Practical Ecommerce

9 SaaS Subscription-Billing Solutions

Subscription business models are becoming increasingly popular on the web. Amazon Prime may be the best example of a successful, ecommerce-related subscription. But there are many others. We’ve addressed Amazon Prime here previously, in “Amazon Prime: 5 Million Members, 20 Percent Growth.” We’ve profiled other companies that offer digital subscriptions, in “Consider the Subscription Model for New Revenue.”

For merchants interested in launching their own subscription programs, here are nine subscription-solution providers for small and enterprise-scale companies.

Chargify

Chargify provides a SaaS billing solution for online companies. In addition to processing one-time and recurring transactions, Chargify handles free trial periods, one-time fees, promotions, refunds, email receipts and dunning (reminders for failed credit card payments). Prices are: $39 a month for a maximum of 10 customers; $99 a month for up to 500 customers; $349 a month for up to 2,000 customers; and $999 a month for a maximum of 10,000 customers. A free developer version is available. There are no transaction fees. Customers include Scribd, CopperEgg, Manpacks, Panda, and World Flight Planner.

SaaSy

SaaSy provides a customizable, hosted subscription order page that can match the look and feel of a company’s existing website design. The product incorporates chargeback management and fraud prevention. Pricing is 5.9 percent plus 95 cents or 8.9 percent flat per order, whichever the customer prefers. The minimum fee is 75 cents per order. Clients include Realmac Software, LabSlice, JoomlaTools, Bouncely, and Smith Micro Software.

Zuora

Zuora’s Z-Billing 2.0 is an enterprise-level product that supports virtually any customer subscription model, provides customer metrics, tax automation and compliance, and multi-currency support. It comes integrated with Salesforce.com and NetSuite. Zuora claims that it saves companies money by reducing the number of invoice queries and the number of disputed or unpaid bills. It is often replacing a cumbersome ERP (enterprise resource planning) system that does not focus exclusively on billing. Among its customers are Pandora, Box.net, Reed Elsevier, Marketo, and GigaOm. Zuora does not make its pricing available to the public.

Monexa

Monexa allows for a good deal of customization. Customers can define their services and bundle them into plans. Monexa supports one-time fees, recurring fees, and usage based (metered) fee calculation. The product also supports free trials. The standard plan costs $799 per month with a maximum of $25,000 in sales or 200 billing records included in the base price. The premium solution costs $2,399 per month for $100,000 in sales or 800 billing records. The enterprise plan costs $4,000 per month minimum with additional costs. Customers include Amway, Radiant Communications, Pitney Bowes Business Insight, Untangle, SalesVu, and Telus.

Aria

Aria’s SaaS recurring billing solution automatically processes payments and updates account balances while complying with all PCI requirements. It handles full and partial refunds. Aria provides renewal anniversary reports and aging analysis reports. Among its customers are Disney, Hootsuite, Taleo, Roku, and Vmware. Aria would not provide pricing information.

Recurly

This provider offers a payment gateway designed for subscriptions. It manages customer communications via email, business performance monitoring, and account changes. Recurly states that it can get live subscriptions up and running on a website in as little as 30 minutes. A merchant bank account is required to work with Recurly. A payment gateway is part of the product but it also integrates with other payment gateways including PayPal. The fee structure is 1.25 percent plus 10 cents per transaction, with a minimum monthly fee of $69. Retargeter, Foodzie, JibJab, Slideshare, and Cloudfare are Recurly customers, as examples.

Spreedly

This product integrates with all major international payment gateways. It accommodates multiple sites, complimentary subscriptions, free trials, different feature levels, and proration. Spreedly’s pricing ranges from a $49 per month starter plan with a 40-cent or four percent fee (whichever is less), to a $149 per month plans with a 30-cent or three percent per transaction fee. For higher volumes there is a $399 a month plan with a 20-cent or two percent transaction fee. Customers include NeoBudget, Realtyninja.com, Rose Park Roasters, and Rumpus.

SubscriptionBridge

With SubscriptionBridge, merchants can manage multiple subscription-based businesses from the same merchant center. The product can accommodate upgrades and downgrades, one time charges and pro-ration. For less than 100 subscribers, there is a flat fee of $25 per month. For 101 to 500 subscribers, the fee is 25 cents per subscriber per month. Fees reduce on a sliding scale to 11 cents per subscriber per month for less than 50,000 subscribers. A customer list is not available.

CheddarGetter

CheddarGetter offers PayPal integration, its own payment gateway, account upgrades and metrics and analytics. It accommodates pricing promotion, customer-specific pricing, and account upgrades. Developers can use CheddarGetter for free. Small start-up companies, the majority of CheddarGetter’s clients, pay $9 per month plus 25 cents per transaction. Larger companies pay $79 per month and 20 cents per transaction and a credit card gateway is included in the price. Confer, DoneDone, Yottaa, and Zferral are CheddarGetter customers.