Most – but not all – Creative Cloud app subscriptions from Adobe offer either Annual (yearly) or Monthly (month-to-month) plans. As with most things in life, buying in larger size and making a longer commitment gets you a lower average cost – but is the Annual option always the best deal? The answer is: most (but not all) of the time…
So the question customers usually have is this: The Monthly plans cost more (50% higher per month) but the Annual plans have a termination fee if you cancel before 12 months is up (50% of remaining term), so which works out better for your needs?
We’ve done the math and the solution is clear:
- If you need the software for six months or less, then getting a Monthly plan (month-to-month but cancel at any time) works out better.
- If you need the software for more than six months, then getting an Annual plan (12-month commitment) is better, even if you cancel in the second half.
The tools and services you get are the same in all cases, and ongoing upgrades come with all included products at no additional charge.
So all things considered, the breakeven point is right at the six-month mark because the 50% higher cost of the Monthly plans balances out against the cancellation fee of 50% of remaining contract obligation for the Annual plans. [See the complete Terms and Conditions for all subscriptions.]
Note that Adobe will waive any cancellation fees if you switch to a different Creative Cloud plan (like changing from Acrobat or Photography to All Apps or Single App)… So typically cancellation fees only apply on Annual plans if you stop subscribing entirely before your year is up. In which case, if the cancellation fee is waived, then an Annual plan is always a better value than a Monthly plan for the same products.
Also, thanks to Adobe’s Money-Back Guarantee, you can cancel any Creative Cloud plan within 14 days of initial purchase via your online account… Your subscription will end immediately and you will receive a full and complete refund, with no questions asked.
Lastly, some plans do not offer month-to-month options, such as the Student and Teacher plans ($19.99/month) or the Photography plans ($9.99/month). That’s because these subscription bundle offers are already significantly discounted. In these cases, only 12-month (full year) plans are available.
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So month-to-month subscription plans certainly have their place, for short-term or flexible use at any time – basically for any duration up to six months, or for subscribing only when you need the apps. By contrast, Annual plans (as you’d expect) are always better for longer timeframes.
Undoubtedly, the best way to start with any plan is with a fully-functional free trial, to download, install, and get going with at no cost. Or even easier: begin with the free level of Creative Cloud that Adobe offers to everyone.
If you still haven’t decided before the free trial is up, then consider signing on for just a month or two with the Monthly plan. Or, go ahead with the Annual plan knowing that you can still get a full refund within two weeks of your order, if desired.
Hope this article has helped make sense of the different options available and helped make your choice easier!
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Do you have any questions about these plans? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!
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10 thoughts on “Creative Cloud Annual or Monthly Subscription: Which Is Better for You?”
If you outright cancel then you get charged the fee. But you can change your plan options without any penalty. i.e. if you have a full suite plan you can change it to photography plan and the extra money will be credited or refunded to you. Just don’t outright cancel everything. This info was correct per Adobe as of the last time I made a plan change.
Hi David, thanks for your comment. We wrote about that here:
Wait! Thinking of Canceling Creative Cloud? Read This First.
This is must-reading for anyone considering quitting their plan… You could save a lot of money. Just be aware that changing an Annual plan renews for an additional full 12 months, no matter the product.
Is there an annual fee for InDesign? I presently have a monthly.
Hello Tom, there are three options for purchasing most Creative Cloud subscription plans:
Which do you have? You can switch between them if your needs change. See this guide for more details:
Read This Before Changing or Canceling Your Adobe Subscription
Wouldn’t they also allow changing the annual plan to monthly? At least they didn’t have a problem going the other way.
An how about if you just suspended it rather than cancel it outright?
Changing an Annual/Yearly plan to Monthly before your full year is up would be the same as canceling it before your term has ended, and could be subject to an early termination fee – in which case, please see the article we just linked above.
Suspending a subscription is only possible if you have the Monthly (month-to-month) plan. See this explainer for more details:
Can You Pause or Suspend an Adobe Subscription? It Depends
I’m just commenting to help others and express my rage at Adobe’s business practices.
To be clear, DON’T CANCEL YOUR PLAN. Swap it for another plan, agree to the terms, then after a bit (5 minutes) your new plan will be manageable, and you can cancel that for free (since it’s now a ‘new’ plan, and you cancel any new plan for free within 14 days).
In my case, I chose a cheaper plan, and Adobe is going to refund me $8. So instead of paying $154 to cancel early, they’re paying me $8 back.
Hey Andrew, thanks for your comment. We posted about that here:
Wait! Thinking of Canceling Creative Cloud? Read This First.
This is must-reading for anyone considering leaving their plan… You could save some money.
The danes know what fair business terms are. Adobe uses unfair business terms and scores a terrible score on the most recognized company review site in denmark https://dk.trustpilot.com/review/www.adobe.com
Hello Benjamin, we read through a number of those comments and many of them contain inaccuracies, or complaints from people who seemingly didn’t read Adobe’s sign-up page before giving their payment information.
Generally, like most subscription services, you do need to cancel a free trial if you don’t want to continue subscribing.
So your form of payment (e.g., credit/debit card, PayPal) would be charged if you haven’t canceled your free trial before the end of the first 7 days.
However, even if you don’t cancel during the free trial, you can still receive a full refund for another 14 days afterwards, if you don’t want to continue with a paid membership.
More details here:
How to Extend Adobe Free Trials to 21 Days Long, Instead of 7 Days
Lastly, this guide may be helpful:
What You Should Know Before Canceling Your Adobe Trial or Subscription