Recurring Billing

Mastercard Requirements for Negative Option Billing and Subscriptionsanchor

From September 22, 2022, Mastercard is implementing new requirements for certain negative option billing merchants and for merchants who use a subscription model.

Negative option billing merchants (merchants who subscribe cardholders at the end of a free or low-cost trial period) who offer a trial period longer than seven days for a digital good (e.g. streaming service, software license, etc.) must send a reminder notice to cardholders no less than three days and no more than seven days before the end of the trial period that, unless the cardholder cancels their trial, their subscription will start. Merchants will need to include basic details of the subscription and steps to cancel in the notice sent to cardholders.


There are additional requirements for merchants who use a subscription model for a service, membership, physical product, or digital good.

Merchants must detail the terms of the subscription at the point of payment and expressly capture the cardholder’s acceptance of the subscription terms. The subscription disclosure must show the price of the subscription and the billing frequency. Negative option billing merchants must also disclose the terms of the subscription trial, any initial charges, length of the trial, as well as the price and frequency of the subscription once the trial period ends. Merchants may not link out to the subscription information, nor can they embed the subscription terms in a message box or require cardholders to scroll down a page to view the terms of the subscription.

Once enrolled to a subscription, merchants must send cardholders an email notice or other electronic communication that includes the subscription terms (including trial terms if applicable) and instructions of how to cancel the service. Merchants must also send a receipt electronically after each billing with instructions of how to cancel the subscription.


Per Mastercard Standards, merchants may not submit subsequent authorization requests for the same primary account number (PAN) when certain response codes are included in the original authorization requests. For more details, please refer to this page.

Cardholders must be provided with the ability to cancel their subscription online or provided online instructions of how to cancel.

Cardholders who are billed less frequently than every six months for a subscription must be sent a notice at least seven days but no more than thirty days before the billing date. The notice must include the subscription terms and cancellation instructions.

To learn more and for any additional questions, please contact us or reach out to your CSM if applicable.