Stripe Billing is one of Stripe’s 21 products (more on that here). It is “recurring billing and subscription management software”, as defined on Stripe's website. It also offers limited usage-based capabilities, such as tiered or package pricing. Stripe Billing is directly connected to Stripe Payments to process payments for created invoices.
What is Recurly?
Recurly is a subscription management and recurring billing platform that helps businesses of all sizes create, manage, and grow their subscription businesses. It is a cloud-based solution that offers a wide range of features, including subscription management, recurring billing, payments, reporting and analytics.
Stripe Billing vs Recurly: Feature comparison
Stripe Billing and Recurly provide flexible subscription billing options, including fixed fees, tiered pricing, volume-based billing, along with dunning management and refund support. Businesses can set up recurring billing cycles, manage billing exceptions, and handle proration and discounts all within their platform.
Stripe Billing is not designed for usage-based billing, and requires you to pre-aggregate usage-based events into proper units before sending data to its billing system.
Recurly offers support for straightforward usage-based pricing (e.g., $20 per user). This allows businesses to implement different pricing strategies, including a pay-as-you-go approach or setting a flat fee and overage charges. However, it may not be flexible enough for businesses that need support for complex usage-based pricing models. For instance, Recurly does not natively support PayPal's per-transaction pricing, which includes a percentage and fixed fee, plus minimum and maximum limits.
Stripe Billing does not include Invoicing in its feature set. You need to pay additional costs to use Stripe Invoicing’s system.
Recurly allows you to customize invoices and supports credit notes for refunds and invoice adjustments. However, it does not offer the ability to add custom fields to invoices.
Stripe Billing does not include taxation in its feature set. You need to pay additional costs to use Stripe Tax’s system.
Recurly enables tax calculation through Avalara’s system. This can help you with tax compliance but also lead to additional costs.
Choosing to use Stripe Billing means you are exclusively tied to a single payment processor… called “Stripe Payments”. You will not be able to use other payment processors than Stripe to collect payments for the invoices your companies will issue. While Stripe is a widely-used payment processor, Stripe may not support every product and may not be available in all countries. Notably, in countries such as India, Stripe Payments is not widely adopted.
Recurly has integrations with 16 payment gateways including Stripe Payments (details here).
Stripe Billing vs Recurly: Pricing
Stripe Billing will cost you 0.5% (and up to 0.8%) of your transaction volume, on top of Stripe Payments (starts at 2.9% + $0.30 per successful card charge). With Stripe’s vendor lock-in, you might stack dozens of fees that will directly impact your revenue. Once again, Stripe has 21 products and each of them has its own pricing.
Recurly's Core Plan begins with a monthly platform fee of $249 and includes a 0.9% fee based on revenue. In 2023, they have a promotional offer for this plan; details here. For Professional and Elite Plans, Recurly offers custom pricing.
Which solution is the best for you?
Stripe primarily focuses on Payment processing and with additional services for Billing, Invoicing, and Taxation incurring separate costs alongside Stripe Payments’ fee. Recurly offers a more comprehensive billing solution that encompasses a wider range of billing-related features and capabilities. Stripe Billing and Recurly cater to subscription and recurring billing. However, these softwares may not be flexible enough for handling complex pricing models and usage-based billing. In such instances, it's worth exploring alternatives that better accommodate intricate billing scenarios.
Lago, the Stripe Billing and Recurly alternative
Lago is an open-source metering and usage-based billing solution. It offers a self-hosted and cloud-based, scalable, and modular architecture to manage subscriptions, usage-based billing and all the nuances in between. It's the go-to choice for companies that require a powerful tool to handle complex billing scenarios, allowing you to build a comprehensive billing system from scratch with ease.