Best Recurring Billing Software for Every Use
As the popularity of SaaS products, subscriptions boxes, and productized services continues to rise, recurring billing services gain traction as well. This shift allows companies to maintain a steady cash flow, while providing customers with a simpler and more convenient payment experience.
In this article, I’ll list the best recurring billing software to use in 2023 and beyond. Whether you’re a solopreneur or managing a quickly growing start-up, you’re sure to find a client billing software that will help you streamline your business.
What is a recurring billing software?
A recurring billing software is a platform that allows businesses to automate recurring invoices. Instead of sending them every month, quarter or year manually, the platform creates a subscription that automatically generates a recurring payment, and usually charges the default payment method. SaaS products, such as Service Provider Pro, offer a range of billing, invoicing, and accounting.
However, it’s important to remember that not all software automates recurring billing even if they provide billing, invoicing, and accounting solutions. Sometimes, they are only compatible with one-time invoicing.
There’s also a recurring billing service which oftentimes refers to payment processors such as Stripe and PayPal. They facilitate the recurring billing via their tool, and can be integrated into subscription billing software.
What are the advantages of recurring billing software?
If you’re not sure yet about getting a subscription management software, you should know that there are several key benefits of using a tool that provides recurring billing features, including:
Automating the billing process can save businesses time and money: When every bill and invoice needs to be created and sent out manually, it can take a lot of time and effort. Automating this process with a recurring billing service can free up staff to focus on other tasks. Plus, you can finally stop chasing clients for payment.
Recurring billing can help businesses predict and manage their cash flow more effectively: By knowing how much revenue will be coming in on a regular basis, businesses can better plan for expenditure and growth.
Customers appreciate the convenience of recurring billing: They don’t have to worry about remembering to make a payment each month, or keeping track of multiple due dates. This can help businesses reduce customer churn and increase customer satisfaction levels.
Recurring billing can help businesses to build deeper relationships with their customers: By analyzing their customer’s spending patterns and payment history, businesses can better understand how to position their offerings and provide targeted offers and discounts that will keep them coming back.
What are the disadvantages of recurring billing?
There are also some potential drawbacks to using software that provides recurring billing, which include:
Set-up costs and steep learning curves can discourage businesses: Recurring billing services can be complex to set up and use, particularly for businesses that are not used to dealing with customer payments on a regular basis. There may also be significant set-up costs involved in getting the system up and running.
Clumsy recurring billing solutions may affect customer churn: If customers find the recurring billing process to be inconvenient or confusing, they may cancel their subscription. This could lead to increased customer churn rates.
Recurring billing without regular reminders can lead to bill shock: If customers are not kept informed of their upcoming payments, they may be surprised by a large bill that arrives unexpectedly. This could lead to both churn and customer dissatisfaction.
It’s easy to issue incorrect bills: When billing is automatic, it’s much easier to issue bills for goods and services that the customer no longer wants. When this happens, you may need to devote more resources to issuing refunds.
What kinds of businesses should think about recurring billing?
Recurring billing is usually best suited to service-oriented businesses—especially businesses that offer productized services.
For those unaware of that term, a productized service is any service that is marketed and sold like a product. This usually works by offering the service in various plans, packages, or tiers with distinct parameters that differentiate them.
For example, a content marketing agency might market a Basic Plan that includes four articles per month and a Pro Plan that includes eight. As you can probably see, this business model (and that of many other productized service businesses) lends itself well to recurring billing—whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Client billing is usually fully automated, and handled either by the payment processor, or in case of SPP, the client portal software.
However, that’s not to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule. Dollar Shave Club is a great example of a direct-to-consumer (D2C) company that has used recurring billing (and cheap razor blades) to carve out 54% of the online shaving market.
How to choose the best recurring billing software in 2023
When choosing a software that supports recurring billing for your small business, there are several key factors to consider.
Make sure the service you choose can handle all the types of payments you need to process (e.g., credit cards, ACH payments, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, the more options you give your customers and clients, the better.
Take a look at the features offered by each service and make sure they align with your business needs. Some billing services don’t offer a recurring feature at all, while others (e.g., SPP) offer a recurring billing features along with tons of others, including:
The tool you pick should be one that provides all the features you need. If it provides extra features, even better.
Make sure to compare the pricing of each service to find the most affordable option for your business. Typically, subscription-based services will offer different pricing tiers based on the number of users or transactions you need to process.
Customer support is incredibly important, especially when you’re relying on a service to make sure you get paid in full and on time. Each service should offer some form of customer support, whether it’s phone support, email support, live chat, or an online knowledge base.
Take a look at online reviews of each service to get an idea of what other businesses think about them. This can be a good way to narrow down your options and find the best recurring billing service for your business.
Grow your industry knowledge
If you’re looking for reliable review sites, we recommend checking out G2. You’ll be able to find thoughtful reviews for almost any recurring billing service you can think of there, so you can start forming a more full picture of what you’ll be getting for your money.
What are the best recurring billing management tools?
The best app depends on the needs of your business. Some businesses may require a simple and straightforward solution, while others may need a more complex system that offers a range of features and integrations.
Some of the best on the market include the following.
Service Provider Pro (SPP): best for agencies
SPP is an all-in-one client payment tracker and client management platform designed to streamline the operations of productized agencies. With SPP, businesses can automate a significant amount of their billing process and improve customer retention rates.
Service Provider Pro allows businesses to build checkout forms via it’s intuitive drag-and-drop white-label form builder. Besides the native elements, you can spice up the forms using the HTML field, which is compatible with Boostrap components.
The platform also offers automatic recurring billing, so you can effortlessly charge your customers according to whatever billing frequency you decide without having to manually process each transaction. SPP integrates with a number of popular payment processors, including Stripe and PayPal, so payments can be made directly to your accounts.
Multiple billing options: Customize billing based on service offerings, packages, extras, and discounts. Supports one-time, variable, recurring, and bulk billing.
Custom checkout domains: Choose a custom, easy-to-remember domain for your checkout process and maintain your brand’s professional appearance.
Automatic invoicing: Automatically generate invoices for easy accounting. Send invoices directly to customers from the SPP platform.
PCI compliant payments: SPP integrates with popular payment processors like Stripe and PayPal, so customers can pay directly from your website or invoice.
Drag and drop forms: Build beautiful, responsive checkout forms without any coding using SPP’s intuitive drag-and-drop system.
Automatic customer profiles: SPP automatically generates customer profiles, so you can keep track of all your interactions in one place.
SPP offers three service tiers to support businesses of all sizes:
Basic ($129/mo): 5 team members
Pro ($299/mo): 10 team members
Enterprise (Custom): 50+ team members
Zoho Subscriptions: best for SMBs
Zoho Subscriptions is an affordable recurring billing solution designed for small to medium-sized businesses. With Zoho Subscriptions, businesses can automate their subscription management process and significantly reduce customer churn thanks to easy payment options.
Zoho Subscriptions offers a number of features to streamline your recurring billing process, including automatic invoicing, subscription management, and payments. The platform also offers a self-service portal for your customers, so they can manage their own subscriptions and update their payment information as needed.
Automatic invoicing: Automatically generate invoices and send them to customers.
Subscription management: Keep track of your subscription plans, customers, and payments in one place.
Payments: Zoho Subscriptions integrates with popular payment processors like Stripe, so customers can pay directly from your invoices.
Self-service portal: Give your customers the ability to manage their own subscriptions and update their payment information.
Integrations: Zoho Subscriptions integrates well with many of Zoho’s other products, including Zoho Books, Zoho Desk, and Zoho SalesIQ.
Free: Up to 20 customers
Basic ($49/mo): Up to 500 customers
Standard ($99/mo): Up to 2,000 customers
Professional ($249/mo): Up to 5,000 customers
Recurly: best for large businesses
Recurly is an enterprise-level recurring billing solution designed to handle the unique needs of large businesses. A quick look at their website reveals that they manage subscriptions for Twitch, Paramount+, and Time—three companies with subscription-based revenue models which net them well over $1 billion in annual revenue.
Recurly is designed to make it easy for large companies to process payments from subscribers and customers from around the world. The platform offers a number of features to support this, including integrations with 22 payment gateways and enabling over 140 currencies. Recurly also makes sure to provide the level of white label customization that large companies are looking for, but only on their most expensive plans.
Automated workflows: Recurly can automatically handle common tasks related to your subscription process, like issuing refunds, exporting data, and updating customer information.
Fraud protection: Recurly uses machine learning to detect and prevent fraud, so you can be sure your payments are safe.
Dedicated support: Recurly’s Profession and Elite plans give companies access to a dedicated technical support manager, customer success manager, and account manager.
Integrations: With Recurly, you get integration with Mailchimp, Zendesk, Xero, NetSuite, Quickbooks, and more… if you’re willing to pay a little extra.
Usage-based billing: Recurly allows businesses to charge clients and customers based on app or service usage.
Recurly offers three service tiers:
Core ($199/mo): Up to $1 million in annual subscription revenue
Professional (Custom): Up to $25 million in annual subscription revenue
Elite (Custom): Over $25 million in annual subscription revenue
FreshBooks: best for accounting features
First and foremost, FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting service—recurring billing is just one of the many features it offers.
You can use FreshBooks to create both estimates and bids for prospects with the option to sign contracts electronically. The accounting system itself is comprehensive, allowing you to record discounts and establish static or variable payment schedules.
In addition, FreshBooks makes it easy to send reminders to clients, and can even apply late fees when payments are missed. The platform also offers an automatic payment option, so clients can set up their subscription and never have to worry about making a manual payment again.
Accounting: FreshBooks is primarily an accounting service, so it’s no surprise that it excels in this area. The platform makes it easy to track payments, invoices, expenses, and tax obligations.
Contract management: FreshBooks allows you to create and sign contracts electronically, making the whole process easier and faster.
Payment processing: FreshBooks integrates with popular payment processors like PayPal and Stripe, so you can accept payments directly from your invoices.
Lite ($15/mo): 5 billable clients
Plus ($25/mo): 50 billable clients
Premium ($50/mo): Unlimited billable clients
Select (Custom): Unlimited billable clients plus specialized features
Chargebee: best billing software for free
If you’re in the early stages of getting your business off the ground, choosing a recurring billing solution with a generous free plan is a great way to keep expenses low. Chargebee fits this bill perfectly, as they offer a free plan that allows businesses to process up to $100k in annual subscription revenue.
That said, it’s worth noting that it only includes basic features like recurring billing, invoicing, and secure checkout options. If you need more comprehensive features, like customer management, customer portals, or integrations, you’ll need to upgrade to one of their paid plans.
Generous free tier: Offers a free tier with robust recurring billing features and a generous revenue allowance.
Flexible pricing: Offers a variety of pricing plans to suit businesses of different sizes and needs.
Capable feature set: Includes all the basics like recurring billing, invoicing, and secure checkout options, as well as more advanced features like customer management, customer portals, and integrations.
Launch (Free): Up to $100k in annual revenue
Rise ($249/mo): Up to $600k in annual revenue
Scale ($549/mo): Up to $1.2M in annual revenue
Enterprise (Custom): Over $1.2M in annual revenue
Verifone: best for e-commerce
Verifone (formerly known as 2Checkout) is a recurring billing solution that offers a number of features that simplify recurring billing for ecommerce businesses. With Verifone, businesses can automate their invoicing and payments, as well as manage customer information and subscription plans.
What sets Verifone apart are its advanced features designed to combat voluntary churn. Businesses can add auto-renewal discounts to encourage customers to commit to longer subscription terms, as well as cancellation prevention discounts to keep them engaged.
In addition, customers also have the option to pause their subscriptions rather than canceling them outright.
Anti-churn features: Verifone offers a number of features designed to keep customers engaged and committed to your business, including auto-renewal discounts, cancellation prevention discounts, and the option to pause subscriptions.
Ease of use: Verifone is designed to be easy to use, with an intuitive interface and features that make recurring billing simple.
Customer management: With Verifone, businesses can manage customer information and subscription plans in one place.
Integrations: Verifone integrates with a number of popular ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Magento.
2Sell (3.5% + $0.35/sale)
2Subscribe (4.5% + $0.45/sale)
2Monetize (6.0% + $0.60/sale)
The bottom line
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the best recurring billing service for your business. Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and preferences. However, by taking the time to compare different services and considering the factors mentioned above, you should be able to find a billing service that’s right for you.
At SPP, we understand that the subscription billing process can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why we offer a comprehensive solution that simplifies the entire process for you.