Businesses lose up to four in ten customers due to payment failure, new research reveals

March 16, 2022

Whether customers pay with cards, their bank account or other methods could mean the difference between thriving or barely surviving in the Subscription Economy

SAN FRANCISCO AND REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. — March 16, 2022 — Businesses that want to take advantage of the growing Subscription Economy® have a secret weapon to help them succeed — and getting it wrong could leave a large chunk of their customer base literally in the dark. According to a new report from The Subscribed Institute at Zuora® and GoCardless, a company’s payment strategy plays a key role in their ability to reduce churn – or the proportion of customers they lose during a certain time frame.

The findings of the report, How Customers Pay Impacts How Long they Stay, reveal the annual customer churn rate for subscribers who pay via bank debit, known as ACH debit in the US, is just 4%. In contrast, the rate for those who pay via credit cards is over three times greater at 14%, and 16% for those using a digital wallet.

Churn has a huge impact on a business’ bottom line. The report finds that 20% to 40% of subscriber churn happens because of payment failure, and every quarter, subscription businesses needlessly lose between 1% and 6% of their customers. For a business with 100,000 transactions a month with an average transaction value of $15, that could mean a loss of up to $36.7 million in cumulative revenue over five years.

Duncan Barrigan, Chief Product and Chief Growth Officer at GoCardless, said: “These findings indicate that businesses are suffering from preventable churn, resulting in losses that can run into millions of dollars. It doesn’t have to be this way. Shifting from card to bank payments will result in immediate and material benefits, not only in terms of reducing churn but also helping companies cater for changing consumer preferences, such as the desire to decrease their reliance on credit cards and debt. Making the transition is a win-win for both businesses and their payers.”

Amy Konary, Founder and Vice President, The Subscribed Institute at Zuora, said: “The growth of the Subscription Economy has put digital transformation firmly at the top of the agenda for many businesses. We’ve seen even more companies understand that subscriptions help create better experiences through ongoing customer relationships. While customer acquisition is a focus of all businesses, retention and expansion of these relationships is also a key to growth. That’s why the insights from this churn report are so important: small tweaks to a company’s payment strategy can bring about big returns.”

To help customers across the world optimize their end-to-end payment processes, Zuora entered into a partnership in 2014 with GoCardless, a global leader in direct bank payment solutions, making it easy to collect both recurring and one-off payments directly from customers’ bank accounts. GoCardless processes more than $30 billion in transactions a year for over 70,000 businesses worldwide, from solopreneurs and small businesses to enterprises such as DocuSign, TripAdvisor, and The Guardian. Together, Zuora’s Subscribed Institute and GoCardless are uniquely placed to provide a comprehensive analysis of data generated by the global subscriptions payments market.


Notes to Editors:


For the purposes of the report, subscriber churn rate is determined as the rate at which
subscribers cancel their subscriptions over a given period. This is calculated as Subscriber
Churn Count / Start of Period Subscriber Count. For example, for a company with 200 subscribers at the start of the period and 10 subscribers churned during that period, the subscriber
churn rate equals 5%.

The dataset was derived from Zuora’s Subscription Economy IndexTM (SEI) database, which tracks subscription business volume, as well as the prevalence of various pricing
and packaging practices. The SEI consists of anonymized and aggregated, system-generated activity on the Zuora Billing service, and metrics derived from it are meant to be indicative of subscription-based business in the broader economy.

The initial data extract included approximately 500 customers across a wide range of industries with at least two years of consecutive operations on the Zuora Billing service. Further, we split the subset into cohorts: bank debit, credit cards and PayPal and compared the cohorts across the last six quarters.

About Zuora, Inc.
Zuora provides the leading cloud-based subscription management platform that functions as a system of record for subscription businesses across all industries. Powering the Subscription Economy®, the Zuora platform was architected specifically for dynamic, recurring subscription business models and acts as an intelligent subscription management hub that automates and orchestrates the entire subscription order-to-revenue process across billing, collections and revenue recognition. Zuora serves more than 1,000 companies around the world, including Box, Ford, Penske Media Corporation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Xplornet and Zoom. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Zuora also operates offices around the world in the U.S., EMEA and APAC. To learn more about the Zuora platform, please visit

About The Subscribed Institute at Zuora
Zuora’s Subscribed Institute is a dedicated think tank focused on the Subscription Economy. The Institute supports its 1500+ business executives across 600+ global companies with critical data, thought leadership, and connections. Research provided by the Institute helps business leaders and their organizations to maximize the opportunities of the Subscription Economy.

© 2022 Zuora, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Zuora, Subscribed, Subscription Economy, Powering the Subscription Economy, and Subscription Economy Index are trademarks or registered trademarks of Zuora, Inc. Third party trademarks mentioned above are owned by their respective companies.

About GoCardless
GoCardless is the global leader in direct bank payment solutions, making it easy to collect recurring and one-off payments directly from customers’ bank accounts through direct debit and open banking. The GoCardless global bank pay network and technology platform take the pain out of getting paid for 70,000 businesses worldwide, from multinational corporations to small businesses. Each year GoCardless processes more than US$30 billion of payments across more than 30 countries. GoCardless is headquartered in the UK, with additional offices in Australia, France, Germany and the United States. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @GoCardless.

© 2022 GoCardless Ltd. All Rights Reserved. GoCardless is a registered trademark of GoCardless Ltd in multiple countries. Third party trademarks mentioned above are owned by their respective companies. Unless explicitly identified as such, nothing in this press release should be construed to the contrary, or as an approval, endorsement or sponsorship by any third parties of GoCardless Ltd. or any aspect of this press release

Zuora Media Contact:
Margaret Pack

GoCardless Media Contact:
Alisha Alvarez for GoCardless