Blog » Launching PayFast Recurring Billing – Works like a charm to build long-term customer relationships

Launching PayFast Recurring Billing – Works like a charm to build long-term customer relationships

You asked for it; Recurring Billing is here

As our number one feature request, PayFast’s much-anticipated release offers a streamlined solution to its merchants and greater convenience and control to the customer: a win-win all round. Said to be “the perfect business model”, Recurring Billing provides greatest value to both the business and the customer (Chuck Longanecke in Entrepreneur Mag, 2015). Customers gain the convenience of uninterrupted service or a single-click checkout whilst merchants secure repeat future payments.

“It is important to us that we deliver relevant and accessible features to the South African market. Recurring Billing has been on our to-do list for some time, and we’re excited that we can now announce this recurringly requested feature.”  ~ Jonathan Smit, MD at PayFast

Recurring Billing, the nitty-gritty

The feature enables numerous business models, activities and applications. At launch, the service will allow for merchants to create two methods of recurring payments; one being a subscription model, the other an ad hoc model. The subscription model supports membership or retainer style business models that provide stable and predictable income. The ad hoc payment solution enables applications such as app payments, single page checkout, or automatic account top ups. Read up on the details of each and how to enable recurring billing for yourself.


The true value of the subscription business model is in its predictability. Billing is automated and long-term financial planning is easier as future payments are almost guaranteed.

A typical service is server hosting. The customer is billed on a monthly basis for a set fee. Traditionally in South Africa this billing model has been implemented by means of a debit order. Our subscriptions offering, however, shifts towards a credit card-based payment model. In line with global trends, it offers a more streamlined solution to the merchant with greater customer convenience and control.

Ad hoc payments

An ad hoc recurring payments solution sounds something like a contradiction in terms, invoking both regularity and irregularity. It is precisely that combination that adds a multitude of additional applications to the function of recurring billing. The relational aspect of the transaction is the recurring part – the buyer and seller enter into an agreement where the buyer authorises the seller to charge their credit card for an agreed purpose. However, the amount paid and transaction dates can differ for future individual payments.

Let’s look at some examples of how this feature could be implemented. Say you want to monetise your app. Authorising each and every transaction is an obstacle to the customer experience. PayFast’s Ad hoc payments would streamline the process, allowing automated app purchasing after the first transaction has been authorised, for future use.

Or, you have an e-commerce business. Ad hoc payments offer huge value for web based stores where customer loyalty is key. Through the use of tokenization you can now access customer purchasing details, and offer a single page checkout.

Customer Centric

PayFast Recurring Billing services are made possible through the use of tokenization, a solution that allows sensitive information to be replaced by a non-sensitive ‘token’. Keeping sensitive customer information supremely secure, the token has no direct meaning or value and purely references any relevant information which is securely stored and managed. PayFast is PCI DSS service provider level 1 compliant.

Additionally, the solution keeps the customer in mind by offering account access to view and manage all subscriptions created through PayFast. The customer can cancel subscriptions or update their card details when needed. The merchant only has access to the recurring profiles connected to their account.

Find out more about the ins-and-outs of this powerful feature.

Repeat business = Profitability

PayFast’s Recurring Billing makes it easy for loyal customers to make more regular purchases. It’s set to ripple waves in South Africa’s small business sector by lowering barriers to entry and enabling innovative new business models. It’ll streamline your billing process, keep your cash flow running smoothly and set your business on the road to growth.

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