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October 29, 2008

Let BillShrink Lend You a Hand

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

Who has time to go and shop for the best cell phone or the best credit card that fits their needs and usage, anyone? Sadly, down time is far and in-between for many consumers. That’s why BillShrink.com thought of making it simple for everyone who is trying to get the most bang out of their buck in the cell phone or credit card markets and it’s free.

Recently, TMCnet.com sat down with Samir Kothari, co-founder of BillShrink and manager of product development, as he offered us a lending hand in the quest of saving money.
“BillShrink.com is a personalized savings advisor for consumers to help them save money on the services that they use everyday. The way it works is that a user comes to the site and provides us with a little information about how they use a particular service. For example for our products in the wireless world we ask our users how they use their cell phone and with that info we’re able to compare their usage pattern against the different products and services in the marketplace and identify any money saving opportunities that may be there.”
Because there is so much information out in the wireless market, consumers may feel a bit like Alice, wandering down the rabbit hole with no end in sight. BillShrink takes all the information they can possibly find and weed out the unnecessary information as well as incorporate other consumer opinions on devices and services.
“BillShrink sees itself as a personalized advisor, where we solicit a little information about you and we’ve relied on the fact that we have done a lot of data aggregation and normalization from all of our different markets and we make it easier for the user by giving them different options. They can do an apples-to-apples comparison from different carriers and hopefully we help our users save money as a result of that.”
The company has been in business for about a year and a half, launching their cell phone market in April of 2008 followed by their credit card market in September of this year. The credit card analysis determines which credit card is best for the user based on their income and individual usage. 
Currently, BillShrink is offered domestically but has hope to launch internationally in the future after further expanding their footprint here in the U.S. They are also in the works of incorporating regional wireless carriers in order to establish a more thorough database. An additional feature BillShrink boasts is their signal strength mapping feature that not only has coverage maps directly from the carriers but from the consumers as well, therefore, creating a “master model” of coverage maps.
Most recently, BillShrink.com gave their two cents and compared the G1 vs. the iPhone (News - Alert).
“As part of cataloging all our information in the industry of all the different cell phones on the market at any point in time, what we thought would be really neat to do is a detailed, side-by-side comparison of the two phones to help people who were a little uncertain about whether they should get one at all and if they do, which one they should get. So we built a micro-site that lays out the pros and cons of the two phones and you can see a side-by-side detailed spectrum on how one phone is better than the other and vice versa.”
Samir added, “Most importantly, I think this distinguishes BillShrink against what other people have done, besides comparing the different devices themselves, we are also helping people understand what it actually means to buy one of these phones from a cost point of view. It’s very easy for consumers to be somewhat mislead in to thinking only about the price of the phone. But the real way at looking into buying a new phone is, in order to qualify for that nice sticker price, you must sign a two-year contract, so the best thing for you to understand, is what kind of contract you’re getting yourself into, what is going to be the total monthly fee that your going to be incurring over the next 24 months and how does that vary between the iPhone and the G1.”
BillShrink helps users figure costs out by using their built-in “true costs” feature which, based on a short survey, helps the user better understand the rate plans of each phone. If however, the user finds that they are on the best possible plan they can give BillShrink their e-mail address and be notified should that ever change.
Although, a bit hesitant to disclose future markets, “because we haven’t really decided where we’re going to branch out yet,” ideas that have been kicked around the office are car insurance and mortgages, possibly being BillShrink’s next targeted market for 2009. For a more simplistic life, and who wouldn’t want that, check out their website, www.BillShrink.com.  

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