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Updated on Friday, April 21, 2017
Have you ever forgotten to cancel a subscription that charges you automatically each month? Me, too.
Thanks to Apple Music album exclusives, I’ve racked up quite a few charges from a subscription that I initially planned to cancel right after the free trial.
Truebill is an app that wants to make you aware of all the seemingly low-cost subscriptions that can add up to a lot of money spent. Truebill uses an algorithm to help you identify and cancel recurring payments made from your credit cards and bank accounts so you can find savings.
We tried out the app to see whether or not using it to cut costs is worthwhile. In this post, we’ll cover:
- How it works
- Truebill extra features
- The cost
- Pros and cons
How Truebill Works
You need to download the Truebill app from iTunes or GooglePlay to get started. The app lets you sign up for a Truebill account by email or Facebook.
After you create an account, the next step is signing into your credit card and bank accounts through Truebill so that it can review your account data. I signed into one bank account and one credit card account for this trial.
The results of the Truebill statement scan
The results of the account scan will appear in your app dashboard within a few minutes.
Recurring transactions found are broken down into three categories — subscriptions, recurring bills, and miscellaneous recurring payments.
Here’s what Truebill found from my accounts:
- A recurring Express Scripts prescription charge
- Payments for monthly services I use to run a business including:
For recurring bills and utilities:
- An annual credit card membership fee
- A Comcast bill
- An insurance bill
For recurring miscellaneous payments:
- A Bluehost monthly service charge
- An iTunes (Hulu) monthly subscription
All of the above are current recurring payments that I’m making periodically.
Truebill also has a section that lists your inactive recurring payments.
Inactive payments are for past recurring items that are no longer posting to your account regularly.
In my inactive section, Truebill has recurring transactions and subscriptions from as far back as 2013, including old student loan payments, car note payments, and more.
If you discover that Truebill is missing a subscription, there’s an option to enter the service name, and Truebill will perform another search on your account.
You can reach out to a customer service representative for extra help if Truebill still can’t locate a subscription after doing this search.
Does Truebill Find All the Sneaky Costs?
The current auto-payments that show up for me are ones I already know about. I’m also someone who pays pretty close attention to every account transaction so I didn’t expect any surprises.
Despite being aware of these auto-payments, I still find it impressive how many past and present recurring transactions the algorithm picked up on. I can see how this tool can be a shortcut for catching pesky auto-payments in one fell swoop for someone who monitors their statements a little less frequently.
I did learn something new related to very old charges.
Truebill found a questionable Home Depot Project Loan transaction from 2013 and was unsure whether or not to mark it as an old inactive recurring payment.
I’ve never taken out a Home Depot Project Loan, so that’s a charge I plan on researching.
How to Cancel Recurring Payments
The second key feature of Truebill is that it helps you cancel these services.
You’re able to terminate many subscriptions within the app itself. When you click on a specific subscription, there’s an “Options” link, and then a red button to “cancel” the subscription appears.
However, the option to cancel isn’t available for all services on auto-payment. This is the case for my Express Scripts recurring payment below.
If cancellation isn’t an option, you can head over to the Truebill cancellation page for additional instructions.
On this page, there’s a mega list of companies with directions on how to cancel services from each one. The list includes insurance companies, telephone companies, music streaming services, gyms, and more.
You need to fill out more information about yourself for Truebill to move forward with the cancellation of Express Scripts. The site gives a phone number you can call to cancel on your own. For some companies, Truebill even has video instructions on how to cancel a service.
Truebill Extras to Lower Your Bills
Canceling isn’t the only action you can take to cut costs. The app also notifies you of opportunities to renegotiate contract terms for bills like cable, internet, and insurance to save money.
According to the app, my Comcast bill is high, and it recommends using the BillShark service to negotiate a lower bill. BillShark is a partner of Truebill and renegotiates contracts for consumers. If BillShark can lower your bill, it takes a 40% cut of the savings as a service fee. You do not have to pay a dime if BillShark isn’t able to reduce your bill.
I got a notification that my insurance bill seems high as well. The app refers me to a third party called SolidQuote to shop for competitive insurance rates.
We’ll talk a little bit more about these recommendations in the next section.
The Cost of Truebill
The Truebill app is entirely free to download and use. The one extra service that you may have to pay for is BillShark if you choose to use it to renegotiate your bill contracts. Technically, you’re not paying out of pocket for this service either. You will only pay if BillShark is able to find you savings.
How Does Truebill Make Money?
On the terms and conditions page, there’s mention of Truebill having sponsored links to third parties and advertisements. Truebill may receive compensation from recommending other companies to you.
For example, under the suggestion to shop for competitive insurance quotes with SolidQuote, there’s a link to an advertiser disclosure stating Truebill can get paid for the referral.
You do not have to sign up for any of these third-party offers to use the service for free. You can simply avoid offers throughout the app and still benefit from using it.
Truebill uses 256-bit encryption and bank-level security to protect your information. The account history used from your financial institutions to manage auto-payments is read-only, and your information is not stored by Truebill servers. Find out more about Truebill security here.
Pros and Cons
- Truebill is free for users.
- The app is simple to use and reviews your accounts for subscription information quickly.
- It shows you both active and inactive recurring payments.
- You may be able to cancel bills with one click on the app. If you can’t cancel through the app, there are instructions on how you can terminate contracts with many companies on the website. Some cancellation instructions even include step-by-step video tutorials.
- There are advertisements to special offers on the app. These offers are not too distracting, but you should be aware that recommendations may be from paid affiliates.
- The Truebill algorithm works by analyzing your account data. You need to sign in to your financial accounts for it to do its magic. If that’s a turnoff, you won’t get much use from this app.
The Final Verdict
The Truebill app is easy to use and definitely one to consider if you might be flushing money down the toilet with random subscriptions and services. The fact that it shows both current and past subscriptions is a highlight because it’s also helpful to review how much you’ve spent on these recurring payments in the past few years.