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What is recurring billing software ?

Recurring billing software is invoicing and payment software specifically designed to collect on a subscription basis. It's one of those ubiquitous pieces of tech that pretty much everyone uses without giving it much thought at all. Recurring billing software is specifically designed to prevent late payments, automate bills and take the stress out of the process.

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What 3 key Recurring Billing Software features should I look for?

Dunning management

Dunning management is a feature specific to recurring billing software that helps users deal with failed payments, i.e., bounced checks or declined credit cards. Whatever the reason for the payment failure, dunning systems can help address the issue in two ways: charge retries and customer communication. Software should be able to automatically retry processing a payment a few days after the initial decline. Some systems are already programmed with a retry schedule, and others allow managers to determine when and how often the system should retry payments. It's always important to keep the customer in the loop, but this is especially true when payments don't go through. Most billing systems will be able to send automated, form-based emails to notify customers of payment failures, retry schedules, next steps etc.

Invoicing

This one may seem obvious for a billing system, but it's worth noting the specific features of recurring payment invoicing that you should be on the lookout for. The key here is clarity—for you and for your customers. Recurring billing invoices should be able to display every type of charge, including upcoming or missed payments, accrued interest fees, taxes etc. You should also be able to view past invoices for the entire customer relationship history just in case any discrepancies occur. Additionally, invoicing functionality should be capable of automating the creation, scheduling and sending of invoices as well as enabling customers to complete payments through an electronic portal.

Trial management

Trial subscriptions certainly aren't a required feature, but they can help build your brand and name recognition by making your customers more inclined to test out the system and increasing the number of regular subscribers overall. If you decide to offer free trials, you'll want to make sure your billing software can handle tracking these users and either rolling them into regularly paying customers or end their access once the trial period ends. Trial management features should also include follow-up emails to keep customers informed about when their trial ends and what options they have for continuing the service.

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Showing 1 - 20 of 93 products
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Showing 1 - 20 of 93 products

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based financial management and accounting software. Sage Intacct's software solution is suitable for small to midsize accounting firms and can provide financial reporting and operational insight...Read more

4.16 (308 reviews)

20 recommendations

BQE Core Suite

BQE Core makes it easier and more profitable to run your business. It organizes information, automates repetitive tasks and allows your firm to spend more time providing service to your clients instead of managing internal process...Read more

4.40 (476 reviews)

13 recommendations

FreshBooks

FreshBooks takes billing out of your hands and puts it on autopilot. Set up automated invoicing, online payment options (ACH and Credit Card), and late payment reminders to get paid 2x faster. Next, boost team productivity with pr...Read more

4.47 (3539 reviews)

9 recommendations

QuickBooks Online Advanced

QuickBooks Online Advanced is a cloud-based accounting solution that helps small to large enterprises manage expenses, projects, invoices and more. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to gain insights into b...Read more

4.38 (639 reviews)

7 recommendations

Chargezoom

Build, scale, or pivot your business anytime by putting your accounting system to work for you. Whether you’re using QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks, or your own homegrown system Chargezoom allows you to unlock the power...Read more

5.00 (5 reviews)

4 recommendations

Ordway Platform

Ordway is a smart billing and revenue automation platform for scaling businesses that simplifies how companies price products, send invoices, collect payments, and recognize revenue. The cloud-based platform removes manual workaro...Read more

5.00 (10 reviews)

2 recommendations

Recurly

Developed to help companies streamline billing functions, Recurly is a cloud-based system providing billing and invoicing capabilities. Recurly integrates with several payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe, SagePay and more. ...Read more

4.53 (49 reviews)

1 recommendations

PayPal

PayPal is a digital payment platform that enables businesses and individuals to pay and accept payments through an online portal without revealing any financial details. The solution is suitable for businesses of all sizes. P...Read more

Quickbooks Online

QuickBooks Online enables users to download and reconcile credit card transactions that allows businesses to organize weekly timesheets and track bank deposits. What is Quickbooks Online? Quickbooks Online i...Read more

Housecall Pro

Housecall Pro is a cloud-based field service management app for service professionals to automate workflows and streamline technician dispatch. This solution includes a native mobile app and complementary web portal and serves a w...Read more

Software pricing tips

Read our Recurring Billing Software Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

Xero

Xero is an accounting system designed for small and growing businesses. Xero connects small businesses with their trusted advisors and provides business owners with instant visibility of their financial position. As a web-based so...Read more

Square Point of Sale

Square Point of Sale is a mobile POS system available for iOS and Android devices. Key capabilities of the Square POS system include online payment processing, sales reports, inventory tracking, digital receipts, email and SMS mar...Read more

QuickBooks Desktop Pro

QuickBooks Pro helps to automate the billing and invoicing process and work order management from a single reconciliation window. With 'Bank Account Reconciliation' feature, users can link their bank accounts and define workflows ...Read more

Wave Accounting

Online accounting software that provides features including invoicing, billing, payment tracking, payroll management, finance management, credit card processing, and receipt scanning. Wave Accounting is designed to help businesses...Read more

Odoo

Odoo Point of Sale (POS) is part of Odoo’s integrated suite of business applications. The module is available both on and offline and provides unified data across stores and has an integrated inventory management function. Od...Read more

HoneyBook

HoneyBook is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for small businesses. The solution helps users manage business processes from inquiry through to invoicing. HoneyBook lets users manage projects, ...Read more

Bill.com

Bill.com is a cloud-based accounting solution specializing in billing and invoicing. With Bill.com, users can receive payments from clients, pay vendors and contractors and handle financial reporting. Bill.com includes an acc...Read more

Avaza

Avaza is a business management solution which includes features for project management, resource scheduling, online timesheets, expense management, online invoicing, recurring invoicing, quotes and invoices and more. Avaza also in...Read more

SuiteDash

SuiteDash is a business management solution that helps organizations streamline operations related to workflow optimization, subscription management, feedback collection, file storage and more on a centralized platform. The projec...Read more

Fiverr Workspace

Fiverr Workspace (formerly AND.CO) is a cloud-based contract management suite designed to help small businesses create contracts and proposals, process online payments and track business expenses. The application partners with Fre...Read more

Popular Recurring Billing Software Comparisons

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: December 01, 2021

Managing recurring expenses is no easy feat.

You've got to deal with car insurance, housing costs, credit card bills, grocery shopping and on and on and on. There are a lot of things to remember, and missing payments on any one of these important expenses can result in very serious consequences.

Fortunately, there's recurring billing software specifically designed to prevent late payments, automate bills and take the stress out of the process.

Even more fortunately for businesses, the same accounting software can have a major impact on normalizing monthly income, managing customer subscriptions and keeping track of payments from a high volume of customers.

Because of the many benefits for businesses and customers, choosing the right billing software is essential. These systems are offered in a variety of configurations and platforms and at a number of different price points, which makes researching your options crucial to the selection process.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Recurring Billing Software?
Common Functionality of Recurring Billing Software
How Is Recurring Billing Software Priced?
Benefits of Recurring Billing Software

What Is Recurring Billing Software?

Simply put, recurring billing software is invoicing and payment software specifically designed to collect on a subscription basis. It's one of those ubiquitous pieces of tech that pretty much everyone uses without giving it much thought at all.

For example, anyone who holds a gym membership has probably been entered into a recurring billing system that holds their payment information, sends regular reminders of upcoming payment due dates and automates calculations for things such as state taxes and discounts.

Recurring billing dashboard from Zoho Subscriptions

Recurring billing dashboard from Zoho Subscriptions

There are plenty of benefits afforded to customers with recurring billing options, but it's hard to overstate the value this software offers to businesses—the number one advantage being that more and more consumers are shifting their preferences toward subscription-based services over pay-per-product models.

Consider Amazon Prime. The supply chain goliath's subscription-based service that provides users with access to faster shipping, streaming music and video and discounted products is now estimated to have about 80 million members in the United States.

The lesson here is that customers are willing to pay regular and repeated fees in exchange for goods or services they deem worth it, and, for the most part, any business can find ways to capitalize on the booming subscription economy.

Common Functionality of Recurring Billing Software

Before searching for a recurring billing software that best fits your business needs, you'll want to have an idea of what features are available to you, which ones would be nice to have and which ones are mandatory for your business model.

Here are some of the common functions found in most recurring billing products.

Dunning management Dunning management is a feature specific to recurring billing software that helps users deal with failed payments, i.e., bounced checks or declined credit cards. Whatever the reason for the payment failure, dunning systems can help address the issue in two ways: charge retries and customer communication.

Software should be able to automatically retry processing a payment a few days after the initial decline. Some systems are already programmed with a retry schedule, and others allow managers to determine when and how often the system should retry payments.

It's always important to keep the customer in the loop, but this is especially true when payments don't go through. Most billing systems will be able to send automated, form-based emails to notify customers of payment failures, retry schedules, next steps etc.
Invoicing This one may seem obvious for a billing system, but it's worth noting the specific features of recurring payment invoicing that you should be on the lookout for. The key here is clarity—for you and for your customers. Recurring billing invoices should be able to display every type of charge, including upcoming or missed payments, accrued interest fees, taxes etc. You should also be able to view past invoices for the entire customer relationship history just in case any discrepancies occur.

Additionally, invoicing functionality should be capable of automating the creation, scheduling and sending of invoices as well as enabling customers to complete payments through an electronic portal.
Trial management Trial subscriptions certainly aren't a required feature, but they can help build your brand and name recognition by making your customers more inclined to test out the system and increasing the number of regular subscribers overall. If you decide to offer free trials, you'll want to make sure your billing software can handle tracking these users and either rolling them into regularly paying customers or end their access once the trial period ends.

Trial management features should also include follow-up emails to keep customers informed about when their trial ends and what options they have for continuing the service.

How Is Recurring Billing Software Priced?

There are a number of different pricing models to choose from when determining how to set up your recurring billing process. The most common configurations are:

  • Fixed price. This is the most basic billing configuration that simply charges the same amount each billing cycle.
  •   
  • Quantity-based/add-ons. Begins with a base fee and then allows users to tack on additional services they'd like to have for corresponding additional costs to the weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly bill.
  •   
  • Metered billing/variable usage. Bill customers according to usage instead of a flat rate.
  •   
  • Packaged pricing. Allows users to select from a list of pre-priced packages or service bundles and pay that rate for that specific set of products or services.
  •   
  • Custom pricing. Allows you to set your own charges for individual customers using whatever pricing system you prefer.

Benefits of Recurring Billing Software

We've already touched on a few of the advantages offered with recurring billing software, but there are a few more—for both the consumer and the business—that are worth being aware of.

For customers, recurring billing systems take away the burden of remembering to make regular payments while also ensuring uninterrupted services—be that in the form of electricity to their houses or regular delivery of expected goods.

For businesses, especially smaller ones, recurring billing is an invaluable tool to normalize revenue and automate payment collection processes, so business owners can focus on other things.