How to Create a Subscription Manager App for Saving Money
Subscription is one of the most widespread business models for digital products, be it a streaming service or cloud office software. They charge our money on a monthly or annual basis and sometimes it is hard to track all expenses. Especially if these subscriptions are for the entire company. So, for efficient money management, it is vital to keep track of your personal subscriptions or the ones provided to employees. Subscription billing software solves this problem.
If you are considering an opportunity to create a subscription management platform -- this article is exactly what you've been looking for.
Capabilities of a subscription management service
Subscriptions are becoming more and more popular in the business world. Many industry giants like Google, MailChimp, Zendesk, and others already use this model for their products.
The subscription is not a new revenue model, however, it still works pretty well. For service creators, this model allows planning their company's revenue in advance, while it's users benefit from the fact the provided service constantly gets new updates and have a convenient payment method.
Nevertheless, subscriptions have one obvious drawback for users -- customers often forget about them. Sometimes, a user activates a trial version of a product, completely stop using it through some time, and have no clue that he/she is paying $10 monthly during half a year already because did not disable the auto-payment in settings.
In terms of a big company, the abandoned services without the canceled subscription can cost it a pretty penny. Let's say some middle-sized company with 90 in-house employees did not cancel the $10-worth subscription after 2 months since they stopped using it. It is not hard to calculate they paid $1.800 for a service they did not use. Subscription management software can help to prevent such a situation.
That's why subscription trackers for both personal and enterprise subscriptions are extremely useful. It is able to help it's users to take all the subscription-related expenses under control, as well as optimize them.
Let's consider several subscription management solutions which already present on the market so you could get a clear vision of how your product should look like to compete with them.
Nowadays, there are several ready-made subscription management software in this niche. They are Truebill, Trim, Cardlife, and Bobby. In general, their capabilities are similar to each other but target audience differs a bit. Truebill, Trim, and Bobby are mobile apps focused on ordinary users, while Cardlife is a solution for companies allowing them to control and manage their subscriptions.
These subscription management tools intended to analyze the users' subscriptions based on credit card data and banking operations. After what they are able to single out subscription fees among all the other transactions and make a report where users can see the amount of money he/she pays for each one, as well as in total.
Interface of Truebill: App to keep track of bills
For instance, Truebill analyzes users' bills identifying all the repetitive transactions and dividing them into three categories -- subscriptions, bills, utilities, and other repetitive payments. This subscription management system allows users to edit their repetitive bills manually but they cannot add a subscription in case the service has not found it. In contrary to Truebill, the subscription tracking software called Bobby allows it's users to manually enter subscriptions that were not found.
All the services use the 256-bit SSL encryption to protect a sensitive data of their customers. As an addition, Trim requires to enter the confirmation code for logging on the website.
Trim service interface
If you're on a tight budget, consider the variant of developing an app for Android or iOS only. You can test your ideas of subscription tracker software this way and understand whether it works or not.
Basic subscription software features
To launch your own subscription tracker service, the app should contain the minimum set of features allowing to solve certain problems. Based on solutions that already exist on the market we can single out some features they have in common.
Let's look through the main features your subscription tracker app should obtain to compete with competitors in this niche.
Drafting the list of subscriptions. There are several variants how to do that. The first variant is to allow users picking from the pre-compiled list and enter the contract details based on which the subscription tracker will make calculations by itself.
The second variant implies the subscription tracker app will automatically scan users' bills and determine their subscriptions. It is possible to implement with the help of complicated machine learning algorithms. Also, your team of developers can implement the support of Plaid API. With it's help, your app could safely integrate with 15,000 of financial institutions in the US to access the data related to credit and debit cards (about 98% of the market).
Discover more about machine learning for your business in our related article
7 Machine Learning as a Service Platforms for Beginners and Pros
Categorization. During the list creation, you can divide the expenses into several categories. For instance, business services, cloud storages, telephone bills etc. After the app is connected to a bank account, it loads the transaction data that will be categorized on daily basis depending on a subscription name or repetition.
The subscription tracker can use machine learning to empower the algorithm of categorization that will make this feature more accurate. You can also apply geolocation feature to your app. It will allow to instantly match the transaction to the place of purchasing so users could add expenses choosing from the list of companies nearby and indicate where the transaction was made.
Monthly report feature. This feature is intended to detect any changes in subscription fees to prevent users from spending extra money in case their terms were changed. You can allow your users the opportunity to cancel the subscription or switch to another tariff plan if possible.
Basic features for subscription management software
There are a lot of ready-made solutions focused on creating various graphics and diagrams. Their use may save some time for your development team and cut on your expenses. For instance, your developers can use the Charts library for iOS or MPAndroidChart for Android. They allow adding any chart type in the app in just a few lines of code.
Subscription cancellation feature. It should be designed to protect users from calling to the support of each service they use to cancel their subscription. You should give them an opportunity to do it in one tap. Some subscription management services automatically generate and send an email to support informing about the cancellation.
Push notifications. When it is a time to pay the bills, users should be notified about that. Also, it is a good idea to notify them about changes in terms and conditions, as well as about more beneficial offers.
Scanning checks and editing costs. If you want to develop a universal solution solving the expense checking issue for users and businesses, you should consider not only subscription monitoring but a high-grade spending section as well.
For this purpose, you can allow users to enter the purchase data manually or add the check scanning feature. It can be implemented with the help of optical character recognition technology (OCR) that singles out the text on photos and turns it into data. After that, the scanned is converted into convenient charts showing users their expenditure statistics. The service called Expensify already able to automatically scan checks and enter them into users' spending data.
Security. Banks the same as many other companies connected with the digital sphere provide their APIs to third-parties. In turn, they use the API to collect certain information concerning users' profiles. Nevertheless, third-parties cannot have the full access to somebody's bank account that means they can't make transactions.
After a user entered his/her login and password, the information is transferred to the protected server, so it is encrypted all the time.
Another factor contributing to security is data storage, as well as the use of SSL encryption. Storing data on PCs is a huge mistake since it threatens the sensitive data. It is a much better idea to entrust this task to servers with protected databases aboard.
Basic features for subscription management software
Of course, your subscription billing software should not be restricted by these features only. Everything depends on your budget and set goals. The only rule is to deliver an app that solves certain scope of problems for your target audience.
If you are considering an opportunity to create your own digital solution -- do not hesitate and contact our managers to get your free consultation and custom estimation.
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