Subscription services are everywhere these days, and so are free trials. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying full price after your trial ends. Thankfully, you can usually cancel right away and retain your benefits.
That might sound counterproductive at first. Why would you cancel a free trial right after it begins? As it turns out, most services allow you to cancel your trial at any time and still use the service for the duration of the trial period. Then, you won’t have to remember to cancel the trial the day before your credit card is charged.
Unfortunately, it’s usually unclear that canceling your trial will not immediately end your access to the service. After all, a free trial is a tactic to get you to pay for the full service. That’s why a credit card is usually required, even though you’re not paying anything upfront.
Carefully read the warnings and fine print that appear when canceling your trial. Amazon, for example, calls it “ending” your Prime membership. After you go through the lengthy process of canceling, Amazon makes it clear you’ll retain your Prime benefits until the end of the trial period. You can literally cancel five minutes after signing up and still get the full 30 days of the trial for free.
However, some services are vague about what happens after you cancel your free trial. Netflix, for example, only tells you that your membership will be canceled at the end of your current billing period after you’ve already canceled it. Not very helpful.
While this tip works for the majority of subscription services, there are some exceptions. For example, when Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, the company offered free one-year trials to anyone who purchased an Apple device. Unfortunately, canceling that trial also ended your access to Apple TV+ immediately.
The moral of the story is to cancel a free trial as soon as possible if you don’t intend to use the service afterward. Just make sure you read the fine print carefully while going through the process.
If in doubt, check the service’s FAQ page to see what happens after you cancel a free trial. Taking a few minutes to do this right after you sign up will save you from having to set a reminder or request a refund because you forgot. No one wants to find a charge on their credit card statement for a service they completely forgot about.