How To Stop a Subscription Successfully and End the Recurring Charges
From meal kits to gym memberships, subscriptions have become an indispensable part of everyday life. According to a 2022 survey conducted by C+R Research, consumers spend an average of $219 a month on subscription services.
However, some subscriptions may not be worth your hard-earned money, leading you to a decision to make some cuts. Once you decide to cancel specific services, consult this guide to learn how to stop a subscription effectively. Our tutorial will share useful tips for canceling different types of subscriptions and preventing unwarranted charges.
Note that the content in this article is valid as of November 2023. Please visit the official website of the service you want to cancel to get the latest and most accurate information.
Understanding How Subscriptions Work
Subscription-based businesses sell access to their products or services for a monthly or yearly fee. When signing up for a subscription, you typically need to provide your card or bank account details, choose one of the offered pricing plans, and pay the first installment. The subscription renews with each billing cycle, charging you automatically until it expires or you cancel it.
Some companies offer free trials of their products or services to give you an idea of what you can expect before committing long-term.
How To Remove Unwanted Subscriptions—General Instructions and Tips
Before canceling a subscription, you should consider the following factors:
- Date of cancellation—You should stop a subscription at least a few days before the end of the billing cycle to avoid having to pay for another month of services.
- Access to benefits—After canceling, you can typically keep using your subscription until the end of the billing period.
- Refunds—Some companies may issue a refund if you cancel your subscription within a specified period. If you cancel after that time, you likely won’t be able to get a refund for the period you’ve already paid for, even if you don’t use the service (except in some specific cases).
- Other fees—Depending on the company, you may be subject to additional fees upon subscription cancellation. For example, if you sign a fixed-term contract, which is common among internet service providers, you may have to pay an early termination fee if you cancel before the end of the term. In case you leased any equipment, you may also need to pay to have it returned.
The cancellation process depends on where you’ve purchased the subscription. If you’ve purchased it directly through the company’s website or app, you may find the option to cancel within your account settings. Most companies have articles within their help centers that explain how to terminate your subscription.
If you’re billed for a subscription by a third party, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play, you’ll have to stop the subscription via those specific platforms.
How To Cancel an Apple App Store Subscription
The table below breaks down the cancellation steps for subscriptions purchased via the Apple App Store:
|On an iOS Device
|On a Computer
*Note that you may have to scroll down to find the option.
How To Cancel a Google Play Store Subscription
Take the steps in the table below to stop a subscription purchased through Google Play:
On an Android Device
On a Computer
How To Cancel a Microsoft Subscription
Be it Microsoft 365, Xbox, or an app purchased via the Microsoft Store, you can discontinue it by following these steps:
- Go to your account on Microsoft’s website, then Services & subscriptions.
- Find the subscription to cancel and click or tap Manage.
- Select Cancel or Cancel or Upgrade on the next page.
- Follow the provided instructions to cancel the subscription.
How To Cancel Common Subscription Services
The sections below will tackle the cancellation processes of these commonly used subscription categories:
- Streaming services
- Delivery services
- Software-as-a-service subscriptions
- Telecommunication services
In a Forbes Advisor Survey, over 90% of participants claimed to use streaming platforms, which makes them the most popular category of subscription services in the U.S. The following table will explain how to cancel some of the most beloved streaming services:
The second most popular subscription category in the above-mentioned Forbes Advisor survey was delivery services. Find out how to discontinue some of them in the table below:
Via the website:
Via the app:
You can also terminate your subscription by calling Walmart Customer Care at (800) 924-9206.
Cancel your HelloFresh at least five days prior to the next scheduled delivery to avoid additional order charges.
You have two options:
Refer to the table below to learn how to cancel some well-known software-as-a-service subscriptions:
Telecommunication service providers usually have slightly more complex cancellation procedures—learn about some of them below:
You can stop your Verizon subscription by calling the company’s customer support at 1-844-837-2262 or online within the My Verizon web portal or app by following these steps:
Afterward, you have 30 days to return any equipment you’ve rented. If you cancel while under contract, you may also need to pay an early termination fee, which can cost a maximum of $350 ($15 is deducted for each month of the subscription that has passed).
You can cancel Xfinity in three ways:
You’ll also need to return the leased equipment and potentially cover the early termination fee, which depends on your type of contract and the time you have left on your subscription.
Potential Issues With Subscription Cancellation
While you can sign up for a subscription fairly easily, signing off may require much more time and effort. Some of the most common obstacles users run into when attempting to cancel a subscription include:
- Confusing design—Some companies may use specific design elements in their cancellation funnels to get you to miss a step and keep paying for the subscription. For example, they may embed small and unnoticeable cancellation buttons or use ambiguous language.
- Complex process—In some cases, you have to navigate a multi-step cancellation mechanism. The company may require you to complete a survey, contact customer support by phone or chat to confirm your cancellation, or, in extreme cases, cancel in person.
- Sales pitches—While you’re going through the cancellation process, you may encounter various limited-time offers and lectures about what you’re missing out on by canceling.
- Technical issues—You may come across a bug or another problem during cancellation. For instance, the cancellation button may not be working, or the company may fail to send a confirmation email.
- Continued charges—Even if you do everything by the book, there’s a chance you’ll be charged for the subscription again.
If you come across a problem while attempting to cancel a subscription, it’s best to get in touch with the company’s customer support immediately and resolve the issue before the next billing cycle starts.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently contemplating the implementation of a new rule that would require companies to simplify their cancellation processes. Regardless, you should employ other means to protect your funds from unwarranted charges, such as virtual cards.
Virtual Cards To the Rescue
Although connected to an actual funding source, virtual cards mask your financial information with random card numbers at checkout. This creates an integral layer of protection around your online transactions.
Some consumers may use virtual cards to shield their financial information from potential theft, but particular virtual card providers, such as Privacy, can also help you control your spending and protect yourself from overcharges by subscription services.
Take Charge of Your Funds With Privacy Virtual Cards
Privacy is your best bet against unwarranted and excessive charges from merchants and subscription services. You can connect your debit card or bank account with Privacy, create virtual cards for your online purchases, and use their card controls to limit or stop unwanted billing.
You can create two types of Privacy Cards:
- Single-Use Card—Since it closes minutes after you complete the first transaction, this card is ideal for shopping on unfamiliar or unverified websites.
- Merchant-Locked Card—This card “locks” to the first merchant you buy from, so it’s suitable for websites you shop on frequently and recurring payments, such as subscriptions.
Another reason Merchant-Locked Cards are an appealing choice for subscription payments is that they allow you to set spending limits and pause or close cards almost instantly without impacting the funding source. Privacy will block all charges on paused or closed cards, as well as those that exceed the designated limit. The spending limits will limit or prevent merchants from overcharging you, whereas pausing or closing your cards protects against any charges sneaking through while you’re attempting to cancel unwanted subscriptions.
Privacy Browser Extension and Mobile App
Besides the web portal, Privacy has a browser extension and mobile app to make online transactions more convenient.
The Privacy Browser Extension autofills card details for you at checkout, so you don’t have to reach for your wallet or memorize card numbers. The extension is available on all the popular browsers—Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, as well as Safari for mobile, enabling fast and seamless checkouts to iPhone and iPad users.
The Privacy app for Android and iOS allows you to generate and manage virtual cards regardless of your location. The app can also send you a notification when one of your cards is used or declined so you can detect potentially suspicious activity promptly.
How To Set Up Privacy Virtual Cards
To get your Privacy Cards, proceed as follows:
- Sign up
- Enter the information required to verify your identity
- Connect a bank account or debit card
- Request and create Privacy Virtual Cards
When signing up, you can choose between three plans. The Personal plan, which is free for domestic transactions, includes 12 virtual cards monthly and all the benefits mentioned in this article. Opt for the Pro ($10/month) or Premium ($25/month) plan if you want additional cards and features such as:
- Fee-free foreign transactions
- Priority support
- 1% cashback on eligible purchases (up to $4,500 a month)