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Member Subscriptions - Payment methods for Commerce

The Old Man

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Can anyone please advise what the situation is with setting up recurring subscriptions for members? Have you put your plans on hold or are using alternatives?

I've read through the guidance here and seen the comments in the AdminCP, but it leaves me uncertain of how or whether I should proceed at all. It's pretty worrying and it seems like the days where you could simply set it up are long gone.

I don't want to be responsible for storing my member's card details, or addresses if I'm honest, that's for the big e-commerce players unless it's a must.

PayPal - The help guidance suggests not using this for recurring subscriptions, having read through the caveats, agreed, it's not for me. I'd like to keep it as an option for anyone kind enough to make a one off donation.

Braintree - I think I'm correct in saying that this was supposedly the next big thing for IPS Admins and was the reason I delayed buying Commerce and offering optional subscriptions until it was supported. Then it was suddenly removed, IPS had a closer look into it, now it's back, but the advice is now not to bother with it, since it's like applying for a mortgage from Satan himself. So, quickly moving on...

Stripe - I actually set this up the same time as adding PayPal when I bought Commerce last year. I configured both for accepting donations through Commerce whilst waiting like many for Braintree to come back. Neither Stripe or PayPal have ever been used by my members, in particular PayPal which was last used probably 12-18 months before I switched from the Donate Sidebar plug-in to Commerce. However there are topics here where Stripe isn't being recommended for recurring subscriptions.

So what are fellow admins doing in the wake of the Braintree situation?

Thanks in advance.

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It sounds like you are worried about the problems with automatic renewals. I would like to stress again, that this is a separate issue from subscriptions by itself. On my German site, I use yearly subscriptions. People get an invoice after a year and if they want to renew they pay however they like (and this even includes manual wire transfer). No one has any card details stored, PayPal isn’t automatically charging and so on. So none of the issues you mention even apply. The option for automatic renewals is certainly nice to have, but I wouldn’t let me stop from offering subscription products. 

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Thanks for sharing your insight and perspective Opentype. Yes, I'm more concerned about the recurring billing than choosing whether to offer say 3, 6, or 12 month packages or bronze, silver, gold level packages or even a mixture but that would over complicate things.

In fact I was leaning towards offering one package based on my top member group privileges which the majority of my members don't achieve despite my reducing the number of content requirement over the years in particular at the mid members end, and basing it on the 3 time periods with discounted incentives for choosing a longer period.

So from your comments, it's possible to offer 'manual' renewals as opposed to bothering with automated charging of renewals which is how subscriptions were traditionally managed in IPS?

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2 minutes ago, The Old Man said:

So from your comments, it's possible to offer 'manual' renewals as opposed to bothering with automated charging …

Absolutely! As long as the time frame is long enough. Getting people to pay 2 dollars manually every month wouldn’t make much sense. 

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