Mastercard updates policy to end automatic billing after free trials, will require merchants to request user authorization for recurring subscriptions (Stefan Etienne/The Verge)


Mastercard announced a new policy today for merchants who retain your card information after you sign up for a free trial. Soon, Mastercard will require those merchants to request an official authorization for any recurring subscriptions.

This is great news for forgetful or busy people who might not want to continue paying for a service or product that they just wanted to test out. For example, if you signed up for a new streaming service with your card info, then forgot you had the subscription, the merchant will send you an email or text notice before the next payment is due.

Once you receive the merchant’s message, you’ll find it includes the transaction amount, payment date, and merchant name, plus explicit instructions on how to cancel your trial. But it gets better: for every payment thereafter, the merchant will continue sending receipts (again, by email or text) containing the payment amount and how to cancel service — because maybe you liked the product for the first month or so, but have since decided otherwise.

Personally, I can think of a few scenarios where Mastercard’s new feature would have come in handy for avoiding unwanted charges. But, it’s better late than never.

This post was originally published here