Having had experience in both traditional and alternative payments, I completely understand the sentiments around payment eco-systems being complex. In its basic parts, it comes down to a network of participants who communicate financial information across one another. The problem is that they don't all speak the same language and often have unique rules. And as a merchant, you want to stay focused on your core business without spending time trying to understand (or troubleshoot) the intricacies of these relationships.

Take credit card processing for example. Although a basic model that generally does apply exists, there are still variations in addition to participants who play multiple roles in the same flow. Also, there's the library of terms like four-party model, three-party model, ISOs, acquirers, gateways, processors, issuers, back-end communication service layers, card networks that one must become accustom to as well.

So what does all this mean for me? Well, a good place to start is to choose the right billing partner who understands both payments and technology as it applies to your business. Billing partners, like Recurly, sit above payment gateways to bridge the gap between your business (user accounts, product plans) and payment processing (card validation, securing financial data, invoicing, reporting).

The General Flow

processflow aug2013b

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How can Recurly help? If you're an online subscription business, Recurly provides a complete solution that is focused on recurring billing. Our goal is to make subscriptions simple by alleviating the headaches around integration, gateway setup, PCI compliance, account management, invoice generation, user notifications, upgrades/downgrades, data portability, and more.

So whatever online channel or market vertical, Recurly has the technology and expertise to help you with your subscription-based business. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to comment or contact us at support@recurly.com.