Learn how to create a recurring credit card payment.
Recurring Payments lets you charge your customers automatically on a regular schedule that you set.
Once you connect recurring payments with QuickBooks, you can access your QuickBooks Customer list and Items list to help you fill out the form. You can also have QuickBooks automatically create and pay invoices for each actual payment processed. We show you how in the sections below.
Step 1: Get started
A few reminders before you get started
- QuickBooks Online uses a different process for recurring payments, please see: Setting up a recurring sales receipt in QuickBooks Online.
- Recurring payments are only available for credit card transactions. Recurring check transactions are not available at this time.
- Since recurring transactions are not swiped, they will process as the Non-Qual or Mid-Qual rate (e.g. corporate & rewards cards would process at the Non-Qual rate).
- A notification is sent to your primary contact email, every time recurring transactions are processed. For steps on how to update this email, see Change business, bank account, or contact information in the Merchant Service Center.
How you begin depends on whether or not you want to use QuickBooks.
If you will connect recurring payments to QuickBooks Desktop
- Open QuickBooks, from the Customers menu, select Credit Card Processing Activities.
- Select Set Up Recurring Payments.
If you will use standalone Recurring payments: Sign in to Merchant Service Center .
Before you set up a recurring payment, you must get a signed authorization form from your customer. Select the Authorization Form link on the Create recurring payment page to download a PDF file that contains the terms of the recurring payment. Send or give the form to your customer to complete then retain for your records.
Step 2: Create the recurring credit card charges
Set up recurring credit card charges.
- From the menu, select Processing Tools.
- Select Create a Recurring Charge or if you're on the Manage Recurring payments screen, select Create.
Step 3: Enter an existing or create a new customer
To find and select an existing customer
- Type the name in the Customer field until it appears on the list.
- Choose the name of your customer. If you've connected to QuickBooks, this customer list draws directly from your QuickBooks customer list. If not, it keeps a running list of customers you've entered while creating recurring payments.
Warning: Don't choose a customer assigned a foreign currency in QuickBooks. Doing so may cause accounting problems. Recurring Payments currently bills only in US Dollars. Also, only customers, not a job, can be used to set up a recurring payment.
To create a new customer
- Select Add New and complete the fields that appear. Do not use Add New if you have recurring charges connected to QuickBooks, they may not download or record properly.
- Add the customer to the QuickBooks software first and then select them from Existing Customers.
The timeframe which reflects recently added Customers may vary, depending on the amount of customers in the QuickBooks Company file.
Step 4: Enter a Name for the recurring payment
It is important that you enter a name for the recurring payment that helps identify what it is for.
Both you and your customer see and use this name to understand the charge. The name appears on email notifications sent when each payment occurs. Listed items do not appear in the email receipt the customer receives. Items will be listed on the QuickBooks invoices and you will have a chance to set up invoice options in a minute.
Step 5: Set the payment schedule
You control the dates your customer is charged by setting the schedule for a recurring payment. The Start Date, Frequency and End Date you choose determines the payment dates going forward.
- Frequency - Choose the desired billing interval. Your customer will pay on this regular schedule, based on the start date you choose. For example, if you start on July 1st and bill monthly, your customer pays on the 1st of each month.
- Start Date - Choose the first date you want your customer to pay. This date must be tomorrow or later (up to a year from today) and affects the schedule of subsequent payments.
- End date - You can use this field to set an end date. This is the last bill date. In other words, if a payment falls on the date you choose, it does process. But any payments that fall after this date won't. If you don't want to set an end date, leave this field blank.
Step 6: Choose an invoicing option
Recurring Payments can work with your QuickBooks company file. You can access your QuickBooks customer list and invoice items and even have recurring payments post updates to QuickBooks automatically.
You create a recurring payment so you can automatically charge your customer on a regular schedule. But what about your books? You probably need invoices and payments recorded for each transaction. Handle this in one of two ways:
Have Recurring Charges auto-generate an invoice for each payment.
- If you want QuickBooks to automate invoicing and recording of each payment and you want to calculate the charge amount by drawing in items from your QuickBooks items list, click the Itemized List radio button.
- Enter item names in the Search for item(s) box, and choose the items to add to the total. Recurring Payments uses item prices and sales tax amounts from QuickBooks to automatically calculate the figure in your recurring payment's Total: field, which cannot be manually adjusted.
- Items will appear on each invoice that QuickBooks automatically generates (but not on the automated email notification sent by Recurring Payments when an actual payment occurs).
- You can only select items that currently exist in your QuickBooks Items list. You cannot add a new item that doesn't exist or edit the information that appears. If you need to make edits or additions, open QuickBooks and make changes directly in your Items list.
Manually create or have already created an invoice for each payment.
If you aren't going to, already created or want to manually create an invoice in QuickBooks for each payment, select the Amount Only radio button. If you choose this option, you can't select items in this window and can only put in a total in the Amount of each payment field, including any applicable tax. You can record these payments in the Make Merchant Service Deposits screen in QuickBooks.
Step 7: Enter credit card information
- Use the fields in the billing information section to record the credit card (and related details) you will bill for this recurring payment.
- If you are billing a commercial card, select the This is a commercial card checkbox.
- Enter the Sales tax amount and the Customer accounting code.
Step 8: (Optional) Notify the customer
If you want to notify your customer by email that you've set up a recurring charge follow these steps.
- Place a checkmark in the Notify my customer that I setup this recurring payment checkbox.
- If you don't see this option, it's likely because you turned off all customer emails. Please see Change customer email settings for recurring payments for more information.
- Select Next when you're done.
Note that each time an actual payment is processed, both you and your customer get an automated email notification. If you don't want to send a confirmation email for each payment, you can turn off all customer emails.
Step 9: Review and save the recurring payment setup
Carefully review your recurring payment setup and make sure your entries match the terms of the authorization form signed by your customer.
- Choose Edit to make changes.
- Select Submit to save.
- Note: When you use QuickBooks Desktop and a change or new information is added the customer or items list, be sure to close and re-open QuickBooks to synchronize the data with our systems. Recurring charges typically occur at midnight of the transaction date may may take place up to a few hours later.
- For Frequently Asked Questions, please see: Recurring Credit Card Payment FAQs.