The SmartyPig Blog

Exciting New Features Go Live!

We are really excited to announce some new features on SmartyPig, many of which came directly from suggestions made by you. First, the list of retail and travel companies we utilize has been updated based on their relevance to your savings goals. More importantly, the maximum cash boost offered by us to you using these retailers’ gift cards has doubled from 6% to 12%, and the options for redemption have been enhanced greatly to offer more flexibility. Lastly, and due to extremely high demand, we’ve added a few alternatives regarding how an individual or family contributes to their goal, as well as a feature that allows you to easily move money from one goal to another. Check it out!

#1 – Enhanced retailers; cash boosts of up to 12%
Let’s say you need a new living room set, you’ve made an initial deposit of $25 and are putting away $300 a month over twelve months. One year after creating your goal, you’ll have $3,625 and will have earned approximately $25 in interest over the course of that year, bringing the goal balance to $3,650. Now, if you take your savings out on a Macy’s gift card, SmartyPig will give you a cash boost of 12% (nearly $440), bringing your goal plus interest plus boost to $4,090 − some $465 more than the $3,625 you put away. Big bucks are that easy with SmartyPig!

SmartyPig Macy's

SmartyPig Retailer Logos

For a complete list of retailers, cash boosts and terms, click here. We will continue to add to this list in the upcoming weeks.


#2 – Split your savings up

Before today, when you closed your goal, you could only redeem all of your funds to one redemption option. But our new redemption program offers more flexibility, allowing you to parse out your savings goal among all three options! Do you need gifts from Barnes & Noble Booksellers and GameStop, as well as a ticket on American Airlines for the holidays and want FREE cash in your pocket? No sweat. Want to put the rest on your SmartyPig MasterCard debit card for added flexibility? We’ve got you covered. You may also transfer all or portions of your goal electronically back to your checking or savings account. Here are screenshots from the new redemption process:

> Step 1: Overview

SmartyPig Goal Closed: Overview


> Step 2: Select Retail Cards

SmartyPig Goal Closed: Retail Cards


>Step 3: Transfer to Debit Card

SmartyPig Goal Closed: Debit Card


>Step 4: Transfer to Bank Account (ACH)

SmartyPig Goal Closed: Bank Transfer


>Step 5: Confirmation

SmartyPig Goal Closed: Confirmation


#3 – Additional recurring contribution options

The date that scheduled transactions occur has been moved from the funding source to the goal itself. In addition, we have added three new recurring contribution options. We still have the monthly option, but we’ve gone ahead and added “twice a month,” “every 14 days,” and “none.” What’s that all about? Well, if you want to contribute monthly for a baby on the way and every payday for an upcoming vacation, you can do it. Or if you want to use SmartyPig simply as a gift registry for your honeymoon, so you can get a cash boost for a great trip but don’t want to contribute at all, just set up your goal, skip putting your own money in, drop a widget on your wedding Website and let your friends and family members carry the day!

SmartyPig Frequency Options

In addition, you are free to set your own recurring amount or let SmartyPig recommend one for you.

SmartyPig twice monthly


#4 – Transfer funds from one goal to another

Have your goals changed? Have you found out that new washer and dryer set is on sale for $850 instead of a thousand? (Not including the cash boost from SmartyPig!) Have a few friends put you over the top of your goal, and you have something left over? Now you can simply move money from one goal to another without stopping and starting over again.

SmartyPig Transfer Options

We hope you’ll share in our excitement as we continue to strive to be the leader in smart saving and smart spending. Over the next few months we’ll make even more announcements regarding further improvements and partnerships. In the meantime, though, please keep letting us know how to make SmartyPig better. And please tell your friends.

Thank you!

Michael Ferrari, co-founder
mferrari@smartypig.com
@mferrari

 

  • Heather

    You guys have outdone yourselves (which is hard to do). GREAT JOB!!

    Now if only the interest rate would get closer to where it was when I joined initially…then ALL of my SmartyPig wishes will have come true. :) Thank you, guys!!

  • http://www.sugarfixjewelry.com Kate

    Love it! Keep up the good work! Awesome improvements. I love the ability to change the frequency of the withdraws. Every 14 days is perfect for me.

  • Chelsey

    Nice work everyone :)

  • Jacob

    Great job on the update. Glad to see new features!

  • Dan

    These are fantastic improvements! I do my budget weekly, but I’m more than happy with bi-weekly.
    Time to change things up with my settings!

  • Dawn

    I was just wondering the other day how I was going to pick which store to shop at….now I can split my money up for Christmas. This site is more awesome every day.

  • Jon

    You mention Amazon.com as being one of the participating vendors, but when I go to SmartyPig and check out the list, Amazon isn’t there. What gives?

  • Melissa

    I have to agree with the previous posts. You have outdone yourselves. These are fantastic updates and make me love smartypig even more (as if that was possible!)!!

    Thanks again!

  • Joe

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been hoping for exactly these changes!

  • http://blog.brianleejackson.com Brian Jackson

    I agree with everyone else, you outdid yourself and gave us more than we were even expecting, amazing updates! Keep up the great work!!

  • Debra

    Now I want to make new savings goals with all the wonderful options you have created for us! Thanks!!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for the changes. I like how you can enter the amount you want to transfer OR take smartypig’s suggestion (I was always frustratedly guesstimating the final goal in order to get the amount I wanted).

    I LOVE that you can withdraw portions instead of having to cash out the whole thing.

  • Joe

    OK, so there’s one thing I’m still hoping for… I’d like to see an open-ended account option (without a goal and with partial withdrawals as an option). Right now, to access partial funds in my “Miscellaneous Savings” account, I have to close the entire goal, then transfer unused funds back later.

    I was hoping that I could mimic this feature by opening a new goal, and transferring un-needed funds from “Miscellaneous Savings” into the new account. However, since new goals require an initial deposit, I can’t do that.

  • Joe

    What about Joint accounts?

  • Anonymous

    This is some great updates.

  • Anne

    I am so excited that I could just hug you all right now. The flexibility gives me a new sense of security and confidence in all the hard work that you guys do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • steve

    Great job!

  • max

    How about raising interest rates? you guys were one of the highest now you are falling behind.

  • Dave

    So now the site is 50% about savings and 50% about spending our cash on stuff. Just when I thought a company was focused…

  • Amanda

    These updates are long overdue. Now I will probably revisit your site and services. Thank you so much for listening to your users.

  • Sue

    I want to be able to designate a beneficiary for the purpose of estate planning.

  • Laura

    Those are all awesome improvements. Well done!

  • Yackie

    This is AWESOME!! :)

  • Brad

    Yes, what about joint accounts… I’d like to have a joint account with my wife where we can each contribute to our son’s account (Up to 13K a year without any gift tax).

  • Jon

    As long as you keep the interest rate high versus the market, you will continue to have my business.

    However, partial withdraws and transfers are a much welcome feature though!

  • lindsay

    i agree with joe (comment 13). open-ended accounts with access to partial funds would be great! in that case, i would move all my funds to smartypig.

  • Courtney

    I’m excited to see new retailers, but what happened to the original ones (Amazon, Best Buy, etc)?

  • Lisa

    I love that you can now split up your savings to multiple retailers. What happened to Pottery Barn though? Are they no longer participating?

  • Andrew

    Great stuff, guys. Great stuff.

  • http://thecreativemba.com Erick

    I’m considering switching from ING to SmartyPig as I love the model of setting goals and visualizing them – but hesitate because I currently invest into my account on a weekly basis. I applaud the move for more flexibility, I’m just looking to save on MY terms, not yours. Please let me know when you allow this.

  • DC

    Brilliant — love smarty pig! Great work on the gift cards with 12% incentive, and the transfers is pretty great too.

  • http://www.smartypig.com Mike Ferrari

    Thanks so much for all the great comments! Quick update based on some of the questions I am hearing. Yes, we are working on final approvals with Amazon and Best Buy now and hope to have them up on the site very soon. Pottery Barn is no longer participating.

    Thanks again!

    Mike Ferrari, co-founder
    @mferrari

  • Judy

    The only thing that would excite me would be a higher interest rate. I hope you focus on this, otherwise, if you are ever lower than ING, I will transfer my money back.

  • Jacqui

    Is Restoration Hardware out too? One of my savings goals was for a dining room table from them, and I was just about to “cash out”! Please tell me they’ll be up on the site again too!

  • Judy

    Interesting……my comment didn’t make it because I mentioned that I would be excited about an increase in interest rates and not all of this…..But….believe me…..I am not the only one…..the bottom line is interest rates…..

  • Eric

    Fabulous update. Honestly I think any complaint about interest rate is absurd at this point. You have the best interest rate I’ve found (in this current time when interest rates are at unbelievably low rates in the U.S.) and with these new partnerships and flexibility – even if it were only 1.3% APR this is the place I would save every dime.

  • Andrea

    Wow! I was starting to get a little disheartened by the site, but you guys have more than made up for it. I love the new withdrawal options especially the every 14 days option and all the other improvements. It’s nice to see the cash boosts without having to click stop goal. My favorite has to be the ability to split up your savings though. It solves the problem of small savings goals. I can now combine them and get cash boosts too! Great job!

  • Scott

    The absence of Amazon.com from the cashboost list is glaring. I had started a textbook goal for the sole purpose of getting a cashboost from Amazon.com. I would also like to see the interest rate for SmartyPig in the 2.25 – 2.50% range. I am currently keeping most of my money in a checking account that pays 4.51% for meeting 2 simple monthly requirements.

  • Kari

    Thank you, thank you!! I had been thinking seriously about moving my savings account to another online site because of the difficulties of withdrawal, etc. but this announcement solves all of my issues. You have really stepped it up and ensured that I will stay on as a happy customer.

  • Kat

    These are AWESOME changes!!!

  • Milissa

    Great changes! You are all wonderful. I saved for Christmas presents this year. No debt on credit cards.

    Thank You.

  • http://tcoyou.com Suzanne

    Very exciting changes, thank you! As to the comments that get indignant, ah whatever. You have the freedom to do what you want, whether that’s to complain rudely or move your money. And I have the freedom to be excited by these changes as they align with my life very well right now.

  • http://tcoyou.com Suzanne

    To Milissa #41: HUGE high five to you. WTG!

  • Bob

    Would like to see an option added for funding a new goal through a transfer from an existing goal rather than requiring an initial deposit from an external funding source. Since you now allow transfer of funds between existing goals, there is really no fundamental difference in allowing the initial deposit for a new goal to come from an existng goal.

  • Ellen Leiserson

    The name of the game for me is interest rate. period.

  • kooyung

    scott #38 … what institution/account pays 4.51%? and what are the two requirements?

    and … the smartypig enhancements are welcome changes

    consider … giving smartypig PNC Virtual Wallet-like capabilities. i’d like to save for annual premiums/taxes nd pay them directly from smartypig.

  • Des

    @kooyung – A lot of credit unions offer a “rewards checking” account, and usually the requirements are that you receive your statements electronically, log on to your account at least once a month, and make 10-12 debits with a debit card.

    I have participated in three such checking accounts and they always start off with a tempting interest rate (as listed above) and slowly lower it after they’ve hooked you on their account. It is a way to get people to use their checking account. They figure it is enough of a hassle to switch that you’ll stay with them even after the rate goes back to normal.

    Also, 10-12 debits means I need to buy something every other day or every third day, and I find it difficult to spend that often.

  • Joe

    Mike,

    I ask again, what about POD and joint accounts??? Can I set up a joint account with my wife. Will this be happening soon?

    Can I please get a response on this.

    Thanks Joe

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    The following is in response to POD/Joint Account questions. The sole owner of the SmartyPig account is the only person that has the authority/rights to the account itself. With that stated there is currently no option for a POD (Payable on Death) for a SmartyPig Account. If the account owner dies SmartyPig will refer back to the SmartyPig Account Owner’s (Will) for direction of the funds in the account. However, this is something we are considering adding to SmartyPig in the future. A implementation date has not been determined at this time.

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder
    @mferrari

  • Anonymous

    I am very impressed with your site. The quality of the design and content makes it a real winner! Thanks again for a great site and a great resource on the net.

  • Joe

    Mike,

    Thanks for your responds on POD and joint account. I hope you will push this issue up quicker. For us married folk it would ease ours spouses piece of mind and insure that no funds would be unnecessary held up should some unforscene event happens to the sole holder of the account. As for me I will have to seriously reconsider keeping my account open (for now)

    I do think your rates and service are great.

  • Gigi

    Any chance of partnering up w/plastic surgeons in the future?

  • Greg

    Do you think it would be possible to be able to withdraw a portion of your savings goal periodically with restrictions, instead of having to close your entire savings goal up to that point and then having to start a new one?

  • http://www.smartypig.com Michael Ferrari

    @Greg,

    Thanks for the suggestion. For now, we will not be offering partial withdrawals but is something we may consider in the future.

    Mike Ferrari, Smartyig co-founder
    @mferrari

  • Himanshu

    what about ira accounts, I’d place my money w/ you in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.lovinlifeonless.com Mamiv

    This may just be the only way I will ever have the incentive to get that emergency fund in healthy shape. Thank you!!!!!

  • http://www.jazzmusictravel.com Laurie “Lucianne” Scheid

    I have a travel company. If anyone knew what kind of a deal the 12% was, I’d be screwed! Will there ever come a time when you let small businesses in on Smarty Pig savings?

  • Sunlei

    I like Gregs’ suggestion of partial withdrawals because of my banks fees. Any ‘large’ deposit they charge a fee. Their fee cuts into the interest earned and I don’t like that. It would be nice to send the money back in smaller parts to avoid those pesky fees.

  • http://www.varunmehta.com Varun Mehta

    If I did the math correctly, the 12% “boost” is actually a 13.6% increase over the amount invested. The 12% listed is actually the discount on the gift cards. In the example presented, the $1000 on Macy’s gift cards only costs $880. This is a 12% discount on the $1000. If you consider that it costs $880, then the “boost” is actually 13.6%!

  • Chris

    Sunlei,

    I like the partial withdraws idea too, but frankly if a bank was to charge me for a deposit, of any size, I would make them stop it, or I would find another bank.

  • KOP

    Smartypig.com is great idea, but not having true joint accounts or a “pay on death” beneficiary provision is not a good idea. When will this change? Your higher interest rate is not enough to compensate for the potential problems in claiming funds in the event of a death. Until you have true joint accounts or POD beneficiaries, my deposits will be very limited. So please, will this change soon?

  • Cris

    Not only is Smartypig providing more places to redeem from, this past holiday season was the first time I was DEBT FREE. I didn’t have to worry about paying off credit card bills from buying gifts in January!

  • Mark

    It would be great to have joint accounts. Our significant others should have (demand!) equal access to all financial accounts in case of emergency situations. It prohibits large savings goals in my case.

  • Nancy

    Young people don’t typically have a will. So if an unforeseen death occurs their money would be tied up in probate. Please, please consider offering joint accounts and POD accounts very soon. I might need to put my money elsewhere because of this shortcoming.

  • Liz Bellinghoven

    It would be great to give us a routing number and an account number so that when its time for us to redeem the funds we can use them directly for online purchasing. That would save us the extra step of transferring back to our original account before using.

  • meb

    You should add a feature that tells you when you will meet your goal. If I add an extra contribution to a goal (or someone contributes to my account), or change the contribution amount, or make any transfers between savings goals, it changes my real-world ending date for those goals. It would be easy to write the code for that… given the current balance, and the scheduled payments as they are currently scheduled, the desired goal amount will be reached by [DATE].

  • Robert

    I’d like to vote once again for POD accounts. Maybe if the deposits are held in a different bank, POD accounts will be possible. See http://www.depositaccounts.com/blog/2010/01/smartypig-is-outgrowing-its-bank.html

  • Jennifer Nunes

    Would love to have weekly deposits,,,, every friday would be great

  • Helen

    Jennifer #68 I thought of a solution. Set up two savings goals that have deposits accruing every other Friday on alternate Fridays. That way every Friday you have money being saved towards your goals.

  • Becky

    I am definitely interested in the open-ended saving account and the POD option. I’m only in my mid-twenties, but my mother is my beneficiary and if something were to happen to me I would want her to deal with as little red tape as possible.

    The open-ended account would be excellent for my “general” savings goal, since it isn’t finite like my others are.

    To end on a positive note, I am happy to have found your site and please keep up the good work. Keeping money here where I can’t get to it easily is the perfect way for me to save money. I can’t spend it if I can’t touch it!

  • Joe

    As far as Joint account. You should instruct you spouse that if anything happens to you to immedially close all accounts so that they will be transfered to Joint accounts and your spouse “should” then have know problem accessing the money.

    BUT joint accounts and POD should be implemented ASAP

  • Robert

    With respect to the POD (Payable on Death) comments, it looks like that has been implemented. Go to your user information page (the page where you input your phone number, etc) and you can add one POD beneficiary who is 18 or older!

  • Edie

    I just learned about smartypig and just created my first goal! This is one of the best sites I’ve seen in a long time and your new enhancements are outstanding. One suggestion, I think this is an awesome site for young children to begin learning about saving. I would recommend you include that benefit on your home page. I fully intend to let me grandchildren’s parents in on it and look forward to begin contributing to their piggy banks for all occasions!!! Excellent job!

    • http://blog.smartypig.com Sarah Foss

      Great suggestion Edie, I will pass this on to our development team.

      Sarah Foss
      SmartyPig Public Relations & Social Media
      SFoss@Smartypig.com