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FastSpring review

Use FastSpring to create a storefront and handle your subscription billing needs

FastSpring
(Image: © FastSpring)

Our Verdict

With an array of practical tools and a powerful back-end FastSpring makes an ideal subscription billing solution for growing SaaS businesses.

For

  • Great one-stop solution
  • Super adaptable
  • Good levels of support

Against

  • Fairly niche
  • Potentially expensive

TechRadar Verdict

With an array of practical tools and a powerful back-end FastSpring makes an ideal subscription billing solution for growing SaaS businesses.

Pros

  • + Great one-stop solution
  • + Super adaptable
  • + Good levels of support

Cons

  • - Fairly niche
  • - Potentially expensive

FastSpring offers a practical solution for businesses that need a full e-commerce platform that can be used to process and manage subscription billing. The software-as-a-service company was first formed around 15 years ago and has since grown its California-based venture to offer its products worldwide. Currently FastSpring has a collection of cloud-based SaaS options that let businesses sell digital products across all platforms including desktop, mobile and apps.

The company specializes in processing online payments globally, lets users manage subscriptions and billing needs while also providing a complete branded checkout experience. With numerous other features and functions available FastSpring works as a one-stop solution and will therefore be ideal for companies of all shapes and sizes.

FastSpring

There's no fixed price as such for FastSpring so you'll need to contact sales for a quote (Image credit: FastSpring)

Pricing

Due to the pretty complex nature of what FastSpring offers there’s no easy one-price-fits-all option here. Indeed, if you want to know what the system is going to cost you then you’ll need to drop them a line, and there’s a neat little ‘Get a Quick Price’ panel available for you to do just that. All you need to do is send them your work email, pick an industry that your business is involved in – which is either Software, Saas, Digital Products, Downloads or Retail/Physical Goods. Add in your current monthly revenue, which ranges from $0-$1,000 right up to $150,000+ and you’ll get a suitably tailored pricing quote in return. 

FastSpring

FastSpring is perfect for creating an end-to-end SaaS setup (Image credit: FastSpring)

Features

With its full-service platform options FastSpring makes a great solution if you’re selling software, digital products or software as a service. In a nutshell, the company has developed a complete package that allows companies to process global online payments, manage subscriptions and handle billing requirements complete with a branded checkout experience for customers. 

FastSpring’s software can also cover global taxes and other financial services, along with taking care of risk management and compliance needs. FastSpring has several key areas that add plenty of power to the processing equation, including the ability to handle recurring billing options across multiple currencies – over 20 in fact. 

The main appeal of the system is going to be for businesses operating a SaaS arrangement, where monthly billing needs to be handled efficiently. Of course, FastSpring can be set up to work on a variety of different levels, depending on what your business wants to offer and the requirements of your customers. 

It’s super flexible in that respect, with custom options available that include trial periods, promotional discounts, on-demand subscriptions and multiple installment plans.

FastSpring

The service comes with fully customizable e-commerce storefront options (Image credit: FastSpring)

Performance

FastSpring has been developed so that it can provide plenty of resilience, particularly for companies that are dealing with high volumes of SaaS customers. The system seems particularly useful when it’s being used to sell across geographical boundaries, with the ability to automatically handle different currencies within the system. The same goes for changing languages depending on the territory you're selling in.

Moreover, FastSpring has also built in plenty of capacity for selling via apps, while the actual payment processing part of the picture is extremely solid. Customers can pay using credit or debit cards from all of the main providers as well as bank transfer, money order, check, PayPal and Amazon Payments. Reassuringly, especially when dealing with an individual’s personal and payment details, the system is secure and fully PCI compliant.

FastSpring

FastSpring can be configured to work across geographical boundaries too (Image credit: FastSpring)

Ease of use

While the behind-the-scenes mechanics of FastSpring gets on with the job, anyone running the system will most likely want to make use of the e-commerce features and payment pages. This is the part of the process that proves to be easiest, with plenty of options for customizing your content with branding and all of the other trimmings from an existing business. 

There’s been plenty of thought put into developing pages for mobile users too, so that everything will look just as it should. Another aspect of FastSpring that makes it easy to use is the customer relationship management feature set, particularly when it comes down to promotional campaigns via email and suchlike. There’s also a good degree of help for developers who can really drill down into the system to produce a truly bespoke finished product.

FastSpring

This colourful example shows how perfect it is for selling SaaS (Image credit: FastSpring)

Support

With FastSpring being a powerful and often complex package it’s entirely likely you might need the services of their support teams. You can contact them via the website, through various channels if you’re a seller, or a consumer or you’d just like to talk to sales about your package. Meanwhile, for logging issues with the system you’ll need to raise a ticket using a FastSpring Support Community Login, which the company says is different to your dashboard sign-in details. 

FastSpring

FastSpring can also provide your business with detailed reports on trading performance (Image credit: FastSpring)

Early in 2020 the company unveiled its new consumer support portal too, which is a supplement to FastSpring’s support for its own clients. It provides support for consumers who have purchased digital products via FastSpring seller sites.

Final verdict

FastSpring must be doing something right as it numbers some high profile clients amongst its customer base, including the likes of Adobe and Toshiba. It’s easy to see the appeal for technology companies as FastSpring does a great job at simplifying the complicated task of blending a seamless e-commerce experience with a fast and functional payment processing system. 

However, it might be a little too packed with features and functionality if you're only in need of a more straightforward e-commerce experience for your customers. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a big project brewing and want to sell SaaS and need to have the power and flexibility to do it across the globe then FastSpring certainly has everything needed to make that happen. 

Granted, that’ll probably mean making a sizeable investment but it’s vital that businesses dealing in digital can offer a dependable platform for their services. In that respect it could prove to be money well spent.

Other business software options worth looking at include Sage Business Cloud Accounting, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Freeagent, GoSimpleTax, TaxCalc, Nomisma, ABC Self-Assessment or Crunch.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.