When you set up contribution pages, one option allows you to set up the option for users to create recurring contributions weekly, monthly, or annually.
But when it is time for your staff to enter a recurring contribution that was solicited by phone, mail, or some other way the method for staff to enter that recurring payment is not always obvious.
1. Search for the contact and go to the contact's summary page.
2. Click the 'contributions' tab
3. Choose option (button) "Submit Credit Card Contribution"
Now you will have the option to record a credit card payment for which a recurring period can be set.
This is simple once you know the way. But finding the one correct/possible way to do this can be confusing for staff simply because staff have so many different ways to enter transactions--the 'contribution' menu, clicking on the 'action' button on the contact summary page, or going to the contact's 'contribution' tab and clicking 'record contribution'. However, none of those allow the processing of a live credit card OR the creation of a recurring contribution. Only the one single method outlined above allows processing of a live credit card and/or creation of an auto-charged recurring contribution from within CiviCRM.
You can submit recurring membership payments using the membership tab and then the 'submit credit card membership' button as well--but if you want to do that there is some setup required first--you must set up a membership level that allows auto-renewing memberships.
Compatible payment processor required for any/all recurring payment options!
Also, all of this is dependent on having a payment processor set up in CiviCRM that allows recurring payments. If you try this and don't see the recurring payment options appear, your payment processor might not have the capability.