Billing cycles

When you create a plan, you set the regular period billing cycle duration. A plan’s billing cycle defines the recurring frequency with which the subscriber is charged. For example, a plan with a weekly billing cycle charges the subscriber on a recurring frequency of one week.

You can choose from the following billing cycles:

  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Year
  • Custom: customize the billing cycle for more flexible options like two weeks or three months.

Finite and infinite

Billing cycles can continue for a specified period of time, a finite plan, or until the user cancels the subscription, an infinite plan.

  • Finite plan - A plan with a fixed number of billing cycles. Create a finite plan by specifying the number of billing cycles.

    Example: An online tutorial course priced at $10 per month and scheduled to last for five monthly cycles. The subscriber is charged $10 for five monthly cycles with the subscription ending after the fifth cycle.

  • Infinite plan - A plan without a fixed number of cycles. Create an infinite plan if you don’t want to associate a pre-defined number of cycles to the plan. Once a buyer subscribes to an infinite plan, the subscription remains active until cancelation. You create an infinite plan by specifying the total_number of billing cycles as 0 when you create the plan.

    Example: A plan for video streaming service priced at $20 per month. The subscriber is charged $20 per month until they cancel the subscription.

Example: finite plan

This example sets a finite plan with the following characteristics:

  • Five cycles
  • Each billing cycle is one month
curl -v –X POST https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/v1/billing/plans /
-H "Content-Type: application/json"  /
-H "Authorization: Bearer <Access-Token>"  /
-d '{
    "name": "Beginner Plan",
    "description": "Five month beginner course",
    "product_id": "PROD-5RN21878H3527870P",
    "billing_cycles": [
        {
            "frequency": {
                "interval_unit": "MONTH",
                "interval_count": 1
            },
            "tenure_type": "REGULAR",
            "sequence": 1,
            "total_cycles": 5,
            "pricing_scheme": {
                "fixed_price": {
                    "value": "10",
                    "currency_code": "USD"
                }
            }
        }
    ],
    "payment_preferences": {
        "auto_bill_outstanding": true,
        "payment_failure_threshold": 1
    }
 }'

Example: infinite plan

This example sets an infinite plan with the following characteristics:

  • Billing continues until the subscriber cancels. Create an infinite plan by specifying the total_number of billing cycles as 0.
  • Each billing cycle is one month
curl -v –X POST https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/v1/billing/plans /
-H "Content-Type: application/json" /
-H "Authorization: Bearer <Access-Token>" /
-d '{
    "name": "Premium Video Plus",
    "description": "Premium plan with video download feature",
    "product_id": "PROD-5RN21878H3527870P",
    "billing_cycles": [
        {
            "frequency": {
                "interval_unit": "MONTH",
                "interval_count": 1
            },
            "tenure_type": "REGULAR",
            "sequence": 1,
            "total_cycles": 0,   
            "pricing_scheme": {
                "fixed_price": {
                    "value": "20",
                    "currency_code": "USD"
                }
            }
        }
    ],
    "payment_preferences": {
        "auto_bill_outstanding": true,
        "payment_failure_threshold": 1
    }
 }'

See also

  • Create a plan - You set the billing cycle frequency and the length of the subscription when you create the plan.