SmartyPig – The Ultimate Online Piggy Bank

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Among high yield savings accounts, the folks at SmartyPig have come up with a unique way to save money. If you haven’t heard of SmartyPig, you’re not alone.  Unlike some of the other online banks available, SmartyPig doesn’t get tangled up in anything other than savings accounts.  Their tag-line of “Simple, Smart, Savings” says it best, and while Smarty Pig offers only one centralized product, they do so in a variety of innovative ways.

So what makes SmartyPig so unique?

  • Currently, SmartyPig offers a 1.35% APY on its savings account, making it a top notch choice to store your funds.  Looking around at online savings account interest rates, you would be hard-pressed to find anything that starts with a 1, let alone over 1%.
  • SmartyPig is FDIC insured and financially backed by West Bank, one of the oldest and most trusted banks in the US today.
  • No Fees!
  • You don’t see a pig wearing glasses everyday, now do you?

The SmartyPig concept has changed quite a bit since they launched a few years ago.  Originally, there was a fee charged for almost every move you made, making SmartyPig a very undesirable option.  However, with the removal of almost every fee, SmartyPig has become an amazing way to save towards the goals you have set for yourself, and even allow for your friends and family to join the cause.

So how does it work?  Let’s take you through the SmartyPig process.

  1. Signing up for a SmartyPig account: Signing up for an account is fast and simple.  Just like you would for any other online savings account, SmartyPig asks for your basic contact information as well as the usual social security number and security questions.  Once you have completed the sign-up process, its time to set your savings goals.
  2. Savings Goals: In order to participate in the SmartyPig experience, you must set a savings goal and contribute towards that goal once a month.  If you decide at anytime to change your goal or your contribution amount (even if you want to set your monthly contribution to $0), that is A-OK.  The motivation behind this idea is that you should be saving towards your future, however, there is no penalty if you can’t make your automatic deposits.
  3. Get Friends & Family Involved: In addition to contributing your own money to your savings account, you can also have your friends and family help you reach your goals.  If another user also has a SmartyPig account, they can transfer funds to your account at no charge, however if they want to add funds with the use of a debit or credit card, there is a 2.9% fee charged to the sender.
  4. The Finish Line: So now that you have met your savings goal, its time to withdraw your funds.  SmartyPig offers you three ways to be able to withdraw your money, which is pretty cool.  You can have the funds transferred back to your bank account that you were making deposits from, request an ATM debit card be sent to you, OR shop for gift cards from premium merchants who have partnered with SmartyPig.  With the last option, you not only receive gift cards, but you also receive a bump in the gift card amount, depending on the merchant.

If you plan to make any major retail purchase in the near future, you should definitely consider opening up a SmartyPig online savings account.  For your convenience, there is a table below of the gift cards available when acquiring them through SmartyPig.

SmartyPig Gift Card ListWhen compared to other online savings accounts, SmartyPig lacks the usual options such as CD’s, Money Market accounts, checking accounts, and investment opportunities. However, SmartyPig has created a unique and rewarding way to help you save money.

Looking through the list of merchants that offer discounts, several stand out to me. For example, it would be great to get 4% off our next appliance purchase at Sears, or 2% off the next entertainment system from Best Buy.

Published or Updated: April 6, 2013

Comments

  1. Rene Hernandez says:

    i am a 17-years old teenager with great expectations but my status is stopping me..does anyone knows where can i open a saving account without my social security number? I’d really like to start saving my own money, so I won’t have to depend on my family my whole life.

  2. Aimee says:

    Rene,
    Good for you for wanting to start early! Unfortunately, most companies will not allow you to have your own account until you are legally independent (normally 18 in the US). Your parents may be able to help you open an account at a physical bank branch office as joint account holders with you – there may also be an option to emancipate your account when you turn 18 (take your parents off). I know that most online banking companies go through extreme scrutiny by the federal government, so they are in turn very strict about new accounts. Your best bet may be asking your parents to help you for the time being.

  3. Keasha says:

    1)Do the intrest rates (APY) stay the same or do they drop down after 3 months ,how does that process work?
    2)If I meet my goel and deciede to transfer my money back into my original banking account is there a fee, if so how much?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Keasha

      To answer your two questions …

      (1) The interest rate will not drop after three months. Now banks do fluctuate their rates from time to time but SmartyPig had their rate locked at 2.01% for a long time before they changed it to 2.15%. You probably have a better chance of receiving an increased interest rate, rather than a decreased one in the future.

      (2) There are no fees for withdrawing money after completing a goal. You can simply move it back to your savings account or cash out for a gift card through the SmartyPig website.

  4. L-A says:

    Hi there: I found this site while looking for the best savings accounts for children. I opened a savings account for my 7 year old son a year or so ago – not realizing it was not interest bearing. I think there should be a reward for little savers, to help them understand the basics of saving & banking. Of course, his account is linked to my checking account. My question is this – can I link his savings account (Wachovia) to make the deposits, or will it need to be linked to my checking account?

    Thanks.

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