How much do you think you spend each month without lifting a finger?
If you’re like the majority of Americans, it’s more — way more — than you guessed. Businesses increasingly love to sell services via subscription. You give your credit card number when you initially sign up — think Netflix, Home Chef or Stitch Fix — and you continue to receive the service until you cancel.
American consumers underestimate how much they spend on monthly subscriptions by an average of 250 percent, according to a study from Chicago-based C+R Research. They think they’re spending $86, but actually they’re shelling out $219.
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Kathleen Blum, vice president for shopper insights at C+R Research, says she thinks some companies offer subscriptions with the hope that you’ll forget about the continual costs. “I’d like to think not all of them are thinking that way. But I certainly think that for some of them it’s kind of a regular stream of income,” she says.
For you, the money that trickles out every month may threaten to become a torrent when youlook at the annual costs.
Several apps and websites promise to help you manage your subscriptions. Some do only that, and some offer the service as part of a wider menu of offerings that include budgeting assistance and negotiating lower prices on bills.
Some require you to link your bank and credit card accounts, a deal breakeron the privacy frontfor some people. Some only require you to manually enter your subscriptions. Those that obligate you to link your accounts to their apps say they have bank-level security and don’t store any of your information, but it’s always best to read the fine print.
Some of the services are free. But some have free and paid tiers, and some charge their own recurring fee after a short trial period.
Your credit card may offer a similar service without any extra charge, Blum says, naming Chase and Capital One as two companies with bill tracking “that might be a better option to go with.”
Here are six stand-alone services that can help you manage your recurring charges.
A subscription manager just for Apple devices
Bobby subscription trackerhas one purpose: managing recurring subscriptions. It doesn’t require you to link your bank or credit card accounts.
After downloading the app from the Apple App Store — Bobby isn’t available forAndroid— you will need to take some time to enter all your recurring charges. The app does have a list of many popular services, includingAmazon Prime, GoDaddy andYouTube. You can, of course, manually add any service not on the list.
Cost:The bad news is the free version lets you track only five subscriptions. The good news is you can enter an unlimited number of subscriptions for a one-time 99-cent upgrade, and you can buy a package of all Bobby’s upgrades — including the ability to use Face ID and a passcode to keep your information secure and choose different themes and fonts — for $2.99.
A budgeting app from a familiar company
Mint personal financeand budgeting service is part of the Intuit family of companies, which is probably best known for TurboTax but also includes Credit Karma, Mailchimp and QuickBooks. It was the most popular subscription tracking service in C+R Research’s survey, with 34 percent of respondents saying they used it, compared to 10 percent for the next-most-popular service, Truebill.
Because you must link your bank and credit card accounts to Mint, the app is able to find your subscriptions and figure out that they’re different from other recurring payments, such as utility bills. In the free version, you also can create budgets; receive bill reminders; view and monitor your credit cards, loans and investments; calculate your net worth; and track your spending.
Cost:Most features are free, but upgrades come with a monthly fee. An ad-free version is 99 cents a month. Mint Premium, available only for iOS users, is $4.99 a month and includes a service in which Mint cancels subscriptions for you.
A tryout that won’t let out your personal information
PocketGuard planner and trackeris available in both the App Store and Google Play. But to get the most out of it, you have to link your bank and credit card accounts. Unlike other apps, you don’t have to do that as you’re test-driving it.
PocketGuard won’t cancel subscriptions for you, but it will flag recurring charges if you have linked your accounts. Then it’s up to you to cancel. PocketGuard also shows your expenses with pie charts and graphs.
Cost:Free for the basic app. PocketGuard Plus is $7.99 a month, $34.99 a year or $79.99 for lifetime access.
Afree Android-only app
Subby subscription manageris similar to Bobby in that it has one purpose. Unlike Bobby, Subby is available exclusively for Android devices.
You must manually fill in an unlimited number of subscriptions, listing the amount and what credit card or bank account you use to pay them. The app shows the total of your monthly charges, and you can have it alert you when bills are due.
Cost:Free, but you can pay $2.99 to get rid of ads.
Web-based service cancels unwanted subscriptions
Trim is not an app,but the website’s creators say it can track your spending; monitor and cancel your unwanted subscriptions; and negotiate to lower your bills, including cable, phone, internet and even medical bills. Bank and medical bill negotiation isn’t available in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
You do have to link Trim to your bank account. If you want Trim to negotiate your cable, internet, landline phone or wireless bills, you’ll have to associate those accounts as well.
Trim analyzes your spending and tracks recurring charges. It will send you a message asking if you would like to cancel.
Cost:Mostly free. Trim keeps 15 percent of the first-year savings on any bill it negotiates, so if Trim reduces your cable bill to $100 from $150 a month, for example, the company will charge you $90 up front — $7.50 a month x 12 months — but you’ll save $42.50 a month, for a total of $510 for the year.
An app with a seven-day free trial
Truebill budget and bill trackersays its “mission is to empower people to live their best financial lives,” saving its 3.4 million customers more than $245 million.
The app — available for both Apple and Android devices — will help you budget, manage subscriptions, negotiate savings on bills and track your spending. You have to link your bank and credit card accounts.
Cost:Truebill is free to download, with a caveat: You get a seven-day free trial. But when signing up, you’ll be asked to “pay what you think is fair” each month, either $7, $8 or $9. The request comes after you link your bank account and credit card accounts, which some may find off-putting.
What’s best for you?
Which service should you choose? C+R Research’s Blum says the answer will vary.
“It’s going to depend on who the person is,” she says. “There are [services] like Bobby, for example, that have some fun kind of game play. That’s probably very appealing to younger consumers. Older consumers might appreciate something like Truebill or Trim, which feel a bit more traditional.”
A lower-tech alternative:If you like spreadsheets, type as much detail as you desire about your recurring subscriptions, including once-a-year charges, into a blank document along with the due dates. Remember to add new listings as needed.
Set a calendar reminder several days before each due date so you can get the most out of your purchases before you think about canceling. Some services will stop on the day you notify them without allowing a refund, even if you’ve paid in advance.
Ed Waldman is a contributing editor and writer who covers technology. He previously was an editor atThe Baltimore Sun, taught journalism at the University of Maryland and launched a statewide high school sports website.
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How do I cancel all unwanted subscriptions? ›
The best approach is to search through your emails for any subscriptions. Cancel the subscriptions by emailing the service providers. If this proves elusive then go through your bank statements going back for 12 months. Look out for regular subscriptions that you forgot or are fraudulent.What app helps you get rid of unwanted subscriptions? ›
Truebill. Truebill is an app that monitors your credit card or bank statement, and it allows you to view and manage your subscriptions from a single dashboard. You can choose to cancel subscriptions on your own, or Truebill can do it for you if you're signed up for its paid service.How do I cancel my subscription without calling? ›
Cancel the subscriptions by emailing the service providers. If this proves elusive then go through your bank statements going back for 12 months. Look out for regular subscriptions that you forgot or are fraudulent. Cancel them via corresponding websites or by emailing the respective companies.How do I cancel unwanted subscriptions on my iPhone? ›
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap your name.
- Tap Subscriptions.
- Tap the subscription.
- Tap Cancel Subscription. You might need to scroll down to find the Cancel Subscription button.
Is there a way to mass unsubscribe from emails? Yes, but most email platforms do not allow mass unsubscribing as a default feature. Using software such as Polymail or Unroll.me lets you unsubscribe from several emails all at once with a few clicks.Is Truebill a good app? ›
Rocket Money (formerly known as Truebill) is a legit financial management app owned by Rocket Companies. Rocket Money could help you save money through budgeting, lowering your bills, canceling subscriptions, and more.Does Truebill cost Money? ›
The Rocket Money (formerly Truebill) app is free to download, but you'll have to pay for a premium membership to use some of its features.How do I find hidden subscriptions? ›
On an Android device, go to the Play Store, then tap the menu icon (the box with lines in the upper left corner) and look for “subscriptions.” And on the Amazon website, use the “accounts and lists” drop-down menu next to the search bar to click on “memberships and subscription.”How do I stop an automatic subscription renewal? ›
- Open the Google Play Store. ...
- Tap the profile icon located at the top-right corner.
- Tap Payments & subscriptions, then select Subscriptions.
- Select the Trend Micro subscription you want to cancel.
- Tap Cancel subscription.
- Follow the remaining instructions.
You can tell the card issuer by phone, email or letter. Your card issuer has no right to insist that you ask the company taking the payment first. They have to stop the payments if you ask them to. If you ask to stop a payment, the card issuer should investigate each case on its own merit.
How to report companies that make it hard to cancel your subscription? ›
Even with these rules in place, plenty of companies are still using scummy tactics to make it difficult to cancel services. When you come across this type of behavior, you can do something about it: Report the company to the FTC. To do so, head to https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ and fill out a report.How do I delete subscriptions on my phone? ›
- On your Android device, go to your subscriptions in Google Play.
- Select the subscription you want to cancel.
- Tap Cancel subscription.
- Follow the instructions.
|Truebill: Pros and Cons|
|Monitors subscription renewals||Requires access to sensitive personal information|
|No subscription fee for basic service||Has negative reviews on Better Business Bureau|
However, other features require you to buy a Premium membership or pay in other ways. For Truebill Premium, you can choose your price from a sliding scale between $3 and $12 per month. However, the $3 and $4 per month options are only available if you pay annually. Truebill also charges for bill negotiation services.Is there a risk in using Truebill? ›
Truebill: Is It Safe to Use? Yes, Truebill is safe to use. Truebill stores data using bank-level 256-bit encryption and its website has an active and verified SSL certificate.How does Truebill cancel for you? ›
Truebill tracks users' subscriptions by analyzing their bank account and credit card data and helping them cancel those they no longer need, or aren't even aware they have.What is the free version of Truebill? ›
Rocket Money (previously known as Truebill) is a free financial services app that could potentially help you save money through budgeting, lowering bills, and getting rid of unwanted subscriptions.How do I stop my Truebill from taking money? ›
- Start by tapping the Settings icon in the upper left hand of your Dashboard.
- Select Premium.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Modify.
- Follow the confirmation steps to cancel your subscription.
Features: If you have an Android device, Subby offers a service that is comparable to Bobby. Users can manually enter an unlimited number of subscriptions for free and be notified of upcoming bill dates. It will also total your subscription expenses by month or year.What app tracks all your subscriptions? ›
Bobby provides a clear overview of all your subscriptions and upcoming bills. This way you'll always know the amount of money spent on subscriptions, which helps you to control your monthly spendings.
What is the app that finds all of your subscriptions? ›
Rocket Money instantly finds and tracks your subscriptions. Your concierge is there when you need them to cancel services so you don't have to.Can I dispute a subscription charge? ›
If a company won't stop charging your account after you've tried to cancel a subscription, file a dispute (also called a “chargeback”) with your credit or debit card. Online: Log onto your credit or debit card online account and go through the dispute process.Can a company refuse to cancel a subscription? ›
The law states that customers who accept an automatic renewal or continuous service offer online must be able to cancel the service online.Can I block a company from charging my credit card? ›
Start by putting in your request with the vendor. But if the vendor continues to charge your credit card, contact your card issuer. You'll have 60 days to dispute the charge, starting when the card issuer sends you the statement with the charges.Does locking your debit card stop subscriptions? ›
Locking your debit card will prevent new purchases, but recurring transactions and scheduled bill payments will still go through.Can I block a merchant on my debit card? ›
Yes, if you have the “Send Alerts” setting set to Preferred Transactions, you'll be able to block and unblock specific merchants or types of transactions.What to do if a company refuses to cancel service? ›
Reporting Noncompliant Companies
First, go to reportfraud.ftc.gov and click Report Now to fill out a report, which the FTC will also share with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Next, you can report it to your state's attorney general.
Bad business reputation
Many companies that provide products or services that require subscription do not really think about how negatively unsatisfied customers could impact their business.
Explain why the policy is in place. Ask new clients verbally to make sure they are aware of the policy and reiterate it to them. Being upfront about the policy in every possible way will eliminate issues further down the line. The clearer it is, the more they will be aware, and the more you can enforce the policy.How do I delete payment and subscription history? ›
How to Delete Your Google Purchase History
- From the Google Purchases page, select a purchase you want to delete.
- At the bottom of the payment detail page, select Remove Purchase.
- A pop-up window explains that to remove the purchase in the history, you need to delete the original email.
How do I clear automatic history? ›
On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google app . Controls. On the "Web & App Activity" card, tap Auto-delete (Off). If you find “Auto-delete (On),” Google automatically deletes your Web & App Activity, which includes your Search history, after a specific time period.How do you delete purchase history and subscriptions on iPhone? ›
You can also delete your purchase history from the iTunes Store on a computer or Apple TV. To do this, sign into your account on your device, then go to your Account Settings and select “Manage” next to your Purchase History. To delete an entry, select the “X” next to the purchase and confirm the deletion.How does Rocket Money cancel subscriptions? ›
Click the subscription you'd like to cancel. Once you see the subscription transaction, tap the drop-down menu button in the upper right-hand corner of the website. If you're using the Rockey Money app, tap the three-dot icon next to the charge. Select “Cancel This For Me.”