If you’re starting a new subscription or migrating an existing one to Shopify’s app Recharge, there are a few things to know going in when it comes to credit cards and customer information.  Recharge is a subscription app that works with Shopify allowing websites to bill customers periodically for goods and services.  Recharge is one of the two Shopify subscription apps.  If this article, we’ll focus on Recharge since it’s the one I am most familiar with.  Having processed thousands of subscription orders here, I’ll show you what to look out for with Recharge. I will also explain how to avoid major pitfalls.

Important Points When Processing Subscription Orders Through Recharge

Let’s start with the biggest worry when it comes to a subscription site, your credit card data.  The ability to transfer the user credit card information will be uphill. No wonder most companies are reluctant to changing their subscription platform. 

In my case,  I was looking at the potential loss of over 1000 users when Recharge broke it to me that they had no way of transferring data from my previous platform.

However, if you’re using Authorize.net as your gateway, you are in luck!  This gateway can store user credit card information if you select their recurring billing feature known as ARB. 

There is a slight cost of manually adding each user to their ARB subscription. There’s  a great tutorial right on the Authorize.net website: How do I create a new Automated Recurring Billing™ (ARB) subscription. Also, they offer chat support which is helpful.  Once you’ve completed this process, your customer’s data is sitting in neutral territory.  There is a fee with Authorize.net, and you can choose to stay with them or migrate them over to Recharge. Recharge offers a template that covers exactly what you need to do to transfer credit cards from Authorize.net.  This workaround is not on their site. After countless chats one Recharge Migration Team member finally acknowledged my credit card migration fix was possible, and it worked!

Important Points When Processing Subscription Orders Through Recharge

Let’s start with how the appc communicate. Apps such as Recharge create a separate database and shopping cart that are accessible on your website and send information to Shopify. 

What does this mean? Even though you can access your Subscription Customer data through your Shopify portal, they are two separate systems. While Recharge sends subscription order information to Shopify they do not share information. 

Why is this important to note? This made a significant impact on my user data. As an example, if a customer updates his or her address in Shopify this does not mean that information will sync with your Recharge application nor the subscription orders the application creates monthly.  In this scenario customers may think they’ve updated their account to receive their subscription goodies to the correct address yet this is not the case.

What can do to mitigate these issues? I recommend developing a very thorough support center. One that includes direct links to certain sections of the website. This will be work at first but eventually, it will save you money. Resources such as, updating addresses and key information your subscription clients need.   

Now, let’s touch on the credit card processing. The App has a maximum number of retries. Therefore, if your customer is accustomed to multiple retries and trusts their subscription will renew eventually, this is not the case with Recharge. After a certain amount of attempts the card will simply error out.  There are settings within the App that allow you to manage the frequency of attempts, so I urge you to spread these out to avoid your late payers to fall off the grid!

Subscription Orders & Charges That Might Fall Between the Cracks With Recharge

You’ll need to do periodic audits of your sales that come in through Recharge and compare them to charges that come in directly from Shopify and look for subscription items that might have accidentally been processed as one time sales.  I discovered this after several clients reached out about not locating their subscription on our site despite having received their first order. Here Recharge support explained that if there is a “connection issue” customer sales may process incorrectly as one-time sales through Shopify. While I did not find this to be a huge issue, when it comes to recurring charges, it’s best to preserve as many clients as possible! Once more, if this happens, you’ll need to recreate the client in Recharge and ask the user to re-enter their data. This is a less than practical solution and an inconvenience to the client.


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