As subscription products become increasingly popular, consumers demand seamless experiences that prioritize flexibility and convenience. Businesses must adapt quickly to meet these expectations–bringing new challenges for technology and engineering teams.

While robust subscription management and recurring billing can remedy many issues, technology leaders face one question: whether they should build and maintain their platform or outsource to a third party.

To bring you clarity and confidence in your decision process, we’ve created a comprehensive checklist with the top strategic elements to consider when working towards a solution that will scale with your business.

Download it now, or keep reading to learn more.

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What to consider when building or buying a recurring billing software

Building and maintaining a subscription billing solution requires deep consideration of development resources, integrations, subscriber management, payments, analytics, security and compliance, and revenue recognition.

Look at your business—where it is and where you want it to be—and ask yourself: can my existing solution scale with my business and subscriber base as it grows?

Let’s review some key areas that tech and engineering teams must consider to scale their tech stack seamlessly.

1. Development resources

Building a home-grown solution demands substantial resources, and its ongoing maintenance will eventually consume more time and effort. Consider the following:

  • It would take one software engineer approximately a year to build an initial minimum viable product (MVP).

  • It would be ideal to have your subscription management and billing platform up next week; however, your time-to-value is a lot slower when you’re building everything from the ground up internally.

  • It would take valuable IT time and resources away from strategic projects and building core innovations that can differentiate your product and support business growth. 

Think about the projects you’ll need to de-prioritize to get your recurring billing platform up and running in the necessary time frame.

2. Secure integrations

Integrations allow you to scale your tech stack efficiently, ensuring seamless and reliable connections between various software systems and platforms–essential for managing the complexities of subscription models. 

A comprehensive recurring billing platform requires countless integrations to deliver a seamless experience to both your company and customers:

  • Can you integrate with your accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and email systems? Frictionless integration with your subscription management platform is key to synchronizing all the important financial, subscriber, and payment collection data that impact your business operations.

  • Can you keep your other systems in sync when an event occurs? Make sure your billing solution is able to notify other systems in real-time when something happens, such as when a subscription gets paused or canceled.

Integrating new tools and technologies without compromising security is vital to adapting to changing subscriber demands and emerging market trends.

3. Subscriber & churn management

Each step along the subscriber journey is essential, and, your tech stack must accommodate the evolving needs of modern-day customers–quickly:

  • Can you build a comprehensive account management portal? Customers demand easy ways to update their billing information or payment method, upgrade or downgrade their plan, pause their subscriptions, and make changes to their subscriptions.

  • Can you build and scale support for account upgrades, downgrades, different billing cycles, and proration? Billing gets challenging when customers change plans in the middle of a billing cycle. These scenarios are incredibly common, and you need to prepare for them.

  • Will you need to account for different billing models? Ensure you can accommodate the billing model your customers expect and the ability to try new billing models, such as quantity-based, usage-based, ramp pricing, or any other method that can transform the subscriber experience.

Evaluate your team’s current bandwidth. Think about how you want to allocate the resources, expertise, and time required to build experiences that prioritize retention.

4. Frictionless payments

Robust payment processing helps you win subscribers anywhere you choose to operate. However, it can be complicated as you expand to more regions. Have you decided:

  • Which payment gateways will you partner with? Decide which payment processing providers make more sense for your business–based on your customers’ demographics and product characteristics. Don’t forget the importance of having a backup in case your primary gateway presents an outage.

  • Which payment methods will you offer? Customers want convenient payment options, depending on where they live and how technically savvy they are: credit and debit cards, ACH, PayPal, SEPA, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Square Cash, and more.

  • How will you update payment details? Card numbers and expiration dates change every so often. Even though Visa and Mastercard offer access to these details, you’ll need to collaborate with these networks to create an account updater capability that automatically updates your subscribers’ card details.

5. Security and compliance

Your recurring billing solution must protect buyers’ data and comply with privacy and tax laws–a serious undertaking. Consider the following: 

  • How will you detect and address fraud? You must build or integrate with a fraud prevention solution that fights card-not-present (CNP) fraud, account takeover, and account creation fraud using AI-powered tools that effectively combat cybercrime.

  • Can you follow regional data privacy laws? Data protection laws apply in some U.S. regions like California and countries like Japan, Brazil, and South Korea. These rules constantly evolve, so you must be able to implement new developments.

  • Can you meet Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) requirements? This EU regulation calls for card issuers to decline payments that require Strong Customer Authentication but have not been authenticated via a 3D Secure flow. This requires partnering with compliant gateways and incorporating 3DS into your checkout flows.

Secure payment processing is not just a technical necessity but a critical enabler of long-term growth and success. This reliability allows your teams to focus on innovation and expansion rather than addressing payment-related issues. 

Get the checklist: Build vs. buy a subscription software

Recurring billing consists of many moving parts. Ensuring each can scale as quickly as your business is key to success–an automated subscription management platform can help you achieve it. 

Does your current solution allow you to adapt to subscriber demands worldwide easily? Get this subscription software checklist to find out.