Shopping cart with recurring billing/subscriptions

I’m looking for an ecommerce solution which would allow me to sell products as a one-time purchase (like a regular web store) and based on a subscription. In the latter case, once a person signs up, they would receive our “product of the month” in the beginning of each month. The plans will vary, but this is the basic idea.

Now, there are good one-time purchase platforms (Zen Cart, CubeCart) as well as membership/recurring billing ones (aMember). What would you suggest for a combined platform, i.e. one-time purchases and subscriptions in one package? Do any of the major shopping carts support subscriptions like these?

So why not use Zen Cart or CubeCart ecommerce platform?Zen Cart may be better than CubeCart to fulfill your demand.

Because neither Zen Cart nor CubeCart support subscriptions/recurring billing.

At this point, I’m looking at Modular Merchant vs. X-Cart integrated with aMember. Any feedback on these solutions?

X-cart supports both one-time products and subscriptions. As for subscriptions, customers will pay some amount each X days/month/period and will receive the products periodically.

Feel free to check information on the question here:

By the way, which payment gateway do you plan to use?

As for Modular Merchant, you could contact their team and ask about that.

X-Cart’s subscription functionality looks fine, but I’d hate to store CC numbers in the database, which it requires. Hence I’d prefer a hosted e-commerce solution or a solution where recurring billing is done by the payment gateway.

My preferred payment gateway choices are and PayPal. Unfortunately, X-Cart doesn’t seem to support PayPal’s Recurring Payments or’s ARB; thus I was considering using a third-party solution like aMember for subscriptions.

aMember supports recurring billing in PayPal Website Payments Standard only where a customer must have or create a PayPal account. This is not necessary in Website Payments Pro, but aMember doesn’t support it and you need to be PCI compliant to use the Pro, is this hard?).

So, still looking for a solution…

I see, your concern is clear. As for X-cart, it would work with for subscriptions however you are correct that credit cards information is stored in the database. By the way, this sensitive information can be encrypted.

Also it seems you need to browse through features of other shopping cart packages and find the one that would suit you.

I hope you will find the solution you need.

I too am looking for a similar subscription based product. Amember was recommended to me, but it is not open source. Another one suggested to me was, it is open source with plenty of plug in options.

My use for it is slightly different - i am designing a site where membership is required to access the content (protect pages).

Does anyone have any other suggestions. I too am looking at using Paypal, at least initially, before getting merchant details for credit card facilities.

Storing credit card information on an internet connected server, as 99% of X-cart users would be doing if they used that feature, is illegal. It does not meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Encryption is not nearly enough to meet those standards, especially when the decryption code is sitting on the same server as the encrypted data. Fines for violations under the Visa and MasterCard operating regulations are in the half million dollar range.

You should stop recommending this to people.

Your software shouldn’t even support it, doing so only helps merchants put themselves in a position where they’re legally liable and exposes card information to hackers.

If you’re going to do recurring billing, then the payment information needs to be stored somewhere that does meet those standards, such as on Authnet’s servers. That’s why they offer two ways of doing recurring billing - Automated Recurring Billing (ARB), which is good for billing a fixed amount on a fixed cycle, or Customer Information Manager (CIM) which you can use to make arbitrary charges based on a reference ID alone.

I had a similar website and aMember worked beautifully for me. This is a very mature product designed to do specifically what you have described. If I didn’t need a product catalog with the ability to have one-time purchases, just the memberships, I’d go for aMember again without a second thought.

aMember is a commercial product, that’s correct, but you do get full source code which you can modify. And there’s plenty of plugins (mostly paid ones, though), too. Overall, in my opinion, it’s totally worth it.

I admit you are correct, taking into consideration security requirements ARB system is preferable to use. By the way, we are developing a payment module for X-Cart future versions that would be (verified by a PA-QSA) processing credit cards in a PCI-DSS compliant manner.

Give 1ShoppingCart a try. They have recurring billing and they are hosting everything, so they’re the ones holding the CC information. This is not to knock X-Cart b/c X-Cart is one of my favorite shopping cart solutions out there. I suggest them above all else, but if you’re still worried, then 1ShoppingCart is a safe bet.

I am a big supporter of oscommerce for this sort of application. Zen cart is good and so is x cart however the support in oscommerce is bigger and the contribs are almost endless. As for subscription payments there would be plenty of contribs that do this just search on there website. I myself have always used paypal for this and it works well… :slight_smile:

Thanks, I used to consider them because of the recurring billing support. However, 1ShoppingCart lacks some of the functionality that’s essential for me - customer accounts, product pages/catalog generation etc. Overall, it looks more like a checkout solution, not a fully functional web store.

Jamix, why not to hire developers to make required integration for you/make required adjustments?

Also, i have found a topic on amember forum about the module that was created by some one:

not sure whether it would work for you (also the topic is 1 year old), but you could try
to contact the person and ask him for help.

Keep in touch with dataoutsourcingindia for such issue…they are good.

1shoppingcart is not bad, but there is still plenty of room to improve. My “refund button” never worked, it said it worked, but nothing showed up in authorized net. That was a big pain for me. Also their affiliate system was pretty buggy.
But if you don’t need this kind of features - go with it.

I also considered 1Schoppingcart as my solution but went with PremiumWebCart instead as there are so many more features already built in already.

If you’re looking for a Password protected Member’s Area, they already have it as a standard part of the cart. But what really got me on their team was the fact that I can run unlimited Member’s Areas, for unlimited websites and still brand each one specifically …without buying multiple licenses.

Their other features all work this way as well so if you want your live chat and ticket support to be website specific then this is a good option to look at.

You can look at the comparison of the carts at or there’s a good review at a site called (listed under Ecommerce Tools category) is a new cart that has all of the stuff needed for recurring billing and selling online. Very cheap and very robust. I have used multiple in the past but they have been a pain to configure and make work right. is simple and easy to use. But I really want to try a few more - any recommendations?

I know that and ITransact both support recurring billing in their gateways. Several others do as well, but unless you are willing to store card numbers on your own servers (better be very secure) I wouldn’t do this on the shopping cart level, I would just sign up for one of the payment gateways that support recurring billing and manage the recurring transactions from the gateway’s server.


What you’re looking for is easily accomplished.

With a standard cart you can do the following:

  1. Trial periods - i.e. $1 purchase (or free) for 14 days and then charge $29 every 30 days

  2. Recurring on a fixed time schedule - i.e. charge $29 every 30 days

  3. Recurring Billing on a fixed day - i.e. charge $29 on the 5th of every month or on the
    1st Monday of every month or quarter etc.