We all heard of traditional Piggy bank. Either you were taught to use Piggybank to save money by your parents or as a parent you are teaching kids to use to save money. Piggy bank helps to nurture saving habit in us. That trend has gone digitial few years back and many started using digital bank like Digital Money jar show here. Now Internet has taken that further to another level and we now have SmartyPig. I call it, adult version of Piggy bank or Piggy bank webicized.
In my previous pos on 5 websites for saving money, I talked little about Smartypig.com and promised to post a detail further blog after my first use. With first hand user experience at SmartyPig.com, I am posting this blog to share my views, saving strategy and tips/tricks to get around the site..
What is the Big idea about SmartyPig.com?
It is not real big or new innovation. I like the concept of taking the traditional piggy bank saving to Internet and giving it a boost by adding social media networking to it. They call it a unique patent pending savings program launched to help people save for specific goals.
How can you use it?
First of you should set you mindset, it is neither a bank or credit union. It is just finance based internet company which bridges consumers and banking breaking away from traditional savings methodology. I came to know about this website from mymoneyblog.com.
Usually, we either have checking account for daily transaction and savings account for saving money that earns a meager interest, currently .50%. We also sometimes have CD's to save for longer term. These traditional saving mechanism are less flexible and doesn't open doors to accept external contributions. SmartyPig bring it all together. SmartyPig is all about giving importance to your goals and savings account is placed behind it.
You can have any number of goals you want and start putting money to it. You don't have worry about opening any savings or CD's. To top it, you can even accept contributions towards your goals via social media sites like facebook. Like if you are saving for your kids education, instead of getting stuck in 529 savings plans, you open smartypig account and accept contribution from kids grandparents and relartives. That's smart but the draw back it only earn savings rate not investment rate of return.
Interest is configured using a daily accrual method, compounded quaterly and posted to a customer’s account but up-todate earning is shown in your account.
To close your goal, simply click on Stop Goal. You will then have the option of receiving your current savings plus interest on the SmartyPig MasterCard® Debit Card, the gift card of a best-in-class retailer partnering with SmartyPig, or you can ACH the funds back to your existing checking or savings account.
Good, Bad and Ugly
Account gets high interest from reputed BBVA bank. High interest rate of 1.75% from Sept 7th, 2010. Still by par to any banks, even INGDirect.com.
All your funds are insured by FDIC upto $250,000. The site is secured by Verisign.com and other security providers.
Get boost for your savings from retailer gift cards with bonus percentage added to it - Macy's has 12% bonus.
Withdraws can be only via ACH transfers, debit card or retail shopping gift cards.
There is no Account number for your accounts because it is not traditional bank account. It is secured for security reasons.
Tips and Tricks
1. During the setup process, you can do one-time deposit or recurring. If you want to setup for recurring, you need put initial deposit which is one time and recurring amount. Initial deposit cannot be your first month deposit. So if you want initial deposit to start this smonth and recurring to kick start next month, that doesn't work because recurring date is auto selected. So I have to do the initial deposit first and come back later time to setup recurring deposit to pick up next month date.
2. If you want to withdraw money from a goal, you cannot do partial withdrawal. Solution recommended, you can start a new goal and move the money to new goal leaving the money you want to withdraw. Then close the old goal to get the money transferred to your bank account or get debit card.
3. During the goal setup, once you add your goal amount and try to setup recurring deposit. There is a link to try SmartyPig reccuring deposit suggestion which calculates the recurring amount to reach your goal on time. It doesn't consider friends contribution if you plan to get one.
These are some of tips/tricks which I figured out. They also have great FAQ section to clarify any of your doubts and bet they have good customer service to answer you calls. Try it out and you won't really regret the extra yield from better interest rates.
Disclaimer: I am neither employee or advertiser and no way connected to Smartypig except being a valuable customer. The above posting is from my first hand experience with Smartypig website.