No more surprise debits – Mastercard to stop billing after free trials


[UPDATE: According to The Verge, “Mastercard has now clarified that it’s a way more limited solution than the company originally let on. The new policy only applies when you subscribe to physical products that get delivered to your door, like vitamins and snacks, not digital services like Netflix or PlayStation Plus.” Mastercard has updated their original blogpost to clarify that they’re talking about physical products, and not digital trials.]

Not all superheroes wear capes — Mastercard has taken it upon themselves to curb unexpected debits after you’ve finished a free trial of an online service.

Either you didn’t like the service and completely forgot that you signed up, or you just used the free trial because, well, it’s free. From now on, Mastercard won’t allow companies to bill your card after a free trial. Instead, the user will receive a notification and would need to give permission for the debit.

It will also require companies to provide you with monthly updates with pricing and clear instructions on how to cancel.

How it works

So you sign up for a free trial and promptly provide your MasterCard credentials. When that free trial comes to an end, the merchant has to notify you that the subscription has ended and you have to pay to continue the sub. If the service didn’t meet your expectations, they have to provide steps to cancel the service. But most importantly, they cannot take your money.

Let’s say you are super happy with the service, and Netflix/Showmax/Spotify is everything you expected it to be. The services are still required to send you monthly receipts of payments made through Mastercard. This way you’ll be able to track price changes and also cancel the sub anytime you want. Your move, Visa.

Source: Mastercard


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Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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