Before I knew SmartyPig existed, I asked my local bank if I could set up multiple savings accounts with different names (or at least numbers) on them. They said it wasn’t possible. So, I just kept saving my money in one lump sum. This always posed a problem, though. I never knew what the cash was for specifically. If I withdrew money for one goal, I always felt like I was taking it away from another. It wasn’t until two years later, frustrated by the same feeling, that I finally found the answer: SmartyPig.
Now, bear with me because I am a bit of a fan girl, but here are the reasons I trust my savings with them.
1. Competitive Interest Rate
SmartyPig is specifically an online high yield savings account. Its interest rate, at 1%, is one of the highest in the country when it comes to high yield savings. Plus, there are no fees or sneaky tactics. You just link your bank account, deposit money regularly, and watch your savings grow.
2. Separate Savings Goals
Like I said, I thrive on creating multiple savings goals at once. For example, right now I’m saving for my husband’s second medical school licensing exam, which costs $2,500. I’m also saving for my husband’s residency applications and associated transportation costs, which can cost up to $10,000. In addition, I keep my emergency fund and general savings fund in SmartyPig. In the past, I’ve used SmartyPig to save for vacations, my $10,000 baby fund, and even my Macbook Pro. In fact, my computer was one of the very first large purchases I ever made where I was able to pay completely upfront. I was so excited I even wore a SmartyPig t-shirt when I went to buy it. True story. In sum, using their service taught me the value of saving for something before I buy it.
3. The Social Factor
Like any good blogger, I am obsessed with social media. I love that SmartyPig allows users to share their progress and goals with their social networks. You can share actual numbers or just percentages. You can even ask for donations. I especially like sharing when a goal is complete.
4. Motivational Design
Even though it might seem silly, I like that SmartyPig helps me track all of this progress with a cute little piggy bank icon. There’s just something satisfying about growing that little pig until it says 100%. The design is set up so that it’s inviting. It makes you want to succeed. It’s so much more than just logging into your old, boring bank account. The design is in place so that it gets you excited to save, and it works.
5. Mobile Friendly
SmartyPig is also very mobile friendly. You can download their app, which is both iOS and Android compatible. This is a great way to deposit funds and view you progress on the go.
SmartyPig is FDIC insured like any other bank and deposited with BBVA Compass. You can deposit amounts into your goals up to $250,000. You have to have $50 to start an account. You can’t deposit more than $50,000 at a time.
Although SmartyPig is very user friendly, there are some aspects of the service that I do not like. For one, you cannot do a partial withdrawal. If you want to take out only $100 from your emergency fund, you can’t do it. You will have to close the whole goal or transfer some of the money to another goal and close that out, which is what I do. This is a little irritating when all you want is just a little padding.
SmartyPig is also known for giving some great perks when it comes to retailer gift cards. For example, if you’ve been saving for a new wardrobe from Banana Republic you can put your money on a Banana Republic gift card and get a 10% cash boost instead of putting the money back in your bank account. While this is great in theory, I personally get annoyed that the advertisements for these cash boost retailers are all over the site.
When I’m trying to save for something really important, like my husband’s licensing exam, the advertisements to spend the money on more fun things are distracting. When you close out a goal, you also have to go through a few windows that showcase these cash boost opportunities, which again can detract from the main purpose of saving.
Overall, though, I’ve had great success with SmartyPig and have had several friends and family members sign up for it on my recommendation. I’ve never had an issue with their service. My cash has always left my account on time, and when I close a goal, I’ve always received my money in a few days. While I’m not sold on every aspect of the service, I do believe that their methods have encouraged me and helped me save for some of my biggest goals in life thus far.
If you have any further questions about the mechanics of SmartyPig, their FAQ page is very thorough.