United Kingdom

Lloyds announces in-app service to let customers cancel subscriptions

Millions of Lloyds Bank customers who signed up for new subscription services during the coronavirus lockdown will be able to cancel them in their banking apps under a new service.

Britain's biggest bank, which also runs Halifax and Bank of Scotland, will launch the service over the next few months after a pilot.

The bank's 11million mobile customers will be able to view the subscription services they've signed up to in one spot and cancel them with three clicks.

The bank has unveiled an update allowing people to cancel subscription services in its app

It said customers could also sign up for notifications telling them when the price of their service increased, or when they were due to be billed.

Lloyds said it planned to send alerts before a customer's free trial ended in a few months' time, potentially saving them money on a service they didn't plan on paying for, but for now notifications will only be sent after payments are taken.

However, if someone is already aware of when their free trial is due to end, they can use the app to cancel it before they are billed for the first time.

Many banks already let customers view, manage and cancel direct debits and standing orders through their mobile apps, but this is not the case with subscription services despite their booming popularity.

The announcement is the latest move by Britain's biggest bank to revamp its digital offering to keep pace with smartphone challengers like Monzo and Starling.

Last year it brought in instant spending notifications and alerts when customers received refunds, paid bills and standing orders and sent money to friends. 

Millions have signed up for subscription services during lockdown, especially TV streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ 

Lloyds said 1.3million of its customers signed up to subscription services in March and 600,000 in April during the coronavirus lockdown.

Households stuck at home have signed up for TV streaming services in particular, according to the market research company Kantar, but food boxes and other paid for services have also likely proved popular.

How many people plan to continue with such services as the lockdown eases is anyone's guess, but the Lloyds update would appear to make it easier for people to cancel, especially if they have forgotten just how many they've signed up to.

Customers have previously needed either to call up their bank or cancel through the service provider.

Plans proposed by the payment provider Mastercard in January 2019 would have required subscription service providers to alert customers that their free trials were coming to an end, gain their consent before they billed them for the first time and make it easy for them to cancel any service.

Both Mastercard and Visa offer similar services in the US - but in Britain, customers must go themselves through their bank or the subscription service itself.

THIS IS MONEY'S FIVE OF THE BEST CURRENT ACCOUNTS

Santander's 123 Lite Account will pay up to 3% cashback on household bills. There is a £1 monthly fee and you must log in to mobile or online banking regularly, deposit £500 per month and hold two direct debits to qualify.

Santander

NatWest's Reward Silver Account offers a £175 switching incentive to new and existing customers as well as insurance cover for European travel. Customers can also earn rewards which can be redeemed as cash or gift cards.

NatWest

Club Lloyds's Current Account offers benefits such as cinema tickets, magazine subscriptions and dining cards to current account holders. There is no cost if you pay £1,500 each month, otherwise a £3 fee applies. Must hold two direct debits to earn monthly credit interest.

Santander

HSBC's Advance Account offers £175 cash if you switch to it. The account comes with a £1,000 starting overdraft and 2.75% regular saver account. There is no monthly fee, however you must deposit £1,750 per month into the account.

Nationwide

Nationwide's FlexDirect account comes with 5% interest on up to £2,500 - the highest interest rate on any current account - if you pay in at least £1,000 each month, plus a fee-free overdraft. Both perks last for a year.

Barclays

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