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Quote:Swedish VPN service Mullvad announced that it will no longer accept new recurring payments using PayPal or credit card payments. Nothing changes for existing customers for at least 6 months. The company continues to accept one-time payments using various payment options, including PayPal, cash and credit card.

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Mullvad VPN, which provides the backbone for Mozilla's Firefox VPN service, explains, that it decided to remove the ability to create new recurring payments in order to store less data on company servers.

The company has to store payment information for a limited time, as refunds and the ability to restore account access are linked to payment records. One-time payments do not need to be kept indefinitely, but that is not the case for recurring payments. Records of these payments need to be kept for the entirety of the subscription period, and that is a privacy issue.

While convenient, recurring payments link a user's identity to the VPN account. The removal of recurring payment subscriptions at Mullvad VPN remove the link, as payment records are not kept for longer than "the first few weeks" according to Mullvad.

The company is aware that the removal of the option makes using the service less convenient for some of the users. Non-recurring payments, also called one-time payments, are not affected by the decision. Existing subscriptions "will be processed for at least 6 months" according to Mullvad. The company has not announced a specific date or period, after which subscriptions will no longer be processed.

Mullvad VPN has a flat pricing model, unlike most VPN services. The majority of VPN services give customers discounts the longer they subscribe. Mullvad is available for €5 per month, regardless of subscription period. While that is higher than the price of many other VPN products, Mullvad is regarded highly in communities that value privacy.

Closing Words

The decision to drop recurring payments for new and (eventually) existing customers will certainly impact revenue. It is a bold decision, one that reduces the amount of data that Mullvad stores on its servers.

Mullvad customers did have the option to make one-time payments to the service already. Nothing changes for those users. Users who subscribed to Mullvad will have to make one-time payments to continue using the service. While they may use it for at least 6 months without changing anything, Mullvad will drop the option eventually.

Now You: what is your take on this? Do you use Mullvad, or another VPN service (or none at all)?
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