Whenever you sign up for anything, always read the details carefully so you know how frequently you’ll be charged and, crucially, whether the subscription renews on its own. It’s all too easy to subscribe to something you only need once, completely forget about it, and wind up losing money on an automatic renewal. These are also referred to as Continuous Payment Authorities, or CPAs.
This is especially worth keeping in mind if you’re trying to take advantage of a free or discounted trial on a particular service. Even when a free trial is offered, you may well be asked for your card information anyway. This almost always means that the subscription will renew automatically. If you don’t cancel in time, they’ll start charging you after the trial period ends.
Sometimes, these retailers will email you to remind you that your trial is ending so that you have time to cancel if you want. Just as often, however, they’ll stay quiet and you could end up being charged for subsequent months without noticing, so don’t get caught out, and remember to write the dates that trial periods end in your diary so you can cancel them if you want to.
Cancelling a CPA can be as straightforward as asking your card provider to stop making the payment each month. However, often you’ll have to go directly to the retailer, and they may take their time responding to a cancellation request. For this reason, it’s good to cancel a few days before the trial period is due to finish.