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Auto-Pay For Membership Renewals

Learn how to set up and manage Auto-Pay for renewing members.

Melisa Smith avatar
Written by Melisa Smith
Updated over a week ago

Sections in this article:

What is Auto-Pay?

First things first...It's important to know the difference between two common phrases: Auto-Renewal and Auto-Pay.

Auto-Renewal: Novi's Member renewal model is where your member's invoices are automatically generated without you having to take action. Learn more from our Membership Auto-Renewals article. Auto-renewal will always occur before auto-pay.

Auto-Pay: Auto-pay is the member-elected process that allows their stored credit card or ACH* account to automatically be charged as a payment toward the dues invoice generated during auto-renewal. This automates the payment for the member, and saves you time by not having to worry about collecting open A/R!

Please note: the ACH option is only available for QuickBooks Payments users.

The general auto-pay process is as follows:

  1. Member signs up for auto-pay when joining or paying a renewal invoice.

  2. Auto-renewal runs based on member type settings.

  3. Member is notified via email prior to the auto-pay occurring.

  4. Member's card or ACH account is charged.

  5. Member is notified via email that the charge was successful.

  6. Done! Member is paid in full and renewed for the next membership term.

Items of Note:

  • Just because a member is auto-renewing, does not mean that they have to turn on auto-pay (see next bullet for exception). If they have not enabled auto-pay for their membership, they will simply need to manually pay the renewal invoice once it is available.

  • Exception to the above: If the member type has the Auto-Renewal setting selected as Auto-renew, with auto-pay required, then please refer to this article for more information.

Video: Auto-Pay Overview

Admin Member Type Setup

This first step in making sure that auto-pay is ready for your members is ensuring that your member types are set up properly for it.

Each member type has a Renewal tab, where you'll find settings that drive auto-renewal and auto-pay.

Let's dive into a few of the settings in this tab that pertain to auto-pay:

Setting A: Determines whether auto-renewal will run for this member type. Note: If you are unsure which setting your member type should be, you probably want to choose the "Auto-renew, unless member opts out" option. Choosing one of the "Member or admin initiated" options should be for very specific business reasons.

  • MOST COMMON: Auto-renew, unless member opts out = All current member records will auto-renew unless the member or an admin has turned that setting off for the specific member record. Any member can signup for auto-pay with this setting.

  • Auto-renew, with auto-pay required = Members will be required to opt into auto-pay with a credit card or ACH. Note that this option is only available on individual-based member types.

  • Member or admin initiated, unless member opts in to auto-renew = Auto-renewals will not run for any records unless the member has opted into auto-pay, or an admin has manually turned on auto-renew for a specific member.

  • Member or admin initiated only = No auto-renewals ever run and auto-pay is not an option for anyone.

Setting B: When should auto-renewals occur (invoice creation and expiration date moving forward, not auto-pay)?

(Auto-renewals generally kick off at 4:15am EST and spread over several hours as the system runs through the members needing to be renewed.)

Setting C: Once auto-renewal has run and notices have been sent (see setting D below), when should auto-pay be charged? We recommend giving members a 5-7 day window between notices being sent and cards/accounts being charged, so they can make sure their info is updated.

Setting D: When auto-renewal has run, you have the option for renewal notices to go out automatically.

  • We recommend that organizations with anniversary renewals, where renewals are happening often, utilize this feature.

  • Those on a calendar schedule may choose to leave this off to give themselves the chance to review invoices before notices are sent out, since it's a less common process - but do still have the option of automating sending these notices.

*Note: You must send renewal notices before auto-pay will kickoff so that your members will have some context as to why they're being charged before it happens. Whether you choose to have these sent automatically by the system, or to send them manually in bulk, this must occur first.

Offer a Discount to Members who Opt-In to Auto-Pay

In the Member Type settings, on the Dues Rules tab, you can create a dues rule to offer those who have chosen to Auto-Pay a discount on their renewal.

  1. Create a new dues rule, and utilize the Condition: Auto-Pay = Yes

  2. In the Dues Equation, input the discount amount.

    • AE Tip™: Make sure you add a negative number, so it will subtract from the total dues amount.

Note: The discount will apply to auto-renewals, but won't apply to new member signups.

Auto-Pay Signup & Management For Members

Initial Opt-in for Auto-Paying Membership Renewals

Members can sign up for auto-pay when:

  • joining for the first time (A)

  • when they are a current member paying an existing dues invoice (B)

In order for a member to signup for auto-pay, they must save the payment method (or already have a saved payment method) on their account for future payments.

*Please note that auto-pay must be authorized by the member. To help protect your organization from disputed charges, admins cannot set up auto-pay on behalf of a member.

Auto-Pay for Companies

If the user is setting up auto-pay for a company membership, this auto-pay method lives on the person's record.

If the person leaves that company's family tree:

  • Auto-pay will no longer be enabled. (The company will still auto-renew at the appropriate time, but auto-pay will be off.)

  • Also, a notification email will be sent to each person in the family that has management access for that company, letting them know auto-pay has been disabled.

  • The next time a renewal dues invoice is paid on the frontend by another person in the family, that person will have the option to opt-in to auto-pay again.

Requiring Auto-Pay

For individual-based member types using the auto-renewal setting that requires auto-pay, please note the following:

  • Member/Frontend: During the frontend signup and/or renewal process the user must check the box “Auto-Pay Future Membership Renewals” (highlighted in the A and B images above).

    • If they don’t check this box, then an error message is displayed: “Enrollment in auto-pay is required for {member type name}. Please check “Auto-Pay Future Membership Renewals” to continue.”

  • Admin/Backend: Ideally members should join under this member type from the frontend so they can opt-in to auto-pay during the initial sign-up.

    • That being said, if an admin creates a membership for someone in this member type, an alert will be displayed: “This member type requires auto-pay. Since the member must opt into auto-pay themselves, it is recommended that they join under this member type from the frontend. If you continue, the member can enroll when they pay the invoice or upon their first renewal.

Managing & Removing Auto-Pay

  • Member/Frontend: If a member would like to turn auto-pay off, they can do so from their Member Compass > Payment Methods tab.

    • They will see a note that says: "Note: Your membership is currently set up to auto-pay using your default payment method. If you'd like to discontinue auto-pay, please click here."

  • From here, they will be shown the following message, ensuring that they know that they will now need to pay their next renewal invoice manually once it is ready.

  • *Note: If the person opting out of auto-pay is in a member type that requires it, then they will expire at the end of their term and will not auto-renew and/or generate an invoice.

  • Admin/Backend: Admins can see information about a member's auto-pay and renewal status on the Details tab of the member's record. Next to their membership dates will be information similar to the image below:

Remember: Saved payment method information lives in QuickBooks Payments (Card or ACH) or Stripe (Card), not in Novi. For security purposes, admins cannot edit or manage saved payment methods for members.

Member Notifications

So your member opted into auto-pay and renewals have run... Great! Now what?

Send Renewal Notice Via Email

The first step depends on if you have told the system to automatically send your renewal email notices out or not. (Remember Setting D from the second section of this article?)

  • If your renewal notices are getting sent out automatically, skip down to the Auto-Pay Notifications section below.

Auto-Pay Notifications

In the initial notification email that is sent, your member will be notified that auto-pay is going to take place in a few days, and a second email will automatically be sent once it has run.

  • *Note: If the auto-paying member logs in and manually pays the invoice before auto-pay runs, these notifications will not be sent to them.

The typical email cadence for a successful auto-pay is sent to the member in this order:

  • Auto-Pay Renewal Notice Email

    • This email first notifies the member that their renewal will be charged on a certain day (per your member type settings), along with the details of their renewal amount. This gives them time to change their default payment method, turn auto-pay off if they need to, etc.

  • Auto-Pay Charge Success Email

    • On the day that auto-pay runs, the member will be notified that their payment method has been successfully charged.

*Auto-pay charges generally kick off at 7:15 am EST and the failure/success emails are sent accordingly.

If there are any issues with the charge, we let the member know ahead of time by sending them a pre-failure email:

  • Auto-Pay Pre-Failure Warning Email

    • Once the initial renewal notice has gone out, the system will check to make sure that the payment method is valid (i.e. not expired) and that the member has a payment on file. If any of these are not true, they will receive a notice that their auto-pay is going to fail, giving them time to update the info before it runs.

If the charge completely fails we will also notify them:

  • Auto-Pay Failure Notice Email

    • If auto-pay runs and the charge fails, we will notify the member, and also include a link to the dues invoice so that they can pay it directly.

If auto-pay fails for payment method reason (bad number, declined due to balance, expired, etc)…we only attempt the charge one time. After we’ve tried and it fails, the member simply has an open invoice that they will need to pay manually. Note that they will be unenrolled from Auto-Pay if this happens, but they can opt in the next time they pay online.

Please check out the Custom Emails for Membership Renewals article for specific examples of each, and how to customize these emails for your members.

Admin Notifications

Admins will see messaging on auto-pay status in several places after dues invoices have been sent.

  • When viewing a dues invoice with auto-pay, one of the following messages will be displayed:

    • “Auto-payment will be scheduled when invoice is sent.”

    • “Auto-payment scheduled for X/X/20XX.”

    • "Auto-payment failed on X/X/20XX. {Failure Reason}”

    • “Auto-paid on X/X/20XX.”

  • On the Details tab of a member record:

    • If there is no outstanding dues balance, this info does not appear here

  • On the Transactions tab in the auto-pay column (click the gear wheel to add).

  • When auto-pay fails for a member because their saved credit card or ACH is declined/fails, the following will happen:

    • Admins will be notified in the Daily Digest email.

    • Members will have already been notified by email. Refer to the section above for more info (Auto-Pay Failure Notice Email).

    • The member will be automatically opted out of Auto-Pay for future renewals. They can opt-in again the next time they pay a dues invoice online if they're prepared to save a new credit card or ACH account to their account.


As an admin, you can pull reports showing which of your members have auto-pay turned on.

This can be done in three places:

  • The Accounting > Transactions tab
    Click the gear icon in the right corner of the Transactions list to add "auto-pay" as a column that will show you which dues invoices have auto-pay turned on.

  • In Custom Reporting
    Navigate to your Reporting > Custom Reports section to use "auto-pay" as a condition or a display column for your custom reports to find which members are utilizing this feature.

    The member that auto-pay is turned on for will appear in the results. For example, if John Smith is an individual member with auto-pay turned on, you'll see John Smith in your report. If ABC Company is the member, you'll see ABC Company in the report - even if Sally Smith their primary contact is the one who has auto-pay turned on for the company.

  • In Groups
    Navigate to an existing Group in Novi (or create a new one) and use the "Auto-Pay" condition to include (or exclude) members who have opted-in to auto-pay their membership renewals. You can also identify members who are not opted-in.

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