Netflix needs no introduction but it's offering you one anyway with a full month free for new subscribers.
While you can technically access Netflix's extensive library of television shows and movies without paying a cent, there are a few common pitfalls for new subscribers that can end in a hefty excess data bill or automatic debit from your nominated bank account.
Is there a catch?
If you play your (House of) cards right, then no. If you cancel before the calendar month is up and don't burn through your mobile data, you can try Netflix for free, no strings attached.
Here are two things to avoid if you are signing up for a free trial with Netflix and don't plan to continue your subscription.
1. Set a reminder to cancel your subscription
When you sign up for a free trial with Netflix, you are required to enter your personal details as well as your payment details. Netflix won't allow you to trial its services without a linked bank account.
This is incredibly convenient if you do decide to continue your subscription as there is no action required on your part to keep streaming.
However, it does give Netflix the right to automatically debit the monthly subscription cost from your account should you go over the one-month trial period. Your first automatic Netflix bill will come exactly one calendar month from the day you signed up. So if you signed up for the free trial on 3 January, you will be billed on 3 February. We recommend setting an alarm or calendar reminder to cancel your subscription the day before you're due to be charged (just to be safe).
Read on for more details on cancelling your Netflix account.
2. Check your data allowance
While it may be one of the better-optimised streaming services on the market, Netflix can still do damage to your monthly data allowance if you go a little binge-crazy. Streaming in low quality will chew up 300MB per hour, standard definition will use 700MB per hour, high definition will use 3GB per hour and 4K Ultra HD will use 7GB per hour. Our advice? Don't stream 4K on your low-data mobile plan.
Data usage will be less of a concern for those streaming Netflix in the safety of their own home broadband network but for those planning to stream on mobile, a hot date with Netflix can result in some serious excess data charges.
You've got two options here. Firstly, only stream Netflix when you're connected to your home broadband connection (one with plenty of data). Secondly, get out there and find a mobile plan that can support your stream-heavy lifestyle. We've compared high-data mobile plans in our comparison engine.
How do I get my Netflix free trial?
To get your free month you just need to visit the Netflix site and subscribe. So long as you're a new customer, you'll be given the chance to sign up for the free trial when you register.
When you do, you'll be asked which plan you'd like to trial and will then be required to fill in your personal details, as well as your payment information (don't worry, Netflix won't charge you just yet).
Be warned, if you don't cancel your subscription before the month's end (cancelling couldn't be easier) you will be automatically charged for the next month. If you're not planning to continue the service, set a reminder to cancel it before your free trial period is up.
It's also important to shop around. Services like PlayStation Plus will bundle extended free trials (sometimes up to three months) when you sign up to both services at once. These deals come and go frequently so if you see one, snatch it up without hesitation.
What’s included in my Netflix free trial?
This will depend on the free trial you sign up for. At the moment, Netflix offers a free month as a standard for all new users. Which plan you try for free will be entirely up to you when you opt-in. Currently, the plans on offer are:
Single stream SD: $9.99 per month
Two stream HD: $13.99 per month
Four stream 4K: $19.99 per month
Which plan you choose will depend on how many devices you'd like to use (one, two or up to four) and the quality of your viewing (SD/HD/4K). All are available for the free one-month trial period.
However, after your trial period expires if you don't end your subscription you'll be charged for another month of your chosen plan.
How do I cancel my free trial?
Netflix is hard to fault when it comes to its friendly user interface. Cancelling is dead easy and can be done from any web browser.
Visit the official Netflix website and log in with the username and password you created for the free trial.
Hover your mouse over the username or user icon in the top-right corner of the screen and select "Your account" from the dropdown.
On the "My Account" screen, click "Cancel Membership" (located at the top of the screen under "Membership and Billing".
You will then be given a date of cancellation (a few days short of the calendar month if you've played your cards right).
Click "Finish Cancellation" and voila, you've just avoided paying your first month of Netflix.
What do I need to use Netflix?
Essentially you need two things:
A device that supports Netflix. This can include a Smart TV, game console (e.g. PlayStation 4 or Xbox One), Apple TV, Google Chromecast, smartphones and tablets.
Internet connection (as well as enough data to view all your favourite shows and movies).
Want more free entertainment?
Already taken advantage of Netflix's free trial? Then take the streaming services below for a test-drive before deciding on a service that suits you:
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for Travel Weekly, Escape, Thomas Cook Magazine, Showpo, The Nibbler and Hostelworld. She was also the editor of kids magazine DMAG. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping readers stretch their dollars while on holiday.
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