Tips on Subscription Data Portability and Control

3 minutes

These days, subscribers are looking for seamless experiences, and if companies do not deliver on those expectations, they will quickly look for alternatives.

But what happens when merchants themselves are looking for alternatives, or even for technology replacements?

Merchants must have control over their subscription data, which includes being able to move some of the data associated with the subscriptions from one provider to another.

More often than not, the “data hostage” problem arises when a merchant decides to use another provider for its subscription business and the existing provider puts up roadblocks in making that transfer or just flat out refuses to provide the data. This usually occurs because merchants don’t have the experience to request the appropriate clauses regarding their right for data transfer and the terms of data transfer in their contracts BEFORE they start working with a certain provider.

In our most recent video, Erich Litch, Chief Operating Officer and President of 2Checkout, shared some useful tips with regards to subscription data portability and control, i.e. all the aspects that are easily overlooked or forgotten from a subscription seller’s point of view.

First off, you have to ensure that the provider that’s processing your payments and subscriptions can maximize revenue recovery on renewals and also prevent churn.

It is very important that they have access to account updaters, and all-the-more, that they can go beyond that and actually do custom configurable retries. At the same time, they should have robust dunning management capabilities, the ability to run campaigns and promotions for those canceling subscriptions, as well as robust capabilities around My account portal.

If you are using a particular provider today and you find another provider that has better capabilities in this regard, you may want to actually port over your subscriptions from one provider to another.

This is where things can get tricky, so Erich has got some important tips for you.

Start thinking about that NOW

Do not wait until you want to switch payments because you need to think about:

  • How long this process is going to take;
  • Do you have the right to access the data;
  • What it’s going to cost you to access the data;
  • What kind of data will you need to actually export?

It’s not just the payment card details, it’s also the start date, end date, terms, or special provisions within the subscription. That’s why you need to make sure you know what data you have to take over and work with your provider to ensure that you have the right to transfer that data.

The “Data Hostage” Problem

There are some companies in the market that are refusing to provide the data to their merchants or charging exorbitant fees that make it very cost-prohibitive to actually get the data. As a result, ensure you deal with this in your contract upfront or with your provider to get it in your terms and conditions.

What are they going to charge you to access the data?

Do you have the right to access the data?

These are all really important questions you need to think about now and not wait until you actually want to make a change down the road.

The Data Migration Process

The other thing you need to think about is how long it’s going to take you and all the steps you need to go through in order to convert the subscriptions over. You do need to think about testing, signing agreements, and covering GDPR compliance issues, among others. Make sure that you understand all the steps entailed in getting the data, converting it over, testing it. Finally, ensure that the process is a seamless experience for all your customers.

Hopefully, these tips will help you in managing your subscription business.


We believe that payment data portability and control should be supported by every provider, and merchants should be free to choose their providers and not be forcefully locked in a certain arrangement.

If you’ve ever been a “data hostage”, feel free to share your story, experience, challenges encountered, or useful tips for fellow peers, in the comment section below.

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