Personal finance startup BillGuard has been working hard over the last several years to help its users to identify fraudulent charges on their credit and debit cards, and also to keep track of their spending on the web and on its iPhone app. Today it’s expanding its reach with the launch of an Android app, and also adding a new feature that will alert users when their cards have been affected by a Target-style data breach.
The company, which was a Battlefield Finalist at TechCrunch Disrupt a few years ago, launched with the goal of alerting users to hidden fees that would appear on their bank or credit card statements. With the introduction of its iPhone app last year, it expanded to include so-called grey charges — i.e., recurring fees that users might have agreed to but forgotten about.
Last fall, it added tools to help its users track their spending and compare outflows in different categories on a month-over-month basis to give them a better idea of where their money is going.
The new BillGuard app, which is available for both Android phones and tablets, builds on all the features that the company had previously built into system, and adds to them.
That starts with a new design that’s built to better highlight how users are spending their money at a glance, while also showing how much more or less they’ve spent versus a usual month. Bringing that spend analytics front and center while making it easier to understand was one of the key areas of focus for BillGuard.
While the front end design has been updated, the Android version of the app still operates in much the same way that the iOS version did. The key to that is the app’s usefulness is the ability to see and confirm all charges that have been add to a user’s accounts.
To confirm that they made a purchase, users simply swipe right on charges as they appear in the app. If, however, they don’t recognize a charge or wish to dispute it, BillGuard makes it easy to report those they believe to fraudulent or contact the merchant from inside the app.
According to BillGuard CEO Yaron Samid, the company has found that its analytics are the main value prop for the app, but it’s the tracking feature that’s the lead utility, and what keeps users coming back an average of 4.5 times a week.
Tracking is also important, since only about a third of all fraudulent charges are caught by the banks themselves. The other two-thirds are reported by credit card owners themselves. So far, BillGuard says that its users have reported more than $60 million worth of fraudulent charges identified through the app.
Anyway, that’s all functionality that BillGuard had previously enabled. But now, thanks to all the information it has about charges its users have made, it can also alert them when their cards are at risk of a data breach.
With its new data breach alerts, BillGuard will send a push notification to users whenever one of their cards is suspected to have been obtained by hackers. Due to the number of charges and amount of data it sees, BillGuard finds that it can identify and notify users with affected accounts more quickly than the merchants themselves.
In 2013 there were 328 major data breaches reported, or one nearly every day. As a result, it’s more important than ever that consumers are aware that their credit card information might be in the hands of hackers or being sold on the black market. In addition to notifying users of breaches, the company also provides the daily transaction monitoring to ensure that any suspicious charges are highlighted.
With apps on iPhone and Android, the company is looking to expand internationally. It quietly launched in Canada earlier this year, and has plans to bring its app to places like the U.K. and Australia by the end of the year. Thanks to $13 million in funding from investors that include Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Bessemer, IA Ventures, Saul Klein, and Joe Lonsdale, BillGuard should be able to do just that.