Stripe and Recurly are two popular solutions for subscription billing and payment management, but choosing the right tool for your business can still be challenging. Stripe and Recurly offer different features and functionalities, from sending invoices to managing trial subscriptions to dunning and recovery.
This article will provide a comprehensive comparison of Stripe vs. Recurly. We will cover the pros and cons of each platform, pricing structures, and what customers have to say about both of these subscription billing and management solutions.
We’ve compiled all the information you need to make the best choice for your business.
Table of Contents
- Stripe Overview
- Recurly Overview
- Stripe Pricing
- Recurly Pricing
- Stripe vs. Recurly: Deep Dive Comparison
- Stripe vs. Recurly: Which is Better?
- What Do Customers Have to Say About Stripe and Recurly?
Stripe Billing Overview
Stripe is primarily a payment processing platform that allows you to easily set up and process global online payments. It provides API functionalities for different modules, such as finance, sales, and marketing, and third-party integrations, such as Squarespace and Shopify.
To manage subscription billing and payments, you need the add-on product, Stripe Billing. Although Stripe Billing expands the platform’s capabilities, it’s a supplemental product, not a comprehensive tool for subscription-based businesses.
Stripe can process more than 100 different currencies and, due to its APIs and webhooks, is customizable to your needs (if you have development resources). The same APIs make third-party app integrations possible.
On the other hand, setting up Stripe often requires development resources or at least some coding. Using Stripe Billing also forces you to use Stripe as your payment processor, excluding dozens of other options.
Stripe and Stripe Billing is suited for ecommerce businesses and those with a large volume of transactions. It’s less appropriate for subscription-based brands, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses.
Recurly is a billing and subscription management platform that supports claims to support a wide variety of subscription-based businesses including retail brands, media outlets, and professional services. Unlike Stripe, Recurly is able to integrate with multiple payment gateways, including PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, and Stripe.
Recurly supports more than 100 different currencies, an important consideration for international businesses. The platform can also be used to implement a variety of billing models, such as fixed, tiered, volume-based, and usage-based. You can also allow users to pause their subscriptions rather than delete their accounts altogether.
A big drawback, however, is how staggered the various features are, depending on your plan. Recurly has a detailed (but tough to decipher) breakdown of what each plan includes. If you want to accept multiple currencies, churn analysis, or most support services, it’s going to cost you extra.
Recurly could be a good option for medium or large subscription-based businesses or for companies that need to use multiple payment gateways.
Stripe vs. Recurly: Pricing Comparison
Let’s take a look at how Stripe and Recurly price their products and what customers can expect to pay.
Stripe offers a pay-as-you-go payment model instead of monthly fees. This means that, rather than having monthly recurring payments, you will pay per transaction. Stripe charges 2.9% plus 30 cents for online card payments. There are separate fee structures for ACH transactions and other types of payment and additional fees for international payments and currency conversions.
But when you add Stripe Billing, that comes with an additional cost. If you choose the Stripe Billing Starter plan, that’s another 0.5% of each transaction, totaling 3.4% plus $0.30.
To access Smart Retries, revenue recognition, and invoice auto-reconciliation, you’ll need the Stripe Billing Scale plan. The Scale plan charges an additional 0.8%, totaling 3.7% plus $0.30 for each transaction.
Recurly offers three different plans for different levels of revenue: Core, Professional, and Elite.
- Core: This plan is best suited for small businesses with up to $1,000,000 in annual revenue.
- Professional: This plan is meant for companies with annual revenue ranging from $1,000,000 to $25,000,000.
- Elite: This plan is designed for businesses with annual revenue greater than $25,000,000.
The core plan starts at $199 if you pay annually, or $249 if you pay monthly. After a business reaches $500,000 in annual revenue, however, Recurly charges an additional 0.9% of transactions.
With the Core plan, you will have limited or no access to features such as advanced analytics, number of supported currencies, performance insight, revenue recovery, tax management, and support and services.
Unfortunately, Recurly doesn’t have any public-facing pricing for their Professional or Elite plans, so you’d have to contact the Recurly team to learn more.
Stripe vs. Recurly: Deep Dive Comparison
Now that you have an overview of Stripe and Recurly, let’s dive into some of the most important capabilities for a subscription billing and management solution to see how they stack up.
Recurring Billing and Payments
For a subscription-based business, recurring billing and payments are some of the most important features to consider. Stripe allows you to create your own billing logic to suit your billing model. It also supports proration, coupons, and free trials.
Recurly has smart and automated invoicing, meaning you can automatically generate, customize, and deliver invoices. The platform works with multiple gateways and processors to make collecting payment easy anywhere.
Reporting and Analytics
Stripe offers three options for you to view reporting and analytics. The first is Stripe Sigma, which lets you export your Stripe data via SQL. The second is Stripe Dashboard, which offers visualization and management of your Stripe data. And the last option lets you track and manage your transactions from the Stripe iOS and Android mobile app dashboard.
The fact that Stripe reporting and analytic tools are not integrated into a single platform may pose a challenge, especially when you need to take a holistic view of performance for different metrics.
Recurly offers a more robust, all-inclusive dashboard that lets you visualize all performance metrics. For instance, if you want to compare how your top plans have performed over a certain period, analyze both active and inactive subscribers, or even calculate the amount of recovered revenue, the dashboard offers features that let you do that.
Recurly’s intuitive and comprehensive dashboard stands out from Stripe’s due to its ease of use and because it was built on a single platform. The downside is that you have to subscribe to the Elite plan to access all of its features.
Security and Privacy
Stripe and Recurly both have robust security infrastructure that protects users against fraud and data theft. Stripe offers Radar, a fraud detection and prevention service that uses machine learning algorithms to detect and flag patterns for fraud.
Just like Stripe, Recurly offers one of the most advanced security infrastructures. It is compliant with the PCI-DSS Level 1 security standard and is recognized by the Visa Global Registry of Service Providers. Its security encompasses data encryption, physical and network security, and web application security.
With their APIs, Stripe can technically integrate with just about any tool, but those integrations may require development expertise.
All Recurly plans include integrations with Zendesk and Mailchimp. But access to their built-in integrations in Salesforce, Xero, Quickbooks, Netsuite, and more requires you to purchase more expensive plans and may also require added fees.
Stripe says that all customers have access to 24/7 customer service, as well as their support center and documentation. Customer reviews, however, mention long wait times and unhelpful chat experiences. If you’re willing to pay, Stripe allows you to purchase priority support plans.
Recurly offers customers a resource center and documentation. All plans are supposed to include technical support, but for “premium” customer support and dedicated account managers, you have to pay for the Professional or Elite plan.
Multi-Currency and Geo Support
Both Stripe and Recurly accept multiple currencies globally. Stripe is present in 47 countries, accepts over 135 currencies for both debit and credit card payments, and supports more than 34 languages.
Recurly, on the other hand, supports 195 countries and 12 languages thanks to its multiple payment gateways. Merchants use their local currencies by default and can send invoices in 18 languages. Recurly’s advanced VAT automatic system can automatically refund taxes to qualifying customers. This also allows you to stay compliant with tax regulations by integrating with tax management programs.
Stripe and Recurly offer advanced subscription management tools that help you protect your revenue, automate invoicing, reduce involuntary churn, and protect your users’ data.
- Different building blocks to customize your billing for subscription plans and pricing models
- A flat rate that gives you access to a monthly or annual price
- A multi-price model that lets you offer a single product at different prices
- A per-seat model that lets you bill based on the number of subscribed users during a billing period
- A usage-based model that lets you bill based on product usage
- A flat rate plus overage that lets you bill when a customer’s usage exceeds a certain quota
- A similar model to Stripe but a bit different
- Different pricing models are based on the product and customers’ usage. For instance, with the Fixed payment plan, you can charge per product on a recurring basis.
- The Hybrid model lets your customers pay for recurring and non-recurring products simultaneously
- The Tiered model lets you charge per unit based on the corresponding tier
- The Volume-Based model lets you charge based on the tier limit
- The StairStep model lets you charge when a customer reaches a certain threshold
- The Usage-Based model is more of a pay-as-you-go model
Depending on your product and customer base, these platforms give you the flexibility to customize your billing plans according to your company’s needs.
Dunning and Recovery
Stripe and Recurly offer several dunning management features that let you recover failed payments, update expired cards, send failed payment emails, remind customers of renewals, and conduct card charging retrials.
Stripe features include Smart Retries, which use a machine learning algorithm to retry charging failed cards at different intervals. You can also use Stripe’s Automated Emails feature to send email reminders of due or failed payments to your customers.
Unlike Stripe, Recurly offers different methods of recovering failed transactions. Recurly also has an option for dunning campaigns that use email messages to alert customers of failed charges.
Recurly also offers Intelligent Retries, which use machine learning algorithms to schedule failed transaction retries. The Recurly Account Updater monitors your customers’ card details to quickly update expired or updated cards to minimize revenue loss. Recurly’s dunning and recovery features, however, are only included with the Elite and Enterprise plans.
Stripe vs. Recurly: Which Is Better?
Stripe is known for processing faster international transactions, and it’s a great choice for per-use or one-off subscriptions as well as online-based business models. On the other hand, Stripe lacks comprehensive reporting and analytics tools. Furthermore, some of its features require a learning curve and technical know-how.
Recurly is designed for subscription-based business models and has more robust dunning and recovery features than Stripe. The downside of using Recurly is that most of its features are reserved for the Elite and Enterprise plans. This makes it less attractive to small- and medium-scale SaaS startups.
What Do Customers Have to Say About Stripe and Recurly?
Stripe users praise its API and speed, but there are a number of complaints about customer support. One customer said, “Stripe support is egregious. It doesn’t matter how pressing your issue is; you will have to wait a minimum of 24 hours.”
Customers appreciate Recurly’s easy user interface but have shared issues with editing invoices and developer documentation, as well as frustration with the product’s pricing model and rigid analytics.