[LRUG] Recurring Payments and subscriptions

George Palmer george.palmer at gmail.com
Fri Jan 28 07:44:34 PST 2011

My recent experiences might be useful here.  A few months ago I
integrated Chargify for a client on a project requiring monthly
billing.  It enden up taking a lot of effort and head banging because
their service and API seemed to be designed with the assumption you
could store credit card details.  Without PCI compliance this forced
you down their hosted pages route which wasn't nearly as functionally
complete as the API.  Whilst the Chargify guys were really good about
answering my questions you could tell it wasn't their focus right now

A few weeks later I integrated recurring billing on my own
application.  I did this via PayPal adaptive payments and their
recurring payments.  It isn't perfect in the longest you can set a
subscription up for is 1 year, but it did take much less time to deal
with than Chargify.  All the credit card number changes and refusals
are dealt with by PayPal and you pretty much only have to stop/allow
access when you get the various callbacks.  That said there are some
concerns with PayPal and most cases I've read of are where a sudden
increase of volume of payments comes through in a short time.  I'd be
quite happy if they suspected dodgy behaviour on my account for that
reason as I can see it raising a fraud flag.  The problem I, and most
other people have, is there's no way to contact PayPal and sort the
issue out should it occur.  3 months seems to be the time it takes to
get it sorted which isn't great.  Ultimately I'd like to move away
from them but right now the solution is good enough and not causing
enough headaches to warrant the effort.

With regards to getting approved at PayPal I used my ltd company
account I've been freelancing through for 2 years and had no issues
getting approved (although I did have to prod PayPal via twitter to
get their arse in gear).

George Palmer

On 28 January 2011 15:30, Jason Green <jason.green at nogeek.org> wrote:
> OMG that is a bad experience with google checkout.
> We have built quite a number of sites here with many different types of payment gateways and billing management and I can say that the one that has disappointed the most is SagePay which has been consistently bad over the last year (service outages, invalid transactions etc,,,), paypal has been consistently good but thats just my experience.
> I think you can create subscriptions in paypals merchant account to roll your own billing system?
> Jason Green
> http://www.dynamic50.com
> On 28 Jan 2011, at 15:21, Paul Wilson wrote:
>> On 28 Jan 2011, at 15:13, Jason Green wrote:
>>> Maybe I am missing the point here, but why not use paypal, or google checkout (if you don't need recurring)?
>> The plan up until this morning was to do recurring.  Circumstances have forced us to reconsider, and we're kicking off with PayPal.
>>> Paypal does recurring: https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/xcl/rec/subscr-intro-outside and also micro-payments.
>> Yes, but that involves "rolling our own billing system".
>>> When you get to the stage that paypals' 5% is loosing you more than it would cost to implement a proper payment gateway, the company bank account would be showing a healthy enough balance and history to get verified / credit checked.
>> The risky side of PayPal is that (in my experience of dealing with them every year for the Scottish Ruby Conference) they are a massive and faceless bureaucracy that frequently suspends accounts with little warning or explanation.  I think they are risky to rely on.  Google don't seem to be any better(*)
>> (*) http://slash7.com/2009/03/26/google-is-evil-worse-than-paypal-don-t-use-google-checkout-for-your-business/
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