Recurring Billing, Subscription, & Membership Products

Recurring products let you sell memberships, subscriptions, and other products that are billed and delivered regularly.

The following subjects are covered in this article:

Overview

ClickBank recurring billing is a fully automated system that makes listing, promoting, and managing recurring transactions easy and profitable. ClickBank recurring billing subscriptions provide you with the flexibility to list and promote a wide array of products and services.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions allow you to list and promote products and services, such as software licenses and membership sites, in which customers receive ongoing value. ClickBank recurring billing subscriptions allow you to customize your regularly scheduled customer payments with features like:

  • The ability to have a lower initial price
  • The ability to offer a trial period
  • The ability to select from new rebilling frequency options

The ability to suggest a lower initial price gives you flexibility when designing your recurring billing product or service, since you can increase the payment for subsequent rebills. A trial period allows you to offer your customers a short period of time to try out your product at a reduced price before the regularly scheduled payments begin. With rebilling frequency options, you can select bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly billing. With these flexible options, you can list a greater variety of products and services in the marketplace. To start creating a recurring billing product, you can skip directly to Creating a Recurring Billing Product.

Why Use ClickBank Recurring Billing?

  • Recurring Revenue Streams – Have a product or service idea that provides continuous value over time? ClickBank recurring billing can help monetize that idea and provide you with predictable and repeatable revenue.
  • No Monthly Fees – Unlike many of our competitors, ClickBank does not charge any additional fees or any monthly fees for using recurring billing. If you already have an account, you can get started today.
  • No Integration Required – When implementing ClickBank recurring billing there is no software to install. Recurring billing integrates seamlessly with the current ClickBank system and is easy to implement.
  • Guaranteed Payments – ClickBank has never missed a payment since we started in 1998. Our proven tracking and payout process means that you get paid for every sale. Plus, our tiered markup structure means more money in your pocket on lower priced rebills.
  • Reporting and Analytics – The information that is gathered throughout the recurring billing process is summarized in our Reporting feature, allowing you to manage recurring customers with ease. See the Subscriptions Reporting article for more information.

For training on how to effectively add recurring billing products to your business, be sure to check out our Continuity Training article.

Customer Experience

This section explains how recurring billing products work from the perspective of the customer.

Purchasing

When a customer purchases a recurring product, they pay an initial price, then pay a rebill price at specified intervals. These payments are charged automatically unless the customer requests a refund or cancels their subscription.

Payment Types

The payment types allowed for recurring billing are credit card and PayPal.

Notifications

Before each rebill, ClickBank sends an email notification to the customer, reminding them of the upcoming payment. You can configure the timeframe for this reminder.

Refunds

The customer can request a refund on a recurring billing product.

If the refund is requested within 60 days of the initial purchase, we may refund one or more payments at our discretion. If a customer requests a refund, all future payments are also canceled.

After 60 days, all sales are final.

Cancelation

Recurring billing subscriptions may be canceled at any time. A cancelation means that no future rebills will be charged to the customer's account. Past payments are not affected by a cancelation.

Pricing and Commissions

For most recurring billing products, ClickBank purchases the product from the vendor at a wholesale price equal to 92.5% of retail, less a $1 stocking charge. However, for rebills associated with a recurring billing product where the rebill is less than $40, ClickBank purchases the rebill product from the vendor at a wholesale price equal to 90.1% of retail.

For affiliate directed sales, the commission percentage is subtracted from the net sale price. The affiliate receives the commission on the initial sale and on every rebill payment. You set a commission percentage for the product as a whole, and that percentage applies to both the initial purchase and the rebill payments.

Here is an example of how commissions would be calculated if a vendor offered a 55% commission for a 12 month subscription where the initial payment is $29.95, and the rebill payments are $9.95:

Initial Payment: $29.95

55% Commission on Net Sale: [($29.95 x 92.5%) - $1.00)] x 55% = $14.69

Rebill Payments: $9.95/month for 11 months

Net Sale Amount for each rebill payment: $9.95 x 90.1% = $8.96

55% Commission on Net Rebill Payments: $8.96 x 55% = $4.93

Total Earned by Affiliate for this Subscription: $14.69 + ($4.93 x 11) = $68.92

Frequency

Recurring billing products can recur weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

Monthly Billing

This section describes a. normal timing, b. unavailable date timing, and c. payment failure process timing for recurring billing.

Normal Timing

The following is an example of normal payment timing.

The recurring terms are:

  • $30.00 for the first month
  • $10.00 a month for 11 months

The Customer signs up on May 1, and is billed as follows:

  • May 1 = $30.00
  • June 1 = $10.00
  • July 1 = $10.00
  • ...and so on through April 1 of the following year

Unavailable Date Timing

If you have a subscription payment scheduled for a day that does not occur in a given month (e.g. the 30th does not occur in February), the bill will occur on the last available day of the month. Thereafter, the payment will occur on the newly established day of the month.

The following is an example of unavailable date timing: The recurring terms are:

  • $10 per month, for 12 months, billed on the 30th

The customer signs up on Jan. 30, and is billed as follows:

  • Jan. 30 = $10.00
  • Feb. 28 = $10.00
  • Mar. 28 = $10.00
  • ...and so on through Dec. 28 of the same year

Payment Failure Timing

Unlike many of our competitors, we don't give up after one payment failure. ClickBank understands that scheduled payments may fail for several reasons, including insufficient funds, so we have optimized our recurring billing process to reduce authorization declines and increase your revenue.

Weekly Billing

Weekly occurs once per week and is processed under the same rules as monthly.

Bi-Weekly Billing

Bi-weekly occurs once every two weeks and is processed under the same rules as monthly.

Quarterly Billing

Quarterly billing will occur every 3 months, not every 90 days. It is processed under the same rules as monthly, but the Unavailable Date Timing is different. The Unavailable Date Timing for quarterly billing will bill each quarter on the same day as the last successful authorization, just three months later. If the month is too short to bill on the same day, the bill should occur on the last day of the month it is scheduled for and not be pushed into the next month.

Billing Failures

Authorization Failures

In the event that the customer's credit card cannot support the payment request, we will attempt authorization again three days after the first failure date. After a second failure, we will reattempt four days after the second failure date. After a third failure, we will try once more seven days after the third failure date. A fourth failure will lead to an automatic cancelation of the subscription purchase. We send notifications to the customer on the final two attempts. The following is an example of payment failure timing due to an authorization failure:

  • June 1 = 1st attempt, failed due to insufficient funds.
  • June 4 = 2nd attempt, failed due to insufficient funds.
  • June 8 = 3rd attempt, failed due to insufficient funds. Notification sent to the customer.
  • June 15 = 4th attempt. If failed, the rebill is automatically cancelled (notification sent to the customer)

Email Notification

When the third authorization failure occurs, we send an email notification to the customer. The email contains the order details and the following text:

Dear <Customer>,
Our records show that the credit card we have on file for the order detailed below is no longer processing correctly. This could be for a variety of reasons.

In order to continue receiving your title subscription your credit card information needs to be updated. Please click the following URL to update your payment information: www.clickbank.com.

We will attempt to rebill you in 7 days. If this billing fails, your order will be canceled. 

Card Validation Failure

In the event that customer's credit card becomes invalid, we will deliver the customer up to four notifications requesting new credit card data. The notifications are delivered once a week. If there is no response after the fourth notice, the subscription purchase is automatically canceled. In order to keep the vendor informed, we also send them each notification. If updated credit card data is received from the customer, the rebills from that point forward are executed from the date of the successful authorization.

The following is an example of payment failure timing due to a card validation failure.

The subscription terms are:

  • $30.00 per payment for 4 months

The Customer signs up on May 1, and is billed as follows:

  • May 1 = $30.00
  • June 1 = $30.00
  • July 1 = Failed attempt to receive payment due to invalid card information, email notification sent to customer
  • July 4 = Customer provides updated billing information, and the second 2nd attempt is executed, which is successful for $30.00
  • Subscription complete on Aug. 4 with receipt of $30.00 payment

Email Notification

When a card validation failure occurs, we send an email notification to the customer. The email contains the order details and the following text:

Dear <Customer>,
This email is to inform you that your credit card information needs to be updated to continue receiving your subscription. Please click the following URL to update your payment information: www.clickbank.com

If you have purchased with PayPal please update your billing information within your PayPal account to ensure further service.

Creating a Recurring Billing Product

Creating a recurring billing, subscription, or membership product is similar to creating a standard product, but with a few unique steps. See the Creating Your First Product article for the full procedure.

You can create as many recurring products as you want, up to a limit of 500 products per account.

NOTE – When you create a recurring billing product, you should verify that all information about your product is correct before submitting it for approval. Recurring billing products cannot be changed once they are approved. If you make a mistake in the pricing or frequency for a recurring product, you must create a new product to correct the error.

Managing Recurring Billing Products

Viewing Recurring Billing Products

If one of your recurring billing products has sold at ClickBank, we provide a summary of any outstanding recurring billing products within your account. To find this information, log in to your ClickBank account, select the Reporting tab, and then go to Analytics. If ClickBank has sold any recurring billing products for which you were the vendor or the affiliate, you will see a link under a section called Subscriptions.

Modifying Recurring Billing Products

Other than the product description, changes to a recurring billing product will not be permitted. If you wish to change the price of a product for future sales, you will need to create a new product in the My Products section of your account. If a change is made to a recurring billing product, it will not affect any subscriptions that are currently in progress. All subscription terms are captured at the time of purchase and preserved for the life of the subscription.

Membership Access

You must manage membership access and product delivery for your recurring billing products. ClickBank will send you an email notification when an existing customer cancels their subscription. You can also see information about your current subscribers by clicking the Subscriptions section of the Reporting tab.

Managing Subscriptions

You can manage customer subscriptions through a Master account. If you don't have a Master account, see the Master Accounts: Linking Multiple ClickBank Accounts article for information about creating a Master account and linking your ClickBank accounts with it.

Assigning the Subscription Management Role to an Existing User

A clerk user must have the Subscription Management role to manage customer subscriptions. The Subscription Management role requires the Manage Tickets and Manage Orders roles.

If you have not created any clerk users, see the Managing Users section of the Master Accounts: Linking Multiple ClickBank Accounts article for more information.

  1. Log in to your Master account.
  2. Click the Users tab.
  3. Locate a clerk user and click Manage Permissions.
    The Permissions page is displayed. For example:This image shows the permissions page. The top section shows the clerk user's account name, and has checkboxes indicating that the user is enabled and has the capacity to manage other users, but does not have report access. The user's API key is displayed. The middle section contains a table that shows the user's current roles. The bottom section contains a table showing the user's API integration roles.
  4. Check the Manage Tickets, Manage Orders, and Subscription Management checkboxes to give the clerk user the correct roles. For example:
    This image shows the permissions page. The top section shows the clerk user's account name, and has checkboxes indicating that the user is enabled and has the capacity to manage other users, but does not have report access. The user's API key is displayed. The middle section contains a table that shows the user's current roles. The user has been assigned the Manage Tickets, Manage Orders, and Subscription Management roles. The bottom section contains a table showing the user's API integration roles.
  5. Click Save.

Upgrading or Downgrading a Subscription

You can change a subscription from one product to another.

If the original product was a physical product, the new product must be shippable to all of the locations covered by the original product. If the original product was a digital product, the new product cannot be physical. Both products must use the same currency.

When you upgrade or downgrade a subscription, we refund a portion of the old product's last recurring payment. This amount is prorated based on the amount of time remaining in the subscription period.

  1. Log in to your Master account using a user account with the Subscription Management role.
  2. Click the Transactions tab.
  3. Use the search feature to locate the desired transaction.
  4. Click the receipt number.
    The Transaction window is displayed.
  5. Click Manage Subscription.
    The Manage Subscription window is displayed.
  6. Select Change Subscription Product.
  7. Select the new subscription product from the dropdown menu.
  8. Click Save.

Changing the Subscription Bill Date

You can change the billing date for an existing subscription.

  1. Log in to your Master account using a user account with the Subscription Management role.
  2. Click the Transactions tab.
  3. Use the search feature to locate the desired transaction.
  4. Click the receipt number.
    The Transaction window is displayed.
  5. Click Manage Subscription.
    The Manage Subscription window is displayed.
  6. Select Change Subscription Bill Date.
  7. Enter a new billing date.
  8. Click Save.

Extending a Subscription

You can extend a subscription, adding one or more billing periods to it.

  1. Log in to your Master account using a user account with the Subscription Management role.
  2. Click the Transactions tab.
  3. Use the search feature to locate the desired transaction.
  4. Click the receipt number.
    The Transaction window is displayed.
  5. Click Manage Subscription.
    The Manage Subscription window is displayed.
  6. Select Extend Subscription.
  7. Enter a number of rebill periods to add to the subscription.
  8. Click Save.

Reinstating a Cancelled Subscription

You can reinstate a cancelled subscription that was cancelled within the past 60 days.

  1. Log in to your Master account using a user account with the Subscription Management role.
  2. Click the Transactions tab.
  3. Use the search feature to locate the desired transaction.
  4. Click the receipt number.
    The Transaction window is displayed.
  5. Click Manage Subscription.
    The Manage Subscription window is displayed.
  6. Select Reinstate Cancelled Subscription.
  7. Click Save.

Refunding or Cancelling a Subscription

You can issue a refund or cancellation for a current subscription.

  1. Log in to your Master account.
  2. Click the Transactions tab.
  3. Use the search feature to locate the desired transaction.
  4. Click the receipt number.
    The Transaction window is displayed.
  5. Click Create Ticket.
  6. Select either Refund or Cancel.
  7. Select a reason for the refund or cancellation from the dropdown menu.
  8. Click Save.

Changing the Shipping Address of a Subscription

You can change the shipping address for a physical product subscription.

  1. Log in to your Master account.
  2. Click the Transactions tab.
  3. Use the search feature to locate the desired transaction.
  4. Click the receipt number.
    The Transaction window is displayed.
  5. Locate the Shipping Info section and click Edit Shipping Info.
  6. Edit the shipping information.
  7. Click Save.

Compatibility With Other Features

This section describes how recurring billing products work with other features.

Order Bump

You can include recurring products in an order bump. The terms are displayed for each recurring product in an order bump. See the Order Bump article for more information.

PitchPlus Upsells

You can include recurring billing products in an upsell. If you do, you must add additional code so that the customer can verify that they understand the terms of the recurring product. See the PitchPlus Upsell Flows article for more information.

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