How to Set Up Recurring Payments

Square Invoices just got even better. Now you can set up recurring payments to automatically get paid each month, week, day or even year. With this new feature, there’s no need to chase down clients, take cards over the phone or re-enter the same info month after month. It’s billing made simple. Invoices, including recurring payments, are always free to send, and cost only 2.5% per invoice to be paid online.

Square Invoices is a hugely popular way for sellers to get paid - last month alone, 600,000 invoices were paid to sellers globally. They’re safe, secure and easy for you and your clients.

Recurring payments and billing definition
“Recurring billing,” also known as recurring payments, allows a merchant to charge a customer’s credit card for goods or services on a prearranged, recurring schedule. Recurring billing requires obtaining a one-time consent from the cardholder to charge the credit card on file on an ongoing basis until the cardholder withdraws permission.

Set up recurring payments

Not sure how to set up recurring payments? Don’t worry, we’ve made it easy and simple, so you can get paid fast and get back to the more interesting parts of running your business. Not a Square seller yet? Sign up for your free account to send an unlimited amount of invoices for free - only pay for invoices that are paid.

  1. Go to Invoices in your online Square Dashboard.
  2. Select Create Invoice.
  3. Select Recurring from the drop down menu.
  4. Specify the frequency of the payments.
  5. Click Automatic Payments if you want to bill customers with card on file automatically.
  6. Select a customer from your Customer Directory, or enter a new name and email address. You can enter up to nine recipients.
  7. If your customer doesn’t have a payment card on file, you can check the box next to Allow customer to save their card.
  8. Fill out the rest of the invoice, including any discounts.
  9. Check the Allow Customer to Add a Tip box at the bottom, if appropriate.
  10. Click Schedule.
  11. When your clients receive the invoice in their email, they can pay you securely online. If their card was already on file, it’s charged automatically. The money is usually deposited into your bank account in one or two business days from the processing date.
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Which recurring payment solution is right for me?

Square offers two ways to manage recurring billing: recurring invoices with Card on File (CoF) payments and stand alone invoices with CoF payments. We outline the differences below:

  Recurring Payments Repeat Payments
Software used Square Recurring Invoices +  
Card on File Square Invoices +  
Card on File    
Best for Automated recurring billing for amounts that don’t change week-to-week or in any given billing period - like subscription services. Easily invoice repeat customers for amounts that may change from week to week or in between billing cycles.
Safely stores customer credit cards Yes Yes
Payment amount needs to be entered after initial setup? No Yes
Needs to be approved by payee each time? No No
PCI Compliant?    
What’s PCI Compliance Yes Yes
Fees per payment 2.5% 2.5%

What kinds of companies use recurring payments?

A wide variety of businesses set up recurring invoices to save time and get paid faster. Florists who deliver weekly arrangements, dog walkers, fitness centres and yoga studios, cleaning services and subscription business services like produce boxes and ‘beer of the month’ clubs all use recurring payments. Higher-price-tag businesses like wedding planners, home repairs and lawyers also set up recurring payments as a convenient way to split costs across multiple payments for their clients.

Benefits of setting up payments on a recurring basis

If you regularly bill clients on a set schedule, recurring payments are a huge time-saver. Stop creating identical invoices week after week, or month after month. Instead, streamline your bookkeeping with recurring invoices. In just a few moments you can set up recurring payments that you schedule to go out when it’s most convenient for you and your clients.

Benefits of using Square Invoices for recurring payments

Setting up recurring payments with Square is easy. Invoices are free to send and you pay a competitive processing rate only when they’re paid securely online. You can set up recurring payments to be automatically emailed to your clients at the frequency you choose. Or you can print them out and deliver them to a job site. If your customers store their credit or debit card info on file, recurring payments can be paid automatically.

Frequently asked questions about Square’s recurring payments feature

How much does it cost to set up recurring payments?

Invoices are always free to send and there’s no cost for recurring payments. If customers pay securely online with a credit or debit card, you pay 2.5% per invoice. When customers authorise you to securely store a card on file, you get paid even faster and still pay only 2.5%.

How long does it take for the money to reach my bank account?

Funds paid by invoice are deposited directly into your bank account as fast as the next business day.

Can I set up recurring payments to go out monthly?

Yes, you can set up recurring payments to invoice your clients daily, weekly, monthly or even annually.

I’m a developer and I want to bill my customers automatically in app - can I integrate Square’s recurring billing feature via API?

Not yet - but we plan to! Stay in touch with new releases and updates to our payments APIs by following our Developers Portal.

What if my customer’s transaction is declined?

When a merchant sets up a new recurring payment series, they can allow their buyer to save their credit card on file. The buyer sees the first invoice from that recurring series with a checkbox to save their payment details. Just like all other invoices, your buyer gets a few attempts to put in the right payment information (card number, expiration date etc.). If the card fails after those attempts, both the merchant and buyer are notified by email that a particular transaction has failed. The recurring series stays intact and will continue to send the next instances in that series, but the merchant will have to re-send a single invoice if they want to re-try getting payment for the invoice instance that failed.

What if my customer’s card is out-of-date?

When a merchant has a recurring series that includes a saved CoF payment, the credit card on file could be (at some point in the series schedule) past its expiration date or fails for another reason. In that instance, Square automatically falls back to sending an invoice where the buyer can enter new card information. Both the merchant and buyer are notified that the card on file wasn’t charged. And the buyer can still pay the regular invoice through the normal invoice pay web page (where they will also have the option to save a new card on file). In the case that a new/different card is saved on file, the merchant will get an email that the invoice was paid with an updated CoF.

Want to try recurring payments? Click to get started today.

See our FAQ on how to make your Invoices business to business friendly here.