Many new startups and Web businesses use recurring billing, especially on Freemium and similar models, to monetize themselves. Most often, these services are billed either with a time-consuming, costly and often inflexible internal system that mates a customer management system with a payment gateway.
Several payment services such as Authorize.net and PayPal offer this ability, but it comes at a price. Autorize.net requires you to conform to their API, which basically requires that you build a custom internal system for handling CM and Authorize.net. PayPal has relatively high fees for processing and the Pro version of access to their API. This still requires that you mate an internal CM as well.
Recurly.com aims to make the whole process cheaper and easier by putting it all into one location. Their marketing is geared towards software as a service (SaaS) companies – especially those with Freemium models – and their offering is definitely taylored to that model.
The Recurly system allows for upgrading, downgrading, subscriptions and cancellations all in one setup along with their matching recurring billing services. Even refunds and handling of declined payments (suspension of accounts) can be done with Recurly. Most people can set up their system to match with Recurly’s in a day or less and their system works in a similar fashion to PayPal’s basic service model with a relatively simple API.
Their payment model is simple and charges on a flat scale, starting at $49/month for simple subscriber management without white labeling and advancing to $99 and $199 monthly for more customized and branded services.