The SmartyPig Blog

“Smarter” Pig Is On Its Way

SmartyPig smart pig

In the 18 months since we launched SmartyPig, we’ve made a dozen or so unique upgrades to our service. Why? Because you told us to. Sure it’s cliché to insist a product is what its customers want it to be – unless you mean it. And we do. We heard almost immediately after we launched that we needed an ACH option at redemption, so we added it. Then we heard it needed to be faster. So we made it faster. Connect with sites like Mint. Launch a mobile site. Add additional sharing features like Twitter and Facebook connect. Enhance our widgets. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done.

We’re not just tooting our own horn, but typically a financial services company would take 18 months to launch a single product – after a lot of focus groups and maybe a few pilot runs in test markets. It may work. It may not. The need for it may have changed or gone away completely. In the social world of Web 2.0, though, where you are right now, things move pretty fast. People want back and forth. People want more. People want a new kind of relationship where their ideas matter.

So within the next month or so we’re going to unveil a few pretty dramatic upgrades and enhancements in our service. More will come in December, and then even more in January. We’ve been hearing what’s important to you. And we’re all set to take SmartyPig to the next level – faster, easier, better. As the leader in the Bank 2.0 space, we vow to continue to provide groundbreaking features, terrific technology, the best possible deals and top-notch customer service. What all of that looks like, however, is pretty much up to you. Just let me know.

Thanks,

Mike Ferrari, co-founder
@mferrari

 

  • Dan

    Ability to add pictures to each unique goal! :-)

  • http://bitmethod.com Daniel E. Shipton

    Love watching the Pig grow! Not only are you making serious inroads in the financial industry but you do it consistently, day in, day out. Proud to call myself a SmartyPig customer and Iowan as a result! Keep up the great work Mike!

  • Chickybeth

    Yes, pictures would be great! Also I mentioned it before, but having a Visualizer for start to finish for the goal would be awesome. Thanks, SmartyPig. You are wonderful.

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

    @Dan & @Chickybeth,

    Thanks for the suggestions. Adding pics to goals and visualizer enhancements are great suggestions!

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder

  • John

    I appreciate all the new features and options. Just be sure you don’t sacrifice your great interest rate to create all of these things. Ultimately the proceeds from your customer’s funds are your source of revenue so make sure we get to keep most of it. With your help I am purchasing a house in 9 days so keep it up!

  • Joe

    Please don’t forget joint account/POD accounts for us married folks with children.

    Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.sugarfixjewelry.com Kate Gamble

    Keep up the good work guys! I’m always excited to see what’s next.

  • Chris

    I love to see smartypig continue to progress and grow. Thank you family fun magazine for finding you a number of months back. I try to talk everyone who is saving money to use this site, including the FPU class I teach. This is a great way for them to fund their sinking funds.

  • Peter

    I love the social networking aspect and all the added tools, but please remember to keep the interest rate as high as possible. Stay at or above 2.0% Thanks!

  • Anne

    I would really like to be able to withdraw small amounts from my goal without withdrawing the whole amount. I’d keep my emergency fund with Smarty Pig if I knew that I didn’t need to withdraw it all at one time if something were to happen. It’d be nice to have 1 goal for college tuition too, rather, than have to create multiple goals for each semester. I’ve never heard of Pigs doing yoga, but a little more flexibility never hurt anyone! Oink oink.

  • Molly

    I couldn’t agree more with Anne & John. Being able to withdraw small amounts, if needed for emergencies, would be a great improvement. And the number one deciding factor in choosing any bank in these economic times is keeping the interest rates high. Let’s get back to 5%! Also compounding interest daily would be a huge improvement.

  • Dan

    I’d love for weekly contributions. It would totally make my budgetting system easier. But like everyone said, the key is to keep the interest rate high. Features are great until they take away from the main purpose.

  • Leo

    Wow being able to withdraw money out of the account would make this savings bank like other High Yeild Savings accounts. GREAT,FUNCTIONAL. Maybe an account I would make more deposits into???

  • Rogelio

    SamrtyPig is great!! However, I agree with Dan and would like to see a weekly deposit option. It would enable me to “set it and forget it” if you will as far as savings are concerned… Thanks again for all you do, way to keep the interest rate above average.

  • Brice

    Features are great, but as mentioned several times, we’re mostly here for the interest rate. The minute that stops being competitive, it’s moving day.

    With that said, I think what you are encouraging — fiscal responsibility and living within your means — is highly commendable. I think further developing your culture around thoughtful and progressive ideas would increase loyalty. For example, you could expand your communications to include tips and articles about how to economize in our personal lives, tips for cheaper vacations, tips for smarter living, etc. — kind of a lifehacker deal with a financial, sustainable and progressive slant.

    Another thing that would be neat on a social level is hooking in micro finance institutions. For example, say we wanted to loan out a little bit of our savings to farmer in Lebanon or Kenya, so they could buy a new ox. That would be pretty cool — while we save to improve our lives, we’re also able to share some of this and help others who want to do the same thing.

    I’m just brain storming here, but I think there are some really nice things you could build around your service, things that would be good for the users and for the responsible and thoughtful finance culture you are developing here.

  • Marnee

    Love Brice’s ideas! For me, most important is keeping the interest rate high, next is adding the ability to withdraw small amounts at a time (Anne’s comment).

  • NancyR

    I would like to see the ability to specify the monthly withdrawal exactly, rather than going through the process of experimenting with date to achieve the goal.
    I would also like the ability to have joint ownership and payable on death beneficiaries.

  • Eric

    Would be kind of cool to be able to earn higher interest rates on higher goals. The functionality of the site and the higher interest rates were what drew me in… but now with recent drops in rates, I’ve been waffling on starting any new, serious savings goals.

  • Brad

    referral rewards would be nice, definitely create more incentive for me to share my goals/spread the word about sp

  • Aly

    I agree with Nancy’s points; especially, being able to specify what you want to withdraw/deposit would make it a lot easier!

  • Daniel

    I just heard about Smarty Pig and thought I’d come over to check it out. The person who told me about it was talking about a 3% rate–high enough to make me start thinking about whether it compensates for not being able to make withdrawals. As I read through, I see the interest rate used to be as high as 5%. What if there were two options: One Smarty Pig account with the higher rate, and a savings account you can withdraw from with a lower rate? At this point, 2% is too low for me to switch my accounts, but I’ll definitely keep Smarty Pig in mind and check back for higher rates later. This is definitely a neat idea. Final feature suggestion: interest rate gets locked in (or can only increase) until the goal is met.

  • Joe

    Mike, I’ve requested quite a few times on different Smarty Pig blogs that Joint/POD account are important to me. Do you see Smarty Pig allowing Joint or POD account in the near future?

    Thanks Joe

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

    @Joe,
    Thanks for your post. We have received a lot of great feedback from our users and are taking it all into consideration as we map out our future enhancements. This specific request is something that we are very interested in offering and hope to have available in the future. At this time we do not have a specific timeline, but we are looking into it. Thanks!

  • TS

    Hi there,
    I second Joe’s point. A joint account is important to me, too. Why the hold up?

  • Sky Masterson

    Yes, please hurry up on the joint accounts…. what is the issue?

  • Kamil

    Please put rights of survivorship on the top of your list of things to add. I am getting married and I would love to combine some of my goals with my soon to be wife. It would only make sense that both of us have equal access to the account, especially if there is a sudden death or accident. I’m sure many other smartypig users would love this feature and the majority of banks have this feature. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Amy

    I would also like to have partial withdrawls available. While I understand SmartyPig’s reasoning here, there are some kinds of savings goals (emergency fund, car repair fund, etc.) where you don’t know the exact amount you need to withdraw.

    Right now, when I need a partial withdrawal, I use a workaround. Here are my steps……

    Let’s say I have $500 in a “Car Repair Fund” and when my car breaks down the repairs only cost $350.

    1) I change my “Car Repair Fund” goal to $350

    2) I transfer $150 from the “Car Repair Fund” to some other goal, like “Vacation”

    3) I close the “Car Repair Fund” goal and send the $350 to my bank account.

    4) I open a new “Car Repair Fund #2″ goal, and transfer BACK the $150 which temporarily sat in the “Vacation” account.

    Kind of a pain, but it works for now.

    I do love SmartyPig very much and recommend it to all my friends. I think some of the “hoops” you have to jump through to use SmartyPig make it psychologically easier to save. But if you’re looking for a partial-withdrawal workaround, this does the trick.

  • bettylion

    Amy, that workaround is exactly what’s holding me back from opening a Smartypig account right now. My ‘savings’ goals are to be able to budget efficiently for unexpected expenses. Not having the ability for a partial withdrawl defeats the purpose for me. Your workaround is exactly what I was contemplating, but again it defeats the purpose of these great automated tools that SP is offering. I REALLY need to have partial withdrawls available for the site to be of use to me.

  • Donna

    I want partial withdrawals also!!!!I will probably change banks if they don’t change this. Thanks for that tip Amy on the workaround!! I could then just have one big emergency fund instead of 7 goals and withdraw only what I need this time. It’s been a pain setting up all the all the withdrawals from my checking account.