Recurring Bitcoin payment for subscription and memberships

This post is also available in: German

Recurring Bitcoin payment for subscription and memberships

Recurring Bitcoin payment for subscription and memberships
Accept Bitcoin for subscription, membership and recurring payments.

In this article you will learn how to accept Bitcoin for subscription, recurring Bitcoin payment and memberships.

Bitcoin payments are primarily made in online stores for one-time payments. But how can you use Bitcoin for recurring Bitcoin payments?

An automated debit of the merchant from the payer is possible with the payment methods credit card, direct debit and partly with PayPal. The payment methods where the merchant can initiate the payment and debit the customer are called Pull Payment.

Bitcoin is a payment method where the payment must be initiated by the payer. This is referred to as push payment.

But how can a recurring Bitcoin payment be implemented if Bitcoin is a push payment that must be actively executed by the payer again and again?

The solution is to send the customer an email reminder at the time of a pending payment. In this email the payer is requested to settle the pending Bitcoin payment.

Recurring payments occur in online business in many different forms:

  • Donation / regular support: Support for artists, YouTuber or bloggers from your fans and followers. For the monthly financial support, fans receive benefits such as exclusive content, community or personal insights into the creative work of the stars.
  • Membership: a paid access on a website, blog or news site
  • Software & Services: License fee for a software or the hosting fee for his website

The situation: 

Onlineshop24.com offers the creation of an online store including additional services, which should be billed monthly. The customers receive an email each month with the request to pay the monthly flat rate by Bitcoin. The customer pays the amount due each month to continue using the service. If a payment is not made, the provision of the service will be discontinued.

The solution

The recurring payment was implemented on the basis of WordPress and WooCommerce. Besides the installation of WooCommerce, the WooCommerce Plugin “WooCommerce Subscriptions” is also used. Further information about this plugin and the possible applications can be found on the page: https://woocommerce.com/products/woocommerce-subscriptions/

This plugin is offered at WooCommerce for an annual fee of $199,-. It is an open source software and can also be downloaded for free from Github.

Go for it on the side: https://github.com/wp-premium/woocommerce-subscriptions and click on the green Button with the designation “code”. Then go to Download.zip.

Woocommerce subscriptions for free

We save the file named woocommerce-subscriptions-master.zip on our local computer.

Then we go to the section Install Plugins within WordPress and upload it to the Plugin section. Here we select the plugin from our local computer and transfer it to our WordPress or WooCommerce.

After the plugin has been successfully installed and activated, this note will appear.

Add a subscription Product

It is now possible to create a new product via “Add a Subscription Product”, which should be billed at regular intervals.

WooCommerce calls up the settings via “Settings”. Here there is a new menu item called Subscriptions, for individual settings.

For detailed instructions on how to configure WooCommerce Subscriptions, please refer to the Introduction to WooCommerce Subscriptions.

Products with recurring payment

At Coincharge we offer some products as a service, which are settled as recurring payment. With these products we will show how a recurring product can be created and paid for by Bitcoin.

As an example we will use the setup and hosting service at LunaNode, which is offered for €199,- per year. A description of the product can be found here: BTCPay Server Hosting per year

By installing the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin, the functions for configuring the products are extended. Additionally, the Simple Subscription and Variable Subscription functions are available. We can define an existing product or a new product as a subscription product.

Lunanode hosting subscription

WooCommerce Settings Subscriptions

As already described, there are payment methods that allow the merchant to initiate a payment automatically. This is called Automatic Payments in WooCommerce Subscriptions. Payments that are initiated by the end customer are called Manual Renewals.

In order to be able to make manual renewals in the online store, the appropriate settings must be made in the WooCommerce settings and then in Subscriptions.

Woocommerce Manual Renewals

Accordingly we mark the field Accept Manual Renewals. In order to allow customers to make payments directly without having to go through the store’s payment page, we also activate Accept Early Renewal Payments via a Modal.

Now we have successfully created a product which is to be settled by recurring payment. But now it is still necessary to activate the corresponding payment methods at WooCommerce.

Set up Bitcoin as payment method at WooCommerce

The setup of Bitcoin as a payment method is done via WooCommerce -> Settings and then BTCPay.

WooCommerce Bitcoin Payment

The setup of Bitcoin and Lightning as a payment method at WooCommerce is described in detail in the article: “Bitcoin WooCommerce – Accept Bitcoin payments with WooCommerce“.

renewal invoice

Die Bezahlung erfolgt für den Kunden genau so, wie bei einem Produkt ohne wiederkehrender Zahlung. Die Angaben zu der Bestellung werden vom Kunden hinterlegt.

Wenn der Kunde sich für die Bezahlung per Bitcoin oder Lightning entschieden hat, dann öffnet sich die Bitcoin Bezahlseite und die Bitcoin Zahlung kann ausgeführt werden.

Zum Fälligkeitstermin wird automatisiert von dem WooCommerce Shop eine Email an den Kunden versendet, um erneut eine Zahlung durchzuführen. Im Backend-Bereich von WooCommerce gibt es eine Übersicht aller Subscriptions mit den relevanten Informationen zu den jeweiligen Mitgliedschaften und den Zahlungen.

Dieses WooCommerce Subscription Plugin ist neben Bitcoin auch für alle anderen angebotenen Bezahlmethoden einsetzbar.

Das WooCommerce Bitcoin Subscription Modell, kann in dem Donation Demo Shop von Coincharge am Live System ausprobiert werden. Kaufe in diesem Supporter Shop ein Abo-Produkt und erfahre, wie man als Endkunde dann eine Email erhält und eine erneute Bitcoin Zahlung durchführt.

This post is also available in: German

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