Free trials are useful to see whether something is right for you without having to fully commit, but like doing your expenses they can easily be forgotten about and before you know it you're paying for something that you don't even remember signing up for.
Yes we've all done it, and it's even worse when you're trialling it for your business and just thrown in your personal card details because it's just easier than asking for the company card. I can't see many employees saying "Hey boss, sooooo I tried a free trial of XXX, but I didn't use it because it wasn't very good, but I forgot to cancel it and now I've spent £40 of my own money. Any chance I can claim it back?" Awkward... 🙄
Thankfully Mastercard know that forgetting to cancel a free trial is an issue and has taken important steps to put the power back into the hands of the purchaser.
In their announcement, they state that they "want every commerce engagement to be simple, safe and secure and are introducing rules for merchants that offer free-trials to make this a hassle-free experience for their consumers. These rule change will require merchants to gain cardholder approval at the conclusion of the trial before they start billing. So 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."
But it doesn't stop there as for every 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.
We applaud Mastercard for making this change, though it currently only covers free trials of physical products, like graze boxes etc. No one wants to be unsatisfied with a product after paying for it. Businesses using Expend's connected Mastercard to pay for subscriptions already benefit from real-time notifications regardless of when money is spent, plus enhanced spending policies and intelligent receipt management.
So while businesses and employees should already be on top of this, it is a welcome extra level of support. Another benefit of how our system works is that it allows businesses to spot trends, so if 10 employees are all paying for individual licences to the same product, it's probably a good idea to consolidate these into a multi-user licence and save the business money and gain extra functionality. 📡
However, we also agree with Mastercard that for many consumers and businesses, a free-trial is still a great way to test out a new product and get comfortable with it before making a final purchasing decision. That's why we offer a free trial of our classic Business PrePaid Mastercard, and our new Expend Flex card alongside our powerful expense management software and mobile expenses app. It's only when you are using Expend, do you know if it is right for your business, and thankfully in most cases it is.
You can read the full Mastercard announcement here, or start your free trial of Expend below.