Billing Cycle Change for Monthly Plans

Today we made a change to renewal dates for our monthly accounts, and we'd like to explain the change, who it affects, and our motivation for making the change.

Summary of the New Billing Cycle

Old Method

  • When a new user signed up, we prorated the monthly fee for the remainder of the current month.  Then, they were charged the full monthly amount on the 1st of every month.
  • When a user increased their level, we prorated the increase in the monthly fee for the remainder of the current month.  Then, they were charged the full amount of the new level on the 1st of the next month.

New Method

  • New users are charged the full monthly amount at signup, and their account will be renewed exactly one month later.
  • When a user increases their level, they pay for a full month at the new level less a credit for the remaining days at the previous level.

Examples

Jennifer needs to call everyone at her church for updates about upcoming events. She chooses the 50-100 group for $35 per month. She buys it on November 27th. Her monthly plan will automatically renew on the 27th of every month going forward.

Vanessa's congregation grows and she needs to be able to call 150 numbers. She upgrades on December 14th to the 101-200 group size. She will be charged $39.83 ($55 less a credit for unused days at the previous level) for the first month at the 200 group size and $55 each additional month. Vanessa's next renewal date will now be January 14th.

Who is Affected?

New monthly accounts, accounts increasing their size, and accounts that are reactivating after going inactive.  In each scenario, the account will now have their billing cycle set to the current day of the month.

Why the Change?

Simplicity.  With this change, most of our users will never see a prorated charge, which is easier and less confusing.  We like easy and hate confusing!  The new method is consistent with many other monthly services.

Be Fair.  For many reasons, charges on credit cards are occasionally rejected. When this happens, the account is made inactive until a successful charge can be run.  If a user did not fix this issue until a few days into the month, they would still be charged for the full amount, even though their account was inactive for those few days. This didn't really sit well with us because we felt as if we were charging our monthly customers for a service they weren't able to use.  We will now just change their billing cycle to the day at which they correct their billing issue.  Simple, right?

Close a Loophole.  A very small portion of our monthly users discovered that because we prorated upgrades through the end of the month, they could greatly increase the size of their groups for very little cost at the end of the month.  We like win-win relationships, and this doesn't fit that mold.

We hope you see the increased simplicity of our new monthly model.  It's a boring topic, but we feel it should be communicated.  If you have any questions or concerns contact account support or post your comments below.

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