The new Recurring Payments extension

Three years ago, soon after the very first version of Easy Digital Downloads was launched, we released our Recurring Payments extension. The extension quickly became one of the most popular and widely used of all the extensions in our catalogue. Today, I am excited to announce that the new Recurring Payments is here. And it’s awesome.

The new Recurring Payments plugin is packed full of features and super-charges your subscription processing in Easy Digital Downloads.

If you are not already processing recurring payments on your Easy Digital Downloads store, adding subscriptions could very likely be the most important business decision you ever make. Recurring revenue is predictable and allows businesses to properly forecast their future revenue, making risk and growth management significantly easier to manage.

Let’s look at some of the feature highlights of Recurring Payments 2.4.

Multiple subscriptions

One of the single most requested features is now here: multiple subscriptions for customers. No longer are customers restricted to a single subscription. They can register one, two, three, or even fifty subscriptions on an account if they wish.

Improved payment gateway support

Recurring Payments now includes complete support for six payment gateways, including:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal Standard
  • PayPal Express
  • PayPal Website Payments Pro
  • 2Checkout
  • Authorize.net

We plan to introduce additional payment gateways, such as Braintree and Amazon Payments in the near future as well.

Better subscription management

In the new Recurring Payments extension, we have introduced an extensive interface for viewing and managing the subscriptions in your store.

Subscription revenue reports

To help site administrators better know and track their recurring revenue, we have introduced a dedicated report page that displays the renewal payment statistics.

Subscription Renewal Report

Subscription emails

Customers can now be notified automatically via email when important changes take place with their subscriptions. Emails can be sent when renewal payments are received, payments fail to be processed, subscriptions are cancelled, and even when subscriptions are about to expire or renew automatically.

Subscription Emails

 Customer dashboard

Also in Recurring Payments 2.4, we have introduced a complete customer dashboard where subscribers can view their subscriptions and invoices, update their payment methods, and, if necessary, cancel subscriptions.

Customer Dashboard

Integration with Software Licensing

What is better than an update to one of the most powerful extensions for Easy Digital Downloads? An update that integrates it with another of the most powerful extensions! Recurring Payments 2.4 features a direct integration with the Software Licensing extension, letting site administrators set up license keys that renew automatically through subscriptions, and even offer upgrade paths between subscription levels and products.

REST API

In the new Recurring Payments, we have added a dedicated subscriptions endpoint to the Easy Digital Downloads REST API. This allows developers and 3rd party services to better integrate with the subscriptions database.

A model for collaborative development

This update to Recurring Payments has been in development for more than six months and was largely made possible through the collaboration with two external development teams. We would like to sincerely thank GiveWP and the WP Ninjas for everything they contributed to making this update possible.

How to get the new Recurring Payments

Recurring Payments 2.4 is available today and can be purchased from our extensions catalogue. If you have already purchased Recurring Payments, the new version can be downloaded from your account page. The update is available free of charge to all active license holders. Note: if you are updating from a previous version of Recurring Payments, please refer to our update guide for important information about installing the update.

Are you ready to grow your business through recurring revenue? It will likely be one of the best decisions made for your business.

Comments

This is great Pippin. Like you said on Twitter, this really is one of the most important updates you guys have done.

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Awesome, as always. So excited to try it, and so scared, haha!

Should I update first the Stripe Payment Gateway first?

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Yeah, I’m on it. Thanks a lot for all the documentation. 🙂

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Never mind, I’m reading the upgrading notes. I see I have to. Thanks. Is using “Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades” recommended?

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Yes, definitely. That’s a wonderful plugin.

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bassbuzz

Awesome upgrade 🙂

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Dave Rodenbaugh

Great upgrade, Pippin & team!

Question–for software licensing, how does that work for existing products coming up for renewal? Have you setup a migration tool to allow for moving to this new full recurring payment solution for that use case?

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No license keys will be automatically converted to a subscription but if you have subscriptions enabled on the product that the license key belongs to, renewing the license will create a subscription. See this doc for more information: http://docs.easydigitaldownloads.com/article/1155-recurring-payments—software-licensing-integration

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Dave Rodenbaugh

Have you tested this with bundles?

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Great to see the plugin improving Pippin.

I was wondering, do it support a membership structure yet?

I’d love if I could have a option to run my site as a membership with credits for downloads or a monetary value and levels, so of like Amember.

Mozie

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Could you elaborate a little bit more on your specific needs?

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My site has 100’s of downloads, and I have many regular customers.

I’m sure many of them would love it if I was able to offer them a membership option where let’s say they could pay a monthly free for 30 download credits, each credit being worth one product download.

Basically being able to have a membership option (recurring) for paying customers working with credits. Or paying $20 a month for $50 being automatically added to their wallet. Any monthly payment option that gives customers the ability to use the funds on any downloads.

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Thanks, makes perfect sense! We don’t have an option for that yet but it’s been requested numerous times so it’s certainly on our radar.

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I am looking for a similar concept with EDD. Has this feature been made available now ?

Check out our sister project, Restrict Content Pro, and it’s new integration with EDD: https://restrictcontentpro.com/2016/10/27/introducing-edd-member-downloads-add/

It’s not quite the same but close.

I kinda wish that there is an option to have the first subscription free (like a trial) followed by a paid subscription after. Not the other method where they have to pay a really small amount like $0.01 (as opposed to free) as a lot of research has been done into the power of “free” vs “$0.01”.

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That is on our todo list for version 2.5.

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Jean-Philippe

Looks great, I’ll probably use it for my next product.

Is there a “trial period” feature on the roadmap ? first month to one dollar and then 20 dollars per month ?

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We already support setting a different payment amount for the initial and recurring amounts. That is supported right now 🙂

In the near future we will also be supporting free trials where the first payment is 0.00 followed by a non-zero payment.

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Jean-Philippe

Awesome! 🙂

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scottpaterson

Looking forward to this also!

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Arne Mahn

How do I setup different initial and recurring amounts? I want a test-week for $1 before the $50-Monthly payment starts-

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You can use the “Signup Fee” option to adjust the initial amount. It accepts both positive and negative values.

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Is it possible to have a trial and subscription be different lengths?

Example: $1 one-week trial, then have that auto-renew in a $99 one-year subscription

sounds good. is there any plan to add GoCardless to the Recurring Subscriptions?
we’ve had to ‘hack about’ with the code to make it work to a fashion, upgrades are nail biting stuff 😉

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Not at this time but we are preparing to release complete documentation on the new payment gateway API, making it easy for developers to add new payment gateways.

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Hi Pippin, great improvements. Well done. Just one quick question.

How do you handle auto renewal when the credit card ends every 2 years?

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The [edd_subscriptions] shortcode includes an option to update the debit/credit card used to bill the subscription, so customers can update their card at anytime.

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J Stevenson

Has anyone used this setup with Ultimate Member or something similar? I’m seeking to create beautiful front-end profiles, login/out, registration, and control access to content and take recurring payments for tuition/student course content and sessions with practitioners. EDD seems like such a smooth payment/cart option but I need the front-end user content too…

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I’m not personally aware of a site that has been set up like that but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work just fine!

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J Stevenson

Thanks, Pippin, for the prompt reply!

I did a bit more digging in my desire to bring these two together and found a link to a plugin on your third party extensions page under Memberships. It says “Ultimate Member – EDD integrates Easy Digital Downloads with Ultimate Member.”

I know EDD doesn’t support these…has anyone tried that plugin/extension? I’d love to know whether it seems solid – could be the answer I’m looking for!

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I’ve only ever heard great things about Ultimate Member but I have not personally used it.

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Joey

I updated both Stripe and EDD Rec right from my WP dashboard. I saw the update notifier so I just clicked and updated.

Should I have done it the other way?

If so how can I revert this?

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As long as both are updated, the order does not matter.

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Jamie Aplin

hey guys … if I upgrade, will it effect my already existing subscribers and their automatic billing?

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Finally I made it. Smooth upgrade, it took a while, though.

So far, I only found one bug. 2.4 is not compatible with Andrew’s Conditional Success Redirects. Are you aware?

Thanks!

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Hi Joan!

Hope your issue is now solved as per our support conversation.

For anyone else that runs into an issue between EDD Recurring 2.4 and EDD Conditional Success Redirects, look out for an update soon for C.S.R.

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Hi Andrew!

Great, I’ll wait for that update! 🙂

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Robert Jacobus

Will recurring work with Paypal Advanced? If not, is it on the agenda?

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Not at this time though it is on our todo list. We do not have an expected time frame for it though.

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Robert Jacobus

Thanks for fast reply and great product(s). I noticed in the “Payment Gateways” tab, even though I have Paypal Payments Advanced connected, the PayPal Standard is still an option.

Having bought recurring without realizing the one paypal gateway not supported was Advanced, can PayPal Standard still be used for Recurring transactions and Advanced for all my regular digital downloads?

If so, is there a tutorial to using both so I don’t much things up?
Thanks

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Not out of the box but you could use the Conditional Gateways plugin to enable Standard for just your subscription products and then Advanced for the others: https://easydigitaldownloads.com/downloads/conditional-gateways/

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Justin Dike

Great stuff.

Does the Renewal Payments section require that the Transaction ID be tied to an actual Paypal payment. I tried this with a dummy account, entered $0.01 and just made up a Transaction ID, it spit out a PHP error. Just wondering if thats why.

Thanks, Justin

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No it does not. What was the PHP error?

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Justin Dike

I’ll email it to you so it doesn’t muddy up the thread.

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Justin Dike

Just emailed it to you. I did notice it looked like it recorded the payment though. Thanks

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hughred22

I try to upgrade the database to use the new version. I click the update database button and it has been stopped at 35/389 for like an hour. Is that normal?

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No that’s not normal. Could you go ahead and open a support ticket for me so we can look into it for you?

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Jamie Aplin

Hey guys .. diggin’ the update thus far. I’m wondering if it’s possible to have email notifications sent to site admin as well as the user who cancels/updates their account? It’s great that the subscribers gets notified – BUT it would also be helpful if admin got notified – specifically when an account is canceled. Is this already possible? Am I just missing something? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Yeah, it is. Pippin created a pretty slick snippet for that: https://gist.github.com/boluda/704e6740a9ed3689498e

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Jamie Aplin

that’s sick! thank for sharing Joan 🙂

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Hi, if a customer payment fails or they cancel their subscription do I as the owner get an email informing me of this?

Thanks

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Jamie Aplin

What about this (see above for when I asked the same question.)

———–
Yeah, it is. Pippin created a pretty slick snippet for that: https://gist.github.com/boluda/704e6740a9ed3689498e
———–

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Justin Dike

If your site admin is the same person receiving the payments from Paypal, then you definitely do get notified. I get an email anytime there’s a cancellation or a payment fails. But these come from Paypal.

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PayPal includes notifications for that but not all merchant processors do. Stripe, for example, does not.

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You can alway use Zapier, which is awesome to make it work! 🙂

https://easydigitaldownloads.com/blog/automated-follow-emails-zapier/

Best!

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Zapier is an excellent option and is fully integrated with Recurring Payments.

Daniel van der Mierden

With the previous version a running subscription was automatically cancelled when upgrading or downgrading. Our customer has different ‘plans’ including more options with each more expensive plan. Customers would be able to upgrade their current plan, instead of getting a second subscription.

Now we see this in checkout:

* I acknowledge that by purchasing this subscription, my current subscription will also be updated to use this payment method for renewals: [current-plan]

While we definitely see added value for having multiple subscriptions, the majority of customers will simply want to up- or downgrade. Is there a setting to accomplish this? I.e. a way to cancel the current subscription automatically? If not, how can we implement it?

Many thanks,
Daniel

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Daniel,

The previous versions actually did not cancel or handle upgrading between subscription levels. That’s only supported in the new version.

At this time, upgrading / changing subscription levels is primarily supported through the Software Licensing extension and the “Upgrade Paths” feature of it: http://docs.easydigitaldownloads.com/article/381-software-licensing-usage-instructions#upgrades

When using Software Licensing’s upgrade paths, customers can upgrade their subscription and have the subscription cancelled / replaced with the new one.

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Hi Pippin,

We are developing a web store to sale subscriptions to access different online application offered in the cloud as a service . We have chosen EDD to support this development, and its an awesome plugin to accomplish this goal, with the recurring payment options which is a great complement.

Recently our customer asked us to let the buyers choose between the different subscriptions plans available by the EDD recurring plugin, at the moment of checkout to be handled by the web application, not the bank. Is there an option to do this?

Thanks,

Osvaldo

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Are you building a custom checkout process in the web application or using the standard checkout process within EDD?

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Kasper Nymann

I just bought this extension and i have a question. Would it be possible to create a subscription that gives unlimited downloads for all products, so you don’t have the “add to cart” button but instead just a “download” button?

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Hi Kasper,

I just answered the email ticket you sent in so please see my response there.

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Hi Pippin,

I’ve purchased this great extension. Quick one. If I delete a subscription from WP-admin, does it cancel the subscription on the Paypal side? What’s the difference between delete and cancel subscription?

Thanks,
Daniel

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No, it will not automatically cancel it. To cancel it in the merchant processor you need for first click the “Cancel” button. Once you’ve done that, you can safely delete it.

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Hi there,
Anyone has any stats on how this addon influences customers and sales? I’m somewhat afraid customers may feel scared off by the fact that there’s a yearly automatic billing and not buy. On the other hand, I see several customers tend to “forget” to renew their license, because when the automatic email notifications go out they do renew. Still, if I were the customer, I wouldn’t like to be billed yearly and, if I purchased, I would turn off the subscription immediately.
So, as I said, any stats any of you guys? 🙂
Thanks!

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We’ve been using it on all of our own sites and never once noticed a drop in sales because of it. Be open and clear with your customers that they are signing up for a subscription and be sure to tell them they can cancel at anytime and you won’t have any issues.

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Samantha Underwood

Just downloaded the new Recurring payments extension but I keep getting this error below so I’m not able to activate or use 🙁

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM, expecting ‘)’ in /…html/wp-content/plugins/edd-recurring/includes/plugin-software-licensing.php on line 309

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Could you please tell me what version of PHPB your site is using?

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