New Visa Trial Subscription Rules For All Merchants

Visa Trial Subscription Rules Changes - Effective Immediately

Attention NETbilling Merchants,

VISA has recently published an announcement, applying to merchants selling either physical or digital goods and services, if they offer free trials or introductory offers that roll into an ongoing subscription / recurring agreement. VISA has defined these new requirements aiming to avoid cardholder complaints and confusion as well as tracking and monitoring difficulties. 

We have uploaded the PDF provided to us from Visa illustrating the required changes that you will need to make and have provided a summary below as well.

Click here to view and download

  1. Effective April 18th 2020: At the time of enrollment, merchants must require the cardholder to expressly consent to entering an ongoing subscription service for recurring payments. This consent should be separate from the cardholder’s consent with any other general terms and conditions.
  2. Effective April 18th 2020: An electronic reminder notification and a link to online cancellation at least seven days before initiating a recurring transaction should be sent to the cardholder if:
    • a trial period, introductory offer or promotional period has expired;
    • or the nature of the recurring agreement has changed. 

This communication should include:

  • an electronic copy of the terms and conditions of the subscription service; confirmation that the cardholder has agreed to a subscription, unless the cardholder cancels;
  • the start date of the subscription;
  • details of the goods or services;
  • ongoing transaction amount;
  • billing frequency or date;
  • link or other simple mechanism to enable the cardholder to easily cancel any subsequent transactions online.

Please note: NETbilling offers a subscription cancellation link for your sites. Please contact NETbilling support for more details on implementation.

If the trial, introductory offer or promotional period is seven days or less, the initial confirmation provided to the cardholder should include the details required in the reminder as stated above.

  1. Effective April 18th 2020: Merchants must disclose the following on transaction receipts upon establishment of the agreement:
    • length of any trial period, introductory offer or promotional period, including clear disclosure that the cardholder will be charged unless the cardholder cancels any subsequent transactions;
    • transaction amount and date for the initial transaction (even if no amount is due) and for subsequent recurring transactions;
    • link or other simple mechanism to enable the cardholder to easily cancel any subsequent transactions online.
  2. Effective April 18th 2020: Merchants must provide an easy way to cancel the subscription or payment method online, regardless of how the cardholder initially interacted with the merchant. For the ease of cancellation, VISA provides as an example the unsubscribing from an email distribution list.
  3. Effective April 17th 2021 (originally slated for April 18, has been delayed until 2021): An additional descriptor indicating a trial period-related transaction will be required in the Merchant Name field for the first transaction at the end of the trial period (i.e., the first transaction after the trial period has expired). For this additional descriptor, VISA provides as an example “trial”, “trial period” or “free trial”. NETbilling is developing system changes to support this within our payment gateway. Details will be released when ready.

If you have any quesitons regarding the new rules, please contact your merchant bank directly. Our staff cannot answer Visa policy changes beyond what is stated in this communication.

Thank you, NETbilling Merchant Relations Department