Free trials are a great way to test a service before deciding whether you would like to sign up to it on a long-term basis.
However, it is easy to forget to cancel a service before its free trial ends – and many platforms require your credit card details before they will let you take out a free trial.
This often results in unwanted subscriptions and payments, which are automatically deducted from your bank account.
Mastercard has announced a solution to this problem.
It said it will now block companies from automatically billing users after a free trial ends.
Merchants will have to gain the cardholder’s approval at the end of their trial before they can begin the billing process.
“At Mastercard, we want every commerce engagement to be simple, safe, and secure,” said Mastercard.
“Sometimes a free trial can unwittingly turn into a recurring subscription that is difficult to cancel,” the card company added.
“These situations can be frustrating and costly for both consumers and their banks.”
Other new billing measures
Mastercard also announced that after each monthly payment, merchants will have to send a receipt to the Mastercard user – either by email or text message – that provides the cardholder with clear instructions on how to cancel their service.
All of these charges must also include the merchant’s website URL or the phone number of the store on the cardholder’s statement.
“The new rules will help increase transparency and ensure an outstanding experience for cardholders,” Mastercard said.
The company added that cardholders are also covered by Mastercard’s “Zero Liability” policy, which protects them against unauthorised purchases or charges.
“If a cardholder suspects that a transaction is fraudulent or unusual, we encourage them to contact the bank that issues their card for assistance and more information,” it said.