Good guy MasterCard wants to put an end to bogus apps that siphon your money through subscriptions

Good guy MasterCard wants to put an end to bogus apps that siphon your money through subscriptions
We've all seen these apps — you spot their fancy-looking ad on your Instagram or Facebook feed, you download them "for free". Turns out, the app will only let you use it if you sign up — there's a 3-day trial, then you instantly get billed for the next month of usage. Prices usually vary between $5 or $15 per month. And, at the end, the app turns out to be nothing special after all.

Now, it's clear who these are made to prey upon — some people are not that tech-savvy, some will forget to cancel the subscription before the trial is up, some will think that deleting the app from their smartphone is enough to cut the deal short. And bam — before you know it, you're $5 short. You might not even notice it in your credit card statement and continue to finance them through the year.

MasterCard is taking the user's side, it seems. In a statement, the company has outlined additional rules, which service providers would need to meet in order to get a MasterCard transaction approval.

Going forward, merchants will need to send an email or a text to customers once their free trial ends. In it, they need to reiterate the subscription price, payment date, the name of the company, and include instructions on how to cancel a subscription, should the user want to. Going forward, service providers will be required to send you a receipt for each transaction, containing information on the monthly charges, the merchant's contact details, as well as instructions on how to cancel the subscription at any time.

The new rules should make it harder for sneaky providers to pull money out from under unsuspecting users' noses and will also probably lighten the load of complaints piling on MasterCard's Customer Service department desk. Unfortunately, honest and legitimate service providers will now need to set up systems in place to make this process painless, but what can you do — that's the price for honesty and transparency in this market.


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