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BillGuard Fights Unwanted Credit Card Charges

Have you ever looked at a charge on your credit card statement and thought "what the heck is that?" If so, you're certainly not alone. Double charges, hidden fees, unauthorized purchases, and zombie subscriptions that were canceled months ago can plague anyone's credit card bill.

I check my credit card statements on a regular basis, probably too much, and I still come across several charges each month that need further investigation because I can't recognize what they are at first glance. They're often legitimate charges that just slipped my mind (I must sleep-shop for outdoor gear online or something); however, I have found errors from time to time that need to be corrected. But what about the millions of credit card users who aren't so vigilant about checking their credit card statements? How often are they getting gouged by merchants large and small? No one really knows for sure.

The problem is "most people don't check their statements", according to Raphael Ouzan, Founder and CTO at BillGuard. "Nothing measures how big of a problem this is, and no one has tackled the challenge", says Ouzan. This is what motivated Ouzan and his team to create a free service for consumers that fights unfair or unwanted credit card charges by monitoring credit card statements for billing errors, hidden or fishy recurring charges, misleading subscriptions, and common scams. BillGuard claims to have already saved users over $600,000 since its launch a year ago, which represents an average savings per user of $300 a year.

So what makes BillGuard so special? It's more than just a service that analyzes your credit card statement against an algorithm and flags potentially unwanted charges. What makes BillGuard special is the fact that it harnesses the power of its community along with the millions of people posting billing complaints online. "The concept of collective vigilance is key and becomes much stronger than any algorithm", say Ouzan. Whenever a charge on your bill is flagged by someone else in the community, BillGuard will let you know, which means you're no longer the only person looking after your credit card bill. BillGuard and its growing community of thousands are there to back you up too.

Not bad for a free service. And since BillGuard's long-term business strategy is to sell their product as a platform for banks, it will remain free for consumers. Yea! While they haven't announced any partnerships with major financial institutions yet, Ouzan says BillGuard has already found some great partners and hopes to make public announcements later this year. They've also recently launched a blog, The Daily Guardian, which will be used to publish information about some of the largest scams they've uncovered and shady websites that are still out there misleading consumers across the country.

That's some juicy stuff, so I'll definitely be checking in on the blog often to see who they call out first!

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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