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Subscriptions and trial periods

Last updated: April 29, 2022

There are requirements set by the card networks when cardholders are offered subscriptions and free trial periods. The aim of these is to promote an enhanced and transparent customer experience.

If you do offer subscriptions, you will need to comply with the following requirements:

1. Consent

The cardholder has to expressly consent to sign up for the subscription and payment.

2. Notification

When signing up for the subscription, cardholders must receive terms and conditions which must include: start date, details of goods or services, transaction amount, billing frequency and date, and a mechanism to cancel.

3. Reminder Notification

For trial periods, cardholder must be notified at least 7 days before a trial or introductory offer will end, and be given the option to cancel.

For subscriptions where the billing frequency is every 6 months or more, cardholders must receive a reminder at least 7 days prior to the next billing date that includes the subscription terms and clear instructions on how to cancel.

4. Transaction Receipts or Confirmation

Cardholders must receive a receipt or confirmation stating the transaction amount, transaction date and instructions on how to cancel after each successful authorization.

If a trial period, confirmation must include length of trial/introductory offer and clearly state that following the trial the cardholder will be charged unless subscription is canceled.

5. Statement Descriptor

A descriptor indicating the end of a trial period is recommended in the Merchant Name field for the first financial transaction. For example, “end trial”. You can read more about dynamic descriptors.

6. Cancelation

Cardholders must have an easy way to cancel a subscription and this must be disclosed when signing up for the subscription.