[Account Owner] How Subscription (Recurring) Payments Work
AdvicePay's subscription feature is convenient for you and clients, 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 the 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 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.
Example of the Subscription Process
- On September 8, you create a monthly subscription invoice for a client 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.
- The client then authorizes the payment on September 15. Both the client and their assigned advisor will receive an email confirmation of the subscription activation, but nothing will be charged to the client yet.
- AdvicePay will automatically charge the 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 subscription clients receive
Depending on the settings of the client's assigned advisor under Account Settings > Emails & Notifications -- as well as those clients can manage themselves via their own account -- clients can receive several types of emails when they are on a subscription:
- An email confirmation when they originally authorize a subscription (always sent)
- An email 7 days before they get billed (optional - managed by advisor and/or client)
- A recurring payment receipt letting them know the payment successfully processed* (optional - managed by client)
Clients will always be notified via email if their payment fails or if you cancel an Active subscription.
* Note: If a 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 the client doesn't authorize their subscription by the due date? (Let's say they're 1 week past due.) Do we need to start over and create a whole new invoice for them?
Not to worry -- the 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 a 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 the 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
- The subscription will bill again as normal on December 1, January 1, etc.
To make up for missed payments where one or more months are skipped, sending a one-time invoice to the client for the missed amount is recommended!
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
- 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 the client change the payment account they use for my subscription?
Yes! If a 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 the client's advisor get notified if a client cancels their subscription?
Yes, advisors are automatically BCC'd on their clients' cancelation confirmation email! They can also see a notification under their Recent Activity on the dashboard.
If your firm's home office wants to receive notifications like this as well, you can add a BCC recipient for all emails sent across your firm account: Firm-Wide Email Settings