To combat the billions of dollars consumers lose in “gray charges,” or charges they are misled into paying, BillGuard has released an iOS mobile app.

BillGuard's monitoring engine works by crowdsourcing transaction disputes and analytics. When an unwelcome charge is found, BillGuard contacts the merchant to request refunds and subscription cancellations for its users.

“We have built the largest crowdsourced transaction monitoring community in the world,” says Raphael Ouzan, co-founder and chief technology officer of BillGuard, in a July 25 press release. “As consumers ourselves we realized early on that bill checking for most people is a long arduous task that most would prefer to avoid. So we set out to develop a tool that would make bill checking fast, fun and exceptionally effective, with a little help from some very sophisticated algorithms and millions of fellow cardholders.”

American cardholders lost more than $14 billion in unwanted gray charges in 2012, according to a BillGuard report based on research from Boston-based Aite Group.

BillGuard says it has spotted more than $50 million in gray charges so far. “Our data shows that if every American cardholder used the BillGuard iPhone app, the total annual savings in gray charges could top $7 billion,” says Ouzan.

BillGuard's service is also available to iOS users through the Lemon Wallet app, which can be integrated with Apple Passbook.

The new BillGuard app allows consumers to review and verify charges, get gray-charge alerts, look over community-edited merchant information, contact merchants directly to resolve disputes and stay on top of account balances. 

BillGuard plans to release an Android version of its app in the fourth quarter of this year.

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