SmartyPig is an online, high-yield savings account which is offered by West Bancorporation, Inc. It launched in April of 2008, so is still fairly new to the bank All money deposited in a SmartyPig account is held by West Bank of Des Moines, Iowa, and is FDIC insured up to the normal $250,000 limitations. While it all probably sounds like your average online savings account so far – there are some differences in how SmartyPig allows you to save money.
The SmartyPig Difference
SmartyPig requires that you create specific goals for saving before you can start adding money to the account. For example, you could use SmartyPig to save for your next vacation. You figure out how much you need and by what date, and then decide how often you want to contribute. SmartyPig will calculate how much your contributions should be to reach your specific savings goal, based on the information you provide.
The other main difference between SmartyPig and other savings accounts is that it encourages account holders to share their savings goals and their progress on social media sites and blogs. In fact, it even allows your friends and family to contribute to the savings goals you’ve created.
Signing Up for SmartyPig
Creating an account with SmartyPig is fairly painless. You have to enter your basic identification information, social security number, date of birth and driver’s license number. The bank will run a soft pull of your credit to verify your identity.
Next, you connect your SmartyPig account with your main bank account which you’ll use to fund your savings goal. The money will be automatically transferred according to the schedule you select when establishing the savings goal. You can connect more than one account, if you like.
Set Up a Savings Goal
Once your account is established and you’ve linked your SmartyPig savings with your regular bank account, you can create your savings goal and contribution schedule. Your minimum savings goal must be at least $250, with a maximum of the FDIC limit of $250,000. The initial deposit must be at least $25 to start your savings goal, and each automatic contribution must be a minimum of $10.
While the point of SmartyPig is to keep your money in the account and keep contributing until your goal has been reached – you can withdraw your money at anytime if you need to and without penalty. There are three methods for withdrawing money from your SmartyPig account:
- ACH Transfer – you can transfer the money right back to your bank account.
- Debit Card – if you choose, you can have a MasterCard debit card attached to your SmartyPig account. This allows you to withdraw money from your account from ATMs or by using the card to make purchases.
- Retail Gift Cards – a unique feature to SmartyPig is the ability to withdraw your savings directly to retail gift cards. When you choose this method, you can get up to 12% more than you’ve saved thanks to partnerships with major retailers.