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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020
The SmartyPig Savings Account: At a glance
Minimum Balance Amount
$50,000.01 - $250,000
- Minimum opening deposit: $0
- Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
- Monthly account maintenance fee: None
- ATM fee: N/A
- ATM fee refund: N/A
- Overdraft fee: N/A
This account is your standard high-yield savings account tied to personal goal planning. As of this writing, the online-only savings account promises account holders a variable 1.10% APY on all balances (although its website claims to offer tiered interest rates.) To put that into perspective, the FDIC reports the average savings account earns only 0.08% APY.
This account is free to open and charges no fees. Each account is FDIC insured up to $250,000 via Sallie Mae Bank. SmartyPig limits account balances to $250,000.
This savings account allows account holders to set automatic biweekly or monthly deposits to a primary savings account by either setting up direct deposit to the account or linking an existing checking or savings account elsewhere. You can only connect one account to fund your SmartyPig primary account. You can then set automatic transfers from your primary savings account to fund specific savings goal accounts with target dates, for a little extra motivation.
The company’s policy is to delay the availability of deposits made by bank transfer for five business days, during which you may not withdraw funds from the account and the funds can’t be used to make any payments.
When you reach your savings goal, the service automatically stops allocating contributions to the goal account — even if that’s prior to your predetermined target date — and you can transfer the funds out whenever you’re ready to use them.
Like most savings accounts, you are limited to making only six withdrawals per statement cycle from this savings account under Federal Reserve Regulation D. The company says it will not process any attempts to make excessive withdrawals. On the bright side, the limit applies to your primary account and each goal account individually.
What stands out about the SmartyPig account?
The account’s standout feature is its goal planning system. The feature can be helpful to someone new to saving or struggling to stick to their goal to sock away some money. The system allows you to set a deadline for their savings goals and make automatic recurring contributions to your primary account so you don’t have to think about saving.
Each savings goal must be a minimum of $50. You can set a target date for each goal, but no pressure — you won’t be penalized if you don’t reach your target date in time. You can always cancel the goal and the funds will be returned to your primary savings account, or you can reset the target date.
Automation can make saving a painless and less-stressful practice. You can set biweekly or monthly direct deposits or transfers from a linked deposit account to fund your primary savings account. You’ll be able to schedule automatic transfers from your primary account to your goal accounts, too. If you choose to set a monthly or biweekly recurring goal contribution, it must be for at least $10.
Solid interest rate
This savings account rewards savers with a minimum 1.10% APY on account balances as low as a penny. That’s almost 20 times higher than the current national average interest on simple savings accounts. Interest is compounded daily and credited monthly.
You can also use funds held in the account to order Amazon.com gift cards once your account has been open for at least 60 calendar days. The feature is useful if you want to make a purchase on Amazon but don’t want to wait up to three days for a transfer to an external funding source to post. Amazon gift cards can only be used on Amazon.com purchases and SmartyPig does not offer refunds or exchanges on unused gift cards.
Where the SmartyPig account falls short
We see four key shortcomings in the account.
Account holders can only link one checking or savings account as the external funding source for their SmartyPig primary account. The limitation can be a downside for anyone who uses more than one deposit account to manage their finances or wants to set recurring deposits from more than one account.
Another shortcoming is the $50 minimum that is required for the goal accounts. It can be a bit steep for some simple, short-term savings goals like birthday or holiday gifts.
SmartyPig is an online-only service, so you won’t be able to visit a physical branch to make changes to or address any concerns with your account in person.
Finally, account holders are not issued a debit card or granted ATM access to their funds. If you need to use your money, you’ll have to initiate a transfer from your savings goal account or SmartyPig primary account to your linked checking or savings account, which may take up to three business days to post.
How to open a SmartyPig account
You can open an account online where you will be directed to the online application form.
To open an account, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Have an existing checking or savings account; and,
- He a U.S. citizen, permanent resident with a green card and Social Security number, or a U.S. resident with a Social Security number.
When you link a checking or savings account to your SmartyPig account as an external funding source, you must verify you own the account before you’ll be permitted to transfer any money from your SmartyPig account to the external account.
To verify the source, you’ll confirm the amounts of two deposits of less than $1 that the company will make to the external account. If you don’t verify your external account within 14 calendar days, the funding source will expire and you’ll need to start all over. There is no minimum deposit amount required at account opening.
How the SmartyPig savings account compares
SmartyPig offers an APY slightly lower than the best offerings currently available, but— if you’re new to saving — its goal planning feature may be worth missing out earning a few basis points more from a competitor. Check out our ranking of the best savings accounts currently available if you’re looking to earn the highest rate possible on a simple savings account. Additionally, a simple savings accounts is the only account offered. The company does not offer checking, money market or certificate of deposit accounts.
Overall review of SmartyPig savings account
The SmartyPig account is a solid simple, high-interest savings account and it’s goal planning system makes it a good option for anyone who is needs a little help trying to establish a savings habit. That said, if you’re already used to saving your money there are competitors worth considering as an alternative to the SmartyPig account that currently offer higher rates and may offer easier access to your cash when you need it.