Subscription Fees for Apps: How to Avoid Paying Exorbitant Fees

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Photo: BigTunaOnline (Shutterstock) – Invest in the app you’ve been admiring now, before it goes subscription-based for good. When Notability announced this week that it will be transitioning all users to a subscription-based payment system—even those who had previously paid for the app—there was a fair amount of backlash. A little detour by the app acts as a warning that you might want to buy the applications you’re interested in now, while you can, as Apple’s terms of service may be about to be violated.

Paid applications are here to stay

Free applications and paid apps were the only two alternatives available in the past. Occasionally, free applications were completely free. Some free applications provided you a taste of the experience, but if you really wanted all the features, you had to pay for the app.

But once you paid for that program, you got free upgrades for life, allowing you to take advantage of any new features the developer added down the road. If they wanted to raise the price of their app, you would still be OK because you had already purchased it.

Even while subscription-based models are becoming more common, many developers are still charging a one-time, upfront price for their services. There’s no better time than right now to get your hands on the greatest deal on an app you’ve had your eye on for some time but haven’t yet made the decision to buy it.

Subscriptions cost more in the long run compared to one-time purchases

Everything has become a subscription service these days. More and more services are realizing the advantages of charging their consumers on a continuous basis rather of a one-time, one-time fee. Although the app is free to download, in order to use the most of its features, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee.

The fee may or may not seem acceptable to you depending on the app. No matter how much you pay, you’ll still wind up shelling out more money than if you just bought the software outright. After two years of use, you’ll have spent twice as much on an app that costs $10 now as it does when it moves to a subscription model and charges $10 yearly.

When I used CARROT Weather, I saw this happen. In 2017, the app cost $5 when I purchased it. The visuals, better weather data, and caustic assistant made it seem costly, especially because I already had a free weather app on my iPhone. Optional memberships were available to gain access to more capabilities, but I was satisfied with my base tier buy.

In a few years, CARROT Weather will be available for free, but it will be missing many of the premium features you were accustomed to with the subscription version. New subscribers pay $5 a month or $20 a year for their first year of service. Because I paid for the software, I’ll always be able to use it. It’s a deal I’m glad I unwittingly chose to pay $5 for all my features rather than $5 a month.

Since I paid for the app in the past, I’m able to take advantage of cheaper subscription rates with the standard membership, thus it’s not a perfect comparison. In my opinion, paying for the app in the past made more sense because I now have more alternatives than someone who is just signing up for the first time.

To be clear, I’m not criticizing developers for making the transition to subscriptions. Especially in 2021, it’s a good investment. In fact, even Apple is urging developers to move to the new platform. Supporting your favorite applications is something I really believe in, and buying an app when you can is a great way to do so.

If you must subscribe, make it a yearly commitment

It’s not simply premium applications that gain from early adopters. Subscription-only applications employ a similar strategy. A good place to start is with 1 Second Everyday. Even though the app has increased its fees by at least 30 percent, you may still be able to get the yearly plan for $29.99 if you signed up before the price went up.

A subscription to an app’s yearly pricing may result in a price increase when you resubscribe, so there’s no way to know if it will work. However, committing to a long-term membership has an inherent advantage: if the app ever raises its costs, you’ll know about it before your existing subscription expires. That means you don’t have to worry about it until the next year if the app boosts the yearly subscription fee from $30 to $45. Subscribers who pay on a monthly (or even weekly) basis will be hit with price increases far more quickly.

In addition, annual memberships sometimes come with a price reduction. A monthly fee of $5 or a yearly fee of $45 is possible for an app. After a year, you’d spend $60 more if you went with the monthly payment option instead of the yearly one. If you’re certain you’ll use the app, consider subscribing for a full year to save money.

Is that all? Get in early if you want an app. Now is the time to purchase. A lengthier subscription, especially one that includes discounts, is preferable if the software is currently subscription-only. No one wants to spend a year on an app just to find out they detest it after two weeks of using it. If you’re unsure, you’re better off starting with a monthly membership. However, if you’ve found an app you adore, make a firm commitment to it.