Introducing Recurring Invoicing, Subscription Billing, and More
After a couple of months of hard work and tons of trial and error, we are finally rolling out the biggest update to Invoicebus yet.
We’re super excited to announce the arrival of several new features and improvements to Invoicebus:
- Recurring Invoicing + Subscription Billing
- New Customer Management Panel
- New Payment Management Panel
- Improvements in Invoices Dashboard
- New Invoicebus Test App
- Other Improvements
You can read more about each of these updates below.
Recurring Invoicing and Subscription Billing
Subscription Billing is a brand new feature in Invoicebus that allows you to create recurring subscription plans, automatically charge your customers for those plans, and send recurring invoices.
Subscription plans can be created on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. You can also create plans for any custom interval such as every 2 weeks, every 6 months, every 2 years, etc.
In order to create a subscription for a particular plan, you need to:
- create a plan in Invoicebus;
- create a subscription for that plan
- [Invoicebus automatically generates a recurring invoice for this subscription]
- send the generated invoice to your customer by email.
Once the customer pays the invoice, Invoicebus automatically stores their billing details in your Stripe account and lets you receive future payments without bothering the customer to enter their card info ever again. Once the customer billing details are stored in Stripe, you can create as many subscriptions as you need and let Invoicebus initiate recurring charges for them.
For each billing cycle, Invoicebus generates an appropriate invoice and sends it by email to your customer (you can disable this under Automation Settings if you like).
Invoicebus also handles failed charges automatically, so when a customer card is declined, it notifies you both (you and the customer) by email and attempts to charge the card again in a few days. You can set up to 3 retries for each failed payment, plus you can fully customize the intervals between payments attempts as well as the email notification that is sent to the customer.
If Invoicebus reaches the maximum number of payment attempts for a particular invoice, it will apply the default rule which can be one of the following:
- Cancel subscription
- Mark subscription as overdue, or
- Do nothing
For each unpaid invoice, your customer will be given the option to pay the invoice manually by clicking a “Pay” button. By paying the invoice, Invoicebus automatically updates their billing details and all future invoices continue to be charged normally (this doesn’t apply if the subscription is cancelled).
Another great thing in Invociebus’ recurring subscriptions is that they offer full support for prorated charges. So when you want to change the customer’s plan in the middle of a billing cycle (upgrade or downgrade), Invoicebus automatically calculates any used/unused credits and applies the prorated amount on the next invoice at the end of the current billing cycle.
Currently, the recurring billing feature works only with Stripe. However, if you don’t plan to receive online payments, you can still use the recurring invoicing even without Stripe. In this case, Invoicebus will generate recurring invoices for your subscriptions and deliver them to your customers on a regular basis. Nonetheless, you need to collect payments via other means and record them manually in Invoicebus.
We also added an Export option for Subscriptions and Plans, so can easily export your data to XML, CSV, or XLS format.
Plans can be managed from the “Plans” tab, while Subscriptions can be managed from the “Subscription” tab at the top of the screen.
New Customer Panel
The new customer panel gives you a better overview of your customers and lets you manage them in a more simple and intuitive way. You can easily add, remove, or edit customers straight from this tab instead of the invoice editor.
From here you can also quickly preview all generated invoices per customer along with their email and payment statuses.
Another thing you may find useful here is the new Export/Import feature that allows you to Export the current list of customers in XML, CSV, or XLS format. Moreover, the Import feature gives you the ability to import customers in bulk from a CSV file instead of entering them manually one by one.
New Payment Panel
The new payment panel is a centralized place where you can track, record, or refund payments. You can access it by clicking the Payment tab at the top of the screen.
Depending on the payment gateway you are using, every payment record shows various details related to each corresponding charge. One of the most useful things here is the “failed charge” record which shows you details about every unsuccessful payment attempt and the failure reason.
We also added a similar record in the invoice activity history so that the customer can easily check why their payment failed.
Additionally, we implemented a more flexible refund feature which helps you issue full or partial refunds for each payment. We have to note here that the refund is per payment, not per invoice. That means, if you’ve received a couple of partial invoice payments, you can be flexible and issue a refund for a particular payment and not for the entire invoice amount.
For each refund, you can add internal notes for your own convenience.
Improvements in the Invoices Dashboard
By introducing Recurring and earlier Automatic Invoicing, Invoicebus now generates 3 different types of invoices: manual, recurring, and auto.
Manual invoices are all invoices that are created with Invoicebus by using the “New Invoice” command. Recurring invoices are all invoices that are generated automatically by Invoicebus for each recurring subscription. Auto invoices are all invoices generated automatically by Invoicebus from your Stripe charges (these do not include Stripe charges initiated from Invoicebus for recurring or manual invoices).
For each invoice type, you can now see a small icon in the dashboard which helps you easily distinguish every invoice in the list:
- M for manual
- A for auto, and
- R for recurring.
We also added a refresh button in the upper part of the dashboard, so you can easily retrieve the newest invoices without reloading the entire page.
- Option to disable auto-generated invoices for Stripe test charges (applies to auto invoices only). Because Stripe sends live events and test events to Invoicebus simultaneously, we added an option in Automation Settings that will help you disable generating invoices for your Stripe test charges. Even though this option could work fine for quick tests, for better results, we recommend using the Invoicebus Test App (read more below).
If you still prefer to use this option, please note that some data from your test charges might be missing on your invoices (such as client or item details) because Invoicebus cannot retrieve all Stripe test data from its live mode. Remember, it is best to use Invoicebus Live + Stripe Live or Invoicebus Test + Stripe Test.
- Less restrictive email validation. We used an email validation like the Zerobounce email validation and improved it anywhere throughout the system. For new users, this means less rejected sign ups, while for existing users it means better email validation for their outgoing emails.
New Invoicebus Test App
Many times we were asked if there’s an option to try Invoicebus under a test environment and simulate test charges. Now there is! We just launched a fully functional test version of Invoicebus and you can give it a go at https://test.invoicebus.com. The Test App is almost identical to its production counterpart and allows you do everything just as you do with your live account. Be aware that if you plan to connect your Stripe account, you can only use it with Stripe test data here.
What’s on tap?
As we speak, we’re also working on a few other new features: ACH payments, metered billing, API, and a few great integrations. While we cannot provide ETA for any of these, we work hard to complete them all by the end of the year.
Now it’s your turn!
What do you think of our latest updates? Is there anything we can do to make Invoicebus better for you? If there is (I’m sure it is so), we would like to hear from you in the comments below.