People who use a VPN to protect their data are left with the same kind of conundrum as someone storing valuables in a safe deposit box. At the end of the day, you have to trust someone to keep your stuff (or your data) safe. Mullvad VPN, PCWorld’s pick for the best privacy-focused VPN out there, is taking yet another step to earn users’ trust. It’s removing the option to buy a subscription.
If you’re scratching your head on why that’s necessary, Mullvad explains in a blog post (spotted by TechRadar). Apparently there was no way to continue to facilitate recurring subscription payments without storing the payment data users submitted for the entire length of that subscription. And keeping a credit card number or PayPal account associated with a login more or less forever is basically the opposite of privacy. That being the case, Mullvad is now only accepting one-time payments for its VPN services. That will allow the company to purge payment data after “the first few weeks.”
This isn’t as complicated as it seems. Users can still buy service for a month, a year, or a whopping ten years. The single tier of service costs the same (5 euro per month, a bit over $5) no matter how long a term you pay for. But now 1-year and 10-year terms need to be paid up front, like a lump sum car insurance payment. Users who are currently on subscription plans don’t need to make any changes, the new policy will go into effect once their current subscription term ends.
The change has the potential to create a few headaches as users get used to a different system, but it sounds like Mullvad is adjusting its policy out of a genuine desire to protect privacy and stick to its core mission. If you’re looking to compare a bunch of VPN services, be sure to check out PCWorld’s roundup on the topic.