Forgotten subscriptions biting hip pockets

·1-min read

Fitness apps, video-on-demand services, online education tools and virtual conferencing all reached fever-pitch popularity in recent months.

But when the hype settled, the financial expense continued.

The cost of forgotten subscriptions has been revealed by a new survey, showing some Aussies are paying hundreds of dollars a year for streaming services and applications they no longer use.

When COVID-19 lockdowns hit, record numbers of people signed up for ongoing memberships. As social restrictions eased, the on-demand services drifted to the back of mind, but direct debits continued.

Results from a survey of 1200 Australians estimated that three out of five people have a forgotten subscription.

"Australians spend $3.9 billion every year on unused paid apps, subscription services and memberships," consumer advocate Tim Nicholas said.

"It's a good idea for people to get into the habit of setting reminders about online services and apps when they subscribe to ensure they are not throwing money down the drain."

So now there's a range of apps available, which remind users when it's time to do a stocktake of their subscriptions.

"There are a number of free apps that help do this, like GetReminded, automatically reminding you after a year or so, so you can decide if those online services are still worthwhile paying for," Mr Nicholas said, giving his own app a plug.

Research group AMPD, which conducted the latest survey, in 2019 found that more than half of Australia's adult population were paying for a video-on-demand subscription.