I am designing a paid monthly subscription feature (happens through PayPal only for now) that also allows users to cancel this subscription whenever they need.

Is a renewal reminder a good idea to implement? or should I just make an auto renewal and those who wants to cancel the subscription can do it from the designated section?

Most of the services like Apple Music never sends a reminder but I thought it would be more ethical to remind the users before deducting another renewal subscription fees.

What would the general user behaviour towards an auto deduction with and without a reminder?

  • Don't take this the wrong way – you might indeed have the authority – but before you spend too much time over these decisions (auto-renew or not; send reminders or not), make sure you have the power to make them! Yes, it's more "ethical" (IMHO) to give users the choice over both, but "the powers that be" might have decided to go for "stealth subscriptions" (auto-renew, minimal reminders).
    – TripeHound
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 14:26
  • I totally agree with you, but we thought we should be extra careful in this stage since we are launching the service for the first time. So by the time people get to know us, and the trust is built we aim to reach the level where the power of our service makes them stay. Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 10:52

3 Answers 3


I think it's best to have BOTH the reminder and the auto renewal and be active when the user first subscribes and make your user aware that he can change these anytime he wants from settings section.

You should allow the user to:

  • Turn on/off reminder notifications
  • Choose when the notification is sent before the subscription ends/is renewed: 24h, 2days, 3days;
  • Turn on/off auto-renewal

I think the best way to handle this is to always send a reminder, whether or not it's auto-renewal. In the auto-renewal case, the reminder should say that "your subscription will automatically be renewed on «date»; if you wish to stop auto-renewal, you should go to «site» before that date"; if auto-renewal is not turned on or not available, the reminder should say that "your subscription will expire on «date»; if you wish to continue receiving this service, you should go to «site» and renew before that date".

If auto-renewal is turned on, in addition to any receipt that you might send the subscriber, I'd send another reminder after the subscription renews, saying "your subscription to «service» has been renewed; please contact us via «site» within the next «time frame» if you did not intend to renew, and wish to cancel. If you wish to keep receiving «service» you do not need to do anything".


I’ve actually placed a note in the subscribe process that say “By subscribing to this service an auto renewal will be applied and an amount of xx $ will be charged monthly”

This note can go as a checkbox before confirm payment, or agree/disagree dialogue box before confirm payment.

There is a notification system in the platform that we can use to send the notification of renewal to users before a certain number of days.

The option of canceling the subscription will always be there whenever the user wanted to

I hope this solution would keep both parties on the safe side.

Thanks @Alin and @Jeff Zeitlin for your contribution :)

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