Subscriptions are integral to all of us, from entertainment to fitness and beyond. According to recent surveys, the average consumer now spends approximately $219 monthly on various subscriptions. Yet many consumers, despite initially subscribing, may later decide to discontinue services (often due to unused or forgotten subscriptions), choose to unsubscribe “off-platform” through their bank, their payment cards, or even through a number of stand-alone subscription management tools.

Mastering Subscriber Trust: Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Subscription Cancellations

Insights into Subscriber Cancellation Behavior and the Subscription Management Evolution
Source: Envanto Elements

Subscriptions are integral to all of us, from entertainment to fitness and beyond. According to recent surveys, the average consumer now spends approximately $219 monthly on various subscriptions. Yet many consumers, despite initially subscribing, may later decide to discontinue services (often due to unused or forgotten subscriptions), choose to unsubscribe “off-platform” through their bank, their payment cards, or even through a number of stand-alone subscription management tools.


Subscriber Cancellation Market Shifts

The market trends surrounding subscription cancellations include:

  • Increased Subscription Scrutiny: Consumers are becoming more vigilant about their subscription expenses. They are actively reviewing and evaluating the value derived from each service, leading to a rise in cancellations for underutilized or forgotten subscriptions.

  • Subscription Management Tools (For Consumers and B2B): The proliferation of subscription management apps and services signifies a growing demand among consumers for streamlined ways to manage their subscriptions. These tools offer features like monitoring, identifying unused subscriptions, and facilitating cancellations, reflecting the need for better subscription oversight.

  • Rising Cost Concerns: The average consumer spends a significant amount each month on subscriptions. As this cost accumulates, there’s a heightened sensitivity toward expenses. Consumers are seeking ways to cut unnecessary costs, resulting in more frequent cancellations of services they no longer find valuable.

  • Financial Institution Integration: Financial institutions, including banks and payment card providers, are integrating subscription management features into their platforms. This integration provides consumers with greater visibility and control over their recurring payments, making it easier for them to cancel subscriptions directly through their banking apps.

  • Market Response: Larger players, like Mastercard, entering the subscription management space indicate the market’s acknowledgment of this trend. Their partnerships with fintech companies underscore the recognition of the need for better subscription control mechanisms.

  • Competition among Subscription Management Tools: The emergence of various subscription management tools signals a competitive landscape in this market. These tools differ in features, pricing models, and accessibility, presenting consumers with a range of options to manage their subscriptions effectively.

  • Service Differentiation: Subscription businesses may need to reassess their offerings and consider value-adds or unique features to differentiate themselves. This could involve providing exclusive content, personalization, or enhanced customer service to retain subscribers.

  • Subscriber Behavior Changes: Consumer behavior regarding subscriptions is evolving. They are more likely to experiment with multiple services and platforms, leading to higher subscription counts across various categories. As a result, subscribers are seeking consolidated management solutions.

These trends emphasize the growing importance of subscriber-centric strategies for subscription businesses. Understanding subscriber behavior, offering value, enhancing service accessibility, and aligning with evolving subscription management preferences will be crucial for businesses aiming to retain subscribers in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

Source: Envanto Elements

Off-Platform Cancellations: Managing Subscriptions Beyond Your Brand Platform

When subscribers opt to discontinue a subscription, they might choose to do so “off-platform” not on your website or app but through their banks, payment cards, or standalone subscription management tools. It (should) go without saying that your subscription business needs to have a relationship and trust your customers so should they need to pause or cancel they do so with you vs. elsewhere. 

With that caveat, make sure you and your team understand these subscription management options that your subscribers are increasingly using to manage their subscriptions, including potentially, yours:

  1. Payment Cards & Banks: Major payment cards like VISA, MasterCard, and banks offer tools and alerts for customers to manage recurring payments within their accounts. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial as subscribers increasingly leverage these channels to oversee their subscription spending. Many offer programs for businesses to understand and manage their subscriber behavior on their tools.

  2. Subscription Management Apps:
    • Rocket Money: This app provides users with a single dashboard to monitor and manage subscriptions through their credit card or bank statements. For a fee, Rocket Money offers subscription cancellation services, a feature utilized by subscribers seeking to streamline their expenses. For subscription business owners, understanding that Rocket Money users might rely on the app to manage and potentially cancel subscriptions is vital.

    • PocketGuard: Focused on budgeting and expense tracking, PocketGuard connects to users’ financial accounts, including subscriptions. It allows users to identify unnecessary expenses and manage their subscriptions effectively. Subscription businesses may find that PocketGuard users often analyze their subscriptions within the app, leading to potential cancellations of underutilized services.

    • Mint: Similar to PocketGuard, Mint offers financial insights, including subscription monitoring and price increase alerts. For Apple users, a subscription cancellation service is available, allowing seamless termination of subscriptions. Subscribers using Mint might actively review their subscriptions, indicating potential churn decisions.

    • Bobby: Unlike broader financial apps, Bobby focuses solely on managing recurring subscription costs. Users can track and customize their subscription lists, potentially highlighting underused services and leading to cancellations.

    • Subby: An Android-exclusive app, Subby assists users in tracking subscriptions, providing an overview of monthly charges and notifications for bill due dates. For subscription business owners targeting Android users, Subby may be a platform where subscribers manage and reconsider their service subscriptions.

    • Trim: Although a web-based service, Trim examines bank and credit card records to locate recurring subscriptions and offers cancellation services. Businesses should be aware that subscribers using Trim might opt for cancellation after reviewing their subscriptions.

    • NachoNacho: NachoNacho is a B2B SaaS + services marketplace offering discounts on SaaS + Services (up to 30% off lifetime)and providing the ability to manage those subscriptions directly on its platform.

Staying updated on evolving subscriber behaviors within these subscription management platforms is key to retaining a loyal customer base. We recommend that you understand how your specific subscribers are engaging with them, and if they are, work with each subscription management provider (where available) to manage your subscribers where they are. 

Customer Retention concept on the gearwheels 3D rendering
Source: Bigstock

Building Trust: The Key for a Direct Subscriber Relationship with Your Brand

So how do you make sure your subscribers, should they want to cancel or pause, do so on your own website or app? 

Engaging with subscribers before they decide to cancel is pivotal. Tailored promotions, enhanced service value, and proactive communication can significantly influence subscriber retention rates. Building subscriber trust in a subscription-based service involves fostering a sense of reliability, transparency, and value. 

Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Clear Communication: Maintain open, consistent communication channels. Be transparent about subscription terms, billing cycles, and any changes to the service. Regularly update subscribers about new features, upgrades, or modifications.

  • Transparent Pricing and Policies: Ensure that pricing structures and policies are easy to understand and readily accessible. Clearly outline what the subscription includes, any potential additional fees, and cancellation terms.

  • Exceptional Customer Service: Provide prompt, helpful, and personalized customer support. Address subscriber queries and concerns efficiently. A positive customer service experience can significantly impact trust.

  • Personalization: Tailor the subscription experience to individual preferences whenever possible. Offer personalized recommendations, exclusive content, or customization options that demonstrate attentiveness to subscriber needs.

  • Consistent Value Delivery: Continually deliver value through the subscription service. Regularly update and improve the service based on subscriber feedback. Consistency in value reinforces trust.

  • Data Security and Privacy: Safeguard subscriber data and privacy. Be transparent about data usage, security measures, and compliance with privacy regulations. Assure subscribers that their information is secure.

  • Free Trials and Money-Back Guarantees:  Offer risk-free trial periods or money-back guarantees to alleviate subscriber concerns about commitment. This demonstrates confidence in the service’s value.

  • Community Building: Foster a community around the subscription service. Encourage interaction among subscribers, provide forums or spaces for discussion, and actively engage with the community.

  • Feedback Integration: Actively solicit and implement subscriber feedback. Demonstrating that subscriber opinions matter and influence service improvements reinforces trust in the service’s commitment to its users.

  • Honest Marketing and Advertising: Avoid misleading or exaggerated claims in marketing materials. Honest representation of the service builds trust and prevents subscriber disappointment.

  • Continual Improvement: Show a commitment to ongoing improvement and adaptation. Demonstrate that the service evolves based on subscriber needs and market trends.

Building trust is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and dedication. By prioritizing transparency, communication, and subscriber-centricity, subscription businesses can establish and nurture trust with their audience, fostering long-term relationships and loyalty.


The ability of your subscription business to pivot alongside shifting subscriber behaviors is critical. Especially with the trend of off-platform cancellations, it is essential to build subscriber trust. Establishing a direct relationship with subscribers is critical for businesses, enabling them to retain control over cancellations and fostering a sense of reliability and transparency.

Businesses that prioritize direct engagement, adaptability, and subscriber-centricity will thrive. In response to these trends, businesses must prioritize subscriber-centric strategies:

  • Engagement before Cancellation: Tailored promotions and enhanced service value can significantly influence subscriber retention rates.
  • Building Direct Subscriber Trust: Transparent communication, exceptional customer service, and consistent value delivery are pivotal in fostering trust and loyalty.
  • Understanding Subscriber Behavior: Proactively engaging with subscription management tools to comprehend subscriber behavior is crucial for businesses.

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