Review – SmartyPig

Monday I talked about how I was going to use SmartyPig to save for my investment account opening balance so I thought I would give you a little more information on SmartyPig. SmartyPig is not your typical online high yield savings account. They have taken your savings and made them goal oriented like no bank ever has before. The entire idea behind the site is to get you to save for specific goals in a specific time frame. If you have a vacation you would like to take in the summer figure out how much it is going to cost you, set a goal, and start saving. This a great way to pay cash for things you would typically be putting on credit. By using a SmartyPig account you are able to track your progress towards achieving your goals. They even make it easy to take your savings goals to the social web with Facebook and Twitter integration. Here is a brief look at the sign up and account setup process along with some of the better features.

Account Signup

Signing up for a SmartyPig account is much the same as signing up for any other online banking account. The basic login information collected includes your name, e-mail, and phone number. They require you to complete security questions, choose a “secure” image, and help you to generate a secure password. Once you complete your login credentials you are required to provide a SSN and address which is then used to pull credit information to verify your identity. They ask typical questions about your credit to verify you are who you say you are. It is a super quick and painless process that got me rolling in no time.

Account Setup

This is where things start to look a good bit different from your typical online banking institution. Before you can setup your first goal you will have to setup a savings account. All you have to do is give it a name like “Kyle’s Super Smart Savings” and then provide a funding source for the account. This is usually going to be your checking account or some other account you can link using the banks routing and account number. They did not require me to verify deposits to link my account.

Once you have your savings account setup it is time to get to meat of the matter and setup some goals. I am currently working towards saving up the $500.00 it is going to take me to open an investing account at ScottTrade. All you have to do is define what you are saving for, the category it goes in, your dollar goal, and when you want to meet the goal by. Then you need to setup your funding source, provide your initial deposit (no less than $25), and optionally setup a recurring schedule for funding the goal.

SmartyPig Goals

SmartyPig Goals

Sweet Features

SmartyPig has gone out of their way to make their site not only visually appealing and easy to navigate but they offer some great incentives to bank with them. As of 01/20/2009 they were offering a high 2.01%APY and if you compare that to other banks it is at the top.

One of the options on the goal configuration page was to “Accept Contributions.” What enabling this option allows you to do is to publicize your goals to friends and family and allow them to contribute towards your goal if they so choose. You can even setup a widget to allow your friends, family, or blog readers to contribute to your goals easily and securely. I was going to include the widget for you but it turns out the landing page includes my full legal name and there is no way to change that. Something to keep in mind when you setup your own widget, anonymity is not an option.

Probably the coolest thing they do is offer cash incentives if you use your goal money to redeem gift cards at major retailers. Right now if you are planning on taking a Sandals vacation you could change your savings into a Sandals or Beaches gift certificate and get an additional 10% on your savings. If you had saved up $5000 they throw in an additional $500, that is is pretty solid. You can even parse out your savings across multiple gift cards, so if you are saving up for holiday shopping you can get some real extra bang for your buck, especially at Macy’s where they offer a 12% bonus. Visit SmartyPig for the complete list of retailers and bonuses.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christy January 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Love the giftcard idea!

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2 Danielle January 20, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Thank you so much for the review. I love that little pig with its glasses. I’ve opened a few new accounts recently and, frankly, I’ve wondered what it was up to. It reminds me of my mom’s Christmas and vacation club accounts, but with a kick. I will definitely check it out. Thanks!

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3 Danielle January 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Okay, plus, I’m going to be honest. I’m totally singing smarty pig, smarty pig, does whatever a smarty pig does, a la simpsons movie and picturing the cute little piggy with his glasses running across my ceiling.

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4 Chester January 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Thanks for the review. I have been looking for a new on-line bank since the rates have gotten so bad lately. I have also been looking at Ally but even their rates have fallen. I like to get a good return but I hate the thought of opening up more accounts because of all the extra work to keep track of what little money I do have.

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5 Phil August 13, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I opened up a SmartyPig account earlier today, before I came across your blog. There APY is up to 2.25% now. I’m glad I read your story though, it makes me feel more secure. Something else of importance to note, SmartyPig is affilated with Compass Bank (which is the 15th largest in America). And their both FDIC insured. Congrat’s on meeting your goals Kyle!

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6 Veronica November 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Smarty Pig SUCKS – you can’t withdraw partial funds –
if you want to close a goal you can only deposit back into the account the money the account came from even if you have done transactions with other banks with them. POORLY DESIGNED – Customer Service were really RUDE too the lady started yelling at me. RUN don’t walk away from Smarty Pig.

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7 Andrew April 18, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I with Veronica above: Stay AWAY from Smartypig! These guys are serious bad news. I tried to close an account with them and they made me wait 9 business days!! I had over $41,000 with them in deposits and I tried to close the account – but they held it up because they needed 9 (that’s NINE) business days to verify whether a recurring (get this) $10/month fund deposit would in fact clear. When I explained that they were holding $41,000 that I needed access to within 5 days hostage for $10 (which they could simply credit back or hang on to for all I care), they SO could not care. Stay away from this bunch – quite rude and inflexible. Oh and their wbesite really works hard to hide their phone number from you….

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8 Anna May 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Just for the record, “Andrew” is “Nathan” on previous website I visited, and he/ she is “Adrian” on the one before, with exactly the same, bad SmartyPig review. So it’s either a competitor or some sort of spam.
And I will open SmartPig account later tonight, I am a big spender, so financial goals and difficulty of withrawing money sound amazing. Thank you for the review.

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9 Bob October 11, 2011 at 7:01 am

I agree with and Veronica and Andres, Smartypig has been holding my money for 12 days now. Once I get my money out I cam closing this account. Good thing it wasn’t a real emergency but $2k is a lot of money to have held.

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10 Claudia April 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Only took two days to get may funds back after I reach my goal. I love this website

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11 Sara September 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Are there any fees involved? There must be – how else would they make money?

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12 Nick March 26, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Can we get collectively and do a weblog on a unique topic?

I prefer to create about finances and loans and so forth…I spent a lot of years inside the private banking business and may offer a lot of information for you personally here.
Let me know!

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