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So for regular readers of FFU, you know that I love online financial tools!
I sign up for every free financial tool there is in an effort to be more financially fit.
My two favorite discoveries are Mint.com , which allows me to track and monitor all my financial accounts in one place and Credit Sesame, which along with Credit Karma, allows me to get my Credit Score for free every month!
Although this is a Frequent Flyer blog, the reason I write about these types of free financial tools is because they can greatly help you save money and can be extremely useful in reminding you when you go overboard with all the Airline Credit Cards you own!
A few months ago I came across another financial tool called Bill Guard.
While most financial tools employ some kind of freemium model, Bill Guard is unique in that the Banks actually pay Bill Guard to provide this service. This means that Bill Guard does not try to push any products on you or try to sell you anything, which is refreshing.
Bill Guard analyzes your Credit Card transactions every month and scans them for any suspicious activity.
Again , Bill Guard provide this service to all the major Banks like Chase and Citibank, so you do not have to worry about it them mining your transaction history and selling it to anyone. When Chase calls you about a suspicious transaction, that is Bill Guard’s software at work!
Since it costs actual man hours for Banks to inform you of every little suspicious charge, I suspect that they purposely let small charges slide by because it is cheaper for them. In the case of my issue below, it was a $2.00 charge that I’m sure would have taken a Call Center Agent 30 minutes to fix. $2 Charge < $8 an hour Call Center Agent, therefore it is cheaper for the Bank to let it slide and not even inform you about it.
This is why Bill Guard may flag fraudulent transactions that your Bank “forgot” to warn you about.
I check all my Credit Card and Banking transactions meticulously every few days on Mint.com, so I was curious to see how good this Bill Guard software actually was and interested to see if it would pick up anything I missed.
After you log in, similar to Mint, you provide Bill Guard with your log-in information for Chase, AMEX, Discover, etc and they will pull in all your information.
It will then proceed to cross reference all your transactions with their database of suspicious items. If something comes up then it will notify you, if not you can close it and they will email you every month with an update.
Well lo and behold, last month Bill Guard sent me an email saying they found something. Unfortunately I deleted that email, however this is the email I received this month in case you are wondering what it looks like.
After logging into Bill Guard, they give you a break down of your transactions and inform you of anything suspicious.
I was surprised to see an item flagged and to be 100% honest, I had no idea what the transaction even was!
I logged into Mint to see if the transaction was in there, and to my surprise it was, so it must have slipped through my fingers.
I did a Google search for “TWX Scam” and found out an entire blog dedicated to this scam.
It seems that when I had signed up for a discounted magazine offer a while ago, the one where you get 1 year of Fast Company or any other magazine for $2, it was actually a scam in which TWX would charge you down the road for the magazine at full price without ever telling you. TWX figures that most people don’t check their Credit Card statements, so they will get away with it.
I was lucky in that Bill Guard caught it and saved me hours down the road trying to get this fixed.
What is even better about Bill Guard is that you can flag the transaction in Bill Guard and they will contact your Credit Card company for you!
Even for someone as financial anal as myself, Bill Guard caught something important that slipped through the cracks.
Since Bill Guard isn’t trying to sell you anything, is a 100% free service, and works passively in the background, I can’t think of a reason not to sign up for Bill Guard.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
After you sign up for Bill Guard, please comment below and let me know if they find anything for you. I’m interested to hear about other people’s experiences!