December 11, 2017

What billing and invoicing tools are available for EU based SaaS products?

Hello fellow indie hackers,

I'm building a tiny SaaS product (https://journmail.com) and I'm trying to add billing and invoicing to it. I want to implement recurring billing with automatic invoicing and so far I've built the billing system with PayPal.

Now that I have the billing system, I have to implement invoicing for it and PayPal doesn't support some sort of hook system which would notify me when it processes a recurring payment, so I'll have to implement some sort of a cron job that checks processed payments on PayPal and sends invoices. This means that I have to implement an invoicing system for my business (small unlimited liability company) which would also take into account VAT for EU based customers.

Side note: Stripe is not available in my country (Croatia) and I don't want to go through a process of opening a company in the US via Stripe Atlas.

What tools do you folks use for this? How do you folks handle the invoicing and billing for EU based SaaS products?

Thank you!


  1. 4

    I know at least BrainTree (https://www.braintreepayments.com) and Recurly (https://recurly.com) as an alternative to Stripe. The former seems to be available in Croatia. For the latter, I don't know.

    1. 1

      Absolutely. We run a reccuring business with this duo ;)

    2. 1

      +1 to Recurly

    3. 1

      Heard about both of those, but didn't investigate further. Thank you, I'll take a look.

  2. 3

    I'm using Paddle. They handle all the VAT madness for you, not just calculating but also sending it where it should so you'll avoid a lot of bookkeeping headaches. Braintree requires A LOT of work to get started and their documentation is awful compared to Stripe for ex.

    1. 1

      Technically speaking, they don't send the VAT where it should be paid.

      They act as a Merchant of Record — a.k.a. a reseller — which means YOUR client from a tax point of view is Paddle, NOT all the individual customers who bought your app.

      And because they're a business, VAT-registered in UK, they do not have to bill you the VAT.

      In effect, this is completely opaque to you: you get paid by Paddle an amount net of VAT (as well as their fees).

      So yeah, you don't have to do anything regarding VAT for sales made through Paddle.

  3. 2

    http://chargebee.io/

    First $50k in revenue is free too. Handles all VATMOSS and invoicing.

    1. 1

      chargebee collects the VAT for you, but you still have to do the VATMOSS yourself.

    2. 1

      I just tried Chargebee today.

      Their marketing page is quite nice, but I found it very hard to understand and properly setup. It's just... not very user-friendly. Well, I got discouraged pretty quickly, and found another solution which fit better my needs (Plasso — but AFAIK it doesn't handle VAT or anything else, so is not an option for OP).

  4. 2

    Paypal? Freshbooks? Unsure about Country specifics though...

  5. 2

    Braintree covers all of Europe, including Croatia. The API level is similar to Stripe.

    1. 1

      Thanks Drazen, I'll take a look.

    2. 1

      This comment was deleted a year ago.

      1. 1

        Yeah? How so? Lots of paperwork to get an account? I don't know, we integrated Braintree in a client project a few years back and I didn't experience it as that difficult. The clients were two lawyers, though, so maybe they saved us from some of the bureaucracy :)

        1. 1

          This comment was deleted a year ago.

  6. 1

    For a small business, have a look at fastspring.com . They act similar to paddle in that they take care of VAT. Paddle and fastspring have higher rates than paypal/stripe, but once you factor in simplified accounting they often become cheaper.

  7. 1

    You could open a company in the UK... Would sort out your stripe problem but comes with a whole host of interesting tax/employment implications to solve though

    1. 1

      I have no idea why this comment has been flagged. It looks like a perfectly sensible contribution to me.