Rocket Money (formerly known as Truebill) is a service that aims to help you save money on your monthly bills. In return, the company gets a cut of the money it finds to put back in your pocket.
On the surface, that seems like a reasonable trade-off. But, like many things in life, this process isn’t as simple as it seems. There are trust hurdles and potential pitfalls to understand before you put Rocket Money to work on your finances.
Many Clark.com readers may equate this platform to Trim, which is another company that attempts to lower bills in exchange for a cut of the savings.
I’ll address the similarities and differences between the two in this article. I’ll also fill you in on how Rocket Money works, consider some safety concerns and take a look at Better Business Bureau reviews.
Understanding How Rocket Money Works
Let’s start by developing a clear understanding of what Rocket Money does. According to its website, Rocket Money works to “optimize your spending, manage subscriptions, lower your bills, and stay on top of your financial life.”
How could it possibly do all of those things? I signed up for an account to take a look around and find out.
To understand how Rocket Money works, it’s easiest to break the service into four parts: Lowering Your Bills, Managing Subscriptions, Seeking Refunds and Premium Services.
Note: This research was done when the service was known as Truebill. Truebill became Rocket Money effective August 17, 2022. Team Clark soon will revisit the app and its features after Rocket Money has a chance to implement any new features or policies.
Lowering Your Bills
You’ll probably notice that Rocket Money advertises itself as a free service. I guess that depends on how you view it. It’s true that there is no upfront fee for letting Rocket Money attempt to lower your bills, but you certainly aren’t getting those savings without compensating the business.
For every dollar saved by the use of Rocket Money, the company takes 40% as a “savings fee.” That fee is charged once the savings are secured, and it applies to one year’s worth of savings. So if Rocket Money saves you $500 annually on your bill, you’ll be charged $200. If Rocket Money is unable to find savings for you, it costs you nothing.
When you sign up for an account, Rocket Money will prompt you to enter information about some of your monthly bills into its database through a four-step process.
Step 1: Search for the Bill Provider
The list is actually pretty comprehensive. As you can see from the screengrab above, mainstream companies such as AT&T, Charter, Comcast and DirecTV are eligible for price checks by Rocket Money. The company touts an 85% success rate in negotiating bills.
Step 2: Give Rocket Money Access to Your Monthly Billing Statements
This step may be where some of you start to get a little bit queasy when it comes to online security. There are two options: Either log in to your online billing account to connect it to Rocket Money, or upload a PDF or image of the bill.
Step 3: Provide Contact Information and Enable ‘TrueProtect’
Providing a contact number is simple enough, but the real thing to pay attention to on this screen is the “TrueProtect” program. If you choose this option, you’re allowing Rocket Money to negotiate a better price on this bill.
Some users have complained about Rocket Money changing particulars on things like cell phone plans or cable packages for the sake of saving money.
Rocket Money changing your plan could be troublesome if it eliminates channels or features you felt were worth the extra money. And you’ll still get hit with the 40% fee because the company will have (technically) delivered on its promise to lower the bill.
Step 4: Give Rocket Money Authority To Charge Your Credit Card
Before it does anything for you, Rocket Money is going to make sure it has a way to claim its 40%. The company charges you only if it is successful in lowering your bill. But it appears likely that you could get billed for Rocket Money’s share of a year’s worth of savings upfront — even though you’ll get those savings only a month at a time.
Managing Subscriptions and Recurring Bills
After you’ve set up some bills for Rocket Money to analyze, the next service it pitches you is managing your monthly subscriptions.
Rocket Money wants to be able to monitor these through either a bank or credit card statement. It gives you the option to add your preferred account via this dashboard screen:
Pay special attention to the disclaimer on this screen, which explains why Rocket Money wants access to your bank account. The site states that Rocket Money will not bill your account. But remember, the company already has your credit card number on file.
A list of the subscriptions that Rocket Money says it can monitor on your statements is available here.
The theory is that Rocket Money will be able to pinpoint all of the recurring monthly charges you have on your account and then help you eliminate unwanted fees. You are able to remove these subscriptions on your own, or you can sign up for Rocket Money’s premium service, and its “concierge team” will cancel them for you. The premium service plans range from $3 to $12 per month, according to the latest pricing from Rocket Money.
Seeking Refunds for Fees and Outages
Rocket Money offers the service of sending a letter to banks in order to request refunds for overdrafts or late fees on connected accounts. This process is initiated through the dashboard after you set up your account. It’s worth noting that not all banks will allow Rocket Money to do this on your behalf, so you may be stuck doing some of the legwork.
Rocket Money also monitors outages your cable, internet and phone service and will seek out potential refunds on your behalf. The 40% savings fee will apply to these refunds, but this one seems like a pretty nice perk, as sometimes you can be unaware an outage occurred.
In addition to lowering bills and managing subscriptions, Rocket Money also has some tools that may be helpful in making sound financial decisions with your monthly budget. However, many of those tools fall under the premium subscription options, which range from $3-$12 per month.
Rocket Money says premium subscription offerings include:
- Balance Syncing
- Premium Chat
- Cancellations Concierge
- Custom Categories
- Unlimited Budgets
- Smart Savings Plans
A subscription renews automatically but can be canceled at any time.
While all these are nice offerings that could help you make smart decisions, you may find that your bank or credit card issuer offers services that monitor spending habits and budgets. In other words, don’t pay Rocket Money for something you may already be getting elsewhere for free.
Is Rocket Money Safe To Use?
Any time a financial app asks for access to personal online financial records, you’re right to be skeptical. It should immediately raise a red flag, and you should proceed with caution.
Rocket Money understands that potential users may be wary of the security risks involved with the service. One of the main tabs on its website, aptly titled “Security,” attempts to put your mind at ease about virtually “handing over the keys” to your accounts.
Here are some key points from the company’s security disclosure:
- Bank-level 256-bit encryption is in use for your data.
- Rocket Money uses the Plaid service to connect with financial institutions.
- Because of Plaid, you should not be asked to give banking credentials to Rocket Money.
- Rocket Money says that it does not sell your data to third parties.
- Rocket Money hosts its data on Amazon Web Services, which also stores sensitive data for the U.S. Department of Defense (among others).
So is it safe? It does seem on par with current industry security standards. However, only you can make the determination as to whether these measures are enough to trust Rocket Money with your data.
Rocket Money vs. Trim: Differences in Competing Services
For most users, Rocket Money (formerly Truebill) and rival financial app Trim are pretty easy to confuse. Both set out to tackle many of the same things: lowering monthly bills, managing subscriptions and detecting potential savings. Both offer their services with more than 15,000 financial institutions. The similarities even extend to their names beginning with the same two letters.
But there are some distinctions we can make for the sake of comparison shopping.
The most glaring difference is the percentage each company charges for finding savings. Rocket Money charges 40%, while Trim is a bit lower at 33%.
Some secondary differences:
- Trim will cancel subscriptions for free; that’s a premium (read: paid) service at Rocket Money.
- For $10 per month, Trim has a program that will negotiate lower interest rates on your debts and help you set up a payoff plan.
- Rocket Money has free iOS and Android apps, while Trim does not.
How the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rates Truebill (Now Rocket Money)
It feels like I should tag this portion of the review with a disclaimer: “Things are changing for Truebill/Rocket Money.”
When I originally wrote this review in November 2019, Truebill’s Better Business Bureau profile had red flags all over it. It was not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and had an “F” rating. (Just like in school, an “F” is the worst score possible.)
But things appear to be on the upswing for Truebill in recent years.
As of July 2022, Truebill was shown as accredited by the Better Business Bureau with a “B” rating. That’s quite the improvement, but it’s actually down from an “A” rating I found during a December 2021 update to this article.
The customer reviews of Truebill on the BBB website are improving but still leave a bit to be desired. As of July 2022, the company had a 3.14-star rating on a five-star scale. That’s up from the 1.61-star rating I found in December 2021.
I read through the 85 complaints to better understand what some of the issues with the service may be. There are some nightmare scenarios. Details range from complaints about Truebill claiming a 40% share of an internet bill savings that a customer negotiated themselves over the phone to Truebill renegotiating a cable/internet/phone bundle to lower costs that resulted in the change of a cell phone plan without requesting permission.
It’s worth noting that satisfied users don’t often report their experiences to the BBB, but there are enough negative reviews here to make you a bit uncomfortable.
Final Thoughts: Is Rocket Money Worth It?
In spite of the negative reviews above, Rocket Money has the potential to help some consumers. Let’s take a quick look at some pros and cons for Rocket Money to see if it might be the right fit for you.
|Catches service outages||Takes 40% of savings|
|Monitors subscription renewals||Requires access to sensitive personal information|
|No subscription fee for basic service||Negative reviews on Better Business Bureau website|
Bottom line: If you’re someone who is on top of your budget and spending each month, Rocket Money (formerly Truebill) may not be for you. However, if you’re too busy to monitor things like auto-renewing subscriptions or service outages, the free service could be worth it. After all, 60% of uncovered savings is better than 100% of a missed savings opportunity.
Have you used Rocket Money? Share your experience in our Clark.com Community!