Financial apps making it easier than ever to save
DETROIT (WXYZ) - Everyone wants to save in theory, but doing it is harder than you think.
In the age of “there’s an app for that,” you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s an app to help you save too. In fact, there’s dozens — and how you like to save may match with different apps.
Some apps help you collect your spare change and invest it. Others take that same change and apply it to your student loans, or into a savings account. Some apps even estimate how much money you “don’t need” and withdraws it from your account and sets it aside as a rainy day fund, or to help save up for a big splurge.
7 Action News took a look at a number of the apps that are on the market place today. It’s worth noting they each come with their own nuances — some have a monthly cost to use, others have low interest rates, other don’t give you savings at all; the focus is more on stashing the money away.
MOMENTUM BY FIFTH THIRD BANK
What makes the Momentum app different than traditional saving apps is that it’s free all the way around. The catch? You have to be a Fifth Third Bank customer.
Momentum is easy to use and allows the user to pay down their student loan debt. How does it work? Simple. It rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar, and the change goes into an account until it reaches a total of $5, then the money is sent to the company that holds your student loan to chip away at the payment.
Example: You buy a coffee and the total comes to $1.65 — if you swipe the card linked to the Fifth Third Momentum app the amount would “round up” to $2. The $ .35 goes into your account.
You can also choose to add a $1 to every swipe.
What makes the Momentum app unique is that you can allow others to use the app to pay off student loan debt too. If you’re a grandparent, or parent, who wants to help but doesn’t have the cash lying around to drop a check on your loved one, you can link up with your family member’s student loan account and “round up” your swipes and pay it off the same way.
Acorns is one of the most well-known financial apps around — it’s one of the original “round-up” apps on the market. What makes it unique is that it doesn’t just stash the money away, instead Acorns waits until you have at least $5 worth of round ups and then it invests the money.
You’re allowed to choose how conservative or aggressive you’ll be with your spare change, but the possibility to multiply it exists. So too does the possibility to lose it.
If you have less than $5,000 in your account there is a $1 monthly service fee for accounts, so if you don’t swipe your card often keep in mind that you’ll spend $12 by the end of the year on the service.
You can’t remove your money as quickly as some apps because you are dealing with stock markets, but there is greater potential to increase the money you save than other apps.
Tip Yourself comes without fees, but it also doesn’t earn interest. Unlike the “round-up” style apps, you don’t need to make a purchase to save.
Essentially you’re digitizing your wallet and whenever you feel like “tipping” yourself for a positive behavior you do so. Think of it like tipping a barista or waiter, expect you’re the one getting the tip. You met your exercise goal for the week? Tip yourself $5. You go to bed on time 5-days in a row? Tip yourself!
There’s a social media feed that allows users to compliment one another on accomplishments. The app is free, but again, you won’t earn interest like you will on some financial saving apps.
Qapital has some aspects of the other “round up” apps, but it goes a step further.
You can still buy a cup of coffee for $1.65 and round up to stash $.35. You can also add extra ways to save cash too.
With Qapital you’re allowed to create your own rules. There’s ways to setup “spend less” rules where you stash away the difference in what you usually spend, versus what you spent this time. Example: You usually spend $65 on groceries, but this time you only spent $43 — you can setup a rule to stash the extra $22.
There’s also options to setup “guilty pleasure” rules. If you have a guilty pleasure of going out for a pint at a local pub, you can setup your account to also pull a specified amount of cash from your card for indulging in your “guilty pleasure.”
Qapital is very flexible in how you save, and the money goes towards a goal you’ve created for yourself. The app is free and the money does earn interest, but it’s lower than a traditional savings account.