The Subscription Manager option allows you to create recurring payments that are stored and initiated by ePDQ, outside of your systems.
A typical application would be a magazine subscription, for which the customer pays the same amount at the same regular interval (e.g. £10 every month) until cancelled, or until a predefined date (e.g. an annual subscription commitment).
Subscriptions can be created in the following ways:
- Via the Hosted Payment Page (eCommerce)
- Manually within the ePDQ back office
If you plan to utilise any of the below, please review the Alias Manager (tokenisation) option for suitability instead:
- A subscription (recurring payment) created via a DirectLink (API) integration during an Ecommerce (website) transaction (i.e. not using the Hosted Payment Page).
- An unscheduled or single payment, that may be the first in a series of recurring, instalment or unscheduled payments.
- You require the ability to cancel or amend subscriptions via an integration.
- The amount or regularity of the payments may change from payment to payment.
1.1 Credential On File (COF) Transactions
For the purposes of this guide, it is important to understand this aspect of PSD2 as this includes subscriptions (recurring transactions). A Credential on File (COF) transaction is a transaction in which a cardholder has explicitly authorised you to tokenise (store) their card data for future use, which includes the creation of subscriptions. Credential on File (COF) is split into two types of transactions:
Customer-Initiated Transactions (CIT)
Example: An eCommerce (website) transaction in which the card data is keyed directly by the cardholder - It is at this stage that you may choose to offer a subscription which involves securely tokenising (storing) the card data with the cardholders permission for future automated recurring transactions (see MIT) – the key aspect is that the cardholder is present during the request and the card details are being stored.
Merchant-Initiated Transactions (MIT)
Any token-based transactions that relate to the initial Customer Initiated Transaction (CIT) but that are conducted without the active participation of the cardholder, such as recurring, instalment (scheduled) and unscheduled transactions, first agreed upon with the cardholder.
Subscription Manager is a chargeable option. In order to review the charges, terms and conditions and to activate the option, please login to the back office as an Admin user and navigate to Configuration> Account> Your Options. This option can be activated within a test/ trial account for testing purposes at no cost.
2. In the back office
Once the option has been activated, navigate to Advanced> Subscription within the back office. If you cannot see this option please ensure you have the appropriate profile for your user.
The Subscription menu is divided into the following sections:
- Subscription status: This is the default page which displays an overview of the subscriptions across various statuses. Clicking on the green number of subscriptions within a given status will display the list of subscriptions. You can also download the data from this page if required.
- Global parameters: configure your subscription manager options, such as the number of total payment attempts, the subscription failure actions and a Hosted Payment Page disclaimer.
- Edit/View subscriptions: search for, view and edit any subscription you may have stored. It is also possible to download a list of subscriptions from this menu.
- Create subscription: create new subscriptions manually. Please note: When creating a subscription via the back office or via Batch, we strongly recommend combining this with a transaction or Account Verification (AV) to fully comply with card scheme rules and regulations.
2.1 Back Office Configuration
These settings will affect how Subscription Manager operates for all submission methods. You can define the following settings within the Global Parameters menu:
- Number of tries: If the subscription isn’t successful on the first attempt, the system will attempt payment for as many times as you configure, up to a maximum of 5 attempts in total. The interval between each retry is one day.
- If the maximum number of tries has been reached:
- If you choose to deactivate the subscription, no future attempts will be made on any future dates.
- If you choose to proceed with the next planned occurrence, the subscription will continue on future dates.
- In both cases, any failed attempts will not be reattempted after the maximum number of tries has been reached.
In the event that a payment has failed after the maximum number of retries, a notification will be sent to the merchant email address configured within Configuration> Technical Information> Transaction emails.
- Disclaimer: (Hosted Payment Page only) defines whether or not to display a message requesting the cardholders consent to the storage of their payment data for the purposes of future subscription payments. If you do not wish to use the default disclaimer provided by ePDQ you must include your own disclaimer on your website.
All merchants utilising Subscription Manager for subscription (recurring) payments will also need to provide cardholders with the following:
- you must ensure that your cardholders understand what they are signing up to, the amount being charged, the frequency of transactions, and your cancellation policy.
- you must send a confirmation communication email to the cardholder at the time of enrolment, providing the terms of the subscription and details of the cancellation process.
2.2 Creating a subscription
You must populate the following information in order to create a subscription via the back office:
|Subscription ID||A unique identifier for the subscription. This is not an OrderID, as each occurrence of the subscription will be a separate payment.|
|Name/email/phone||The cardholders information.|
|Credit Card||The payment method, and subsequent account or card information.|
You can choose between daily, weekly or monthly. For each choice, you can fine-tune the recurrence (for weekly, you can choose the day of the week, for monthly, you can choose the day of the month.)
If you wish to have a recurrence of every few days, you must choose “Daily” and then set the required day of the week.
|Start date / End date||
Date range of the subscription.
If the date of the last subscription payment is that of the end date, the payment will still be attempted.
To ensure an optimum processing of all subsequent payments, we recommend not to modify the Start date until at least one payment has been successfully processed.
|OrderID||Order identifier that will be included in each payment of the subscription. Clicking the "add dd/MM/yyyy" button will include the date template in the OrderID field, which you would then need to populate with the specific date.|
|COM||The order description for each subscription payment. Clicking the “add dd/MM/yyyy” button will include the date template in the COM-field, which you would then need to populate with the specific date.|
|Comment||Free text to store a comment.|
|Status||Setting the subscription to "active" will activate the subscription in order to trigger payment attempts on the dates you have configured.|
When creating a subscription in the back office, no verification or authorisation of the card details takes place. Instead the validity of the card will be verified during the first subscription payment.
2.3 Edit a subscription
Within the back office, all subscription fields are available for amendments with the except of the Subscription ID. If the customers card expires, the card details can be updated or changed, which means the subscription does not need to be recreated.
The only way to edit or cancel a subscription is via the back office.
Please note, if you edit a subscription’s payment date, ePDQ may process a catch up payment to cover any transactions that may have otherwise been missed as a consequence of the change.
IMPORTANT! Avoid daylight savings discrepancies between users and the PSPID
- Please ensure to configure your user’s daylight saving settings to match the overall setting of the PSPID
- Failure to do so may result in missed payments after existing subscriptions are modified by users
- To change the setting of your user, go to Configuration> Users> Edit in-line with the user, and then adjust the ‘Automatically adjust to daylight settings’ accordingly
- To Review the setting of the PSPID, go to Configuration> Account> Your administrative details and refer to ‘Automatically adjust to daylight settings’. Please contact ePDQ Support in order to request any amendments to this page.
2.4 Delete a subscription
In order to delete a subscription, please locate this via the "Edit/View subscriptions" menu, edit and deactivate the subscription and then click on the "delete" button next to the corresponding subscription back in the main subscription search menu. Please ensure to review the current status and any ongoing retries.
Please Note: Deleting a subscription only deletes the scheduling, and does not refund or cancel any payments.
2.5 View transactions
Each subscription will create separate transactions, with their own PAYIDs and statuses. You can review and perform any required maintenance on these individual transactions within the Operations> View transactions menu. Please ensure to search for the relevant date for each individual transaction for any given subscription separately. You will be unable to review upcoming transactions for a subscription from this menu.
If you wish to view recent subscription transactions, you can do so within the subscription manager menu by searching for the subscription ID - only the previous 12 transactions will be visible.
3. Via the Hosted Payment Page (HPP)
3.1 Relevant PSD2 and card scheme rules
When initially creating a subscription and tokenising the customers card details as part of Customer-Initiated Transactions (CIT), either for a monetary value, or an Account Verification (£0) in order verify the card data, then you must request a 3D Secure 'Challenge'. For more information please refer to the 'Mpi.threeDSRequestorChallengeIndicator' parameter and value '04' in the Hosted Payment Page integration guide.
When processing Merchant-Initiated Transactions (MIT), such as recurring payments, then you must ensure that cardholders understand what they are signing up to, the amount being charged, the frequency of transactions, and your cancellation policy.
As of 8 June 2022, you will need to ensure to implement the following:
For all recurring (Subscription) payments, you must send a confirmation email to the cardholder at the time of enrolment, providing the terms of the subscription and details of the cancellation process. You must also ensure an email receipt is sent after each billing event, including instructions on how to cancel the subscription.
If you offer free/ low-cost trial subscription periods followed by auto-enrolment, and/ or you only bill your customers every 6 or 12 months, then you will need to send a reminder email to your customers 3 to 7 days before enrolment / the subscription starts. This should confirm that the subscription will commence if no cancellation is received, must include the basic terms of the subscription and the cancellation instructions.
In order to create a subscription via the Hosted Payment Page integration method, an initial transaction must be performed, in which the additional data required to create the subscription is supplied within the transaction request. Please take this into account if the initial payment forms part of the overall subscription agreement with the cardholder (e.g. if 10 payments are agreed upon, the first Ecommerce payment is used to take ‘x’ amount and create the subscription, then you only need to create 9 payments as part of the subscription, with the first subscription payment scheduled for the date the second payment is due).
When using the Hosted Payment Page, if the initial transaction used to configure the Subscription is not successful then the subscription will not be created.
Please note: Due to the PSD2 regulations surrounding SCA (Strong Customer Authentication, you will no longer be permitted to use the Direct Link (API) integration method to both submit Ecommerce transactions and create subscriptions using the Subscription Manager option. The reason for this is that 3D Secure is not currently supported in this scenario. An alternative would be to use Alias Manager to tokenise the card details and control the submission of payments via your integration. You can however use the Hosted Payment page for Ecommerce and to create Subscriptions via Subscription Manager.
If there is an option for a customer to create a subscription or tokenise (store) their card details separately from a purchase, then an Account Verification (AV) must be used to validate the card details (instead of an authorisation request with a monetary value). This can be achieved by simply sending the amount as ‘0’ within your initial authorisation request.
The following data must be submitted within a transaction request in order to create a subscription:
|Field / Format / Char. Limit||Description|
|Unique identifier of the subscription. The subscription ID must be assigned dynamically.|
|Amount of the subscription (can be the same amount or lower from that of the original transaction) multiplied by 100, as the format of the amount must not contain any decimals or other separators.|
|OrderID for subscription payments|
|"d" = daily
"ww" = weekly
"m" = monthly
|Interval between each occurrence of the subscription payments.|
Depending on SUB_PERIOD_UNIT (not applicable for "daily" (d) as here the moment is equal to the unit)
|SUB_STARTDATE||Subscription start date|
|Subscription end date|
0 = inactive
1 = active
|Comments for the merchant|
(default field on e-Commerce payment page).
- Remember to include these additional fields in your SHA calculation. For more info on SHA, please review the Hosted Payment Page integration guide.
- The subscription payments will only be executed once the subscription status is set to "active" as per the above parameter/ value. The subscription status does not change automatically to 'active' at the start date defined in the subscription.
If the EMAIL and OWNERTELNO fields/ values are provided within the transaction request, this data will also be added to the subscription.
Note: Subscription payments will always be processed as direct sales and are not appropriate for authorising/ reserving funds only.
The following parameters will be returned within the post-sale transaction feedback:
|subscription_id||confirmation of the unique subscription identifier|
|creation_status||Indicates whether the subscription was created successfully. Possible values: "OK" or "ERROR".|
- For the initial transaction, the feedback is returned with the online post-sale server-to-server feedback. For every subsequent (automated) transaction, the feedback is returned with the offline post-sale feedback, if configured. For more information, please review the Server-to-server feedback (post-payment) guide.
- Remember to include these additional fields within your SHA-OUT calculation. For more info on SHA, please review the Hosted Payment Page integration guide.
4. Parameter Cookbook
Please refer to the Parameter Cookbook for additional clarification of any integration field names, their format and examples.