As I looked around at options recurring billing for Indian businesses, all I got was disappointment. Off late, I’ve been trying to move away from the rather hodge-podge collection of services that I provide with regards to end-to-end digital marketing for clients at fetchprofits.
More specifically, I was trying to package some services as productized services (much like SaaS tools) and I needed a simple way to collect payments for those. When you package your services in a particular way, you get the following benefits:
- You state clearly what you provide and for much, every month.
- Because you clearly spell out what you provide, you set the expectations right for potential clients — this alone takes away any chance of scope creep. If your customers want more, they simply have to upgrade to a higher plan.
- You set a single price per package and that determines how much you’ll make (despite the churn).
- You can predict your cash flow better.
- Since you package your services, you have a way to scale up faster, train employees better, and…
- You have countless ways you can automate parts of your business.
But then, it was a nightmare, to say the least. There are no payment gateways in India to help you setup recurring billing and that which allows you to accept payments from anywhere in the world. Stripe isn’t in India yet and Paypal isn’t exactly easy to implement.
I went looking for solutions to this problem and while there’s a dizzying array of choices, it still leaves me with no solid answers. Here are some of them:
The only straightforward option for Indian Domiciled (registered in India) business to accept payments from anywhere else in the world is PayPal.
While Paypal works straight out of the box for one-time payments, you’d need this little feature called “Future Payments” or “Reference Payments” enabled within your PayPal business account. You’d need to reach out to PayPal customer support for this and it’s not exactly one or two emails away.
Paddle is a cool payment gateway solution that allows you to sell digital goods (like software, eBooks, and a few others) along with one-time products. You can also sell memberships and subscriptions. While I was told that it might not be the right fit to sell digital services (like I do), it might just be what you need. I asked Christian, the founder of Paddle, about what exactly Paddle can help with.
This is what he said:
“Paddle is not going to be a good fit for your business since the platform has been specifically built for the sales of standardised digital products (software, digital downloads etc) which are taxed in a unique way across the world.”
While we are at it, you should also note that Paddle has a hosted checkout, pop-up checkout (like Stripe), and they also have an affiliate feature that’s coming out soon.
Adyen is a truly global Payment gateway solution (and they have other products too). While it can work with Indian businesses, they are choosy about who they do business with. Also, licensing restrictions, types of businesses, and other factors apply.
While my request to open a test account with Adyen was quickly turned down, it might just be the solution for you if your business is accepted by them.
When I contacted support, here’s the answer they had for me:
“Adyen is regulated by central banks, acquiring banks, and credit card companies which have many rules and regulations to which Adyen must adhere in regard to merchant acceptance. Therefore, we carefully select our business partners.
The reason we are unable to accept you as a merchant has to do with the location of your business entity, as we do not support this specific location yet due to licensing restrictions.”
Apart from PayPal, 2Checkout seems to the only option that can work for Indian businesses, Individuals, and solo entrepreneurs. It’s an easy and seamless experience to get started with and readily integrates with WordPress and WooCommerce combination (and also otherwise).
You can enable 2Checkout recurring billing for your services, memberships, or SaaS products (if any).
Honestly, after all the hunting, FastSpring seems to the only platform that has many things going for it, and you can use their recurring billing or subscriptions to start with. They allow you to create a web store, a pop up store, and create bundles. Of course, I can sell my services for a recurring fee each month too.
It’s easy to get started with FastSpring. They let you start out with a test site (where you can create products, do some test transactions, customize the look of your site, and more). When you are ready, you send in a request to have them activate to a live site.
Apart from incorporating in another country (just for a payment gateway), do you know solutions and workarounds for Indian businesses? I’d be happy to know.