2020 Visa trial subscription requirement changes guide

*UPDATE* In light of COVID-19 Visa has delayed the enhanced statement descriptor requirement until April 17, 2021. Stripe posted information on our Support site about these rules earlier this year. Below is a guide to help you navigate the changes you need to make to be compliant with the rules changes. As always, if you have additional questions, contact Stripe Support.

Do these changes apply to me?

Requirements

If you do offer free or promotional trial subscriptions, you will need to comply with the following requirements (each discussed in further detail below):

  1. Obtain express consent prior to collecting customer payment information

  2. Email customers with a reminder at least 7 days before the trial subscription converts to paid

  3. Provide customers with enhanced receipts at the commencement of the trial

  4. Add an enhanced statement descriptor to flag the commencement of the paid period

  5. Provide customers with a digital or SMS cancellation method

Visa has also published a FAQ that includes a Quick Reference Card that summarizes the new requirements. Note that additional requirements apply for EU customers -- see "Additional requirements for users in EU" section below.


1. Obtain express consent

You must disclose the following information and obtain express consent to entering an ongoing subscription service for recurring payments, prior to collecting customer payment information for the purposes of a free or promotional period trial: 


Subscription best practices

To prevent charge disputes and ensure compliance with the card networks’ requirements, make sure your website clearly describes your subscription services, and especially your free or promotional trial offers. In particular, you will need to make sure that your customers understand when free or promotional trials expire, and how a customer may cancel prior to the commencement of the paid period. For an example of a term that includes this description, see the Subscriptions section of the Stripe Shop Terms of Use

Integration guidance for Stripe products 

Please navigate to the product-specific pages listed below for more details on how to update your integration: 


2. 7 day email reminder

Once you enroll a customer for a free or promotional period trial, you will need to make sure that the receipts you issue to customers contain the following information mandated by the card networks:


Subscription Best Practices

It is important that your receipt contains the important information about the subscription and the free or promotional trial period. This information gives customers full visibility into their current and upcoming transaction details, which can help prevent surprises and future disputes. 

Integration guidance for Stripe products 

Please navigate to the product-specific pages listed below for more details on how to update your integration: 


3. Enhanced Receipts

Once you enroll a customer for a free or promotional period trial, you will need to make sure that the receipt you issue to customers contain the following information mandated by the card networks:

Subscription Best Practices

It is important that your receipt contains the important information about the subscription and the free or promotional trial period. This information gives customers full visibility into their current and upcoming transaction details, which can help prevent surprises and future disputes. 

Integration guidance for Stripe products 

Please navigate to the product-specific pages listed below for more details on how to update your integration: 

4. Enhanced Statement Descriptors

*UPDATE* In light of COVID-19 Visa has delayed the enhanced statement descriptor requirement until April 17, 2021. When a subscription converts from the free or promotional trial period to the paid period, you are required to include text in the statement descriptor that makes it clear that the trial period has ended. While the networks have not mandated the exact wording to be used, we are recommending that you add TRIAL END or TRIAL OVER to the beginning OR end of the statement descriptor.

Note that:


Subscription Best Practices

Ensure that your product and service descriptions are short and succinct descriptors. 10 characters is the recommended product and service description length. You might want to review existing statement descriptors to align with this requirement and ensure you’re giving customers accurate information. You can set a shortened descriptor in Account settings to avoid truncation.

After you clean up your statement descriptors, decide how you want to convey the end of a free trial subscription. You can use *TRIAL END or *TRIAL OVER  (requires *) but you need to decide if something more descriptive is better for your business.

Integration guidance for Stripe products 

Please navigate to the product-specific pages listed below for more details on how to update your integration: 


5. Digital and SMS Cancellation for Customers

Any subscription that begins with a free or promotional trial must have a mechanism to cancel electronically or via SMS. Stripe Billing users can begin to use the self-serve portal, which will host a cancellation/subscription management page to help you comply with this requirement. If you are interested, sign up here to learn more.

Subscription Best Practices

We believe that most customers access their subscriptions electronically and expect to have options to update or cancel their requirements through the same means. It is important to provide relevant information to simplify the process of cancellation for customers.

Integration guidance for Stripe products 

If you are a Stripe Billing, Checkout, or Receipts user, navigate to product-specific pages for more details. 


Additional requirements for users in EU 

If you are located in the EU, you will also need to: