Control free trial subscriptions this Christmas

Most subscriptions have free trials. However, this Christmas season is when most subscriptions will be on a free trial or at a discounted price. Over 3 million people in the UK lose an average of £300 a year from unwanted subscriptions. The majority of these unwanted subscriptions occur through free trials-been lured into free trials and then forgetting to cancel.

This Article will cover tricks on how to protect you from unwanted subscriptions and the tools you can you to control subscriptions and money.

What is a free trial?

A free trial is when you are offered to use a service at no cost or a low introductory price. According to Citizen Advice Bureau, this uses visual hierarchy and deferred payments to exploit our present bias.

The problem with free trials is that there is a catch. In order to access the service, you need to input your credit, debit, or prepaid card details at the checkout. It will boldly state it cost you nothing today and they will send you a reminder before the subscription auto-renews.

To get the offer, your 16-digit card number is required. However, most people don’t realise they are signing up for Continuous payment authorisation. Continuous payment authorisation gives the merchant the authority to charge you an amount until you advise them you no longer need the service. However, this is prone to abuse and based on current estimates this cost the UK consumer £1.8 billion every year and growing.

Visual presentation of deferred payment

How to control free trial subscriptions

The Government want to tackle subscription traps. Based on a recent publication by Citizen Advice, they are calling for a ban on subscription auto-renewals after finding that many people had been lured in with a free trial and then forgotten to cancel. While this is welcoming, the actual policing of this in a capital market will be impossible and it will take innovation in the payments space to create a solution that works for the merchant and the consumers at the same time.

Here are some steps you can take to control subscriptions and your money;

  • Track subscriptions (even free trials)– Every free trial has a date when it becomes paid. Track the auto-renewal date on your calendar or you can use the ScribePay free app as your digital reminder.
  • Don’t forget to cancel the subscription- Yes, this is a very obvious step but the reason why it costs money is that most people forget. If you track your subscription, it is easier to know when to cancel.

The above steps work when things work the way its meant to. However, despite people tracking their subscriptions on google calendar or even ScribePay free, and not forgetting to cancel, they still are not able to control their subscriptions.

Here are some reasons why:

  • Get charged before the auto-renewal date- You subscribe to a 2 months free trial. Based on your beautiful tracking, the payment due date is the 19th of the month, but you get charged on the 15th.
  • Difficult to cancel- the process is difficult- presented 10 screens before you can cancel or having to call customer service
  • Cancel but still get charged- on trust pilot reviews you see many customers complain about still being charged even though they have gone through the pain of cancelling.

Manage your subscriptions from one app.

Say goodbye to forgotten missed trials, missed payments and unwanted charges.

subscription management

Manage your subscriptions from one app.

Say goodbye to forgotten missed trials, missed payments and unwanted charges.

Control free trial subscriptions with ease

We’ve built ScribePay Premium to help you automatically track any subscription the minute you opt-in. Get reminders few days before the trial is due to expire so you don’t forget to cancel.

Automatically track free trial subscriptions

Even if you forget to cancel, with ScribePay Premium App you make the ultimate decision about who takes money out of your account. For the first time, you’ll have the ability to approve or decline free trials turning into auto-renewals, subscription price increases, and stop subscriptions in two clicks.

Control your money

Editor’s noteThinking of subscribing this Christmas and looking for a way to manage them without drowning in the stress of remembering payment dates, free trials etc? Check out our ScribePay app that helps you track and manage all your subscription payments, while Premium users can get an instant bank account (UK) and virtual prepaid card (UK) to approve/decline payments on the fly.

Help us save you hundreds of pounds every year in unwanted subscription payments

Download the ScribePay app on iOS or Android and join people from all over the UK that have taken control of their subscriptions.