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Review of EvoShare: Get Cash Back Toward Your Retirement

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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EvoShare is a web browser extension that you can use to get cash back for your 401(k) plan when you make purchases online at participating vendors. You can also earn cash back from some local stores.

Unlike other cashback extensions, your earnings can only go toward your retirement fund, student loan or college fund.

One drawback is that you can’t enroll directly as an individual unless your employer is signed up for EvoShare. But the browser extension is a good option with little hassle.

What is EvoShare?

EvoShare, founded in 2015, provides you with cash back for purchases from certain online and brick-and-mortar retailers when you link your credit and/or debit cards.

The money comes from the retailers, who pay an additional cash back percentage as a referral fee to EvoShare to draw business to them. It simply shares a portion of this commission with its users, resulting in cash back.

It partners with more than 1,300 online businesses, including Target, eBay and Walmart, and over 8,700 restaurants, bars and stores across the country. Note that just because you can earn cash back from an online business doesn’t mean that you can earn cash back from the same brick-and-mortar store.

If you’re shopping online, the web browser extension will tell you how much you can earn from making purchases on a given website. Say, for example, you’re looking to buy a dress online from Macy’s. When you click on the Macy’s website, the browser extension will show you that you can earn 3% of your purchase as cash back. Once you check out and pay for your purchase, you’ll see a notification that you’ve earned your 3% back.

Notably, it is only available as a web browser extension with Chrome or Safari, and not with other browsers such as Firefox.

For shopping in a participating brick-and-mortar location, any purchase you make with a linked credit or debit card will work similarly. You won’t get a web notification since you’re in a store, but you can check the website to see how much you can earn from various retailers.

Using the browser extension doesn’t cost you anything as a user, and it can be a good way to accumulate extra savings for doing the normal shopping you would do anyway. Unlike direct contributions to a savings account, you don’t have to worry about allocating any of your own funds to save using it, as everything is automated.

Your earnings can be used for student loan payoff, as well as retirement or college fund savings. However, to get any cash back, you must use it in conjunction with a participating employer.

Earnings will flow directly to your bank account, via either an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction or physical check, and your employer will withhold the same amount from your next paycheck. Then, your earnings will be contributed to your account of choice.

Thus, if your selected account was your 401(k) plan, for example, your earnings would be treated just as if you made your own pretax contributions to your retirement plan. You can also use the earnings to save for your child’s student loan.

But you don’t need to have an active retirement plan or student loan account to begin saving. When you sign up, EvoShare will save your money until you direct it to make deposits into your new account.

How to use EvoShare

EvoShare is simple to use, but unless you’re hooked up with a participating employer, you won’t be able to sign up. Here’s the process for those who are eligible.

Step No. 1: Sign up online

You can sign up online, but first you’ll need a designated sign-up link from your employer. If your employer is not linked to EvoShare, you’ll have to contact them and encourage them to join.

Step No. 2: Link debit or credit cards

EvoShare only processes cashback payments when you use a linked credit or debit card. If you don’t register one of your cards, you won’t get any credit from EvoShare for your purchase. It accepts Mastercard, Visa and American Express. You can also register your debit card, but be aware that when you make a purchase, you must select credit as your payment type. If you provide a PIN and use your card as a debit card, you won’t receive credit for your purchase.

Step No. 3: Shop online and locally

EvoShare is partnered with more than 1,300 online businesses and more than 8,700 bars, restaurants and stores. The network is always expanding, so this number may continue to grow.

Retailers linked up with the browser extension include Macy’s, Kohl’s, Barnes & Noble and Nordstrom. You can search for any store on the website to see if, and how much, it pays for that retailer. Similarly, you can search for local stores near your location, a process made easier if you let Google Maps know your location.

Step No. 4: Put money toward a retirement account, student loan or college fund

After you make a purchase, earnings from local retailers take anywhere from a few minutes to seven business days to appear in your account. Online purchases take from one to 10 business days to appear. These are just general guidelines, however.

Certain merchants, such as airlines, may not process your cash back until you take your flight. Other retailers may not process your payment until the return policy has expired, ensuring that you don’t get credit for a purchase that you later return. Earnings from online purchases are only automatically redeemed once you’ve earned at least $20. The maximum you can earn from any cashback transaction is $250.

Once your earnings are processed, you can only deposit them in a student loan account, a college savings account or your employer-sponsored retirement account, such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. Employer participation is also mandatory, as payments are ultimately made through the employer. After your cashback is processed, you’ll receive either a check or an ACH deposit from EvoShare. Then, your employer will hold back those earnings from your next paycheck and deposit them toward your designated account.

Pros of EvoShare

The benefits are clear and straightforward.

  • No fees
  • Earn up to 20% cashback online or up to 10% in stores
  • “Forced” savings into student loan, retirement plan or college funding plans
  • Easy to use
  • Data not stored on site but through Empyr, using industry-standard safety protocols

Cons of EvoShare

There’s not much wrong with getting free cash back, but here are some of the drawbacks to using the browser extension.

  • No mobile app
  • No cash back in your own pocket; must go to savings vehicle
  • Can only sign up with a participating employer
  • Third-party delivery services are ineligible
  • Limited number of retailers

Some of these pros and cons are common with competitors in the industry, but some are unique to EvoShare, such as the requirement to work with an employer and the ability to deposit into retirement accounts.

How EvoShare stacks up to the competition

It’s not the only cashback web browser extension available, but it is the only one with this unique configuration. Traditional cashback extensions send cash directly to users, which can be a plus, but they don’t offer the forced savings feature of EvoShare, in which the cashback goes into a designated savings account. Here’s a look at some of the browser extension’s most popular competitors.

Rakuten (formerly Ebates)

Rakuten operates in a similar fashion to EvoShare, with a built-in web extension that alerts you when you can receive cash back from shopping at particular stores. Just like with EvoShare, you can use your linked American Express, Visa or Mastercard credit cards to earn cash back, or debit cards as long as you select credit when making a purchase. Rakuten also charges no fees, just like EvoShare.

Rakuten has a bit of an edge when it comes to size, as it partners with over 2,500 stores online, including Amazon, Expedia and Macy’s. However, its in-store cashback options are limited, as it only partners with 80 or so brick-and-mortar retailers.

Rakuten does have a mobile app, something EvoShare is lacking. It also pays out quarterly via PayPal or a physical check, as long as your cashback balance is at least $5.

TopCashback

TopCashback is nearly a carbon copy of Rakuten, with a few additional benefits. Like Rakuten — and EvoShare — TopCashback pays cash directly to customers that use linked credit and debit cards to make purchases at participating websites.

However, TopCashback has no minimum payout threshold, and you can request your cash as often as you would like. TopCashback also typically pays users the entire cashback amount it earns from merchants rather than holding some back for its profit, as is the case with EvoShare and Rakuten. It earns money from clicks on merchandising banners and other referral deals it makes with participating merchants.

TopCashback also has cashback deals with more online businesses than either EvoShare or Rakuten, numbering over 4,400, including Walmart, eBay and Best Buy. However, TopCashback works with online merchants only. You cannot receive cash back for in-store purchases.

The bottom line: Is EvoShare right for me?

For some users, the decision whether to use this browser extension is moot. Unless your employer participates in EvoShare, you’re out of luck. However, if you work for a participating employer, it may be a good option for you.

The question as to whether this browser extension is right for you has many layers. Beyond the participating employer hurdle, you’ll have to decide if you’re comfortable with providing your debit and credit card numbers to an online service.

Although it doesn’t store your credentials, it does use Empyr, which keeps your information on record. Empyr uses industry-standard safety protocols, including 128-bit SSL encryption and MD5 encryption, and it’s Verisign certified. If you’re comfortable storing your payment information with other online retailers, you should be comfortable with Empyr as well. However, for some customers, this may be a dealbreaker.

The second question is whether it’s a better option than some of the alternative cashback services that are out there. This choice will primarily come down to whether you want cash in your own bank account or you’d rather use this “found money” as an easy way to either pay down student loan debt or save for college funding or retirement. If it’s the former, the scales might tilt toward an option such as Rakuten or TopCashback. If you prefer the latter, EvoShare might be the better choice.

At the end of the day, it’s a great way to earn money for activities you’re already doing. As time passes, you can earn money toward your savings by using EvoShare on some (or all) of your purchases.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

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Banking

Switching Banks: How to Close Your Bank Account

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

how to close your bank account sign says closed
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If you’re not getting the most out of your bank, it could be time to get a new one.

While banks might seem similar in what they offer — checking and savings accounts, ATMs and debit cards, for example — the interest rates and account features they offer can vary widely.

If your bank isn’t meeting your needs, you should choose one that will. Here’s what you need to know about how to close a bank account.

How to close a bank account

Step No. 1: Select a new account

Before you close your account, make sure there’s a better option.

Are you hoping to find a bank with an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app? Maybe you want a higher savings account rate. Perhaps you tend to use a lot of cash and are searching for a bank with ATM access on every corner.

A key component to opening an account is the new bank’s fee structure. Many big banks offer free checking, but have caveats such as maintaining a minimum balance.

You’d be wise to choose a bank that offers free checking with no strings attached. That way, if you suffer a financial pitfall, such as losing your job, you don’t have to worry about getting hit with a fee.

Another thing to think about is overdraft protection. If you make an ATM withdrawal or debit card transaction and there are insufficient funds to cover it, the transaction could still go through, but your bank may charge you a “non-sufficient funds” (NSF) fee.

Conversely, if you don’t opt in and attempt a transaction without this service, your card will most likely be declined. According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPC) analysis, consumers who opt in for this service pay an average of $22 a month in overdraft and NSF charges, while consumers who do not opt in pay an average of $3 a month.

If you’re switching banks because your current one doesn’t offer high savings rates, you might want to consider an online-only bank. Online banks typically feature higher rates than big banks because they have lower overhead, for example, not having brick-and-mortar branches to maintain. Credit unions should also be on your radar, as they often have low fees and high APYs.

Now, you can start shopping for a bank that fits your needs.

Step No. 2: Transfer your money to a new account

So, you now know where you want to open a new account. Transfer your money (well, most of it) to the new account.

How long this takes will depend on your bank. If you use Wells Fargo or Chase, it’s three to five business days.

If you can, try to keep enough money — maybe $200 or so — in your old account to cover any transactions you might have missed. This will safeguard you against “zombie” accounts, which are accounts that get reopened when forgotten pending transactions are processed. This will also help you maintain the minimum balance in your old account if you had that requirement.

Step No. 3: Review and change auto payments and direct deposits

If you previously used direct deposit, make sure to set it up at your new bank. Also, change all your automatic bill payments.

And speaking of automation: Remember to allow all autopay bills and deposits to clear your current account before closing it. If you’re not sure what that includes, go through a year of bank statements. You want to find bills paid through your bank, bills paid via outside companies (such as Netflix and your gym membership) and direct deposits.

Once you’ve identified the automated transactions, go through and cancel them or reroute them to your new bank. It’s worth another reminder to be sure to wait for all transactions to clear.

Step No. 4: Contact the bank to close your account

The process for closing your account will depend on which bank you use. There is one recurring theme, though: You’re probably going to have to either call the bank or visit a branch.

Many big banks don’t allow you to close an account online. For example, if you have an account with Wells Fargo or Chase, you’ll need to submit paperwork online, then call the bank or visit a branch to close your account.

Some of these documents can be quite in-depth. Wells Fargo’s account closure request, for example, is four pages and requires notarization.

The time it takes for an account to close — once all your transactions are clear — can vary, so be sure to check with your bank. At TD Bank, for example, it’ll take two to three business days.

Now is the time that we remind you that this step is a vital one. You might think you can just remove all transactions from an account and leave it open just to avoid the hassle of closing it. That is not a good idea, as some banks and credit unions levy dormant account fees if your account is inactive for a certain period. For example, Santander Bank may charge $16 a month, while Memorial Credit Union charges $2 a month if an account has had no activity for at least 12 months.

Be smart and close the account to avoid this unnecessary charge. After the account is shut, remember to get written documentation of the account closure mailed to you. It’s important to have the closed account documented should any problems arise down the road, such as the zombie accounts we mentioned before.

Step No. 5: Destroy your checks and debit cards

Now that your account is closed, go ahead and destroy all checks and debit cards. Cut up debit cards and use a paper shredder for the checks. Keep bank statements in paper or electronic form for one year after closing the account, then get rid of those, too.

Remember to review any further statements that come to make sure everything is correct.

FAQ: Closing a bank account

Closing your account is not bad as long as you do it properly. Make sure you take into account automatic transactions, minimum balances, bills and more.

Most banks don’t charge a closure fee. However, some do if you’ve only had the account for a short period. If you attempt to close a PNC account within 180 days, you’ll be charged an early termination fee of $25. Meanwhile, BB&T will charge you $25 if you try to close an account within 90 days of opening it. Banks utilize these fees to prevent consumers from trying to take advantage of a sign-up deal and then closing the account when a discount or promotion ends.

Typically, you cannot close a bank account online, but you can close one over the phone. The process for closing a bank account varies by bank.

If you have a joint account, your bank might require you and the other account holder to visit a branch. If it does, be sure to bring a couple forms of identification, such as a driver’s licence and a Social Security card. Online banks will typically require both of you to enter security information to close a joint account.

Once you have completed all the necessary steps and your old account is clear, banks will typically close your account in a few business days. Check with your bank or credit union for its specific timeline.

If you need to close an account because a family member died, the steps you’ll need to take may vary. If you’re a joint member, you’ll typically become the sole holder of the account. If you’re not an owner, you will likely need to provide documentation to close the account, including a death certificate and Social Security number. As always, request confirmation of the account’s closure from the bank.

Any fees mentioned are as of the date of publishing.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Chris O
Chris O'Shea |

Chris O'Shea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Chris here

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Banking

Review of the Tip Yourself App

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Saving money doesn’t always come naturally, even though it’s one of the best ways to stabilize your finances and live the lifestyle you want without going into debt. Apps like Tip Yourself exist to help you become a better saver.

Founded in 2015, Tip Yourself is a savings platform that allows you to reward yourself for everyday achievements by transferring money into a “Tip Jar” that serves as a savings account. It’s a clever and low-pressure way to save money and incentivize healthy, productive behaviors.

It is not the most robust or sophisticated savings tool, but it’s a great way to develop a savings mindset and consistently put money toward your goals. However, you will not earn interest on your Tip Jars, so it’s not a good long-term savings tool.

What is Tip Yourself?

Tip Yourself is a money-saving app that lets you reward yourself throughout the day when you accomplish tasks or achieve small goals. Ideally, you’ll get in the habit of saving by making incremental, consistent changes to how you manage your money. Every time you knock a loathsome task off your to-do list, you can double the dopamine hit by transferring money into your Tip Jar. You feel accomplished and save money, reinforcing two good behaviors.

A basic account is free and allows you to create up to two Tip Jars to save for different purposes. Tip Yourself Pro is the premium version, and it allows you to set up 10 jars. Those include an Automated Tip Jar and one dedicated to a savings challenge, as well as a Hidden Tip Jar to help curb spending impulses. The company earns money on Pro subscriptions and on interest accrued in users’ Tip Jars.

Your Tip Jar is linked to your checking account and is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to the legal limit through Tip Yourself’s partner, nbkc bank, which holds the funds in your Tip Jar. The accounts are secured with 256-bit SSL encryption — the same protocol that’s used by banks. Once you link a checking account, you can only withdraw to that account.

Pros of the Tip Yourself app

It’s a low-cost service. You can sign up for free, and the app doesn’t charge transaction or service fees, so you never lose money on your tips. The minimum tip is $1, so there’s no reason not to save. Even Tip Yourself Pro (more below) can be affordable at $9.99 a year.

You can build good habits. By rewarding yourself for personal and professional victories, you develop a saving habit and motivate yourself to continue working toward non-financial goals as well.

It’s easy to use. The sign-up process is simple and quick, and you can familiarize yourself with the app in just a few minutes. The simplicity of the app and its features keeps the focus on saving and makes it easy to get into a routine of tipping yourself.

You can always withdraw funds. You don’t have to wait until you’ve accrued a certain amount of savings to dip into your cash. As soon as the money hits your account, you can initiate a withdrawal. There are no minimum or maximum withdrawal amounts, and you can make as many transfers as you want.

Follow inspirational posts on the social feed. The beauty of this app is that you’re rewarding yourself for good behaviors — and so is everyone else on the app. Your social feed is populated with other people sharing their life wins, such as going back to school, making time to exercise and taking care of long-overdue chores. You can also follow particular members to curate your feed. If you don’t want to share all the tips you give yourself, you can set those transactions to private, and they’ll only be visible to you.

Cons of the Tip Yourself app

Tips take several days to clear. Tip Yourself uses Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers to move money from your bank account to your Tip Jar, a process that takes about three days to complete.

You don’t earn interest. The Tip Jar is a great place for holding money, but not for earning it. You won’t accrue any interest, no matter how long you leave the money in the account.

The social feed can be distracting. While seeing other people’s money wins can be a great motivator, having yet another social feed to scroll through can feel like a time-suck. The app defaults to showing your feed when you log in, so it’s difficult to avoid. But it’s easy to navigate to the other features, so it may not be a deal-breaker.

There’s a limit to how much you can tip. Tips are capped at $250, so if you wanted to give yourself a bonus for a job well-done, you’ll need to do so through another account. Still, the app seems to work best for small wins, so the tip cap doesn’t lessen the account’s value too much.

It’s difficult to get in touch with the company. Although Tip Yourself has an email contact button on every page, this MagnifyMoney writer reached out and did not receive a response. Two phone calls to the company’s number, which isn’t intuitive to find, went unanswered and messages were not returned. Tip Yourself’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts also seem to be updated infrequently.

How to open a Tip Yourself account

You can only sign up for an account through the app, so your first step is to download it from either Google Play or the App Store. Then you’ll need to create an account, which takes less than a minute. If you want to keep it really simple, you can sign up using your Facebook account, or you can create new credentials for Tip Yourself. In the latter case, you’ll just need to input your name, email address and a password.

Before you finalize your sign-up, you’ll need to agree to the privacy policy and terms of use. However, if you click on either one to read, the app may kick you back to the home screen where you’ll need to input your sign-up information again. The privacy policy and terms of use are linked on the website, so you can read them before signing up, but it’s a bit cumbersome if you’re unable to do so in the app.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be prompted to link your checking account to the app. You don’t have to link accounts right away if you just want to browse the app’s features, but you’ll need to add a checking account to fund your Tip Jar. It’s best to link the account as soon as possible, because the app initiates two micro-deposits to verify your checking account, and it can take a few days for those to clear. After verification is complete, you can start tipping yourself. You’ll need your checking account to be linked and verified before you can add new Tip Jars, as well.

All users can set up a Standard Tip Jar and designate what they’re saving for and how much they want to save. Tip Yourself provides Quicktip Savings Buttons in the app, in the amounts of $2, $5 and $10, so you can easily reward yourself when you feel you deserve it. Or, you can set a higher amount if you want to kick your savings into high gear.

If you want to close a Tip Jar, perhaps because you reached your goal and no longer need it, you’ll need to move any remaining balance to another Tip Jar. You’re required to have at least one Tip Jar open at all times.

If you opt for a Pro account, you’ll be able to set up special Tip Jars, such as the Hidden Tip Jar and the Savings Challenge jar. The Savings Challenge encourages you to save $1,378 throughout the course of a year by setting up weekly tip transfers that increase incrementally. In Week 1, you tip yourself $1. In Week 2, you tip $2. In Week 3, your amount is $3 — and so on. It’s a neat way to save and to overcome the idea that you need to make massive transfers to build savings.

With the Hidden Tip Jar, you set a savings goal and tip yourself as usual, but you won’t see your balance until you’ve hit your goal. The logic is that not being able to see what you have will reduce your urge to spend before you’ve hit your savings target.

Pro users can also set up an Automated Tip Jar, which allows you to add set-and-forget tips to that account and have them transfer in on a weekly or monthly basis. If you opt for a monthly tip, you can choose whether it transfers at the beginning, middle or end of the month, so you can plan around your pay schedule. Or, you can schedule a weekly tip for yourself on the day of your choosing.

How much does Tip Yourself cost?

A basic account is free and includes two Tip Jars. Upgrading to Tip Yourself Pro will cost $9.99 a year and gives you access to 10 Tip Jars.

If you just want to build the habit of saving money generally, you’ll be fine with a free account. But if you’re the type of person who likes to create multiple funds for specific purposes, you’ll want to upgrade to the Pro option.

How Tip Yourself stacks up to the competition

You might be wondering why you’d download the app, much less pay for it, when you may be able to create multiple savings accounts with your bank.

As noted above, your Tip Jar isn’t a long-term savings account. It’s a temporary place to stash your money while you save toward specific goals. Psychologically, setting aside small amounts of money feels more doable than trying to build up your bank account.

The fact that you can reward yourself for other positive behaviors, such as going to the gym, eating healthy or finishing an assignment before your deadline, reinforces good habits in different areas of your life through small, sustainable wins.

However, Tip Yourself does seem less robust a service than, say, Digit. Also a money-saving app, Digit offers automated savings, in which the platform assesses your finances every day and transfers money into your savings accounts based on what you can afford to spare. Like Tip Yourself, Digit offers unlimited withdrawals, but it also provides overdraft protection and a 1% savings bonus after you’ve used the app to save for three consecutive months.

Digit also allows you to set however many savings goals you choose, whereas Tip Yourself limits basic users to two Tip Jars and Pro users to 10. At $5 a month, Digit is costlier than Tip Yourself, but the extra expense may be worth it for the broader range of features.

As far as app usability, the two platforms are pretty much tied. Tip Yourself’s app is rated 4.7 in the App Store and 4.4 on Google Play. Digit’s App Store ranking is also 4.7, while its Android rating is nearly on par at 4.3.

The bottom line: Is the Tip Yourself app worth it?

If you struggle with saving money or budgeting for things such as vacations, holiday gifts or just a general rainy day fund, Tip Yourself is a good tool for establishing the habit. By linking everyday accomplishments with tipping yourself, you make saving part of your routine. You also reduce the stress of money management by saving toward specific goals.

It seems to work best for smaller-scale goals rather than major expenses, and you won’t find a full suite of budgeting or money management features here. However, the low cost and ease of use make Tip Yourself an accessible, helpful app for saving on your own terms and beginning to take control of your spending.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Casey Hynes
Casey Hynes |

Casey Hynes is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Casey here