SmartyPig is a service that combines online banking, money management and social networking. If that sounds like a weird combination read on. The basic concept of SmartyPig is to help people save for a specific goal, a vacation, new gadget or even a child's college education. You link SmartyPig with a bank account and set up specific goals each with a name, goal amount and the date you want to achieve your goal. SmartyPig determines how much you will need to contribute monthly to reach your goal and, if you approve, automatically withdraws that amount from your linked account every month. Funds are deposited in an FDIC insured savings account at Iowa's West Bank and currently pay 3.05% interest.
The social networking part of SmartyPig lets you share your goals and the progress toward them with friends and family members who are SmartyPig users. You control what information you want to share which can be your any combination of your goal amount, amount saved or the percentage of your goal reached. Friends can also gift you with funds toward your goal. There are also widgets available that let you share your goals on your Facebook and MySpace pages and integration with online budgeting sites Mint and Wesable.
When you reach a goal you can withdraw your savings in the form of a Master Card prepaid debt card, gift card from over a dozen participating retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines or by transfering it back to your linked account. The retailer gift cards offer discounts of "up to 6%" although I could not find a list of specific discounts by retailer. There are no fees charged for making deposits and withdrawals except deposits funded from a credit card which incur a 2.9% fee.. If your plans change you can cancel a goal and withdraw your funds at anytime without penalty.
Today, SmartyPig launched a mobile site at m.smartypig.com. You can't register using it but you can track your goals and your friend's goals and make contributions to them. The mobile site was developed by Brian Fling's new webdesign company pinch/zoom, and uses browser detection and adaptation to optimize the mobile experience for any device from the iPhone to the embedded browsers of low-end phones.
SmartyPig is an interesting concept. I can see this sort of forced savings plan working well for many people. Add to that a good interest rate, no fees as long as you avoid making credit card deposits and a kind of friendly way to solicit friends and family, including FaceBook friends to give you money and I can see SmartyPig getting pretty popular. Anyone out there using it? If you are please share your experience in a comment. Source: ubergizmo
Ratings: Content Usability
Ready.mobi Score: 3 "Fair"
Mobile Link: m.smartypig.com