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When saving for a financial goal, using the right tools, such as a High Yield Savings Account (HYSA), can make all the difference. High-yield savings accounts not only give you more interest on your money, but you can also find accounts with features that make it easier for you to set and achieve goals.
One of the high-yield savings accounts designed to help you achieve your financial goals is SmartyPig. Known as the “online daycare,” this high-yield savings account from Sallie Mae offers several benefits, including a high APY, savings goal tools, no fees, and more.
Commissions and fees – 10
Customer service – 8
Ease of use – 9
Saving options – 7
Rates – 8
SmartyPig is a great product for short term savings and goal setting. There are no fees or minimum account balances, but you won’t see many of the features that come with other savings accounts.
- There are no minimum deposit or balance requirements
- No upfront or ongoing fees
- High Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
- Ability to set and track financial goals
- No debit card or access to ATMs
- Online only
- No current account option
- No cash, check, money order or money order deposits
What is SmartyPig?
SmartyPig is an online bank that helps customers save money for their financial goals, whether they’re saving for a major purchase, a vacation, or even a down payment on a home.
Michael Ferrari and Jon Gaskill founded the company in 2008 in West Des Moines, Iowa. The idea for the company came when Ferrari was saving for college for his son. They originally conceived the platform as a high-tech way to encourage people to save for specific goals.
By the end of its second year, SmartyPig had $212 million in deposits. Sallie Mae has since purchased the company and built the platform into what it is today.
Features of SmartyPig
|accounts||savings, Checking, money market, cds|
|access||Web based, App for iPhone, Android application, Blackberry application|
|Number of branches|
What does SmartyPig offer?
SmartyPig is designed to help its users save for their financial goals. It does this in several ways, which we will discuss in the following sections.
online piggy bank
The main feature of SmartyPig is its online piggy bank, a HYSA. The account allows you to set up automatic monthly or bi-weekly deposits from your bank account. You can also make deposits or withdrawals at any time.
Within your SmartyPig savings account, you can set deadlines for specific savings goals. For example, you might have a Christmas savings goal with a December deadline, a holiday savings goal with a six-month deadline, and a down payment savings goal with a two-year deadline from ‘now. Once you’ve set your goals, you can easily track your progress while setting aside money for those goals.
One of the key features of SmartyPig that sets it apart from many other HYSAs is the ability to split your savings for different financial goals. You can see your goals and how much money you have allocated to each.
A SmartyPig account not only helps you save, but also allows you to earn money while doing it. The HYSA pays a significantly higher annual percentage rate (APY) than most traditional savings accounts. As of September 2022, SmartyPig accounts offer an APY of 1.7-1.8%, depending on your deposit size.
Another feature SmartyPig offers is a mobile app. This app makes it easy to manage your financial goals when you’re on the go. With the app, you can:
- View and edit your financial goals
- View your transaction history
- Transfer money to or from the account
- Set new financial goals
- Set up automatic transfers in your account
The SmartyPig app has over 500 reviews on the Apple App Store, with an average review of 4.6 out of 5 stars. On the Google Play Store, the app has 54 reviews with an average rating of 2.8 out of five stars.
The SmartyPig website has several calculators to help you set and reach your financial goals. Here are examples of some of the calculators available on the website:
- Emergency Fund Calculator: With this calculator, you can plan how much you should have in your emergency fund.
- Vacation Calculator: This calculator lets you estimate how much your vacation will cost and how much you’ll need to save each month to reach your goal.
- Wedding Calculator: With this calculator, you can estimate how much your wedding will cost and how much you will need to save each month before your wedding.
SmartyPig was designed by a parent who wanted to save money for his child. Therefore, it seems appropriate that the company now offers a Kids’ Corner, which offers financial resources to children. Here are some of the resources included in the Children’s Corner:
- DIY piggy bank: This printable tool is designed to help kids build the same saving habits that SmartyPig hopes to instill in its adult users.
- Coloring sheets: SmartyPig has several printable money-themed coloring sheets. These are useful tools for parents to introduce into conversations about savings.
- Smart Cash: Parents can use this tool to help their kids get into the habit of saving by turning it into a game.
- Word search: This printable word soup is a fun activity that includes words related to money and saving.
- Interactive puzzle: This online activity allows parents to solve an economic-themed puzzle with their children.
- Tips for parents: Parents can download the How to Teach Kids Big Money Habits guide as a tool to help teach kids about money.
Read more >>> The Best Savings Accounts for Kids in 2022
SmartyPig rates and prices
Sallie Mae doesn’t charge any fees for its SmartyPig accounts: You’ll pay no account opening fees or monthly maintenance fees, no matter how much (or little) you have in your account. Unlike other HYSAs, there are no account minimums, meaning you don’t have to deposit a certain amount when you open the account or maintain a certain account balance.
Is SmartyPig safe?
Like other legitimate financial institutions, Sallie Mae keeps its customers’ money and personal information safe. First, the money in your account is insured by the FDIC, meaning that if the company goes bankrupt, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will compensate you for your losses up to $250,000. And considering that SmartyPig has a maximum account balance of $250,000, you can trust that all your money is protected.
Sallie Mae holds the money in your SmartyPig account with security measures. First, the company uses a secure login to ensure that no one but you can access your account. In addition, Sallie Mae uses bank-level data encryption to keep your account secure.
How can I contact SmartyPig?
There are several ways to contact SmartyPig customer support. First, you can call the company toll-free at 877-751-6884. Regular business hours are 9 am to 6 pm ET, Monday through Friday.
You can also send SmartyPig a secure message using the message center when you log into your account. According to the company’s website, you can expect to hear back from someone on the support team within one business day.
Finally, if you would like to contact SmartyPig by mail, here is the address: SmartyPig LLC, 175 S. West Temple, Ste 600, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.
If you’ve ever researched HYSAs before, you probably know that there are many to choose from. While selecting the right account can be overwhelming, the multitude of options means that if SmartyPig doesn’t suit your needs, you can easily find an account that does. Below we will discuss two of the best alternatives to SmartyPig.
CIT Bank, now a division of First Citizens Bank, consistently has some of the best high-yield savings rates on the market. From September 2022, it offers CIT Bank’s Savings Connect account 2.70% APY, one of the highest you will find. Unlike SmartyPig, the account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100. But once you open your account, you don’t have to worry about monthly fees or minimum balance.
CIT Bank offers customers many of the conveniences that SmartyPig lacks. First, it has an electronic checking account, which makes it easy to access your money. Unlike SmartyPig, you get a CIT Bank debit card and more deposit and transfer options.
Ally Bank is another great alternative to SmartyPig. It offers one of the most popular high-yield savings accounts on the market. And starting in September 2022, Ally offers a 2% APY rate. Like CIT Bank, Ally offers many conveniences that SmartyPig does not, such as a checking account and more deposit and transfer options.
One feature that makes Ally Bank such an attractive alternative to SmartyPig is its buckets feature. When you open your Ally savings account, you can set up separate deposits within the budget to allocate your money to specific categories. You can also set savings goals for each bucket and track your progress. And given Ally’s more robust technology features, it basically offers the same service as SmartyPig, but better.
Find the HYSA that works for you >>> Best High Yield Savings Accounts for 2022
The bottom line
Sallie Mae’s SmartyPig HYSA has several attractive features, including a high APY and the ability to set savings goals.
However, it may not be suitable for everyone. First, every one of the benefits offered by SmartyPig can be found at other financial institutions. As we mentioned earlier, SmartyPig’s APY isn’t as high as many competitors, and its savings features don’t quite match other banks that offer the same service. It’s also harder to deposit and withdraw money, as the company doesn’t offer checking accounts and limits how you can make deposits.
That said, SmartyPig could still be an excellent choice for some people. Depending on your financial habits, having a savings account completely separate from other banking products can be an advantage. It makes it harder to spend money, which means you’re more likely to reach your financial goals. If you think this kind of separation can help you on your savings journey, SmartyPig is worth considering.
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