Best Online Savings Accounts – SmartyPig: Easy, Simple, Savings Account and Tool
Launched in the US in March of 2008, SmartyPig is a very unique tool that combines budgeting for savings tools with online interest-bearing savings accounts. Not only can you start saving, but you can also open up your savings accounts on social tools such as Facebook and others for your family and friends to contribute to as well as watch what percentage you are towards your goal. It is a partnership with DataVision, Inc. and West Bank in Iowa and the founders are Mike Ferrari and Jon Gaskell.
- Very easy, simple account sign up and set up process
- Automatic deposit from your other bank accounts is simple
- Calculator estimates when you will reach your savings goals
- Helps you stay on track with budgeting through charts and visual tools
- If you want to, you can share your savings fund on Facebook/Twitter or other social tools and get deposits from friends and family
- FDIC ensured savings (with high rate, as of today 11.09 its 2.01 %APY)
- Not that easy to withdraw funds (no checking account, etc, this is a savings only vehicle, withdraw by gift card with booster or ACH back to your account elsewhere)
- Some say its geared towards retail spending since they will give you your money back in the form of gift cards if you want (which also give you a ‘boost’ of cash to use if you redeem for retail purchases)
I’ve added their nifty widget to my blog… So far, I’ve set up 2 accounts. I would like to have a Roth IRA and some actual investment tools, but for the moment, some simple savings funds will work great for starting the habit of saving for different goals. I have a contingency (emergency) fund started already that I will be adding to, and I also will be starting a savings account for saving for passive income opportunities in the future.
I am very impressed with the user interface, concept and execution of this savings account and social tool.
Its a common misconception that you can only get your money back in the form of retail cards, but that’s not true. See thier FAQ below:
Can I transfer my funds to an existing funding source, like my bank, or get my money by check?
Upon closing your goal, you may transfer your funds back to your existing checking or savings account for free. This process typically takes 2 business days for the funds to post to your bank account. We do not offer the option of receiving a check.
A recent review on the New York Times: http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/smartypig-savings-accounts-come-with-discount-vacations/