Editor’s Note: This was indeed an April Fools joke.  There’s a lot of truth in the post, and a few good ideas that are not too far fetched.  But rest assured we wouldn’t charge your customers without their consent in an irreversible way.

We don’t normally release features on a Sunday, but this one just couldn’t wait!  I’m excited to tell you about “Predictive Charging”, our latest feature which is sure to improve the experience for all Chargify merchants and customers!

You may have read (and noticed) that we’ve been working to improve the speed and stability of our systems lately.  Thanks to these efforts, we’ve reduced our average response time by over 75% in the past few months.

There’s one large hurdle, though, that remains in the way of improving the speed of signups even more: the external gateways where we send credit cards for charging.  During a signup, we send the credit card to the gateway and have to wait on a response before we can give feedback to the customer.  This is frustrating, because sometimes the gateways can take 6 to 10 seconds to respond.  That’s why we’ve introduced Predictive Charging for our hosted signup pages.

How Predictive Charging Works

  1. We monitor the usage patterns of the potential customer to make a prediction about whether they will carry though with a subscription purchase or abandon the form
  2. As soon as a likely-to-purchase customer has entered necessary credit card information such as number and expiration date, we use client-side technologies to perform a purchase against the gateway IN THE BACKGROUND.  The customer doesn’t even know that they’re making the purchase yet!
  3. Once the customer finishes the form and finally presses “Make my Purchase”, we usually already have the credit card gateway results, so we can display to them almost IMMEDIATELY if their purchase was successful or declined!

How We Predict a Signup

Our new technology judges the potential customer’s intent by considering the speed, accuracy, and “gumption” with which they have filled the form.  Given this, we can predict fairly accurately whether the person on your signup page is:

(a) an authoritative, decisive winner who knows what they want and has no time to waste, or

(b) a wishy-washy, spineless individual who is going to fill out your whole form “just to see how much shipping costs”

We only enable Predictive Charging for those in the (a) category

What Happens If the Customer Changes Their Mind?

First off, this probably isn’t going to happen right?  If you’ve made your product or service compelling enough, there’s no way they are going to abandon the checkout process.

If they do abandon, we try our best to detect this scenario so we can void the purchase at the gateway.  This is new technology, and its kind of hard to detect the case where the user walks away from their computer or just closes their browser – but we’ll try!

Conclusion

There’s no need to turn this feature on.  We’ve gone ahead and opted-in all merchants who use our hosted signup pages.  Your customers are going to love it!

If you really need to disable this feature, you can simply visit this page.