Trim (also known as Trim Savings and AskTrim) is one of many new tools that promise to save you money effortlessly.
But is it really as easy as signing up and letting Trim be your automated personal finance assistant?
To my surprise, the answer to that question is “yes” — to an extent.
The service’s automated features do have their limits, although Trim is expanding its offerings as part of its quest to help you make the most of your money.
In this Trim review, you’ll learn:
- How Trim works.
- What Trim offers.
- What Trim costs.
- How Trim makes money (and when you’re charged).
My experience with Trim has been a nice surprise. Trim has delivered on its promise to save me money effortlessly. Its most useful features are canceling unwanted subscriptions and bill negotiation. The site also has a few other tools, such as a debt payoff calculator, a financial goal tracker, and customized product offers.
- Free to sign up.
- Can negotiate your cable, internet and phone bill with any provider.
- Can get you credits from your cable or internet provider for a power outage.
- Bill negotiation fee is up to 33% of the annual savings obtained, which is charged up-front after a successful negotiation.
- There's a mobile-optimized website, but no mobile app.
How Trim Works
Financial tools like Mint have changed the way we manage our finances.
We no longer need to break out a spreadsheet to budget, or log in to all of our accounts to see how much we’ve spent. We can see our cash flow in seconds just by opening a single app.
While these tools offer an array of useful features, they have their limits. And at the end of the day, these tools are not playing an active role in helping us make the most of our money.
That’s where Trim aims to fill a gap in the market. The service tries to actively help you manage your finances, even going as far as saving money through the use of artificial intelligence.
You get started by signing up for Trim through the company’s website and linking your bank account and credit card accounts. Then, rather than using an app, you’ll communicate with Trim via text message.
What Trim Offers
The number of ways Trim can help you save money is growing.
However, what the service is most well-known for is its automated bill negotiation tool. It also has the ability to cancel unwanted and unused subscriptions.
This is a smart strategy for Trim, as negotiating your bills and canceling subscriptions are small wins that deliver big results.
The service can and has won users over with these quick wins.
Here’s how these features work:
Trim Bill Negotiator
Trim can negotiate your bill with any internet, cable or cell phone provider. After you sign up, you’re asked to link your service provider and, if not listed, upload your latest bill.
Trim will then use a chatbot (or someone from Trim will place a phone call) to negotiate.
What’s nice about Trim’s bill negotiation service is that it constantly monitors your bills for ways to save money.
For example, say that your cable bill goes up after the initial 12-month promotional period, or that there’s a good limited-time offer you weren’t aware of; in either case, Trim will attempt to negotiate a better rate.
If you’re a premium member of Trim (we’ll discuss this option below), there’s no fee when Trim saves you money.
If you’re not a premium member, the company charges up to 33% of the annual savings it achieves on your behalf after a successful negotiation. (The fee varies depending on the service provider.)
So, if Trim saves you $200 per year on a bill, its cut would be up to $67. This fee is charged up-front, not on a month-by-month basis.
If you’re the type who never negotiates, this one-time fee could be worth it.
However, if I had a substantial bill I hadn’t negotiated in a while, I’d try negotiating myself first. Then, I’d sync the account with Trim.
Knowing this, I still gave Trim the chance to negotiate on my behalf.
My issue was that I don’t have much to negotiate. My current breakdown of cell phone, cable, and internet service providers are:
- Cable and internet: I pay $54.99 to Comcast for limited basic cable, HBO and performance internet.
- Phones: For two phones, I pay on average $24 per month for 2 GBs of data through Xfinity Mobile.
- Utilities: Local utilities are non-negotiable through the city.
So in terms of large, recurring utility and service bills, there wasn’t much for Trim to do.
But one benefit of linking your accounts is that Trim may be able to get credits for cable and internet outages. This is where I’ve personally seen the most savings.
On three separate occasions, Trim has been able get a credit applied to my Comcast account.
Here’s a $10 credit negotiated in November of 2017:
And a $20 credit negotiated for me in October of 2018:
The third time was in January of 2019. The message I received from Trim was that it was a $20 credit, but a $30 credit appeared on my Comcast bill.
Here’s the notification from Comcast:
I have to admit, these notifications are fun to get. I’d gladly pay 33% for this service, as most of the time I wasn’t even aware there was an outage.
So in my situation, Trim’s bill negotiation service has resulted in a nice win and has been well worth the few minutes it took to sign up.
Related reading: How to get free internet (legally).
Canceling Unwanted Subscriptions
The other feature that gets a lot of press is Trim’s subscription cancelation service. With a quick text, Trim can cancel certain subscriptions on your behalf.
Trim starts the process on its end, sending you a monthly update of any potential subscriptions.
This is what it looks like:
Then, you can actually initiate the cancelation process by simply texting back “Cancel.” Trim will take care of the rest.
There are a few ways Trim does this, including:
- Sending an email.
- Placing a phone call.
- Sending a certified letter in the mail in cases where it’s extremely difficult to cancel (like gym memberships).
This feature is 100% free of charge, for both premium members and if you’re using Trim à la carte.
Trim’s Other Features
Once you log in, there are more potentially-useful features.
While these don’t save you money directly, they can help you make better financial decisions.
Here’s what’s inside:
- Spending analysis: Trim’s spending analysis lets you compare your spending month-by-month, by exact date, and by category. I found the exact date feature pretty useful for seeing if I have any big one-time expenses coming up.
- Budget your spending: You can set a budget with Trim, and the service will notify you of your progress throughout the month.
- Trim Simple Savings account: A recent feature added to Trim is an FDIC savings account that pays an annual interest rate of 4% on your first $2,000 of deposits and 0% on everything above the figure. However, this savings account comes with a $2 per month service charge, which may cancel out the interest earned by many account holders. The break-even point is a $600 account balance, which would pay $2 per month in interest. (Note that the most you can earn is $80 per year, or $6.67 per month, based on a $2,000 balance at 4%.) I passed on this because there are better savings accounts out there.
Note: The Trim Simple Savings account is funded through automated weekly transfers. You set the transfer amount and can change it at any time.
How Trim Makes Money
Any time I sign up for a service, I like to understand the business model behind it. Trim utilizes the popular “freemium” model.
Signing up is free, as are many of the services offered.
Trim’s free services include:
- Bill cancelation: The ability to cancel monthly subscriptions with a simple text.
- Budgeting tools: Trim’s spending analysis and budgeting tools allow you to easily track how you’re doing for the month.
- Text alerts: Notifications about monthly subscriptions sent via SMS, as well as notices about large purchases and whether you’re spending within your budget.
As discussed, Trim makes money through its bill negotiation service, for which it charges 33% of the total annual savings.
Furthermore, like many other budgeting tools, Trim recommends certain financial products that it thinks might be a good fit for you. These include credit cards, home and car insurance, and clean utility options (they recommend Arcadia Power).
Trim Premium Features
Trim is also branching out into more “done for you” services.
For example, it recently launched a financial coaching service that can help you get out of debt.
These services are part of Trim Premium, which runs $99 per year after a 14-day free trial.
Since Trim Premium launched, they’ve now added a lot of unique services.
These services include negotiating:
- Credit card APRs.
- Medical bills.
- Bank account fees — including the ability to negotiate away a recent overdraft fee.
- Car insurance rates.
Beyond negotiation, Trim Premium includes:
- TrimPay. This service helps you pay down your credit card debt by transferring money from your checking account to TrimPay, which then pays off your credit card bill. The idea here is to get the money out of your checking account (where you’re most likely to spend it) as quickly as possible, instead allocating it towards paying off credit card debt.
- A high-yield checking account. You get a 4% APR on your first $2,000 and 0% on everything else.
- A personal finance coach (read more about this below).
The idea of offering a financial coach, which includes access to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, is one that really intrigues me.
With the premium plan, you get unlimited access to your financial coach throughout the year. This is a great value for those looking to get feedback on a particular financial move, like trying to save for a home or figure out whether to invest or pay off debt.
Additionally, there’s a new service currently in Beta (i.e., it’s still being tested) called Credit Climb, which pays off your credit card debt before your bill is due in order to help you lower your credit utilization rate (a major factor in your credit score).
Is Trim Safe?
When setting up your Trim account, you can’t help but wonder if the service is safe. After all, you’re providing the company with your checking account and credit card details.
First, know that the Trim app only has “read-only” access to your financial accounts. That means no changes can be made (such as moving money around) without your permission, and you can revoke this access at any time.
Also, Trim does not have access to the passwords for your financial accounts, which are linked through a well-known third-party service called Plaid.
Furthermore, Trim’s website uses 256-bit SSL encryption and all server-side databases.
If you sign up through SMS, Trim uses two-factor authentication (which sends you a text to confirm your identity).
Trim doesn’t share your data, according to its FAQ:
Your data is only used for you: we don’t sell it or use it in any way other than what we’ve explained already. We safeguard your data using bank-level security at all times. We don’t ever share your data with third parties.
Trim regularly scans your transactions for any and all monthly subscription fees and other recurring charges — from streaming services like Netflix to gym memberships and everything in between. Once they identify a subscription, they will then reach out to ask you if it’s something you’d like to cancel.
Trim’s budgeting app isn’t as robust as something like Personal Capital, but it’s a solid way to track your spending habits and progress towards your financial goals.
Within the “Your Spending” tab, you can see your most recent transactions, largest transactions, transactions sorted by merchant, and transactions sorted by category. You can then compare this to the previous month’s expenses.
The services are very similar. At their core, both companies’ goal is to help you save money.
Truebill accomplishes this in a very similar manner as Trim, with features like identifying recurring charges, canceling unwanted subscriptions, and automated bill negotiation.
To get these services, you have to sign up for Truebill Premium, which costs between $3 and $12 per month (with annual plans offered to lower the pricing).
That said, Truebill has what I consider a best-in-class budgeting tool with a very clean interface — and you do not have to be a paid member to use it.
Trim Review: Closing Thoughts
I’m excited to see where Trim continues to go with its products.
I love the idea behind these next-generation financial services that are taking an active role in helping people manage their money.
I’ve personally seen the most benefit from the bill negotiation service, and specifically from Trim’s ability to get credits for cable and internet outages.
And the text/messenger alerts are a nice way to keep a close eye on whether my budget is out of whack.
One thing I’d watch out for is if you pay hundreds per month for services. If Trim is able to knock $50 per month off your bills ($600 per year), you can get charged up to $180 upfront.
While you’re no doubt saving money in the long-term, it’s best to negotiate the bills yourself first, then let Trim do the work from there.