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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What is Chargify and how can it help my business?

Chargify is a recurring billing system designed for Web 2.0 and SaaS companies. Chargify frees you from worrying about billing so you can focus on building innovative web applications.

Chargify provides the tools you need for your business, including:

  • Support for trial periods
  • Automatic proration if your customers upgrade or downgrade during a billing cycle
  • Outreach to customers to resolve problems if their credit card payments fail
  • Hosted pages for your customers to sign up and manage their credit card information
  • Coupon codes so your customers could get a discount when they sign up
  • Metered billing (for instance, billing by the number of text messages sent or sales leads purchased during a defined billing period)
  • Tracking of "seats" over long periods of time, such as software licenses purchased or hotel rooms managed through your system

What makes Chargify qualified to handle my billing?

Chargify is based on our own experience running a small business. Chargify was developed by the team behind Grasshopper.com and EngineYard.com—both companies that serve entrepreneurs and small businesses that operate on recurring, subscription-based billing models.

Over the past six years, we've been developing and evolving Chargify based on our experience building the recurring billing system that we needed when we started our businesses. The Chargify at your fingertips today is based on what we've seen that works and void of what we've seen that doesn't work. And to keep up with changing times, the Chargify team is continually working on amazing future updates to promote growth for your business.

Does Chargify require a contract?

Nope! Chargify is a month-to-month service that doesn’t require any long-term commitment.

How long does it take to start using Chargify?

You can start using Chargify today! Get a free test account to try everything out, or to use as a "fake gateway" while you build your software. Just answer a few signup questions, and we'll set you up with a test Chargify account, which you can use to make sure Chargify works for you before you invest in an active merchant account and payment gateway.

When it's time to charge customers real money, you'll need to connect Chargify to a payment gateway and merchant account. Many merchants already have these, but if you don't, then expect it to take a few days to get set up. If you're a U.S. merchant, get everything you need with our partner, Merchant Focus.

What support options do you offer?

Chargify has an extensive support section available, as well as a 24/7 support team. Call us anytime at 800-401-2414!

We also have a strong Chargify community that has been extremely helpful in developing Ruby gems, creating PHP wrappers, and answering other users’ questions.

Can I cancel at anytime?

Yes. While we'll be sad to see you go, Chargify is a month-to-month service that you may cancel at any time. There are no commitments and no long-term contracts.

Customer & Accepting Payments FAQs

How does Chargify bill my customers?

Chargify bills your customer's credit card on whatever schedule you define. In addition to processing one-time and recurring transactions, Chargify can handle free trial periods, one-time fees, promotions, refunds, email receipts, and even dunning (reminders for failed credit card payments) management.

Chargify acts as an intermediary between your website and your payment gateway. You create subscription plans and integrate them into the signup process on your website. Then, Chargify initiates transactions with your payment gateway.

What is a merchant account/payment gateway?

A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payment by debit or credit cards. A merchant account also serves as an agreement between a retailer, a merchant bank, and a payment gateway for the settlement of credit card and/or debit transactions. A payment gateway facilitates the secure transfer of information between your website and your merchant account.

Do I need a merchant account and payment gateway to start using Chargify?

If you simply want to test Chargify with our developer plan, you do not need either of these. In order to use Chargify on a live site, you must set up a merchant account and payment gateway. Learn more about how Chargify works with multiple merchant accounts and payment gateways.

Can I use my existing payment gateway or do I need to change?

Chargify currently supports many major payment gateways and we are constantly adding new ones, so you can switch at any time. A full list of supported gateways is available on our payment gateways page.

Can I use Chargify for one-time transactions?

Yep! Once you have an active subscription for a customer, you can attach one-time charges to their account. You could also set up a specially configured “One-Time-Purchase Product.”

Do you support metered billing?

Of course! With metered billing components, sellers can charge for a product on a per-usage basis. Creating metered components with Chargify is easy. Once it's set, usage is tallied throughout the billing cycle and the charge is seamlessly integrated on the customer's next invoice.

Can I bill my customers more than once a month?

Yes. You can bill your customers as many times per month as you’d like.

Can I create custom subscription plans?

Totally! Chargify allows you to create custom subscription plans and charge at any interval. Chargify’s subscription management tools are flexible and easy to use. Feel free to customize your billing intervals, trial periods, introductory pricing, one-time fees, and more.

Can I track billing data for multiple companies?

Yes, you can. If you have more than one company, you may use Chargify to bill customers for all of them–and keep the accounting separate.

What happens if a transaction fails?

Online transactions can fail for several reasons. Sometimes it’s a problem with the credit card itself, other times there can be something wrong with your payment gateway settings or merchant account. If it’s a problem with the customer’s credit card, Chargify will manage the entire process automatically, sending customized emails to alert the customer of the error.

How do I export my customer’s credit card information if I decide to leave Chargify?

Chargify does not store any actual credit card data. Currently, we only support gateways that offer vault storage options. The cards are stored in these secure vaults, and we store a token that can be used to charge that card on your gateway. If you leave Chargify, your credit card vault data remains with your gateway provider. You will need to work with your gateway directly if you need to export that data.

If you need access to your subscription, customer, or transaction data, you can use the Chargify API or our CSV Export feature. For more information, please see our documentation section "Exporting Data."

Order & Shipments FAQs

Can I add shipping charges to a subscription?

Yes. Use our customizable Compontents to add charges to a subscription. More information on Components can be found here.

How do I know when to ship?

There are two easy approaches to shipping: Wait for Chargify to collect payment from your customer, then ship; or query the system to find out who needs a shipment.

How do I see who needs something shipped?

Simply log into your dashboard and view your transactions.

Security FAQs

What does it mean to be PCI compliant?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Cardholder data is any personally identifiable data associated with a cardholder. This could be an account number, expiration date, name, address, social security number, or other information. All personally identifiable information associated with the cardholder that is stored, processed, or transmitted is also considered cardholder data.

Chargify is Level 1 PCI Compliant, the highest level a business can attain. We also work with only the most reputable gateways to make sure all of your customers' payment information is stored in a PCI-compliant way.

What is Chargify's uptime?

We publish our public uptime via the third-party service Pingdom. It's available here.

Is my billing data secure?

Yes. Chargify is officially Level 1 PCI compliant, the highest level of security a business can offer.

Chargify also works with your payment gateway's secure vault (for instance, Customer Information Manager in Authorize.net) to store your customers' billing information in a PCI-compliant way. We work with your gateway so you don’t have to worry about managing this sensitive information.

Does Chargify store my customers' data and credit cards?

Chargify does not store credit card information of any kind. We work in conjunction with your payment gateway's secure "vault" to store your customers' credit card information in a secure, PCI-compliant location.

As we continue to add additional payment gateways, this may change but will be dependent on your gateway.

Chargify is officially Level 1 PCI compliant, the highest level of compliance for any business.

Global FAQs

Can I use Chargify in another country or currency?

Your customers can be located almost anywhere in the world and they can buy from you via Chargify. As long as they have a type of credit card that is supported by your payment gateway (usually Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, and sometimes others), your customers can purchase from you using Chargify.

Your location matters. You need to be able to conduct legal business (or at least have a bank account) in one of the countries where we have supported payment gateways.

Can I use Chargify in my country? And where can my customers be located?

You, the merchant, must be located in one of the countries where there's a payment gateway provider that's supported by Chargify. Please check this list of payment gateways that connect to Chargify.

Your customers can be in any country. They just need to have a credit card that your payment gateway and merchant account accept, such as Visa or MasterCard.

Does Chargify support collecting foreign currencies?

Depending on the payment gateway you've chosen, Chargify can support different currencies. For a current list, please see our documentation on Currency Selection.

Hosted Pages & Developers FAQs

Do I need to install software to use Chargify?

There is no software required to use Chargify. Chargify has an easy-to-use online interface that will help you manage your subscription billing; it takes only minutes to set up your subscription plans. You’ll have the ability to search across plans, transactions, and even customer groups, making it easy to track trends.

Can I connect Chargify with my existing website and other systems?

Yes! Some merchants don't connect Chargify to any kind of website. They create a few products in Chargify and just use the Chargify signup page links in emails and social media to get their customers signed up.

Some merchants do a light integration to their website where they link from their website to the Chargify signup pages.

Other merchants integrate with their website and other software on a deeper level with the Chargify API. This allows customers to be able to see and edit Chargify data inside their own website or app.

How do I integrate the Chargify API?

Chargify offers an extensive support section on integrating with the Chargify API. If you’re unsure of how to integrate your site with Chargify, we have a group of implementation consultants who can assist you.

When do I pick my hosted payment page subdomain?

Once you’ve signed up for Chargify, you’ll be asked to log in for the first time and set up your merchant credentials. At this time, you will also define your hosted payment page URL as a subdomain of Chargify. Most companies choose their company name for simplicity, for instance, 37noises.chargify.com.

Streamline your subscription management and recurring billing. Get started today!