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5 Ways to Accept Recurring Payments in 2017

Many customers welcome an automatic payment option since it saves them the hassle of remembering to pay yet another bill. Plus, recurring payments cut your invoicing time and, perhaps best of all, deliver predictable, on-time deposits so you can better manage cash flow.
Most credit card payment processors and accounting programs support automatic recurring payments. But if yours doesn’t, or if you’re seeking a new payment processing solution, here are five great options to try.
Payment Provider
Cost for Recurring Payments:
Best for:
Square
$0 Monthly Fees3.5% + 15¢ per transaction*
Accepting recurring credit card payments online plus, invoicing, in-store & mobile payments
PayPal
$10 Monthly Fee2.9% + 30¢ per transaction*
Accepting recurring PayPal and credit card payments online, plus invoicing, in-store & mobile payments
Due
$0 Monthly Fee2.8% + no transaction fee
Accepting recurring credit card payments online, plus invoicing & payment tracking tools
QuickBooks Online

___
QuickBooks Desktop
Note: QuickBooks offers lower rates to businesses with over $7,500/mo. in credit card processing

$0 Monthly Fee3.4% + 25¢ per transaction*___
Two Plans:$0 Monthly Fee3.5% + 30¢ per transaction*or$20 Monthly Fee3.3% + 30¢ per transaction*

Existing QuickBooks users or businesses that need complete bookkeeping and accounting software that supports recurring credit card & ACH payments, plus online, invoicing, in-store & mobile payments
PaySimple
$49.95 Monthly Fee2.4% + 29¢ per transaction
Also offers eCheck payments for 60¢/ea

Accepting recurring credit card & ACH payments plus managing customers, events, bookings, memberships, subscription services & more

*These payment processors charge a higher rate for recurring payments which, in industry terms, are keyed-in payments. With these processors, other types of payments, like mobile or in-store purchases, have lower fees, which we note below.
Accept Recurring Payments with Square
Monthly Fees: $0
Recurring Payments processing fees: 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction
Payments Accepted: Credit / Debit Cards Only
Square is a top-rated retail point-of-sale (POS) system that covers every base when it comes to processing credit cards, including recurring payments. Like everything else with Square, recurring payments are simple to set up and manage.
Square’s secure, PCI-compliant system allows your customers to safely store their credit card information. Once stored, the customer’s Card on File (CoF) can be processed per the schedule you set in Square’s simple invoicing dashboard. See step-by-step instructions here.

Source: Square

Square offers a full range of in-store, mobile, and online payment solutions, but certain types of charges carry different fees. In-person POS charges, where you customer swipes their card, have lower fees (2.75%) than recurring payments (3.5%) which are considered keyed-in transactions, as shown below.

Source: Square

At 3.5%+ 15¢ per transaction, Square can be more costly than some recurring payment providers on our list. But if you want to accept recurring payments alongside your in-store, mobile, and/or online sales, Square’s fully integrated system ties everything together seamlessly. Add in its free sales tracking and inventory management features, and Square is all you need to run your business.
If you’re seeking an all-in-one retail store solution, you can see how Square stacks up against other POS systems here.
Accept Recurring Payments with PayPal
Monthly Fees: $10
Recurring Payments processing fees: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
Payments Accepted: PayPal payments, Credit & Debit Cards
PayPal lets you set up recurring payments on all business-level accounts. This is a great way to let customers conveniently pay for things like memberships, repeat services, and online subscriptions using either their PayPal account or a credit card.
You can manage recurring payments several ways through PayPal, and even integrate registrations and payments into your website’s checkout. Scheduled payments are automatically charged to customers’ credit cards or PayPal account, whichever they choose. PayPal’s recurring payments also lets you manage subscriber accounts and create login access-only content on your website. Learn how to use and integrate PayPal’s full suite of recurring payment tools here.

Source: PayPal

Unlike some other providers on our list, PayPal charges the same rate for both recurring payments and standard online payments: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. However, it costs $10 per month to add the recurring payment / billing service, as shown above.
If you operate a non-profit or charge recurring payments under $10 per transaction, PayPal offers different fee structures that can save you money. That’s something to keep in mind if it applies to you. Learn more about PayPal’s billing and fees here.

Source: PayPal

If you already accept PayPal and need to offer the convenience of recurring payments to your customers, PayPal is a tidy, secure, PCI-compliant solution at a competitive price. And PayPal, like Square, provides a full suite of mobile, online, and in-store payment options to meet your offline selling needs, too. Also like Square, PayPal’s in-person payment processing fees are lower, too, at 2.7%.
Where PayPal and Square differ most is in customer, inventory, and sales management features. If you need an all-in one payment processor with a full store management system, Square is a better choice than PayPal. See a full comparison of the two here.
Accept Recurring Payments with Due
Monthly Fees: $0
Recurring Payments processing fees: 2.8% + no transaction fee
Payments Accepted: Credit & Debit Cards
Due is a newer online invoicing and payment management solution that’s already turning heads. Secure PCI-compliant payments, low, predictable fees, and a super-simple dashboard make Due a top contender for processing recurring payments, and much more.
Due wants to be the leading low-cost online payment processor and they’re really pushing the competition price-wise. With no monthly fees, a flat-rate 2.8%, and no per-transaction fee, it’s the least-expensive recurring payments provider on our list.

Source: Due

Here’s a look at Due’s simple payment management dashboard. Here, you have complete control over every invoice, along with a host of tracking features. You can learn all about working within Due’s intuitive payment management system here.

Source: Due

You can set up recurring payments within your Due account dashboard, but you’ll need to contact them to enable the feature on your account. Overall, they make it pretty easy:

Source: Due

Due supports a nice array of online payment services, but that’s one area where the differ from others on our list. Due is 100% online. And while their payment system can integrate with websites and order management systems, it takes programming work to make it possible, There are no plug-and-play ecommerce or point-of-sale integrations yet. If you need a recurring payment solution that covers more selling bases, providers like Square or PayPal are better choices. But if a simple, low-cost, online recurring payment solution is what you seek, check out all that Due has to offer.
Accept Recurring Payments with QuickBooks
Are you a QuickBooks user, or planning to become one? Then QuickBooks recurring payments feature is for you. Using QuickBooks, you can offer your customers the convenience of automated payments for whatever type of repeat service or purchase you provide, from dance lessons to beer-of-the-month club payments.
The easiest way to do this is to use secure, PCI-compliant QuickBooks Payments as your merchant processor for credit card, ACH check payments, and eChecks. You can learn how to get started with QuickBooks Payments here. After that, it’s as easy as clicking a button when you create a sales receipt. QuickBooks even has a handy tutorial that walks you through the process step-by-step.

Source: QuickBooks

After you’ve created and scheduled the initial recurring payment for a customer, QuickBooks has a final step. It prints a Customer Authorization form for your client to sign. This keeps everything nice and tidy, and the lawyers happy:

Source: QuickBooks

What you pay in processing fees depends on which QuickBooks software you’re using: Online or Desktop. Here are the recurring payments fees for each. Note, like Square, QuickBooks also charges a higher fee for recurring, or keyed-in payments.
QuickBooks Online Recurring Payments Fees
Monthly Fees: $0
Recurring Payments processing fees: 3.4% + 25¢ per transaction
Payments Accepted: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, ACH check payments & eChecks

Source: QuickBooks

QuickBooks Desktop Recurring Payments Fees
You can choose between two payment processing plans if you use QuickBooks desktop software. Depending on your charge volume, the version with a monthly fee and lower percentage might be the less expensive option. You’ll want to compare plans using your own sales numbers.
Desktop Version Option 1
Monthly Fees: $0
Recurring Payments processing fees: 3.5% + 30¢ per transaction
Payments Accepted: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, ACH check payments & eChecks
Desktop Version Option 2
Monthly Fees: $20
Recurring Payments processing fees: 3.3% + 30¢ per transaction
Payments Accepted: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, ACH check payments & eChecks

Source: QuickBooks

Accept Recurring Payments with PaySimple
Monthly Fees: From $49.95, Free 14-day Trial
Recurring Payments processing fees: From 2.4% + 29¢ per transaction
Payments Accepted: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, ACH check payments & eChecks (60¢/ea)
Along with easy-to-use recurring payments, PaySimple offers a full suite of secure, PCI-compliant payment processing options that support a variety of online and in-person sales. But payment processing just scratches the surface of all that PaySimple offers, and that’s why there’s a monthly fee:

Source: PaySimple

PaySimple is more than a payment processor. It’s a full-service ecommerce platform with particularly strong membership, subscription, order, event, and booking management features. You can see the full list here. From secure online signup forms to member management tools, PaySimple makes it easy to run a registration-driven business that accepts both regular and recurring payments.
And speaking of recurring payments, they’re darned easy to set up, as shown below. Learn more about PaySimple’s recurring billing features here.

Source: PaySimple

Others on our list, including QuickBooks and Square, have appointment booking and subscription tracking capabilities as well. But PaySimple provides more robust and flexible online tools for accepting and managing all sorts of customer registrations. If you need a powerful registration management tool that makes recurring payments quite easy, it’s one to consider.
Another way PaySimple differs from the rest bears mentioning. For credit card processing, PaySimple uses interchange plus, where the fee depends on the type of card being used. Some may process at the listed 2.4%, while others may run at 2.5%, 2.6%, or more. You can learn more about how these types of credit card fees work here.
The Bottom Line
For monthly memberships, subscription sales, service providers, lesson programs, and more, offering automated recurring payments makes good business sense. It’s convenient for your customers and creates predictable cash flow for you.
Each of the payment processors covered in this guide has a specialty, but all have one thing in common. They make it easy to setup and manage recurring payments, whatever your business need. So instead of rolling out invoices month after month, why not give recurring payments a try? Then spend all of that newfound time growing your business instead of nervously waiting for payments to arrive.
Have questions or comments about how to accept online credit card payments for just about anything? Drop me a note in the comments section below.

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