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WordPress.com launched a new recurring payments feature its users today. The payments system will allow bloggers to earn money for their content directly from any page on their site. The feature is also available for self-hosted WordPress users who have the Jetpack plugin installed.

The recurring payments system works alongside Stripe, so users must have a connected account to receive payments. Stripe currently serves over 30 countries around the world. WordPress.com’s documentation maintains an up-to-date list of countries currently allowed to use the payment gateway.

The new feature doesn’t come for free. Recurring payments access is only available to users on a premium WordPress.com plan. Plus, on top of the 2.9% + $0.30 for each payment that Stripe collects, WordPress.com has a tiered fee table based on the user’s plan.

  • WordPress.com eCommerce – No fee
  • WordPress.com Business – 2% per sale
  • WordPress.com Premium – 4% per sale
  • WordPress.com Personal – 8% per sale

At the lowest tier, users will see nearly 11% of sales go toward WordPress.com and Stripe fees. If accepting large volumes of payments, it will make sense for most users to upgrade to a higher plan to offset the fees. The tiers seem reasonably priced because the infrastructure is completely handled by WordPress.com.

Self-hosted users can bypass the WordPress.com fees with a multitude of existing payment plugins. They will have to decide whether the tools and support provided by WordPress.com is enough of a value-add to go for their service.

The Jetpack team first opened a limited beta test for this new feature on May 18, 2019. At the time, the feature was referred to as a “membership block.” The announcement post says that users can “offer ongoing subscriptions, site memberships, monthly donations, and more.”

However, members-based content seems to be limited in comparison to other fully-featured membership plugins and would require extra manual work to limit access to a site’s premium content. The WordPress.com recommendation is to password-protect posts and email out the password to subscribers or set up a newsletter.

This is far from a true membership system, but it could be enough for the average blogger who wants to make a few dollars on the side. The groundwork is there for a more powerful membership system in the future if the WordPress.com and Jetpack teams want to pursue it. The market is still ripe for innovation in the membership space.

Recurring Payments Block

Screenshot of the Jetpack recurring payments editor block.
Jetpack recurring payments editor block

The new recurring payments feature requires at least Jetpack version 7.4. The feature comes in the form of a block for the block editor (Gutenberg) and is located under the “Jetpack” tab when inserting a new block.

The block has four fields that can be customized:

  • Currency
  • Price
  • Description
  • Renewal Interval – limited to monthly and yearly renewals

There is no limit on the number of different payment blocks users can add. Users can create a new payment plan by adding a new block. Previous options are backed up and will appear when inserting the block for users who need to output an existing plan on a new post or page.

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