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Processing recurring payments

If your business needs to accept regular, recurring payments from its customers it can easily do so using our API. For example, you can set in place a regular subscription payment for a streaming service, or a payment that facilitates a regular donation.

You can effortlessly configure secure, recurring payments for any defined billing cycle -- whether daily, weekly, monthly, or annual. You do so through a workflow that is not much different from the normal checkout process.

When you use our recurring payments API you ensure that your customer does not need to interact with your website every time that a recurring payment is due. Instead, Amazon Payment Services simply processes the next recurring charge using the payment card details already on file.

How do recurring payments work?

When you set up recurring payments you do so by coding a payment workflow that utilizes standard Amazon Payment Services APIs to process recurring transactions.

After the first transaction your customer makes a specific token name is associated with your customer's payment card details. You can then charge your customer's payment card at set intervals by referring to the established token.

You process recurring billing by using the purchase operation configured in single message mode. In practice the process works like this:

  1. You create a token and assign the token to a specific customer account on your server. For more details on tokenization please refer to the tokenization page.

  2. Your site sends the recurring transaction details along with the customer's token to Amazon Payment Services.

  3. The transaction is processed, and a response is returned to your site indicating the status of the transaction.

👆 Your customer's bank will be able to charge your customer's card for recurring payments only if, before you set up the recurring payment, your customer's card was used to process a successful e-commerce transaction using your merchant account.

Note that you must code the recurring payment workflow on your server. Amazon Payment Services will not automatically charge a recurring payment. You must ensure that your server requests the recurring payment when it is due by developing a recurring payment process in your website code.

👆 You will create the token used for recurring payments while you are processing a successful, first payment for your customer. Note that the e-commerce merchant ID you use to set up the recurring payments must be the same e-commerce merchant ID that you used to do the first transaction that established the token. You must also continue to use the same merchant ID for all future recurring payments.

Integrating recurring payments

You can integrate recurring payments into your website in just the same way you integrate ordinary payments. You do so by using the custom merchant page integration route.

However, the transaction details that you send to Amazon Payment Services is different. For example, the eci parameter in your purchase command will contain the phrase "RECURRING" to indicate that you are processing a recurring transaction.

Note that you will rely on tokens to enable recurring payments. Read our page on tokenization for more insight into how tokens enable recurring payments.

Go to the full API reference

This page is intended to help you understand how recurring payments work. Developers should review the full API reference for complete instructions on how to implement recurring payments including a full list of parameters and the relevant endpoints.

Need further help?

If you get stuck feel free to get in touch with the Amazon Payment Services team. Just message our support team at merchantsupport-ps@amazon.com.