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Our recurring payment provider reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 60+ recurring payment provider companies from across the web. These reviews and our recurring payment providers guide help small businesses and startups find the best recurring payment provider for their business.
Stax offers credit and debit card, ACH, PayPal, and e-check processing solutions for businesses serving a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, retail, healthcare, legal services, and e-commerce. The merchant service provider uses the Omni platform to deliver its integrated services.
The company’s full-service merchant accounting accommodates payment processing and manages recurring payments and financials. Clients are able to easily access PCI-compliant customer databases, inventory management features, invoicing, and reporting.
Stax’s payment processing integrations allow merchants to incorporate POS systems with its terminal in order to accept in-person payments. The company also adapts to mobile processing. It automatically captures future transactions for recurring payments by using stored customer profiles, and Omni updates expired credit cards to streamline the payment process.
Stax’s pricing structure is best suited for businesses processing more than $10,000 a month. That being said, it bypasses the percentage markup format in favor of a monthly fee and per-transaction rate that make it easy to budget monthly expenses.
What Customers Are Saying
As noted above, Stax’s pricing makes more sense for businesses that invoice above a certain monthly amount; however, most reviewers relay positive experiences with customer service. One business owner noted, “We have been happy with Stax and their management of my account. My only issue is that the fees are much higher…” Another indicated a substantial savings by switching from bank processing services: “Our monthly transaction fees have dropped by nearly 50% without any compromise on service or equipment.”
PayPal’s straightforward online payment system extends to recurring payments. It provides flexibility by allowing those payments to occur through invoicing and subscription services.
Small online businesses and individuals relying on website sales and email marketing may find PayPal’s low monthly rates and recurring payment processing fees manageable for repeat services, such as memberships and subscriptions. Its no-contract system and flat-rate pricing are particularly well-suited for consultants and freelancers.
Accepting PayPal and credit and debit cards as well as e-wallet, e-check, and ACH payment, the PCI-compliant company is committed to maintaining its clients’ security. PayPal also offers a wide variety of business system and application integration options, including POS systems, e-commerce platforms, and accounting software.
The company offers several plan options, including a standard payment service with a no-monthly-fee plan that charges for processing each online transaction. Another solution is the Payments Pro plan that incorporates a virtual terminal for a $30 monthly fee. Its Payflow payment gateway is available for those that have a merchant account through another processor and require a gateway to their website.
Additionally, PayPal offers customers the ability to send invoices through its business app as well as Messenger, and it accepts partial payments. Its availability to international customers makes PayPal a viable option for merchants dealing with overseas currencies. The company also offers discounts to nonprofits.
What Customers Are Saying
Customers recommend PayPal’s reliability for payment processing and refunds. One organization reported, “We found that PayPal was best suited for donors making recurring payments as it would send reminders and allow auto draft.”
PaySimple provides clients with the tools they need to manage detailed information and is particularly adaptable for educational and medical services as well as legal offices. The company provides individual merchant accounts with a separate processor for its cloud-based software suite and payment gateway.
Clients have access to customizable features, such as the ability to track customer information, create and send invoices, accept payments, and set up recurring payments. The system’s payment pages collect and organize all pertinent customer and payment data.
PaySimple facilitates its recurring payments, deposits, payment plans, web forms, virtual point-of-sale, credit card and ACH processing, cash flow reporting, and card-on-file PCI Compliant Vault through integration with service business platforms, including MarketSharp and QuickBooks, for built-in safeguards against creating duplicate invoices or transactions.
The platform offers web-based and mobile app access to payment processing, allowing clients the ability to accept credit and debit cards, e-checks, and ACH transfers.
In addition to self-service options for answering questions, PaySimple offers a variety of resources to provide the assistance its clients require, from live chat and a support phone line to submitting a customer support ticket.
What Customers Are Saying
Customers share their positive experiences with PaySimple’s streamlined payment collection system. One reviewer cited PaySimple’s recurring payment platform as “awesome … It’s easy to set one up and make changes as needed.” Another stated, “Schools want parents to pay tuition online. I recommend them to get a PaySimple account…”
QuickBooks offers clients access to recurring payment options for a variety of services, from ballet lessons to wine club memberships. Its customer portal saves customer data as well as preferred payment methods and scheduled monthly billing dates. It also provides an electronic and hard copy customer authorization signature for added documentation.
Designed to enhance QuickBooks’ accounting system, using the platform’s recurring payment feature offers a streamlined system. It includes invoicing, ACH payments, and e-commerce support for a manageable monthly rate and transaction fees.
Particularly suitable for office environments and professional services, QuickBooks’ pricing may be too much of a commitment for small-ticket retailers. As a division of Intuit, QuickBooks Payments offers individualized merchant accounts, and its operation is dependent on the online or desktop version of QuickBooks being used.
While the online processing rates are cheaper, the desktop version provides more advanced accounting features. Online processing, however, accommodates mobile payments and automatically syncs with QuickBooks GoPayment, connecting to smartphones and tablets.
Clients may use any processor to integrate with Intuit’s POS system, but using QuickBooks Payments provides seamless integration and prevents the need for manual transaction data entry. The desktop-based Point of Sale system is only compatible with QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks invoicing, on the other hand, doesn’t require a QuickBooks subscription. Clients have the option of integrating with Gmail and selecting bank transfer or credit card payments. This feature only syncs with QuickBooks Online, though.
What Customers Are Saying
Customers find QuickBooks Online has “simplified invoicing and accounts payable.” Others cited the online version as a “time-saving [service that saves from] not having to manually … organize … accounting and bookkeeping.” Overall, the platform’s detailed reporting allows clients the opportunity to evaluate their companies’ health.
Square’s predictable pricing, features, and ease of use make it a top choice for small business owners interested in setting up recurring payments. It also includes a smartphone-friendly mobile app and an iPad POS at no extra charge.
The platform’s third-party app integration options as well as its customer management and developer API capabilities combine to create a versatile invoicing and recurring payment platform. Square provides three basic platforms to accommodate subscription-based e-commerce businesses:
Square Payment Form and Transaction API: PCI compliant, the Square Payment Form allows customization to match the rest of your site. Clients can save card numbers and CVVs while receiving digital support from MasterPass, Google Pay, or Apple Pay add-ons. Prebuilt Workflow: Hosted by Square’s servers, pre-built workflow allows clients to securely save cards on file without requiring developer knowledge. Integrating Square Checkout doesn’t provide for a great deal of customization, but its digital wallet support and technical reference guide aid with streamlined recurring payments. Integration Choice: The Square dashboard offers a host of apps that allow you the options you need when choosing a plug-in solution for your business’ checkout and billing requirements. Square’s invoicing selections deliver further options for recurring payments from the dashboard or through Square POS. The Square Online Checkout button can be added to blogs, e-mails, social media, texts, and websites, allowing customers to input their payment information.
What Customers Are Saying
Square’s easy-to-use system and knowledgeable customer service team are two frequently mentioned attributes of the platform, particularly by new business owners. One commented, “Great customer service! Had an issue and it was resolved promptly and professionally! Highly recommended!”
Stripe has established itself as a recurring payment industry leader in the areas of online invoicing, online subscriptions sales, e-learning memberships, and online blogs. It also effectively accommodates international recurring payments, in-app subscription service payments, and mobile app-based services.
The platform also offers toolkits, APIs, and open-source code for developer-friendly solutions. Stripe’s recurring payment system seamlessly integrates with most blog sites and e-commerce systems, saving customer payment data in a PCI-compliant virtual vault.
Stripe’s billing suite delivers solutions for small business invoicing needs as well as multi-tiered metered plans. Its subscription tools support SaaS businesses wanting subscription options in addition to split and in-app payments.
The recurring payment structure allows for integration with a wide variety of platforms that range from e-commerce to invoicing software like ShipStation and Shopify.
The system’s dashboard provides business operation tools that allow clients to select specific permissions and functions, ranging from refunds and disputes to recurring payments. It also operates effectively in iOS and Android mobile apps.
Stripe bypasses monthly service fees, opting instead to charge a flat-rate transaction fee with the exception of international and ACH payments, instant payouts, Stripe billing, and radar fraud and chargeback protection.
What Customers Are Saying
Clients find Stripe’s “multi-currency, international support” its top selling feature. Others relate to the platform’s integration capabilities. One reviewer found that its “API allows for so many different applications to interface with it.” Stripe is also acknowledged for its stability and ease of use.
Support: Phone, email, live chat, 24/7 premium support, self-help resources, community support, customer support portal
PCI compliant: Yes
How We Chose the Best Recurring Payment Providers
With so many recurring payment platforms on the market, choosing the one that melds with your professional goals can feel more overwhelming than satisfying. We researched dozens of software options before recommending our selection of the six we consider the best recurring payment providers of 2021. We based our findings on recurring payment features, PCI compliance, and integrations.
Recurring Payment Features
We recommend providers that offer features such as custom subscription plan names, trial periods, and customer directories. Other customizations within the platforms make it easy to set the parameters that best fit your business structure. Items may include adjusting billing intervals, quantity-based requirements, and invoice updating.
It's important for recurring payment providers to help the user maintain payment card industry (PCI) compliance by protecting customer data as it's transmitted, processed, and stored. PCI compliance also protects the business in the event of a data breach. Additionally, data security standard (DSS) compliance is equipped with best-practices features that instruct the organization on how to detect, prevent, and remediate any leak. A business that's not PCI compliant can be held liable for data breaches and face hefty fines.
Ideally, the builders will offer pre-built integrations with e-commerce platforms and other tools that are often used together with recurring payment software. Choosing the apps that sync with your payment platform enhances your ability to customize such features as subscription services and store billing information, in addition to allowing product preordering. We also evaluated the need for developer API programming skills as well as those integrations that offered a streamlined process for the novice.
What Is a Recurring Payment Provider?
Recurring payment providers offer you the ability to set your customers up on a regular payment plan for a wine club, school tuition, gym membership, or any other subscription-based service. Deciding on the payment intervals of weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually is up to you.
Small businesses, in particular, may find the built-in convenience of recurring payment providers streamlines such functions as collecting and processing payments, depositing funds into the business’ account, and managing payment security offer a variety of advantages.
There are five basic steps that providers deliver for recurring payments to occur according to schedule:
The customer chooses the recurring payment option from the organization’s list of possibilities.
The customer agrees to the fee structure, payment method and intervals, and any relevant expiration date. After consenting to all terms and conditions, the customer proceeds through the checkout.
The customer enters and saves billing information in the organization’s invoicing system.
The merchant receives the funds once the payment provider has received approval from the issuing and acquiring banks and the credit card network.
The customer receives an invoice each time their scheduled recurring payment is processed. The organization may also opt to include notification of forthcoming payments.
Benefits of a Recurring Payment Provider
Recurring payments offer a number of benefits for both the customer and organization.
Setting up regularly scheduled payments offers an easy, no-fuss system for you and your customers. It provides time savings on both sides of the payment process. Once the information is in and the cycle is set, it takes care of itself.
The automatic recurring payment arranged through your provider takes care of reminders, invoices, transfers, and deposits, not to mention security. It ultimately saves on customer service needs and administrative costs by reducing conversations about missed or late payments.
Recurring payments provide the business with the ability to budget with a steady stream of positive cash flow on the books. They contribute to more fluid management of current assets and permit business owners the opportunity to plan for future growth.
By creating a streamlined billing system for your customers, you enhance data security and provide an improved customer experience. You also develop strong relationships that continue to grow into a long-term customer base.
What to Look for in a Recurring Payment Provider
A few aspects of your recurring payment provider’s services that will help you retain a satisfied customer base are transparency, ease of use, and convenience. That being said, providers are not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Determine what your business needs are and choose the provider that hits as many of the required points as possible. Consider the following:
Location andcurrency: If you sell your products or services globally, you’ll want to sign up with a provider that works within the same countries you do. Select a payment gateway that accepts multiple currencies.
Types of payments you process: Decide on the types of payments you’ll accept, such as debit and credit cards, ACH payments, and PayPal. Also consider the frequency of payments. For instance, you may want to offer some type of savings with a one-time payment as well as the option to set recurring payments.
Integration and setup: Ease of setup is an important component for the new business owner. Choosing a provider that doesn’t require extensive technical skills may be another consideration for those with limited experience.
Modification capabilities: You’ll want to retain control of managing your customers’ behaviors, from transaction management to subscription type.
PCI compliance: As discussed at the beginning, PCI compliance is a must for e-commerce businesses that process credit card payments. Choosing a provider that’s compliant saves you from having to manage it separately.
Pricing transparency: Consider the monthly and per transaction fees as well as any additional costs.
Supported devices: Does the provider support mobile devices?
Tech support: Evaluate the provider’s customer support and its responsiveness at all hours.
The Cost of a Recurring Payment Provider
This point really depends on the size of your business, product or service costs, and the amount you’re billing each month. You may also want to factor in allowances for growth. Consider all monthly and transaction fees before signing a contract. For example, you may be invoicing less than $3,000 a month when you start the plan, but you’ve projected your sales to increase to $8,000 a month within nine months. Will that plan accommodate your goals?
For some, it might be easier to look at their requirements for a recurring payment provider and compare the systems that come closest to meeting those needs. Also, it’s important to remember that you’re paying for a service that frees you up to pursue other aspects of your business. If you don’t need to account for the time and organization it takes to invoice your customers, manage phone calls related to payments, and pursue collections, you’ll have more time to devote to product development and marketing.
The bottom line is that you’re paying for a service that works for you around the clock. As you’re weighing the pros and cons of each system, determine what your time is worth and compare it to the cost of hiring a recurring payment provider.