Free Trials Are Great If You Know How to Cancel Before Paying

It's important to know how to cancel a free trial before you even sign up. Free trials are usually safe, if you plan how you'll cancel before you pay.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Mar. 22 2023, Updated 2:05 p.m. ET

A TV with streaming service trials
Source: Unsplash/Nicolas J Leclercq

Free trials of streaming services and other services help you figure out what's worth paying for.

With such a wide variety of similar services, especially for entertainment through streaming, it can be tough to decide which services will work best for you. That's part of why companies like Hulu offer free trial periods. They give you full access to the product for a set period of time for free. While these offers are helpful, you need to know how to cancel a free trial before you get charged.

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Savvy consumers know to try out a product or service before paying the full price. For example, you can get a free trial period of Amazon Prime, Walmart+, and pretty much all TV streaming services. The free trials usually last seven to 14 days before your credit card is charged. However, if you aren't careful, you could end up paying for a lot of services you don't use.

Walmart+ offers a free trial period.
Source: Walmart Facebook

Walmart+ is just one of the services that you can try out for free.

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Why do people sign up for free trials?

Of course, people love to get something for nothing, which is part of the appeal of a free trial. Plus, most of us truly want to know whether we like a service before we commit to paying for it. Some free trials end with an automatic payment for the full year, while others may charge you monthly until you cancel.

Free trials are generally a good thing for customers. They let you "try before you buy." There's the risk that you'll love the service and not be able to afford it, and it may be hard to stick to your plan of canceling. But for many of us, a free trial simply helps us narrow down the field of choices, such as for streaming services.

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An Apple credit card
Source: Unsplash

Keep an eye on your credit card statements if signing up for multiple free trials.

What should you know before signing up for a free trial? Consider these tips

The best thing to do before you sign up for a free trial is read the terms and conditions. Find out how long your free trial will last, when the company will begin charging you, and how cancellation works.

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Most free trials require you to submit payment information such as a credit card and will automatically charge you when the free trial ends. One way to handle signups is to use a virtual credit card, which is a onetime unique card number created by your actual card company or bank. This helps ensure you won't be charged continuously for a subscription if the company ends up not honoring your cancellation request.

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A woman using a free trial on a laptop
Source: Getty Images
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Whether you only sign up for a free trial to binge-watch that one show everyone's talking about, or you're just testing out a service before you buy, here's how to avoid being charged unwillingly.

    • Set reminders before the trial ends (multiple reminders, if needed).
    • Check the cancellation policy carefully so you know how early you have to initiate cancellation.
    • Review credit card billing statements regularly to catch any forgotten subscriptions promptly.
    • Don't be tempted by new offers the company sends to stop you from canceling.

    How do you cancel an HBO Max free trial?

    If you're trying out HBO Max, know that it auto-renews until you cancel. You'll want to cancel a couple of days before it renews. Also, HBO Max bills through several different providers, so you need to know which provider you're using and follow their cancellation instructions.

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    How do you cancel a YouTube TV free trial?

    YouTube TV offers a free trial in the U.S., although its 14-day free trial offer ended on March 17, 2023. On the YouTube TV support page, there's an easy clickable button for either cancellation or pausing your service. To cancel:

    1. Visit on a web browser.
    2. Select your profile.
    3. Go to Settings, then Membership, then Manage, then Cancel.

    How can you cancel a Hulu free trial?

    Hulu logo
    Source: Hulu Facebook

    Hulu offers free trials of varying lengths. To cancel during the free trial, go to your account page online, select "Cancel," and follow all further instructions. But be careful not to cancel too soon, because Hulu will stop your access immediately, not wait until the free trial ends.

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    How do you cancel a Walmart+ free trial?

    If using a Walmart+ free trial, you may contact customer care or cancel from your account page. Walmart says you must cancel before the trial period or current billing period ends.

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    How can I cancel an Amazon Prime free trial?

    Amazon homepage
    Source: Unsplash/Marques Thomas

    Amazon Prime trial members can cancel easily. Just navigate to your Amazon Prime account online and click "End your Amazon Prime membership." If using the Android mobile app, you must use Google Subscription to manage your account.

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    How can cancel Adobe's free trial through the company website?

    To cancel a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud, navigate to this website and follow the prompts to cancel. If Cancel isn't an option, your payment may be in process, so try again in 24 hours. Adobe issues refunds for most plans if you cancel within 14 days of initial purchase.

    How can you cancel the Apple Music free trial?

    Apple Support lists cancellation instructions for Apple Music for desktop, iPhone or iPad, Mac, and Windows PC. Typically, navigate to the app or account you're using and follow prompts to cancel.

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