Subscription Billing

When invoicing a customer for products and services with recurring subscriptions (i.e. monthly, yearly), Partners may want to automate creating and sending invoices or automate the charging of an account’s saved credit card. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • Automatic subscription billing

  • Recurring invoices

Automatic subscription billing

What is subscription billing?

Subscription is a recurring billing model where customers are billed regularly (weekly, monthly, or yearly) to continue to access products and services.

Every activated product or service in an order creates equivalent subscriptions for the Partner-to-Vendasta transaction (Wholesale subscription) and another for the Partner-to-client transaction (Retail subscription). The subscriptions will automatically generate invoices for payment.

Note: Subscription billing replaces the old "bill by active" model. All customer accounts set to "bill by active" are transitioning to Subscription billing.

How to setup subscription billing (automatic recurring billing)

Option 1: Default setting for all new accounts.

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This option will apply to all accounts created after saving this setting. Existing customer accounts do not obey these default settings, however, you can complete the setup on each account.

Note that regardless of the default settings, you can still customize the settings per account.

  1. In Partner Center, go to Administration > Default Billing Settings.

  2. If you have more than one market, select the market.

  3. Toggle the Retail Subscriptions button to ON. This button alone will ensure that a subscription is created every time you activate a product. You can choose this option if you only wish to track customer billing without generating an invoice.

  4. Toggle the Subscription Billing button to ON, to turn on customer invoicing (optional).

  5. Next setup the payment collection option:

    1. Select the payment collection method

      1. Create a draft invoice: This option creates the invoice and saves it on the platform as a draft. You can reference the invoice and manually send it to the customer for payment. 

      2. Email payable invoice to billing recipient: With this option, the platform generates and emails the invoice to the customer to pay. Upon receiving the invoice by email, the customer can enter their credit card details to complete the payment.

    2. The “Collect On” field will let you set up when your customer will be invoiced.

      1. Each subscription renewal will generate an invoice on the day a product or service renews. Where multiple renewals occur on the same day, a single invoice consolidates all the invoices into one.

      2. The same day of the month will consolidate all product renewals in the past 30 days into one single invoice for your customer. E.g. If you choose to send it on the 30th of the month, then a single invoice containing all product renewals in the last 30 days will be generated on the 30th of every month. Where the days in the month are not up to 30 days e.g. Feb, the invoice is generated on the last day of the month (28th or 29th as applicable).

    3. Memo: You can enter a default note that is added to all invoices generated from subscriptions. Note that you can still customize the memo notes on an account level.

  6. Click the Save button to save the settings.

These settings will apply to all newly added customer accounts going forward.

 

Option 2: Account-level billing settings

Under an account setting, you can configure how the individual account is invoiced or charged automatically for products and services with recurring subscriptions.

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  1. In Partner Center, go to the customer account you wish to manage.

  2. On the top panel click Subscriptions to open the subscription page.

  3. In the top right-hand corner, click “Billing Settings”.

  4. Toggle the Retail Subscriptions button to ON. This button alone will ensure that a subscription is created every time you activate a product. You can choose this option if you only wish to track customer billing without generating an invoice.

  5. Toggle the Subscription billing button to ON, to turn on customer invoicing (optional).

  6. Next setup the payment collection option:

    1. Select the payment collection method

      1. Create a draft invoice: This option creates the invoice and saves it on the platform as a draft. You can reference the invoice and manually send it to the customer for payment. 

      2. Email payable invoice to billing recipient: With this option, the platform generates and emails the invoice to the customer to pay. Upon receiving the invoice by email, the customer can enter their credit card details to complete the payment.

      3. Automatically charge the payment method on file: Finally, this option automatically debits the customer's credit card on file. For this option, you will need to save the customer's credit card details to be debited.

    2. Subscription renewal
      1. Invoices will be sent out on the day a subscription renews at 3:00 PM UTC. Subscriptions sharing a renewal date will be sent on the same invoice. 
        1. Use a default renewal date for all subscriptions
          • To ensure new subscriptions will be sent on the same invoice, you should set a default renewal date. Setting a default renewal day will align all subscriptions generated through order activations to have the same renewal date. Since those subscriptions will share a renewal date, they will be on the same invoice. 
          • NOTE: Renewal dates for existing subscriptions on the account will not be automatically updated. To align all your existing subscriptions to the preferred date, simply edit the renewal date on the subscriptions to match your preferred date. 

          3. Memo: You can enter a default note that is added to all invoices generated from subscriptions. Note that you can still customize the memo notes on an account level.

  1. Click the Save button to save the settings.

These settings will be applied only to this customer account.

More on Payment Collection settings

  • Select Each subscription renewal to automatically generate an invoice for the recurring price of a product or service on the day that that product or service renews.

    • If multiple products renew on the same day, they will be included in the same invoice. Note that an account may receive multiple invoices throughout the month if their products renew on different days.

      • Tip: You can edit the renewal date on each subscription to the same day if you want a single invoice to contain all the subscriptions.

  • Selecting The same day of the month will create a draft invoice that renewing products will be added to as the month progresses. On the day of the month that you specify, the invoice will be automatically sent out to the recipient. In this option, only one invoice is generated monthly and it contains all the subscriptions that have been renewed in the past 30 days leading to the date you set.

What about different frequencies?

When in doubt, just remember that the invoice generated will contain all items that renewed since the last generated invoice.

Let's take the following example:

Product

Billing start

Frequency

Next renewal

Product A

Oct. 23, 2022

Yearly

Oct. 23, 2023

Product B

Sept. 10, 2023

Monthly

Oct. 10, 2023

Product C

Sep. 15, 2023

Monthly

Oct. 15, 2023

Product D

Sep. 27, 2023

Monthly

Oct. 27, 2023

For our purposes, let's say you had chosen to Collect on the 15th of each month. The following items would be included on the invoices for the listed dates:

  • Oct. 15, 2023

    • Product B

    • Product C

  • Nov. 15, 2023

    • Product A

    • Product B

    • Product C

    • Product D

  • Dec. 15, 2023

    • Product B

    • Product C

    • Product D

Managing your subscriptions

Every retail subscription can be viewed, updated, canceled, etc according to your needs. Simply click on the subscription or the kebab to the right of the subscription you want to manage.

Editing unit price

The unit price of a retail subscription is the amount the customer will be billed every billing period. The unit price can be edited while the subscription is still active and changes to it will apply to all subsequent billing periods.

  1. Open the retail subscription you’d like to edit by clicking the row or selecting “View subscription” in the kebab.

  2. Click the unit price of the retail subscription, enter the new price, and click save.

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Note: If a product can be activated more than once on an account, pricing changes to one retail subscription will applied to the others.

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Canceling retail subscriptions

Active retail subscriptions can be set to cancel and stop billing your customer on a future date. Cancelled subscriptions will show as “Inactive”.

There are two options when canceling a retail subscription

  • End of current period will cancel the retail subscription the day before it’s set to renew for the next billing period

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  • Selecting Custom date allows you to specify a future date you want the subscription to cancel. This is useful if you’d like to set retail subscriptions to bill for a certain number of billing periods before being canceled.

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NOTE: Currently, canceling a retail subscription will not automatically set the product to cancel at the same time. You can cancel the product on the Products section of the account’s Overview page. Similarly, canceling a product for an account will not automatically set the retail subscription to cancel simultaneously.

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FAQs for Retail Subscription Management

Bill based on a recurring invoice

When using the Bill based on recurring invoice setting, the account you’re billing will receive an invoice on the day of the month specified, based on the invoice you designed in the Recurring invoice section. Because this method requires you to create a template invoice that will be sent to the customer every month, this setting is only available for use on individual accounts, and cannot be used as a Default billing automation setting.

These invoices are generated once per month with every item you've listed. For this reason, yearly and one-time items are not currently supported in this workflow.

  • Select Bill based on recurring invoice to send an invoice based on the Recurring invoice that you specify below. 

  • By default, prices and contents of packages and products on your recurring invoice will remain the same even when you update them in your Store to ensure that your customers receive the cost you agree upon. If an amendment to the recurring invoice needs to be made, that can be done manually through the Billing Settings page for that account.

Collect On

  • For Billing based on recurring invoices, you can only select the Day of the month. Choosing the day will create an invoice on the day of the month specified, regardless of what and when active products renew on the account.

  • On the day of the month that you specify, the invoice will be automatically sent out to the recipient.

Collection method

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When an invoice is generated and ready for collection based on the Recurring invoice type and Collect On settings, you can collect in one of three ways:

  • Select Manual collection to keep the invoices automatically generated for this account in Draft mode. These draft invoices can be reviewed before being sent or charged for, and will only be collected by manually clicking Send or Charge when viewing the invoice.

  • Select Send Email to send automatically generated invoices to the account, which the customer can pay by manually entering their credit card. The invoice will be created with a due date of 10 days from the date it is created.

  • Select Charge automatically to charge the account’s saved Payment method automatically on the collection day (which is based on the Collect On section). If a user on the account being invoiced has previously paid an invoice via credit card, their card will be automatically and securely stored by Stripe as a Payment method on that account. After a successful charge, a receipt will be sent to the default Recipient for the account.

    • If the recipient has not previously paid through your store or via an invoice—and does not already have a credit card saved—a payable invoice will be sent. After the invoice has been paid, the card will be saved and used for future automatic charges.

    • If the charge fails, you will be notified and your customer will receive a "Failed payment" email directing them to the invoice landing page, the customer can pay by manually entering their credit card. If they have new credit card information, this new information will be saved for future purchases. 

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