Lago vs Chargebee

Lago, best Chargebee alternative


What is Chargebee?

Chargebee's website states "Chargebee is the subscription billing and revenue management platform". Founded in 2010, the company provides a User Interface and an API for standard billing use cases.

How is Lago different from Chargebee?

1. Chargebee is not designed for usage-based billing. Lago is.

In Chargebee, the maximum number of usages that can be recorded for a subscription is 5000, lifetime. Here is the related documentation of Chargebee. This means that you won't be able to send more than 5000 usages to be billed for a customer. This number is low because Chargebee is a subscription-based platform by default, not a usage-based one.

Lago lets you record an unlimited number of usages, as well as an unlimited number of subscriptions for a customer. You can send usages granularly, whenever a new event comes in, or at a heartbeat frequency (e.g. sending usages every minute, hour, or day). Lago is usage-based by default, so there is no limitation on recorded usages.

Example #2: idempotency key

An idempotency key is a unique value used to identify subsequent retries of the same API request.

In Chargebee, there is no idempotency key for usage events. This can lead to the same event being recorded multiple times, resulting in inaccurate unit charges. As Chargebee is not a usage-based billing engine, you will need to create an idempotency system on your side to ensure the uniqueness of each event sent.

Lago is a usage-based billing engine by default. By sending events to Lago, we ensure that the transaction_id sent is always unique. If not, the event is not processed to prevent duplicate billing data.

Example #3: aggregating and sending usage

Chargebee has a rate limit of 100 simultaneous requests per minute, which could prevent you from sending granular usage when you start scaling your number of customers. Additionally, Chargebee does not interpret events into proper units to be charged. You will need to build a pre-aggregation billing system on top of Chargebee that sends the final aggregation result to be billed. This engine must be maintained in addition to the Chargebee integration.

Lago is usage-based by default, so it automatically interprets events into proper units to charge. This final metric is calculated based on the events sent during a full billing period. Lago offers the flexibility to calculate any billable metric. Furthermore, Lago has no rate limit for usage-based billing events.

To illustrate these differences, we took the example of implementing a billing system for a Banking as a Service provider. Read more about it here.

Table of comparison between Chargebee and Lago

Free open-source solution. Offers a cloud hosted version.
Implementation fee + recurring cost + cut on revenue (est. 1-2%)
Billing (subscription, usage-based and metering)
Subscription-based billing
Purchasing process
Self-service & sales-led
Compatibility (payments)
Can be integrated with any PSP
Can be integrated with any PSP
Vendor lock-in
No lock-in
Annual contract + implem. cost
Fully customizable
Subscription billing
Usage-based billing
Very limited

Is Lago cheaper than Chargebee?

We're not fans of Chargebee's 'rent-seeker' pricing approach, as it doesn't scale with your business. Chargebee charges a fixed monthly platform fee and takes a cut on your revenue.

Lago is an open-source project, meaning you can have a billing engine for free! In addition, Lago offers a cloud solution that never takes a cut of your revenue. We prefer to charge a fixed platform fee and a volume-based fee for the fully managed application.

Is Lago an open-source alternative to Chargebee?

Yes, Lago is an open-source and open-core Chargebee alternative. Our GitHub repository is open to everyone, running under an AGPL v3 license.

Is Lago integrated with payment providers, like Chargebee?

Just like Chargebee, Lago is agnostic to payment providers. It can be connected to any PSP, either through native integrations (like Stripe Payments or GoCardless) or custom integration.

Does Lago provide a user interface similar to Chargebee's?

Yes! In addition to being API-first, Lago provides a user-friendly interface that can be used by non-technical people.

Two hosting options, same benefits

Whether you choose the cloud version or decide to host the solution yourself, you will benefit from our powerful API and user-friendly interface.

Open source

The optimal solution for small projects.


The optimal solution for teams who want control and flexibility on cloud or self-hosted version.