Looking at Recurly and other subscription billing options

We’re considering using Recurly for subscription billing, management and all the dunning management features they offer in a SaaS app we’re building. I know I could integrate Stripe and build out all the subscription processing without a problem. I’m looking at Recurly as one less thing that we have to program and manage when it comes to failed payments, retries, expired cards, etc. Has anyone tried them or is currently using them?

What have been your experiences with subscription billing in general? Any pitfalls or lessons learned?

We haven’t tried Recurly but I can recommend you FastSpring.com. It’s really good both features and customer service. Integration options are quite flexible, you can fully customise payment pages and integrate every single payment activity with your own system.

I’ve integrated both Recurly and Stripe, I actually prefer working with stripe their API is much easier to manage, with that being said, recurly has a lot of features which are very handy, we used it for more than just subscriptions and actually ran most of our company charges through it.

We use Recurly. It’s quite nice and the dashboard is a lot better than that offered by our payment processor. The main problem we have with Recurly is it has no way of storing an account without payment details. If you offer free trials without requiring a credit card you will have to store these customers outside of Recurly and them add them once they decide to pony up. Whether you should offer free trials is a separate issue :smiley:

I’m actually at the same spot of our development where it’s time to clamp down on a way to handle our subscriptions. In the past, for client work, I’ve used Recurly. The integration process way okay, although the frontend library they offered was so limited that I ended up doing everything through our servers using their REST API for most stuff anyway.

Now that Stripe has become available for the UK (which is the place where we’ll most likely incorporate our business, which is being discussed in another topic) I’m considering sacking Recurly completely. Even though you can use Stripe with Recurly, I fail to see the point why: Stripe’s API seems to offer exactly what’s needed and often in a better way than Recurly (especially the way creditcard number / token mechanism). So why not cut out the middle man?

To clarify: we’ll be using the SaaS monthly subscription model with a few fixed price plans. I’ve never really looked into addons and that kind of stuff, so it might be Recurly will help you out with that stuff where Stripe might not.

Gumroad, IMHO, has the best implementation of one-time payments. Recently I have found that they offer subscription payments too. That would be the first processor I try when I need to setup subscriptions.

We use stripe here at Cartalyst. It has been great for subscriptions for us. The only issue we have experienced are slow webhook responses. They know about it and say they are working on expanding capacity but you need to make sure you have a contingency plan in place.

We just released new pricing on tuesday, and after about 5 signups we noticed complaints popping up on twitter. Turns out stripe was over capacity and web hooks were firing off about 6-8 hours late. That resulted in a late night and put out customers.

You might check out Chargify too. I’ve had some clients really happy with them, and I’ve had the chance to work directly with the Chargify team in the past. They’re a standup group.

If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get on top of this? Are you going for something like an optimistic approach and risk people being in for maybe longer than they should be, or are you polling the normal API instead of waiting for the web hooks?

Anything that doesn’t require a merchant account and painful interactions with Authorize.net is worth looking at for me.

I built a little something that may help you not to have to deal with doing dunning yourself if you do use Stripe: http://bestunning.net

It handles the complete dunning process, but lets you customize the emails that get sent out using variables, and can even alert people before their cards expire (so they can update their payment method before a payment ever fails).

That basically adds what’s missing from Stripe and that would make me move to Recurly, but this feels way more ‘modular’ (there is heaps of Recurly that I’m not interested in). Nice!

Hi there!

I’m sharing back my experience accepting payments with Recurly.js in a series of articles (work in progress, next one due today):


I cannot really compare it to Stripe (which was not available in my country (FR) when I implemented this), that said I’ve been very happy with my experience of Recurly.js so far.

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We were looking at using WHMCS for Awesome Cause, but ended up finding Member Mouse which is built on top of Wordpress (the CMS we’re already using). Hooking into Paypal and Stripe so we’ve got both bases covered.

There’s another app upcoming that’s going to do dunning on top of Stripe too: http://churnbuster.io

thats interesting because they’ve basically built a model on top of another app - not too risky?

Good question! In this particular case, I don’t think it’s too risky. People love Stripe, so it’s going to be around for a while.

What they’ve built here isn’t a huge thing, so even if Stripe would be discontinued some day or would implement this functionality, these guys would have earned nice money with these tools already.

I wouldn’t build any massive systems on top of other apps though. And I’d bet these guys are spending the extra time/money they get to build more SaaS apps, to make their future more secure.

Does anyone have experience with Paymill? They’re basically a German clone of Stripe. As despicable as ripping off Stripe is, the fact is that they’re available around the Europe already and support a wider variety of credit cards than Stripe (Diners, to name one).

If I understood correctly, they cloned the Stripe API pretty much one-to-one, so they support subscriptions as well and it might be fairly easy to get all the higher level services mentioned here to work with it as well.

However, this comes with no experience with them whatsoever. So if anyone else has already used them, would be interesting to hear how it went.

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I don’t have any experience with Paymill. In case you missed it, though, Stripe recently opened their German beta.

@sean Thanks, yeah, I didn’t miss it. Been refreshing https://stripe.com/global nearly constantly since its inception :slight_smile:

Our companies are in Finland and Estonia, though, so their recent EU rollout doesn’t help us yet.

Right. Stunning is only one part of a bigger picture. I don’t have all of my eggs in one basket. :slight_smile: