Cratejoy vs. Recurring Billing Apps and Integrations

When you’re starting a new subscription business, all the conflicting information out there can feel overwhelming. Where should you host your ecommerce store? What billing app is best suited for your subscription business? Today, we break it down for you.

But first, a quick overview:

The rest of this article will explore each of your re-billing options in depth, covering:

  • Overview + features
  • Price
  • Transaction fees
  • Payment Processors
  • Apps + Integrations
  • Free Trial length
  • Rebilling options
  • and Drawbacks

Cratejoy

As you know, Cratejoy is primarily an all-in-one platform for subscription businesses, offering hosting space for your store, marketing tools, tracking and analytics, gifting and coupon options, a subscription Marketplace that receives 20,000 unique views per day, a checkout experience that maintains your branding for customers, a dedicated customer success manager, and more. (Check out our features page for the full scoop).

But did you know that Cratejoy is also expanding its options? Cratejoy offers a checkout-only experience for entrepreneurs hosting their ecommerce stores on other platforms (Shopify, WordPress, Wix, etc) but who want the power of Cratejoy’s subscription-focused tools to power their back end. Even better? A Cratejoy for Shopify app is currently in private beta and will be available in the Shopify App Store soon. Both options will run users $19/mo + transaction fees.

Let’s take a look at the stats.

Cost of membership:

$39/month flat fee for all-in-one service
$19/month for checkout-only service + a free marketplace listing

Transaction fees per sale:

1.25% + $0.10 for sales via external storefront
11.25% + $0.10 for sales via Cratejoy Marketplace

What payment processors can I use?

Stripe, PayPal Checkout, Braintree, Authorize.net

Other integrations or partnerships:

Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, WooCommerce, ShipStation, Pirate Ship, BoxUp, eShipper, MailChimp, CartRover, Add-Ons, Referral Program, CartHook, Picreel, SumoMe, Localizejs, Subscription Gallery, Advanced Rebilling, Loyalty Program, Product Reviews, Customer Pricing

Free trial?

14 days

Rebilling:

Cratejoy offers multiple rebilling options for subscribers. While the default billing cycle is monthly, on whichever day of the month you select, Cratejoy offers an Advanced Rebilling app that allows for subscription billing customization. That will allow you to offer weekly, biweekly (every 2 weeks), bimonthly (every 2 months), quarterly (every 3 months), and ad hoc (monthly anniversary) rebilling.

Drawbacks:

Cratejoy is designed specifically for subscription box services, so if you’re more interested in setting up a traditional online store that offers only one-time purchases, it may not be the ideal platform for you.

ReCharge

This billing app, designed for Shopify stores, determines its two memberships by the volume of Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) your business rakes in. If you make under $100,000 MRR each month, you’re suited for the Standard plan; if your business makes more, you may be better off with their Pro plan for enterprise companies.

In exchange, both plans offer a customer-facing portal for subscribers to try out and manage their subscription plans, as well as backend support for your operations. This includes automatic emails to follow up with subscribers, so you won’t have to manually track customers who are late on payments; inventory tracking; and the ability to customize your storefront to unify your branded checkout process. 

Cost of membership:

$19.99/month for Standard
Must contact for Pro pricing

Transaction fees per sale:

1% for recurring orders on Standard plan
0.7% for recurring orders on Pro plan

What payment processors can I use?

Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net

Other integrations or partnerships:

Shopify, Addressy, CartHook (cart abandonment and checkout funnel), Google Analytics, Gorgias, Klaviyo, LeadDyno, Littledata, LoyaltyLion, MailChimp, One Click Upsell, Product Customizer, ReferralCandy, Refersion, Smile.io, Submetrics, Swell, Trade Gecko, Ultimate Upsell, Zapier

Free trial?

90 days

Rebilling:

Rather than offering preset billing cycles, ReCharge allows you to individualize billing cycles per customer. They also allow one-time as well as recurring subscription purchases. While their site is fairly easy to navigate for the seasoned subscription entrepreneur, however, the individual billing process could be unwieldy and overly complicated for a novice.

Drawbacks:

There’s no midlevel membership option, which leaves medium-sized businesses with the same options as a very small business. For a platform that only integrates with Shopify storefronts, it may not be worth the hassle.

Chargify

The interesting thing about Chargify is that they focus on “elastic billing,” or the process of offering special prices and billing cycles that are specific to each unique customer.

For this reason, Chargify offers a Rapid Offer Builder to create a custom subscription package for each customer, with 15 pricing models to choose from. There’s also in-house analytics and insights (including churn analysis), migration assistance, and a customer-facing business portal where they can manage their subscriptions.

Cost of membership:

Not listed on Chargify’s website –– you have to contact their sales team to find out. They do offer their service month-to-month rather than using a contract, so you can cancel your membership with Chargify at any time.

Transaction fees per sale:

Individual –– you set up the payment offers for each subscriber.

What payment processors can I use?

Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, Square, Bambora, BPoint, Chase Paymentech, CyberSource, Elavon, EWay, FirstData, Moneris, NMI, Payment Express, Paymill, Pin Payments, QuickPay, TrustCommerce, Vantiv, Wirecard

Other integrations or partnerships:

Salesforce, Xero, Zapier, QuickBooks, MailChimp, Shopify, Wufoo, Formstack, JotForm, ChartMogul, Baremetrics, Pirate Ship, WordPress, Ambassador, Zendesk, GrowSumo, Drip, Workato, WebMerge, LeadDyno, Amity, Churn Buster, Twilio, Natero, ClickDesk, Chargely, Geckoboard, CloudWork, Leftronic, INinBox, Klipfolio, Pipeliner, LeadsBridge

Free trial?

30 days

Rebilling:

Chargify’s focus on elastic billing may be forward-thinking, but frankly, setting individual offers for each subscriber is also time-consuming. Going this route may take away from your team’s efficiency, even in the early stages of growing your business. When you’re trying to scale, it may seem impossible.

Drawbacks:

Chargify’s website can be difficult to navigate as a new user. While it offers an almost overwhelming volume of information explaining its features across myriad webpages, it lacks key information for potential customers, such as membership cost.

Bold

Bold offers a ton of apps and embedded widgets for Shopify stores, but today we’ll be talking specifically about Recurring Orders and Recurring Memberships, their two apps designed for subscription services.

Confused? Here’s the difference. Recurring Orders –– by far the more popular application –– is to charge subscribers habitually for shipments of a particular product (like a razor or watch), while Recurring Memberships is to charge subscribers for a service: a curated collection in an item category (like a makeup or snack box).

Recurring Memberships offers the opportunity to keep parts of your store members-only; without a membership, viewers won’t be able to access special pricing, products, or even webpages, creating a sense of exclusivity. On the other hand, Recurring Orders is more widespread and also set up for subscription boxes, provided you categorize the box as a “product” in your Shopify store. Recurring Orders is also “designed to scale,” meaning it claims to be just as flexible with large-size businesses as small outfits.

Cost of membership:

  • Recurring Orders: $19.99/month for Standard plan (must contact for Enterprise pricing)
  • Recurring Memberships: $9.99/month for 50 subscribers; $19.99/month for 100; $49.99/month for 1,000; $199.99/month for 5,000; $299.99/month for 10,000 (must contact for higher volume than that)

Transaction fees per sale:

  • Recurring Orders: 1% for Standard, 0.75-1% for Enterprise plan (percentage decreases the higher your MRR; 0.75% would be for businesses bringing in $100k a month)
  • Recurring Memberships: Must contact Bold to inquire

What payment processors can I use?

  • Recurring Orders: Stripe, Braintree, Authorize.net
  • Recurring Memberships: Stripe, PayPal

Other integrations or partnerships:

Recurring Orders: Google Analytics & Autocomplete, Facebook Pixel, Referral Candy, Refersion, Addressy, Klaviyo, Shoelace

Free trial?

  • 30 days for Recurring Memberships
  • 90 days for Recurring Orders

Rebilling:

Individual –– set up by you for whatever cycle you prefer.

Drawbacks:

It can be easy to confuse Recurring Orders and Recurring Memberships, as demonstrated by the multiple webpages on Bold’s site explaining the difference between the two. As a result, it can be tricky deciding which app would best suit your product offering. The reach of Recurring Memberships is limited in comparison to the other. However, while Recurring Orders has a greater number of integrations and lower barrier to entry, handling all those integrations (and the membership costs they likely also engender) may be more effort than you need. It may also limit your ability to expand your product offerings later on.

Chargebee

Chargebee is unique in that it has three tiers of membership, depending on the size of your business. Their Launch plan for new businesses costs nothing, and when you reach the necessary size, you’ll be upgraded to a Growing plan (see below) automatically. On the customer-facing side, Chargebee offers a range of add-on items to customize subscriptions, proration for billing, and is designed to be modular, allowing you to experiment with plan offerings.

Cost of membership:

Three tiers of membership: Growing (Go, Rise, Scale); New Businesses (Launch), and Enterprise. These are defined by how much monthly recurring revenue (MRR) you rake in.

$0/month for Launch. This will last until you earn your first $50,000 in revenue; then you’ll be moved to the Go plan.

  • $99/month for Go plan (up to $25k MRR) + 0.5% of any revenue over that limit
  • $299/month for Rise plan (up to $50k MRR) + 0.6% of any revenue over that limit
  • $599/month for Scale plan (up to $75k MRR) + 0.9% of any revenue over that limit

Enterprise businesses should contact Chargebee for information on pricing.

Transaction fees per sale:

Must contact Chargebee for information

What payment processors can I use?

Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, PayPal Payments Pro, PayPal Payflow Pro, Amazon Payments, Orbital (Chase Paymentech)

Other integrations and partnerships:

Freshdesk, Zendesk, Groove, QuickBooks, Salesforce, Xero, Zapier, Avalara, Refersion, MailChimp, ChartMogul, Google Analytics, ReferralCandy, Friendbuy, Moxtra, LeadDyno, Zoho CRM, Natero, Slack, Klaviyo, ProfitWell, Intercom, PieSync

Free trial?

No

Rebilling:

Chargebee offers metered and usage billing, which is a unique twist among these platforms (if perhaps not suited to subscription boxes). Additionally, they offer invoice-based billing, with custom invoice templates, and digital tax assistance with doing business in foreign countries. For small businesses, it seems straightforward to use.

Drawbacks:

For businesses that no longer qualify for the free Launch plan, Chargebee’s cost to entry may be too high –– especially without the option to try out their service in a free trial. Additionally, this app poses the same issue as others with a lot of possible integrations; it may be overwhelming to compartmentalize and manage each part of the checkout and billing processes.

PayWhirl

PayWhirl offers its services as either an online portal or a widget you can embed in your Shopify storefront or website. Like Chargebee, it offers a free “Starter” plan for new businesses; however, it does charge businesses under this plan a little more in transaction fees. On the customer-facing side, it allows you to “chain” different subscription plans together to create custom plans for different subscribers –– including preorders and layaway plans, which isn’t offered by PayWhirl’s competitors. Furthermore, they offer customized follow-up emails and a test gateway for experimenting before your checkout process goes live.

Cost of membership:

$0/month for Starter plan
$49/month for Pro plan
$149/month for Plus plan
$249/month for Ultimate plan

Must contact them directly for Enterprise pricing. Additional integrations (see below) cost a flat fee of $10/month.

Transaction fees per sale:

3% for Starter plan
2% for Pro plan
1% for Plus plan
0.5% for Ultimate plan

What payment processors can I use?

For free, you can set up Stripe, Authorize.net, and Braintree. For $10/month, you can add PayPal, Cyber Source, Elavon, Heartland, NMI, SagePay, Citrus, Bambora, WePay, and WorldPay.

Other integrations and partnerships:

Shopify, ShipStation, Google Analytics & AdWords, Squarespace, BigCommerce, MailChimp, Wix, Cyfe, ReferralCandy, Share A Sale, Zapier, and your custom Javascript code

Free trial?

14 days

Rebilling:

PayWhirl also bases its billing on customer invoices, allowing you to pick a variety of rebilling cycles. You might bill customers at set intervals (such as quarterly or monthly), offer free trials of a subscription box, or accept prepaid subscriptions.

Drawbacks:

“Chaining” plans together may prove to be unnecessarily inefficient and complicated for entrepreneurs who want to customize their subscription plans. After all, the more time you spend testing your various plan options in a test gateway, the less time you have to source products, market your subscription service, fulfill orders, or devote to customer support.

Charge Rabbit

Charge Rabbit offers two options, as a widget or as an embed in your Shopify store. In addition, this is the only service in this article that specializes in digital-only deliveries, thanks to its integration with Sky Pilot. Like ReCharge and some others, it offers a customer-facing portal for subscribers to cancel or update their subscription, address, or payment information.

Cost of membership:

$0/month for Hobby plan
$75/month for Startup plan
$250/month for Professional plan

Transaction fees per sale:

5% for Hobby plan
3% for Startup plan
1% for Professional plan

What payment processors can I use?

Stripe

Other integrations and partnerships:

Sky Pilot, Shopify

Free trial?

No

Rebilling:

Individual — set up by you.

Drawbacks:

Charge Rabbit is only set up for Shopify stores specifically, and it lacks the more intricate options offered by some of its competitors. Moreover, its website lacks a user-friendly interface; most information is only available through Charge Rabbit’s documentation, rather than a clearly worded or accessible FAQ. (To top it off, the site requires you to enter your Shopify login information in order to access much of that documentation.)

There’s no free trial or visible demo online to set your expectations of Charge Rabbit’s user experience, either. As a result, its barrier to entry is higher than others.

Our Recommendation

Any of these rebilling checkout services might work for you, but depending on your budget, technical skills, and marketing prowess, some options may not make sense for your business.

It’s only with a slight hint of bias that we recommend Cratejoy. Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one solution or an easy checkout system to connect to your existing website, we have all the tools needed to get your subscription box business off the ground.

In addition to fully responsive themes for mobile, tablet, and desktop screens, Cratejoy offers fraud protection and risk detection, supports 138 different global currencies, and uses PCI-compliant security, keeping your sales safe.

Hosting your subscription business with Cratejoy gets even sweeter when you consider the free listing on the world’s only subscription box marketplace. It’s a zero-risk endeavor, meaning we don’t make money on marketplace sales unless you do. The site is also easy for users –– and consumers –– to navigate, allowing you to set up your business quickly and without stress. Ready to get started?

Cratejoy is an all in one subscription commerce platform that includes everything you need to start your own subscription commerce business online. Try it free for 14 days.

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