ChargeBee was started in 2011 by a group of four friends consisting of product managers and ex-Zoho architects. They saw the “ need for a well-structured billing and invoicing system used for recording and processing." 1 ChargeBee exists as a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) subscription-based billing system. With offices currently in both the U.S. and India, this team works to fulfill their belief that a "subscription is a long term relationship and it is not just monthly payments." 2
It is easy to see at first glance that ChargeBee is a vibrant, impressive subscription billing system. It has an easy-to-use dashboard, simple settings page, several API options, and useful reports. What ChargeBee brings to the table in a billing system is so much more than the average tool. Its basic and advanced features are extensive and ChargeBee goes the additional mile to offer those little extras you would not expect.
After entering an email address in order to view the free demo, test data is automatically populated making it very easy to test the system. It did not take long to find my way around to review the all-encompassing features.
Pricing & Availability
ChargeBee is a web-based application with a few different pricing plans. Monthly paid plans include Silver for $49 (200 invoices), Gold for $149 (1,000 invoices), and Platinum for $249 (2,000 invoices). Invoices over the plan amounts are charged at $10 per 50.
Although ChargeBee sometimes adjusts their pricing plans, it never changes for existing customers. Once you lock in a subscription service with ChargeBee, you never have to worry about pricing changes affecting you.
What it does well
Once logged in, the dashboard displays reporting information with drill-downs of all numbers. Revenue, Sign-Ups, Unpaid Invoices, and Subscription Counts are perfect at-a-glance views. Each count or amount can be clicked for details.
Subscriptions show basic information on the main screen along with filtering options. Each record can be clicked for further details including invoices, emails, and transactions. Payment, subscription, and billing information can all be edited along with options to add charges, add-ons, and coupons to the record. Within the Subscriptions area Invoices, Transactions, Email Logs, and Events display their own lists of details as well; clickable for further information. The Events feature is a nice touch in the system. This area shows actions and changes within the system for either screen viewing with filtering or web-hook notifications.
The Product Config area contains the product pricing details along with areas for configuring Add-ons, Coupons, and Coupon Sets (which include an upload option). Recurring billing, setup fees, metered billing, and trial periods are all configurable which offer users many product pricing options. Product plans can also be edited or cloned with a simple click.
The reports are fantastic with eight different types including ARPU, transactions, renewals, revenue and refunds. Screen views offer much detail with filtering capabilities as well. Additionally, reports can be easily exported as .csv files, individually or as a group.
The Settings area is quite intuitive. Site Settings, Email Notifications, Hosted Pages, APIs, and more are all configurable with simple clicks from the main screen.
- Email notifications are customizable and templates are provided for easy setup.
- Hosted payment pages can be set up with no API, minimal API, or complete API integration. Themes are available for the payment pages and an option to upload themes is helpful for those who prefer their own design. Page fields and text are editable and Google Analytics can be added for tracking.
- Payment gateway options are plentiful with PayPal, Braintree, WorldPay, and more. ACH, offline payment tracking, and credit card retry management are additional offerings.
Third party integrations include MailChimp, SalesForce, and Zapier. The API options are extensive and each includes documentation and a free developer sandbox for CURL, PHP, RUBY, PYTHON, JAVA, .NET, and NODE. Web-hook Settings are also simple to set up.
What is most impressive to me about this system is the support. ChargeBee offers tutorials, a knowledge base, FAQ section, and a forum. There is user documentation along with full API documentation for development. Online support (chat), a toll-free phone number, ticket system, and online call scheduling are also available help options. Although the system is not difficult to use, having such a variety of support options is rare in other systems and sites that I have seen. This provides additional comfort to users. Additionally, every screen I reviewed offered help by use of screen tips, definitions, and direct links to documentation. This is just another added touch making this system more impressive.
What we would like to see in future updates
I was unable to locate mobiles apps or information regarding a future plan for them. This would be a wonderful enhancement for those users on-the-go. Accessing the tool via phone or tablet would be the perfect next step for ChargeBee.
After much reviewing and testing, I tried very hard to find something lacking in this billing tool. I tested, I drilled down, I clicked around, and I even mouse-hovered looking for what could possibly be missing. However, I found nothing lacking in this system. The advanced features, ease-of-use, screen help, intuitive design, drill-down options, reporting and support make this an extraordinary subscription-based billing tool.
Check out ChargeBee in our Marketplace for more detailed information!