UPDATE on Nov 5, 2013: New ways to get customer self-management URL:
The URL that each of your customers needs to manage his/her account appears in some new places:
* On Statements and Invoices we send to your customer
* Via an API call that you can make from your software, thus allowing you to provide it to your customer in your app.
Read more in the billing portal docs.

UPDATE on Aug 30, 2013: New Features
Due to merchant requests in the past few days, we have added 4 new options for your Billing Portal functionality.
You can now allow/disallow your customers doing these things:
* Change Plan
* Cancel Plan
* Update Card
* Update User Profile

ORIGINAL POST on Aug 27, 2013:

We love building tools that simplify subscription business management, freeing our merchants to focus on what makes their businesses unique and amazing.  Many of you are doing just that – building awesome services and tools desired and relied upon by an impressive number of subscribers.  So far in August alone, our merchants have added over 68,000 new live subscriptions and billed over $8.2 Million USD.  That’s awesome!

Not surprisingly, our most-requested feature is something described simply as a “Portal”: a place where your subscribers can manage their Chargify-powered subscriptions without you having to write even 1 line of code or sign up for any new services.

Today, we’re making that vision a reality with the launch of the Billing Portal at BillingPortal.com.

What is the Billing Portal?

Billing Portal is a tool that makes it easy for your customers to directly manage their subscriptions.  Once you enable Billing Portal for a customer, they will instantly be able to perform a variety of subscription management duties:

View subscription details

Whether a customer has one or many subscriptions with you, we provide the at-a-glance info they need. This view includes next billing date, trial status, current credit card on file, billing address, shipping address, and more.

chargify manage subscriptions

Change plans (Upgrade/Downgrade)

Customers can easily preview their upgrade and downgrade options, then finalize the change with one more click.

chargify billing portal change plans

Add or update their credit card on file

billing portal chargify

Cancel accounts

As much as it hurts to see customers leave, its important to make it an easy and painless process once it is inevitable.  We’ve got your back there.

subscription billing portal chargify

View Statements and Invoices

We’ve redesigned statements and they are beautiful and easy-to-follow in the Portal!  In addition, your subscribers can easily download PDFs of their statements and invoices.

Chargify billing portal invoices

Enabling Billing Portal

The Billing Portal can be turned on under the Settings tab of Chargify.  You can choose whether you want new customers to be automatically invited (via email), or whether you’d like to manually invite your subscribers.  There are some customization options you’ll want to consider, such as the ability to upload a logo that displays to your subscribers in the Portal.

enabling billing portal

You can manage your invited subscribers from the “Billing Portal” sub-tab of the Subscriptions tab.  From here, you can send and revoke invitations.  You can even bulk-invite subscribers when you are ready to make Portal available for all.

subscribers billing portal

Authentication

A guiding principle for our design of Billing Portal authentication is that your subscribers shouldn’t have to create (or remember!) yet another password.  If your service is password-protected, we recognize that having a separate password for just the “billing part” might cause confusion.

So, we’ve taken a different approach – there are no passwords.  Access is controlled via short-lived links (URLs) sent to your subscribers via email.  As long as they have quick access to their email accounts (and who doesn’t, these days?) they’ll be able to quickly access and log in to Portal.  Once logged in, we try to make it easy for them to remain authenticated in a seamless way.

If you enable statements-via-email in Chargify (which is an existing feature many of you use), those statements will now include a “management link” that will quickly whisk the subscriber away to the Billing Portal, where they can dig into the details or make changes.  As long as we “know” this subscriber and the device they are using, clicking the management link will appear like a seamless transition.  If they are new or don’t have a session on their current device, they’ll be able to easily request a login link to be sent to their email, which works a lot like the well-known “forgotten password” flow.

Portal Available Today for All Merchants

We’re making Billing Portal available to all of our merchants on all of our plans.  In the future, we may offer advanced features of Portal, including white-labeling options, to our higher plans.

Billing Portal is brand new, and we’re excited for you to try it.  As always, we’ll continue to iterate on it.  We’d love your feedback during this process.

One interesting insight into the technical side of Billing Portal is that, other than a few configuration bits on the Chargify side, Portal has no special access, privilege, or magic.  It consumes our (upcoming) API Version 2 and uses Chargify Direct for all forms that handle sensitive cardholder data.  In the coming weeks, we’ll be fully documenting this new API so you can make use of its efficiency and new features.

This new feature lives at a different domain (billingportal.com), which gives us a lot of flexibility for how it’s used going forward.  Still, it is a Chargify feature though-and-through.  We hope you like it.

Disclaimer: the use of Mark Wahlberg’s name and image is not meant to imply endorsement.  You should still go watch some of his movies or listen to some of his music.