January 16, 2020

Automatic Savings Apps

Read more about Investing
This article contains references to products from our partners. We may receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

Saving money can be harder than it seems. But automatic savings apps can help. Find the best one for your saving style in our guide.

© CreditDonkey

Many Americans struggle to save as much money as they should. We may contribute to our savings accounts, but rarely enough to reach our goals.

Technology can take the struggle out of saving. Automatic savings apps redirect spare cash into accounts to help you reach your goals. Read on to learn about free or low-cost options with big benefits to help you out.

Here are the best apps to save your change:

  1. Chime (for saving every payday)
  2. Digit (for smart saving)
  3. Qapital (for goal-setters)
  4. Qoins (for reducing debt)
  5. Acorns (for new investors)
  6. Stash (for micro-investing)
  7. MaxMyInterest (for every-penny counters)
  8. Tip Yourself (for self-motivated savers)
  9. Keep the Change (for Bank of America customers)

For Saving Every Payday: CHIME

Chime is an FDIC-insured online bank and mobile app that lets you set aside a percentage of your paycheck into savings.

If you open an account with Chime, they give you a Visa debit card, a spending account, and an optional savings account. Every time you use the debit card to make a purchase or pay a bill, the bank rounds up the money to the nearest dollar. That money is then automatically transferred into the savings account.

Pros

  • No fees for overdrafts, transfers, or foreign transactions. In addition, no monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements.

  • Two automatic saving options.

  • Intuitive and user-friendly mobile interface.

Cons

  • $5,000 single transaction limit. If you need to pay for a larger lump sum item like a rent check with fees, you may need to use an alternative option.

  • Chime does not support joint account holders.

For Smart Saving: DIGIT

Digit is an FDIC-insured automatic savings app that uses an algorithm to calculate how much users should put aside. Here's how it works: When you link your bank information, Digit's technology analyzes your spending and cash flow to see how money moves through your accounts.

Then the savings app will determine how much of that money is available to save each week. The app will pull anywhere from $5 to $50 every couple days to save.
Digit promises not to overdraft your account. If they mess up, they cover your overdraft fees.

The service is free for the first month, but $5 a month after that.

Pros

  • Account data is secured by 256-bit encryption, the same level of security as the military.

  • The easy-to-use interface works through text commands. If you don't like using texting to manage the app, there are other ways to manage your savings account.

  • The app automatically calculates and distributes your savings toward your goals.

Cons

  • $60 a year ($5/monthly) is pretty steep if you're only saving a little each month.

  • Digit does not offer interest. There is a "Savings Bonus," paid every 3 months, which equates to 1% annualized. This is much less than many savings accounts available right now.

For Goal-Setters: QAPITAL

A hybrid automatic savings/personal finance app, Qapital lets you set aside money based on your goals. It asks you to set up "rules" to prompt savings.

Say you want to save $1,000 for your upcoming trip to the Bahamas. You set that as a financial goal, then create a "rule" to save $50 towards it every time you, for example, spend money on gas.

The "rules" can be more interesting and complex. You could trigger saving money when you watch TV, for example, or spend on purchases like a flight.

Pros

  • More unique ways to save money than other automatic savings apps.

  • Tiered pricing plans, so you can pay for what you need.

  • Debit card option.

  • "Passive" saving—once you set a goal, it automatically triggers savings.

Cons

  • Tiered pricing means you'll pay to save. The cheapest is $3 a month, while the most expensive is $12/monthly.

  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000. If you have more money than that, you may want to pick an alternative app.

  • Rule-setting means Qapital is not as user-friendly as other apps.

  • Negative reviews from users, including difficulty linking checking account and pausing rules.

For Reducing Debt: QOINS

Qoins is an automated savings app that helps make payments toward your debt.

Here's how it works: The app determines how much you can save each day based on your habits. It will set aside anywhere from $0.50 to $5.00 a day using spare change "roundups."

Qoins withdraws the spare change each month and makes a payment toward your debt at the end of each month. The app uses bank-level encryption and does not store your banking information.

Pros

  • Using an automated savings app to pay off your debt can help raise your credit score over time.

Cons

  • Qoins focuses only on debt. If you are looking for a more general savings app with a wider focus, this app may not be for you.

For New Investors: ACORNS

Acorns is a hybrid investment and savings app that uses the concept of spare change to save and invest your money.

Unlike other automatic savings app options, Acorns is an investing account—not a high-yield savings account. It will link with your bank account and automatically transfer the spare change from your spending into a portfolio customized for you.

In addition, Acorns now has a "roundup multiplier," where you can increase your roundups from two to 10 times. For example, with a $0.45 roundup, a 10x multiplier could add $4.50 to your Acorns account.

If you're looking for an entry-level investing platform, Acorns is a great choice. However, for professionals who have experience investing and want a more thorough way to invest, Acorns may not be the best fit.

Almost all portfolios on Acorns contain low-cost ETFs, from Vanguard to Black Rock.

Pros

  • No transaction fees for investing. This means you can deposit a large amount of money and then take money out as you need it.

  • No trading fees of any kind.

  • If you set up regular contributions, you can save thousands in your IRA or Roth IRA. If you save thousands, the small monthly fee may be worth it.

  • Monthly fee waived for college students.

Cons

  • Acorns invests your funds rather than transferring them to a savings account. As with any investment, you risk losing some of your money.

  • Acorn Spend app costs $3 a month. However, free checking accounts have similar benefits for no fees.

  • If you want to add the IRA option, you will spend $2 a month extra. However, compared to robo-advisors like Betterment, this option is much cheaper.

  • For smaller amounts of money, Acorns is an expensive option and may not be worth the price.

For Micro-Investors: STASH

Much like Acorns, Stash micro-invests your savings. You can buy fractions of shares with less money than whole shares would cost.

Stash wants to help you learn how to invest properly. Their app is centered around that philosophy. It has a strong mix of investment options, including 60 ETFs and 150 individual stocks.

The platform costs $1 a month for a brokerage account. That fee includes access to an online bank account and debit card.

For $3 a month, users get access to brokerage and bank accounts in addition to a retirement account. For $9 a month, you'll get all of the above in addition to two custodial accounts for minors, a metal debit card, a robust rewards program, and a research report.

The minimum balance is $0. But in order to start investing on Stash, you need at least $5 in your account.

If you're looking to get into investing, this app is one of your best options. Stash lowers the barrier to entry and provides educational tools to get you the help you need when learning about investing.

Pros


  • Start investing with only $5. And no account minimum means you don't have to commit a large sum of cash to their app.

  • Stash features educational content and support to help users learn about investing and portfolio management.

  • Few fees, including no charge on transfers or annual fees.

Cons


  • Compared to other alternatives, Stash is expensive. A similar fund at Fidelity would cost you $10 less annually to operate and maintain.

  • Stash is an investment app, which means unlike with a savings account, you could lose rather than make money.

For Every-Penny Counters: MAX MY INTEREST

MaxMyInterest is an online, automated cash management system that helps users find the best deals on bank accounts. The app moves your money between high-yield savings accounts automatically to maximize your interest rates.

MaxMyInterest claims they can get you nearly 2.50% back in interest through their strategies. You can link your existing checking account, savings account, and brokerage accounts to their app.

More than 20 major banks work with MaxMyInterest, including:

  • Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Citibank
  • First Republic Bank
  • Wells Fargo
  • Charles Schwab
  • U.S. Bank

MaxMyInterest plans to add more banks in the future, like:
  • Ally Bank
  • American Express
  • Capital One 360
  • GE Capital

You need to open accounts with all of these banks, which you can do through the MaxMyInterest app all at once. It's a convenient way to maximize FDIC insurance coverage across all banks.

Once you set up your account, you can set a minimum and maximum balance, so the app does not use all your funds.

If you have a large sum of money sitting around, MaxMyInterest is a good alternative to letting your money rest in just one location.

Pros

  • The more money you invest in MaxMyInterest, the bigger rewards you will see towards your goals.

  • Easy way to move money between high-yield accounts.

  • No hard credit inquiries to open bank accounts. That's beneficial for anyone worried about his or her credit score.

  • No transfer fees or ACH transfer fees.

  • MaxMyInterest provides one 1099-INT tax form at the end of the year to help you with interest.

Cons

  • More complicated than other automatic savings apps. You could simply pick one savings account with a great interest rate to maximize your interest without paying for this app.

  • You will have many accounts open and give your personal information to many banks. Third parties will have access to your cash and information.

  • Membership costs 0.02% of your assets per quarter, or 0.08% per year. It may not sound like much, but if you have a large amount of money in your account, it will add up. For example, $100,000 in your account will equate to about $80 in fees.

  • Can take up to 3 days to move your money.

For Self-Motivated Savers: TIP YOURSELF

Tip Yourself is one of many automatic money savings apps that target your spare cash. This free platform lets you transfer money into your very own "tip jar" to motivate you to save.

The concept is simple: Link up your bank account and "tip yourself" through a bank transfer. Every day you tip yourself, the date on the app's calendar turns green.

That means you are one step closer to your goals. Users can even categorize tips by average per week or month.

Pros

  • Completely free, unlike other automatic savings apps.

  • Focused on positive reinforcement and community with comments from users across the world. Having accountability may help some people save for their goals.

  • Straightforward savings plan—you tip yourself and the money transfers into your own savings account that is FDIC insured.

Cons

  • No automated saving option. You need to manually transfer money.

  • Changing your linked bank account can be a hassle—you have to email the support account yourself.

For BANK OF AMERICA Customers: KEEP THE CHANGE

If you're a Bank of America customer, consider their Keep the Change savings program. The program lets users transfer spare change to an account they choose.

Here's how it works: You enroll your Bank of America debit card into the savings program. After spending money using that debit card, Bank of America will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the change to a checking account, savings account, or child's savings account.

Pros

  • If you already have a Bank of America bank account and debit card, this program lets you opt in without signing up for another program or app.

  • Free for anyone with a Bank of America account and debit card.

Cons

  • Debit cards do not provide the same protection or benefits as credit cards. Using your debit card for every purchase can put you at risk for theft or fraud since charges are immediately deducted from the card.

  • If you use your credit card for most purchases, this program will not benefit you at all.

Bottom Line

Automatic savings apps are an easy way to save money. All you need to do is choose the right app for you and set up your savings preferences—the apps do the rest.

However, if you're not careful, monthly costs and added fees can outweigh the benefits of using these app.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:


Best Money Saving Apps


Best Investment Apps


Best Investment Apps for Beginners


Investing

Earnin

Tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck? Earnin gives access to your cash before you get paid. It's like a payday loan without the fees. But is there a catch? Read on.

Leave a comment about Automatic Savings Apps?

Name
Email (won't be published)


Best Money Making Apps

Making money with your phone sounds ridiculous, but it's possible. You can earn money for shopping, working out and other activities you're already doing. Here's a list of our top money making apps.








About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a stock broker comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.