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Cushion Review | Automatically Dispute Bank Fees


Cushion

Being charged for unexpected bank fees is never a fun experience. But 100 million people in the U.S. have this experience each year, racking up over $200 billion in fees.

Does your bank send you a notification when you incur a fee? Some do, but you can imagine unless you’ve set up notifications, why the default is not to send you any kind of alert. After all, fees are a nice source of income for banks.

When you do incur a fee, the next thing to do is call up your bank and try to have the fee removed. But if you aren’t the confrontational type or believe you can’t get the fee removed, Cushion can help. 

Cushion monitors your accounts and when it finds fees, its AI-powered bot will automatically try to negotiate them down or get them removed, all without you having to get involved. If that sounds like some kind of magic, keep reading to see how it works.

Cushion logo
  • Constantly scans bank and credit card accounts for fees
  • Automatically contacts your bank and works to have fees waived
  • Plans range from $36 to $96 per year

Bank and credit card fee negotiation

Supported Financial Institutions

15,000 banks and credit unions

350 rewards points ($3.50) per friend referral

Who Is Cushion?

Cushion.ai is a fintech that works on your behalf to remove fees and interest charges from your accounts. It’s based in the San Francisco Bay Area and was founded in 2016. Paul Kesserwani is its CEO and founder. It has raised $5.9 million through seed rounds.

“Our goal is to basically build a digital version of a CFO for the consumer,”  said Kesserwani in an interview with ‘Before The A’. “…But that’s a very ambitious goal and we had to start with something concrete that could gain consumer trust. So we built the first product that would negotiate people’s bank fees and credit card interest for them automatically.”

Negotiate Your Bank And Credit Card Fees

When you connect Cushion to your accounts, it scans them for various fees and interest charges using its AI bot. Once it finds fees, it will negotiate on your behalf to reduce those fees or remove them completely. Cushion scans for all of the following fees:

  • Overdraft fees
  • ATM fees
  • Monthly service fees
  • Credit card interest charges
  • Late fees
  • Wire transfer fees
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • …And more

Cushion says that 93% of its customers have incurred bank fees in the past 90 days. So there certainly seems to be an audience for its services. Once Cushion finds fees, its bot goes to work, trying to get them removed. It communicates directly with your bank through:

  • Secure email
  • Online chat, or
  • Traditional mail

While Cushion does do a good job of finding bank fees, it isn’t 100% accurate. Some fees might be missed. If you find fees that it didn’t, you can report them on the Cushion website or mobile app. It will then go to work on those fees.

You don’t have to be involved in the fee negotiations. In fact, Cushion recommends that you not get involved, as that can create problems with having fees removed. Note that there’s no guarantee that Cushion will be able to negotiate down or remove any fees.

Related: Learn how to have your bills negotiated lower

Are There Any Fees?

Yes. For scanning your accounts, Cushion does charge a monthly fee, which is billed annually. There are three plans to choose from:

Basic

  • $36/year
  • Up to 1 negotiation per month
  • Weekly fee scanning

People’s Choice

  • $48/year
  • Up to 3 negotiations per month
  • Daily fee scanning
  • Negotiation updates

The Works

  • $96/year
  • Unlimited negotiations
  • Daily fee scanning
  • Negotiation updates
  • Priority support
  • Early access to new features

Cushion advertises monthly rates, such as $3/month for its Basic plan. However, all customers are billed annually at their membership level of choice. With all plans, you’ll keep 100% of your refunds (i.e., recovered fees).

Based on your savings, that may or may not be a good value. The average overdraft fee is $35, so if you only have one per year, this service isn’t worth it. However, if you’re getting hit with multiple fees, this could be a beneficial service.

However, we’d argue that you may need to get to the bottom of your own financial organization versus paying another subscription service.

How Do I Open An Account?

You can get started with Cushion by visiting its website on your computer or mobile device. Then click the “Log In” button at the top right hand corner.

Next, you’ll need to provide your phone number so that Cushion can send you a code to verify your identity. From there, you simply need to connect your bank and/or credit card accounts, select your subscription level, and pay for it.

Is My Money Safe?

Yes. There is no money on deposit with Cushion. They simply run a credit card charge. Their website uses encryption and most of its data is stored with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Cushion partners are also PCI compliant.

Is It Worth It?

For many people, it will be hard to justify paying for a service that’s only purpose is to scan for fees and try to recover them. There’s a strong chance that checking account transactions is something you already do.

And if there is a bank or credit card fee you disagree with, it’s easy enough to call them up to try to get it removed. But if you find yourself regularly incurring fees (i.e, out-of-network ATMs or overdrafts) from your bank, paying for Cushion might be worth it.

Even then, there are other services that will negotiate your bills and fees, and will only charge you a percentage of the savings – which could be more cost effective if you don’t get hit with fees too often.

Or you might want to consider switching to a bank or credit union that charges fewer fees to begin with. These are our favorite free checking accounts.

Cushion Features

Bank and credit card fee negotiation

  • Overdraft Fees
  • ATM Fees
  • Monthly Service Fees
  • Credit Card Interest Charges
  • Late Fees
  • Wire Transfer Fees
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
  • … And More

Supported Financial Institutions

15,000 banks and credit unions

  • Basic: $36/year
  • People’s Choice: $48/year
  • The Works: $96/year

Customers keep 100% of recovered fees

How to earn: Inviting friends using referral link

How to redeem: Cash out every 1,000 points for $10 Amazon gift cards

  • Bank-level security
  • PCI compliant partners
  • Secure web hosting with AWS

350 rewards points ($3.50) per friend referral

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