What It Means To Give Beeminder Your Credit Card

Monday, May 9, 2016
By dreeves

Stylized credit card with infinibee

One of the main things we’re working on right now is making Beeminder more comprehensible to newbees. We’ve even hired a web designer, Josh Pitzalis, to help us with a big redesign. Writing blog posts explaining (sometimes obscure) things about Beeminder is very much not furthering that objective. But conveying them to you, readers of our excessively nerdy blog, is a good first step.

So today let’s see if we can convey the Things You Must Know before you give Beeminder your credit card, as well as all the reasons why it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds (even though it’s legitimately a little scary because that’s the point).

Beeminder can’t be a credible threat unless it has a way to automatically take your money. That’s the whole point. So we twist your arm pretty hard to add a credit card. Sure, you can create at least one goal and blissfully beemind indefinitely without ever adding one, but as soon as you first go off track, or even try to create additional goals, we insist that you make that sword of Damocles real.

Let’s dive in then. Here’s what it means to give Beeminder your credit card:

  1. You’re agreeing to get charged each time you go off track
  2. The pledge (amount you’re risking) increases each time, up to your pledge cap
  3. The goal never lets you off the hook till you explicitly tell it to
  4. There’s a one-week delay for any changes to a goal (including ending it)
  5. For manual Do Less goals, you have to explicitly enter zeros if you did nothing

Frightened yet? Allow us to mitigate your fear!

  1. We’ll never charge you if you keep all your datapoints on track
  2. We’ll email you before charging you in case anything went wrong (like any kind of technical problem or even just confusion about how things work)
  3. If you reply to that email we’ll always believe you and cancel the charge (unless you choose to weaselproof yourself)
  4. Deadman switch! If you stop using Beeminder altogether, we’ll (eventually) stop charging you

All crystal clear, right? That’s kind of a non-rhetorical question because if the answer is no then we have more work to do than we think to make all that obvious in the interface without giving the user walls of text to read!


Image credit: The Noun Project

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  • Andrew Lu

    I feel like you should bold #2, not #1. #1 is probably taken for granted, while #2 is not.

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    Good point! Done.

  • Ivan

    As one of those aforementioned newbies, personally I had no issue with providing my credit card details to Beeminder even in my (still) early days. As someone that works in this field, my observation with something like this is that often it’s potentially ourselves that we may not trust – and thus the fear / concern in providing the VISA card – Vs in this case a business like Beeminder. (‘Real’ commitment can be a scary thing for those not serious about – or truly committed to – a specific change.)

    And as far ‘making Beeminder more comprehensible to newbies’, I’d have LOVED to have had some brief video tutorials to walk me through a few of the basics and beyond. It would have saved alot of time in getting up to speed – especially with some of the less obvious concepts like my ‘Do Less’ goals. Thanks again Daniel for the recent support exchanges (and those additional links) and to the other support crew for your additional input. (Mods: feel free to also place this comment in another post if more relevant elsewhere.)

  • Lawrence

    I feel like “keep your datapoints on track” could be reworded to emphasize that “not being charged” isn’t a default result, but rather something that requires you to do the actual task that you’re trying to make yourself do. Maybe “as long as you’re meeting/succeeding at your goals”? “As long are you stay on top of the things you’re pledging to do?” Beeminder only knows about the datapoints but the beemindee needs to be taking action on the goal/habit.

  • Lawrence

    That seems like a good observation– Beeminder is in many way a tool for those who CAN’T trust their future selves to do the things that their even-more-future selves will want to have done, so actually committing to real consequences can prompt some intimidating self-evaluation. (At least, it can for me!)

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    Thanks! Or maybe “as long as you maintain the rate you committed to”? Or something that also emphasizes actively reporting data (or doing whatever action causes the data to automatically get reported). I guess in my mind “keeping your datapoints on track” captures all that.. but this isn’t about *my* mind… :)