Selling Recurring Products

Recurring products are items such as memberships, subscriptions, and other products that are billed and delivered regularly.

The following subjects are covered in this article:

Overview

Recurring products are products with an initial price as well as a recurring price. The customer pays the initial price at the time of purchase, then pays the recurring price at a specified frequency. You can either specify a number of rebill payments after which the payments will be completed, or the subscription can continue until it is canceled.

You set the initial and recurring price, the affiliate commission rate for the initial and recurring price, and the frequency when you create the product. You can also choose to offer a trial period, which lets you offer your customers a short period of time to try out your product at a free or reduced price before the regularly scheduled payments begin. You can specify a trial period when you create a recurring product, and make it a free trial period by setting a $0 initial price. See the Creating Your First Product article for more information.

With rebilling frequency options, you can select an existing frequency such as weekly or monthly, or specify a number of days, weeks, or months between payments. With these flexible options, you can list a greater variety of products and services in the marketplace. To start creating a recurring product, you can skip directly to Creating a Recurring 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 – 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 products to your business, see the Continuity Training article.

Admin-Controlled Feature

Anyone can sell recurring products on ClickBank. However, some features are admin-controlled, including semi-annual and annual billing. Contact ClickBank if you want access to these features.

Customer Experience

This is how recurring products work from the customer's perspective:

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, PayPal, and ELV (for customers in countries that use ELV).

Notifications

Before each rebill, ClickBank sends a pre-rebill email notification to the customer, reminding them of the upcoming payment. You can configure the timeframe for this reminder, or decide not to send it if the product's frequency is less than quarterly.

ClickBank also sends an email notification when the rebill is made.

Refunds

The customer can request a refund on a recurring 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 productss 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 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 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. You can specify separate commission rates for the initial sale and the rebills.

Example

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

Initial Purchase

Initial Payment: $29.95

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

Recurring Payments

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

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

Frequency Options

You have a variety of options for the payment frequency.

  • Specified Number of Days – The customer is billed every X days, where X is the number of days you specify.
  • Weekly – The customer is billed every week on the same day of the week.
  • Specified Number of Weeks – The customer is billed every X weeks on the same day of the week, where X is the number of weeks you specify.
  • Every Other Week – The customer is billed every two weeks on the same day of the week.
  • Monthly – The customer is billed every month on the same date. If the date does not exist, the rebill date is adjusted to the latest possible day in the month. For example, if a customer signs up for a monthly product on March 31, their next two payments will be on April 30 and May 30.
  • Specified Number of Months – The customer is billed every X months on the same date, where X is the number of months you specify. If the date does not exist, the rebill date is adjusted to the latest possible day in the month. For example, if a customer signs up for a product that bills every two months on July 31, their next two payments will be on September 30 and November 30.
  • Quarterly – The customer is billed every three months on the same date. If the date does not exist, the rebill date is adjusted to the latest possible day in the month. For example, if a customer signs up for a quarterly product on January 31, their next payment will be on April 30.
  • Semi-Annually – The customer is billed every six months on the same date. If the date does not exist, the rebill date is adjusted to the latest possible day in the month. For example, if a customer signs up for a semi-annual product on August 31, their next two payments will be on February 28 and August 28.
    Semi-Annual billing is an admin-controlled feature. Contact ClickBank if you want access to this feature.
  • Annually – The customer is billed every year on the same date. If the date does not exist, the rebill date is adjusted to the latest possible day in the month. For example, if a customer signs up for an annual product on February 29 of a leap year, their next payment will be on February 28.
    Annual billing is an admin-controlled feature. Contact ClickBank if you want access to this feature.

Payment failures may alter the timing of a rebill. See the Billing Failures section for more information.

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 canceled, and a notification is sent to the customer and to you.

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 Product

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

If your recurring product is also a physical product, see the Selling Physical Products article for more information.

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 product, you should verify that all information about your product is correct before submitting it for approval. Recurring 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 Products

Viewing Recurring Products

If one of your recurring products has sold at ClickBank, we provide a summary of any outstanding recurring 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 products for which you were the vendor or the affiliate, you will see a link under a section called Subscriptions.

Modifying Recurring Products

Other than the product description, changes to a recurring 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 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 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.

You can also perform these tasks using the Orders API. See the ClickBank APIs and Orders API articles for more information.

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 a physical product that is shippable to all of the locations covered by the original product. If the original product was a digital product, the new product must also be digital. Both products must use the same currency.

When you upgrade or downgrade a subscription, the product SKU and subscription frequency are changed, but the number of remaining subscription payments is not changed. If the new product has a free trial period, it is skipped.

A confirmation email is sent to the customer for each change to the subscription, including the product, the prorated refund if you provide one, and the next bill date if you change it. A new charge email is also sent the morning of the next bill date.

By default, we refund a portion of the old product's last recurring payment, not including the initial payment. This amount is prorated based on the amount of time remaining in the subscription period after the current day. You can choose not to provide this prorated refund for physical products. Regardless of the initial payment amounts, no refunds or charges are generated from the initial payment.

If you have Instant Notifications enabled, upgrading or downgrading a subscription triggers a notification. See the Instant Notification Service (INS) article for more information.

  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. (Optional) Uncheck the Apply Prorated Refund checkbox to refrain from providing a prorated refund for a physical product.
  9. (Optional) Click the Next Bill Date field to change the next bill date. The default value is the existing subscription's next bill date.
  10. Click Save.

Changing the Subscription Bill Date

You can change the billing date for an existing subscription. The customer is billed on the new billing date.

A confirmation email is sent to the customer with the new bill date.

  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.

A confirmation email is sent to the customer with information about the additional billing periods.

  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 Canceled Subscription

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

The next bill date depends on the timing and duration of the cancellation. If the subscription is resumed before the next previously scheduled payment, that payment occurs as normal. If the subscription is resumed after a previously scheduled payment, the next payment date is set to tomorrow, and all future payments are adjusted accordingly.

A confirmation email is sent to the customer.

  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 Canceling a Subscription

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

A confirmation email is sent to the customer.

  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.

A confirmation email is sent to the customer.

  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

This section describes how recurring 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 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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