Subscription Management: 2022 Best Practices and Platforms

updated on 17 December 2021

5 minutes, by Erika Nesto

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The subscription service industry has completely skyrocketed in the past ten years which begs the question: Which platforms are the best for managing them, and how do they differ from one another?

Do you remember back when Netflix subscriptions first rolled out with the service of handpicking DVD titles to be mailed to your home? Talk about nostalgia.

While the concept of a subscription service is in no way new, the industry has completely skyrocketed in the past ten years. In fact, subscription business revenue has grown a whopping 437% over the past decade. This data supports the consumer preference shift from service “ownership” to “usership.”

The rise of the subscription service is fueled by an increasing growth of free-to-use services that: seek to later monetize, feature near-ubiquitous high speed internet access, and offer a de-bundling of features. As an example, Discord is currently launching their premium service to try to monetize. Also, just like Spirit Airlines did with baggage fees, even editing tweets is now held behind a subscription wall.

While there are numerous subscriptions these days, this actually helps consumers simply access services they need without clunky downloads, storage processes, or or large bills for cable channels you don’t watch.

Times have surely changed since the good ole’ Netflix DVD days. Now our list of subscriptions is ever-growing. In fact, more than 84% of American consumers subscribe to at least one service and, further, more than two-fifths (44%) subscribe to five or more services.

So, how does this impact you? 

With an endless surge of new subscription options, it is increasingly important to get organized. According to Chase Bank, 60% of consumers have forgotten about at least one recurring payment in the last year. Yikes.

The answer to staying organized is subscription management, or the process of utilizing a platform with full visibility of your various plans and details.

How do subscription managers work?

Subscription managers show you a list of the products or services you are subscribed to, your plan amount, payment dates, etc. It’s like a bank statement for your monthly or quarterly subscriptions specifically. The subscription managers log and track all of this information for you in real time. However, some are more efficient than others.

What are the two types of subscription managers?

When it comes to managing your subscriptions and choosing a platform to do so, not all options are created equal. Some platforms will require the customer to input all of their subscriptions themselves, while others track the subscriptions digitally through your bank account or card statements.

Let’s delve a little more into this so that you can get a better picture.

Bill Organizer

The first type of subscription management platform is the kind that requires the user to input all of their subscription information manually. This could be by looking up charges and typing the details directly or logging into each subscription to connect the service. This is not only a timely option but also leaves room for error. Sadly, a new 2021 survey reveals that 58% of Americans admit that they do not know exactly what they’re being charged for each month.

Examples include Subby, Bobby, and Splitwise

Tracking and Management

The other type of subscription management platform tracks the customer’s subscriptions securely, categorically, and automatically. To use, these platforms connect to your bank or card account through Plaid or MX. These platforms then automatically import charges to your cards or banks, categorize transactions, confirm recurring payments, track future payment dates, etc. This option is more intuitive and encompassing; catching details or subscriptions consumers may miss. This option is also typically free nowadays.

Examples include WellPaid, Trim, and Truebill

Top subscription management platforms: Features comparison

So, we’ve talked about subscription management, how subscription managers work, and the bill organizer vs tracking and management service. Now, you are ready to decide which platform to use. We did the heavy lifting for you by researching the most important features to look for and comparing them across the top subscription management platforms.

Let’s dive in.  

WellPaid  (www.getwellpaid.com)

  • Best For: Sharing subscriptions or bills with others as includes simple P2P transfer system and simple organization group to track bills together
  • Cost: Free, with option to upgrade to Pro (coming soon)
  • Type: Tracking & Management
  • Setup: Connects to card and bank accounts with bank login
  • Free Stuff: Share subscriptions to track with others, get paid back automatically, send transfers to split bills, track your share of shared bills
  • Premium: Share login and passwords in one place, build a financial plan for your share of charges, and set money aside to pay bills all at once
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly interface, best-in-class subscription identification, tracks spend, easy to share tracking or payments with others
  • Alerts: Auto-reminders to others for late payments and alerts for bill surprises, issues with autopay, and monthly summaries of upcoming charges
  • Planning: Helps track categorized expenses and plan for your share of charges, even if others pay or request from you
  • Special Features: Password sharing (coming soon). Share bills with others, sends reminders if others are late to pay you back, track your share of charges, shared ledger to split multiple bills for trips, and store logins in one place to share with others

Truebill  (www.truebill.com)

  • Best For: Cancelling unwanted subscriptions and recovery of bank fees
  • Cost: Free, with option to upgrade to Premium (>$3/mth)
  • Type: Tracking & Management
  • Setup: Connects to card and bank accounts with bank login
  • Free Stuff: Track charges, cancel subscriptions, seek refunds for fees and outages
  • Premium: Syncing your balance, premium chat, cancellations concierge, custom categories, unlimited budgets, and smart savings
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly, mobile, clear layout, identifies subscriptions, tracks spend, tracking of spend, accessible, easy to use
  • Alerts: Keep track of multiple accounts, bills, and account updates
  • Planning: Easy to use budgeting tools, tailored to income, goals, and lifestyle
  • Special Features: Negotiate and cancel subscriptions (requires a success fee). Upload copy of bill, provide information about services, Truebill team will negotiate lower rate from there 

Trim (www.asktrim.com)

  • Best For: Cancelling and identifying subscriptions and access to financial planners.
  • Cost: Free, with option to upgrade to Premium ($99/yr)
  • Type: Tracking & Management
  • Setup: Connects to card and bank accounts with bank login
  • Free Stuff: Track charges, cancel subscriptions, set bill reminders, and get savings suggestions
  • Premium: Bank interest rate and bill negotiation, unlimited access to Trim financial planners via email
  • Ease of Use: Easy to use interface, identifies subscriptions, tracks spend, and connects with text or FB messenger
  • Alerts: Transaction and balance text alerts
  • Planning: Searches bank account for ways to cut expenses you may not even know about
  • Special Features: Negotiate and cancel subscriptions (requires a success fee). Upload copy of bill, provide information about services, the Trim team will negotiate lower rate from there 

Splitwise (www.splitwise.com)

  • Best For: International currency exchange and simple setup
  • Cost: Free, with option to upgrade to Pro ($3/mth)
  • Type: Bill Organizer
  • Setup: Type in charges and manually enter payments
  • Free Stuff: Calculate how much to pay others for informal debts like bills, shared meals, and travel
  • Premium: Receipt scanning, default splits, and no ads
  • Ease of Use: Simple interface and history list, easy setup as does not track bills or connect to payment information
  • Alerts: Notifications for ‘Recent Activity’ with friend requests
  • Planning: Pro subscription provides charts and overviews of bills typed into the system
  • Special Features: Shared ledger to split multiple bills, ability to simplify debts/reduce payments, and sends reminders until requests are marked as paid view expenses shared 

Bobby (www.bobbyapp.co)

  • Best For: Organizing subscriptions and giving self-reminders when due
  • Cost: Free, with option to upgrade to Pro ($3/mth)
  • Type: Bill Organizer
  • Setup: Select which subscriptions you want to track and finalize details
  • Free Stuff: Ability to add up to five subscriptions for reminders
  • Premium: Unlimited subscription reminders, iCloud sync, and dark mode
  • Ease of Use: Simple layout, pre-filled subscription options to make input easier, personalization options
  • Alerts: Notifications each time a bill is due
  • Planning: Helps plan for subscriptions and bill expenses
  • Special Features: Pre-labelled subscriptions to search and add details helps with onboarding process 

Final thoughts

Our hope is that you learned something you didn’t know today and have an understanding of how subscription managers can help. Whether that be a new way to manage your long list of subscription services, an application to try out that you didn’t know about, or a key difference between providers, we hope this was interesting. Finally, if you think that something we said may just help your roommate be better about paying their utilities on time then, hey, shoot them this blog, too!

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