Introducing RevenueCat Billing: Web subscriptions for mobile apps, simplified

Starting the journey towards a unified subscription experience across mobile and web platforms.

Jens-Fabian Goetzmann
PublishedLast updated

At RevenueCat, our mission is to help developers make more money. 

To do that, we’ve focused on making in-app subscriptions as easy as possible. However, web subscriptions also offer a wealth of opportunities for mobile developers, like faster experimentation, better measurability, and favorable margins. 

To help mobile developers capture this opportunity, we’re excited to launch the beta of RevenueCat Billing: web purchases designed to work seamlessly with your mobile app.

In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into what this initial beta offers, its current scope, and what’s on the horizon.

What is RevenueCat Billing?

RevenueCat Billing is a JavaScript SDK and web backend that allows you to integrate subscription purchases into your website that unlock entitlements for mobile. Web subscriptions work seamlessly with the existing RevenueCat backend for mobile applications to make managing user access to entitlements easy. Here’s a breakdown of the core components and what’s still in progress at the time of this initial beta launch. 

Core components 

  • Billing Engine: At the heart of RevenueCat Billing is our billing engine, designed to manage recurring billing, invoice creation, and handle billing issues.
  • Web SDK:The RC Billing engine also connects to our Web SDK which checks entitlements, offerings and manages the purchase flow. The Web SDK is designed with the same interfaces as the mobile SDKs, making it simple to launch web subscriptions for mobile app developers
  • Customer portal: We’ve built a customer portal that doesn’t require any coding from your end. Subscribers can manage their subscriptions and billing information directly, reducing the support queries and improving the overall customer experience.
  • Integration with the RevenueCat ecosystem: RevenueCat Billing extends beyond just handling payments — it plugs into the entire RevenueCat ecosystem, including Charts, Customer Profiles, Events, and Data Exports. This integration ensures that all the tools you rely on for subscription management and analytics work with RevenueCat Billing.
  • Stripe Payment Gateway: Presently, Stripe will be the payment gateway used to process transactions. 
  • [Not part of beta] Other payment gateways: In the future, we may explore supporting more gateways in addition to Stripe. 
  • [Not part of beta] Web paywalls: Just as RevenueCat Paywalls make monetization simple for mobile, we plan to eventually offer web paywalls.

Why launch RevenueCat Billing?

For mobile apps, offering web subscriptions represents a major opportunity to drive growth and profitability. RevenueCat Billing seeks to make it as simple as possible for developers to make more money via the web by offering a solution designed with mobile business-to-consumer app use cases in mind. 

To unlock growth from web purchases  

  • Favorable margins: Eligible web purchases aren’t subject to Apple’s and Google’s fees, potentially increasing your profit margins significantly. The fees for web purchases through RevenueCat Billing are just your usual RevenueCat fee (ie. 1% for Pro users earning $2,500+ in MTR) and Stripe’s standard 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee. 
  • Accurate measurement: Web purchases allow the passing of URL parameters that can enable more precise attribution. This can make web payments a valuable channel to test and learn what drives conversion and growth for your mobile app. 
  • Improved customer communications: Since the web purchase channel is owned by you, you’re able to directly communicate with your users and own the end-to-end experience. Web payments can be a great tool for email lifecycle marketing, like win-back campaigns.
  • Flexible pricing strategies: Since you control the web checkout process, you also have full ability to customize pricing, packaging, and discounting beyond what is available for in-app purchases.
  • Affiliate programs: Easily manage affiliate and referral programs, a task that’s challenging on mobile platforms.

To cater to mobile-first needs 

  • Seamless cross-platform user experience: RevenueCat Billing ensures a consistent subscription experience across web and mobile, simplifying access and management of entitlements.
  • Unified developer experience across platforms: the Web SDK is designed with the same interfaces as the mobile SDKs. You can manage your cross-platform product catalog and entitlements all in RevenueCat
  • Pricing & packaging tailored to mobile: RevenueCat Billing seeks to focus on the pricing models and features that are most relevant to mobile B2C apps, trimming the excess offerings associated with web-first billing solutions. While not yet available on the beta, we have plans to release features like cross-platform bundling, bulk purchasing and personalized offers.
  • A complete monetization partner: RevenueCat becomes your single source of truth for all things monetization, offering a suite of tools designed to help you grow your app business — across platforms. 

What about the Stripe Billing integration?

As we roll out RevenueCat Billing, we want to reassure you that RevenueCat’s integration with Stripe Billing remains a key part of our ecosystem. This long-standing integration enables you to manage subscriptions on your website using Stripe, seamlessly unlocking access in your app via the Purchases SDK.

Here’s why you might still opt for the Stripe Billing integration instead of RevenueCat Billing:

  • Stripe Billing is designed to cater to a wide range of business models, including sophisticated pricing strategies that go beyond the current scope of RevenueCat Billing.
  • For developers looking to leverage Stripe’s extensive billing, invoicing, and reporting tools, our Stripe integration provides a direct link to these capabilities.
  • While RevenueCat Billing is optimized for mobile-first apps expanding into web subscriptions, the Stripe Billing integration is ideal for web-first businesses seeking comprehensive subscription management solutions.
  • In the short term, while RevenueCat Billing is in beta, there are several temporary restrictions which may make it difficult for some developers to adopt. We discuss these below. 

RevenueCat Billing is crafted with the mobile-first developer in mind, simplifying the extension of mobile app subscriptions to the web with minimal lift. For those whose web subscriptions are the focus of their business or who are looking to utilize Stripe’s broad range of use cases, the Stripe integration will continue to be supported and recommended.

Temporary Limitations of the beta 

What we’re launching today as the beta of RevenueCat Billing is a limited version of the product. We’re releasing it so that interested developers can explore the solution as we work towards a more robust release. Here are some of the key areas with temporary limitations for this initial beta release:

  • Currencies accepted: The beta only allows for payments in USD, presently. You can still accept payments internationally so long as they are paid USD. International currencies will be accepted in future releases. 
  • Purchase types: While subscriptions are the only purchase type at this time, future releases will introduce one-time purchases, providing more flexibility in how you monetize your app.
  • Tax handling: For the beta only, there will be no sales tax or VAT support. 
  • Pricing, packaging, and discounting flexibility: We’re working towards offering developers the full ability to customize pricing, packaging and discounting beyond what is available for in-app purchases including referral programs, gift subscriptions, cross-platform offers, and bulk purchasing.
  • Cross-app bundling and personalization: Future releases of RevenueCat Billing will enable you to offer bundles of apps and personalized pricing packages more easily on the web.
  • Gift cards and bulk subscriptions: Future releases will allow for separating the buyer and customer roles, opening up new marketing and sales opportunities.
  • Multiple payment gateways: Presently, Stripe is the only payment gateway offered. To support more local payment methods, we may integrate additional payment gateways in the future.
  • Cross platform authentication: Currently, the Web SDK does not support anonymous app user IDs. This means that, at a minimum, you are required to have account creation and login for your mobile app. RevenueCat is exploring solutions that would support anonymous IDs for web purchases for future releases. 
  • Web paywalls: Just as RevenueCat Paywalls make monetization simple for mobile, we plan to eventually offer pre-built web paywalls. However, to make use of the current beta, you will have to build your own web paywall UI. 

Getting started with the RevenueCat Billing beta

Exploring the RevenueCat Billing beta will require some web development work on your end. 

To get started, you’ll need to build a website (or expand an existing one), design a web paywall UI, and you’ll require some form of user authentication in your mobile app so you can associate purchases with a user-id. 

However, there are several implementations that vary in terms of the amount of web development work required to get started. To help, our developer advocate, Charlie, has put together a blog post highlighting some of the use cases you can implement with the RevenueCat Billing beta today.  

Join the beta and give your feedback

RevenueCat Billing streamlines web subscriptions for mobile apps, allowing you to take advantage of the many benefits the web can bring to your monetization strategy.

The RevenueCat Billing Beta is available to users on our Pro, Scale and Enterprise plans. Web purchases through RevenueCat Billing are subject to your usual RevenueCat fee (ie. 1% for Pro users earning $2,500+ in MTR) and Stripe’s standard transaction fee. Check out the docs fore more info.

We’re eager for you to start exploring and to hear your feedback! To share your feedback, join our Discord.

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