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Cancel a Subscription—Insights and Tips To Complete the Process Effectively

Ashley Ferraro, Product
Jan 16, 2024
 Min Read
Manage Your Subscription Payments With Virtual Cards

The subscription model was introduced in the 17th century and used mainly by newspaper and book publishers, but it has reached new heights with the advent of software-as-a-service products. From subscription boxes to gym memberships, many services we use today are subscription-based.

While signing up for subscriptions may be simple, the cancellation is often a different story—the process can be more or less complicated depending on the platform you used to subscribe. 

To learn how to cancel a subscription successfully on any device, refer to this guide. You’ll also find out how to protect yourself against unwarranted and excessive charges from merchants and subscription services.

Note that the content in this guide is valid as of November 2023. It’s best to visit the official website of the subscription service you want to cancel to get the latest information.

A photo of a person typing on a laptop keyboard
Source: Pixabay

How Do Subscriptions Work?

The subscription model is a type of payment method that involves regular monthly or yearly payments in exchange for access to a product or service

Usually, when you sign up for a subscription, you’re required to provide your card or bank account information. The merchant charges you on the day you sign up, and the subscription renews automatically each month or year until it expires or you cancel it. Many companies also offer free trials that allow you to try out their services before committing for a full month or year. 

How To Find Subscriptions on Your Device 

Since your subscriptions typically come from various sources, such as the Apple App Store if you’re on iOS or Mac or Google Play if you’re on Android or Windows, you have to look at each platform individually to find specific subscriptions.

If you are having trouble finding subscriptions to cancel, pause, or renew, the directions in the table below should help you do so. You should make sure you’re signed into the right account before you begin:

Device How To Access Your Subscriptions
iPhone or iPad Go to Settings, tap your name, then Subscriptions.
Mac computer Launch the App Store and click on your name. Select Account Settings, then scroll down to Subscriptions, and click on the Manage option on the right to view them.
Android device and Windows computer
  • Click or tap your profile icon in a browser or the official Google app. Select the option Manage Your Google Account, then go to Payments & subscriptions.

  • Visit the Google Payments Center and tap or click on Subscriptions & services.

  • Within the Google Play Store app, tap your account icon, select Payments & subscriptions, then Subscriptions.

If you have multiple subscriptions, looking for them on individual platforms may be time-consuming. An effective way to gather and view all your subscriptions in one place is by using a subscription management app.

Subscription Management Apps—What You Need To Know

When juggling multiple subscriptions at once, it's easy to lose track of where your money's going. If you don't pay attention, you may forget to cancel a free trial or a subscription you no longer need and end up paying for it. 

Subscription management apps can be a good solution to this problem. After you connect them to your payment card or bank account or enter your subscriptions manually, these apps can help you track upcoming payments and, in some cases, cancel subscriptions on your behalf. Some of the most popular subscription managers today include:

  • Hiatus—Hiatus is a bill and budget management app that can also help manage your subscriptions. You can link your credit and bank account to Hiatus or add subscriptions manually. The app will display all upcoming automatic payments in one dashboard. If you're on the Premium plan, Hiatus will also cancel subscriptions for you.
  • Rocket Money—RocketMoney gives you an overview of your recurring payments in calendar form, along with spending insights, by gathering information from your financial accounts. You can cancel your subscriptions within the app or, if you’re on the paid plan, have the cancellation concierge do it for you.
  • Trim—Trim is a web-based app that can collect all your subscriptions in one place based on a photo of your bill or financial accounts. The best part is that Trim can discontinue unwanted subscriptions for you free of charge.

However useful, subscription management apps may not be able to cancel all subscriptions for you—some companies have specific cancellation requirements, imposing the need to end subscriptions manually. Refer to the following sections for instructions on how to cancel common subscriptions.

A bird’s eye view photo of a person holding a laptop on their knees and typing
Source: Pixabay

How To Cancel Google Subscriptions

To unsubscribe from one of Google’s products, such as Google One or YouTube Premium, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to your Google Account. Make sure you’re logged in with the correct account.
  2. If you’re on mobile, go to your settings, tap Google, then Manage Your Google Account.
  3. If you’re on a computer, open your browser and click on your profile icon, then Manage Your Google Account.
  4. Go to Payments & subscriptions.
  5. Click or tap Manage subscriptions.
  6. Find the subscription you no longer want and select Cancel subscription

You can also cancel Google subscriptions via the Google Payments Center by going to Subscriptions & services and, after finding the subscription in question, clicking or tapping Manage and Cancel subscription. If the option is unavailable, click or tap on the subscription you want to cancel to be directed to the website where you can do so. If that option is unavailable as well, go directly to the product website.

A photo of a person sitting on the floor and using a smartphone

How To Cancel Google Play Store Subscriptions

If you’ve purchased the subscription through Google Play, you’ll have to cancel it via the same platform. The table below will break down the steps:

Android Mobile Device Computer
  1. Open the Google Play Store app and log in if you haven’t.

  2. Tap your account icon at the top.

  3. Tap Payments & subscriptions, then Subscriptions.

  4. Select the subscription you wish to cancel.

  5. Tap Cancel subscription.

  6. Follow the instructions.

  1. Go to the Google Play website and log in if you haven’t.

  2. Navigate to Payments & subscriptions, then Subscriptions.

  3. Find the subscription you wish to cancel, then click Manage.

  4. Click on Cancel subscription.

  5. Choose a reason within the pop-up.

  6. Click on Continue.

How To Cancel Apple App Store Subscriptions

To cancel subscriptions you’ve bought through the App Store, take the steps listed in the following table:

iOS Mobile Device Computer
  1. Open the Settings app and log in if you haven’t.

  2. Tap your name, then Subscriptions.

  3. Tap the subscription you’re looking to cancel.

  4. Select Cancel Subscription. Note that you may need to scroll down to find the option.

  1. Launch the App Store and log in if you haven’t.

  2. Click on your name and then Account Settings.

  3. Scroll down to Subscriptions.

  4. Click on Manage.

  5. Click on the Edit option next to the subscription you want to cancel.

  6. Select Cancel Subscription.

How To Cancel Subscriptions to Streaming Services

Streaming platforms provide on-demand digital content, such as music, movies, and TV shows, for a monthly or yearly fee. Below, you can find out how to cancel some of the most popular streaming services: 

  • Netflix—Go to Netflix’s website on a browser, click on your profile icon, then Account. Press the Cancel Membership button under the Membership & Billing heading. On the next screen, select Finish Cancellation.
  • Paramount Plus—On the Paramount Plus website, click on your username in the upper right corner, then Account. You should find the Cancel subscription option when you scroll down.
  • Amazon Prime Video—Navigate to Account & Settings on the Prime Video website, then open the Your Account tab. Select the option End Subscription. You won’t be able to cancel Prime Video if you’ve gained access to it through your Amazon Prime membership.
  • HBO Max—You can cancel HBO Max via the website or the official app. Click or tap your profile in the upper right. Go to Settings > Subscription > Manage Subscription > Cancel Subscription, then confirm your choice.
  • NFL Plus—Visit and go to your Account page, then click on the arrow next to NFL Subscriptions. In the Manage Subscriptions section, select the arrow next to Manage. Press the Cancel button, choose one of the reasons for your cancellation, and confirm by clicking Cancel again.
  • Spotify Premium—Go to your account on Spotify’s website and navigate to the Manage Your Plan section. Select Change Plan, then scroll down to the Cancel Spotify section and click on Cancel Premium.

Note that the steps listed above refer to purchases made directly through the merchant. If you bought the subscription via another source, such as Google Play, the App Store, or Roku TV, you’ll need to cancel via those platforms.

A photo of a living room with a TV displaying the Netflix home screen
Source: Lisa Fotios

How To Cancel Website Subscriptions

To cancel a subscription you’ve signed up for via the company’s website, you should follow that company’s cancellation procedure. You can usually find the option within your account settings. The cancellation process can vary greatly depending on the company—the following section will explain how to cancel some common subscription services to demonstrate how much these processes can differ:

  • Grammarly Premium—In the Subscription section within your Grammarly account, scroll down to the bottom and click on Cancel Subscription. Select Continue in the pop-up window, provide a reason for your cancellation, and click on Cancel Subscription to confirm. 
  • SiriusXM—You can stop your SiriusXM subscription via the phone, Live Chat support, or within your Online Account Center by going to Manage Your Account, selecting Change Billing Info, and clicking on Cancel Service. However, some recent Trustpilot reviews indicate that the option to cancel online is not always available, so you may need to call or chat with customer support.
  • The Dish Network—To cancel the Dish Network, you must call the number 866-974-0769. If you terminate your subscription before the end of the commitment term, you must pay a fee of $20 for each month of the subscription that’s left. You’ll also need to return the equipment you leased within 30 days, shipping it in specific boxes provided by Dish, which cost $20 each.

“Roach Motel”—Why You Should Use Virtual Cards for Your Subscription Payments

While most companies allow you to cancel as easily as you’ve signed up, others may make the process deliberately laborious to convince you or trick you into remaining subscribed and resuming your payments. This type of dark pattern is referred to as a “roach motel.” Some of the tactics certain subscription merchants resort to include inconspicuous cancellation buttons and guilting language to play on your fear of missing out and convince you to keep your subscription. 

If you don’t pay close attention, you may overlook a cancellation step and end up paying for another month of services you don’t need. Even if you do everything right, there’s a chance you’ll still be charged due to errors and delays on the merchant’s side. 

The Federal Trade Commission has recently proposed a “click-to-cancel” rule to help put a stop to lengthy cancellation funnels. However, as the potentially affected companies push back, it’s unclear when and if any changes will take place. The good news is that you can take matters into your own hands and protect yourself from unexpected charges entirely. Virtual cards can help you exercise greater control over your expenses.

Although connected to a real funding source, virtual cards mask your financial information at checkout to protect it from misuse. Virtual card providers such as Privacy include card settings specifically designed to protect you from overcharges by subscription merchants.

Privacy Virtual Cards—Spending Control Like Never Before

When you use Privacy Virtual Cards for your purchases, your data and funds remain safe from potential cyber attacks and merchants who accidentally or deliberately impose excessive charges on your account. You can link your bank account or debit card to Privacy and generate virtual cards for any purpose. 

Discover the two types of Privacy Cards and what they’re most suitable for:

  1. Single-Use Card—This card automatically closes minutes after you complete the first purchase. It’s useful when transacting with merchants you haven’t bought from before and whose credibility you're unsure of.
  2. Merchant-Locked Card—You can use this card type more than once but with a specific merchant. This makes the card ideal for merchants you buy from regularly and different subscription services like Chegg, Audible, and DashPass.

Another reason why Privacy Cards are the preferred payment method for subscription services is the card settings. You can set a spending limit on your virtual card, and Privacy will decline all exceeding transactions, protecting you from overcharges. If you want to discontinue a subscription, pause or close your Merchant-Locked Card in a few clicks. Privacy will block all charges on said card, allowing you to cancel without worrying about charges sneaking through during or after the process.

A close-up photo of a person using a laptop while holding a payment card
Source: Anna Shvets

Privacy Optimizes Online Purchases

Besides security and control, Privacy offers you convenience when shopping online. Privacy’s browser extension autofills virtual card numbers for you at checkout, which means there’s no need to reach for your wallet or memorize card numbers. It’s available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, as well as Safari mobile, bringing fast and seamless checkouts to iOS users.

You can also install Privacy’s Android or iOS mobile app to generate and manage your virtual cards on the go. You’ll receive a push and email notification when your cards are used or declined so you can detect potentially suspicious activity and act on it in a timely manner.

Privacy—Signup Process and Pricing Explained

To start using Privacy, proceed as follows:

  1. Create an account
  2. Enter the information required to verify your identity
  3. Link your bank account or debit card
  4. Request Privacy Virtual Cards

By opting for the Personal plan, which is free for domestic purchases, you get 12 virtual cards per month, all the card controls, and access to the browser extension and app. You can choose one of the other pricing plans, Pro ($10/month) or Premium ($25/month), if you need more virtual cards (up to 60 a month) and features such as:

  • Fee-free international transactions
  • Priority support
  • 1% cashback on specific purchases (totaling $4,500 a month)
  • Dedicated account management
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
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