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Personal Finance

    Topics: Clark Stinks; How to protect your car from thieves with a minor hack Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Watch the video
  • A month after a voluntary recall was first issued, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says another 27 people have fallen ill in 19 states after eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal tied to a salmonella outbreak. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration says the contaminated cereal can still be found for sale at some retailers. RELATED: Recall alert: Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon sold at grocery stores 100 cases now tied to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal recall The CDC has reiterated its call for people to stop eating the cereal and for stores to stop selling it. One hundred case have now been tied to the June 14 recall of an estimated 1.3 million cases of Honey Smacks cereal. In fact, two more states have reported outbreaks — Florida and Colorado. That brings the state count up to 33. You can see a map that shows all states where people have been sickened by the cereal here. As a reminder, the recall involves 15.3 oz. and 23 oz. packages of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal with the following UPC codes: If you already have any of these products at home, do not eat them. Throw the cereal away and visit Kelloggs.com/HoneySmacksRecall for info on getting a full refund. According to CNBC, the recall was initially prompted by 60 reports Kellogg Company received from the FDA and CDC about illnesses related to the cereal. The third-party manufacturing facility that made the cereal has stopped production. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause symptoms such as fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and may even be fatal in young children, frail or elderly people. In rare cases, Salmonella can cause more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis if it gets into the bloodstream. More recall stories on Clark.com: Recall alert: Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon sold at grocery stores Hormel recalls 220,000 pounds of Spam and other canned meats Recall alert: Nearly 5M Jeep, Ram, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles may have cruise control defect Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Best cell phone plans and deals right now Read More
  • Topics: Amazon wading into selling prescription drugs; The TSA wants to search your snacks; Vanguard eliminates almost all ETF commissions Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Watch the video
  • The next time you’re buying a used car, there are a variety of services you can use for a free vehicle identification number (VIN) search. This is especially important if you’re buying a car through Craigslist or eBay and there’s no dealership to provide free access to a CARFAX report. RELATED: Best and worst auto insurance companies Get your free vehicle identification number search There are more ways than ever to get a free VIN check on a car you’re thinking about buying — or even your current ride if you’re just curious about its history before you owned it. Free VIN checks typically list any accidents where an insurance claim has been made, in addition to the registrations by state and the type of title the car has. You may know about pay sites like CARFAX and Autocheck. But have you heard of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), VehicleHistory.com and iSeeCars.com/VIN? Just pop in your car’s digits and these sites will do the VIN lookup and give you info on the vehicle. NICB NICB keeps it simple and only tells you if a vehicle has been reported as lost or stolen; if it’s been salvaged; or if it’s been declared a total loss by insurers after an accident. This is the most basic of free VIN checks you can do. VehicleHistory and iSeeCars For a more complete VIN lookup, VehicleHistory and iSeeCars will provide other data like fuel economy, cost to own, price analysis, selling history, and predictions about the best time to buy that particular make and model, among other things. VehicleHistory.com VIN report iSeeCars VIN report How to decode your VIN Ever wonder what all those letters and numbers in a VIN denote? Here’s a quick primer: Clark’s key rule of used-car buying: Have a mechanic check the vehicle before purchase! Now, one note of caution here: Neither the free sites nor the pay sites are perfect. This disclaimer from CARFAX says it all: “CARFAX does not have the complete history of every vehicle. Use the CARFAX search as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about your next used car.” So it is possible that a report could show no accidents, but the car has clearly had major repairs. This would be likely if a repair was self-paid, rather than having been run through insurance. Thus the takeaway is use these services as a tool, but don’t rely on the information to be 100% accurate. For real peace of mind when you’re buying a used vehicle, you’ve got to hire an independent mechanic to take a look at the vehicle before you agree to buy it. The reality is that all used cars are sold “as is,” whether by a private seller or a licensed dealer — unless they come with a written warranty. Worse yet, the seller is not required by law to be honest about the condition of the vehicle. Whatever representations they make about the car can be false. So one of money expert Clark Howard’s key rules of used car buying is have the car inspected by a certified diagnostic mechanic of your choosing as a condition of purchase. You can leave a deposit if you wish, but specify in writing that the money must be returned to you if the car doesn’t check out. You’ll eliminate nine out of 10 used car buying disasters this way. When looking for an independent mechanic, you want to see ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification. Garages that participate in what’s called the Blue Seal program typically feature the most highly trained ASE-certified mechanics. Visit ASE.com to find one near you. Watch out for hidden flood damage In the aftermath of any major hurricane or widespread flooding, you have to worry about flood cars entering the used car market. Following Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of thousands of vehicles were rebuilt and had their titles “washed.” That’s when dishonest people take flooded vehicles into certain states where they can easily wash the titles. That action removes any evidence that the vehicle was ever in a flood. Cars with washed titles can then be sold to any dealership across the country that either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that they’re buying a flood vehicle. These cars often end up in the hands of “curb stoners,” which are illegal dealers who run ads in the paper. They pretend they’re selling their sister’s car or their mother’s car and they hope you don’t know what they know. About 20% of these cars go to unsuspecting people overseas. The other 80% stay right here at home. To the naked eye, there’s no telling that anything is amiss with these cars. But you’ll know you’ve got a flood car when you encounter failed electrical systems throughout the vehicle. Again, it all comes back to the need for a good diagnostic mechanic to thoroughly look the car over before you buy it! More auto stories on Clark.com: Best and worst auto insurance companies   States where auto insurance claims will cost you the most — and least 7 things to know before you buy gas at Costco Wholesale Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Best cell phone plans and deals right now Read More
  • Topics: Should you start an Amazon DPS company?; Watch out for massive “trauma activation” fees at your hospital; Republic Wireless has new walkie talkie device for kids that is awesome! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Watch the video
  • Are you paying more than $100 a month for cable or satellite TV service? You may be able to cut that bill in half by switching to one of several new live TV streaming options. DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV are the five leading providers to consider right now. RELATED: Cable TV vs. Streaming TV: Which is a better deal? Live TV streaming: DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV  “As you look at an average pay-TV bill of over $100 a month, you can instead go with streaming services that typically will run you from a base of $20 a month for a bare-bones streaming package to typically more common $40 a month,” says money expert Clark Howard. The best part? Instead of being married to your own sofa and TV, these streaming services allow you to watch from anywhere — on your phone, computer or TV. Before you sign up for a streaming service, here’s what you’ll need:  High-speed internet service: Requirements vary by provider, but 10 Mbps or higher is generally recommended for a streaming experience without buffering. Check your current download speed at Speedtest.net. Compatible streaming device: Although no cable box is required, you may need to buy a streaming device (Google Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV) to play content on your TV. Check with each provider for a list of supported devices. Digital antenna: You can pick up a digital antenna for $10 to $40 if your live TV streaming package doesn’t include your favorite local channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS. Team Clark has been testing various live TV streaming services over the past few months. Some of the key differences are price, channel lineup, DVR, supported devices and the ability to watch multiple streams at once. “My favorite of all the streaming products is YouTube TV. It has a pretty wide array of television programming, but what’s really neat is that multiple people could be watching different things at the same time and everybody has an unlimited DVR,” Clark said. Ready to lower your pay TV bill once and for all? Read on to learn more about your options in Clark’s guide to the best streaming plans and deals in 2018… NEW: AT&T WatchTV Key takeaway: AT&T WatchTV is a skinny TV bundle that doesn’t include local or sports channels, but its $15 price makes it the cheapest of the bunch.  Price: $15 a month as a standalone service; free for AT&T wireless customers with unlimited data plans (Details here) Channels: More than 30 channels like A&E, Animal Planet, CNN, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, History, Lifetime, TBS and more; no sports or local stations (Full channel lineup) DVR: No DVR included Supported devices for TV: Apple TV (4th generation), Apple TV 4K (5th generation), Amazon Fire TV (2nd generation or higher), Amazon Fire TV Stick (2nd generation or higher), Amazon Fire TV Edition Smart TV (2nd generation or higher), Google Chromecast (2nd generation or higher), Chromecast Built-in TV, Samsung Smart TV (2017 and 2018 models) Multiple streams: Each WatchTV account can stream on one device at a time SPECIAL NOTE: If you have an AT&T Unlimited &More or AT&T Unlimited &More Premium wireless plan, go to www.attwatchtv.com/verify and verify your eligibility for the streaming service.  RELATED: AT&T WatchTV Review: The $15/month live TV streaming service DirecTV Now Key takeaway: Clark said DirecTV Now was “abysmally, horrifically terrible” when it first launched. After giving it a second chance, he said it was “flawless.”  Price: “Live a Little” plan starts at $35 per month (Price hike starting July 26!) Channels: More than 60 channels included in the base package, such as A&E, Bravo, CNN, Disney, ESPN, Fox News, History, HGTV, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT, USA (Full channel lineup) DVR: 20 free hours of cloud DVR storage (beta) Supported devices for TV: Amazon Fire TV Edition Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV media player, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV Pendant, Apple TV (4th generation), Chromecast (2nd generation and higher on Android & iOS devices, Chrome browser), Chromecast built-in TV, Roku (select models) Multiple streams: Up to two devices at the same time; $5/month for third stream Internet speed: Minimum of 12 Mbps for broadband connections to the home SPECIAL OFFERS: Free 4K Apple TV with three prepaid months of service, free Roku streaming stick with one prepaid month of service and three months of service for $10/month with coupon code. RELATED:  DirecTV Now: Why Clark Howard has changed his mind Sling TV Key takeaway: Sling TV has a plan starting at $25 per month, but you may need to purchase a few add-ons to get everything you really want.  Price: $25 per month for Sling Orange (up from $20), $25 for Sling Blue, $40 for Sling Orange + Blue Channels: Sling Orange offers 30 channels including ESPN, Disney, AMC, CNN and HGTV; Sling Blue offers 40+ channels like FOX, NBC, regional sports, NFL Network and FX (Full channel lineup) DVR: 50 hours of storage for an extra $5 per month Supported devices for TV: Apple TV (4th generation), Roku LT and higher, Amazon Fire TV players, Chromecast, Android TV, AirTV Player, Mi Box, LG WebOS 3.0 and 3.5, 2016 and 2017 Samsung TVs, Xbox One Multiple streams: One stream at a time with Sling Orange; three streams at a time with Sling Blue; four streams at once with Sling Orange + Blue Internet speed: 5 Mbps for a single stream of video content on a TV, PC or Mac; 25 Mbps for households that maintain internet use on multiple devices SPECIAL OFFER:  Sling TV is offering the Roku Express for free (a value of $29.88) when you buy two months of service. Get the deal from ClarkDeals.com!  RELATED: 5 things to know before you sign up for Sling TV Hulu with Live TV Key takeaway: If you’re already paying for Hulu, this live TV streaming service is worth a closer look. Its Limited Commercials plan comes with the $39.99 monthly package.  Price: $39.99 per month Channels: Access Hulu’s entire streaming library, plus get channels like A&E, Bravo, Disney, E!, ESPN, FS1, FS2, Food Network, HGTV, History and more (Full channel lineup) DVR: 50 hours of cloud DVR storage included; additional charge to upgrade to 200 hours Supported devices for TV: Chromecast, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Nintendo Switch, Roku and Roku Stick (select models), Samsung TV (select models), Xbox 360, Xbox One Multiple streams: Watch videos simultaneously on up to two screens Internet speed: 8 Mbps or higher for a reliable, high-quality viewing experience; multiple concurrent streams may require higher bandwidth RELATED: 4 things to know about Hulu’s live TV streaming service YouTube TV Key takeaway: Unlimited cloud DVR and the ability to use up to three separate devices at the same time make this Clark’s #1 favorite.  Price: $40 per month Channels: Turner networks TNT, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, HLN, Cartoon Network, truTV and Turner Classic Movies among the 50+ networks included (Full channel lineup) DVR: Record as many programs as you want at the same time and never run out of storage space Supported devices for TV: Stream with Chromecast or download the YouTube TV app on Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One and supported Samsung and LG TVs Multiple streams: Up to three separate devices at the same time Internet speed: At least 7 Mbps to stream one High Definition (HD) video; 13 Mbps to reliably stream HD video, even with other devices using the same network RELATED:  Should you sign up for YouTube TV? PlayStation Vue  Key takeaway: Don’t let the name fool you! A PlayStation console isn’t necessary to sign up for this live TV streaming service.  Price: $39.99 for “Access” plan (Price hike starting July 24!) Channels: Watch more than 45 networks like ESPN, Disney, Bravo, Cartoon Network, Food Network, Fox Sports, OWN and HGTV (Full channel lineup) DVR: Programming saved to DVR in “My Shows” can be watched in and out of your home network; stored for up to 28 days Supported devices for TV: PlayStation consoles, Roku players (firmware 7.7 and up), Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (4th generation running tvOS 10.0 and up), Android TV (Android OS 4.4 and up), Chromecast Multiple streams: Up to five devices at the same time Internet speed: Minimum of 10 Mbps or higher is recommended for the best experience, plus 5 Mbps for each additional stream RELATED: PlayStation Vue: 4 things to know about the live TV streaming service Philo  Key takeaway: Philo is priced below the competition, but the absence of ESPN, Bravo, CNN and Disney will be deal-breakers for many households. Price: $16 per month for 40 channels and $20 per month for 49 channels Channels: AMC, Food Network, HGTV, Investigation Discovery, OWN, Nickelodeon and more; no sports or local stations (Full channel lineup) DVR: Unlimited DVR to save any shows you want for up to 30 days Supported devices for TV: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Multiple streams: Three different streams can be played at the same time Internet speed: Minimum of 5 Mbps for HD quality and 1.5 Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) quality RELATED: Philo review: This cheap live TV streaming service is only $16/month fuboTV Key takeaway: Without ESPN, fuboTV is not a home run for all sports fans!  Price: $19.99 for the first month and $44.99 per month thereafter Channels: 75+ channels including FS1, FS2, NBCSN, NFL Network, NBA TV, beIN Sports, Pac-12 Network, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel and regional sports networks (Read more here) DVR: Up to 30 hours of recorded programming time is included with a base subscription and 500 hours is available for an additional $9.99 per month Supported devices for TV: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV Multiple streams: Up to two devices at the same time Internet speed: At least 20 Mbps download speed to ensure a clear and consistent stream RELATED: Is fuboTV the best live TV streaming service for sports fans? Listen to Clark talk about live TV streaming options on The Clark Howard Show Podcast https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/directv-now-1.mp3 Final thought  Still not sure which live TV streaming service to try? Call a family meeting and have everyone write down the channels that are most important to them, then decide together which service is the best fit. (Our channel comparison chart can help!) All of these streaming services offer free trials to allow you to test them out before breaking up with your existing provider. And if you’re happy with your current cable or satellite service but not your monthly bill, it doesn’t hurt to give customer service a call and see if they’d be willing to work with you on the price. RELATED: This new tool negotiates with your cable and internet provider to lower your bill Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More
  • Have you always wanted to work for Amazon? The online retail giant has just posted openings for remote seasonal shipping and delivery associates. According to the job posting, this is a part-time role that requires a flexible schedule. Associates will work 20-29 hours per week, with additional hours during peak seasons. Your schedule will change based on the needs of the business. The job pays $10 an hour through four weeks of training and increases to $12 per hour after training is successfully completed. RELATED: 30 jobs in 30 days: Work from home with Amazon Mechanical Turk Work from home: Amazon is hiring remote shipping and delivery support agents  “Amazon is seeking articulate, strategic applicants with a desire to work directly with customers and drivers to make sure packages are delivered on time,” the job posting says. Your home address must be in one of these states to be considered: Alabama Arkansas Georgia Idaho Kentucky Louisiana Mississippi Nebraska New Mexico North Carolina Oklahoma South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee West Virginia Amazon will provide laptops and headsets for the role, which requires associates to communicate effectively both written and verbally to handle customer and driver contacts via phone, email and/or chat. Read more about the requirements and apply now on Amazon’s website. The job ID is SF180014555. If you’d prefer to set your own work schedule, read about my experience working from home with Amazon Mechanical Turk. I made more than $15 in one hour by completing small tasks that I found on the platform. More Clark.com job stories you may like:  Career expert reveals 9 secrets to resume success in 2018 Top recruiters share 5 strategies for landing a work-from-home job 25 ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in 2018 Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More
  • If you think you’re paying too much for cable and internet service, there’s a new tool that may be able to lower your monthly bill or get you a one-time credit. I recently signed up for Trim, the personal assistant that saves you money, to see exactly how it works! Ask Trim: How I got 3 cable/internet bill credits in 60 days RELATED: Clark’s TV bundle will cut your cable or satellite bill in half! Less than two hours after setting up my account, I got a notification through Facebook Messenger (you can choose text message notifications instead) that I received a $30 credit for my Xfinity by Comcast internet service. How is that possible? Once your account is linked, Trim has a chatbot that will negotiate your bill for you. In many cases, Trim is able to get credits that your provider owes you for cable and internet service interruptions. Trim said it can also lower your cable/internet bill with AT&T, Time Warner, RCN and other major providers. After I received my $30 credit in late August, I thought that was the last I would hear from Trim. But I was wrong. I’ve received two additional credits, one for $15 and another for $4.83. That’s not bad considering the fact that I have one of the cheapest internet plans that Xfinity offers. To be clear, Trim isn’t a smartphone app. You communicate with Trim via text message or Facebook Messenger — and just ask it to help lower your bills! Trim is free to use, but it charges 33% of the yearly savings if it’s able to lower your bill through the negotiation feature. In addition to cutting your cable and internet bill, Trim will help you cancel unwanted subscriptions for free. That’s actually how the service got its start in 2015. Security and signing up Before I started with Trim, I wanted reassurance that it was secure. The San Francisco-based company’s website states that it safeguards users’ data using bank-level security and doesn’t share that data with third parties. This is an excerpt from Trim’s security page about keeping your data safe and secure: We use Plaid to securely connect to more than 15,000 financial institutions across the U.S. During the registration process, you will be asked to enter your online banking credentials. These credentials never touch our servers, nor are they stored by us in any way. Your credentials are sent through Plaid to your bank or credit card provider. Plaid then sends back an encrypted token to us. This token provides read-only access to your transaction data. We cannot move money or make any changes to your account. You can revoke our read-only access token at any time. Some banks and credit card providers have additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication using security codes, challenge questions, or phone confirmation. These measures vary from bank to bank. We are glad that most financial institutions make it both simple and secure for you to access your data. We use 256-bit SSL encryption for our website and all server-side databases. If you sign up to get notifications via SMS, we will require you to set up two-factor authentication when you register for Trim. We will require you to confirm your identity using 2FA for any sign-in using a new device, or if your security token has expired. For users who sign up using Facebook Messenger, we rely on Facebook’s implementation of the OAuth protocol to ensure secure sign-in. Read more and find out how to sign up at AskTrim.com. RELATED: This new tool negotiates with your cable and internet provider to lower your bill Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More
  • All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox! If you’re tired of overpaying for cable and internet service, there’s a new way to score a one-time or perhaps even a monthly credit on your bill without having to do the negotiating yourself. I recently tested Trim, the personal assistant that saves you money, to see exactly how it works! Read more: How to improve the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home Ask Trim to lower your cable and internet bill Less than two hours after signing up on Trim’s website, I got a notification through Facebook Messenger (you can choose text message notifications instead) that I received a $30 credit for my Xfinity by Comcast internet service. How is that possible? Once your account is linked, Trim has a chatbot that will negotiate your bill for you. In many cases, Trim is able to get credits that your provider owes you due to cable and internet service interruptions. Trim’s chatbot told me via Facebook Messenger that it keeps 25% (now 33%) of what it saves customers through its bill negotiation feature. Trim said it can also lower your cable/internet bill with Time Warner, Charter and other providers. My $30 Comcast credit Have Trim cancel recurring charges for you! Trim started back in 2015 by helping people cancel old subscriptions for free — things like The New York Times, Netflix and Spotify. The automated system scanned my linked credit card account and identified a subscription that I really didn’t need anymore. I texted “Cancel _____” to Trim and it took care of the cancellation at no cost to me. Trim said it regularly reviews transactions and will alert users when a new subscription is charged to the account. Security and signing up Before I started with Trim, I wanted reassurance that it was secure. The San Francisco-based company’s website states that it safeguards users’ data using bank-level security and doesn’t share that data with third parties. This is an excerpt from Trim’s security page about keeping your data safe and secure: We use Plaid to securely connect to more than 15,000 financial institutions across the U.S. During the registration process, you will be asked to enter your online banking credentials. These credentials never touch our servers, nor are they stored by us in any way. Your credentials are sent through Plaid to your bank or credit card provider. Plaid then sends back an encrypted token to us. This token provides read-only access to your transaction data. We cannot move money or make any changes to your account. You can revoke our read-only access token at any time. Some banks and credit card providers have additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication using security codes, challenge questions, or phone confirmation. These measures vary from bank to bank. We are glad that most financial institutions make it both simple and secure for you to access your data. We use 256-bit SSL encryption for our website and all server-side databases. If you sign up to get notifications via SMS, we will require you to set up two-factor authentication when you register for Trim. We will require you to confirm your identity using 2FA for any sign-in using a new device, or if your security token has expired. For users who sign up using Facebook Messenger, we rely on Facebook’s implementation of the OAuth protocol to ensure secure sign-in. To be clear, Trim isn’t a smartphone app. You communicate with Trim via text message or Facebook Messenger only. Go to AskTrim.com to learn more and find out how to sign up. Check out more from our Michael Saves series: How I paid off my $86,000 mortgage in 2 years 5 timeless tips from my grandmother that can save you money Save $1,000+ with this 12-week money challenge Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More
  • If you’ve been searching for ways to lower your cable or internet bill, there’s a relatively new tool that may be able to save you some money! San Francisco-based AskTrim.com got its start back in 2015 by canceling unwanted subscriptions for free on behalf of its users, but the company recently added cable and internet bill negotiating to its list of services. Trim’s chatbot has reduced my Comcast internet bill a few times in six months, including a $20 bill credit this past week! RELATED: Best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Ask Trim: Why the bill negotiating tool asks for your bank user ID and password One of money expert Clark Howard’s fans recently wrote in to ask why Trim needed his bank login ID, password and PIN to help him get a break on his cable bill. Clark.com reached out to a Trim spokesperson and got this response: “Thanks for your message and sorry for the confusion! We do ask you to connect your bank, however, you definitely have the option of connecting a credit card if that works best for you. We deeply apologize if that wasn’t clear. It sounds like your main concern is security when it comes to linking your accounts. Security is a very high priority for us as we, our friends and family also use Trim. Trim uses 256-bit SSL encryption on our website, encrypted databases, and two-factor authentication when you sign in. You can read more about what we do to keep your information safe here:  https://www.asktrim.com/security   Hope that helps!  Thank you for using Trim!” AskTrim.com For Trim to analyze your transactions to find unwanted subscriptions and lower your bills, you have to provide login information for your accounts — that’s just how it works. But like the Trim spokesperson said, linking a credit card instead of your checking/savings account is an option. “If that freaks you out, then just don’t use the service or use it for accounts that you pay by credit card because there’s very little risk to you giving access to that — but don’t give them access to your checking account,” Clark says. Listen below: Clark talks about AskTrim.com on The Clark Howard Show Podcast  https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/asktrim.mp3 Trim also requests a credit card because it charges users 33% of whatever it saves them on their cable/internet bill. For example, if Trim is able to lower your cable bill by $10 a month for 12 months, you’ll receive a $40 charge from Trim on your credit card bill. Learn more about Trim here and submit a question to Clark anytime at Clark.com/ask. Related Articles from clark.com: Citi is refunding $335 million to its credit card customers Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More