Monday, April 27, 2009

BillShrink touts money saving features on cell phone plans, credit cards and gas

BillShrink is a free service to help consumers save money when making complex purchase decisions such as with credit cards and cell phone plans. The service is a media darling and has received numerous mentions in the business press and media including Forbes, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and The Wall Street Journal. They have a very effective public relations strategy. This review is based on reading over three dozen of these news articles, watching several TV spots, and using the service.

BillShrink has a slick, easy-to-use interface. The site currently offers three services – cell phone plans, credit cards and gas prices.

With credit cards you provide answers to about 6 questions. This allows the system to determine the best credit card for your usage habits. If you pay your credit card off each month the interest rate is of less importance than rewards, for example. Other considerations are credit score, how much you spend and what type of items you purchase. Based on your answers to these questions, the system will recommend a credit card and tell you how much money you can save by making the switch. According to BillShrink, the average user saves $1,000 on their credit card. With over $1 trillion dollars of credit card debt in the United States, the potential for savings is significant.

BillShrink says 85% of people pay more than they need to for their cell phone. Using the cell phone tool, you answer about 6 questions such as monthly minutes used and data and text preferences. For more accurate results, you can upload your recent cell phone bills. The best cell phone plan for you is calculated using a ‘ShrinkScore’ which includes savings and signal strength in your specified area. The available cell phone plans are ranked by ShrinkScore. These results can be further refined by the user according to categories such as service provider, plan type and phone compatibility.

The most recent service released is gas prices. While there are tools which help you find the best gas prices, BillShrink goes a step further and helps calculate the best gas station based on the type of car you drive and the roads you drive. The distance to the gas station incurs a cost, and the least expensive gas station may not be the one with the lowest prices when the total cost of obtaining the gas is considered. Like the other services, you can modify the results based on your preferences such as station operating hours and amenities.

BillShrink makes money by referring customers to cell phone plans, credit cards and other services. This provides a potential conflict of interest. The company may have a financial interest in showing a plan which optimizes their own revenue instead of customer savings. While there is no evidence this bias has influenced results, users must be wary of the potential.

BillShrink launched in April 2008 and has been gradually rolling out new features. They have received 9 million dollars in venture capital. BillShrink has augmented their service with a popular money saving blog.

BillShrink is up against Lending Club and Mint for a 2009 Webby in the financial services category.


laura said...

Today when the world is facing economic crisis, any and every measure to cut costs and save money is definitely welcome. Bill Shrink proposes ways and means to cut down cell phone costs, credit card bills and gas costs. Nothing would be more welcome, provided consumers get real benefit using this wonderful system. Today, people are facing hard times due to unpaid credit card bills and rising fuel prices. I think Bill Shrink will definitely be a good idea, if you wish to reduce your bills.

Clint said...

BillShrink is a very innovative idea that leverages customers access to information via cell phones or other devices. Especially in hard financial times such innovation will be desirable to peopleand as they get used to using its services they will likely continue. What a great idea!

JessicaW said...

Thanks Tom! This is great! I'm going to play with BillShrink today. I'm very concerned about my cell phone bill--since starting my business, it's doubled, but I dont' feel like I use it more. Time to shop around I think.

w2jp_owner said...

This is something that all people that have credit cards, use cell phones and drive vehicles should take a good look at, especially in the current economy, but also for the future because it is never a bad thing to save some money! BillShrink sounds like it is a very valuable service that can really assist individuals in saving money while doing everyday tasks. With a simple to use website and potential money to be saved, this is definitely something that individuals should look into!

applesauce51 said...

This is definitely a great idea! If only a fraction of America used this, so many less people would be in debt. Also, the gas saver worked good.

Dasari Rajesh Babu said...

I am really happy to see your article regarding "money saving features on cell phone palns,credit cards and gas because now the time for us to control the expenses and have perfect budget plans for everyone, and you have given great examples with some points,views, I got much information from you.

I am really thankful to you and thanks for the sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

Clearly BillShrink is handy. It not only saves time but money too. Thank you for sharing this useful information with us. I will tell all my friends about it.

Tom said...

I just watched their presentation at FINOVATE...they announced a cobranding with CBS.

Heatherjrock said...

I was just thinking about applying for a credit card! I can really use this to find out which card will work best for me! I think I'm going to check this out after I leave this comment! Thank you very much!