Payment during signup process or just before using the key feature?

When designing/using a webapp (single use SaaS, which processes your imported data), would you rather be willing to:

• make payment during signup process, or • register new account, import your data, set everything up and pay right before data processing (to start it)?

Personally I'd rather pay right before data processing so I can be sure the product will do what I want / expect. But some people will probably be sold on it before they do all of that. So why not offer both choices? Make payment optional when signing up, making it convenient to enter payment info while someone is already filling out their account info -- and letting all the unsure users through to try out the product.

Depending on what payment backend you're using (thinking Stripe here), you could even just save the payment info on signup (encouraging everyone to enter it right away), and always wait to make the charge at that final moment before data processing.

Hi @bearson, thank you for your time and insight 🙌

My initial thought was to ask for money right before data processing step. This should make users comfortable with using their cards (by proving via overall quality and implemented flow that this app is a real deal). From psychological standpoint, by this time users should be quite involved with this app (by uploading and preparing their data) and be more inclined to pay for the service. Additionally I was thinking about allowing users to process a small batch 1-2 records to give them a taste of the output before making the purchase. Of course the pricing will be known from the get go (even before signing up).

That being said, asking for the money upfront doesn't feel right – I'm afraid that it would discourage potential customers from getting to know the service 🤔

I've had success with letting people try the full product for a few runs. Then, asking them to pay after it works to their delight.

It really depends on your specific circumstances. There’s a lot written about this and there’s plenty of research to look into.

In a nutshell, generally asking for payment info later will lead to more people trying out the service and eventually signing up.

This does however come with the drawback that you will need to support an increased number of users (both technically and customer support wise) possibly many of which who are never going to convert to paying users. You also want to be careful to distinguish between feedback from paying and non-paying users.

To summarize it sounds like a good approach to try out “just in time” payments. If it proves to provide too much of a technical/support burden you could switch to pre-signup payment or asking for billing info.