Grey charges—deceptive and unwanted credit and debit card charges that occur as a result of misleading sales and billing practices—total more than US$14 billion per year among US debit and credit cardholders.

The prevalence of grey charges among a randomly selected surveyed set of BillGuard customers found 35% were hit with at least one grey charge in 2012, averaging approximately $215. A year’s worth of data from BillGuard reveals interesting patterns in the prevalence of grey charges over time.

For example, the study showed that 3 in 1,000 debit and credit card charges are grey charges. Among those with at least one grey charge, 24% had 3–5 grey charges, nearly 1 in 10 had 6–10 grey charges, and 10% were hit with 11 or more grey charges in 2012.

Monitoring grey charges can save cardholders millions of dollars.

The data reveals that using the BillGuard service helped cardholders significantly reduce the occurrence of grey charges. BillGuard customers saved, on average, almost US$81 from monitoring and eliminating grey charges. Had grey charges gone unchecked and remained at the Q1 level, BillGuard customers would have been hit with $165 in grey charges per customer. The Aite Group estimates that debit and credit cardholders could save nearly US$7 billion (of the roughly US$14.3 billion in total grey charges) by monitoring and tracking grey charges.

Consumers can fight back by finding and resolving grey charges with the new BillGuard iPhone app. The free app intelligently prioritizes noteworthy, recent, and recurring charges across all of a cardholder’s credit and debit cards. The app uses crowdsourced analytics from BillGuard’s national Transaction Intelligence Network™ to help users quickly spot and recognize charges deemed questionable by other cardholders on their cards. As users archive verified charges and trusted merchants with a single swipe of the finger, BillGuard gets smarter, customizing their priority list with only the charges they want to review.

Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert & and is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailadress -to 411247.

Be Sociable, Share!