There’s lots of companies out there that offer you free trials to check out their product. While it’s nice to get free stuff, you’re usually required to enter your credit card info to do so. The reason for that is that once the trial is over, they can start charging you the full price for the service or product that they offer. So it’s your responsibility to keep track and cancel before the paid period kicks in. Not everyone does.
But now Mastercard is looking to make this process easier for consumers. The company announced a new policy that will require merchants to get authorization from you before charging you recurring payments for subscriptions. It will also require companies to provide you with monthly updates with pricing and clear instructions on how to cancel if you need it.
The rule change will require merchants to gain cardholder approval at the conclusion of the trial before they start billing. To help cardholders with that decision, merchants will be required to send the cardholder – either by email or text – the transaction amount, payment date, merchant name along with explicit instructions on how to cancel a trial.
For each payment thereafter, the merchant will have to send a receipt to the cardholder for each transaction by email or text message with clear instructions on how to cancel the service if the consumer so desires. In addition, all charges that appear on the cardholder’s statement must now include the merchant website URL or the phone number of the store where the cardholder made the purchase.
So next time you sign up for a free trial, reach for your Mastercard. It will make it easier to remember to cancel or even if you keep the subscription, you can track price changes so you don’t get hit by unexpected price hikes.