What if there was a simple way to set financial goals, save money and earn cash rewards?
There is. It's called SmartyPig (www.SmartyPig.com).
First off, SmartyPig is an online platform designed to help you save for specific goals, both long and short term. It is not a bank, though your funds are held by SmartyPig's banking partner--which is FDIC insured.
The neat thing about SmartPig is you start with a $25 (or more) deposit. Then you choose your savings goal (how much you want to save and what you want to save it for) and select how often you would like to make deposits into your Smarty Pig account. Your Smarty Pig account is linked yo your checking account and you can choose one time, or automatic deposits.
Allowing automatic deposits allows you to quickly and easily save money. I chose you start a SmartyPig account with $25, and have automatic deposits of $25 every 2 weeks. When my budget allows, I can add more money at any time and even have family contribute to my savings fund. When I have reached my goal, I can re-deposit the money back into my checking account, have it placed on a SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card, or on a gift card for one of Smarty Pig's retail partners.
All my savings with SmartyPig will earn interest--currently, 1.35% APY. On top of my interest earned, if I choose to have my funds redeemed on either the SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card or a merchant gift card, I could earn additional cash back on my purchases..up to 10% and 14%, respectively.
SmartyPig is completely free and there are no penalties for stopping a savings goal early, or cashing out. The only requirements are you must start an account with a deposit of at least $25 and have a minimum goal of $250. Recurring deposits will need to be $10 or greater and one-time deposits need to be $1 or more.
I love SmartyPig because it is specifically designed for savings goals. Let's say I need to save money for a new spring wardrobe. I set my goal at $500. Once my goal is reached, I can apply my funds to a gift card at Macy's (for example) and receive an additional 11% to spend...that's an extra $55! Other retailers include Amazon, American Airlines, Gap, Old Navy and Pottery Barn. Popular savings goals are vacations, cars, emergencies, home improvement and even down payments on a mortgage -- Need advice on buying your first home? See: We know money.
I just started my SmartyPig account, but I can already tell I am going to love it. The whole process is extremely easy and I love saving money without having to think about it, plus, the SmartyPig mobile app provides a secure and easy way to access my account information quickly while on the go. I can view my current goal status, transaction history, and transfer additional money to any goal right from my phone.
If you have a savings goal--big or small-- give SmartyPig a try.
I was provided with a $25 SmartyPig gift card to start my account. All opinions are my own.