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4 Ways to Gain Maximum Benefits from Online Subscription Services

There are many online subscription services in Singapore that are now offering free trial programmes. But how do you make sure you are getting a good deals on these subscriptions? Here, we discuss a few ways you can receive the maximum value from these online offerings.

With so many online services that have launched to improve peoples' lives, Singaporean consumers are also facing a plethora of online subscription services th choose from. For example, a conglomeration of various online services have allied up to create LiveUp membership, which provides discounts and other features from 8 different online service providers in the country. Others like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify have also launched their own subscription programs globally to provide a premium access to their members. But how do you make sure you are getting a good deals on these subscriptions? Here, we discuss a few ways you can receive the maximum value from these online offerings.

Utilise the Free-Trials Sparingly

Most of these programs come with a 30 to 60 days free trial period, which can help consumers save money by and reduce the risk of paying for a service that they don't actually need or use frequently. For example, one can use the free trial to try out services like Netflix to see if he actually watches a lot of shows on the platform. If not, he would have avoided wasting his money on something he doesn't actually find that valuable. Of course, the service providers are hoping to attract more customers with their free trial memberships with hopes that their service is good enough to convince subscribers to stay.

Leading online subscription services in Singapore, their costs and free trials

However, there are a few major precautions you should heed when trying an online subscription. First, they should only sign up for free trials of services that they actually want to use over an extended period of time (at least a few months to a year). Most online subscription programs will offer the free trial only once to a particular customer. To enforce this, they usually monitor a person's name, email address and credit card information to check whether the customer has already experienced the free trial. Therefore, it's very important for consumers to sign up only if they actually plan on using the service frequently for the next 12 to 24 months. Subscribing to a trial just to use it a few times would waste the opportunity cost of being able to reap more benefits from the offering in the future.

A screenshot of LiveUp's Terms & Conditions specifying a previously registered account is not eligible for another free trial or any Partner promotional benefits under the same or different user information
A screenshot of LiveUp's Terms & Conditions

Link the Online Service Payment with an Appropriate Rewards Credit Card

If you decide to try out a subscription, you should make sure to use proper credit cards to register for the online service to reap full benefits. For example, credit cards from Citibank provide additional 3% on all one's spending with LiveUp merchants (i.e. Redmart, Lazada, Netflix, Grab, foodpands, ofo and Taobao). While most online shopping credit cards don't offer rewards on online subscription payments, you can still use them to earn rebates or miles on individual transactions you make with these services once you sign up (i.e. Amazon purchases, etc.).

Leading Citibank credit cards that can be used with LiveUp for extra cash rebate

Avoid Overlap in Subscription Services

To get as many customers as they can, online subscription providers make their memberships very easy to get. This also means that consumers may be prone to making the mistake of oversubscription, i.e. signing up for more services than they need. To avoid committing suhc a mistake, they should pay close attention to different services with a lot of overlap. For example, Amazon Prime should provide access to most of the songs that are available on Spotify's premium membership. On the flipside, you should also be careful of signing up for a service without doing a quick Google search for some kind of promotion. For exmaple, signing up for Netflix independently of LiveUp could be a losing deal, since LiveUp provides 6 month free trial for Netflix as opposed to just 1 month provided independently by Netflix.

Keep a Easily Visible Memo of When Your Free Trial is Ending

Lastly, in case that you actually do not find a big need for a subscription you tried, you should keep a memo of when your various trials are ending and keep the memo at a very visible location, so that they can easily cancel their memberships should they decide they actually don't require certain services. Almost all of these promotions lead to automatic continuation of one's membership, meaning the trial will automatically become a paying membership at the end of the free period without any notice to the consumer. In most cases, the terms & conditions of these online companies will state that the users are required to cancel their membership on their own before the end of their trial periods. It's especially easy to forget to cancel a membership that you don't use frequently because the service itself was not very top of mind. A lot of consumers easily forget when their trial is ending and forget to cancel a membership that they were trying but didn't end up using. This is a very easy to waste money on something you don't want, especially because most of these services won't provide refunds.

A screenshot of Netflix's Terms & Conditions specifying that free trials will automatically convert into a paying membership, and that payments are refundable.
A screenshot of Netflix's Terms & Conditions
Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.

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