Mastercard and Subaio Team to Help Consumers Control Subscriptions

CardX Lets Mastercard Users ‘Click-to-Pay’

Mastercard says it wants to help consumers get a better handle on their subscriptions.

To that end, the company announced Thursday (June 29) it had joined forces with subscription management service Subaio to help people unsubscribe from unwanted services at a time when consumers are feeling increasingly burdened by retail subscriptions.

“This solution provides consumers with visibility into their subscriptions and recurring payments within their digital banking platform, regardless of how the consumer chooses to pay,” Mastercard said in a news release. “No need to exit one app and log into another — consumers can unsubscribe from services directly within their digital banking app.”

Based in Denmark, Subaio is a graduate of StartPath, Mastercard’s incubator/partnership program for FinTechs. The companies’ solution is available now to banks in North America and Europe, the release said.

The companies argue that financial institutions that give consumers more control over their spending can lower operational costs, while merchants and issuers can avoid disputes and ease pressure on call centers.

And as PYMNTS’ reporting has shown, merchants who make it easier for consumers to end subscriptions can actually retain customers.

Alex Brown, CEO of subscription cleaning supplies provider Truly Free, told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in a round table last month that his company made sure to give subscribers the ability to cancel themselves directly from the membership portal.

The result, he said, was “less cancellation requests, more saves and less customer service time. That’s given us the latitude to take a little bit of the pressure off of them, and I think it’s caused more of them to come back in the future too.”

Recent research by PYMNTS found a slight increase of 0.2% of retail subscriptions between February and April of this year, an uptick that was offset by drops of 3 percentage points among high-income consumers and 3.8 percentage points among millennials.

“That gives the first quarter of 2023 the dubious distinction of consumers holding the lowest recorded number of subscriptions per subscriber since February 2021, averaging just 2.6 subscriptions each,” PYMNTS wrote earlier this month.

Against this backdrop, features that were once looked at as “nice-to-have” are now considered essential. For example, 62% of consumers say free shipping is the prime reason they use a retail subscription service, while discontinuing that free shipping could cause 41% to cancel.