Why You Should Cancel Your Free Trials Immediately After You Sign Up

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Image: Pheelings media (Shutterstock)

Ever sign up for a free trial of an app because you’re curious about what it’s like, but you really don’t want to be locked in to paying for it? If you’re smart, you’ll take our advice and set a calendar reminder to cancel just before the trial period is up. But there’s an even smarter hack: cancel it immediately.

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I don’t mean after you’ve poked around the app and decided whether or not you like it. I mean instantly. Both iOS and Android app stores have a policy where you can still access what you paid for until your term ends. So if you’ve been paying for something at the beginning of every month, and then you cancel in the middle of the month, your subscription is still active through the end of that month.

Free trials (usually) work the same way, but somehow this didn’t occur to me until recently when I installed an app that had a three-day free trial. You have to cancel 24 hours before the end of the trial, and normally I set myself a calendar reminder a couple days ahead of time. I was trying to figure out when I should set that reminder for, when I had my galaxy brain moment: what if I just cancel now?

It worked, of course, and the rest is history. For the record, Apple says that while canceled, paid subscriptions last until the next payment is due, you “might” lose access if you cancel a free trial early. Android says that if a user cancels during a free trial, they keep their access until the end of the trial period.

It’s worth trying this instant-cancel hack for other free trials besides just apps, although the terms may vary. And if this line of discussion has you wondering how many subscriptions you’re paying for that you should have canceled already, here’s the instructions for how to review and mass cancel your iOS apps. (On Android, you’ll find a list of subscriptions in the Play store.) And next time, watch out for these red flags to avoid trying out a scammy subscription at all.

 

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