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We need a merchant account where for the time being we can manually process cards on a regular basis.
In the coming months I want to be able integrate my web application with a merchant API such that recurring payments happen automatically. (the payments are made monthly, "forever", until the subscriber cancels the service through the web app)
Also their are tiers of services and 'add-ons' which means that there will be many different subscription amounts.
I've looked briefly into PayPal's subscription API, it seems limited.
Are there any other good merchant API's out there that can do this?
I would suggest authorize.net for their almost universal processor support as well as their robust features.
Just ignore the latest news about their service outage ;)
(the payments are made monthly, "forever", until the subscriber cancels the service through the web app)
I doubt any gateway supports "forever" and you can see the possible problems with this - cards expire, people move, etc.
Authorize.net's ARB (Automatic Recurring Billing) supports 36 month/3 year subscriptions maximum from the start of the subscription.
Most of them do support recurring billing, but they all require an opt-in as part of the TOS for using ARB. A few names that will probably be OK to mention as they are public knowledge: Of course Authorize.net, NetBilling, LinkPoint/FirstData.
All gateway API's have a manual web-based "terminal" by which you can log in and manually perform a transaction.