Chargify Glossary

Chargify Glossary


Chargify Glossary

Basic Chargify Terms

Term Definition
Merchant A Chargify merchant sells Subscriptions of Products to their Customers.
Customers A Customer purchases a subscription to a merchant’s product.
Products A Product, referred to some as a plan, is defined primarily by a recurring amount charged at a set interval for a limited or open-ended period. Products may also include set-up fees and trials.
Subscriptions Subscriptions tie Customers to Products. A Subscription is created when a Customer signs up for a Product.
Sites A Site is a container for a merchant’s Products, Subscriptions, and Customers. Each Site has its own settings and configuration. In particular, each site defines its own subdomain, currency, and gateway settings. Any reporting that Chargify performs is done at the Site level
Transaction Transactions can be either cash or non-cash. Cash payments and refunds are reflected in total revenue for a customer. Payments for recurring subscription amounts also decrease subscription balances. Non-cash transactions include increases or decreases to a subscription balance via regular subscription activity or balance adjustments initiated by a merchant.
Activity Subscription activity includes transaction and actions which do not necessarily result in a change to total revenues or subscription balances. This can include subscription state changes (say, from Active to Past Due) or credit card expirations and updates.

Payment industry terms

Term Definition
ACH Automated Clearing House (ACH) is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States.,It is an alternative to credit card payments for Chargify merchants using select gateways.
Acquirer A financial institution or merchant bank (a merchant acquirer) which is contacted to authorize a credit card or debit purchase.
Acquiring bank/merchant bank An acquiring bank (or acquirer) is a bank or financial institution that processes credit or debit card payments on behalf of a merchant. The term acquirer indicates that the accepts or acquires credit card payments from the card-issuing banks within an association.
Authorization An authorization is the approval of a credit card transaction returned by a payment gateway.
Card issuer A credit card issuer is a bank or credit union which offers credit cards.
Card Verification Value (CVV) Card verification value (CVV) is a combination of features used in credit, debit and automated teller machine (ATM) cards for the purpose of establishing the owner’s identity and minimizing the risk of fraud. The CVV is also known as the card verification code (CVC) or card security code (CSC).
Chargebacks A chargeback is a demand by a credit-card provider for a retailer to make good the loss on a fraudulent or disputed transaction.
Conversion Conversions are the upgrades of free accounts to paid plans.
Discount rate A fee which is calculated as a percentage deducted by a merchant account provider from the gross amount of credit card payments. The fee can vary by merchant based on credit quality and other factors.
Disputes/fraud Credit card payments may be contested after settlement for a variety of reasons including unauthorized use of a lost or stolen card (fraud) or a dispute between a merchant and customer.
Integrations Integrations link Chargify to your app or to a third-party solution like QuickBooks. Some merchants create custom integrations using Chargify’s API or transparent redirect (“Chargify Direct”).
Issuer/issuing bank The issuing bank is the financial institution that issues credit cards to consumers on behalf of the card networks (Visa, MasterCard). The issuing bank is also known as the credit card company.
Merchant account A merchant account is a bank account that enables the holder to accept credit cards for payment. It differs from other deposit accounts as it is subject to deductions for payment fees and commissions, as well as restrictions on the timing of fund withdrawals.
Onboarding Onboarding is the process of introducing your customer to your product or service after signup.
Paying customer vs non-paying customer A paying customer is one which has paid or owes a merchant for any period. A non-paying user is one who is subscribed to a free plan.
Payment gateway A payment gateway is an online system for processing credit card or other payment transactions in real-time. A payment gateway is typically linked to a merchant account. The payment gateway facilitates the coordination of communicating a secure payment transaction, including settlement, between Chargify and your merchant account.
PCI-DSS compliance PCI stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.,Chargify has maintained PCI Level 1 compliance since its founding.
Point-of-sale A physical or virtual for the processing of immediate, non-recurring credit card payments.
Portability Portability, or credit card data portability, refers to the secure, PCI-compliant transfer of detailed credit card data, usually from one payment gateway to another. This may be prohibited by a payment gateway.
Prohibited businesses Payment gateways maintain a list of prohibited business with which they will not conduct business. This can include gambling and lending activities among others.
Public Signup Pages Public Pages are highly customizable white label pages that you can use as the public-facing side of your subscription business. They are a quick and easy way to integrate with the Chargify platform. They include signup pages as well as self-service pages to manage payment options.
Reason codes Reason codes are returned by a payment gateway upon success or failure of a credit card authorization request. The rejection codes may provide further detail on the payment failure (e.g., expired card).
Receipt A receipt is a physical or electronic acknowledgment of payment which may include transaction details or terms of sale.
Settlement Settlement is the exchange of funds between a card issuer and an acquiring bank to complete a cleared transaction. The distribution of the settled funds is subject to the terms of the merchant account.
Transaction A transaction is a successful or failed payment or refund attempt using a payment gateway.
Transaction date The transaction date is the date the payment or refund attempt is initiated.
Settlement date The settlement date is the date when the funds are deposited or removed from your merchant account.
Transaction fees A per transaction fee assessed by a payment gateway and/or merchant account provider.

Payment methods

Term Definition
ACH/eCheck ACH/eCheck is supported by some gateways and allows payments to be deducted directly from a customer’s bank account.
Credit cards (Automatic billing) Recurring or one-time charges can be processed via Discover, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. This is the default payment method in Chargify.
External payments Payments received outside of Chargify including checks, wire transfers and cash which can be recorded as external payments.
Invoice billing Invoice Billing allows a merchant to bill customers manually by sending them an invoice each month. Subscriptions with invoice billing enabled will not be charged automatically even if a credit card is on file.
PayPal Payment processed via PayPal

Product setup

Term Definition
Accounting code This is an optional field for merchants who wish to create an accounting reference for their products. It is not used internally by Chargify.
Address requirements A merchant can require a billing and/or shipping address from a customer at signup.
API Handle This is an advanced option for technical API integrations. It can be used to find products via the API.
Billing expiration Billing recurs indefinitely by default. Otherwise a merchant can set an expiration date by specifying the number of renewals prior to expiration.
Calendar billing Calendar, or snap billing, allows a merchant to charge a pro rated amount between signup and the first renewal date. For example, a merchant may charge all of their customers on the first of every month. With calendar billing, a customer would be charged a prorated amount from calculated using the time between signup and the first of the following month.
Custom fields Custom fields can be added to any site and appear on public signup pages, statements, invoices and/or CSV exports.
Description This is an optional field which is displayed to customers if a merchant is using the public signup pages.
Payment method A payment method is required whenever payment is due at signup. A merchant can also require a payment method if no cash is due for free products or trials.
Product Family Products can be grouped under a Product Family with components and coupons defined for all products in the family.
Public Signup pages Public signup pages are highly customizable white label pages which can be created for each progress.
Recurring period The interval between subscription renewals. It can be expressed in either days or months.
Recurring price The base amount charged at each subscription renewal.
Referrals Referrals allow a merchant to reward a customer with a one-time credit when they refer a new customer. The new customer receives a coupon discount as defined by the merchant.
Return parameters The following data can be included when the customer is redirected to the specified URL: subscription and/or customer ID, customer reference, product handle, product ID, signup revenue and signup payment ID.
Return URL A return URL is the web address to which customers are redirected after a successful account update.
Setup fees This optional one-time initial or setup fee can be charged at signup or at the end of a trial.
Subscription import Merchants can use this advanced feature to create new subscriptions in Chargify via a predefined CSV import.
Subscriptions Subscriptions tie Customers to Products. A Subscription is created when a Customer signs up for a Product.
Tax settings Taxes can be enabled on a per product basis. Taxes are defined by site; they are not product-specific.
Tax type A merchant can specify whether the product is a digital service or physical good. This is particularly important within the EU where different rates and policies apply.
Trials A merchant can specify a no-cost or paid trial for a certain period prior to the first subscription renewal. There are two types of trials: one with no obligation at the end of the trial (no payment is attempted) and one with payment expected at the of the trial (a payment request is processed). If the payment fails, the subscription becomes past due.


Term Definition
Component Components, or add-ons, are charges assessed at a subscription renewal. They are in addition to the regularly recurring price.
Description A description of the component which can be displayed on the public signup page.
Metered Charges for metered billing are calculated based on usage reported to Chargify. For example, a merchant may price their product as minutes used. A merchant can report periodic usage at any time before subscription renewal. The charges are then calculated based on the pricing specified by the merchant (see Quantity-based below).
Name The name of the component, e.g. “Widgets”
On/off A charge is assessed if a particular add-on is enabled, i.e., “on”.
Pricing scheme (per unit) A single price is applied to all units. For example, a price of $2 would be applied regardless of quantity.
Pricing scheme (stairstep) A total cost is assessed according to the price bracket of the quantity used. For example, 0 to 20 units may be free, 21 to 40 priced at $20 total and 40 and above at a total price of $50.
Pricing scheme (tiered) Every unit is assessed a cost within its own tier. Using the example above, an allocation of 10 units would be priced at $18 for 9 units and $1.90 for the 10th unit, for a total of $19.90.
Pricing scheme (volume) All units are assessed the same per-unit cost depending on the total quantity. For example, 1 to 9 units may trigger a price of $2 per unit and 10 units and above a price of $1.90 per unit. An allocation of 9 units would be priced at $2 per unit, or $18. An allocation of 10 units would be priced at $1.90 per unit, or $19. The higher the allocation, the lower per unit cost will be applied to all units.
Public Signup Page display options Components are not displayed on the public signup pages by default. They can be displayed at the merchant’s discretion.
Quantity settings Component allocations are expressed in whole numbers by default. Fractional quantities can be enabled at the merchant’s discretion.
Quantity-based A quantity-based component is charged at the beginning of a billing period based on the number of units allocated at that time.
Tax settings Each component can be subjected to taxes. They are tax-free by default.
Unit name The unit name in singular form, e.g. “widget”
Upgrade/downgrade settings (proration) There are several options for component allocation increases (upgrades) or decreases (downgrades). The cost of an upgrade can be charged immediately or accrued, either in full or prorated based on the next billing date. Downgrades can be applied at the next renewal or trigger a credit against future charges.


Term Definition
Conversion limit The conversion limit restricts the number of uses for a particular coupon. This allows merchants to manage the number of times a coupon can be redeemed, for example when a promotion is for a set number of customers on a first-come, first-served basis.
Coupon code The code issued to a potential or existing customer so they can redeem the coupon.
Description A description of the coupon that can be displayed to customers in transactions and on statements.
Discount (flat vs percentage) Coupon discounts can be expressed in cash terms or as a percentage of monthly charges.
Discount limits Merchants can carry over any remaining cash discount from one period to the next. This is disabled by default.
Expiration date The expiration date is the date after which the coupon may no longer be redeemed. It does not affect the expiration date, if any, of existing coupons.
Internal name The name of the coupon viewed only by the merchant.
Recurring discounts Discounts can be applied at signup only, at signup and for a set number of periods or at signup recurring indefinitely. If a customer is already subscribed to a product, the payment due at the next renewal will be substituted for the signup. For example, a coupon applied at signup and for two renewals would simply be applied to three renewals for an existing subscription.
Subcodes Multiple subcodes can be created for each coupon code. The definition of the coupon does not change. This allows a merchant to assign a unique coupon code to one or more customers without having to create anew coupon each time.


Term Definition
Adjustment/coupon An adjustment is an increase or a decrease to a subscription balance. An positive balance means that the Subscriber owes the amount stated. A negative balance means there is a credit on the Subscription. One example is a goodwill credit issued for a service issue. A coupon decreases a subscription balance at subscription renewal.
Billing/charge Charges are assessed whenever a payment will be collected, either immediately or at the next renewal. A charge increases a subscription’s balance and is offset by the ensuing payment. Examples of charges include regularly recurring monthly amounts, one-time charges, prorated amounts for product or component upgrades, and taxes among others. A subscription balance may also be increased manually.
Credit A credit is an offset to a subscription balance. It reduces the subscription balance. Credits can be issued manually or by the system upon product or component downgrades.
One-time charges A one-time charge is a one-off transaction which results in an immediate payment for an active subscription.
Payment A payment is a credit card or other form of cash settlement to settle an outstanding balance or immediate charge. If not processed by the system, a transaction can be recorded as an external payment.
Refund Refunds can be processed via the system for certain gateways, or recorded as external refunds when issued via cash, check or other method.
Webhook replay A webhook replay allows a merchant to resend webhooks which were not received by their application due to technical reasons.
Webhooks A webhook is a way for an app to provide other applications with real-time information. They are used in somewhat advanced integrations with Chargify and require some development expertise.


Term Definition
Billing Date Alterations The next billing date for an existing active subscription is moved forward or back. Future periodic payments are based on the updated billing date.
Customer Info Update There has been an update to customer information including email address, billing and shipping address, phone or other customers/subscription data.
Expiration Date Alterations The expiration date for an active subscription is moved forward or back, accelerating or deferring the subscription end date.
Payments (Declined/Failed) A payment attempt is unsuccessful.
Payments (Successful) Payment has been successfully processed for a customer’s subscription.
Product Change The customer switches from one product to another with the existing subscription record updated accordingly.
Refunds (Failed) A refund is unsuccessful - the transaction is declined by the gateway.
Refunds (Successful) A refund is processed successfully at the payment gateway.
Renewals (Failed) Subscription renewal fails when a payment is unsuccessful. The subscription moves from an Active to a Past Due state.
Renewals (Successful/On-Time) Subscription renews as expected. Any payment due has been processed successfully.
Signups (Declined/Failed) Customer’s attempt to subscriber to a product is declined.
Signups (Successful) Customer successfully subscribes to a product.
State Change A subscription moves from one of the subscription states in Chargify. The primary subscription states are Active (live), Trialing, Past Due, Canceled and Expired.
Subscription Deleted Although not recommended, a subscription can be deleted from Chargify. Chargify doesn’t recommend deleting subscriptions as it will remove all revenue and transaction history from your Site. The deletion is recorded in the activity stream.
Upcoming Renewals Upcoming renewal notice is given three days prior to the next billing date.
Upcoming/Recently Expired Cards The expiration date for a card on file for an active subscription has recently expired or will expire shortly.
Upgrades/Downgrades (Failed) A product change involving immediate payment or proration (i.e., a subscription migration) fails. This is normally due to a payment failure.
Upgrades/Downgrades (Successful) A product change involving immediate payment or proration (i.e., a subscription migration) is successful.


Term Definition
Automatically defined (Avalara AvaTax) Automatic sales tax collection for US and Canadian merchants, as well as European Union VAT. A merchant can select the the areas where they are responsible for collecting taxes and Chargify uses the Avalara tax service to find and apply the correct rates.
Manually defined Custom tax rates are defined and maintained by a merchant to collect taxes in any geographic country/region. This includes general use and generic taxes, as well as support for European Union VAT.
Multiple jurisdictions Chargify supports taxes in one or more jurisdictions based on either the billing or the shipping address provided by a customer.
Taxable/nontaxable items In some cases, a merchant’s products may be taxable however certain add-ons, or components, are not. A merchant can specify which items are subject to tax.

Billing Portal

Term Definition
Cancellation notices Cancellation notices can be customized for both system-initiated and customer-initiated subscription cancellation.
Email notices/dunning Customized emails can be sent on a scheduled determined by the merchant once the subscription becomes past due. These past due (dunning) notices can only be sent while a subscription is Past Due. They will not be processed for expired or canceled subscriptions.
Renewal attempts The number of days payment attempts will be processed after a subscription becomes past due. A subscription is normally moved to a canceled state when all renewal attempts fail. Payments are attempted every 24 hours.

Optional Automated Emails

Term Definition
BCC settings Enable email BCCs to the Chargify account owner or one or more alternates.
Card expiration Sent on the 1st, 15th and 23rd days of the month prior to a credit card expiration.
Custom fields There is a wide selection of variables which a merchant can use when composing automated emails in Chargify. For more information, please see Email Templates.
Daily status email Optional email sent to merchants with summary of daily signup activity.
Email archive The email archive contains detailed email transmission data for the last 95 days for all Chargify merchants.
End of trial Sent three days prior to a trial expiration.
Invoices Send a payment demand upon subscription renewal or whenever payment falls due (component allocation or product upgrade, for example).
Receipts Sent to customer to record a successful payment.
Signup Sent to a customer after successfully subscribing to a product.
Statements A periodic report of subscription activity sent to a customer via email with or without an attached PDF, or printed and sent via post.
Upcoming renewal Sent three days prior to a subscription renewal.


Term Definition
Analytics Available on the Plus plan and above, analytics include a Subscriber and Revenue Report, LTV, and Churn.
Business dashboard The business dashboard includes key revenue and subscription metrics as well as a record of the most recent subscription activity,
CSV exports CSV (comma separated value) files can be created to export Product, Customer, Subscription and Transaction data for any Chargify site. Site data is retained for as long as a merchant maintains their Chargify account in good standing. The site data is recorded and retained from the date the account is opened.
List fields in exports for reference The estimated next billing amounts and component allocations can be included in the Subscription export
Sales report A new Chargify sales report is now in beta testing.

Security and Account Settings

Term Definition
Notifications Chargify sends notifications to merchant as necessary to broadcast system-wide messages or to convey information regarding one or more transactions on an individual merchant’s account.
Security / two-factor authentication Two-factor authentication requires a second level of security, usually in the form of a code provided by a third-party via an app or text message.
Team member controls Merchants can limit or block access of their users to specific sites and functions.


Term Definition
Referrals A merchant can offer a one-time credit to an existing customer who refers a new customer. The new customer can be rewarded with a coupon for a fixed or recurring number of periods.
Referrals: coupon discount for new customer A coupon which is applied against the new customer’s account. As with all coupons, it can be expressed as a flat amount or as a percentage of charges, for a fixed number of periods or indefinitely.
Referrals: one-time credit for referring customer A one-time credit to the existing customer when a new signup is completed using a referral code provided by the merchant.