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Subscription Features

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Invoices

Credits

Billing Features

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Configuring Gateways

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API Integration

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Advance Invoices 

Some subscription models make room for advance payments for a particular number of future terms in a subscription (a week or two before the subscription begins). Usually, this is to plan or budget for punctual shipping or accommodate a sudden hike in demand for a non-renewing subscription.

If you're running a business model that requires advance invoicing, this feature will allow you to optimize your billing flow with advance invoices that will work for you and your customers.

Invoices vs. Advance Invoices 

An advance invoice differs from a regular (single term) invoice in that it allows merchant to collect payments for one or more terms in a subscription at one time. That being said, an advance invoice doesn't differ from a regular invoice all that much.

Like other invoices in Chargebee, an advance invoice will incorporate changes scheduled for the subscription, apply one-time charges, addons and coupons as applicable to the subscription, and sync up with third party accounting integration applications if you have configured them with your Chargebee site.

Additionally, an advance invoice will contain information about the next billing date (so your customer knows when he will be charged next) and dates specifying when a term begins and ends (so the duration of the future terms of the subscription paid for are crystal clear).

Information

Unlike regular invoices, you cannot create more than one advance invoices for a subscription at a time. You can create a new advance invoice for a particular subscription only when the current one expires. If you want to create a new advance invoice for a subscription that already has one, you will have to void/delete the current one.

Create an Advance Invoice 

Via the Web Interface

Advance Invoices can be created for existing subscriptions via the web interface i.e, the subscription details page. Once you navigate to this page, follow these steps to create an advance invoice for the subscription:

  • To create an Advance Invoice for a subscription, navigate to the subscription's details page. Click on the Bill Future Renewals option on the right, listed under the Actions tab.

  • Specify the number of terms you would like to charge for - if you are running a monthly subscription service and would like to bill your customer for the next two terms, simply enter ‘2' into the Number of Renewals field.

  • Review the charges that will appear in your advance invoice. Each term will appear as a separate line item within the invoice, coupons, addons, taxes and promotional credits will be applied as per your configuration of them.

  • Review the terms, taxes and additional items (like coupons and addons) in the invoice and click Generate to conclude the process.

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Via the API

You can create an advance invoice for existing subscriptions by passing the terms_to_charge parameter with the following API calls:

Here is a sample advance invoice for reference, note the Billing Period and the Billing Date:

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How will changes made to a subscription affect an advance invoice? 

The following changes made to the subscription will result in a full refund (if the invoice terms have not begun as yet) of the advance charges as a credit note to the customer:

  • The renewal date is changed/the end of the term date is changed
  • The subscription is updated with new plans/addons
  • The subscription is canceled
  • Changes scheduled for the subscription are updated or removed

When you make a change to the subscription:

  1. The advance charges will be refunded to the customer as a credit note.

  2. Create a new advance invoice against the subscription to account for the change or changes made.

Example

To illustrate, let's say you have a monthly subscription that is set to renew every 1st of month.

On the 10th of Jan, you create an advance invoice for the next term (which is the 1st of Feb to the 1st of March). In case you want to change the renewal date to every 15th of the month from Feb onwards, and do so, the change will result in an automatic refund of the advance charges. After you make the change, you will have to create new advance invoice against the subscription for the new term (the 15th of Feb to the 15th of March).

What date will appear on the advance invoice? 

The advance invoice will carry the date that it was generated on. The invoice line items will have the period for which it has been charged.

Example

If you have a monthly subscription that renews itself on the 22nd of every month, an advance invoice for the next two months created on the 22nd of Feb will contain two line items: Silver Plan for the billing period of 22nd March to 22nd April, and Silver Plan for the billing period of 22nd April to 22nd May. The Invoice date will be the 22nd of Feb.

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When will the next invoice be created for the subscription? 

The customer's next invoice will be created upon the completion of the terms in the advance invoice.

Example

If an advance invoice has been created for 2 monthly terms starting on the 1st of October, the next invoice will be created upon the completion of the two terms i.e. the 1st of December.

Chargebee will not generate an invoice (as it usually does) at each stage in the lifecycle of the subscription (example: from Trial to Active), if the advance invoice for the subscription has not expired yet.

Example

Let's say you've charged a customer for the next three terms of his subscription including a trial period. Since the advance invoice covers the trial period and the next three months of use, Chargebee will not generate an invoice when his subscription moves from Trial to Active. The next invoice will be generated only at the end of three months, when the terms specified in the advance invoice expire.

Example

Let's say you created an advance invoice (for two terms) for a subscription that has not begun as yet (and so is marked with a ‘future' tag in Chargebee). Chargebee will not create an invoice when the subscription moves from Future to Active. The next invoice for the subscription will be raised only when the terms specified in the advance invoice expire.

Here is a screenshot to illustrate the example above - this subscription is marked as Active. However, take a look at the timeline for an idea of when the advance invoice was created and when the next invoice will be generated:

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How will coupons apply? 

Coupons

If you can configured coupons that are applicable to the subscription for which the advance invoice has been created, they will be applied automatically. Note that they will applied as they are usually - per term.

Example

If you are charging a customer for the next three terms with your advance invoice and you have a coupon for $10 dollars applicable to each term, a coupon amount of $30 will be applied to the advance invoice.

One-time coupons

One time coupons are applied only if they are valid at the time you are creating the advance invoice for the subscription. If a one-time coupon is valid, it will be applied to the total amount in the advance invoice and will not be applied per term.

Example

If you are charging the customer for the next four terms (where one term costs $100) and you have a one time coupon of $50 that is valid at the time you are creating the advance invoice, a coupon amount of $50 will be applied to the total amount of $400.

Limited period coupons

A limited period coupon is applied to an advance invoice only if it is valid for the entire duration of the terms specified in the invoice.

Example

An advance invoice is created against a subscription for the next five terms, where one term is one months - i.e. five months. If a limited period coupon is valid for an amount of time less than 5 months from the generation of the invoice, it will not be applied to the final invoice amount. If a limited period coupon is valid for an amount of time that is greater than 5 months from the generation of the invoice, it will be applied based on the discount type.

To illustrate:

Coupon Value Coupon Validity Duration of the advance invoice (5 terms) Will the coupon be applied to the advance invoice?
$50 The next 3 months The next 5 months No
$65 The next 12 months The next 5 months Yes

How is the dunning process handled? 

If offline dunning is configured and the terms in the advance invoice are underway, then Chargebee's dunning rules will apply.

If dunning is configured and the terms in the advance invoice haven't begun as yet, the subscription will not be canceled (as it usually is in the dunning process). Instead, a cancellation will be scheduled for the end of the current term and the full amount will be refunded as a credit note. If the payment has not been collected as yet, the amount will be refunded as an adjustment credit note. If the payment has been partially collected, the amount that has been collected will be refunded as a refundable credit note, while the remainder will be refunded as an adjustment credit note.

If offline dunning is not configured, you can manually cancel the subscription if Chargebee's attempts to charge the customer's payment method fail.

Note

Online dunning is not applicable to advance invoices.

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