Having trouble staying on top of your credit cards? Want help negotiating down sky-high APRs? Trim to the rescue! Trim is a Messenger app that debuted in 2015 to help harried people find and cancel subscriptions. In 2019, Trim added a whole suite of services aimed at helping users manage debt, negotiate high APR rates, and cut bills. They now offer financial coaching services for $10 a month. It’s meant to help users create a budget, pay down debt, and renegotiate APRs with credit card providers. Trim also offers to help lower your internet, cell and utility bills. After testing out Trim's bill and APR negotiation services for a month, we found some of their new offerings helpful and some clunky.
How Does Trim Work?
- You can sign up for the service here.
- After you create an account, you need to connect your Facebook Messenger or phone number. That is how Trim communicates with you.
- If you want Trim to detect recurring subscriptions or alert you about overdrafts etc., you’ll also need to connect your bank accounts and credit cards
- After you connect your accounts, you can use different features like Create a Spending Plan, Create an Emergency Fund and Lower Your APR. The app also has a debt coaching program, bill negotiation service, and a subscription detection feature.
Trim Lowers Your Comcast Bills
Comcast, AT&T, and other phone and internet provider aren't exactly known for their stellar customer service. We don't blame you for wanting someone else to deal with them. Trim to the rescue! They will try to negotiate your phone and internet costs. If they successfully get you lower rates, they'll charge you a 25% fee on the first month's savings. Here is an incomplete list of some of the providers they work with:
- Time Warner Cable
- Dish Network
If they can't negotiate the bill down, Trim doesn't receive any payments.
How Well Does it Work?
I tried having Trim handle my Comcast bill to middling results. Trim doesn't employ actual people to call these providers on your behalf. Instead, they wrote a bot to chat with the customer service agents. While it's a cool concept in theory, the bot is really glitchy in practice. Trim launches a web chat with a Comcast rep with the following automated message, "Hello, I am a loyal Comcast customer. I recently learned that other providers in my neighborhood are offering a better price for the same service. Can you help me lower my bill while maintaining the same level of service?" Unfortunately, the bot had a lot of problems understanding the Comcast representative (who is not a bot). When the agent asked me a few questions about my usage and tried to talk to me about other Comcast packages, Trim interjected awkwardly, “I’d like to decrease my bill!” Eventually, I had to manually override Trim (which is an option they give you) and answer her questions myself. In the end, it's unclear to me how much time you save by going through Trim. In both cases, you're still sitting there dealing with the Comcast rep. It's a fun experience, but I'm skeptical of the value-add. What is more concerning is that some users report that Trim claimed to have saved them money, but didn’t actually change their bill. We’ll cover user reviews below, It's worth noting that Trim can only negotiate your bill. It can’t handle specific issues with your account, like slow internet or a service outage. It also can't cancel your account.
Trim debuted a debt coaching program in 2019. When you enroll, you'll fill out a long questionnaire about your financial situation. Behind the scene, coaches start creating a debt payoff program ahead of your call.
Then you'll schedule an introductory call with a certified personal finance counselor. Together, you come up with financial blueprints such as coming up with a debt paydown plan, determining how much you need in your emergency fund, and coming up with savings goals.
My coach, a certified financial planner, reached out to schedule a 30-minute introductory call. Trim suggests working with your coach to answer questions like:
- How can I raise my credit score?
- What can I do to lower my APR?
- Can you help me with my budget?
- Should I consider debt consolidation
In addition to creating a debt paydown plan for you, your coach can call your credit card companies on your behalf to make sure you're getting the best rate possible.
After you connect your bank and credit card accounts, Trim automatically scans for and detects recurring payments. You see all your recurring subscriptions in a dashboard in their messenger app. In the past, Trim offered to cancel subscriptions for you, but that service is now discontinued. Thanks to Trim, I found out that I was subscribed to no fewer than three different streaming services (had to get that HBO Go for Game of Thrones!) There's nothing better than cord-cutting, especially services you aren't using anymore. Thanks, Trim! Fun Tip: According to co-founder Thomas Smyth, the most canceled service is Audible, which doesn’t surprise me at all.
#4. Trim Simple Savings
. Traditionally, Trim charges $2 a month fee for this account. However, if you are a member of their debt coaching program, your Simple Savings account is free.
It seems like some users had a negative experience with Trim's bill negotiation services. One reviewer says Trim told her it saved her $120 on her Sprint bill for the year. It charged her $30 in commissions. Upon further inspection, the user realized that the app never saved her any money on her Sprint bill. Another user reported a similar case where Trim claimed to save money on her bill that it did not. In light of this, we recommend verifying your savings to make sure you aren't paying for a service you didn't receive.
Is Trim Safe?
Trim says they follow best security practices, however, a number of users report discovering fraudulent activity in the days after sharing their credit card information with Trim. Trim connects securely to your banks through a service called Plaid. This means that Trim never actually sees or stores your credentials. Plaid is the backbone of almost every personal finance app that exists, including Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase, American Express, etc. Over 15,000 financial institutions trust Plaid with their data. In terms of the security on their site, Trim uses 256-bit SSL encryption on our website. They store your information on encrypted databases. And they use two-factor authentication for verification you sign in. Their data policy explicitly states that they will never share or sell your data with other companies. Card If you are using Trim to negotiate your bills, you need to understand that they will be contacting banks and utility companies as you. If this doesn’t feel safe to you, it’s best not to use their negotiation services.
I have high hopes for the debt coach program. Their bill negotiation service, on the other hand, needs some fine tuning before I can recommend it. If you use Trim, please comment below to share your experience.