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I have a friend who has asked me to build a site for her that allows people to sign up for a monthly subscription service for a few dollars a month. The service will send them text messages throughout the month.

Does anyone have any suggestions on open source software for signing up for a service like this? I have already researched how to send the messages and need advice on setting up the subscription service.

I've worked with asp.net c# and php.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Paypal has a monthly subscription/subscriber service built into their payment system. It's setup as a specific product type so you would just need to configure the frequency for how often to charge them.

On a side note, make sure to build in the ability to cancel their subscription in a way to make it extremely easy to get information. If it's at all difficult and they complain to paypal, they will sometimes revoke your merchant account.

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thanks, but do you know anything that is easy to integrate with paypal –  user2553 Oct 19 '10 at 16:22
    
Are you looking for an eCommerce package too? There are plenty that out of the box integrate nicely with it. Magento is one of the more popular ones on the stack-exchange sites and is relatively easy to install and setup. –  XOPJ Oct 19 '10 at 16:24
    
I will look at it. thank you –  user2553 Oct 19 '10 at 16:29

I doubt you will find any service that is 100% "free" for processing your subscription fees. The best/cheapest option is probably to write the software yourself to integrate with something like Paypal's Recurring Payment system.

Most services will either charge you a flat fee or % fee per charge processed. So really you will want to look at the major payment providers out there and see which ones offer what. Paypal is well known and pretty standard. Here is an earlier question about payment providers that exist and are well known. Many of them will offer you a subscription billing platform.

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Paypal has two systems Paypal Subscritpions and Paypal ARB (automatic recurring billing)

I would recommond not using them. Its a pain to develop with both platforms and you will have to. Paypal subscriptions is free (per trans fees), but your customers are going to paypal to make the subscription. Then you have to create an IPN (instant payment notification script) to handle subscriber payments. Paypal ARB lets customer pay on your site with a real merchant account, but requires that you offer paypal subscriptions to qualify for decent rates.

If its a legitmate product that will expect decent revenue i would: 1. Get a real merchant account.. FLAGSHIP Merchants are awesome. 2. Build an app that manages subscribers in a database 3. Run transacitons monthly thorugh authorize.net recurring biling profiles or though an online invoiceing service such as FreshBooks. 4. Use twilio for programming SMS (ifbyphone.com is a good resource too)

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I would try recurly. . . that is what we are going to use for our subscription service.

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