Products describe the specific goods or services you offer to your customers. For example, you might offer a digital download or a course on any of our supported platforms. There are a few product types that describe the billing cycle of the product, this can be a once-off payment, a payment plan or a subscription plan.
Once-off products require a once-off payment at the point of checkout.
Payment Plan products
A Payment Plan sets up a schedule of multiple payments that are charged at a certain interval. The main difference between a payment plan and a subscription is that Payment Plans have a predefined number of cycles and an end date - e.g. "Pay 3 monthly payments of $100".
Payment Plans are useful when selling high-ticket items as it breaks up the cost and reduces the barrier to entry for some customers. It does however have the inherent risk that the customer can cancel or default on the payment plan before it completes. Payment Plans are paid with credit/debit cards and can therefore fail for any of the known reasons that card payments fail - card expired, insufficient funds or even chargebacks.
Payment plans have been around for a number of years and customers are used to having that option, however it is risky. A safer option would be to consider BNPL (buy-now-pay-later) payment options like Klarna, Afterpay or Affirm. BNPL options are available if you have a Stripe account, but we also support Klarna accounts directly.
Subscription products collect payments on a regular payment interval (weekly, monthly, every 2 months etc.).
Combining products with different billing cycles
In some cases it is possible to combine products with different billing types, although because of the way that payment processors handle subscription payments and sessions, there are limitations.
The following combinations are allowed
- Subscription products with the same billing periods and intervals. For example, you can combine multiple subscription products that are billed monthly, or multiple products that are all billed quarterly, but you can't combine a monthly and a quarterly product.
- Subscription products with free trial periods. Only one free trial period can be used per cart, so if there are products in the cart with different trial periods, then the maximum trial period of all products are used.
- Payment Plan products with the same billing periods and intervals.
- Subscription and Once-off products.
- Payment Plan and Once-off products.
The following combinations are not allowed
- Payment Plan and Subscription products
- Subscription products with different billing cycles
- Payment Plan products with different billing cycles
Trial periods and Payment Plans
A checkout session can only create one subscription at a time, which means that there can only be one trial period or one payment plan per checkout. There can still be multiple line items per checkout, but they must follow the same payment schedule. This means that if one subscription has a trial period of 30 days, then all subscription items in the cart will have the same trial period.
Product Limitations with Payment Processors
|Variable Subscription Intervals|
|Subscription Setup Fees|
|Multiple subscription items per checkout|
|Mixed product types per checkout|