Shrinking the Bills

This Monday, we welcome back Ryder Daniels as he continues his tech-ed series.

To begin our weekly series about tools and technology for March, we're highlighting a service called BillShrink. Billshrink helps consumers and small businesses reduce costs for things like cell-phone plans, credit cards, and the like by providing them with comparisons of various services. These kinds of comparison services aren't new (think and lots of mortgage and loan-comparison sites), but newer services compare a larger number of products and services. For example, there have been some pricing changes with cell-phone providers like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile in the last quarter. The line between corporate and consumer discount plans is beginning to blur, especially at the high end with smartphones. Billshrink has done a good job of summarizing the new pricing here. It points out that there are over 10 million rate plan combinations out there, which is stunning.

In 2005, some companies moved their billing address and cell-phone phone numbers to a location with more favorable taxes, even to the point of giving up New York City cell numbers. Forbes did an article on this, showing that a whopping 15% was saved in taxes as a result. Back then, New York had the highest tax rate on cell-phone plans (16.2%), while Nevada had the lowest (1.1%). Whether you're managing just a personal phone or tens of thousands of phones, that can add up quickly.

Services like Mint go about this differently by first acting as a value-add account aggregator, then presenting competitive offers to reduce your costs. Mint was purchased by Intuit last year, and you can see some of the changes Mint is already making with QuickBooks. Have any SpendMatters readers used a comparison service to make a personal buying decision? As BillShrink and others offer more price comparison services to businesses, do we see using this model for purchasing as a viable option?

Ryder Daniels

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