Think Expired Credit Cards Are Bad for Your Membership Site? This is Why You’re Wrong!


Last week we were very excited to announce the release of a new plugin we’d been working on for several months. If you missed that announcement, Churnly is a new solution designed to automate the process of asking your membership or subscription site customers to update their payment method information before their credit card expires.

On average, each month membership and subscription sites lose 2% of their customers simply due to credit cards that expire and which aren’t updated.

It doesn’t take an MBA to understand that this is a big problem. Like, "losing 24% of your customers per year" big problem.

Churnly is a “set it and forget it” solution that follows up with customers at scheduled intervals and asks them to update their credit card before it expires so that you don’t lose them forever. It’s a proactive approach and taking this approach adds, again on average, a 7% annual revenue increase to a typical membership site or subscription site.

But It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns!

After releasing Churnly, we received some great feedback from online entrepreneurs who rely on these types of sites for a large part of, and in some instances all of, their livelihood. These folks understand how important it is to address the issue of “involuntary churn”. They know that it’s much easier to keep an existing customer instead of paying to acquire a new customer to replace one that fell through the cracks because of something as simple as an expiring credit card.

But you know what? Churnly will not help you keep 100% of these customers. Not even close. There…I said it!

If you’re running a membership site, it’s just a simple fact of doing business. Some of these customer will not update their credit cards and you will lose them. You could get on a plane, fly to their town, walk up to their door, gently knock, and then politely tell them that you’ve traveled thousands of miles to ask them to update their credit card.

And they would say “no”.


From a consumer standpoint, memberships and subscriptions are largely “set it and forget it” purchases. How many of you are charged $20 or $30 per month by iTunes and don’t even look to see a detailed breakdown on the invoice?

Uh-huh…I thought so. 😉

From iTunes subscriptions to newspapers to Costco memberships, we set things up and then we’re billed and billed and billed until…

We hear from them!

Finally, we receive a message in our inbox or a letter in the mail that we need to update [insert personal information] or our membership/subscription will lapse. And at that point we spend a quick bit of mental bandwidth before making one of two decisions…

1. ”I completely forgot about that. Wow, I haven’t used it in forever. I should have cancelled this long ago, but this is great…now they’ll do it for me.”

2. ”I completely forgot about that. But there was a reason I signed up. It could provide me with [valuable benefit] if I just took action and started using it.”

Do you see where I’m going here?

This Is an Opportunity!

While the core value that Churnly offers is an automated system for sending credit card update reminder emails to your customers, it doesn’t just need to be about the credit cards.

You have an opportunity to reaffirm to them, once again, why your membership or subscription is 100%, hands-down, absolutely, positively one of the best investments they’re making!

Churnly’s email templates are completely configurable, just like a WordPress post or page. You can use text, images, video, or anything else to reinforce the value of your offering.

Why settle for just asking for a credit card?

Here’s an image of a sample email that we set up during our Churnly product testing which would be sent one month before a customer’s payment expiration:

This is a very simple example, but there is so much more you could include to convince your membership or subscription customers that they’re going to miss out if they let their payment method expire…

  • A very personal video of you thanking them for their business and gently reminding them to update their credit card
  • Notices regarding any upcoming price increases or lifetime pricing guarantees that you might offer
  • A list of new content you will be releasing throughout the coming months
  • Testimonials from satisfied customers
  • Case study results from customers who have had success with your course, membership, or subscription
  • Logos from trusted online authority figures or brands who subscribe to you
  • Bonus incentives on your credit card update page

Your options are only limited by your imagination. But just remember those two decisions above. Your customers are going to make one of those when they receive the email you’ve configured in Churnly.

What are you going to do to sell them on your offering once again? It’s your choice!

About Ben Arellano

Ben Arellano is one of the co-founders of Fly Plugins, creators of the first and most widely-implemented learning management system for WordPress, WP Courseware. Since 2012, he has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, corporate training departments, and higher education institutions develop and deploy online training courses from their WordPress websites.

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