Smarty Pig is a new idea, started by two individuals, Mike Ferrari and Jon Gaskell. The basic gist of it is this: you want a new ipod, a Hawaiian vacation, a new bike, etc. First you start a profile on the site, then you establish your savings account and goal, and figure out your monthly contribution. Then you have the option to share with friends and family your savings goal so they can track your progress and make donations if they would like. Start saving, and before long you’ll meet your goal!
There are no fees, you earn interest on your balances, and it’s FDIC insured, just like a high yield online savings account. What a great idea! The minimum savings goal is $250, and the maximum is $100,000. To get the account started, there has to be a deposit of $25 made to the account. Interest accrues daily but is posted quarterly. Once you reach your savings goal, you can request a Smarty Pig MasterCard® Debit Card which has the funds loaded on that you’ve saved up. You can then use your card to book your vacation, buy your bike, or do whatever you’d like with it. You also have the option to get a retail gift card to a retailer and get up to 5% additional boost on the money.
I wouldn’t recommend using Smarty Pig as your emergency fund. I think you should have your emergency fund easily accessible to you at all times. After all, that’s why it’s called an emergency fund!
There are a few points I did not like: you can’t stop the transfer once you’ve started it, but you can change the funding source. <s>There is a $25 fee if you would prefer a check be mailed.</s> They have done away from the $25 fee for a check! I think this shows how wonderful the people are at Smarty Pig. They heard people didn’t like the $25 fee for the check, so they did away with it. Great job, Smarty Pig!