LimeLight offers compliance tool for Mastercard subscription rules

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Mastercard's new rules for halting unfair subscription billing have been in place for a month, prompting e-commerce platform provider LimeLight to provide a toolkit to help online merchants comply.

Mastercard's new rules prohibit subscription billing that automatically kicks in after a consumer has had a free trial for a product. It has not, however, expanded its new Continuity Regulations to include subscriptions for digital goods.

LimeLight's toolkit will operate within its e-commerce engine, which provides flexible billing, advanced analytics, fraud protection and more than 400 partner integrations.

The toolkit will help merchants provide the transparency and billing consent Mastercard requires to avoid "negative option billing" in which consumers are not fully aware of what they are agreeing to when signing up for a free or discounted trial — then are automatically billed full price when the trial period ends.

"As with any regulation, the confusion about how to come into compliance can cost businesses significant time and revenue," Brian Bogosian, CEO of San Francisco-based LimeLight, said in a Thursday press release.

"We are constantly innovating to take this kind of hard work off our seller's shoulders so they can focus on serving their customers and growing their business," Bogosian added. "With this new set of tools, not only are we protecting our sellers, but we are also supporting Mastercard in its efforts to bring greater transparency and consumer protection to the subscription economy."

For merchants involved with subscription services that provide new customers with free or discounted initial offers, the LimeLight Mastercard compliance kit provides site capture, in which the merchant is able to preserve the URL of any initial offer site, and that the URL for all new orders is connected to every transaction and transmitted to the processing bank.

It also establishes flexible trial duration, as the new regulations state the "trial period" for a new subscription begins when the customer has the product in hand. The toolkit can be configured to take into account fulfillment and delivery times in order to start the customer trial period.

LimeLight says it provides service for more than 10,000 merchants and processes more than $4 billion in transactions a year.

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