Mastercard is making free trials less frustrating by pre-empting subscription charges

At some point in time, most people are likely to have run into a product or service that requires credit card information in order to sign up for a free trial. This is often done to allow companies to charge the card automatically once the trial period is over, since many users may forget to cancel the subscription before ending the experimental period.

Now, Mastercard is taking steps to protect users from tactics such as these. The credit card company has announced that it will be enforcing new rules for merchants that require credit card information when users sign up to try a service for free. Going forward, these companies will have to request the cardholder's approval before beginning to charge their card after the trial period ends.

Additionally, customers have to be fully informed via e-mail or text, about all the details of the charges, including the amount, date, and instructions on how to cancel a trial. If the cardholder accepts the charges, they will have to be informed every time their card is charged, and the cancellation instructions have to be provided along with every receipt as well.

Lastly, charges have to be identified with phone number or URL of the company making them in the credit card statement, so users have multiple ways of knowing what they are being charged for.

Mastercard has taken steps in the past to enhance the security of its customers, such as the introduction of cards with fingerprint authentication. Hopefully, other credit card providers will follow suit in offering this kind of protection.

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