Recurring or subscription billing has taken e-commerce by storm. This is where products and services are provided and billed for regularly over time. Many merchants in the high-risk verticals have been doing it since before it was cool, but the widespread acceptance of this billing model by consumers has helped many more merchants open up new revenue streams altogether.

As the been-there/done-that merchants will tell you, this trendy new way to sell products and services is not without its headaches. That said, there are a fair amount of tried and true best practices to avoid problems and reduce chargebacks.


Good comms is tantamount to good customer service, especially with recurring billing. Keeping your clients in the loop will go a long way to avoid unpleasant surprises and the chargebacks they create:

  • Get users to consent to your terms and conditions prior to the initial transaction.
  • Clearly state the transaction is recurring, along with the billing schedule and the duration.
  • Notify cardholders of any changes in terms or fees in writing and at least 10 days in advance.


A few simple steps go a long way to prevent problems with billing:

  • Whenever possible, let users decide the billing cycle: monthly, quarterly, annually.
  • Notify users of upcoming charges.
  • Send copies of receipts whenever possible.


This is where merchants can achieve high retention to keep those rebills coming in! It’s all about the relationship you build with your customers:

  • Communicate regularly with users on site updates, offers and news. Even if they opt out of email notification, notify them through their profiles or accounts.
  • Keep your cancellation policy simple and allow easy access for users to opt out.
  • Complete user cancellations promptly. Let users leave on good terms and they just might return.
  • Provide points of contact in every correspondence.


One of the bests ways subscription merchants can protect themselves against chargebacks is to have well-documented interactions with their clients. This data should be thorough and easily accessible:

  • Use device fingerprinting to track customer usage across platforms.
  • Keep logs of all user logins, searches and form inputs.
  • Keep all support transcripts, successful or otherwise.

At ChargebackHelp, we see a lot of friendly fraud cases stemming from recurring billing. Successful representment against these cases have a common theme: merchants employ these best practices. But they’re not just for fighting problems, these practices also go a long way to keep your customers happy and loyal for the long term.

If you have any questions about protecting your subscription billing models, see what ChargebackHelp can do for you. Drop us a chat down on the right, shoot us an email, or go old-school and call us 1.800.975.9905.