Billing options define how your members can pay for their membership. Once you have created the membership level, you will need to create the billing options for the level. If no billing options are created, then the membership level is free.
Billing options for a membership level are considered equivalent, so a member should be able to switching billing options without penalty. So billing options are not a substitute for membership levels.
Click on "Add Billing Option" to create a new billing option. You can create as many billing options as you need, but note that your conversion rates may actually be lower if you offer too many choices to your users.
Billing Option Settings
You first need to provide a description for the billing option, this will be what is shown to the member so it should clearly describe how they are paying when they select this option. Below that you will see the following settings:
Allow members to select this billing option
If this setting is disabled, only the administrator can assign this billing option to the member. This can be used for private billing options - for example if you allow some members to pay by check but do not want this option shown on the website. Or this could be used for grandfathered pricing for the membership level that is no longer offered to new members.
All billing options with this setting enabled will be available for both your new and existing members to choose from. Billing options with this setting disabled will only be available to the administrator and members who are currently on this billing option.
You can select the following billing types:
- Credit Card - Automatic Recurring. In this case the member's credit card information is stored with your payment processor, and the card is charged automatically each billing period.
- Credit Card - Online. In this case the member's credit card will be charged for the current payment, but the information is not stored. The member would have to sign in each billing period to make a payment. We do not recommend using this billing type if the billing period is short - for example if it is monthly - as it create a big burden for the member to sign in each month to make a payment.
- Offline. With Offline billing, you can offer your members the ability to mail in a check, make payments in person, etc. You will need to provide a short paragraph of payment instructions so the member has the instructions on how to make a payment. For these members, the administrator will need to enter payments and update the renewal date manually in the member's account after receiving the payment. Note that these members are considered past due until the payment is received.
Note that you cannot change the billing type for an existing billing option.
Pricing and interval
This is the price for the billing option, and you can specify monthly, yearly and one-time intervals. One-time billing would be for life-time, once paid the member would be considered a member indefinitely - there is no membership expiration date.
New member application fee
If set, this amount will be added to the first payment for new members.
New member trial period
If set, new members will receive this number of days of membership free. For example, if the member is signing up on Jan 1 and the trial period is 5 days, their membership through Jan 6 is free. Billing for the different payment methods is as follows:
- Credit Card - Automatic Recurring. The member has to provide their credit card information, and automatic billing starts when the trial period ends.
- Credit Card - Online. The member does not have to provide a credit card to sign up. The member can sign in and make a membership payment before the trial ends. Please setup renewal notices to remind the member to sign in to make a payment.
- Offline. The member's renewal date will be set to the end of the trial period. Please setup renewal notices to remind the member to sign in to make a payment.
Renewal on fixed anniversary
By default, memberships are "rolling" - where the member's renewal dates can be varied. However for yearly memberships, if your membership year needs to be fixed (eg. it always needs to be Jan 1 to Jan 1), then you can enable and set the fixed anniversary date accordingly for the billing option.
Note that fixed membership years generally reduces revenue for groups - it disincentives members from joining near the end of the membership year, and ARPU (Average Revenue Per User/Member) would most likely be less given the same renewal rates.
If you do enable a fixed anniversary date, you can determine whether new members are automatically pro-rated based on when they sign up during the membership year, or if they pay the full price regardless of when they sign up (even if 1 day before the membership year ends). Or you can set a specific discount to kick in at some point in the membership year.
For example, if the membership year starts on Jan 1, and you want members signing up after Nov 1 to not have to pay for the 2 remaining months of the membership year, you can set a discount of 100% after Nov 1.
Note that the discount only applies to the dues for the current membership year, if the dues for the next membership year is added on, the discount will not apply to those dues. So when a member signs up on Dec 15, the dues for the current membership year (Dec 15 to Jan 1) would be discounted, and they would pay the full dues for the next membership year (Jan 1 to Jan 1 of the following year).
Also note that if you use a percentage discount, that percentage will be applied to the cost of the membership add-ons as well. If you do not want the discount to apply to add-ons, you should use a fixed dollar discount.
If you had enabled "do not pro-rate changes or upgrades to this level..." under the membership level settings, and you also enable a fixed anniversary date, you can also set an upgrade discount schedule.
You can enable discount codes to be used for the billing option. If you enable this setting, click on each discount code that can be used with this billing option. Enabled discount codes will have a blue background.
Sorting Billing Options
You can drag and drop the billing options on the list to re-order them to your needs.
Deleting Billing Options
When you delete a billing option, any members currently on that billing option will be reverted to the administrative "Manual Billing" option (see below).
Manual billing is an administrator only billing option. In other words, members cannot select Manual Billing themselves; members who are on Manual Billing will be prompted to select one of the other billing options when they sign in their account. Manual Billing is also the default billing option for members that you import.
Changing Prices For Existing Billing Options
When you change prices on an existing billing option, all current members will see the new prices when they renew next. There is no pro-rating of the current membership expiration for the current members. For Automatic Recurring billing, we will migrate their billing information with your payment processor so they will be billed the correct amount on their next renewal.
If you wish to keep current members on the old pricing, instead of changing the pricing, first disable the setting for "Allow members to select this billing option" under this billing option. Then create a new billing option with the new pricing. This way, current members will continue to be billed at the old pricing but new members can only select the new pricing/billing option.