International Magazines Subscription is Broken

Yet and yet again I am reminded that one of my numerous magazine / newspaper / website subscriptions, bought in a repetitive act of FOMO rage, is about to expire. It’s either the insufficient balance or the expired card.

While aeons ago the payment schemes created an automatic substitution mechanisms for cards that are reissued, banks still balk at the cost of value added services — even while we live in the world of instalments, monthy subscriptions. Tokenisation may help but the future of FIDO is still around the corner.

We change banks more often and so populating ones long list of subscriptions with new card details is a hassle, since seldom do these platforms support invoicing (btw, The Economist does). Often big publishing houses outsource subscriptions to other platforms whose UI dates back to the invention of the WWW. Also, they don’t like if you access them from particular geographies, as if hackers don’t know how to launch VPNs anymore.

And so you tinker with your profile, you often can’t update your card as your tier of being an international subscriber relegates you to the most disgusting scenario of having to call a 1–800 rather than to update your profile with a nice click or two. Going through different options to subscribe like Amazon or Apple leaves you without archive and website access.

The world of subscription is big. It’s getting back as a solid source of revenue for businesses that originally relied on advertising, since the gorillas in the room for targeted ads are search and social media — we even consume news through these lenses and seldom see the original website. Hence — subscription user experience should be mended — and fast.

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