I am in the process of setting up a membership section on one of my sites that will require annual recurring membership payments but how do these work ?

If I joined somethhing offline I / they would set up a direct debit or standing order ( in the UK ) with the bank and this would just go on until I stopped it.

Doing it online requires a recurring payment scheme off a credit card. This is not a problem, paypal, paysytems, and plenty of others all do this but I do not understand how this would work, Cards almost always have a maximum of two years life, then the expiry date would be passed and the payment could not be taken.

It is easy to say that the customer must tell the third party processor the new card details but only regular users of paypal ( et al ) would remember or bother to do this.

How do membership sites get around this ? is there some online version of a direct debit / standing order direct with the members bank ( which would probably not work well with international membership ) ?

This MAY not be a problem in my case because I suspect that they majority of people who would join my scheme would already be paypal members but I do not know this for a fact and I need to take into account that there are a lot of paypal haters out there