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Adulting Is Hard. So This App Finds The Subscriptions You Forgot About

There's an app that finds the subscriptions you forgot you pay for and helps you delete them.

Posted on July 22, 2016, at 1:17 p.m. ET

We all probably have some subscriptions β€” Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Tidal, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Apple Music, Sling TV, Pandora, Deezer, YouTube, and on and on β€” that we never think about. Truebill is an online service that checks your bank accounts and reminds you where all your money goes every month.

If you were an actual adult who looked at your bank statements every once in awhile, you wouldn't need Truebill. But if you're like me, and your online banking password is written down on a post-it that currently resides somewhere southwest of a dust bunny under your bed, you just might.

For example, just the other day, I got this email from Hulu about its updated terms of service.

I thought it was weird when the email thanked me for "being a part of the Hulu community," because I have no recollection of signing up to be a part of the Hulu community.

Then, a few hours later, I got this email from PayPal, reminding me that I pay $10 a month to listen to the same four Jeremih songs over and over again on Spotify!

Receiving these two messages back-to-back left me with a distinct sense of unease. How many other streaming services had I forgotten I was paying for? I mean, even my toothbrush came with a subscription to toothpaste. So I decided to deal with the problem the way I deal with most financial decisions β€” by ignoring it completely.

But the very next morning, I got a press release from Truebill about its new mobile app. Truebill, which has been available on desktop since January 2016, boasts that the average consumer saves $512 a year by canceling unused subscriptions. I decided to give it a whirl.

After I gave it permissions for my PayPal and credit union accounts, it took Truebill a little while to find anything good.

Overall, the experience was better on desktop than on mobile, which was laggy. It did immediately turn up my Spotify subscription, and eventually, my $7.99 a month Hulu subscription. But I already knew both of those existed because of the email alerts I got the day before.

Truebill also eventually found my phone bill and student loans, which, tbh.... it was a little snarky about!!!

The weirder thing, though, was that Truebill tried to push me into other financial services. When it marked by student loans as "a bit high," it told me to try LendEDU, a student loan refinancing startup. Both Truebill and LendEDU are Y Combinator grads. It also suggested that I use Billshark, a Massachusetts-based startup, to negotiate my phone bill, but I just downgraded my data plan instead. :)

Truebill did find one subscription that I had totally forgotten about.

After some sleuthing through my Google Account, I eventually remembered that, in a desperate moment, I had agreed to pay $1.99 a month for extra Gmail storage space. An indulgence, but a small one β€” I kept it.

The app also missed at least one of my subscriptions.

Going through this process reminded me that I had, out of support for all things BeyoncΓ©, subscribed to Tidal when Lemonade dropped. As I clicked "Subscribe," I knew I would forget to cancel my Tidal subscription after I got what I was looking for. But after locating the above email, I quickly deleted my Tidal account, a move I'm sure I will regret the next time literally any album drops on it.

That it took Truebill "longer than usual" to retrieve data from my bank isn't surprising because I use a credit union that, last I checked, wasn't compatible with other personal finance apps like Mint or Digit, either. So that could explain the error.

But still, that it missed a $12.99/month charge for an app I literally never use is pretty disconcerting.

Of course, it's not like I'm going to start opening my bank statements any time soon. But I also probably won't return to Truebill β€” that is, until the company starts charging a subscription fee itself, and I have to go and delete it.

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