Does anyone have experience, analytics or similar on the impact of taking payment details at the start of a free trial period for a product?
It's one of the things I hate the most about trialing products. If I want to continue after the trial, I would be more than happy to provide payment details. Why on earth would I want to provide them beforehand and run the risk of forgetting about my account and getting billed instantly after my trial period runs out?
In my opinion the result is a poor user experience yet a number of large companies seem to feature this method.
For example, I was recently stung by Google Adwords - I received a free £50 credit voucher in the post so thought "Hey great, I've always meant to give it a try" so I entered my payment details on sign up only intending to use the voucher and see if I saw any return on the £50 of adverts - and if so, if it was viable to continue the program. Two months later and I've been seamlessly billed for hundreds of pounds without so much as an email invoice/notification/anything...
I'm considering trialling SeoMOZ's PRO toolset to see if I find anything of real value there but I'm immediately put off by them wanting my payment details before starting my trial.
All I can assume is that this will hurt the amount of people wanting to trial their software immensely? The silly thing is, both Google Adwords and seoMOZ could easily prevent users from signing up for repeat trial accounts and using their services for free as it's on a per-website basis. One trial per website, simple.
I guess they're either extremely confident people will want to continue after their trial (unlikely thought process) or want to make sure people actually have the potential to continue after using their services for free (by authorizing payment details).
Are there any other reasons for recording payment details at the start of a free trial rather than at the end?