SmartyPig Online Savings Accounts Review
SmartyPig is an online savings account service where you can open a free account with one or more savings goals in mind. The interest rate is a bit higher than you’ll find at other financial institutions, often quite a bit higher, and there are no fees. Contributions to savings goals are all handled automatically so you only need to set them up once.
SmartyPig has both an iPhone and iPad app and an Android app.
You will need a checking or savings account, preferably a local one where you can easily deposit cash and other funds that don’t go into the account through direct deposit. If you don’t expect to be depositing much cash, you could use any local, regional or national bank that has an iPod or Android app that snaps photos of checks to make deposits.
You will set up bi weekly or monthly contributions toward your savings goal, and you can have multiple goals. The average SmartyPig user has three savings goals set up. The contributions will come from your checking or savings account and are all handled electronically and automatically.
Have an idea of when you want to have savings goals fulfilled and how much you want to save. You’ll plug this information into SmartyPig, which does a calculation that tells you how much you need to save each month or every two weeks.
You can set up you savings goal as a gift registry where you don’t contribute, but others do. You can make additional contributions to your savings goal at any time, and you can invite family and friends to contribute to your goal as well.
Take a look at SmartyPig’s retailer gift cards, explained below, to determine if one of the retailers sells what you are saving for. Using these gift cards extends your buying power beyond what save.
Reach Savings Goals Faster:SmartyPig offers a cash rewards debit card with 1% of all purchases going to your savings goals. To load the card, transfer funds from your checking or non SmartyPig savings account. While there’s no fee to load the card, it costs $9.95 to open the card account and ATM and other fees apply,PureValue’s information on NVDA, so add up the costs to be sure this card will pay you more than you pay for it.
Another way to grow your savings faster is to share goal progress on Facebook and Twitter, or use the SmartyPig widget on your blog with the hopes that friends and family members will opt to pitch in toward your goals. SmartyPig doesn’t share any personal or financial account details through social networks or blog widgets, and the service can be set up to share your progress automatically.
Saving More After You Reach Goals:Once you reach a savings goal, you can transfer your funds to one of the retailer gift cards offered through SmartyPig to get extra spending power. These gift cards extend your savings even further, by three to 11 percent at the time this was written. Say you select a gift card that has a five percent cash boost, and your savings goal is $1,000. When you transfer your $1,000 to the card, you’ll actually get a balance of $1,050 on the card.
You are not required to use a gift card, and you can transfer your savings back into the checking or savings account you used to fund your goals. Or, you can leave your money in your SmartyPig account and it will keep earning interest, and your contributions to a savings goal will stop once the goal is met.
Banking Fees and Security:While there are some fees associated with the SmartyPig debit card (noted above), you can stop contributing to a savings goal at any time and take your money out of your account at any time without incurring a penalty. Opening an account is free.
SmartyPig uses multiple security methods and encrypts your log in information and data. If you walk away from your computer without logging out, the system automatically logs you out after 15 minutes of inactivity.
SmartyPig accounts are held in your name at BBVA Compass Bank, so your money is FDIC insured just like a savings account at any other bank or credit union.
Uses for a SmartyPig Savings Account:It’s obvious that SmartyPig is a vehicle for automated savings, but it also helps with building the habit of planning for an expense and saving responsibly. Parents can set up accounts for children under the age of 18, and while the children can’t actually get into the account, they get a special log in that lets them see the savings growing. This helps kids to learn the impact of interest and the value of saving money.
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