee provides an easy-to-use email template that you can modify. This provides recipients with quick access to their personal login. The bulk of the copy is written for you, just personalize it, and hit send!

The Cons 👎

  • Some users complain that Chargebee's user interface isn't mobile-optimized
  • One customer said they'd like to directly customize their invoices to ensure the terms of their invoicing reflect their client and vendor contracts.
  • As expected, some consumers grumble about Chargebee's costs, which isn't surprising as they're one of the more expensive options on our best recurring payment systems round-up.

Who's Chargebee Best For? ✅

Generally speaking, Chargebee's best for mid-market and enterprise-level businesses or non-profits selling either SaaS, PaaS, e-commerce subscriptions, or service subscriptions.

Check out our comprehensive Chargebee review for more info.

Recurly

recurly recurring payments

Recurly prides itself on its enterprise-class subscription management platform. They provide business owners an infrastructure for simplifying subscription management – to optimize and automate their subscription-based company to encourage growth.

Pricing 💰

Recurly offers three pricing plans to choose from:

  1. Core: $149 a month, plus 0.9% of your revenue
  2. Professional: This plan is best suited to companies generating up to $10 million in annual subscription billing. However, you'll have to contact Recurly's sales team to receive a customized quote.
  3. Elite: This package is designed to help merchants handling over $10 million in annual subscription billing. Like the Pro plan, you'll also have to contact Recurly's sales team directly to receive a tailored quote.

The Pros 👍

  • Recurly is hassle-free to set up and use – most notably, it's incredibly simple to track all your subscriptions and your bottom line.
  • Recurly provides used with “automated and scalable billing workflows.”
  • It's straightforward for customers to update their billing information and review invoices.
  • Recurly's customer service is second-to-none. Users report that their customer support agents are always able to answer their questions “quickly and thoroughly.”
  • If you boast the coding know-how, you can access Recurly's API and mold the billing solution to meet your specific needs.
  • Recurly is an incredibly versatile software. For instance, you can set up customized discounts, create subscription plans, edit renewal dates, handle manual payment processing, send invoices, set up alerts, customize invoices, provide credit, the list goes on…With so many features to hand, you'll enhance your customer experience in next-to-no time!

The Cons 👎

  • One user complained that Recurly gets confusing when there are lots of logs and movements to keep track of.
  • Apparently, you can't refund transactions older than six months.
  • Recurly's permissions system could be more granular; some customers say they'd like to restrict their team members a bit more as to what they can access.

Who's Recurly Best For? ✅

Recurly is best for US merchants running colossal-sized businesses and, as such, need enterprise-class billing management software. At the time of writing, Recurly doesn't come with a Salesforce integration. If this is your preferred CRM, you'll have to write the code yourself to connect the two platforms (or hire someone to do it for you) or look elsewhere for a solution that comes with a native Salesforce integration.

Read our Recurly review for more info.

Chargify

chargify recurring payments

Chargify is used all around the world for its recurring billing and subscription management tools. This software enables subscription-based businesses to design, optimize, and modify their offers so that, over time, they generate the highest possible income.

Headquartered in San Antonio, to date, Chargify fuels thousands of businesses, and as such, has lent a helping hand managing millions of offers that create billions in annual revenue.

Pricing 💰

Like some of the other platforms in this best recurring payment system review, Chargify also offers three paid-for plans to choose from:

  1. Scaling: $299 a month (This includes 50k per month of revenue and 1% of revenue on overages)
  2. Success: $499 a month (This includes 50k per month of revenue and 0.9% of revenue on overages)
  3. Specialized: If you require something slightly more sophisticated, contact Chargify for a customized quote to see what they can do specifically for your business.

The Pros 👍

  • Chargify is easy to use and integrate with your website – it's payment tracking and reporting functionality is exceptionally intuitive.
  • You get access to real-time analytics and insights into your business. In fact, Chargify's dashboard provides an instant overview of what's happening throughout the day.
  • Chargify assigns customers ‘ID client numbers.' These come in handy if you ever have to locate a specific transaction.
  • Chargify's PCI-compliant

The Cons 👎

  • One customer complained that Chargify's sandbox and bulk tools are tricky to use…and in some cases non-existent.
  • Some users complain that Chargify isn't great for high-value SaaS subscriptions – namely because it takes a percentage of your revenue. As such, some users are calling for a cap on the amount Chargify takes per transaction.
  • One customer said they'd like to see easier controls with Chargify's reporting tools to make it simpler to “slice the data how I wish.”

Who's Chargify Best For? ✅

Chargify is an excellent choice for fast-growing B2B SaaS businesses, who aren't selling massively high-ticket items.

PayPal Recurring Payments

Paying for goods and services online with PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods for shoppers across North America and Western Europe. It's been that way for decades, so it's no surprise that when PayPal brought out their recurring payments system that it made it onto our best recurring payment system round-up. In fact, PayPal boasts an impressive 137 million active accounts from users in 193 countries.

Pricing 💰

With PayPal Recurring Payments, you're not charged a monthly fee or a setup charge. Instead, you pay a standard transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per US transaction.

The Pros 👍

  • It's easy to set up
  • PayPal is widely recognized and used by consumers worldwide, and as such, it instills confidence. In fact, PayPal’s brand recognition is a whopping 72% compared to other leading payment gateways, which only garnered 50%.
  • Merchants are only charged when they sell.
  • You don't need a merchant account to start using PayPal Recurring Payments.
  • You can accept payments across 24 currencies.
  • Keeping track of your transactions is a breeze. With just a click, you can view all your incomings and outgoings and download your transaction history.

The Cons 👎

  • Since September 2011, PayPal merchants have had to abide by strict rules to help PayPal combat fraudulent activity. So, if you experience a surge in your average transaction value PayPal has a nasty habit of freezing your money, and in some cases closing your account, with little (if any) explanation. What's more, there isn't an avenue available for sellers to appeal the decision!
  • PayPal's customer service is notoriously poor.
  • Although setting up an account is relatively simple, sometimes verifying your account can be challenging. In some cases, you have to provide your credit card details, bank account details, and give copies of your utility bills and government-issued ID.
  • PayPal's chargeback protection is pretty lousy.

Who's PayPal Recurring Payments Best For? ✅

PayPal Recurring Payments is best for PayPal merchants who already know, love, and trust the platform and want to provide international customers with a familiar brand name when charging for their subscription-based services.

Are You Ready to Start Using the Best Recurring Payment System for Your Subscription Business?

Having read our best recurring payment systems round-up, we hope you have a better idea of which billing software is best for your business.

Put simply, although some of the billing management systems listed above are undoubtedly better than others, you can't go too far wrong with any of them – they're all pretty reliable choices.

At the end of the day, the best option for you will come down to your budget, the size of your organization, the kinds of products/services you're selling (and their price points), your business model, and how much annual revenue you're generating. So, be sure to bear all these factors in mind before making your final purchasing decision.

Which billing platform do you think is the best recurring payment system? Let us know in the comment box below; we'd love to hear from you!

Featured image credits: DepositPhotos

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to e-commerce platforms, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, G2, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.