American consumers want to cut down on online subscriptions
Americans are piling up digital subscription accounts at a frantic pace.
They also worry about the confusion about expenses that comes with jumping into the deep end of monthly subscription sums.
Last Data from Bango, a mobile payment services provider, shows that 72% of US adults think there are too many subscription services. In addition, the average digital subscriber pays for at least five subscription services per month, and 19% pays for eight or more services.
That’s not all.
45% of subscribers say they “find it difficult to keep track of where and how they signed up for these subscriptions.” 35% have “no idea” how much cash they pay for subscriptions each month, while 34% said they are currently paying for a subscription service that they “I’ve never used it.”
“It doesn’t just cost Americans money,” the report noted. “It also affects their experiences and attitudes toward the subscription economy.”
Managing subscriptions is a drag, experts say
A big part of the problem is that juggling multiple subscriptions — and multiple payments — is a hassle for online consumers.
“It’s hard to cancel subscriptions online, and there’s no easy way to manage multiple subscriptions,” said Tommy Gallagher, founder of Top Mobile Banks.
The headache comes from the often complex opt-out policies. “This process is often difficult, as online subscriptions can be very expensive, and consumers may not be able to pay for multiple subscriptions,” Gallagher said.
Since most subscription services only cost $5 or $10 per month, some financial subtlety also comes into play.
“Online subscriptions are difficult to deal with because each subscription subconsciously isn’t a lot of money, and so it just pushes that part of our brain to not pay attention to the cost,” said Jeff Cronenberg, president of Imagine Wealth Group. “The advertising is so good for these monthly subscriptions, it’s hard to say no. And the structure is so good it’s so confusing to unsubscribe.”
Pound the “Cancel” button
How do you get past the mess and start canceling subscription services that you don’t use or don’t like? This is a quick list.
Know your limits. Make sure you understand what you are signing up for and what you are allowed to access.
“Be sure to put limits on how much content you can access at one time, and be careful not to let your subscription get out of hand,” Gallagher said.
It’s also a good idea to keep track of how much content you’re consuming and to make sure you’re using the content you paid for. “If you are not using the content you subscribed to, consider canceling your subscription,” Gallagher added.
Pick up an app. Take the easy way out by taking advantage of mobile subscription management apps like Rocket Money, AskTrim, or Pocket Guard.
Each app can automatically cancel unwanted subscriptions and each app can help organize and manage multiple subscription apps. Be prepared to pay a monthly or yearly fee to use the best (i.e. premium) services each of the apps has to offer.
Go online and check with the subscription service in question, particularly for cancellation instructions. If that doesn’t pay off, go straight to the source and contact the company. While sticking around with a customer service representative is a fun experience, you’ll get the job done this way.
“Canceling your monthly subscription can be a little tricky, depending on the service,” said Alastair Hazell, founder of the calculator website. For example, with Netflix, you can go to their website and click the “Cancel Your Subscription” link at http://www.netflix.com lower from the page”.
If trying to cancel an online service hits a nerve, Hazell said, contact the company’s customer service department.
Payment blocking. If all else fails, there are ways to get around the subscription service’s brick walls.
said Made in CA editor-in-chief Annie Morris.
Or, as a last resort, have your credit card company get involved with a dispute.
“If it gets to that point, the subscription company will unsubscribe you because they don’t want to deal with the issue of a credit card dispute, especially if you have proof that they asked you to unsubscribe,” Cronenberg said.