A trial period allows you to delay the time between the start date of a subscription and the first billing date. You can choose to apply trial periods on a case-by-case basis, or you can associate them with certain plans to apply them automatically to new subscriptions.
Keep in mind that the duration of the trial period won’t count as a billing cycle for the customer. For instance, if you offer a 3-month trial period on a 12-month plan, the total duration of a customer’s subscription will be 15 months.
Because subscriptions are based on the association of a payment method with a plan, you must collect a customer’s payment information when you create the subscription—i.e. when the trial period begins. The day after the trial period ends, customers will enter their first billing cycle and be charged automatically. This practice – known as negative option billing – puts you at an increased risk of chargebacks, as customers may not be expecting this delayed charge.
Depending on where you operate, negative option billing may not be available to you. Alternatively, you will need to verify the customer's card when setting up a subscription and then notify them before billing after a free trial runs out. For more information, contact our Accounts team.