What Are the Benefits of Recurring Billing Software?

If you have a subscription type service or product, automating recurring billing is an absolute must. There is no sense spending time each month re-billing customers the same amount. The amount of time you can save by automating billing is tremendous. In addition to time-savings, the insight into historical and projected revenues that comes with recurring billing software will help keep tabs on your business growth and revenue forecast at all times.

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How to Choose the Best Recurring Billing Software for Your Business?

There are many recurring billing systems available that will automate your billing and more. But, given the wide variety of choices, it can be tough to figure out which system will work best for your business. Here are 10 tips to consider as you take the journey of automating recurring billing:

  1. What Payment Types Do You Want to Accept ? Do you want to accept credit card payments? If so, which types? Do you also want to accept ACH payments? Do you want to accept any alternate payment methods such as PayPal? It’s important to find recurring billing software that supports all of the payment types you want to accept.
  2. Do You Need a Merchant Account? If credit card and ACH payment acceptance is important, then you will need a merchant account. When looking at recurring services, it’s best to find one that has an integrated merchant account so you don’t have to make separate purchases for your merchant account and for your recurring billing system. When purchased separately, you need to integrate the merchant account with your billing system which can be cumbersome and also leaves you with multiple providers to have to call when troubleshooting any issues.
  3. Do You Have Payment Acceptance Needs Beyond Recurring Billing? While automating recurring billing is your primary goal, think through if your business ever needs to process a one-off payment or send an invoice. Many businesses have multiple ways they collect online payments from customers. Look for a recurring billing system that covers as many of your payment collection needs as possible, such as including a virtual terminal and e-mail invoicing. It can really make your life a breeze when all of your receivables in one integrated billing solution.
  4. How Much Technical Expertise Are You Able to Dedicate for Online Recurring Payment Acceptance on Your Website? Many businesses that have subscription type services frequently utilize website sign-up and online payment collection for fully automating recurring billing. If you want complete control over the online payment experience and have robust technical resources, finding a recurring billing system with a great API will work perfectly. If you are lacking in technical expertise or bandwidth, look for a solution that offers customizable hosted online payment forms that will facilitate subscription sign-up and online payment processing.
  5. How Much Flexibility Do You Need in Recurring Payment Collection Options? Do you have setup fees or other custom payments that you charge? If so, be sure your recurring billing system makes it easy to charge these add-on items with extra manual work.
  6. How Much of the Payments Process Do You Want to Automate? Do you want a system that will automatically e-mail your company and your customers payment receipts, failed payment notifications and even pre-notifications of upcoming payments? Having great payment communications is key for maintaining great customer relationships.
  7. What Are Your Reporting Needs? Do you want a system that proactively helps notify you of issues to keep your auto recurring billing running smoothly? For example, staying on top of credit cards that will expire before the next recurring payment is due and being notified immediately of any recurring payments that fail will keep your billing running smoothly.
  8. What Are Your Data Sharing Needs? Do you have other systems that you’ll need to integrate with your billing software? If so, that robust API will come in handy. Or if you have more simplistic data sharing needs such as importing customers and exporting payments, a solution with simple import/export options will suffice.
  9. What Type of Editing Capabilities Will You Need Over Your Recurring Schedules? Will you ever need to suspend the schedules until a certain date? Will you ever need to modify the billing frequency or the date your customer is charged? Will you need to change the subscription amount or update any customer information? Many systems have tight restrictions around editing capabilities which can cause lots of extra data entry. If you anticipate needing editing capabilities, be sure to find a solution that is flexible.
  10. How Much Upfront Configuration and Investment is Right for You? Some automated billing solutions require weeks of setup to get going while other systems are cloud-based and can literally have you up and accepting online payment in a matter of minutes. Much of this is based on your sophistication needs in terms of workflow customization and system integration, but the SaaS solutions are getting quite robust these days and are certainly worth a look.

When you go through selecting the solution for automating recurring billing – beyond the functionality check list – support is another item to consider. ?If it’s important for you to have a live person on the other end of the phone line when troubleshooting issues, be sure that option is available an included.

The benefits of automated recurring billing will be tremendous for your business, so we recommend you start shopping for the best solution today.