How Subscription (Recurring) Payments Work

AdvicePay's subscription feature is convenient for you and your client, as once a client originally enters payment information and activates a subscription, no further action is needed! 

Auto payments will be made every month/quarter/etc. through your client's bank account or credit card until you or your client cancels the subscription OR it reaches the end date you have set. 

We can also help your clients keep track of their payments by sending them an email notification seven (7) days before they're billed and a confirmation email every time the billing occurs. 

📍 How to create and request a subscription

Example of the Subscription Process

  • On September 8, you create a monthly subscription invoice with October 1 as the first due date. You also set it to bill for only six (6) billing periods, so it has an end date of March 1.
  • Your client then authorizes the payment on September 15. Both you and your client will receive an email confirmation of the subscription activation, but nothing will be charged to the client yet.
  • AdvicePay will automatically charge your client's payment method on the due date of October 1.
  • The subscription will then continue billing automatically on November 1, December 1, and so on. After the billing on March 1 it will automatically cancel since all six (6) billing periods have been fulfilled. (If no end date were set, the subscription would continue to bill indefinitely until manually canceled.)

Emails that your subscription clients receive

Depending on your settings under Account Settings > Emails & Notifications -- as well as those your clients can manage themselves via their own account -- your client can receive several types of emails when they are on a subscription:

  1. An email confirmation when they originally authorize a subscription (always sent)
  2. An email 7 days before they get billed (optional - managed by advisor and/or client)
  3. A recurring payment receipt letting them know the payment successfully processed* (optional - managed by client)

Your client will always be notified via email if their payment fails or if you cancel an Active subscription.

* Note: If your client is paying via ACH, it takes about 5 business days for their payment to process and ultimately pass or fail at their bank. In this instance, the client's debit confirmation email will come through when the payment finalizes at their bank.

To remain a compliant payment platform, some payment notification emails cannot be turned off by advisors. Clients can manage their notifications via their own account!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when I send a subscription invoice to a client and it is marked as Inactive?

An Inactive status on a subscription simply means that the client hasn't approved it yet! Once they complete the activation process, their subscription status will change from "Inactive" to "Active" and billing will begin.

Here's a great article for clients guiding them on how to activate a subscription! 

What if my client doesn't authorize their subscription by the due date? (Let's say they're 1 week past due.) Do I need to start over and create a whole new invoice for them? 

Not to worry -- your client can still make their payment and you don't have to set up anything new! Their payment will be processed immediately once they authorize the subscription, and then it will begin billing as normal the next month on the day you selected. 

As an example, if your client with an October 1 due date on a monthly subscription goes in and makes a late payment on October 8, it will bill the full amount immediately. It will then bill the full amount again on November 1, December 1, and so on. (There will not be a prorated billing calculation made.)

Also, we don't apply any late fees to overdue subscriptions or one-time invoices.

But what if it's been OVER 30 days since the due date and they still haven't paid it?

If you set a monthly subscription to bill on October 1, but your client doesn't activate the subscription and make the payment until November 3, the following will happen:

  • The initial October invoice will bill immediately, and reflect those initial October date ranges on the PDF invoice
  • November's invoice will be skipped (since it wasn't paid before the due date 11/1 on that month)
  • The subscription will bill again as normal on December 1, January 1, etc. 

(See below in the blue box if months were skipped and how to reconcile)

For instances where the client misses a few months from the expected due date, once paid, it will immediately charge for the initial month(quarter, semi-annual ect.) the payment was due then charge for the month it is paid in and so on. This will occur as long as the day of the expected due date is after the payment date made for that current month.

For example, if a subscription was due on 9/15 and the client paid it on 12/10 the following would happen:

  • The initial September invoice would be paid immediately, and reflect those initial September date ranges on the PDF invoice
  • October and November Invoices are skipped, and December would be paid on 12/15 since the expected due day is set for the 15th of each month and the due date has not yet passed for December. It would then continue to bill as expected.

(*Exception, if the client paid AFTER the 15th of December, it would have been skipped as well.)

See below in the blue box for missed months)

To make up for missed payments on a subscription where one or more months are skipped, and there is no end date added on the subscription sending a one-time invoice to your client for the missed amount is recommended!

If there is an end date on the subscription, the skipped billing period will automatically extend the subscription to ensure the auto-payment is captured. In this case, no additional invoices need to be sent to the client.

Important: If there are billing periods on a subscription and any invoices on the subscription are canceled, to ensure we capture all billing periods, the system will add a new invoice and the end date will be adjusted. If you cancel two, then two new invoices will be created and the end date adjusted.

What if I need to adjust the bill date or the payment amount on a subscription?

On an Inactive subscription -- which means the client hasn't authorized it to begin billing -- you can edit the invoice to change the following:

  • Due/Bill Date
  • Amount
  • Description of Services
  • Accepted Payment Method: CC and/or ACH
  • # of Billing Periods

On an Active subscription you can edit the Amount and Description of Services. (Please note that to remain a compliant payment platform, we're designed so that clients must first approve any fee increases.) If you need to make other changes to a subscription that is already authorized by a client, you will want to cancel it and issue a new one. 😀

Can my client change the payment account they use for my subscription?

Yes! If your subscription client wishes to start paying with a different credit card or bank account, they can do so through their account when logged into AdvicePay.

We will bill the Default account they have on file under their Account Settings > Billing, so by adding a new payment method and making it the Default, their subscription will bill the new account on the next due date.

Here's a guide for clients on how to update their payment method!

Can a client make a partial payment of a subscription invoice?

At the current time a client cannot make partial payments on invoices. If your client prefers smaller payments, you could set up multiple subscriptions for that client with smaller bill amounts and different billing dates.

Can I put a temporary hold or pause on a subscription payment?

You bet! To delay or suspend a payment for one more more billing periods, use the Pause function.

What does the Completed status on a subscription mean?

When you select a billing end-date on a subscription, the subscription will update with the status "Completed" after the last charge to the client. To resume payments, a new subscription will need to be sent the client for their authorization.

Will I get notified if a client cancels their subscription?

Yes, advisors are automatically BCC'd on the client's cancelation confirmation email! You'll also see a notification under your account's Recent Activity on the dashboard.

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