Best Automatic Savings (and Investing) Apps to Round Up Savings in 2018

Saving money has a lot in common with flossing: you know it’s important, professionals wag their fingers at you when they find out you’ve been neglecting it, and it seems like a major pain to get in the habit of doing.

Luckily for reluctant savers, technology has come to the rescue in the form of automatic savings apps. (Unfortunately, automated flossing technology is still years away.)

Even the most budget-averse user can automatically begin growing their wealth using one of these apps used to round up savings.

Each of the following savings apps has a different approach to automating your finances and helping you achieve your savings goals. Some will round up your savings (aka “keep the change”), some use sophisticated algorithms to understand your ability to save, and some simply let you have full control – set it and forget it.

While many will give you the push you need to beef up your savings, some savings apps offer you the opportunity to invest your savings as well. We've tried to make a note of which apps let you invest, save, or both. We've also made a note of which platform the apps are available on: iPhone and/or Android.

Read on to see which one will work best for your wealth-building needs.

Most Popular Savings and Investing Apps

Digit Price: Free for 100 days, then $2.99 per month Digit is our most popular automatic savings app for those wanting to build an emergency fund. 1% bonus on your savings. Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Stash Price: 1st month free, then $1 per month Stash is our most popular automatic investing app for beginning investors. No minimums. Buy partial shares. Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Best Automatic Savings Apps

These are the best automatic savings apps around today to help you get started saving money for an emergency fund, travel expenses, house down-payment, or any of your other financial needs.

Digit

Digit

digit

If you want to save money without ever having to think about it, Digit is for you.

This program syncs with your bank accounts and analyzes your cash flow. Every two to three days, it will determine an amount of money (between $5 and $50) that is safe to transfer into an FDIC-insured Digit deposit account. More info…show

  • Pros: Saving is not only automatic, but also painless. Your money is easily accessible if you need it and you earn 1% bonus on your savings.
  • Cons: The monthly fee makes it tough to really grow wealth with Digit.
  • Fees: Free for 100 days, then $2.99 per month
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best for: Beginner savers or those who hate dealing with money.
  • Be sure to check out PT's review of Digit.
  • To learn more and get started with Digit, visit www.digit.co.

Clarity Money

Clarity Money

Clarity Money logo
In addition to its basic money saving tools, Clarity Money also allows you to set up automatic savings through their Clarity Savings Account. You simply select the amount and frequency of your preferred withdrawal, as well as the goal that you are saving for, and activate the automatic savings. Since everything is done within the app, creating and funding your savings account—not to mention pausing recurring withdrawals and closing the savings account—can all be accomplished with a couple of finger taps.

The money in your Clarity Savings account is FDIC insured up to $250,000, but the program currently does not offer interest on the money in this savings account. More info…show

  • Pros: Clarity Money takes care of everything within the app, which makes it easy to act on their recommendations. The app offers a fairly global look at your money, helping you lower your bills, cancel unnecessary recurring expenses, save more money, and understand your money habits better.
  • Cons: The Clarity savings account does not offer any interest.
  • Fees: If you use Clarity’s Bill Negotiation & Lowering service, the program will take 33% of what you save as their commission.
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best For: Newbie budgeters or anyone who wants their money management to be easy and all in one place.
  • To learn more and get started with Clarity, visit www.ClarityMoney.com.

SaverLife

SaverLife

If you know you need to save and have no idea how to build the habit, SaverLife may be able to help. Their focus is on helping people create strong saving habits to help them build their “rainy day fund” or whatever they are saving for. The program is aimed at helping lower income families create a larger financial cushion in the event of an emergency, since nearly half of Americans do not have enough money set aside to pay for a $400 emergency. More info…show

  • Pros: SaverLife is a free program and you receive $10 rewards for every $20 you save up to $60 for 6 month.
  • Cons: There is no additional earnings for saving more than $20 and the application must track your transactions.
  • Fees: Free
  • Platform: No app, web-based
  • Best for: Beginner savers or those who struggle to save on a monthly basis.
  • Learn more and get started with SaverLife.

CoinOut

CoinOut

CoinOut Logo
If you struggle with credit card spending but still want to save money effortlessly, the CoinOut can turn your loose change and receipts into savings. The app has partnered with companies like Taco Bell, Chipotle, Dollar Tree, Subway, Speedway, McDonald's, and more. All you need to do is download the app and then scan your receipts to earn cash back on your purchases. More info…show

  • Pros: CoinOut helps you save your spare change and gives you the opportunity to receive cash back offers from your favorite retailers for free.
  • Cons: You need to keep track of receipts and scan them in for each purchase. If you forget, you could miss out on offers.
  • Fees: None.
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best For: Savers who struggle to save extra cash and enjoy a good deal.
  • Learn more and get started with CoinOut.

WinWinSave

WinWinSave

WinWinSave Logo
WinWinSave brings the brain-hacking motivation of gamification to your savings account. If you struggle to save money, the game-like WinWinSave may be able to give you a little nudge in the right direction.

The savings account by WinWinSave is FDIC-insured with Wells Fargo bank. You select a savings amount you would like to contribute to your account monthly or weekly, and then every day you can play games for your chance to win cash prizes. You are also entered into a $1,000 cash prize drawing every week. The more you save the more entries you will receive.

More info…show

  • Pros: WinWinSave adds gamification to savings. This helps encourage you to have better savings habits.
  • Cons: WinWinSave keeps your savings in a separate account in order to track your progress. Multiple accounts may become confusing.
  • Fees: Free for the first month and $2 a month after that.
  • Platform: iPhone
  • Best For: Beginning savers and/or budgeters.
  • Learn more and get started with WinWinSave.

Best Automatic Investing Apps for Beginners

Want to get started investing? These are the automatic apps you need to check out. They make it easy to understand the basics of investing and help you to set up automatic transfers to get started with just a little amount. No big minimums required.

Stash

Stash

stash

If you are looking for a way to not only save money but invest in a portfolio you are passionate about, Stash might be your solution. It is nice to have an automated deposit into a savings account but it might be more beneficial to allow that money to work for you in an investment account. More info…show

  • Pros: You can start your account with any amount of money. Stash allows you to buy partial shares so you can investment in the market for little capital. Also Stash uses dollar cost averaging to help reduce risk and market timing.
  • Cons: Stash is automated, so there is minimal control in the investments you acquire.
  • Fees: Your first month is free and then $1 per month for under $5000 and .25% fee for over $5000.
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best For: Newbie investors or anyone who wants to dabble in the market but doesn’t want a large commitment.
  • To learn more, claim your $5 bonus, and get started with Stash visit www.stashinvest.com.

Rize

Rize

Rize

Rize is a newer entry in the world of automatic savings (AND now investing) and it is set up to help struggling budgeters do what all personal finance experts advise: pay themselves first.

After you receive each paycheck, Rize automatically moves money from your checking account to your Rize account. Each time you save money, Rize sends you a notification via text or email with an update on your progress. More info…show

  • Pros: Rize makes it easy to pay yourself first (saving and investing), and it offers a high amount of interest. The progress updates sent via text or email help keep your goals front and center. The Power Up features can be turned on and off any time, and give you an extra leg up on your savings.
  • Cons: Rize currently does not have an Android app, although one is in the works. The pay-what-you-think-is-fair fee system could be a benefit or a detraction, depending on how you look at it.
  • Fees: Rize asks for a voluntary monthly contribution of your savings, at an amount set by you.
  • Platform: iPhone
  • Best For: Beginning savers and/or budgeters.
  • To learn more and get started with Rize, visit www.rizemoney.com.

Acorns

Acorns

Acorns_logo

This app introduces users to the world of investing—effortlessly.

Acorns links to all of your spending accounts, including credit cards, checking accounts/debit cards, Paypal, and the like, and rounds up each transaction to the nearest dollar. More info…show

  • Pros: Using the roundup aspect of Acorns’ savings platform can make saving (and then investing) money painless. The investment portion takes the confusion and intimidation out of investing, in addition to lowering the cost threshold. Additionally, the customer service is reported to be excellent.
  • Cons: The fees can be quite steep for those just beginning. You do still need to keep track of your finances to make sure the roundup feature or recurring transfers do not overdraw your accounts or overload your credit card.
  • Fees: $1 per month for accounts below $5,000, 0.25% of your holdings for accounts above $5,000.
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best for: Those new to investing who have a good handle on their budgeting.
  • Be sure to check out our review of Acorns.
  • To learn more and get started with Acorns, visit www.acorns.com.

Banks with Automatic Savings Programs

Some full-service banks come with the ability to set up automatic savings programs. Why go to an app if your bank will do the same thing, right?

Qapital

Qapital
Qapital

Are you looking for a new way to save for a financial goal by doing just what you already do intentionally? Qapital offers a simple, effortless way to manage your money with automated savings and an online checking account. The focus is on saving by reaching goals using the Qapital app, helping you save without even thinking about it. More info…show

  • Pros: Qapital is free to use. Saving rules are automated. You can customize your saving rules. For example, you can set a rule to save $20 for your Costa Rica adventure tour automatically every time you fill up your gas tank. Qapital is FDIC-insured so you can have peace of mind that you'll be covered up to $250,000 if the bank were ever to fail. You get a Visa debit card when you set up a Qapital spending account. With this account, you can write e-checks and receive 0.1 percent interest on every account you own.
  • Cons: You need a checking account to fund your Qapital account. You cannot use a savings account as your funding account because there is a minimum of eight capital transactions per month, which would go over most banks' free savings withdrawal policies. There are no physical banks to speak to a customer service representative in person. You're limited to $1,000 per day in ATM withdrawals. Qapital doesn't cover ATM fees that other banks may charge.
  • Fees: There are no fees associated with banking with Qapital. This includes no fees for usage, overdraft, and monthly maintenance. Qapital does not require a minimum balance. Qapital makes money each time you spend by charging the merchants a small fee.
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best for: The person who is goal-motivated, enjoys conducting banking via an app, and wants to effortlessly save using automation.
  • To learn more and get started with Qapital visit www.qapital.com.

Chime

Chime

chime

Now banking is even easier with Chime. With no monthly fees, minimum balances, foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees you can rest assured that you won’t be overcharged. More info…show

  • Pros: There are no fees and no minimum deposits required. You can also be rewarded for using their Visa card. You can receive cash back or points on your everyday purchases or bills.
  • Cons: If you like the idea of having a bank branch that you can walk into Chime might not be the bank for you. This application is 100% automated and that may be a little intimating to some.
  • Fees: Chime earns their fees from Visa which means the more money you spend, the more money they earn and they can put back into your pocket.
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best For: Anyone who is comfortable with automating all of their banking efforts.
  • To learn more and get started with Chime visit www.chimebank.com.

Bank of America's Keep the Change

Keep the Change

Bank of America

Bank of America’s savings program is the granddaddy of modern automatic savings apps. Keep the Change was launched in 2005 for Bank of America customers, and it is still going strong. In order to qualify, you must have a Bank of America checking account, debit card, and savings account. More info…show

  • Pros: Automatic transfer allows for painless savings, and checkbook balancing becomes easier because every purchase is a whole number. Bank of America cancels Keep the Change transfers that would overdraw your account.
  • Cons: Keep the Change is only available for Bank of America customers. The interest rate is very low, and you might need to transfer money occasionally to higher interest bearing accounts.
  • Fees: None
  • Platform: iPhone and Android
  • Best for: Bank of America customers. If you already bank with B of A, it makes sense to try the in-house automatic savings app.
  • To learn more and get started with Bank of America, visit www.bankofamerica.com.

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Last Edited: May 22, 2018 @ 12:00 pm
About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.

Comments

  1. Nice list of apps and an overview of them. I like Digit the best from this list given the ease of automating savings.

    There is one gripe I have with Digit though.

    Today, Digit does not allow you to link to an external robo-advisor like WiseBanyan, Betterment, Wealthfront or the like.

    This means you have to withdraw the savings from your Digit account back to your bank and then transfer it to your brokerage or Robo-advisor of your choice to invest your savings.

    It takes two steps when it should actually take only one.

    I have been persuading Digit to allow establishing external links.

    I would greatly appreciate if the PF community puts the same pressure on Digit so that it is a win-win for everyone.

    –Michael

  2. Automating money is such a new concept to me. I’m old school with my excel sheet! Definitely will have to look into these. Great list!

  3. These are definitely becoming more popular ways to save money. I love that they automate things for you and make it easy.

  4. Philip Curtis says:

    Thank you.
    Surprised to not see Mint here.
    Also when discussing apps that link to your personal financial information, details about security and who owns and runs the apps and servers should be discussed.

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