Trim Review: Is it a Legit App for Easily Saving Money?
Trim has expanded to offer some additional services, and we’ll cover all of the details in this Trim review.
As technology continues to become an even bigger part of our everyday lives, there are some very innovative companies that are using technology in creative ways to help with financial issues. Trim is one of those companies.
Trim (sometimes called Ask Trim or Trim app) refers to itself as a “financial health company” and Trim’s customers can benefit by saving money each and every month with virtually no effort.
Launched in 2015, Trim initially helped its users with canceling unwanted subscriptions and reducing monthly bills. Recently, Trim has expanded to offer some additional services, and we’ll cover all of the details in this Trim review.
How Does Trim Work?
Trim is one of many apps/websites that provide you with your own personal financial dashboard. Each has different features and functionality, so it’s important to know what Trim can do in order to determine if it can help you.
Creating an account with Trim is free. There are several optional services that do involve a fee, and those details will be included when we look at the specific things that Trim can do. Whenever you’re presented with anything that involves a fee, it will be clearly explained and you’ll need to approve the fee before you’re charged. There is no cost or obligation to create an account and browse the dashboard for yourself.
Trim essentially works as your automated financial assistant. If you’re busy and you feel like you don’t have the time to stay on top of your finances as well as you should, Trim may be a great option for you.
Finding and Canceling Unwanted Subscriptions
Although Trim has grown and expanded its capabilities since it was launched in 2015, the company has always been committed to helping users save money each month. When I first came across Trim a few years ago, it was heavily promoted as an app that helps you to find and cancel unneeded or unwanted subscriptions (this service is free of charge). This is still one of the primary services offered.
It works by connecting Trim to your financial accounts, like credit cards or checking accounts. Trim will review your payment history and identify recurring payments like subscriptions and memberships.
Trim will present those recurring payments to you so you can decide if any of them need to be canceled. Trim will not cancel anything without your consent.
In my opinion, the usefulness of this service will vary from one person to the next. If you’re the type of person (like me) that always checks credit card statements and bank statements to be fully aware of your spending, you may not really benefit from this service. However, if you don’t keep a close eye on the transactions with your accounts, this could be a huge help.
Even if you’re aware of your subscription payments, having an app like Trim remind you of all of the recurring payments may prompt you to take some action.
Bill Negotiation Service
The bill negotiation service is, in my opinion, the best part of Trim. Their team of expert negotiators will work on your behalf to reduce your recurring monthly payments for things like internet access, cable TV, and phone service. Trim works with Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and several other providers.
All you have to do is provide Trim with access to your accounts so they can see the details of your current plan and negotiate on your behalf. If they aren’t able to save you any money, you’ll owe nothing. If Trim is able to reduce your bill, they’ll charge you 33% of what you would save for the year, and you’ll be charged that amount upfront.
If Trim is able to lower your bill by $30 per month, that’s a savings of $360 per year. In this scenario, Trim would charge you $120.
This fee may sound high, but keep in mind that you can always negotiate your bills on your own if you don’t want to pay the fee. Near the end of the article, we’ll take a quick look at three of Trim’s competitors, and they all charge 40% - 50% of your savings.
Many people today are so busy that they simply don’t have time to get around to things like negotiating bills. Trim can be a great resource because it takes just a minute to give them access and permission to do the work for you.
Trim can also help you to stay on top of your finances through automated alerts (a free service). You’re in complete control of which alerts you receive, if any, and the details of those alerts.
You can receive alerts for:
- Overdraft fees
- Late fees
- Balance updates
- Credit card usage
- Credit card reminders
- Trim recommendations
- Large transactions (you set the amount)
- Minimum balance warnings (you set the amount)
- Customized reminders
This can be a really useful free feature that helps you to be more aware and involved in your finances with minimal time required. The alerts, warnings, and reminders can help you to avoid late fees, overdrafts, and other problems.
Trim Premium costs $99 per year after a 14-day free trial and there are several benefits that aren’t available through a free Trim account.
If you decide to pay the $99 annual fee for Trim Premium, all negotiation services are included. You won’t be charged based on how much Trim is able to save you. Instead, you’ll simply pay the $99 fee.
These other benefits are included for Premium members:
Lower APRs and Bank Fees
In addition to negotiating bills for services like cable TV and internet, Trim can also help to lower your credit card interest rates and reduce bank fees. They may be able to help you get credited for interest fees or overdraft fees.
Medical Bill Negotiation
Do you have outstanding medical bills? This is a major cause of financial hardship for a lot of people, but Trim can help by trying to negotiate a discount or payment plan for you.
High-Yield Savings Accounts
With a Trim Premium account, you’ll also get access to an FDIC insured high-yield savings account. The rate is variable, but currently, you can earn 4% interest on up to $2,000.
If you have the full $2,000 in your account, 4% would be $80, which goes a long way towards offsetting the fee of $99 per year.
Trim can help you to pay off your debts by setting up automated payments (on one debt at a time). You’ll set up an automated weekly transfer from your bank account to your Trim savings account and then an automated monthly payment from your Trim savings account to your credit card company. You’ll earn interest on the money while it sits in your Trim savings account.
Does Trim Charge a Fee?
Trim charges a fee for certain services and other services are free:
- A basic Trim account is free (cancel unwanted subscriptions, set up alerts, detection of overdraft fees, and your personal financial dashboard).
- Trim charges 33% of your savings for the bill negotiation service.
- Trim Premium costs $99 per year.
Is Trim Safe?
Safety is a major concern for many users, and that’s justifiable. Trim uses bank-level security to keep your personal information as safe and secure as it can be.
Trim uses Plaid, a very reputable service, to connect to your bank accounts. The benefit of using Plaid is that your bank login credentials are never stored by Trim. Plaid sends an encrypted token to Trim in order to keep your data safe.
It’s also important to note that Trim has read-only access to your financial accounts, and you can revoke that access at any time. With read-only access, they cannot move money or make transactions for you.
The Trim website uses 256-bit SSL encryption, which is the standard for secure websites.
To answer the question, Trim is as safe as it can be. It’s as safe as your online bank and financial accounts. Nothing is guaranteed to be 100% safe, but Trim takes your safety seriously and works hard to prevent any issues.
Pros and Cons
Like any other app or service, there are pros and cons to Trim.
- A basic account is free. There is no cost to take advantage of services like finding and canceling old subscriptions, setting up personalized alerts, and the personal financial dashboard.
- There is no cost for the bill negotiation service unless Trim can save you money. Trim will keep 33% of anything that they are able to save you, but you won’t be charged anything unless they are successful at lowering your bills.You’ve really got nothing to lose!
- Many of the services are built around saving money on recurring bills. While it’s always nice to save money, saving on recurring bills is especially awesome because the amount you save keeps adding up over a period of time. Trim can have a significant impact on your finances since it impacts your monthly payments.
- Free alerts can help you to save money and avoid costly mistakes (like late fees). Staying on top of your finances isn’t easy. The automated alerts can notify you of a low balance in your checking account, an upcoming bill, a large purchase, and several other things.
- A high interest rate on up to $2,000 (Trim Premium). With current interest rates being so low, this is a great benefit if you decide to sign up for Trim Premium.
- The financial dashboard helps you to stay organized. By logging in to Trim, you’ll be able to get an overall picture of your finances and have an easier time managing everything.
- You’ll need to link your financial accounts. Although Trim provides bank-level security, a lot of people prefer not to use any service that requires access to bank accounts or credit card accounts. You’ll need to decide if this is an issue for you, or if you’re comfortable with the security measures taken by Trim.
- The fee for bill negotiation is charged upfront. If Trim is able to save you money through their bill negotiation, the fee will be 33% of the money that you’ll save in a year, but Trim charges you upfront. That lump sum can be a big burden depending on the size and your current financial situation.
- Not all users will save enough money to justify the cost of Trim Premium. There are some nice benefits that are available to Premium users, but you’ll need to be sure that those benefits exceed the cost of $99 per year. Otherwise, a basic free account would be a better fit.
My Experience with Trim
Now that we’ve covered a lot of details about Trim, I wanted to share my own personal experience. I signed up for a free basic account two years ago (I’ve never tried Premium) in order to get the bill negotiation service.
I provided Trim with access to my Comcast account so they could negotiate my internet and phone bill. Previously, I called Comcast to see if there were any options to reduce my payment and they said “no”. I was interested to see if Trim was able to accomplish anything after I had failed.
A short time after giving Trim access to my account, I was notified that their negotiators were in fact able to reduce my bill, although it was only about $5 per month. It wasn’t a big savings, but it was more than I was able to accomplish without their help, so I was happy to have it.
About a year later, I was randomly notified by Trim that they could help me to save a more significant amount of money, about $25 per month. In order to get this reduction, I would need to agree to a two-year contract with Comcast. I was just about to move, so I chose not to accept those terms, but otherwise, I would have been thrilled with the deal that they found for me.
Based on my experience, I would recommend Trim’s bill negotiation service.
While Trim is a great option, here are some other similar services that you might want to consider.
- Truebill - Has some of the same functions as Trim, like finding and canceling unwanted subscriptions, as well as bill negotiation They charge 40% of your savings for their bill negotiation. Truebill’s financial dashboard is a bit more useful than Trim’s in my opinion, but Trim also has some functionality not offered by Truebill.
- Billcutterz - Focused specifically on bill negotiation and they are able to negotiate a wider range of bills than Trim. Billcutterz keeps 50% of whatever they’re able to save you.
- Billshark - Helps you with canceling subscriptions, lowering insurance rates, and bill negotiations. For their bill negotiation services, Billshark charges 40% of your savings. They charge $9 per canceled subscription.
Trim is a useful app that is definitely worth checking out. I’ve personally benefited from their bill negotiation services and there is no cost to simply see if they are able to save you money. If they can’t lower your bills, you owe nothing.
Trim Premium offers some nice features, but the $99 per year price tag is kind of steep for a lot of users. Some customers may wind up saving more than $99 per year to offset the cost, but it’s possible that your savings will be lower.