PayPal Recurring Payments: Everything you need to know

Posted 5 years ago in Product ReviewsSmall Business Tips
by Tim Chaves

Recurring payments are incredibly useful to businesses that provide monthly services. When customers pay the same amount every month, this kind of billing is called a subscription model. It’s common for businesses like TV and internet providers, food delivery kits, gyms, and other consistent products and services.

Recurring billing can save you time, but it can also help you retain customers by encouraging longer-term relationships, lowering your billing costs, and making payments more convenient.

ZipBooks gives you a simple, cost effective way of automating your business billing to save you some major minutes (hours, really!) every month. But, we want to give you the 411 on PayPal recurring payments so you know everything you need to know about your invoicing options.

PayPal Recurring Payments

When you sign up for a PayPal Business Account (or upgrade from a personal account), you’ll have access to recurring payments.

Billing Options

With step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to add a subscription button to your website so that customers can sign up on their own. Customize your Subscribe button with a dropdown menu (if you have multiple subscription options). Then choose the length of your billing cycle and if necessary, stop billing after a certain number of cycles. You can even create usernames and passwords for subscribers to access special “members only” content.

ZipBooks offers recurring billing as part of  your overall accounting, invoicing, reporting, and growth solution. Set up a recurring profile for each customer, choose when billing begins and ends, how often you bill each customer, which payment types are accepted, and whether to send invoices or receipts (or both!). You can even set it to automatically collect payment if your customer has already put in their credit card information. Simple! 

Multiple Currencies

With PayPal recurring billing, you can bill customers no matter where they are in the world. PayPal gives you the flexibility of offering your products and services in more than 90 different currencies.

One thing to be aware of is that there may be PayPal Business Account fees involved in the currency conversion process. PayPal states that they use the most current exchange rate, but they may actually be using a lower rate, and, in effect, taking a good amount off the top for themselves (even though they state there’s no fee to convert currency). Many customers say that there is no receipt, and that they actually end up paying a substantial amount in fees once it’s all said and done.

ZipBooks lets you invoice in multiple currencies as well. Choose a default currency for each recurring profile, or select an individual currency each time you create an invoice. You can even generate reports to reflect your sales in each currency type. Go global!

ZipBooks doesn’t mess with currency conversion, so it all depends on the payment processor you are using. Most ZipBookers use Stripe or Square, but you can integrate with PayPal as well. 

Cost and Limitations

While there is no monthly fee associated with PayPal’s recurring payments, there are limitations on a regular PayPal recurring invoicing plan:

  • Customers must have a PayPal account to pay you.
  • No automatic billing options
  • No option for installment plans.

If you want customers to be able to pay you any way they’d like, enable automatic collection of payment, and let your customers pay in installments, you need to have an Enhanced Recurring Payments account. This service is a subscription that costs $19.99 per month. 

ZipBooks lets your customers pay their bill in any way you choose–including cash, check, credit card or PayPal. Auto-billing is included as an option in your recurring profiles for no extra charge, and you can accept and record partial payments on any invoice.

Recurring billing is included in our Smarter plan, which costs $15 per month. But billing is only one of the many benefits. You also get unlimited bank connections, advanced bookkeeping and accounting solutions, time tracking, team collaboration, auto-importing time and expenses into invoices, and ZipBooks basic intelligence (suggestions to help you work smarter and more profitably). 

Using PayPal Pro or Virtual Terminal?

If you have a PayPal Pro account and/or Virtual Terminal, the deal is a little different. In order to use recurring billing and automatic payments with these plans, you’ll pay $10/month in addition to your regular monthly fees ($30/month for both). And remember that the Enhanced Recurring Payments account is an additional $19.99/month.

ZipBooks or PayPal?

Billing is an essential element in business success and we want you to choose the product that is right for you. If you are already using a PayPal Business Account, consider taking advantage of their recurring payments plan. If ZipBooks sounds like a good solution for you, try out our free plan–it never expires!

To take advantage of ZipBooks’ recurring billing, consider our Smarter plan–we offer a free 30 day trial, so you can find out for yourself if ZipBooks is a good fit. We think you’ll find that it’s just the solution you’ve been looking for. 

To read more about PayPal’s other services, peruse our blog posts on PayPal Working Capital and PayPal Invoices.

About Tim

Tim is Founder and CEO of ZipBooks. He keeps his desk really nice and neat.

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