Americans are racking up digital subscription accounts at an incredible rate.
They also worry about the confusion about the costs that come with jumping to the bottom of the monthly subscription pool.
Recent data from Bango, a mobile payment service provider, shows that 72% of US adults believe there are too many subscription services. Additionally, the average digital customer pays for at least five subscription services per month, and 19% pay for eight or more.
That’s not all.
45% of customers say they “find it difficult to keep track of where and how they signed up for these subscriptions.” Another 35% “don’t know” how much cash they shell out each month for a subscription, while 34% say they currently pay for a subscription service. “never use”.
“It’s not just spending Americans’ money,” the report said. “It also affects their experience and approach to the subscription economy.”
Experts say managing subscriptions is a drag
A big part of the problem is that handling multiple subscriptions and multiple payments is a challenge for online consumers.
Top Mobile Banks founder Tommy Gallagher said: “Online subscriptions are difficult to cancel and there is no easy way to manage multiple subscriptions.”
The headache comes from complicated unsubscribe policies. “This process is often difficult because online subscriptions can be expensive and consumers cannot afford multiple subscriptions,” Gallagher said.
Since most subscription services only cost $5 or $10 a month, some financial nuances come into play.
“Online subscriptions are hard to manage because automatically each subscription isn’t a lot of money, and so it tricks that part of our brain into ignoring value,” said Jeff Kronenberg, president of Imagine Wealth Group. “The advertising for these monthly subscriptions is so good that it’s hard to say no. And the structure is so good that unsubscribing is very confusing.”
By clicking the “Cancel” button
How can you cut through the clutter and start canceling subscription services you don’t use or don’t like? Here is a quick list.
Know your limits. Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for and what you’re allowed to access.
“Be sure to limit the amount of content you can access at once, and be careful that your subscription doesn’t get out of hand,” Gallagher said.
It’s also a good idea to track how much content you’re using and make sure you’re using the content you paid for. “If you’re not using the content you subscribed to, consider canceling your subscription,” Gallagher added.
Record a program. Take the easy way out by using mobile subscription management apps like Rocket Money, AskTrim or Pocket Guard.
Each program can automatically cancel unwanted subscriptions, and each can help organize and manage multiple subscription programs. Be prepared to pay a monthly or annual fee to use the best (i.e. premium) services each of the programs offers.
Go online and review the subscription service in question, especially regarding cancellation instructions. If that doesn’t work, go straight to the source and call the company. While hanging up on a customer service representative is an invaluable experience, this is how you get things done.
“Locking your monthly subscription can be a bit tricky depending on the service,” said Calculator site founder Alastair Hazell. “For example, with Netflix, you can go to their website and click the ‘Cancel Your Subscription’ link at the bottom of the page.”
If trying to cancel service online is a dead end, contact the company’s customer service department, Hazell said.
Block payment. If all else fails, there are ways to get past the brick walls of subscription services.
“One surefire way to go is to contact your bank and ask them to block the charge on your credit card so that the subscription service doesn’t charge you again after you cancel,” said the Made in CA editor. Chief Annie Morris.
Or, as a last resort, involve your credit card company through a dispute.
“If it gets to this point, the subscription company will unsubscribe you because they don’t want to deal with the headache of a credit card dispute, especially if you have reason to ask them to cancel your subscription,” Kronenberg said.