One of Parallels H-Sphere's biggest assets is that it provides fully automated billing for credit card payment accounts. It also supports other types of payments including check payments, web payment systems, wire transfers, etc. This chapter provides an overview of all billing features in Parallels H-Sphere.
Hosting resources and services are sold in plans, each having its own price scheme. In plan settings, the administrator needs to set:
- which resources will be available in the plan;
- prices, free units, and max units for each resource;
- credit limit, moneyback period, billing type, etc. More >>
Plans in Parallels H-Sphere can be commercial and free. Free plans are typically used to host your corporate site, use an external billing system, or to disable billing for any other reasons. Commercial plans require payments by credit cards or checks. Commercial plans can allow trial hosting for a limited period of time. More >>
Trial hosting enables users to sign up for a plan and use it for a certain number of days without paying. If a trial user decides to continue and become a pay user, Parallels H-Sphere charges (1) for the resources that were purchased/used during the trial period and (2) recurrent fees for the next billing period. If a user decides to quit, the account gets suspended when the trial period ends. More >>
For the system to be able to charge customers for the resources and services, each pay user should enter the information about credit cards or check account. Such info is contained in user's billing profile. One billing profile can be used for several accounts. At the same time customers can have multiple billing profiles, but only one active at a time. Trial and free accounts don't have billing profiles. More >>
The system charges users three types of fees:
Fees are calculated based on prices and billing periods. More >>
You can create many billing periods within a plan for customers to choose from. Billing periods allow you to set discounts for each individual price type - setup, recurrent, and overlimit. The bigger billing period, the bigger the discount. More >>
You can manually credit (put money to) individual accounts. Do this when you receive check or other non-credit-card payments from customers or when you need to refund a payment. These amounts are credited to the account balance, not credit cards. More >>
You can debit (take money from) individual accounts. Accounts are debited manually when you need to charge your customers extra amounts.
You can configure your system to debit accounts on regular basis for services offered outside Parallels H-Sphere, for instance, antivirus protection. More >>
Parallels H-Sphere allows you to switch between the two modes of charging: credit limit based and anniversary based. In credit limit based mode customers are charged every time their balance exceeds credit limit. In anniversary based mode charges are done at the end of each billing period or month, depending on type of the fee.
Actual use of traffic cannot be physically restricted, but can be regulated by charging higher prices for overlimit traffic consumption. At the beginning of the billing period customers pay for traffic they expect to run up. If they go over this pre-paid limit, they are charged for the excess gigabytes at the overlimit rate at the end of each billing month regardless the duration of the billing period. More >>
Parallels H-Sphere offers two approaches to paying for disk space. Disk Space Quota is used to charge users for booked disk space. Web, mail, and database resources take separate quotas within the same account. Disk quota can't be exceeded, but users can raise it if they need more disk space. Summary Disk Space is used to charge users for actually used disk space. With summary disk space, users can exceed disk space limit, and pay for excess megabytes at the overlimit rate at the end of each billing month regardless the duration of the billing period.
When creating plans, you choose whether you want Parallels H-Sphere to e-mail invoices to users immediately after they buy resources. With e-mail invoicing on, customers will receive invoices for every single bill entry, e.g. overlimit traffic. With e-mail invoicing off, customers will get no invoices, even at the end of the billing period. After signup, users can change this option for their accounts.
Parallels H-Sphere allows you to apply taxes, such as VAT, to customer charges. Taxes are added to the summary invoice amounts.
You can wave individual users from paying taxes. At signup, users enter tax exemption code, then you need to approve or reject it. More >>
You can apply promotions to plans. You can give a promo code to eligible users to offer them a discount. Or you can create an unnamed promotion that will apply to all accounts under this plan for a specified period of time, for instance the month before Christmas. More >>
You can set how many days your customers can stay in debt before they receive a negative balance warning, or get their account suspended or deleted. More >>
On some account activities, such as quitting hosting, changing plans, or deleting paid resources, Parallels H-Sphere automatically returns recurrent charges by crediting customer's account balance. Refunds are calculated based on the moneyback period, refund percentage and the resource billing type. If a customer quits with positive balance, you need to send him the remaining amount by check. More >>
A billing statement is a detail cumulative record of paid activity reflecting all charges and credits incurred during a billing period. This means each billing statement represents user's paid activity during the billing period.
Billing statements get sequential numbering. In other words, each billing statement is identified by account id and statement id in the format account_id-statement_id. For example, account_id-1, account_id-2, ...