The 11 usage-based billing software options for 2024

If you’re starting your usage-based pricing journey, you’re probably asking yourself — which of the many billing software solutions in the market would be the right fit for my SaaS business? If you have just started to consider usage-based pricing (UBP) solutions in the market, here is a guide to evaluate the best fit. We compare the top usage-based billing tools across key criteria — flexibility, developer effort required, and pricing, to help you make an informed decision.
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The past two decades have witnessed many changes in software pricing— from simple, recurring subscriptions and tiered pricing to per-user and pay-as-you models, pricing trends seem to only evolve every few years.

From 2014 to 2019, enterprise SaaS doubled down on usage-based pricing. On the other hand, small and mid-sized companies preferred tiered and per-seat models. 

Five years later, in 2024, the tide has shifted. Enterprise SaaS tools — like Hubspot — are returning to seat-based models to unify their pricing across products.

Early and growth-stage companies, on the other hand, are moving towards usage-based pricing — to balance the real pricing value with the customer value.

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This brings us to a burning challenge — how can modern SaaS companies successfully implement usage-based pricing models without investing heavily in engineering bandwidth, or being bogged by manual processes? 

Unlike enterprises, startups don’t usually have the extra resources to handle complex usage tracking.

In this article, we explore the top usage-based billing systems — especially their no-code orlow-code capabilities — so you can gauge how flexible they are. The idea is to also help you set up usage-based billing components with minimal technical dependencies.

What is usage-based billing software?

Usage-based billing software empowers companies to charge their customers based on the actual consumption of the software or service they use, over a flat fee.

This type of billing software connects with existing business systems, and monitors and records usage data. It applies specific pricing rules based on this data, to generate accurate invoices. Usage-based billing supports various billing structures — like pay-per-use pricing or tiered pricing, offering a flexibility to scale along with the consumption and the customer’s demand.   

It works in three parts —

  • First, it converts a customer’s usage data — such as number of API calls made, number of automations run, or storage used — into billable metrics by multiplying their usage data with your per-unit rates. 
  • Then, it generates a customer invoice with the appropriate subscription fee (and details like their usage data) and initiates the payment process.
  • Finally, it automates journal entries, revenue recognition, and other reporting — ensuring you remain compliant with financial regulations. 

The best part — since everything runs on autopilot, it frees up bandwidth and reduces dependence on engineering teams. 

For example, SquadStack (a sales outsourcing platform) saved over 200 engineering hours monthly when they switched from their in-house billing tool to Zenskar. It gets better — Zenskar's automation capabilities also freed up their finance team’s time by an additional 180 hours each month.

Comparing the top 11 usage-based billing systems for 2024

There are many usage-based billing platforms available today and they all get the job done, more or less. But the key to real success (or operational efficiency) is finding one that works for your pricing model — without adding to your workload.

On that note, here’s a breakdown of the top billing systems — their strengths, weaknesses, and the level of technical expertise required to set up complex usage-based pricing models. 

Zenskar

Zenskar is a modern billing and revenue recognition management platform. It’s also one of the few SaaS billing systems that take a decoupled approach to metering and billing — which means you can send raw usage data to Zenskar in real time. 

The various ways that you can set up metering in Zenskar

Here are the benefits

  • Real-time access to usage data: You get deeper insight into your customers’ usage patterns, the freedom to run pricing experiments without worrying about corrupting data, and options to add usage metrics to customer invoices.
  • No-code/low-code data aggregation: You can easily sync usage data from over 200 sources using Zenskar’s direct integrations, APIs, and SQL query builder — reducing your dependency on engineering teams.
  • Automatic journal entry creation: As Zenskar records each transaction —invoice and payment as separate events — you can automate journal entries by simply linking events to source objects. 

Another unique feature is its graphic data model which considers each parameter — pricing model, usage metrics, entitlements, and payment status — as a separate node, independent of others. 

This lets you mix and match parameters to create custom pricing structures and contracts for each customer — a feature that can be especially convenient for sales-led SaaS companies. 

Create custom contract workflows with Zenskar’s no-code
contract builder

Plus, with Zenskar’s drag-and-drop pricing designer and contract builder, you can create custom contracts at scale — without writing a single line of code.

Related reading: How (and why) Zenskar is the most flexible finance platform

Zenskar’s pricing

Zenskar uses a value-based pricing model that calculates your subscription fee based on factors such as your transaction volume, invoices generated, and custom integration requirements. 

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Maxio

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Maxio is the merger of two FinTech veterans — Chargify (subscription management) and SaaSOptics (revenue operations). It’s also one of the few legacy SaaS tools that’s doubled down on usage-based pricing in recent years. 

A particularly useful feature in Maxio is the templatized usage-based pricing configurations that enable you to go live with your usage-based pricing model in hours.

You also get other features like co-terming contracts and milestone-based revenue recognition — which allows you to set different revenue schedules based on things like usage escalations or delayed billing cycles. 

At the same time, Maxio might not be the right choice for you if you have hybrid models like tiered or percentage-based pricing — as setting them up can be complicated. Some Maxio users have also reported experiencing delays in receiving support responses.

Maxio’s pricing

Starting at $5000 per year, Maxio is one of the more expensive billing platforms.

Stripe

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Stripe needs no introduction. Its payments tool is one of the first integrations that most billing platforms build. Stripe Billing — though not as popular — is a pretty solid usage-based billing platform, especially after their recent update in April 2024. 

Stripe — like other legacy billing tools — takes a metered approach to billing. This means you’ll have to aggregate data at source for complex usage-based pricing models. However, Stripe comes with one of the best API documentation which can be a good resource for your engineering team, as they build custom integrations.

Another drawback with Stripe is the lack of support for ‘credit burndown’ pricing — which can be limiting for AI companies with prepaid tokens. 

Stripe Billing’s pricing

Stripe Billing (including invoicing) starts at 0.5% per transaction. This is in addition to your Stripe Payments fees — because Stripe Billing integrates with Stripe Payments by default, and you can’t switch to a different payment processor.  

Related reading: Stripe Billing is good, but is it the right fit for you?

Chargebee

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Chargebee is another subscription management platform that has started providing support for usage-based billing in recent years. It supports basic usage-based pricing models and even some hybrid ones like tiered pricing with usage-based add-ons.

However, where Chargebee stands out is its revenue analytics capabilities — which allow you to set custom MRR calculations for usage-based billing.

On the other hand, companies with high-volume transactions might find Chargebee’s rate limits restrictive. By default, you can only add 5000 usage records to a subscription during its lifecycle. 

Chargebee’s pricing

Chargebee uses a freemium pricing model — and supports usage-based billing right from its free plan. However, to get the full potential of its usage-based billing features, you'll need to purchase additional add-ons. 

Zuora

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Zuora has been a popular choice for enterprises for decades now. However, its industry-agnostic approach means you might not have SaaS-specific billing or subscription management features.

Fast-growing companies — especially those on an IPO trajectory — with a large volume of transactions and requiring robust fraud management features might find Zuora to be a great choice. 

But you’ll need to rope in your engineering team to help with customizations — even simple ones like bulk edits to invoices. Also, adding usage data to Zuora is a manual process and includes downloading templates, requesting data from managers, and uploading CSV files.

Zuora’s pricing

Contact Zuora directly for pricing details. 

Recurly

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Recurly is more of a subscription management platform than a billing system — but the combination of its usage-based billing and gift card and coupon management features make it a great option for B2C SaaS companies with simple usage-based components — like Twitch, for example. 

B2B SaaS, on the other hand, might find its workflows — like creating a $0 base plan and adding a usage-based component to it for pure UBP models — a little tedious. This is particularly true for multi-attribute pricing models. 

Your developers also need to have some knowledge of recurly.js — its browser JavaScript library — to set up customizations or automations.  

Recurly’s pricing

New users can take advantage of Reculry’s free plan which gives you access to basic subscription management and billing features. Plus, there are no payment processing fees on the first €35,000 processed every month. 

In your second year, you can move to one of their two paid plans — Professional and Elite. 

OneBill

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OneBill — another decades-old FinOps platform — has added some pretty great usage-based billing capabilities to its repertoire over the years. This is not surprising as most of its customers are telecom companies — an industry that first started using metered billing on a large scale.

OneBill supports both simple and hybrid pricing models and comes with features like usage tracking, entitlement management, and even partner management — where your partners can add their own services like consulting or implementation to your existing pricing plans when charging their clients. 

However, OneBill is not particularly customizable, and even simple things like customizing a report or correcting an invoice are multi-step actions. Users have also reported other usability issues — with one of them calling OneBill a platform built by engineers for accountants.

Paddle

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If you’re a growth-stage startup that would prefer to use a merchant-of-record service instead of a billing system, then Paddle might be a good choice for you. It can take care of everything from billing and subscription management to tax support and global compliance.

It’s also integrated with m3ter to help XaaS companies set up usage-based pricing models. However, you’ll have to pay extra for a m3ter subscription and invest some engineering resources to set up data syncing and aggregation. 

Paddle’s pricing

Paddle’s basic MoR services start at 5%+50¢ per transaction. However, you’ll have to pay extra for invoicing (which is an advanced feature in Paddle), and m3ter (which handles usage tracking).

FastSpring

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Another MoR option for SaaS businesses that prefer managed solutions over billing systems is FastSpring. Though it was initially built for e-commerce stores, it has recently started supporting SaaS businesses — and simple usage-based pricing models. 

FastSpring also handles fullstack subscription management automating the entire trial-to-paid-plan-to-cancellation workflow. 

However, you’ll need to invest significant engineering bandwidth when incorporating complex usage-based pricing models. And as FastSpring’s API documentation is pretty basic, you’ll have to reach out to their support team with any questions that you may have.  

FastSpring’s pricing

While FastSpring charges a flat rate depending on the number of transactions processed, this ‘rate’ has to be negotiated with their sales team and will vary depending on your transaction volume. 

Some users have also reported that FastSpring charges hidden fees — like periodic risk screening charges.

Zoho Billing

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If you’re a startup using Zoho’s other tools like its accounting or expense management software, then Zoho Billing can be a great addition to your FinOps stack. For one thing, it integrates seamlessly with Zoho Books. 

Zoho Billing supports basic usage-based models and even a few hybrid ones like custom-tiered pricing. However, it’s not the best option for both complex pricing models and subscription workflows. And its API documentation is also pretty limiting — which can become a bottleneck when setting up custom integrations.

Zoho Billing’s pricing

While Zoho Billing starts at $15 per month, its metered billing features are only available from its Premium plan, which starts at $79 per month.

LemonSqueezy

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The final option on our list is another MoR service — LemonSqueezy. It’s also the only MoR that supports usage-based pricing within its platform. It approaches data aggregation like most traditional billing systems, allowing you to sync usage data using its Usage Records APIs or third-party webhooks.

However, there’s a slight quirk in the way LemonSqueezy approaches usage-based invoicing — it displays the per-unit rate instead of the total fee. 

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LemonSqueezy’s pricing 

Lemonsqueezy charges both a commission on transactions and a fixed fee during payout. Some Redditors have also mentioned that LemonSqueezy comes with some hidden fees — especially if you’re outside the US.

What makes the best usage-based billing system?

While the answer to this question will vary depending on your pricing model, here are some must-haves that you should prioritize when evaluating usage-based billing systems. 

Flexibility in pricing models

While usage-based pricing is here to stay, there’s no one single way to implement it. Take AI technology companies: they often use a credit burndown model where users pre-purchase credits for tasks. Marketing or DevOps tools, on the other hand, might invoice you monthly based on your actual usage. 

Then there are the other subsets of usage-based pricing like fixed tiers with monthly overages, volume-based (or quantity-discount) pricing, and so on. This means endless ways to add usage-based components to your pricing strategy. 

Here’s an example — Replit (an AI-powered DevOps tool), comes with fixed tiers that include a certain amount of credits. If you burn your credits, you'll be charged extra at the end of your billing cycle. That’s tiered, credits, and overages — all in one pricing strategy.

Replit’s CEO explaining their pricing model (Source)

So ensure that the tool you pick supports all pricing models. That way, you can go all in on your pricing strategy without worrying about your billing system holding you back. 

Real-time usage tracking

Billing systems typically approach usage tracking and data aggregation in two different ways:

  • Linear — where metering is tightly integrated with pricing and you’ll have to aggregate usage data at the source before sending it to your billing tool.
  • Decoupled — where both metering and billing are considered separate entities so you can send raw usage data to your billing system in real-time. 

We suggest the second approach because it gives you real-time access to usage data — which, in turn, can help you provide your customers with a usage-tracking dashboard, so they can monitor their usage and avoid ‘bill shock’ on invoice day.  

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No-code/low-code tools

This one’s especially important for early-stage startups. Choose a billing system that provides out-of-the-box data syncing capabilities, automations, and API support.

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Some key features include drag-and-drop pricing and contract designers, direct (or API-supported) integrations with data sources, and automated subscription management. This can free up both your finance and engineering teams’ bandwidths. 

Why you should give Zenskar a try

While SaaS companies with just about any pricing model will benefit from a flexible billing system, it’s non-negotiable if you have usage-based pricing components. This is especially true for SaaS companies that use custom contracts or run frequent pricing experiments.

Here’s where Zenskar truly excels. Its event-based usage tracking model allows you to separate metering from billing — so you get the freedom to experiment with different pricing models, create any type of pricing model, and add usage data to invoices.  

Plus, at Zenskar, we’ve got you covered, right from the moment you sign up for a sandbox account — 24/7 support, a dedicated customer success representative, migration support, custom integrations and so much more.

Curious to learn more? Book a demo and we’ll show you how Zenskar’s billing system can help you maintain complete billing flexibility — with zero developer dependence.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. How much does usage-based billing software cost?

The average cost of a usage-based billing software in 2024 is about $5,000 per year. This cost can vary and go only upwards with additional usage and add-ons. However, usage-based billing systems typically have two components in their pricing: usage charges and/or platform fees. Zenskar’s value-based pricing model, for example, calculates your subscription fee based on usage metrics like the number of customers, invoices, and collections. 

Others like Chargebee and Stripe might also charge a platform fee (either tiered or commission-based) on top of your usage charges.

2. What is the difference between billing and metering?

Metering tracks how much of a software service a customer uses — like the number of bills processed or invoices generated, whereas Billing is the process of calculating a customer's fees based on their metered usage.

Billing and metering are two interconnected parts that define how you charge customers in usage-based pricing models. 

Put simply, metering provides the usage data and billing uses that data to calculate the final cost.

3. What are the challenges of consumption-based billing in SaaS?

Consumption-based (or usage-based) billing is considered one of the most flexible and transparent ways of charging customers. However, it’s not without its challenges. Here are some that you might encounter:

  • Since usage can be unpredictable (with some users actively working to reduce it), it's tough to predict income.
  • While basic usage metering is straightforward, integrating complex pricing models — like hybrid or multi-attribute — can significantly increase technical complexity.
  • For hybrid models, finding the right balance between per-unit and tiered pricing can be an added complication.
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