You know that having a reliable recurring revenue stream is one of the best ways to grow your business. Having that steady income stream takes the pressure off having to go out and find new business each month.
The Benefits of Recurring Billing
- Reduce manual work. You don’t have to send out invoices, bill credit cards manually, or cash checks.
- Retain customers. When customers don’t make a separate buying decision each month, the likelihood of them staying a customer increases.
- Eliminate late payments. Recurring payments are automated; there’s nothing for you or your customers to remember.
- Reduce customer support. With recurring payments, you don’t have to bug your customers each month their payment, reducing awkward interactions.
You may have also heard of Stripe and know that it’s one of the best payment processors with which to set up recurring payments.
But using Stripe is not exactly intuitive. By and large, Stripe is a developer-centric platform. Meaning you’ll likely need someone who knows how to code to help you set it up.
Cons: – It’s a bit complicated to use for someone who might not be techy. I am pretty techy and I think I’ve got a handle on it, especially since I mainly use it as the processor with my shopping cart, but if I had to use Stripe on its own, it probably would get complicated. – Capterra Review
To be fair, over the last year or so Stripe has added some tools to enable non-developers to set up recurring payments. So let’s see if we can use some of those tools to set up recurring payments.
And then we’ll do the same thing using ChargeKeep, connected to Stripe.
We’re going to make the assumption you already have a Stripe account. If not, it’s easy to open one:
- On Stripe’s website, click the “Create Account” button and go through the steps of putting in your email, choosing a password, etc. Stripe will send you a confirmation email. Click on that link and you’ll automatically be taken to Stripe’s control panel.
- Click on “Activate Your Account” and go through the form, filling out your company and bank info. Stripe will take about a week to verify your bank account.
Ok, now that you have an active Stripe account, let’s say you’re a consultant or coach and you want to sell a $300 monthly plan to your customers called “Monthly PRO.” Here’s how to do that in Stripe directly, using “Stripe Checkout.”
Step 1: Enable Checkout
Go to Settings > Checkout settings and click the “Enable client-only integration” button.
Step 2: Enable Your Domain
In the Domains field, add the domain you’d like to use Stripe Checkout with and click “Save.”
Step 3: Create a Product
If there are no existing products available, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a “Product.” Scroll to “Products” and click “+ New” in the upper right-hand corner.
Next, select “Recurring Products” on the right (you can also create a “One-time” product). Fill in “Monthly Pro” for the “Product name” and click “Continue.”
Congrats, you now have a monthly plan called Monthly Pro.
Or so you thought… Not so fast. On the following screen, you’ll have to create a “Pricing plan” for your newly created product.
Step 4: Create a Pricing Plan
A “Pricing plan” in Stripe terminology is just a fancy way of saying “Choose your recurring options.” In other words, do you want to bill your customers monthly, quarterly, etc. Since we’re creating a monthly plan, go ahead and leave “Billing interval” as “Monthly” at the bottom.
Don’t be confused by the “metered usage” or “price tiers” language. Remember, Stripe as a payment processor caters to a really wide variety of users, some of which might need metered usage or pricing tiers, depending on what type of a product they’re selling.
Go ahead and add a “Plan nickname” (you can just use your product name) and put in $300 for “Price per unit” and click “Add pricing plan.”
Step 5: Connect Your Product to Checkout
Now that you have a product and an adjoining pricing plan for that product, go back to Settings > Checkout settings and you’ll see your product listed under “products available to use with Checkout.”
Either click on that listing or go to “Products” in the main menu on the left to view your newly created product.
Click on the product and on the next screen click the button that says “Use with Checkout.”
Want to just skip the next 5 steps and give ChargeKeep a try?
Trust us, it’a much simpler way of integrating Stripe.
Step 6: Create Success and Cancel URLs
On the next screen, you’ll need to create what Stripe calls “Success” and “Cancel” URLs. The success URL is just the URL a payer will be redirected to upon successful payment. And the cancel URL is where they’ll be redirected if they cancel their subscription.
Step 7: Embed the Checkout Script
To create a link to your checkout page, you’ll need to embed the script Stripe gives you within a page on your website. There is no way to send someone a link to this page. Your only option is to create a button on site that opens the Stripe checkout popup.
You’ll need to paste in this script into the body of a page. In WordPress, you would do that by clicking the “Text” button in a page or post.
Step 8: Test the Checkout Button
You’re not done yet. Before you move, make sure to test to see whether the button actually works. As you can read here and here and here, the script can be a bit finicky and the button may or may not work depending on which platform (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc) you’re using.
If you click on it and nothing happens, you’ve got a problem somewhere. It’s possible you’re using your page in “Preview” mode; the script does not fire in preview mode. Or, you haven’t enabled your domain (see Step 2 above).
Either way, just know that in most likelihood you’ll need to do a bit of troubleshooting and Googling in order to get the button to work.
Step 9: Style Your Checkout
If you want to add your own brand colors, logo, etc. to your checkout page, you’ll need to do that in Settings > Branding. You’re somewhat limited in how you can style the checkout, but you can add a logo or icon and a background color.
The button itself can also be styled, but you’ll need to do that within the code of the script itself:
Step 10: Collect Payment
Whew. That’s quite a bit of work, huh? So, yeah, you can set up recurring payments using the Stripe dashboard directly, but it’s neither a user-friendly or short process.
Cons: Stripe does require some knowledge of front end development to integrate with many CMS platforms, even WordPress. It’s not necessarily the easiest to setup. – Capterra Review
ChargeKeep, our own tool, is a super simple way to integrate Stripe without having to navigate and find your way around the Stripe dashboard. In fact, you can do exactly the same thing in just 3 steps.
Step 1: Connect Your Stripe Account
Once you’ve signed up, simply connect your Stripe account by clicking on this button and going through the two-step process of connecting it.
You’ll be asked to login into your Stripe account.
Step 2: Create a Payment Form
Once you’ve connected ChargeKeep to Stripe, click on “New Payment Form” and go through the steps of creating your Monthly PRO $300 plan.
Click “Save Payment Form” at the bottom and you’re done. No creating “products” or “pricing plans” or “cancel URLs” or “enabling your domain.”
Congrats. You’ve just accomplished Steps 1-6 in Stripe in 2 steps in ChargeKeep.
Step 3: Collect Payment
With ChargeKeep, there’s no need to embed a payment form into your website. Of course, you can… you have a lot of different “sharing” options, but you don’t have to. Once you’ve saved your new payment form, you can simply copy a payment link and send it to someone.
But you can also create a button as you can with Stripe or even embed the form within your website (which you can’t do with Stripe).
So there you have it. Stripe is a great choice for a payment processor, but it’s not super easy to integrate into your website. Can you do it on your own without a developer to help? Yes, but it’s a 10-step process and requires a bit of troubleshooting on your part.
Why not skip all that hassle and just use ChargeKeep?
Now that you’re here…
You know that ChargeKeep is a super easy way to use Stripe in your business. You’ve got nothing to lose. Give it a try.