Today I wanted to share a little tip I just discovered.
FreshBooks has a nice feature that I just have much opportunity to use. It’s called auto-bill. If you have clients who get billed the same amount each month (a subscription service for example) you can setup a recurring invoice. The recurring invoice gets sent automatically at the interval you specify. The client receives the invoice the way they would any other invoice, and they pay it manually. With auto-bill, you can enter your client’s credit card information and then those recurring invoices get paid with that card automatically. With a paid FreshBooks account, you can setup 5 of these. If you have more than 5 clients on a subscription you can pay to add more.
The one part about this that I’ve never liked is having to ask for the credit card. I know I’m not going to do anything malicious with my client’s credit card, but I just don’t like having that kind of information if I don’t have to. It’s actually this reason I haven’t used it before, or recommended it to my clients.
I don’t know why, but I hadn’t bothered to search out a possible way around this…until last month. I did a simple Google search, and a few minutes later I came across a solution. Here’s what you do.
Step 0: Before getting started, you need to have one thing already setup. You need to have a payment gateway setup and linked to your FreshBooks account. PayPal basic doesn’t count. PayPal Payflow Pro will work, as will other merchant accounts like Stripe, Authorize.net, or PSiGate. Once you have this setup, we can move onto the next step.
- Go to the Invoices tab, click on Recurring, and then New Recurring Profile. If you have your merchant account setup properly, you will see an Auto-bill drop-down menu just below the Online Payment options on the right.
- Fill in the recurring profile with all the relevant information (client, frequency, invoice details, etc.).
- For normal auto-bills you would now select the payment gateway from the Auto-bill drop down. Don’t do that here. Just make sure the gateway is checked in the Online Payments section.
- Click Save.
Now, when your client receives the first recurring invoice, they will click through to make a payment. Here’s what they will see on the screen where they fill in their credit card information. At the bottom, there will be two options for “Future Payments”. If they select the 2nd choice, their future recurring invoices will be automatically charged to the credit card they just filled in.
Et Voila! That’s all you have to do. Now your invoices will get paid automatically each month, and you didn’t have to ask your client for their credit card number.