Stripe Payments’ simplicity and ease of integration make it the natural choice of many online businesses for taking card payments. Stripe also offers subscription management with Stripe Billing.
Billforward is an API first, subscription and billing management platform, that focuses on customers who want to do things a bit differently.
Here at Billforward we have conversations with hundreds of subscription-based companies and we have found that there is no one size fits all. Different billing platforms fit different companies.
Which should YOU choose?
We believe we have a great product - but that doesn’t mean we are right for everyone. This article is going to look at some of the pros and cons of Billforward platform to help you decide.
Are you prepared to make a long-term commitment to your payment gateway?
There are some advantages to using the same company for billing management and payment processing - like the ease of access, convenience, all your data in one place etc.
However, there might also be drawbacks. Let's face it - no-one likes paying card processing fees and if you can find a better deal, you are going to want to take it. Stripe Payments is competitive on price and a great starting point for many companies - but does that mean it’s the only payment gateway you are ever going to want to use?
Even if the headline price is competitive, there may be other reasons that you might want to switch - like funds transfer times or whether your payment gateway supports your customers preferred payment methods best in the geographical areas in which you operate.
If you are never going to switch - great, but if you think there might be a possibility of making an adjustment down the line, then using Stripe Billing will make that migration a lot harder, because as well as your gateway, you will have to change billing platform at the same time.
Although many of Billforward’s customers use Stripe Payments, Billforward is gateway agnostic. You are not committed to a single payment gateway, and if you ever needed to make a change, Billforward will make switching to another gateway easy and simple. Billforward’s integration with Shuttle makes this even smoother, as it gives you access to 30+ different gateways (including Stripe). So if you think you might want to change gateway at some point, Billforward might be a better option.
How technical is your team?
Stripe is developer-focused as a company and its documentation is very comprehensive. If you have a tech team who are comfortable with APIs and you are happy to work through the docs - then Stripe is probably the quickest and most straightforward way to get started with subscriptions.
However, your tech resources may be thin on the ground or more focussed on developing your own product. If that is the case, and you think you may need more hands-on assistance with connecting your billing to the rest of your stack, then Billforward is probably a better option.
For example, as a standard feature Billforward gives every one of its customers a dedicated Slack channel to help make their onboarding process as easy as possible.
What are your growth plans?
For most subscription businesses who don’t need to go much beyond fixed recurring payments, and some basic tiered or volume pricing, Stripe Billing will more than likely meet your needs and be the fastest way to get up and running.
However, if you are growing rapidly and offer subscriptions with more than one component (for example a fixed fee + usage), then Billforward’s ability to handle complex pricing strategies might better meet your needs.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to decide if you need something more advanced...
- Do you sell to enterprise and want to allow customers to build and configure their own subscriptions?
- Do you want a customer to be able to aggregate all their team’s subscriptions into a single monthly invoice?
- Do you have a reseller network and need to easily calculate commissions from inside your billing platform?
- Do you want to bill by the hour or minute (or even seconds)?
If you need to do any of these kinds of things, Billforward may be a better fit for you.
When you are trying to differentiate yourself from the competition (like we all are!) you need to be as innovative as you can. If your marketing team comes up with the most groundbreaking promotion you have ever imagined - you want to be able to try it.
The Coupons feature is a good example of what differentiates Stripe Billing and Billforward:
Stripe Billing covers the basic use cases, so would be fine for most companies. However, Billforward takes it a few steps further.
For example -
- Do you want different discounts for different subscription components?
- Do you want to limit the number of times a coupon can be redeemed?
- Do you want to give each coupon a unique code?
- Do you want the coupon to apply a percentage, fixed amount, or service in kind?
It may be that you don’t need this level of granular control, but if you do, the high level of flexibility component will become essential/
So - have you decided which platform is a better fit for you?
If you have a relatively simple use case, and convenience, as well as the ease of setup, is what is most important to you, then Stripe Billing might be the best choice.
If you think you are going to need to add some sophistication, either through operating in multiple countries or offering services to enterprise customers, it makes sense to pick a platform like Billforward, which has all the advanced capability built-in out of the box.