SmartyPig Review

I’ve mentioned before that I use SmartyPig as my savings account (as well as ING Direct so that some money is immediately available), but many people are unfamiliar with SmartyPig, so I thought I’d give my thoughts after using it for a few months.

SmartyPig

GOOOOOALs

For those who don’t know, SmartyPig is a savings program that is unique in that it is designed to help people save for specific goals. Instead of putting money into a savings account and letting it sit there accruing interest, SmartyPig members set up their goals and automatically contribute regularly, with the option of letting friends contribute, too (we’ll get to that in a minute).

I use my SmartyPig savings account for various goals and automatically contribute every two weeks.

The 2.15 1% interest rate is much higher than that of any traditional bank, and while there are a few steps you must take to withdraw your money, that means you’re less likely to use this money to supplement your checking account. But who cares? That’s not what savings is for!

Social Funding

One thing about SmartyPig that I’m not a fan of is the social aspect. If you choose to share your goal, friends and family can provide financial support. For most people banking is private and asking friends for money seems…weird. Sure, you can let people know that you are saving up for a trip to Europe, but letting them know that you are accepting donations just doesn’t seem right. I turned off this option for my account. My friends can do what they want with their money without feeling pressured. I use it more as a bank than as a way to connect with friends and beg for their money.

Withdrawing

The withdrawal process for SmartyPig is very interesting. Instead of being able to transfer money in and out like a regular bank, users must close their goals before withdrawing. This doesn’t matter much because these goals can be opened again, but the automatic contributing must stop.

Then there are 3 withdrawal options:

  • ACH Transfer – Send money back to your savings account
  • Debit Card – They’ll send you a debit card that can be reloaded with money from future goals
  • Retail Gift Card – Get a retail card with up to 112% of the money in your goal on it.

The retail card is where it gets interesting. With Amazon, Macy’s, and Barnes & Noble among the retailers, you can put all or part of your balance on a card to get the most out of your cash. When you select this option, you part of your money on the card, and they give you a little boost, which is always nice.

Of course, only use this option if you need something anyway! Don’t just get it because you think it’s a smart financial move!

Give It A Shot

Head over to SmartyPig and take a look around if you’re looking for a savings account with a fantastic interest rate. It’s definitely worth a closer look, and my experience so far has been fantastic. No complaints, and who doesn’t love earning extra interest on their money?

What bank do you use? What are the pros and cons of your savings accounts? Would you ever use the social aspect of SmartyPig?

12 Responses to SmartyPig Review

  1. FFB says:

    I’ve been interested in SmartyPig because of the higher rates. The bonus on the gift cards is intriguing too!

  2. sahmCFO says:

    I was going to set up an ING sub-account for my “christmas gift fund”. But the retail bonus sounds very interesting. I would be in effect earning 12% on my money that I would be spending at Amazon.com. Great tip!

    • Daniel says:

      Amazon only gives 4%, but depending on where you shop, it can be more. I do a lot of my shopping on Amazon anyway, so next time I do, I may create a “shopping” goal and then stop it and cash out and earn the bonus. Who doesn’t love free money?

  3. sahmCFO says:

    With 3 kids to save up for Christmas for – 4% is still better than the ING rate:)

  4. Just a thought… the social aspect for an adult is weird but what about for a kid? Grandma and Grandpa would probably enjoy the opportunity to contribute and the kids would have a lesson in managing a savings account!

    • Daniel says:

      Great point, I can definitely see kids getting excited about that and getting money deposited instead of cash or check. At least someone could use the feature!

  5. I like the sound of the higher interest rate. BUT, I don’t know if I like the idea of putting your hard earned money on store gift cards. This seems geared towards a younger audience. I think Lean Life Coach hit it on the head, kids could benefit from this. Especially when asking relatives to donate money! :)

    • Daniel says:

      Agreed, putting thousands of dollars on a gift card sounds like a terrible idea. But if I’m cashing out, maybe putting $50 or $100 on an amazon card might be nice (maybe as a system of rewarding yourself?).

  6. Adrian says:

    Stay AWAY from Smartypig! These guys are serious bad news. I tried to close an account with them and they made me wait 9 business days!! I had over $40,000 with them in deposits and I tried to close the account – but they held it up because they needed 9 (that’s NINE) business days to verify whether a recurring (get this) $10/month fund deposit would in fact clear. When I explained that they were holding $40,000 that I needed access to within 5 days hostage for $10 (which they could simply credit back or hang on to for all I care), they SO could not care. Stay away from this bunch – quite rude and inflexible. Oh and their website really works hard to hide their phone number from you….

  7. Jalane says:

    I agree with Adrian! We have had to call everyday because they keep telling us our money will be deposited “tomorrow” for 6 days–perhaps i will need to wait another 3 days. They have $600 dollars of our money, our automatic paments have cleared long ago as we stopped them over a month ago. This company needs much improvement on their “RETURN” system!! They sure dont take 9 days to take the money out of your account!!

    Honestly regardless of interest rate a conventional savings account is a better bet, at least you can walk in the bank and get YOUR OWN money back at any time w/o over a weeks waiting time!

  8. Micah says:

    Um Adrian, after reading your comment I went to find their number. It took me three clicks, buddy.

  9. Tym says:

    If you can edit this post, you might want to consider removing or changing the banner for SmartyPig. Their interest rate is now 1% (not 2.15%), and they’re no longer with West Bank.

Get Income and Money Saving Tips To Your Inbox

Get Income and Money Saving Tips To Your Inbox

Want more tips on how to make more money each month? Sign up to receive the great tips and tricks to boost your income and save more!

You have Successfully Subscribed!