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(Credit: Kkolosov/iStockphoto)

MasterCard (download for iOS or Android) is adding a safety net policy for anyone who forgot cancel a free trial, according to a blog post.

Merchants often let customers try out their product for a set number of days before charging the subscription fee. It's frustrating, though, when you wind up paying for something that you weren't satisfied with because of a complicated cancellation process.

The financial services company announced a change in their rules that would require merchants to gain cardholder approval at the end of a free trial before they start billing. The retailer will need to send the cardholder the transaction amount, payment date, merchant name and detailed instructions on how to cancel the trial, according to MasterCard.

SEE: Best personal finance apps to manage your money in 2019

If the cardholder chooses the continue with the subscription, after each payment, the retailer must send a receipt to the cardholder by email or text message. Like the message received at the end of the free trial, it will include the transaction amount, payment date, the merchant's name and how to cancel the service.

With the new changes, the cardholder's MasterCard statement will include the retailer's website URL or the phone number of the store where the item was purchased.

"At MasterCard, we want every commerce engagement to be simple, safe and secure and we are introducing rules for merchants that offer free-trials to make this a hassle-free experience for their consumers," the company said in a blog post.

Free trials give merchants a way to increase sales, improve products and overall customer satisfaction. MasterCard's new policies give more control back to the cardholder.

The company's new policies will help protect customers against fraudulent or unusual card activity and increase transparency in each transaction. Cardholders can also keep better track of when a merchant raises their prices, like the recent hike at Netflix.

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Takeaways

  1. MasterCard announced a policy change that would require merchants to gain cardholder approval at the end of a free trial before they start billing.
  2. If the cardholder continues with the subscription, the merchant must send a message that details the transaction amount, payment date, the merchant's name and how to cancel the service.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.