[LRUG] Recurring Payments and subscriptions

Tim Harding tim.harding at gmail.com
Sat Jan 29 23:42:02 PST 2011

For what it is worth, I don't think you need to "build your own billing
system" to get started with PayPal standard recurring payments. There's a
pretty simple Instant Payment Notification API that you can implement to
understand when to turn on / off someone's right to use the system. You can
then rely on PayPal to look after the recurring billing and they have a
(pretty awful) system for dunning and the like.

If the process of getting a merchant account and payment gateway takes
months to get into production I would take the route with PayPal in the
first few days in order to be able to get your minimum viable product to
market so you can at least test that your idea is valid.

The biggest problem with PayPal, we've found, isn't the cost or them locking
our account (they haven't) but the poor user experience for our customers.
They just get a bit lost when it comes to using their interfaces, especially
if/when their existing payment method expires and they have to change it.

Despite the drawbacks of PayPal's recurring billing system I cannot
emphasise enough how wonderful recurring billing is as a charging model. I
would suggest starting with a naive PayPal Standard implementation and grow
from there.

On 28 January 2011 15:21, Paul Wilson <merecomplists01 at googlemail.com>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-outsideand 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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Tim Harding

Well Informed Ltd
Registered in England & Wales
Company number 06707839
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