Phillips: Group helps find best interest rate

Phillips: Group helps find best interest rate

November 21st, 2009 by Ellen Phillips in Business Ellen Phillips

While I have no connection to BillShrink, the more I talk to these folks and receive their personalized communications, the more I like what I hear and experience.

Hopefully, many of you have signed on to one or more of BillShrink's services and saved some money -- especially as we're close to the holidays and can use all the spare change possible. The company's newest focus came about as a natural segue in its journey to help consumers with their wallets and features savings accounts and how best to "save" even more.

As we know, savings accounts come in many packages; unfortunately, the economy doesn't allow us to max out earning potentials like in years past. How many of you remember 10+ percent interest rates? We're lucky today to see 3-4 percent.

And for those who have enough left over to actually put away for the proverbial rainy day, who of us has the time and energy to search out the kinds of accounts, the best rates at the best and/or most convenient banks? Whether on foot, by car, by phone, or online investigation, the search is simply too time consuming for most of us.

Furthermore, because rates change so often, if we find one we like on a Monday, by the following week we may need to start all over again. Thankfully, this is where BillShrink enters the picture.

As you begin your "Money March," answer a handful of non-confidential questions, such as how much you save monthly (or would like to save), with the understanding that BillShrink continually tracks over 300 CDs, savings and money market accounts with your investments and profits in mind.

You can even narrow the search to determine the most convenient locations, ATM access, 24/7 customer service and so forth. Once the program obtains your information, it'll do all the work and personalize a set of recommendations, including a two-fold plan, such as a CD at one institution, and a money market at another -- whatever helps your wallet out the most with the best returns on your savings.

You'll see liquid money ("regular" savings accounts) to CD accounts where your money is tied up for anywhere from one to 10 years.

Protection is a crucial factor with BillShrink, assures Kiplinger Magazine (Sept. 30). Because rates change over time, the bottom line means keeping current with what affects us and when.

The application tells us when rates come down; then, for example, would we make more revenue next year if we should move our savings to the top product of the month/year? And, if so, how do we discover this availability without putting our pedal to the metal, phone to the ear, or fingers to the keyboard? Of course, the answer is the same as for cell phones, credit cards, and gas stations -

BillShrink consistently e-mails us regarding the best potential and/or changes for our personalized savings plan(s).

I asked company co-founder and Vice President Samir Kothari about immediate plans to help those consumers with no Web access.

"Not yet," he responded, though he assured me BillShrink is working on some sort of alternative channel of savings communication for down the road. Let's share the wealth!

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at www.timesfreepress.com under Local Business. E-mail her at consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com