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Let’s face it.

For most people, saving is a chore.

You have to give up something – your favorite coffee or going out for lunch – to save some money. And even when you do manage to save a little extra in your wallet, the money is so convenient that you end up spending it before it can grow.

It’s not that you don’t know how to save, it’s that we aren’t saving in a way that works for us.

In comes technology to save the day.

Last year I signed up for a banking app as a means to save a little money despite a really tight budget. I was already working on designated savings, but I wanted to pay a little more on credit cards and figured it might be good to squeeze a little more out. And it worked.

With Qapital I saved a month extra student loan payment last year (without doing anything extra), and I’m on track to beat that this yeat.

Qapital is a banking app

Qapital is the #1 banking app that blends behavior and psychology to help you save and invest in everything you do. And most importantly you can save in a way that works for you.

How does it work?

You sign up for the Qapital app, set up your goals (what you are trying to save towards – like paying down debt or saving for a vacation), and your rules are transactions you make to trigger the savings transfer. You link the accounts you would like it to monitor and you then you let it do its thing.

  • Frequency of Transfers — Although your linked accounts trigger your savings rules every day, your Qapital account only makes the savings transfer four times per week, Monday through Thursday.
  • Account Withdrawals — It’s your money, you can cash out of the goal any time you want to your linked account, completely free of charge. As with all external account transfers, your withdrawal will take about 2 business days to clear.
  • Account Linking — Qapital is designed to connect with your accounts – credit cards, pay pal, debit cards, etc, but you can only use a checking account as your funding account. This protects you as savings accounts usually charge for more than 4 withdrawals, and credit cards and PayPal accounts don’t have routing numbers.
  • Customer Service — Support is optimized for in-app chat and email. They vow to read and respond to every customer inquiry within 24 hours. However, there is no telephone contact, nor is a phone number even provided.
  • Overdraft Protection —To protect you from overdrafts while saving, Qapital stops all transfers (pausing your savings) that will leave your account with less than $100. It doesn’t resume saving until there is enough money in the account to make the transfer and still leave $100.

How many ways you can save?

  • Round-up — Every time you use your card you can round up to the nearest $1, $2, $3, $4, or $5.
  • Spend Less — Came in under budget? Then save the difference. For example, if you spend less than $30 on lunch this week then save the difference towards your goal – without the temptation to spend it.
  • Guilty Pleasure — Get back to saving even when you mess up. Qapital can save $5, $10 or whatever you decide when you indulge in your vice … like eating junk food.
  • Set & Forget — Save on a set schedule with a fixed dollar amount. You can do daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Apple Health — This option is not available on the Android app. But you can pay yourself for making good health choices. Hit your fitness goal and let Qapital save for you. (Save $50 towards vacation goal every time you take 500 steps).
  • IFTTT — With If This Then That  (IFTTT) your ideas on what can cause a trigged saving is unlimited.
  • Freelancer — Every time you get paid, put aside money towards taxes.
  • 52 Week Rule — Save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, and so on for 52 weeks

The Pros: What I like about it

  • Feeling like you’re saving even while you’re spending
  • Easy to see your progress
  • You can create Goals and Rules – two clever ways to supercharge your saving with little effort
  • Variety of saving rules to choose from – ITTT (If This Then That) – for example, you can set up Qapital to save every time you tweet, etc., Set it and forget it – for example: save $50 every month, rounding up to $1 – for example spend $1.50, save $0.50, Spend Less – for example: reward yourself and save $20 for staying under budget
  • Automated savings without having to think about it – You set the rule to round up and you never have to touch it again – A completely passive way to save requiring minimal effort.
  • Savings stashed away where you can’t easily reach it (ahem, easily spend it). Qapital puts your funds in an FDIC insured partner bank and while transfer to your account is easy, it does take a few days to complete allowing you to ‘cool off’ and really consider if you need to withdraw your savings
  • Round up from several accounts you choose – you can set up your rule to monitor your credit cards, and multiple bank accounts, although the funds only come from one funding account.
  • Ability to specifically define your goals – Saving ‘just because’ is fine, but saving for something special is much more fun, and Qapital allows you to name your savings goal whatever you want and have as many of them as you like.

The Cons: what it can do better

  • You could round up from several accounts but could only withdraw from one funding account. So if I rounded up $5 from all my accounts, it would only be withdrawn from the funding account. Great to not end up with untracked credit card withdrawals, but bad because one card gets pummelled with withdrawals.
  • No website access – this doesn’t bother me since I do basically everything from my phone but it would have been a nice touch to have a desktop login
  • No Phone Customer Service –Since Qapital is optimized for online contact, no phone contact is available.
  • No Capital Gains or Interest Earned — You get no interest earned on your Qapital savings unless you have the debit card.

How much does it cost?

Qapital started out as a free app, up until November 2018. But they didn’t just start changing for the same product. They created three levels of service, each with a monthly fee. Here’s a breakdown of the new pricing structure:

Basic

The lowest tier of membership. This level is great for folks who just want to focus on saving for short term goals. You get unlimited savings goals, with customizable and automatable rules.

Price: $3 per month

Complete

If you are looking for help managing your whole financial life – budgeting, spending and investing, then this level is intended to provide a more hands-on approach to balancing planning for your future with your current spending.

Price: $6 per month

Master

Qapital master members get the benefits of the complete level but also give you some more help. You get invitations to webinars, in-app challenges such as Money Missions, that can help you further with your financial decisions.

Price: $12 per month

Is Qapital Worth It?

Now I’d be the first to tell you that I don’t pay bank account management/maintenance fees.

Because I don’t think I should get charged to use my own money. So I don’t bank with companies that charge them. Naturally, when Qapital added a fee structure I was less than amused. But here’s the skinny on why I think Qapital is still worth it even with a fee.

  1. Pretty much no savings app out there is completely free anymore. Yeah, I said it. Many of them start out free for the basics but to provide upgraded features and functionality (to help you save more money without thinking about it), then somewhere someone has to provide some funding. Note: If you know an app with zero fees or no ‘pay us what you think we’re worth’ structure then please message me.
  2. The base-level price is on par for similar apps (like Digit) at $3 per month, and if you want more you can get more. The other two tiers are $6 and $12 with additional features for the premium full-service packages.
  3. It’s better to pay a little to save a lot than pay nothing and save nothing. If you are at a place in your life where saving feels difficult, boring and is a real challenge, then paying $3 a month is not bad to develop a life long habit of spending that will transform your future? How much would you pay if I told you that what you’ll learn now will secure your financial dreams? I bet your threshold will be pretty high.
  4. It’s still pretty cheap – about the price of a coffee. You can give up one coffee a month to save hundreds a year, can’t you?
  5. You don’t have to (and I wouldn’t recommend) that you do it forever. Qapital Save is a great tool for short term saving. Many of the other features are great as you mature and get better with your finances, and then the cost may be more justified. But for the average beginner saver, use it when you need it – short term goals is best.

Would I use it again?

Yeap, and I still do. Even though I save regularly, I still like to see how much more I can squeeze out of budget. And it also helps me keep on budget because every purchase gets rounded up – not rounded down like we have a tendency to do.

So if you think you are strapped for cash and can’t find one single penny more to save, then a savings app like Qapital could help you find some money.

They even give you $5 for joining.

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