Subscription services are becoming more and more common, and we all use them. Whether it’s for Amazon Prime, dating websites or slimming products, they’re extremely convenient to consumers, usually offering a stellar deal to pique interest and curiosity. These deals often include a free trial period or lower subscription rates for the first 3 months. Sounds irresistible, right?
Unfortunately, this is a clever ploy identified by the UK government as the “subscription trap” which costs the UK £4Bn per year!
A survey of 2023 adults undertaken by Citizen’s advice shows that women are almost three times as likely to be caught out by subscription traps than men, with 71% of those affected by subscription traps being women compared to 28% being male.
The way it works is the introductory offer entices people to sign up to a service, and then the service which will charge users without further notice, once the trial period ends. The subscription companies know that these payments will continue irrespective of whether the individual uses the service or not, and that customers might put off cancelling these small charges to enable them to spend their precious weekends doing something more fun than wasting hours on the phone, trying to cancel.
So why are women more susceptible to falling for subscription traps, you might wonder? An analysis of the type of products responsible for luring customers into subscription traps reveals the answer. Slimming products and face & skin creams constitute over 40% of unwanted paid subscription service and these are more commonly associated with the fairer sex.
This isn’t to say that all beauty subscription services are created by evil conglomerates out to steal your money, and there are some excellent beauty subscription services available to both men and women, although there is much more variety available for ladies. The Independent’s Olivia Blair (@livblair) wrote an excellent piece listing some examples, ranging from more up-market services like Mintd to much cheaper alternatives, such as My Little Box, found here. Mintd supplies you with high end products worth at least £135 for £65 each month, from luxury brands like Dermalogica, Evidens and Magic Stripe. One of our personal recommendations is Glossybox, which my partner suggests is exceptional value for money.
So how can you keep track of an ever-increasing number of subscriptions to ensure you aren’t inadvertently spending more money than you thought on subscription services? SmartBill was launched specifically with this in mind and helps you manage these payments. Through analyzing your out-going bank transactions, the secure web application notifies you how much money is being taken from you, and by whom in case there are subscriptions you have forgotten about or unknowingly signed up for. Additionally, if it identifies any subscriptions that you may wish to cancel it lets you do so in the click of the button, so you can spend your free time doing something else, (Netflix, anybody?)!
By reminding you of the subscription fees you have coming out of your bank account, you are more in control of your money. With more than 60% of the UK population losing money to subscription services every year and over two thirds of these being women, it really is worth trying our free service to put you back in control of your wallet.