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  1. #1

    Recurring - but not periodic - payments

    Hi, I hope someone here can help. I've done a lot of research on this, but have come up short. Maybe I just don't know what to search for.

    What I need to do is implement automatic recurring payments, but not on a periodic (i.e. regular) basis. It seems very common for services like PayPal and to have a "subscription" API, where a fixed amount is paid on a regular basis, but that won't work for what I am doing because the amount that I need to bill varies from day to day, like an electric or gas bill.

    So, I need to be able to bill in one of the following ways (one or the other, not both):

    1. A variable amount on a regular basis, e.g. $10.50 on June 1, $15.35 on July 1, $7.15 on August 1, etc.


    2. A fixed amount on a variable basis, e.g. $20 on June 1, then $20 again on July 19, then $20 again on Sep 7, etc.

    Either way would work for what I'm doing, and I can't say that I really have a preference. The point is: I don't charge a fixed amount for the service, but I still need to figure out some way to automate payments.

    I'm guessing that I could probably do this using's "Card Present" API by imitating a retail transaction when necessary, but ideally I'd prefer a solution that does not require me to store the credit card on my end.

    Does anyone know of a good solution here? Also, can anyone confirm whether or not -- as a last resort -- I could use the Card Present API for this?


  2. #2
    I don't know about's "card present" API (could you supply a reference), but does this have to be automated? If you can do it manually, then you can use to "rebill" a previous transaction that settled during the past 3 months. Right now does not offer an API interface to their recurring billing system anyway. Having recently completed a work-around to this problem, I don't think ARB will solve your problems (it appears you have to re-enter the card number if you change the subscription information). It would be possible to write software similar to what we did that would automate the "rebill" feature mentioned above, but the 3 month window might present problems for your situation. If you're not partial to any particular gateway, a different gateway might offer this feature as part of their API.


  3. #3
    The Card Present API is mentioned at the bottom of this page:

    I have no particular reason to use -- that just happens to be the name I've heard about the most. For years I've just used PayPal to accept payments, but recently people have been bugging me to implement some kind of autopay so they don't have to make manual payments every month. And since the only thing Paypal supports is fixed-interval, fixed-rate "subscriptions", I'm having to shop around for alternatives.

    I know that _somehow_ what I'm trying to do is possible, because this is the way Yahoo and Google auto-charge my credit card for advertising. Google charges the card every month, but it's a variable amount each time depending on the click-throughs for that month. In contrast, Yahoo charges the card a fixed $150 at a time, re-charging as necessary whenever the $150 runs out.

    Either way though, it's essentially the same thing: They're auto-charging the card for a variable-rate service. That's the same thing I want to do; I just don't know the shortest path to take and don't want to spend a month doing it the hard way only to find out that there was an easy way I missed because I didn't know what to look for :-)

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