With WooCommerce Payments, you have two options to sell subscription products:
See this document for a comparison between the two.
This document explains what happens to subscriptions if you deactivate the WooCommerce Payments plugin under Plugins > Installed Plugins. Because you could potentially be using WooCommerce Payments by itself or in combination with the Subscriptions extension, this document covers both scenarios.
This document does not cover what happens if you simply disable WooCommerce Payments as an active gateway.
Any subscriptions purchased with WooCommerce Payments that were not cancelled prior to the plugin being deactivated will continue to collect payments from customers. This is due to the the off-site billing engine that WooCommerce Payments uses.
Furthermore, because WooCommerce Payments is disabled, your site will no longer generate the corresponding WooCommerce orders or send the associated emails to customers. As you can imagine, this situation is almost never advisable.
If you do not want renewal payments to continue to be processed, you should cancel all subscriptions before deactivating WooCommerce Payments.
If you’ve taken your site down or otherwise cannot simply reactivate WooCommerce Payments and cancel existing subscriptions, please contact our support staff.
If you deactivate the WooCommerce Payments plugin while using the Subscriptions extension, subscriptions that used WooCommerce Payments as their payment method will transition to using manual renewals instead.
Renewal orders will be created once payment is due. Those orders will require subscribers to login and pay for renewal to resume the subscription, even if the subscription had automatic renewal payments prior to deactivating WooCommerce Payments.
When using the subscriptions functionality built-in to WooCommerce Payments, subscription purchases can only be processed via WooCommerce Payments. Other payment gateways will not be available during checkout when a subscription product is in the cart.
For this reason, if WooCommerce Payments is installed and active, but disabled as a gateway, customers with subscription products in their cart will see a notice saying that there are no available payment methods which support subscriptions.
If you use the Subscriptions extension, purchases of subscription products will work as normal, so long as you have at least one other gateway that supports Subscriptions.