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API Integration

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Metered Billing 

Overview 

Metered billing or usage-based billing of subscriptions typically work with a plan that includes a base fee and a usage fee. Some businesses will also have overage charges when users exceed the base limit included in their subscription. So a customer gets charged a flat fee for their plan plus for usage or if they exceed the allocated amount.

With Chargebee's metered billing solution, you can flawlessly charge your customers based on their usage of products and services - you just need to tell us how much to charge them and how much they've used.

You can use metered billing to include ad hoc charges for usage of services by calculating and specifying the amount to be charged on the invoice. You can also create non-recurring, quantity based add-ons to track usage and charge customers for it. You need to just specify the quantity used and Chargebee will calculate the total usage charge and add it to the invoice.

Chargebee notifies you when an invoice is generated and lets you seamlessly add the line items to the open invoice and post the charge.

Note

Metered Billing will not function if Consolidated Invoicing is enabled in your Chargebee site.

To enable metered billing, login to the web interface, go to SettingsSite Info, enable Notify and wait to close Invoices and click Update Site Info. Once this is done, you are all set.

Metered Billing via API 

When Metered Billing is enabled, Chargebee will create a pending invoice and a pending_invoice_created  event will be triggered during one of these 2 conditions:

  1. Subscription Renewal

  2. Plan changes (upgrade/downgrade or quantity changes) in the subscription

You will receive generated invoices in your webhook handler, and after receiving the invoice, you can use the ID of the invoice resource to add the usage charges to the invoice received.

Note

The invoice number of a pending invoice will not be taken from the main sequence. A temporary invoice number in the ‘draft_inv_' format will be assigned to it.

APIs Used:

Add Charge to Invoice

The Add Charge to Invoice  API call is used to add the line items to the invoice after you have calculated how much the customer needs to be charged.

Add Addon Charge to Invoice

For subscription models that include add-ons as metered components, you can create and use non-recurring quantity based addons, and charge customers based on their usage. You just need to specify the total add-on quantity used. Use the Add Addon Charge to Invoice  API call to do this.

Note

You can override the price of the addon(s) before appending it to the invoice by specifying a new price using the Add Addon Charge to Invoice   API call.

Close Invoice

Once all the usage based charges have been added to the invoice, you can initiate the API call Collect Invoice  to go ahead and post the charges. Chargebee will then close the invoice and simultaneously attempt to make a charge on the card that is on file.

Note

While closing the pending invoice, the invoice number will be assigned based on the current invoice number sequence. The invoice end date will also be updated with the date of closure.

Metered Billing via Web Interface 

To add charge for the additional usage for limited number of customers or invoices, it can be done in the Chargebee site.
When Metered Billing is enabled, Chargebee will create a Pending Invoice.
Locate the Pending Invoice you want to add the charge to and you will find the following options:

Add Charge Item: This is where you add the charge generated by the usage of the customer.

You will be provided with the option to add the amount and description. The amount will be calculated with the total and when the invoice is closed, the customer will find the charge and description in his copy.

Add Addon Item: If the additional usage of the customer is estimated as a non-recurring quantity based addon, you can add the addon to the invoice using this option. This option lets you choose the addon, mention the quantity, and even override the charge of the addon.

Close Now: After adding all the usage based charges, you can post the invoice. This will initiate the payment process and the status of the invoice will change to Payment Due. Customer will receive a copy of the invoice.

Collect Usage Fee 

Recurring costs are charged upfront and usage based fees are added to the next month's charges. Invoices are not sent during account activation. They are sent when the subscription renews or when a plan is upgraded/downgraded or when the quantity changes.

Let us consider an online video streaming service:

Example

Signup Date and Current Term: 1st May 2012 - 1st June 2012

Plan Fee: $100

Usage Fee: .10c / hr

Hours Used: 300

Usage Charges: $30

Total Charges on renewal: $130

Customer will be charged the $100 plan fee during sign up, and $130 on June 1st ($30 along with $100 renewal fee).

Note

Invoices will remain in Pending state until they are closed. You can add a charge before closing the invoice.

Upgrades and Downgrades 

To upgrade or downgrade a subscription, the pending invoices should be closed. While closing the invoice, you can add the charge for the metered usage. The customer will receive an invoice with the prorated charge for the subscription and the additional charge for the metered components.

Say a customer upgrades from Plan A to Plan B and the subscription cycle for both the plans starts on the 1st of the month and ends on 31st of the month.

Plan A $100
Plan B $200
Additional Charge while using Plan A $10

If the customer switches from Plan A to Plan B on January 15, Plan A's invoice needs to be closed. The invoice will include the prorated charge, $50, for the usage from January 1 to January 15. You may add the additional charge for the metered component to the invoice.

For a downgrade, credit will be added to the subscription.

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