All posts by Paula Pant

How to Avoid Getting Locked into an Unwanted Renewal

It’s happened to almost everyone: You signed up for a magazine, cable or dating website subscription, and without warning — poof! – the merchant automatically renewed it, locking you in for another year. Unwanted auto-renewals are one of the leading sources of “grey charges,” a term that describes sneaky, deceptive and unwanted charges that plague

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The Fine Print – You Might Go to Jail for Asking for a Refund

Welcome to another edition of the Fine Print, which highlights some of the scary wording that’s buried at the bottom of your customer agreements. This week’s feature is truly frightening: the merchant is making a thinly-veiled threat to prosecute you if it thinks that you’re asking for a frivolous refund. The merchant doesn’t outline any

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The Fine Print: This 90-Day Guarantee Only Lasts 60 Days

Welcome to the Fine Print, a regular feature in which we highlight confusing or shady text at the bottom of your customer agreements. This week, we’re featuring a company that has a confusing set of criteria surrounding their satisfaction guarantee. First of all, they call it a 90-day guarantee, although that’s a bit misleading, because

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How Scott Saved $40/Month With BillGuard

Want to read a true story of a satisfied BillGuard user? Read on! How Scott Saved $40 Per Month Scott is a frequent business traveler. His receipts and payments are scattered across the country, and his credit card statements often reflect the names of merchants that he doesn’t recognize. That’s a normal experience among regular

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Common Prepaid Debit Card Fees

A traditional debit card, as you know, is a card that draws down the balance in your checking account. A prepaid debit card, unlike a traditional debit card, is a card onto which you load a limited amount of money — anywhere from $10 to $1,000 — and then spend that down over time. It’s

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How One BillGuard User Saved $700

Want to hear the true story of one BillGuard user who saved more than $700 thanks to our service? Read on! User Testimonial: The $700 Decision Tom (not his real name) was surfing the internet one afternoon when he stumbled upon a story on the website AppAdvice.com about the release of BillGuard’s new iPhone app.

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PIN-Based Debit Cards vs. Signature Debit Cards

Did you know that there are two types of debit cards? Nope, I’m not talking about prepaid cards vs. traditional cards (although those are also two forms of debit cards). I’m talking about “direct debit cards” vs. “deferred debit cards.” Never heard of these? Don’t worry. Here’s a primer explaining the two types of cards.

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Retroactive Interest Charges

The following is a guest post by Kari Luckett. Credit cards are full of hidden fees and charges, but thanks to the CARD Act, most people are already aware of what those fees are; annual fee, balance transfer fee, late fee, etc. Easy enough, but have you ever heard of retroactive interest before? Retroactive interest

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How to Lower Your Monthly Bills and Save Money

Guest post by David Bakke, who writes for the website Money Crashers. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs to get your finances back on track, take a look at your monthly bills. If you’re like many people, you simply cut a check to each provider every month without giving it a second thought.

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Grey Charges Around the Web

BillGuard isn’t the only blog that writes about hidden fees, unwanted auto-renewals and other types of grey charges. Here’s a roundup of three fantastic personal finance websites that have written about the same thing recently – 1. Unwanted Auto-Renewals J. Money, a pseudonymous blogger who writes the popular site Budgets are Sexy, said that he accidentally allowed a magazine

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How to Prevent Your Kids from Making Unauthorized Charges on Apps

Are your children, nieces or nephews more tech-savvy than you? You’re not alone. Many kids are becoming more tech savvy than their parents – and that means they’re able to use technology to make unauthorized charges. Look around the next time you sit down at a family restaurant.  Take notice of how many kids are

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Most Common Credit Card Fees

Want to learn more about some of the most common credit card fees? Here’s everything you ought to stay alert for … #1: Annual Fee–  A once-a-year charge for owning the credit card. Not all cards have it, but most secured cards and subprime cards do, as do high-end “luxury” cards. Expect to pay anywhere

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Take Charge: Week of July 29

A HUGE thank-you to all of our fans who are iPhone users! BillGuard is proud to be the #1 finance app in the App Store. Haven’t downloaded it yet? Find us here. Meanwhile, onto our regular weekly roundup of news about grey charges … How is a Credit Card Like a Kiss? A kiss, like

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Seniors Struggle To Read Fine Print, New Research Shows

Some seniors have a tough time reading fine print, but researchers have long attributed this to declining eyesight. But new research points to a different reason. The way we view fine print changes as we age, researchers say, and this affects all people, not just those whose eyesight has declined. A team of psychologists from

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Take Charge: Week of July 15

Welcome to this week’s digest of news about fine print, hidden fees and grey charges. The Fine Print: That “Check” is an Unwanted Subscription! When is a check not really a check? When it’s a sneaky subscription! I know, I know … it sounds like a bad joke. But the people who were duped out

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The Fine Print: That Check is an Unwanted Subscription!

Ready for some of the most shocking Fine Print you’ve ever seen? This week’s example is certainly creative; I’ll say that much. This comes courtesy of a large company that shall remain unnamed, but that has a large reputation and vast clientele. This company sends its customers checks in the mail. Upon first glance, these

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Take Charge: Week of June 8

Welcome to Take Charge, our weekly roundup of news about hidden fees and fine print! Have you ever thought that you were making a one-time purchase … only to discover that you had inadvertently signed up for a subscription? Surprise! This is a Subscription! In this week’s article about The Fine Print, we highlight an example

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The Fine Print: Surprise! This is a Subscription!

Thanks to BillGuard users who write to us with examples of sneaky fine print and hidden charges! A BillGuard participant sent us the following shady example of Fine Print. It sounds innocent enough – you’re getting charged monthly. You simply need to send a quick email to cancel. You only have to cancel one day

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Take Charge: Week of July 1

Welcome to Take Charge, our weekly roundup of news about hidden fees and fine print! Four Tips For Avoiding Surprise Charges On Your Credit Card Do you know the “lingo” that’s written into the fine print of your credit card agreement? Do you know what APR stands for? Can you define the terms “promotional rate”

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Four Tips For Avoiding Surprise Charges On Your Credit Card

This is a guest post by Amelia Granger, Senior Analyst at NerdWallet. There are a lot of great surprises in life: birthday parties, proposals, a coworker bringing in donuts on a Wednesday. But, as we all know, not all surprises are pleasant, and one of the most unpleasant out there is a surprise charge on

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