Understanding Recurring Billing

Updated on 20-October-2016 at 10:16 AM

Business Catalyst End of life announcement - find out more details.

The system is capable of recurring billing for your clients.

An example of how this works is when a customer purchases a product with a monthly cycle type, the system will setup an order, which recurs every month and automatically uses the customer's credit card details to process subsequent payments. If a customer purchases products with different Cycle Types then the system will create a recurring order for each cycle.

The Payment gateway you are using must support this feature, and for each payment gateway there is some setup required. Additionally, the payment gateway may pass on additional charges to use this service.

How invoicing works

To explain how the recurring invoicing works for your customers, consider a case where you have an order with an invoice date of 1/Sep/13 and it's set on monthly recurring.

Recurring orders are always recurred 14 days before the next invoice date. So on the 16/Sep/13, the next invoice will be created which will have a 1/Oct/13 invoice date.

When it comes to charging an invoice, the timing of this is dictated by the field Direct Debit Days (go to any order and click on Recurrence/Direct Debit to see this field). A value of 0 means the invoice is charged on the actual invoice date. So your recurring order that is generated on 16/Sep (with an invoice date of 1/Oct) will be charged on 1/Oct. A value of 5 for this field, will charge this invoice 5 days after the invoice date, i.e. 6/Oct.

You can disable invoices being sent to customers when an order is automatically recurred. You cannot change the timing in which invoices will get emailed to customers other than turn it on or off for when orders are recurred.

Please contact us if you wish to disable the emailing of invoices for recurred orders.

What Happens If a Payment for a Recurring Order Fails?

If a payment fails you will receive a notification via email about the order that has failed. The system will not automatically cancel the recurring order leaving it up to the site administrator to follow-up with the customer to maintain the recurring order. If the customer wishes to cancel then you disable recurring orders, see below.

Quotes and Recurring Billing

Only invoices can be recurred to be charged. Quotes cannot recur or be charged unless they are converted into an invoice first.

Disabling Recurring Orders

To disable a recurring order, first bring up the customer record by searching for it under CRM > Search and then bring up the order which has recurrence enabled on it by clicking on Orders tab on top and the order name. From here you can disable the recurrence by clicking on the original order (the first order that started the recurrence, which has the recurring symbol next to it):

Once you open the order you need to click on Recurrence/Direct Debit on that page and that will bring up the recurrence details:

You then need to click Edit button on the bottom of the page and once you are in the edit mode, select disable from recurrence status drop down.


When disabling recurring orders, it is important to keep the below in mind:

  • Disabling recurrence will not disable charges on the invoices, which have already been raised. This will simply disable the further creation of invoices. If you have invoices, which are yet to be charged these will be charged unless you set Direct Debit to None. If you leave Direct Debit set to Credit Card the invoices which have already been raised will be processed, even though Recurrence is set to Disabled.
  • Recurring orders generate 14 days prior to the charge date. What this means is that although you have deleted/disabled the recurring order, you must ensure there are no orders that have been generated but yet to charge the customer. Look through the recent orders for this customer and ensure that no new invoices have been generated 14 days prior to a charge date as deleting the recurring order will not stop this order from charging the customer.

Supported payment gateways

Recurring Billing on the system is only supported by specific payment gateways.  

The gateways which currently support recurring billing can be found here