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MasterCard Adds Security Measure to Prevent Automatic Billing After a Free Trial Finishes

The company now requires anyone taking your card details for a free trial or subscription to share regular updates about the cost, and how to cancel.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:January 17, 2019, 9:42 AM IST
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MasterCard Adds Security Measure to Prevent Automatic Billing After a Free Trial Finishes
The company now requires anyone taking your card details for a free trial or subscription to share regular updates about the cost, and how to cancel.
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Your online pre-subscription free trials of an app or service are about to get a whole lot simpler. Credit card company MasterCard has announced that it is implementing a new policy for merchants and companies which retain your credit card information after you sign up for a free trial. This is quite true for a lot of apps and web services. Mastercard will now require those merchants to request an official authorization before they charge you for any recurring subscriptions.

This is great news for anyone who may have signed up for a free trial, and then forgotten about it or simply slipped their mind to cancel the subscription if they didn’t wish to continue. In the present scenario, the company offering the free trial would go ahead and simply charge you for the actual subscription as soon as the trial would finish—with the card information which you shared with them at the time of signing up. In the communication by the service offering the trial and subscription, users will get the details such as the transaction amount, payment date, the merchant the payment is being made to and clear instructions on how to cancel the trial.

Subsequently, MasterCard also requires merchants to send periodical updates with receipts indicating the payment details, amount of payment made or to be made and clear instructions on how to cancel the subscription. This will be handy in case there are any changes to the subscription cost at some point, and you may not really have noticed that as a subscriber. “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,” says MasterCard in an official statement.

However, MasterCard’s policy isn’t exactly clarifying if this is true for any scenario where you directly share your MasterCard card details (such as streaming services including Netflix or productivity software subscription such as the Adobe Creative Cloud), or will also apply for subscriptions signed up for through application stores such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Microsoft Store.

Also Read | Understanding RBI’s Big Move to Make Your Credit And Debit Card Transactions Safer
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