I developed Sign-Up-Sheet.com four years ago first as a sandbox project for learning Ruby on Rails (RoR). After becoming disillusioned with RoR, I redeveloped the app in PHP using CodeIgniter (CI) and that’s where it’s been ever since. Every once and a while I try to add a new feature here or there but find it very difficult to focus any time/energy on a product that doesn’t generate any revenue. The solution to this problem, of course, is to start charging for the service. But every time I researched what was involved with accepting credit cards the complicated pricing schemes and high costs always turned me away. That was until I found Spreedly! This post kicks off a new series that will take a detailed look at Spreedly. Over the next couple of weeks, I will introduce you to the service, walk you through how their system works and give you a real world example so you can see it in action.
What is Spreedly?
Aside from the best thing since sliced bread… Spreedly is a service that takes the hassle out of collecting subscription fees for web based services/applications. Developing applications that use 3rd party payment gateways and that sell recurring subscriptions is a difficult and often expensive undertaking. Spreedly simplifies the process by handling the complex task of subscription management and payment processing for you so you can focus your time and money on your product.
After configuring your Spreedly account and entering your subscription types and pricing scheme, the service will handle all the payment gateway interaction and user subscription management for you… no muss no fuss. Accepting payments literally becomes as easy as redirecting your user to a Spreedly URL and having them enter their credit card information. That’s it!!
It’s important to understand that Spreedly is not a payment gateway. Spreedly simply acts as the middle man between your application and your selected gateway using APIs. This means you will still need to find a payment gateway and merchant account (if necessary). The simplest, and cheapest, option is probably PayPal because it’s a gateway and merchant account all-in-one. But if that doesn’t work for you, Spreedly currently supports the following gateways:
- Authorize.net (Only US dollars)
- Beanstream (Only Canadian dollars)
- eWAY (Only Australian dollars)
- PayPal Website Payments Pro (also UK)
- PayPal Express Checkout (also UK)
(does not currently support automatically recurring subscriptions)
- Sage Pay (formerly Protx)
- USA ePay (Only US dollars)
They are constantly adding new gateways to the service so be sure to visit their site for the most updated list. If you don’t see your gateway listed above the odds are good that they can add it for you. Just contact their support team and they will research what’s involved.
Accepting credit cards online is an expensive proposition… that’s why I have avoided it up until now. There are bank fees for merchant accounts, fees for each transaction, monthly fees for the payment gateway, etc… not to mention the percentage of each transaction that certain parities take just because they can. It’s enough to make you dizzy!
The pricing for Spreedly is pretty straight forward:
$19 per month + transaction fees
- 3% on the first 50 transactions per month
- 2% on transactions 51 through 5000
- 1% on all transactions after 5000
The thing to point out here is that the Spreedly fees will be on top of whatever your payment gateway charges. In the end you are still probably looking at a decent sum of money… but odds are it’s still cheaper (programming included) than if you went it alone or with another service.
If there are too many monthly fees for you to handle, Spreedly also has another pricing option called the Kickstart package. For one single payment of $699.00 you can get a Spreedly account for life with:
- a frozen per-transaction fee of 1%
- no monthly fees
- and it never expires!!
It pays to keep an eye on the Spreedly site (and maybe follow their Twitter account) for special offers because when they first launched Kickstart the price was $499.00 for a limited time. So there are opportunities for picking up deals if you pay attention.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what Spreedly is, let’s go ahead and create a test account. Spreedly makes it super easy to get your bearings and see how the system works without spending any money. You can sign-up for a free test account (which gives you access to everything you need) and see if it will work for you. To create your account, visit https://www.spreedly.com/signup and fill out the form.
After signing-up you will be directed to your test site overview page (shown above). The overview page gives you a summary of your account in terms of transactions and subscribers. You can click around the interface if you like but it’s going to be pretty empty until we start submitting transactions (which we’ll get to later in this series).
That’s a wrap
That does it for the Spreedly intro. In the next post I will review how to configure your account and setup your subscription plans/pricing scheme.
I’m just getting started with Spreedly so stay tuned!