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Chargebee review

Use Chargebee to take control of customer subscription and payment plans

Chargebee
(Image: © Chargebee)

TechRadar Verdict

Subscription and invoicing can be easily managed with this cloud solution that has the ability to be scaled up as your business requirements change.

Pros

  • +

    Super adaptable

  • +

    Works with many payment gateways

  • +

    Can be scaled up

Cons

  • -

    No obvious mobile support

Chargebee has been created to help fast growing SaaS companies automate their recurring billing tasks, renewals, collections and reconciliation in relation to subscriptions. Chargebee is a Payment Card Industry or PCI Level 1 certified recurring billing platform too, so it lets you automate payment collection as well as managing large volumes of subscriptions with ease. It’s also great for letting business owners keep tabs on metrics by analyzing data dynamically. 

In addition, Chargebee has been designed as a flexible solution that can be employed alongside other systems. For example, it can be used with Stripe to fill the middle ground between your website and the payment process by allowing more precise management of customer subscriptions. However, Chargebee can also be used in conjunction with over 30 other payment gateways worldwide, making it a practical solution for subscription management and associated billing processes.

Chargebee

Chargebee has pricing options for users on both sides of the Atlantic and farther afield (Image credit: Chargebee)

Pricing

Businesses of all sizes should be able to find a Chargebee setup to suit their needs, with pricing to match. The company has created different options so that you can choose something that fits in with your business needs and can be paid either monthly or annually. 

Things start off with the Rise package, which costs $249/£199 per month (billed annually) and Chargebee recommends it for businesses looking to move from spreadsheets to automation, often quite rapidly. Next up is the Scale package, which costs $549/£379 per month and is also billed annually. 

You get the Rise package plus more user capability, from 10 to 25. Larger businesses with greater demands will need to talk to Chargebee about an Enterprise edition, which offers much greater capability and, presumably, a more custom-priced approach.

Chargebee

Chargebee can be used to better manage large databases of subscriptions (Image credit: Chargebee)

Features

Larger businesses with lots of subscriptions and ongoing payments to manage will revel in the functionality of Chargebee. The core appeal is that it can be configured with very little effort and collect payments on top of pretty much any payment gateway. Administrators can subsequently upgrade and downgrade subscriptions, depending on the package chosen. 

Even smaller businesses should see potential in something like the Rise package as it comes with a 10 user limit, unlimited payment gateways, multiple tax regions, full SaaS metrics, Xero and QuickBooks integration plus compatibility with Salesfoce and Avalara. 

Step up to the Scale package, meanwhile, and there’s a 25 user capability, plus everything in Rise along with a series of extra features. These include advance invoicing, custom user roles, multiple payment methods, multiple tax profiles and priority phone support. The package can also be used in tandem with NetSuite and Sage Intacct.

Chargebee

Administrators can easily manage every aspect of a subscriber account (Image credit: Chargebee)

Performance

Implementing a SaaS billing solution is all about improving efficiency, speeding up workflow and keeping customers happy. Chargebee has therefore been engineered to do all of the above, but gives you the added advantage of being rather more robust by using a cloud-based system, rather than you having to rely on something in-house with the potential for failure. The added extra with the Chargebee system is that it can be scaled up as your subscription needs grow, so is ideally suited to businesses of all sizes.

Chargebee

Automation is at the heart of the Chargebee system allowing much speedier workflow (Image credit: Chargebee)

Ease of use

Even during the initial phase, before you’ve even signed up for Chargebee, it’s possible to get some practical help. The Chargebee website has a page that assists you in choosing the right payment gateway for your business, based on your location and requirements. Picking the right one of these is crucial, especially when you’re going to be using it alongside Chargebee. 

Once you start using the system Chargebee automates subscription accounts processes, which is made all the more efficient by supporting multiple pricing models. The calendar and planning system makes it really straightforward to manage recurring billing processes. Chargebee can handle all of the additional stuff, such as taxation, invoice consolidation, refunds and so on too.

Chargebee

Chargebee has a tool that helps you choose the correct gateway provider to complete the subscription jigsaw (Image credit: Chargebee)

Support

If you’re a subscriber to the Chargebee system then you’ll be able to get customer support as and when it’s needed. Alongside its help hub the company provides options to contact them with queries via the usual channels. However, if you’re signed up to the Scale package, as opposed to the lower Rise tier, then you’ll gain the benefit of having access to priority phone support.

Final verdict

Chargebee is significantly appealing if you’re running a business that needs to be sure of its ability to manage subscriptions. The great thing about Chargebee is that it can be used across all manner of different businesses, and be configured to suit the specific subscription plans offered. 

As Chargebee points out in its documentation, being able to price plans for different requirements means that you can develop a subscription option to suit different customers. It’s therefore going to be just as useful for, say, a media house as it will be for a SaaS provider

On top of that, Chargebee can be adapted as your business grows and as customer needs change. It’s all about convenience, both for customers to get the plan they want and for your business to be able to adapt dynamically. Chargebee seems to have got the balance just right so far.

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.