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Managing an external subscription

If you're using a third-party subscription service, gain a better understanding of how to submit billing renewals and make updates
If you're not using our subscription service, you can still use the Digital River APIs manage a subscription after the acquisition process is complete. On this page, you'll find information on:

Auto-renewing a subscription

Prior to auto-renewing a subscription, you must send the customer a reminder. At the start of each new billing cycle, configure and submit the renewal request. Once the renewal is successfully processed, notify the customer.

Sending the renewal reminder

For auto-renewing subscriptions that have terms greater than 30 days, you must notify the subscriber of upcoming renewals 30 days prior to the renewal date. As the renewal date approaches, we recommend you provide additional notifications.
In the Subscription Notifications article (refer to Learning tools for access information), you can find a complete list of what is required in the renewal reminder.

Configuring the renewal request

At the start of each billing cycle, build a renewal checkout. Prior to order creation, a subscription renewal checkout should contain:
For manual renewals, which require customers active participation, set chargeType to customer_initiated and autoRenewal to false.
For each items[] in the renewal checkout:
If an acquisition order contains multiple items[] with subscriptionInfo, and each have the same terms, then you can process all of their renewals in the same checkout. If the terms are different, then you should create unique checkouts to renew each.
Since customers accept a subscription's terms during acquisitions, and therefore they've already been added to the billing agreement, it's not necessary to pass terms in the renewal request.
To authorize payment on the subscription renewal, convert the checkout to an order. A 201 Created returns the same billingAgreementId, which you should continue to persist.
Checkout
{
"id": "d229fc76-3398-4038-bd90-2e152769bef0",
"createdTime": "2022-04-07T21:42:48Z",
"customerId": "533134230336",
"currency": "USD",
"email": "[email protected]",
"billTo": {
"address": {
"line1": "10381 Bren Rd W",
"city": "Minnetonka",
"postalCode": "55343",
"state": "MN",
"country": "US"
},
"name": "William Brown",
"email": "[email protected]"
},
"totalAmount": 10.0,
"subtotal": 10.0,
"totalFees": 0.0,
"totalTax": 0.0,
"totalImporterTax": 0.0,
"totalDuty": 0.0,
"totalDiscount": 0.0,
"totalShipping": 0.0,
"items": [
{
"id": "39153fb7-e5d5-498f-9465-005560ba268e",
"skuId": "0181a7a9-610e-48c5-89e5-84ca06c69f03",
"amount": 10.0,
"quantity": 1,
"tax": {
"rate": 0.0,
"amount": 0.0
},
"importerTax": {
"amount": 0.0
},
"duties": {
"amount": 0.0
},
"subscriptionInfo": {
"autoRenewal": true,
"freeTrial": false,
"billingAgreementId": "c567f049-9ec4-4c63-829b-efe01427a8a9"
},
"fees": {
"amount": 0.0,
"taxAmount": 0.0
}
}
],
"updatedTime": "2022-04-07T21:42:48Z",
"locale": "en_US",
"customerType": "individual",
"chargeType": "merchant_initiated",
"sellingEntity": {
"id": "C5_INC-ENTITY",
"name": "DR globalTech Inc."
},
"liveMode": false,
"payment": {
"sources": [
{
"id": "5e359d60-1d23-4234-84ee-e1c9b3ed7edc",
"type": "creditCard",
"amount": 10.0,
"owner": {
"firstName": "William",
"lastName": "Brown",
"email": "[email protected]",
"address": {
"line1": "10381 Bren Rd W",
"city": "Minnetonka",
"postalCode": "55343",
"state": "MN",
"country": "US"
}
},
"creditCard": {
"brand": "Visa",
"expirationMonth": 7,
"expirationYear": 2027,
"lastFourDigits": "1111"
}
}
],
"session": {
"id": "e007a135-07ea-4cc8-897e-9081f3f7d9d9",
"amountContributed": 10.0,
"amountRemainingToBeContributed": 0.0,
"state": "requires_confirmation",
"clientSecret": "e007a135-07ea-4cc8-897e-9081f3f7d9d9_51266228-527e-4add-a4e8-bac1b141ff46"
}
}
}

Notifying customers of a subscription's renewal

Once you either synchronously or asynchronously receive an order in an accepted state, you can fulfill the subscription's products, and then capture payment. Upon receipt of the order.charge.capture.complete, notify end customers within 24 hours that the subscription has been renewed.
In the Subscription Notifications article (refer to Learning tools for access information), you can find a comprehensive list of the information you're required to include in this notification.

Handling subscription updates

After most subscription change events, you can continue processing renewals using the same billingAgreementId generated during the acquisition.‌
In other scenarios, when the underlying subscription is modified, we recommend that you generate a new billing agreement.
As a rule of thumb, you should create a new billing agreement whenever the scope of a subscription update is not defined in its autorenewal terms.‌
The following provides some common subscription change scenarios and indicates whether a new billing agreement is recommended.
Scenario
Details
Same or new billingAgreementId?
Modifying payment methods
The payment method is updated mid-term or the customer supplies a new payment method. Two common examples are when the customer performs a mid-term update of a credit card's expiration date or, during a manual renewal, the
customer provides a credit card that is different from the one used when acquiring the subscription.
Same
Metered billing
Some subscriptions use a metered approach to billing. For example, an API subscription service might allow only a certain number of requests per month. When customers exceed that pre-defined threshold, they are charged on a per request basis, potentially causing their monthly bills to fluctuate.
Same
Free trials
After a designated period of time, it's common for free trials to convert to paid subscriptions. Unless a customer actively cancels the trial, these conversions are typically automatic.
As long as the acquisition agreement specifies this condition, you should continue using the same billing agreement in all post-conversion transactions.
Same
Upgrades
When you receive a customer-initiated request to upgrade the subscription to a higher service level, we recommend you generate a new billing agreement. For example, a customer currently enrolled in a $100/month plan might request an upgrade to a $200/month plan.
New
Modifying a subscription's billing cycle or duration
A customer requests a modification to a subscription's billing cycle or duration. For example, the customer might want to switch from monthly to annual billing.
New
Updating a subscription's quantity
This describes a customer-initiated change to the quantity of a subscription line item.
In this scenario, since Digital River's standardized autorenewal terms do not stipulate that the customer's saved payment information can be used for quantity modifications, you need to generate a new billing agreement.
New
Adding a new subscription
A customer purchases an add-on subscription product or service and the add-on requires creating a unique line item with subscription information.
New