Global Constant
Steve Nay's ramblings

Credit card numbers as channels

Spotify and LinkedIn are hounding me to try their premium versions free for a month. I’d gladly oblige if I didn’t have to give them a credit card number. They’re secretly hoping I’ll forget to cancel my account before the month is up so they can charge me.

I want a way to give Spotify a unique financial channel that points back to a VRM system operating on my behalf. In that system, I specify that the Spotify channel is good for 29 days; after that, it expires. Anytime before that, Spotify can negotiate a financial transaction through the channel, but once it has expired, the channel denies any transactions. I get to use Spotify Unlimited for a month and when they try to charge my credit card for the second month it fails. The trial ends and I’m satisfied.

The merchant doesn’t know whether a channel is valid until it attempts a transaction on that channel. LinkedIn and Spotify want a credit card number because they can trust its validity, so this may be an unsatisfactory solution for them.

The idea of channels still has a lot of merit from the consumer perspective, but it may need some nuance before it’s acceptable for merchants.