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How to choose the right subscription payment gateway

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Last editedMar 20232 min read

From SaaS companies to gyms, an increasing number of businesses are using the subscription business model. Consumers are drawn to the convenience, while business owners are drawn to the steady cash flow that subscription payments provide. If you’re thinking of trying out this type of business strategy, you’ll need a payment gateway set up to take recurring payments. Here’s a closer look at what to look for in the best subscription payment gateway.

What is subscription payment processing?

A subscription payment platform is a solution designed to automatically take recurring payments in exchange for regular delivery of goods or services. Your customers sign up for the service, agreeing to make online subscription payments at regular intervals. These intervals might be weekly, monthly, annually, or on a custom timetable. With automatic billing, businesses are ensured a steady flow of income without any need to chase up on payments with invoices or other reminders. Instead, customers provide their credit card or banking details, authorising payment to be taken at the agreed-upon time. These payment details are stored securely by the subscription payment gateway until the customer ends the subscription.

What are the benefits of using a subscription payment platform?

There are numerous advantages of using a payment gateway for subscriptions. To begin with, they facilitate a steady stream of income for improved cash flow. The best recurring payment systems integrate with your existing checkout page for a seamless shopping experience from the buyer’s end. This, together with multiple payment options, increases conversions. A smooth, frictionless payment experience helps with customer retention – essential for the subscription business model.

What features should you look for in a payment gateway for subscriptions?

Of course, not all payment gateways are created alike, and you’ll need to compare and contrast features to find the right fit.

Here are a few key features to look for as you start your research.

  • It supports a variety of payment methods.

  • It’s PCI compliant if accepting card payments.

  • It allows customers to log in if they want to update payment methods and adjust their subscriptions.

  • It manages subscriptions with free trials, discounts, and customer analysis.

  • It integrates with your existing accounting and CRM integrations for easy onboarding.

  • It supports subscription analytics to track customer churn rates, new sign-ups, and cash flow.

You should also think about the onboarding process. Once you’ve selected the best recurring payment system, how easy will it be to use? You should be able to adjust payment plans, payment methods, and billing cycles both from your end as well as the customer’s.

Don’t forget to think about the cost of your chosen solution. This not only includes the initial set-up costs, but also per-transaction fees. If you sell to customers around the world, does your payment gateway support cross-border transactions? What are the currency exchange rates and added fees associated with international subscriptions? These are just a few important factors to consider.

What is the best payment gateway for subscriptions?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution that is best for every business. You’ll need to look at the list of features above and narrow down your options by budget and scope. Many businesses opt to choose more than one payment gateway to meet their customers’ needs.

GoCardless is a subscription payment platform well-equipped to take both one-off and recurring payments. We use direct debit to collect payment directly from customer bank accounts on the allotted interval, putting your business in full control over all subscription payments. It’s easy to get started with a cost-effective solution, ensuring all payment pages are compliant with fully hosted checkout flows and a custom API. We also integrate with over 300 partners including major invoicing software so that payment visibility is built into your existing systems.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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