Finance protection company BillGuard has announced the launch of its iPhone app, which now offers a tool for users to constantly keep tabs on their credit card accounts and monitor “grey charges,” purchases that may have been authorized but then forgotten about.
The free iOS app will push alerts to users when a new grey charge is discovered, and allows users to either verify the purchase as legitimate or receive help in disputing the charge. These grey charges may come in the form of free trials that became paid subscriptions, unwanted automatic renewals or misleading advertisements, as just a few examples.
BillGuard’s first annual 2013 Industry Report on Grey Charges has found that Americans spend $14.3 billion in grey charges each year.
The BillGuard app supports crowdsourcing, as consumers help others by editing merchant information and flagging their own questionable charges. The more users flag charges as misleading, the more the app can quickly recognize similar charges with the same descriptors. That is, when multiple users repeatedly dispute a specific charge, it is then given priority and pushed as a review item to all cardholders that may have received a similar transaction.
“We have built the largest crowdsourced transaction monitoring community in the world,” said BillGuard co-founder and CTO Raphael Ouzan, via a company release. “As consumers ourselves we realized early on that bill checking for most people is a long arduous task that most would prefer to avoid. So we set out to develop a tool that would make bill checking fast, fun and exceptionally effective, with a little help from some very sophisticated algorithms and millions of fellow cardholders.”
The free version of BillGuard will monitor two credit or debit cards. The app’s premium upgrade, which supports up to 10 cards, is priced at $9.99 for the next week.