What annual subscriptions do I have set up in PayPal?
As it's the last day of the year, I'm thinking about recurring billing that's going to kick in starting again in 2013 through my PayPal account. It's so easy to set up, and so easy to forget about until the transaction occurs again. Not good. How do I see every merchant I've pre-approved for a subscription or other recurring transaction on PayPal?
You're right, today is an excellent day to assess the state of your online accounts, to see what's poised to trigger during the next year that you might or might not want to actually have occur. Merchants know this very well, with their "75% off the first year" sort of offers: You forget and a few months -- or a year -- later a transaction shows up on your list of charges and you don't recognize it, so you just ignore it, even if it's $40-$50 or more. That's good for them but not so good for those of us trying to manage our finances more closely!
Sure, I know I'm also supposed to go line-by-line through every transaction on my PayPal account but in reality I don't always make the time or pay attention that closely. The result? When I review my account, it's more common than I'd like that there's a mystery transaction that I grumble about and then ignore. Not a good habit, I know.
Fortunately, PayPal makes it easy for you to get to a listing of all your authorized recurring payments. If you can find the page.
Let me show you how to find it...
First off, log in to your PayPal account. Along the top you'll see the familiar tabs:
Click on "Profile", the word just under the "Products & Services" tab. On the left of the resultant page there are four major sections:
As shown above, click on "My money" if it isn't already the selected section of your profile being displayed. Look on the list of resultant options for "My preapproved payments". It looks like this:
It's awful hard to know it's a clickable link, but click on "Update" on the right to see the list of payments you've authorized.
Well, actually, the first part of that page will look like this:
Scroll down a bit, however, and you'll see a list of all your preapproved payments and, most importantly, a pop-up menu that lets you filter the results. Click on that:
If you choose "Active" you can then safely ignore anything that's filtered out: Only active transactions are shown.
It's important to note, however, that this is also going to list pre-approved merchants even if you don't have a recurring transaction set up. You'll see what I mean here:
In this listing, "Tether.com" is a recurring billing, while "Facebook Payments, Inc." is a preapproved merchant, but not a recurring transaction. Unfortunately, they aren't differentiated here in this listing.
To see more about a given transactions -- and I'll choose Tether.com as I can't imagine why they need access to my PayPal account -- simply click on the merchant name on the first column of the row you're curious about. I click on "Tether.com" and here's what I learn:
The key words to look for here are Regular Recurring Payment, as shown at the bottom. You can see that it's a yearly $30.00USD subscription that will cycle indefinitely. That's not good, I don't remember agreeing to a $30 annual subscription to a service I'm not even using any more. Indeed, it's a perfect example of a merchant who would otherwise see money from me for services not utilized.
Not sure? Scroll down a bit on this page and you'll see more details, as shown:
Definitely not what I want. To cancel this recurring payment subscription, I'll need to move up near the top. Notice under the Profile start date here the link "Cancel":
A single click on "Cancel" and I can axe the subscription entirely:
Yup, I really do want to cancel the subscription. Why is it labeled in this confusing manner? I have no idea. It'd be a whole lot better if it said "Cancel Recurring Payment" because I worried for a second that I was somehow canceling something to do with my own PayPal account. That didn't really make sense, though, so a click on "Cancel Profile" and...
That's it. The wording is confusing -- to say the least! -- but by examining each and every line in your active pre-authorized list you can gain complete control over subscriptions in your PayPal account. Just pay attention to the recurring information: if it's not shown, then the "Profile" is really a pre-auth, a reminder of the fact that you have authorized that particular merchant to bill your PayPal account directly, but not to do so without an explicit transaction being presented to you (like advertising on Facebook).
Hope that helps you out, and happy new year!
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