How-To: Optimize Your Online Subscription Spending
Subscription-based services are quickly becoming the norm in the consumer tech world: Pandora One, Netflix and Evernote Premium offer a few examples.
RingCentral operates on a subscription basis, too – so we’d like to take this opportunity to share a few “subscription service” spending tips.
Keep your credit card info up to date
If you want your subscriptions to continue without interruption, update your credit card information with service providers any time your cards change.
Card companies will send you a new card when your current one expires, typically without your having to do anything. The challenge is to remember to update your card info with subscription service providers – not all of them will send reminders when your saved card is nearing expiration.
Most subscription companies make updates easy. On a RingCentral plan, for example, simply log in to the RingCentral service site as an account admin, click the Billing tab, select Payment Method and click the “Edit Payment Method” button at the bottom of the Payment Method pane.
Check your card statements
Many subscription services do not invoice you when your saved card gets charged. That means it’s incumbent on you to ensure you’re not being billed incorrectly.
Make it a habit to check your card statement(s) every month, if not more often. For simplicity’s sake, I have set my cards to automatically hit my checking account when payment time rolls around. But I still receive my monthly card statements via email, and I look at them line-by-line for errant charges.
Audit your spending
Subscription service providers make it all too easy to hand over your billing info. Signing up for Netflix, for example, requires you to fill in just six form fields.
You may, therefore, discover that you’re getting billed each month for services you don’t even remember buying. Take some time every few months and sum up how much you’re actually spending on subscriptions.
That includes cell phone service, which can be very expensive on an amortized basis. An unlimited smartphone plan might not seem so pricey, but $100+ per month can add up over the term of a contract.