Stunning and the 2020 Visa Trial Subscription Requirement Changes

As you may have heard from Stripe already, VISA is putting in new rules for merchants who accept VISA cards and offer free trials. Many Stunning customers take advantage of our lifecycle emails that help you to communicate with your customers starting the moment that they sign up for a new subscription.

To determine if you need to change what you’re currently doing to meet the requirements, please consult this document from Stripe: https://support.stripe.com/questions/2020-visa-trial-subscription-requirement-changes-guide

After discussing the new changes with Stripe Support, we’ve figured out the changes that we’ll need to make so that Stunning customers can be fully compliant. This blog post will contain our recommendations for changing things that Stunning does support now, and we’ll also show our progress towards the new features/functionality that we’re building. We will give you the tools/functionality to be compliant well before the deadline.

This blog post is meant to accompany the Stripe blog post, so you can refer to that for detailed information about each section.

These are the new rules that VISA has mandated:

  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

The 2 that concern Stunning are below:

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

Currently, Stripe sends out a customer.subscription.trial_will_end webhook 3 days before a customer’s trial ends. Stunning’s current Trial Expiration emails are sent based on that webhook. Stripe currently has no plans to change the timing of that webhook.

Changes that Stunning will be making to support this

    • We’ll be adding a new Trial Expiration email template that you’ll be able to use to send an email to customers 7 days before they are charged.

As of April 2, 2020, this is done.

    • We’ll also add a Condition for Card Brand, so that if you’d like for the 7 day reminder to only be sent to customers using Visa, and the 3 day reminder for everyone else, you can.

As of March 15, 2020, this is done.

 


Provide customers with enhanced receipts at the commencement of the trial

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:

  • Length of the trial period, including clear disclosure that the customer will be charged unless they take steps to cancel any subsequent transactions.
  • Transaction amount and date for the initial transaction (even if no amount is due) and for subsequent recurring transactions.
  • A link to a mechanism that enables the customer to cancel the subscription online or via SMS/text message.

Changes that Stunning will be making to support this

As this is a one time email that should be sent out at the beginning of a trial, Stunning already supports some this with our Welcome Email. You’ll just need to add more information to that email template. Here’s how we currently fare on that:

    • Length of the trial period, including clear disclosure that the customer will be charged unless they take steps to cancel any subsequent transactions.

Stunning already supports including the length of the trial in your Welcome email variables, and we include it by default.

    • Transaction amount and date for the initial transaction (even if no amount is due) and for subsequent recurring transactions.

Stunning already supports this. You can include the amount that the customer will be charged for their subscription and even the interval, with a few variables.  For instance, you can use this: “##currency_symbol####amount## per ##billing_interval##” 

    • A link to a mechanism that enables the customer to cancel the subscription online or via SMS/text message.

Stunning already supports this in our Welcome emails. You can include a link that allows a customer to cancel their subscription with one click. The variable for that is available in the variable dropdown. It’s “##cancel_link##”.

Recommendations

We recommend that you use our Welcome Email as the “commencement of trial” receipt. The welcome email is already sent out when a customer begins their subscription. If only some of your plans include a free trial, you can use Conditions based on the Plan Names to send the right Welcome Email to the right customers.