How to Accept Recurring Payments with Shopify October 17, 2014 03:00

Shopify is a great eCommerce platform that supports many types of stores. However, the basic Shopify options may not support the features that your store needs to manage or sell your products effectively. That’s where the Shopify app marketplace comes into play. There are tons of great apps for Shopify that add the functionality you need to your store, and most of them can be installed in just a couple of clicks.

Launch your store

Launching a Shopify store is very simple – you can even give it a 14 day free trial to see how you like it. Right now is the perfect time to launch a Shopify store, as the annual Build a Business competition is going on at the moment, so you could win great prizes for doing what you’d be doing anyway – making money.

While you’re launching your store, I’d recommend checking out some of our tutorials and shop tips, as well as considering how you can most effectively build out your new product line.

Recurring Payments with Shopify

Whether you’re entering into the Build a Business competition or not, of the most effective revenue models online stores can adopt is a recurring payments model. This means that you’ll be charging your customers regularly in a set interval, usually monthly. This is great for services like subscription boxes (Dollar Shave Club, anyone?) or coaching / membership type sites.

While accepting recurring payments with Shopify used to be very difficult to do, there are a few apps that have made this far easier that have been released recently.

ReCharge App

The Shopify ReCharge App was just released, and provides a fantastic option for accepting recurring payments with Shopify. You can create payment and shipping intervals in terms of months, weeks, or days to both charge and send goods to customers. You can keep your current checkout flow, and I really love that customers can purchase both recurring and non-recurring products at once within the same checkout.

Your orders are synced to Shopify so that you can manage and fulfill them just like all other orders, and they’ll also be connected to your other integrations through Shopify so that your fulfillment process is seamless. You will have to process recurring payments via Stripe (which is a fantastic payment processing company), but regular items can be processed via your usual Shopify processor.

You can give the app a go for free, and continue to use it for free for up to 5 recurring customers.

Try the ReCharge App

ChargeBee App

The ChargeBee app for Shopify provides a free trial to get you completely up and running, then plans start at $49 per month. ChargeBee provides tons of flexible options for recurring billing, such as extended trials, upgrades, downgrades, and a built-in reporting suite.

Invoices will be generated by ChargeBee and emailed to customers for subscription purchases rather than being processed through the Shopify order system. However, customers will still have an account they can log into to manage personal and subscription options.

One of the best things about ChargeBee is that you can use one of several different payment processors to process your subscription payments.

Try the ChargeBee App

Paywhirl App

The Paywhirl app provides another option to accept recurring payments with Shopify. You can accept one-time or recurring payments, and can bill in intervals of weeks, months, or years. You can also offer subscription trials, promo codes, and upsells. All recurring payments with Shopify while usig Paywhirl will be processed via Stripe.

Paywhirl will automatically create your Paywhirl subscription products in your Shopify admin, then create customers and orders for your Subscription payments. This lets you manage your recurring orders just like every other Shopify order for easy fulfillment in your store.

Try the Paywhirl App

Chargify App

The Chargify app has been around for some time, and used to be the only way to accept recurring payments via Shopify. While Chargify provides a fairly robust recurring payment system, it’s more expensive than the other apps available to get started. However, you can use a free test shop to take it for a spin and see if it works for you.

Chargify manages all customer information, coupons, taxes, etc on their side, and then integrates with your Shopify store to provide products and sync orders between Chargify and Shopify. They also integrate with several third-party services for subscriptions and customer management, affiliate programs, and email campaigns. You can set sign up fees, free trials, several types of billing cycles, and more using Chargify’s recurring payments service with Shopify.

You can also set up subscriptions with one of many different processors using Chargify. While it’s expensive, it also offers a lot of flexibility in processing recurring payments with Shopify.

Try the Chargify App


Which app you choose will depend on what you need for your store. ReCharge, Chargify, and Paywhirl provide the tightest integration with Shopify, as you can manage orders generated by recurring payments right in your Shopify admin. However, ChargeBee lets you choose your payment processor and provides a slightly more robust subscription system. Chargify offers the most balanced solution between flexibility in choosing a payment processor along with the other features, but will be more expensive for your shop.

Ultimately, your choice in accepting recurring payments with Shopify will come down to the value of your subscription products, as well as the features and integration you need in your Shopify admin.

ReCharge ChargeBee PayWhirl Chargify
Monthly Cost Free – $79 / mo $49 – $249 / mo 1% of transactions $65 – $30,000 / mo
Payment Processor external: Stripe external: your choice external: Stripe external: your choice
Uses Shopify Orders? Yes No Yes Yes

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