This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
How To Video: Stop paying for AOL
About Video Transcript

How To Video: Stop paying for AOL

3:14 /

If you're still paying for AOL, there's a good chance you don't need to. Molly Wood shows you how to switch to a free account for AOL e-mail.

Hi, I'm Molly Wood from CNET and I'm here to show you how to stop paying for AOL. A recent New Yorker article suggested that as much as 80 percent of AOL's revenue could come from people who DON'T need to be paying for it. See, in the old days, an AOL account cost anywhere from $9.95 a month to $25.90 a month. Those accounts still exist. But if you pay for a separate Internet connection at your home, and you only use AOL for email or browsing, you do NOT need to be paying anything. And you shouldn't be. Here's how to set your account free ... literally. You can make this change from the Web or your AOL software. Here's how to do it from the Web. On your AOL.com home page, sign in to your account, and then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and click the Help link. On the bottom of that page, you'll see an orange link on the right labeled "Go To Account & Settings." Now, click the big box labeled Manage My Account. You'll be asked to login again and either answer or create a security question. Now, way down on the bottom right, under price plans, there's an option to Change my Plan or Cancel my Billing. If your account says anything but "Free," click the Cancel my Billing link. The next page will present you with a buffet of paid options -- you want the pink one, for free AOL. Here, you'll see a page trying to sell you the $4.99 support plus option, which includes virus scanning and tech support. If you're watching this video, you don't need tech support -- or you can Google whatever your parents might need. And there are plenty of free security options out there. So, click zero dollars. Finally, AOL will let you know that you will suddenly see pop-ups, if you had blocked them before, and that if you use your phone bill or checking account to auto-pay for any AOL "premium services," they will STILL charge you $7 a month. So, you probably want to cancel that, too. Now, click Save, and you're all set. Living the free AOL life. I think you're going to like it. If you'd like to do this same thing through your AOL desktop software, sign on and go to the Keyword menu, or press Control K. Type change plan. On the screen that pops up, you should see your security question again, along with the same options you saw on the Web. Follow the same steps as above, and you're all set. Now, what are you missing? Well, if you're on dialup, the $25 plan gives you a dialup number, McAfee security, and some vague insurance protection that's almost certainly part of your homeowners or renters insurance. And like I said, you can get good security suites for free. But that's ALSO the plan they try to sign you up for when you first install AOL, even if you're on broadband. The cheaper plans for dialup offer the basic access and some tech support, and the broadband plans just try to charge you for McAfee security, backup dial-up numbers, and tech support. Trust me, for most of you, this is a "service" you just don't need. Sorry AOL. Everyone else? For CNET how-to, I'm Molly Wood, and you're welcome.

New releases

More tech ideas for Halloween
0:58 October 23, 2014
Halloween is right around the corner. Whether you're looking for a sweet or scary way to celebrate, CNET's...
Play video
Tomorrow Daily 074: VR moon tours,...
25:03 October 23, 2014
On today's show, we discuss virtual reality tours of the moon using Oculus Rift, all the crazy things we spotted...
Play video
iPhone 6 You Up - The Music Vi...
2:55 October 23, 2014
We celebrate the launch of the iPhone 6 with "iPhone 6 You Up". All night.
Play video
Facebook Rooms joins the anonymous-chat...
2:54 October 23, 2014
A new app from Facebook puts a twist on anonymous messaging, Apple stores still see long lines for iPhones,...
Play video
Microsoft's Chromecast competitor...
1:39 October 23, 2014
This little dongle sends your screen from your Windows machine (and some Android devices) right to your T...
Play video
Take a look at the Windows 10 Start...
1:21 October 23, 2014
Windows 10 has revamped the Start menu; let's check it out.
Play video
Marantz SR5009 receiver: Stunningly...
1:44 October 23, 2014
The Marantz SR5009 looks and feels more upscale than the competition's receivers, and it follows through with...
Play video
Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet vs....
2:14 October 23, 2014
Sharon Profis compares the security, ease of use and availability of some of the most popular mobile payment...
Play video