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Invoice Automation
The difference between "Subscription" and "Recurring" invoices
The difference between "Subscription" and "Recurring" invoices

Discover how invoice automation and recurring payments work in Bonsai.

Updated this week

Bonsai offers 3 types of invoice automation:

  • Recurring Invoices

  • Subscription Invoices

  • Bundled Invoices

Recurring Invoices

First, we have Recurring Invoices. A recurring invoice series will only duplicate the invoice every billing cycle that you set. With this option, you will still be required to either manually send the invoice to your client or schedule the invoice to auto-send.

Your invoice will be automatically duplicated every billing cycle (every week, 2 weeks, month, or year depending on your needs) and it will end on the date you've set.

As each billing cycle passes, you can view the upcoming draft invoice and make any changes if needed. Once the issuing date has arrived, you can either manually send this to your client or schedule it to auto-send. When you schedule it to auto-send, all subsequent invoices in the series will auto-send on the issuing date in the billing cycle as well.

To your client, these will appear as normal invoices. They will see the payment options you've enabled and a way to make a payment. And they will receive all the usual invoice reminders.

This is perfect if you're working on a long term project with consistent milestones.

Subscription Invoices / Invoice Auto-Payments

"Subscription Invoices" will automatically invoice your client based on a billing cycle you set. In this case, you only have to manually send the first invoice to initiate the series. Once your client has received and paid the first invoice, Bonsai will automatically continue to charge their payment method (using their saved payment information) on each billing cycle until the billing schedule ends.

This option makes things even easier for both you and your client and will ensure you're getting paid as fast as possible.

You can still edit the amounts for the upcoming invoice, but if the invoice total changes we will then ask for your client to approve the auto-payment amount again.

If their payment method fails, Bonsai will continue the billing schedule but will notify both you and your client that they must enter a new payment method.

For your client, this feature functions similar to how any paid subscription works online, with predictable charges on their card and email notifications for each. It also has a way for them to opt-out of the Recurring Payments if they feel the need to do so.

Note: Subscription Invoices only support payment via credit/debit card on Bonsai Payments and Stripe Payments. Paypal integration and other payment processors are not yet supported.

How to create a Subscription Invoice

Create a new invoice and select the invoice type you'd like (such as 'Subscription Invoice') from the "type" dropdown. Then choose how often you'd like the invoices to be created and when you'd like them to stop:

Then ensure that you have credit / debit cards added as a payment method β€” this is to make sure that client payments will be automatically collected (ACH payments are not supported for subscription invoices.) You can check this via the "Payments" section in the sidebar of your invoice.

Once you create the invoice, you can confirm that it has Recurring Payment enabled by viewing your invoice details in the Overview section of the sidebar:

Fill out the invoice line items so it is the amount you would like to charge your client every billing cycle and send it to your client.

❗ Be aware that once the client enters their payment info and begins auto-payment, any change you make to the invoice items and total amount will require the client to confirm their auto-payment again.

Once your client opens the invoice, they will be prompted to click the link sent to the email used on the invoice to continue.

πŸ‘‰ Note: At this time, when you send a Subscription Invoice to your client, they will be required to authenticate with an emailed link (magic link). Because their credit card details will be stored and re-used, this is necessary to ensure the security of their payments. Other invoice automation types do not require clients to authenticate via email for payment (even ACH payments).

Once the client completes the authentication step by clicking the emailed link, they will see an input for their credit card details along with details about the subscription billing they are opting into.

Once they pay their first invoice in the billing cycle, their payment method will be saved and charged for any upcoming subscription payments unless they opt-out or your subscription billing ends.

Once the subscription is active, you or your client can always edit the payment method by clicking "Update Payment Method" on one of the invoices in the billing cycle.

Note: It is not possible to enter your client's payment information manually. This must be completed by the client.

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