Mastercard Isn’t Going To Let Companies Automatically Bill You After Free Trials

After hearing this news, you will be filled with confidence that the world is a tiny bit better. Mastercard has announced a new policy that requires companies to get permission from you before slapping you with recurring charges for subscriptions.

The basic premise is that when you sign up for a free trial (and use your Mastercard for the payment info) your money is safe. Why? Well when the free trial comes to an end, the merchant will be required to send you a text or email letting you know that you have to pay to continue the subscription.

Not only that, but the message has to include: the subscription cost, payment date and merchant name. The message will also have to include instructions on how to cancel in case you decide you’re better off without it, reports Engadget.


Mastercard released a statement, saying: “No one wants to be unsatisfied with a product after paying for it. For some consumers, a free-trial is a great way to test out a new product and get comfortable with it before making a purchasing decision. And with so many merchants offering free trials, they’re becoming the new norm.

“However, sometimes a free trial can unwittingly turn into a recurring subscription that is difficult to cancel. These situations can be frustrating and costly for both consumers and their banks.”

I’m on board so far. They continued: “At Mastercard, we want every commerce engagement to be simple, safe and secure and we are introducing rules for merchants that offer free-trials to make this a hassle-free experience for their consumers. 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 after that, the company supplying the free trial has to send a receipt to the cardholder by email or text message. Not only that, but it has to contain clear instructions on how to cancel the service.

Mastercard added that “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.”

2019 is looking good, people.


Featured image credit: Mastercard