How to Set Up Recurring Payments

Setting up recurring payments in Square dashboard

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 reenter the same info month after month. It’s billing made simple. Invoices, including recurring payments, are always free to send. Our rates are very competitive, and you get paid fast.

Square Invoices is a hugely popular way for sellers to get paid. Last month alone, 600,000 invoices were paid to sellers. 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 here to set up an unlimited amount of recurring payments for free - only pay for invoices that are paid.

  1. Go to Invoices in your online Square Dashboard.
  2. Click Recurring and then Create Recurring Series.
  3. Select a customer from your Customer Directory, or enter a new name and email address. You can enter up to nine recipients.
  4. If the customer already has a payment card(s) saved to their directory profile, choose the card to be charged for the recurring payments. If your customer doesn’t have a payment card on file, you can check the box next to “Allow customer to save their card.” This gives them the opportunity to securely save their payment card on file.
  5. Select the start date, the recurrence frequency, and the end date.
  6. Fill out the rest of the invoice, including any discounts.
  7. Check the “Allow Customer to Add a Tip” box at the bottom, if appropriate.
  8. Click Schedule.
  9. 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.

Quick reminder: It’s best practice to have a customer sign a credit card authorization form before charging a customer’s card on file. You can find credit card authorization forms here.

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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 dollar 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 3.5% + 15¢ 3.5% + 15¢

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 centers and yoga studios, cleaning services, and subscription 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.

“We love the ability to schedule invoices for our clients, saving our team valuable time every month. Square’s software is easy to use and the analytics on the provided dashboard are very helpful,” says David Backhus, cofounder of marketing agency Social Proper MKTG.

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 are paid automatically.

How will you use recurring payments for your business? Get started today .

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 2.9% + 30¢ per invoice. When customers authorize you to securely store a card on file, you pay just 3.5% + 15¢ and get paid even faster.

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

Funds paid by invoice are deposited directly into your bank account in one to two business days. That’s faster than leading competitors, which take anywhere from two to five days. If you need your funds immediately, try our Instant Deposit feature — your money will be in your bank account in less than a minute. Instant Deposit even works on the weekend and costs just an additional 1% of the total deposit amount.

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 that particular transaction 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 webpage (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.

Watch to learn more about our advanced invoicing features:

Creating an Invoice — 5 Important Steps to Avoid Mistakes

3 New Invoicing Features to Help You Get Paid Faster

Online Payment Methods You Need to Know

Free Blank Invoice Templates for Business

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