Introduction

You want a subscription model for your business that increases revenue and keeps customers. You think about either Stripe, a payment platform, or Recurly, a customer-driven one to handle your billing. Which do you choose?

Decide on one or both depending on how you see your business and its success. Do this by planning your billing and customer workflows. Then test, repetitively, your business model for what works.

Customer feedback and subscription analytics will help you clarify the journey towards registering, renewing, upgrading, and canceling your software.

Now that you better understand how to handle your subscription business, you can apply this knowledge as you read this article. Let's jump right in and get you going towards picking the best subscription billing platform for you.

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A Quick Overview

Similarities

Stripe and Recurly handle a simple subscription billing from start to finish.

Their functionality includes:

·      Integrating with customer management systems (like Salesforce)

·      Getting the customer’s payment information

·      Sending customized invoices 

·      Checking for fraud

·      Processing payments securely through PSD2 compliance

·      Reporting on subscription transactions using dashboards

·      Providing 24X7 help for customers, business, and developers

Differences

Stripe:

·      Requires upgrading your subscription for billing functionality

·      Has a faster payment set-up

·      Handles more currency types than Recurly

·      Integrates well with over 500 business software modules

·      Supports resolution of disputed payments

·      Bills you based on successful payments and types of services given

·      Provides developers handy tools to build customized payment forms

Here's the Stripe's subscription dashboard

Recurly:

·      Lets you define a default subscription pricing model that your team updates on the fly with customs fees and refunds

·      Manages customer status across the entire subscription life cycle (trial, active, renewal, cancellation, and deletion) 

·      Allows you to set a period for gift subscriptions

·      Bills you monthly a standard fee plus .9% of the revenue you take.

·      Creates an online payment page where your customers update their billing information to resolve payment issues

·      Calculates sales taxes in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and South Africa, automatically

·      Provides data portability, meeting regulations on consumer data, and protecting user privacy

Here's Recurly's subscription dashboard.


Stripe vs. Recurly: Features

Stripe and Recurly software cover basic invoicing, billing, and subscription management workflows but differ in their strengths and how their software works.

Stripe, an invoice driven service, emphasizes payment speed and processing. 

Recurly focuses on the customer’s experience with multiple recurring subscriptions. It allows you to customize your product delivery by software quantity or usage and easily handle different subscription statuses (trial, active, renewal, cancelation, deletion).

Both platforms accept over 20 payment gateways, giving your customers many options. They also comply with the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), an international standard meeting regulation.

Stripe stands out in its easy set-up, ability to process payments from all over the world (over 141 currencies), and well-designed application programming interface supporting home-grown payment forms. Recurly, while a little more complicated to implement, makes customer incentives and handling delinquent payments straightforward.

If you need to use Recurly and Stripe with other business platforms to complete your business transactions, you will find success. Recurly integrates well with frequently used accounting and customer relationship systems, like QuickBooks and NetSuite. Stripe functions with over 500 online modules (including finance, marketing, sales, operations, and payments). Stripe also includes support for its usage through third-party applications, like Shopify and Squarespace. 


Stripe vs. Recurly: Security and Privacy

You can rest easy that Stripe and Recurly have excellent payment security and fraud protection. You configure their dashboards to allow different access depending on the user role. Both platforms use machine learning to detect suspicious payment activity while letting legitimate customers and workers have access. Also, each software platform meets PCI Compliance Level 1, the top data security level.

Stripe goes above and beyond to help you resolve any payment dispute. You will also find the software will become increasingly secure as Stripe invites ethical hackers to find and report security weaknesses. When you use Stripe, it will collect and use your contact information for marketing, ads, and fraud protection.

Recurly has a specialized fraud prevention program that flags chargebacks and non-present cards that exceed a set level. You and your customers can take data anywhere. If you request exporting your customers’ credit card data to another PCI-certified provider, Recurly will do that for you, and it respects your right to have your account forgotten.


Stripe vs. Recurly: Pricing

Stripe’s and Recurly have very different pricing models; so, you will want to be clear about the services you need now and will require in the future to scale your business and your budget. 

You will want to put more money aside for Stripe’s billing services, an addition to the basic package. First, Stripe will charge you 2.9 percent plus 30 cents on each successful charge. When you add Stripe’s subscriptions and billing services, you will pay an additional 5% on recurring payments and.8%, for advanced features.

Unlike Stripe, Recurly charges a straightforward monthly fee, at $149 per month and .9% of your revenue for core services. Your Recurly core services would include simple business management, coupon, discount tools, and chat-based support for all hours and days of the week. You will want to upgrade to Recurly’s professional or elite level if you have 20 or more users and up to ten million US dollars.


Stripe vs. Recurly: Support

Before evaluating Stripe or Recurly support, consider that they excel at different support. Stripe is pretty intuitive to set up. Mostly you will use Stripe technical support for payment or integration with a third-party partner. You will appreciate Recurly’s help when you have complicated pricing, recurring billing, or subscription implementation questions.

Regardless of your technical skill, Stripe and Recurly have excellent customer service and technical support, available 24X7. Both software companies have a document library, articles, a help center, email, a live chat window, and phone help. You will also find active and knowledgeable online forums to network with other founders or learn tips and tricks. 

Should you need to talk with a live person, your contact method will determine when a specialist will get back to you. Stripe goes above and beyond to help you unblock stuck purchases, even if you use Stripe through another platform account like Shopify or Squarespace. But, your email will take 24 hours for a reply, while using the chat function or telephoning results in about a three-minute wait.

You or your developers will find plenty of technical tools to create additional functionality for either Stripe or Recurly. Both platforms provide you JavaScript libraries and Web hooks, event notifications so you can personalize your subscription services or deal with any technical issues before your customers notice them.

You can also test your Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) or code using Recurly and Stripe sandboxes. Your coders have easy access to Recurly sandboxes, even at just the core level. In contrast, you need a Pro license or higher for your programmers to connect to the Stripe testing mode.


Stripe vs. Recurly: Reviews

Stripe and Recurly have received mixed reviews about their business. But, overall, customers like their products and customer support.

You want to start your research with The Better Business Bureau (BBB), a reliable business review site that has been around for 100 years

Stripe has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In the last three years, Stripe had over 400 complaints, and 199 of those have been closed. The BBB reports that suspended or closed accounts from a “High Risk” profile and fund distribution make up most of those complaints.

You will find no BBB accreditation for Recurly yet. But, Recurly has received mixed reviews for its customer service, according to SoftwareAdvice.com, BBB A+ accredited business. SoftwareAdvices.com assigns 4.5 out of 5 stars to Recurly customer support. Clients praise Recurly for its speed in answering questions, but some users have complained about getting the runaround from multiple support people without a solution.

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Conclusion

Before choosing any subscription management platform, you want to understand your billing and customer workflows. Follow the Lean Business Plan process, testing your process and validating it with subscription analytics and customer feedback. Use your understanding and this article to help you decide between Stripe and Recurly, two excellent products.

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