Most of us have signed up for free trials of services that seem like a fantastic idea at the time. Unfortunately, in many cases, the free trial ends, and months later you see a recurring charge on your bank statements. So, you’ve actually been paying for that free trial for months!
You may also have found that incredible introductory rate on your cable bill has expired, and you’ve been paying double. Fortunately, there are tools that make it easy to see your subscriptions and bills to avoid any unpleasant surprises, and most importantly to save you money.
Aside from just helping you to find and cancel unwanted subscriptions, these companies offer bill negotiation services, which can save you loads of cash with almost no effort on your part. Their negotiators will work on your behalf to lower your monthly payments for cable TV, internet, phone, and other services (at no risk to you).
Even small changes to your monthly recurring bills can have a real impact on your overall financial health since you’ll be saving money every single month.
The Truebill app allows you to lower your bills and cancel any unwanted subscriptions, tracking your transactions to compile a list of your recurring bills, when they are debited, and how much you pay, so you can have a full snapshot of your expenses.
The app is designed to monitor and cancel any unwanted subscriptions, track and categorize your spending, negotiate your bills, and automate savings.
When you download the app, you can connect your credit cards and bank accounts so that Truebill can analyze your finances. From this point, you can cancel any unwanted subscriptions yourself or have Truebill cancel them on your behalf. Truebill can also negotiate lower payments on your regular bills such as internet, cable, and phone. It can even claim refunds for you when your services are down. This app can help you to budget and automate your savings to meet your financial goals.
- Monitors your subscriptions
- Lowers bills
- Monitors for service outages and claims on your behalf
- Charges 40 percent of the savings that they helped generate
- Does not negotiate with every service provider or bill company
Trim has been around since 2015, with its founders clocking up experience in investment firms and financial services. The Trim mission is to create a “self driving car for your finances.” You can automate your finances and get answers to questions about retirement, the credit cards you should get, and if you can automatically switch to a cheaper insurance provider.
Trim is similar to Truebill in that you connect all of your accounts, and it will analyze your spending. However, Trim isn’t an app-based service; it is a financial “assistant” that communicates via text or Facebook Messenger.
The Trim plan looks for better deals on the things that you already pay for. It provides budgeting and monthly spending reports, with premium services available for a fee. Trim can help you to negotiate your bills, get refunds for outages, and cancel subscriptions.
- Alerts to track your expenses and spending
- Help to cancel unwanted subscriptions
- Free basic platform
- Cashback offers
- Negotiating bills on your behalf
- No app. Only works through text or Facebook Messenger
- Works best if you use your credit or debit card for most of your spending
Billshark is another similar app; tracking your bills and negotiating them for you. Billshark can cancel any unwanted subscriptions to help you make savings. What makes Billshark different is that they charge a fee based on the savings the app makes for you. While 40 percent may seem a little steep, if the app can’t make any savings, you pay nothing. Billshark claims an 85 percent success rate, so you stand a good chance of savings.
When you open a Billshark account and download the app, you need to take photos of your bills and upload them. Billshark will also require some input about the parts of the bills that you want them to negotiate them. Once Billshark has all the information needed, negotiations will begin, and you’ll receive an email or phone call after a successful negotiation. You will also receive detailed listings on the savings you’ve made and a Billshark invoice based on those savings.
- Promotes an 85% success rate
- Provides detailed listings of your savings
- No fee if you don’t make savings
- Charges 40% of the savings, with a fee if you want to spread the charge across several months
All of these financial management services are designed to help you get your finances in order and spend less. The services monitor your accounts continually and negotiate linked services until you manually opt-out. All the plans charge a percentage based on your annual savings: Billshark and Truebill charge 40%, and Trim charges 33%.
Truebill also has a premium suite of services that are charged monthly or annually. This includes bank account balance syncing, premium chat service, unlimited budgets, custom categories to organize expenses, and Smart Savings automated savings funds. Bill cancellation is included in this paid service, but it is offered for free with Trim.
Trim also offers a Debt Payoff Program that partners a financial coach with you to advise you on an individual finance plan and negotiate lower credit card interest rates, but this does come at a monthly cost.
Billshark’s costs are more straightforward. You will receive a bill for 40% of the savings made for you. So, if Billshark saves you $200, you will need to pay $80, but you will save $120. The fee is based on the savings during the associated contract period of one or two years. So, you won’t be charged for the savings made over the lifetime of service with the company. However, if you need to spread the savings fees, you will need to pay $9 to implement a two or six-month payment plan.
Both the Truebill and Billshark apps are available on Android and iOS, while Trim has an online personal finance dashboard that communicates via Facebook Messenger or text. This does make Truebill and Billshark a little more user friendly, but you still need to photograph bills for upload on Billshark.
Since you will be sharing financial information, safety is likely to be a major concern. Fortunately, all three of these platforms promote that their services are safe and secure. Billshark uses the standard 256-bit encryption, and the company claims that it employs best practices for the treatment of customer data with limited access for employees to the customer data and no third party access.
Truebill also uses bank-level 256 bit SSL encryption security, and Truebill employees only have read-only access to customer data.
Trim uses Plaid encryption services to keep client data safe with two-factor authentication for website users. Trim says that your data is as safe as it can be with any banking institution.
In addition to subscription management and bill savings, Trim offers a number of other features. These include spending analysis that lets you compare your expenses, month by month, by category and date. This can be helpful to keep track of your spending and to prepare for any larger costs that are due to hit your accounts. You can also set your budget using Trim, and you will be notified of your progress across the month. You can also use Trim for savings; for a $2 per month service charge, Trim will pay you 1.5% in your savings.
Truebill offers a similar range of services. In addition to managing your bills and subscriptions, you can use the “TrueProtect” feature on your dashboard, adding bills you would like to lower. There is a spending tab that allows you to see monthly reports of your cash situation and how your spending changes. You can also see a full list of your transactions and search across all of your linked accounts from the platform. Truebill also allows you to set a budget and set up an automated savings plan.
Billshark is primarily a cost-saving platform, so it is more straightforward. This does mean that it lacks some of the bells and whistles of the other platforms, but if you’re looking to save money on your bills, the company promotes that they have an 85% success rate.
All three of these services make it easy to sign up and start saving. When you create a Trim account, you’ll be asked for the details of all your financial accounts. This means that you need to log into all your bank and credit card accounts. Trim stores customer information securely with read-only access to all your financial accounts. It cannot make changes without your express permission. Once your accounts are linked, Trim automatically goes through them to look at your balances can recent transactions. This information is used to generate specific recommendations for you.
To start using Truebill, you can sign up for your account via email or Facebook. During the account set up, you will need to sign into your credit card and bank accounts, so the app can analyze this data.
As soon as your accounts are connected, Truebill will provide you with a Financial Picture and help you to create a budget, set savings goals, and cancel your subscriptions. Truebill will also start to negotiate to lower your bills, but you’ll need to upload the recent bills from your service providers.
You can sign up for Billshark on its website and create an account using Google or Facebook. You can then choose your service providers to start looking for savings. You’ll need to upload your latest bill with PDF, JPEG, GIF, or PNG files. Once Billshark has all your details, the team will start to negotiate on your behalf to lower your bills.
Who Should Use These Tools?
Trim, Truebill, and Billshark all provide similar services that are aimed at people who know they want to get started saving money, but have difficulties. If you struggle to keep track of where your money goes, then a financial assistant program such as these can be very helpful. These services tell you exactly what you are spending your money on, without needing to look through all your credit card and bank statements. This makes it easy to look at what expenses you can cut and where you may be able to benefit from negotiating lower prices.
Once you’ve cut these unnecessary expenses, you can start to put the money you’ve saved into a savings account. Trim and Truebill provide savings plans to automate this process if you need a little extra help.
These platforms can help you to save some serious money. For example, Billshark customers save an average of $512 per year, which is a significant chunk of change. While it is possible to negotiate these savings yourself or cancel your unwanted subscriptions, this is a time-consuming process that many of us just don’t have the energy or inclination to do. Leaving these things in the hands of a professional can allow you to concentrate on other areas of your life, while you have the reassurance that you won’t be paying unnecessary subscriptions for services you no longer want or need.
Since these services charge fees based on how much they can save you, it is a win-win scenario. If the company doesn’t manage to negotiate any savings, then you won’t be charged a fee. However, if the company can organize savings, even the higher fees of Truebill and Billshark at 40 percent make it well worth it.
Truebill, Trim, and Billshark all offer similar services and are aimed at the same target market. All three have a good industry reputation and offer bank-level security for your personal banking information. So, it is a matter of personal preference, with all the companies charging fees based on the savings they make. Although Truebill and Billshark charge 40 percent as opposed to the 33 percent charged by Trim, they have a dedicated app, rather than relying on texts and Facebook Messenger, so it can offer greater convenience. With free sign up and no fees if there are no savings, any of these three is certainly worth a try.