Subscription killer Truebill readies three banking products

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Truebill, a fintech that analyzes consumers’ bank and card accounts so it can display recurring charges and remind them of long-forgotten subscriptions, is reaching to become a challenger bank.

After launching a savings feature a year ago in partnership with nbkc Bank in Kansas City, Mo., it announced Wednesday it has raised $15 million in funding to help it launch three additional products this fall: bill pay, credit scores and a rewards program.

Truebill has also opened a new office in Washington, D.C., while retaining its original office in San Francisco. The $15 million Series B round was led by Eldridge Industries with participation from Evolution VC and several Series A investors including Cota Capital, Lucas Venture Group and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim.

As Truebill becomes more banklike, many traditional banks have begun offering services like Truebill’s. Wells Fargo’s Control Tower lets customers see all recurring charges and turn off the ones they no longer want. Goldman Sachs owns Clarity Money, an app that also does this. Capital One’s Second Look notifies users of duplicate transactions and increases in subscription charges.

Truebill, which was founded by three brothers in 2015, now has a half million customers, up from 120,000 in April 2017. It hopes to become the next Mint. Though there is a free version of the app, the primary way Truebill makes money is through a premium subscription starting at $3.

“We've expanded to an app where you get a holistic view of your finances and one place where you can see everything and run things properly,” said Haroon Mokhtarzada, founder and chief executive of Truebill. “The inefficiencies in your financial life go well beyond just the subscriptions you're accidentally paying for. It's also understanding where is your money actually going, how's it coming in and how's it going out. So we've added budgeting functionality, historical visualizations and trending and it's headed towards being that single app with a consolidated view of your finances.”

Truebill’s added value beyond most personal financial management apps, according to Mokhtarzada, is that users can not only see what’s going on with their finances, but take action: They can start savings accounts, cancel a subscription or lower a bill.

“It's been a long time since people have innovated on personal financial management,” he said. “There are many fintech apps out there, but no one's really focusing on this kind of consolidated view problem since Mint, more than a decade ago.”

The subscription canceling feature is still popular among Truebill users. The most-canceled subscriptions are for Amazon Prime, ProBiller, Audible, Hulu and Netflix.

“A lot of subscriptions only exist because consumers don't know that they're paying for it or they forgot about it or they're just very difficult or cumbersome to cancel, like a gym,” said Mokhtarzada. (Truebill can’t yet cancel gym memberships, but it’s working on it.)

And many people don't understand how much of their budget is going out to recurring expenses.

“We give people a view that they've never seen: Here's your income, here's how much is going out the door just for recurring expenses and bills, and here's how much you have to spend as a result of that," Mokhtarzada said. "Suddenly people realize, these things add up.”

Many of the fintechs trying to help consumers manage their finances, including Chime, Digit, Stash and Robinhood, are pushing a product like a debit card, he noted. (For many of these, debit card interchange is their means of livelihood.)

“In none of those situations is there any reason for the customer to attach all of their financial accounts, bills and everything else to get that holistic picture,” Mokhtarzada said.

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