If you suck at saving money and/or are just plain lazy, you’re going to love this new service out there called Digit.
A friend of mine texted me about it last week and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since – constantly refreshing my screen to see how much I’ve saved since signing up so far (scroll down and you’ll see ;)).
In fact, I loved what they’re doing so much that I made my friend intro me to the founder (they’re entrepreneurial buds from the Y Combinator* circle) so I can learn more and then interview him for this article – which you’ll also see below. They just raised $2.5 Million in funding from backers like Google Ventures and Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and the author of that TechCrunch article I just linked to has been testing Digit since August and already saved $1,000 bones! Nice!
So I’m telling you – this is going to be big ;) And you guys are some of the very first people to hear about it as the only way to join right now is by invite only (don’t worry, I wouldn’t tease you – any of the links to Digit on this page will get you right in without having to wait. Just make sure you sign up through them if interested so it registers ok). VIP baby!
So, What is Digit?
Digit is a service that literally saves your money for you so you don’t have to do a thing. All you do is attach your checking account and their robots do the rest – analyzing your income and spending patterns to figure out what amounts you won’t miss, and then xfering these amounts right into a savings account it creates for you.
What I love most about it, other than the simplicity, is that unlike the other killer software out there like Mint.com or Personal Capital (which I also love), you actually feel GOOD every time you log in to check your balances ;) Mint and the others serve a much needed purpose, and one that Americans should definitely be staying on top of (ie budgeting), but often times you log in to go over your numbers and walk away feeling depressed… Your fault for over spending, of course, but still the reality. And not only that, but you then NEED TO TAKE ACTION with the new knowledge you have or what’s the point of tracking it to begin with?
With Digit savings, you don’t ever have to do a thing once you’re signed up, and you feel good every time you interact with them because your savings only get bigger.
If it sounds like I’m selling them hard, it’s because I am :) But only because I know for a fact most people SAY and TRY and DREAM about saving their money, but then they never do. Even though we all know how easy it is to set up automatic xfers to your own savings every month and pretty much solve the same problem (though Digit says they can better estimate the amounts that should be xfered over to maximize savings). Digit not only does the work for you, but everything about them screams “simple.”
Here’s what my account shows with them (there’s literally only one page – SIMPLE!):
(There’s more to the page once you’re logged in, but this is the part you care most about ;))
UPDATE: Savings after month #1: $199.04
UPDATE: Savings after month #3: $750.37
UPDATE: Savings after month #7: $1,398.84
UPDATE: Savings after month #12: $2,628.20
UPDATE: Savings after month #15: $3,284.70
UPDATE: Savings after month #18: $4,495.83
UPDATE: Savings after month #21: $6,733.72
UPDATE: Savings after month #24: $8,266.49
UPDATE: Savings after month #27: $10,047.05
As you can see, my 1-time action of 5 minutes signing up has already rewarded me with $10.94. Not a ton, but it’s $10.94 that used to be sitting in my checking account probably about to be spent ;) And I’ve only been signed up for a week so far… (Also I love that, unlike other companies, they actually make it easy to call them if you have any questions!! Toll-free number right there in your dashboard – BAM)
Questions You’re Probably Thinking Right Now…
These answers come paraphrased off their FAQ section:
- Is Digit free? It used to be completely free, but now it’s free for the first 6 months, and then it’s $5/mo from there. Does that make it still worth it? It depends on your answer to this question: How much are you saving on your own right now? If you believe Digit will save you more than $5.00 (hint: it will), then it’s probably worth it. And you’ll learn fast just how well it works in those first free 100 days :)
- Does Digit pay interest? YES! Well, technically not interest, but “cash bonuses” as they call it. As of 4/11/17, customers will now earn a 1% Savings Bonus, up from 0.20% previously (and 0% when first launched).
- How does Digit work again? Every few days Digit checks your income/spending patterns and moves a few dollars from your checking account into its savings account. But only if you can afford it.
- What if Digit transfers over too much? They have a “no overdraft” guarantee which means they’ll cover all costs incurred if that should ever happen (which they don’t believe will since the technology is built to avoid such things, of course).
- Do you need to set up a new savings account to use Digit? No. When you sign up you automatically get one through Digit.
- Is Digit insured like all other banks? Yup. All money saved is FDIC insured up to $250,000.
- Is Digit safe, secure, etc? Yes. All personal info is anonymized, encrypted and securely stored using state of the art security measures.
- Can you withdraw your money from Digit anytime you want? Of course! All you have to do is text them “withdraw” and you can send your money back to your checking account as often as you need or want. Just like any other bank account.
In fact, I forgot to mention the whole system is set up around text messaging to make it incredibly easy. You can text in for a bunch of things like “savings” to see the amount saved so far, “balance” to check your checking balance, “pause” to stop the savings, and “bills” to see upcoming bills they know you’re about to get. I just sent in “bills” and got back the following:
“I can’t find anything due in the next 7 days. The next bill I see is Check #XXXXX due in ~ 15 days for ~ $934.00”
That’s our bi-weekly daycare bill, ugh… We manually send it in every two weeks and pay around $934 each time – more than a mortgage! And if you’re wondering what my checking account balance is right now, that’s $4,263.61 :) Which they’ll automatically send you too over time to keep you informed.
The Bad Parts to Digit?
There’s a few downsides to using Digit, but honestly the pros far outweigh the cons in my eyes. Still, they’re something to keep in mind:
Your savings earn 0% interest. This is the “worst” part of Digit, and the reason the service is free (they pocket the interest which is how they get paid). Personally though, I could care less. I made a whopping 21 cents off of my Challenge Everything savings account over four months with USAA so far (spoiler alert – my balance has now broke $2,000, woo!), and if this service gets me to save even more in the long run I’m all for it. I much prefer real cash over real pennies…
- UPDATE – 4/11/17: Digit now pays out interest-like money!!! They call it “Cash Bonuses” which sounds a lot better to me, but it’s pretty much the same thing. Old and new customers will now earn a 1% Savings Bonus, up from 0.20% previously (and 0% when first launched – as you can see there with all my strike-throughs). None of this will make you rich, but neither will interest at your current bank either. It’s all about pushing as much SAVINGS for you into your Digit account as possible.
- It takes a business day to get your money back. I like this one and I also hate it. But I only hate it because I wish it were 5 days, or even 10 to force me to leave it alone and save more! Haha… You may feel differently, however.
- If you don’t have that much money, you won’t save as much money (but you’ll still save). Digit can’t create income out of the blue, but it can still work it’s magic and save you *something* every month so it’s still worth considering to see how it matches with your own efforts. If you’ve been even efforting at all (new word!).
There’s no way to keep a certain amount off limits in your checking account.UPDATE: You can now tell Digit not to save any money if your checking balance hits a certain minimum! Just text in “minimum” and it’ll ask you how much you want to keep off-limits. I just did it for $500 as I like to have padding in my checking just in case I slip up somewhere… This is also great if your bank charges you a fee for not having a certain balance in there (though I advise you to go find a better bank if that’s the case ;))
- If you don’t have/like text messaging, you won’t be able to do much. You can still attach your checking account with them and start saving money as long as text is enabled (it’s part of the authorization process), but you won’t be able to check on some of the other actions like withdrawing or pausing, etc. Though, maybe that’s a good thing? ;) [UPDATE: As of March 8, 2016 there’s now an iPhone app! UPDATE #2: As of September 8, 2006 there’s now an Android app too!]
- Digit’s US-based only right now. Though they do have plans on expanding internationally.
- Not all banks/credit unions work yet. They’re aligned with 2,500 of them so far, but not all.
- Some banks with stricter security takes longer to start saving with. Like USAA, for example, who I use for checking. On one hand I love that about USAA, but on the other it can slow things down when dealing with outside applications. This $10.94 hit my Digit account this morning – a full week after signing up (Digit says they have improvements in the works for this stuff, and USAA specifically, as they’re constantly tweaking things to move more smoothly).
Here’s a 60 sec video on Digit if you want to learn more:
And to Wrap up my Digit review, Here’s my One-on-One with Ethan Bloch – Founder of Digit:
J$: What made you come up with such an interesting idea?
I have been obsessed with personal finance since I got my first bit of cash at my Bar Mitzvah. I invested most of this money and by age 15 I had seen my net worth triple and then go to $0.00, thanks to the Internet and telecom bubbles.
This early experience of managing my own money set me on a lifelong journey in search of the truths underlying the financial realm. Once my first company Flowtown was acquired I had the mental space to arrive at a question I found no one else was asking: “How could we help people maximize their money, while at the same time driving the amount of time and effort it takes to do so as close to 0 minutes per year as possible.” This question eventually led to a prototype that automatically assessed your cashflow and put money aside when it thought you could afford to and not feel it.
J$: How much money have you already saved yourself with Digit?
As of this morning $7,720.05 (since January 2014).
(The difference from the top number vs the bottom is due to taking out money for a vacation)
J$: I know you can’t spill the secrets, but how generally does this robot (aka algorithm) know what amounts to take, and when?
Every week day Digit looks at your checking balance and asks itself a bunch of questions including: Is this a high or low balance based on how this person makes and spends money? Do they have any bills coming due in the next several days? Will they have any income in the next several days? How much money did they spend yesterday? How much did they spend over the previous several days? How much have they saved so far this month? After answering questions like these Digit then tries to arrive at a small amount of money it knows you don’t need but more importantly might not feel is missing based on recent spending and income.
J$: Can you help my body automate working out, please? :)
I wish. There are so many similarities between financial health and physical health though. Both dramatically impact the arc of our lives. Both require large amounts of self control.
However the big difference is finance has become completely electron based, aside from physical currency, it’s all 1s and 0s in a database somewhere. This data can then be assessed, crunched and acted upon by a computer which means for the first time many financial tasks can be automated. We’ve been seeing this for years in high finance with quant and black box trading but now this technology is being brought to the individual.
J$: You and I’ve talked about the exciting vision you have for Digit and some of the cool features in the pipeline. Are you able to share some of that with us here today?
If you look at the retail bank experience there’s so many things that are painful and annoying. Saving and the savings account is just one of the many banking experiences that hasn’t really changed in about 400 years and we chose to start with savings because its the corner stone of financial stability. But there’s no reason every other aspect can’t be automated intelligently i.e. retirement, credit cards, over draft protection to name a few.
J$: You sold your previous company for a hefty sum. How do you personally track/manage your own money now? Do you use software or prefer going old school with spreadsheets as I do?
Spreadsheet FTW. I have an interlaced “God view” spreadsheet I update once per month. Most of my invested dollars are in Vanguard Index funds.
J$: As a big fan of both technology and finance, this last question’s going to be a hard one… Who’s sexier – Warren Buffett or Bill Gates? ;)
That is a hard one. If I’m only voting sexy, I would have to choose Gates. He’s younger ;) And what he’s doing and will do in philanthropy, I think will eclipse the achievements of any business person in the history of humankind. That’s sexy. However for me personally Warren Buffett has been a bigger direct influence in my life, my character and how I conduct myself. Most days don’t go by without me asking myself “what would Warren do?”
That’s my Digit Savings Review in a (Not-So-Short) Nutshell.
Again, I’m pimping it hard because I find it to be genius :) But of course there’s plenty of info here for you to form your own opinions… If it is something you want to try out and see how much you can save, here’s what to do:
- Visit Digit.co
- Connect your checking account
- Start saving!
It really is that simple. Questions/comments/concerns, leave ’em below and I’ll have Ethan (the founder/CEO) answer if I can’t myself. A pretty interesting idea regardless, don’t you think?
UPDATE: My thoughts (and savings) on Digit after my first month using them :)
UPDATE #2: Digit now has an iPhone and Android app!
UPDATE #3: Just got word that our community here on the blog has saved $4,608,568.32 so far using Digit. That’s over 4 million dollars – how crazy is that?!
UPDATE #4: Digit has been acquired by Oportun who’s keeping all the features we love about Digit, and then hopefully adding even more!
PS: In full disclosure I used to be an “adviser” to Digit in the early beta days, which shows you just how much I believe in them ;) I’d never promote the crap out of a product I don’t love or use myself, so everything written above is 100% real and genuine. If you don’t think Digit can help you, don’t sign up!
* Y Combinator is a startup accelerator run by legendary VC Paul Graham that’s SUPER hard to get into. And I know this because I’ve tried twice and been rejected both times, haha… To give you an idea of the talent that goes through there, some of the companies that have catapulted out of YC have been Reddit, AirBnB, Dropbox, Hipmunk, Scribd, Disqus, Weebly, Colour Lovers and Teespring.
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Cool! Sounds like a good program to start the year with. :)
This actually could be a great service for people who just refuse to save or lack the discipline to save. I think its a genius idea and I can’t believe they have create a system like this. I don’t think I need it, but I’m sure it would be great for military personnel who tend to spend a lot due to the security of having a steady paycheck.
Yes, definitely good for groups who don’t pay attention much. And growing up in a military household, I’d agree they could be prime targets for this :)
Very interesting. I’ve never heard of Digit before, thanks for the info! I’m all for anything that automates our finances–makes life easier and removes the human error of, well, spending your money :). Seems like it could be a good companion piece to other more traditional methods of saving.
Exactly what I’m using them for – another avenue to save on top of everything else we’re doing :)
Can you see the info in Mint? That is pretty much my default question. If I can’t see it in Mint, I don’t use it! :D
Meh, doesn’t work with my credit union. Oh well! :(
Dang, sorry! I just updated the “cons” to include the fact not all banks/credit unions are covered yet. They have 2,500 of them, but not all…
As for Mint – great question, I’ll check :) Though do know the withdrawals from your checking will show up (might look like charges or xfers?), so you’d be able to track savings that way, though it’s not as sexy.
I checked with someone over at Digit and I asked him about the Mint issue. I presupposed that Mint wouldn’t be very amenable to adding digit as a financial service because they are ***sort of*** operating in their space in terms of saving money for goals. But my supposition was incorrect!
He stated that Mint is pretty interested in getting hooked in to the digit service because they support any type of organization that encourages saving. However, he said there was no real date set when this would happen.
So, there you go!
Ha… As I finished typing this in, I see that Ethan, the guy posting below me is from Digit.
haha… and not only that, he’s the founder of Digit ;)
Oh bummer. Which credit union?
Mine won’t log me in to Midflorida Credit union :-(
Doesn’t work with mine either….at least this is what I surmised from the communication with the Digit help desk. She never really told me directly that it didn’t work with my credit union- she said they were were working on it. :(
You can’t yet connect Digit to Mint :/ it’s on the roadmap though. However, as J$ said you can tell mint to classify as transfers/savings as a quick way to see how much is in and has gone to Digit.
I think is great for people who just haven’t gotten into the habit of saving yet make that happen in small increments, especially recent graduates and the like. Very interesting service!
Interesting stuff! This will work because the savings is automatic. The user never has to do anything after signing up in order to save money. That is why I like Betterment for investing so much. Just sign up and boom, you are done. They take care of the rest for you.
Yup! Just gotta be smart enough to get it all set up in the beginning :)
Never heard of digit, but sounds interesting. A set it and forget it tool for those people really having a hard time shaving money.
pretty cool, i’ll check it out.
my credit union offers me 2.5% interest on my checking, so my checking account doubles as my savings account………this probably isn’t the best recommendation, but it works for me.
i noticed one typo in your article:
Is it insured like all other banks? Yup. All money saved is FDIC insured up to $250,00.
That amount should be 250,000.
Yes, thx – fixed!
And 2.5% is INCREDIBLE. I’ve actually never heard of that these days – are you outside of the US by chance? Digit doesn’t work internationally as yet anyways…
Sounds like an innovative way to get people to save more! Thanks for sharing, I will look into this.
My biggest concern is, because I don’t have all my bills linked via automatic payment to my account, how does it know what money is actually needed for my monthly bills?
For example, if I get paid $3000 per pay check, and my mortgage is $1500. My mortgage is not automatic, I write an electornical check every month. Does this saving tool know that only $1500 is available to be saved?
Yeah, at least that’s my understanding of it. I do the same thing as you with manually paying large bills myself (my mortgage and day care being the biggest), and their system looks at past history to better predict future actions. So like for me they say I pay $900+ in day care on average every 15 days, so they haven’t touched it and only xfered about $11.00 so far ($5 the first time, and $5+ change the second). If they moved $900 I’d be screwed! ;)
Digit doesn’t actually look at automated bill pay but instead learns what it thinks is a bill based on cadence (i.e. 1 time per month), the payer description and the amount. Once you signup you can text digit `Bills` to see some of the bills it’s already learned.
Additionally it looks at your typical monthly spending and calculates a safe buffer, it then uses this buffer when it tries to find savings in order to make sure it never takes money you might need.
Ethan, I have already sent an email to your help center and sent a screen shot of my bank information. I really need my overdraft fees paid. I didn’t think I was going to be charged for just $0.43. I need it back asap. I need that money for bills. Please help!
This is Chris from Digit Support. We’re so sorry to hear about the trouble you ran into there and our apologies for putting you in that position :-/
I do see that our team already handled your ticket this morning and was able to get you reimbursed. There should be an email in your inbox if you haven’t seen it yet.
Appreciate your patience and understanding and please don’t be shy if you need a hand with anything else, happy to help. https://digit.co/help Thanks for being a part of the Digit family!
Sounds like an interesting tool but I have some concerns
In Canada of you voluntarily give up your banking password to something like digit or mint, you automatically void any fraud protection
Also what happens if you’re tracking an account that requires you to keep a minimum balance to get your fees waived? e.g. you could have $2-5K sitting in account on purpose, would the app know not to touch that money?
Excellent question on the min balance one! Never crossed my mind – I’ll ask :)
RE: Canada – also very interesting! Digit doesn’t work outside of the US yet, but I’m sure that’s something good for them to be aware of when they’re considering the different rules/etc…
Any idea of when this will be available in Canada??
Not anytime soon, I’m afraid…
I’m always interested in saving more and probably often do keep too much money in a checking account. We pay most of our bills with a credit card to get points and then pay that off every month, so I guess that could track well enough. With my jobs, I don’t get paid on a regular basis, so I’m curious how they track income when one month I might have almost nothing but then get a huge payment the next one. I do pretty well with saving, but I’ll give this a try if my bank works with their platform.
Even if you don’t get paid in a recurring fashion Digit will still learn / analyze any income regardless of cadence.
you (digit.co) have been saving money for my retirement. I am in my retirement. How do I get that money released into my account? It is my money. I need to use it.
There’s two ways – texting in “withdraw” to the bot and the dollar amount you want to take out (so like, “withdraw $50.00” – that’s what I do and it’s super easy), or by opening up the Digit app and clicking on “withdraw”.
Here’s more from their help page:
Wow sounds interesting! I’ve never heard of Digit but I do know of a few people who this would really benefit.
Wow J$, this is interesting. Because it’s you touting this I am going to look into this. My stomach still clenches at the idea of giving out my account number, though. No I’ll click through and see if it works with my credit union. I’d probably want to use it as a vacation account, though. :)
Excited to have you give it a try and hoping we support your CU. We have a ton of users using Digit for vacation funds so you’ll be in good company :)
I can totally empathize with the stomach clenching. It is scary giving out your account number and we take bank level precautions to keep that information encrypted, safe and secure.
Let me know what you think, Kim!
Believe me, I’d never put my name/brand/values on the line by touting something shady – I love my blogging career too much :)
J$- no luck with me because the CU isn’t supported (yet), but I’ll be asking the hubby if he’s interested as we have a joint account on the approved list. :)
Ethan, unfortunately my CU is not supported. If possible (IMHO) it should be added as it the second largest employer of the state. That’s a lot of folks! If interested in the name let me know where to send it.
Great article about a very interesting service!
As an investor, I’m curious about how digit makes money for its owners. Is it by riding the float between the interest rate that digit pay outs to users (0%) and the interest rate that digit collects from other banks for the money it holds on behalf of its users (x%+)? Is based on advertising? Both perhaps?
Great question. We currently make money by riding the float. No advertising.
Thanks so much for the answer Ethan–and best wishes for the success of digit!
I really love the “forced” savings idea when you’re not one to think about it. Personally, we use YNAB religiously so we literally plan on how we’re going to spedn EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR that we already have, including planning for friends weddings, Christmas, and a furnace replacement. Even with all of this, we’re able to save a large portion of our income and pay down our mortgage extra every month.
I can definitely see value in this if you’re having trouble saving anything though.
Yes – YNAB users are smart like that :)
I’m presuming it doesn’t work in the UK yet?
Is there any way we can invest in this company?! ;)
J$ – I’ve finally found a win for us PF loving Brits over the US by the sounds of it! I can get 5% on my savings up to £4000 with a bit of fishing and 3% on an additional £20,000. Not bad in this low interest rate economy huh?! (And sorry!) :)
Okay, I’m wiring you £24000 to save, and then we’ll split the profits – deal?
(Also, can I borrow £24,000? ;))
Ha ha! Always be hustlin’ ;)
Wow interesting!!! I will definitely have to look into it! My only concern would be if money was taken out then an auto deduction happened (like my health insurance) and my account gets dangerously low or something along those lines. In a perfect world I’d have a lot more in my accounts! As someone who doesn’t make a stead stream of income, doing things manually has been helpful, but then again it’s easy to get lazy and forgot to save.
Agreed – same here :) Self-employment is wild sometimes.. (all the time?)
The nice part with Digit is at least they’ll reimburse if the account goes into negatives… though it’s more of a pain in the a$$ with time and what not than it is the money :(
Cool idea! I can’t wait to check it out in depth!
This sounds interesting, but I HATE the idea of sending money to a bank account that I don’t have complete access over. Moven and other systems are similar to this and the company does charge you money, but they make a bunch of money on your balances since they don’t pay you interest. I would rather automate my savings into a interest bearing or investment account rather than let Digit make money off of my balances.
Yup – as long as you actually *do it*. (I know YOU do cuz you’re a bad ass like that, but a lot of people are all talk and never take action ;))
Sounds like a great tool for savings, for me it would take a little leap of faith. Maybe not today but another day soon as all of my “Savings” is for my Student loan repayment.
Hey Even, we actually have quite a few users that just let Digit build up a balance for them and at the end of the month the use that balance to make an extra or larger student loan payment. Worth thinking about if it would work with your currently financial flow. Good luck paying down them loans. Just finished paying off my wife’s about a year ago!
Very intriguing service! Can you post links to any independent reviews from companies like Forbes, Wired, NY Times, etc? What are Financial institutions saying about this?
And is there any update on when it will be available in Canada?
Here are some I found by googling…
Interesting post and service. Regarding how Digit is compensated, they keep your interest, right? Do you have a sense of that might change in the future? Right now, as we all know, interest is very low. On a $10,000 balance you might earn $10 to $50 to maybe $100 in normal situations. However, let’s assume in 5 to 10 years interest rates for savings accounts are around 4 to 5% (that used to be case – some of us actually remember that). You might want to ask Bloch how Digit would respond to that. If they might cap their earnings per account or something of that nature. Thanks.
Hey Mark, correct. And if interest rates rise considerably i.e. 2-3%+ we would definitely look to start paying interest on Digit balances.
Thanks for the response – in 23 minutes, no less! Good luck with your venture.
fields’ names on the digit signup can be seen in chrome, but I could not in my IE v9. They can still be typed in, and I assume will still work. I will be working through chrome ($J I saved the referredID in the link too when copying over to chrome *wink*)
In order the fields are:
Thanks for sharing we will take a look at this issue!
Just wanted to give you a heads up that we have resolved the issue you reported where placeholder text wasn’t showing up in IE9. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention!
What a novel idea – an electronic personal banker! We are certainly in an age in which we take our prompts for making decisions from algorithms and text data.
The personal bankers and family accountants of yesteryear made it a point to pass on family tradition. They would remind the younger generation of the wisdom and conservativism of their parents. Perhaps Digit can somehow link the habits of multiple family members and pass on wisdom in the same fashion.
Sounds like a great program to try and use it to help you improving your savings rate and monitoring budgeting. Will be taking a closer look at the program.
I had never heard of Digit before but I love it! Savings should absolutely me automated – it’s the only way! I also love how the dashboard display a bunch of different data. I can see how logging in would get addictive.
i am in, just signed up. mostly because im curious how much it’ll get from my checking. i have a lot of automated savings/stock accounts set up, so i have less lee-way than before i automated everything.
that being said, i signed up and pretty much posted on my facebook a link for digit, as well as for your blog, so hopefully you get some new readers out of it!
Rock on! I hope you really like it and start saving even more money than before!
This sounds great for my friends who always say that they have no money at the end of the month to start saving. I always tell them to start with $5, everyone can spare an extra 5 bucks here and there. It seem like this program does just that, finds out what the minimum is you can throw into savings each week based on how your bills stack up. Hopefully this’ll open up some peoples eyes to show them they really can save. :)
Yes, it’s PERFECT for people like that! Because you’re right, there is *always* something leftover even if it’s tiny. And most times when they actually set up automatic xfers they magically start living off less! Hah! :)
It being the New Year and all, I’ve been thinking about goals already and was considering automating savings through my employer since I feel like there is a big chunk of my paycheck I wouldn’t miss (man- after years paying credit cards down, overinflated rent, and off the charts car insurance, it feels SO good to say that!!). HOWEVER, I would be guessing at how much I wouldn’t miss, so this is a great idea! Unfortunately, they don’t work with my bank yet (Santander), so I will have to check back! Thanks for this info!! :)
Hey Jen, I actually think we can get Digit to work with Santander. Can you email me directly and I’ll work to get you setup? ethan (at) digit.co
Sent! Thank you so much :)
I’m with Santander too! I can’t get it to work either. Can you help me also?
Ethan, very cool idea. I scrolled through the comments and didn’t see this addressed, so sorry if I missed it, but do you specify the % that Digit accounts earn? The reason I am asking is because some folks with interest-bearing checking accounts (that pay in the ballpark of MMKT accts) may not see any benefit – right?
You get 0% earned in the Digit savings account – that’s how they make money :)
So the place you “win” at is *actually saving money* vs *saying you’re going to save money and then don’t* haha… For ballers like you and others that have their $ on lock it’s not quite as beneficial (although I’m loving the extra dollars being set aside so far!), but for the millions who never do anything it’s a chance for them to actually pull the trigger and then get back to not doing anything again – hah.
Hey Bob, Digit accounts currently earn 0% — per J’s 1st point above in his post: “Your savings earn 0% interest. This is the “worst” part of Digit, and the reason the service is free (they pocket the interest which is how they get paid). Personally though, I could care less. I made a whopping 21 cents off of my Challenge Everything savings account over four months with USAA so far (spoiler alert – my balance has now broke $2,000, woo!), and if this service gets me to save even more in the long run I’m all for it. I much prefer real cash over real pennies…”
How well would this work for someone who uses this credit card to pay a majority of monthly expenses and then pays the credit card balance in full each month? I typically have maybe 5 charges to my checking account each month, with the remaining charges on my credit card. My credit card payment each month may be split between two or three individual payments within a month.
Tim – I’m the same way :) And oddly enough was one of my first thoughts too, which reminds me I forgot to include it up above! But as you’ve seen I’ve already saved $10 and some change with them so far, so it still works in the same regard looking for anything “extra” leftover after the transactions are analyzed. I am curious to know though if us c/c people save more or less on average compared to those who don’t manage their $ this way? Or if there is even a difference?
Currently we find Digit is slightly less affective, possibly 10-15%, than if you had all expenses flowing through your checking account. I should note it is likely we will add support for connecting credit cards in the future as well.
How much history does digit’s algorithm need to make these saving decisions? Does it need at least a year given those one-time expenses that pop-up, like property taxes, insurance, etc. ?
Hey Tim, we actually only need about 2 months (most banks gives us 3+ when you connect to Digit) to draw a pretty confident picture and because Digit isn’t saving large sums (typical transfer is between 1-$50) big irregular expenses (taxes, etc.) have a very low probability, basically zero, of tripping up a Digit save.
I went ahead and signed up (you’re welcome to my $5!)
I don’t think it’s going to save me a whole lot of money because things are budgeted so tight, but since I have turned around to pick up a dime from the ground, I know I’m an every-little-bit-counts kinda gal!
Weeeee! Hope you end up liking them as much as I do :)
Will be interesting to see how much it saves you too. Worth a shot at the very least, eh?
Checking accounts don’t bear interest normally so I suppose you could say to yourself that them keeping the interest is sort of like you keeping your money in a checking account rather than a savings account. One with an unusual benefit. That kinda gets me over them keeping the interest part…
On the other hand…
The thing is that interest isn’t just small pennies in a lot of cases although for some it will be and others it will be seen as not a lot but it really is.
Interest is incredibly powerful, something that this review, although not about interest, didn’t mention too much into. Interest is how banks make their money (although they lend out a lot based on how much they have). How car dealerships get a lot more out of you than what you thought you paid for your car. The basis of credit card company revenue.
It led the genius Albert Einstein to say the following about interest:
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
That tells you what he would’ve thought about letting your interest go into another’s pocket to compound.
Over time using this app will cost you. Basically nothing in the beginning (if you have a low savings) but when you get enough money in your ‘savings’ that interest would’ve went into your account to be compounded over & over. Of course the money in there….is because the program put it there and that’s the trade off for its users.
Also a part of me is wondering if there’s any legal issues with this program. In a way this seems to be managing money for people and taking interest as a fee for its services. Are they calculating the interest or using the bank’s method of calculating this or some other method? There are certain regulations that need to be followed under certain conditions and I don’t know where this falls.
This does seem good for someone who wants to save but doesn’t want to be in any way involved in the hands on involvement to do it.
In the end this program reminds me of the program the employees used in the movie “Office Space”…an accounting program that collects the fractions of the pennies left over from transactions…that when added up over time amount to considerable amounts of money….albeit this was for a fictional company making lots of transactions…and they didn’t care about those fractions of a penny either.
“This does seem good for someone who wants to save but doesn’t want to be in any way involved in the hands on involvement to do it.”
Can you link credit cards to this as well? 90% of my spending is done via 1 of my 2 CCs, because I bank on miles/hotel points. If it just looked at my checking account, it would mostly just see random withdrawals to pay my CC every month.
You can’t connect credit cards yet. However if you have income and recurring bills, even w/o regular spending, Digit uses another path in the algorithm to still intelligently find savings. Currently we find Digit is slightly less affective, possibly 10-15%, than if you had all expenses flowing through your checking account.
Question: as far as the texting thing goes, we use Republic Wireless which is considered VoIP, and as such sometimes I can’t verify certain accounts with my mobile phone number, and sometimes have trouble getting text coupons. Do you know if we’ll run into any trouble with Republic Wireless and Digit?
I don’t know what plan you have, but I use Republic Wireless myself (mad savings for the win!) and I’ve gotten all text messages so far :) My wife says sometimes she doesn’t though so maybe depends on the phone?
Might be worth giving it a shot and then seeing how it goes. Can always cancel it if it doesn’t work or you’re not happy.
I’d love to be able to use this with Healthnet Federal CU here in Tennessee!
Seems like a simple service to help people save more. The no interest part is a bummer as you mentioned J. but if I’m saving more with this technology then I’m ok with that. Very innovative I must say.
Oooo, Just found this through today’s post! Signed up and excited to see the money build! It doesn’t feel like I have much wiggle room right now, but I think there’s always $5.
Rock on! I hope you end up liking it as much as I do! I think I’m up around $100 saved now since posting this up – it’s pretty cool :) I’ll be doing monthly updates as time goes on to show people what it’s like in action. So glad you’ll be finding out too!
I really like this idea. My Digit savings are pretty small so far because I usually disperse my money into different savings accounts on pay day (woot woot, Capital One 360 FTW!)
So although I am already accustomed to saving, down the line I will look at my Digit account and have several hundred dollars to use for something. And it all was saved mostly without me even noticing since it is such a small amount each time.
Yup! That’s the beauty of it all! :)
J$ you need to use your street cred to get this rollin’ in Canada ASAP!! There’s something about being part of a Great Pioneering Idea like this… & Helping People Help themselves. Let me be the first Canadian Paaaaleeease :)
Canada is next on the list!!! I hope it happens soon too :)
Thanks for the information on this new method of saving money. I was quite intrigued and did a video.
Hah – love it! Way to get creative :)
Thanks for the info, I signed up with Digit and will try it out for a couple of months. So far, so good! On top of what my hubby and I are doing already this is a great tool for saving! You Rock J! Oh and you too Digit :^)
Glad to hear! :)
Did not work for me. Got all the way through “Clean up” then stated it had trouble connecting to my bank.
No email from the company. No way to contact them. Nothing.
It could be because they’re flooded with signups today – they just opened up to the public and maybe getting hit with tons of traffic?
Shoot ’em a note here – they’re really good with responding to people:
Here’s their direct email too: firstname.lastname@example.org
I really hope there webportal has great security. Sounds way to vulnerable to outside forces imo.
And I don’t like the fact they are managing my money and making interest off of it and I get nothing in return for them to use it. I basically am giving them a interest free loan.
Would you advise using this IF you are focused on getting rid of debt? I plan to send all my extra pennies to the loans I have, but don’t want to account for payments that won’t be there.
Nah, I’d keep focusing on killing off the debt unless you’re not that good at actually sending those extra pennies towards it :) In that case I’d let Digit do its thing and then at the end of every month take out the savings and apply it right towards the debt. But if you’re already diligent enough to do that (ie not tempted to spend money just sitting in your checking acct) then I say keep moving forward as you are, friend.
Hey Ethan and J$,
I have a networker on facebook telling me that there is a $5 referral bonus paid to me when I get freinds to join Digit. Is that true? If so is there any timetable that they must use Digit for me to earn the $5 bonus? Thanks
Yup, it’s true.
When you log into your account (you have to be using Digit), you’ll see “refer a friend” up top and that’ll give you your link to send to people. I wouldn’t pass it around just to make some extra money though – hopefully you do so cuz you like it and think your friends/family will :)
No timetable that I know of, but I’m sure it’ll change down the road at some point as most referral programs do.
I would love to be apart of this savings method!I went to sign up but it doesn’t support my bank. Please add Vystar Credit Union asap. Thanks In Advance
Will make sure they see it, thanks Tondalia :) (beautiful name btw!)
Just signed up and I’m so super stoked!!! I can’t believe my CU is supported but they are…a quick question though. Does anyone out there wait until the Digit saving gets to a certain amount, transfer back to your checking, and then transfer to an interest bearing savings account? That’s what I’m thinking about doing…
And yup – I hear people doing that all the time :) I think you gotta do whatever you can to take advantage of everything out there to better reach your goals. if that means moving $$ out of Digit to do it, then so be it! (And will give them more motivation to implement an interest dealio on their side too, eh? ;))
I’ve been trying for over a month to get it setup. I have an idea. Why don’t you list the credit unions you do work with. Digit keeps depositing 0.01 cents into my checking… Keeps asking me to verify account number and routing number. Then a week later same process … At least I’m making 0.01 a week off digit. Waste of time
Well that’s annoying, sorry to hear… Will run it up their flagpole.
I LOVE Digit! I save and don’t even know how fast my balance grows! At least if you need to transfer from Digit, it doesn’t take 3-7 days! I think it’s a great system. I intro’d my mom and
SHE LOVES IT TOO! I’m always thinking of who I can refer to Digit! Sorry, I hit enter before the end of my comment!
Haha awesome :) I keep telling Digit they SHOULD make it longer to xfer out money too so you’re less inclined to be tempted – hah!
I tried signing up, but after ~15minutes still couldn’t finish interface with bank. Now when I try to sign up again, my email is in use. How do I get in contact with them?
will forward this over to the team there – keep your eyes open for an email :)
I just signed up today, using the link on your sidebar. If your referral link is still active, you are welcome for $5!
woohoo – thx! yup, still active as I’m still loving their service :) Let me know what you think after a while!
If you’re going to give an opinion, it’s best to look over and edit typos or mistakes.
it’s a good thing this is a blog and not a dissertation ;)
Love the service so far up to 150.00 since 4/4/2015, looking forward to what advancement they will have in the future, wish you could connect move than one checking account. Also do you know what happen to your money if something happen to you can you heir get the money? How did some one save 7,000+ that sounds extreme?
Congrats on the $150 – that’s nice!
I’ll pass over the note on connecting multiple checking accounts :)
RE: if something happens. I’m not sure off the top of my head, but if you Google you’ll find out. It’s all regulated by the gov’t so your money’s safe :)
RE: Saving $7,000+ – that was the founder’s account we shared here who’s been doing it from the start :) And I’m sure he saves all the time when testing stuff out/etc. Though if anyone REALLY sucks with saving and just piles all their money into their checking and leaves it alone, they can certainly save way more than $7,000 – hah!
Can I attach Digit to say another Savings account (I have an Ally Account with .99% APY) and have it transfer my savings on digit to a savings with interest each month? Or do I have have to re-enter it into my checking and transfer the money myself? I’d like to use this to save money when I’m not thinking about it and then move the saved sums into an interest compounding savings each month.
Unfortunately you have to use the savings acct. w/ Digit. But yeah – you can totally just xfer out the money any time you want though into your interest-bearing accounts :) I’m hopeful that Digit will start providing interest of their own in the near future, but for now you have to xfer it all out yourself. Not that much of an annoyance if you set a calendar item to do it once a month or something though?
Here is a small spelling error you may want to fix:
“There’s no way to keep a certain amount off limits in your checking account. UPDATE: You can now tell Digit not to save any money if your checking balance hits a certain minimum! Just text in “minimum” and it’ll ask you how much you want to keep off-limits. I just did it for $500 as I like to have padding in my checking just in case I sip up somewhere… ”
I think you will want to change “sip” to “slip”.
maybe I was thirsty? :)
Digit hasn’t saved anything for me in over a month. Has anyone tried the save more feature?
Did you maybe set a balance for it not to touch by chance? I know they added that feature a cple months ago that I myself set up (didn’t want them to save when my checking got to $500). I haven’t tried the save more feature but I know a handful of people who have. You can always try and then switch back if you don’t like? Weird it’s not saving anything for that long though.
Thanks for this tip, I joined and i can’t wait to see how much I can save during the rest of 2015!
Cool! Me too – let me know later if you remember :)
I bank with Altra Federal Credit Union in MN, Please get them in on this great idea so I can get started with this!!!!!!! The sooner the better!
I’m in Canada (Vancouver, BC) and would like to use Digit. I tried signing up but when I put in my phone number, the sign up page said it was “invalid.” Does Digit work in Canada yet? I’d love to sign up.
Doesn’t work in Canada…. yet :)
I originally read your review in April. Because of you I gave it a try and have since saved $1,600. Thanks for the great tip.
Way to go!! $1,600 is no small change – congrats! :)
I had a sponsored ad for Digit pop up in my FB feed and it intrigued me, so I Googled for reviews, and your assessment made me decide to sign up last night. Already had my first Digit save of $3.11 today, lol. I know it’s a small amount but I’m excited to see how it all adds up! Thanks for the great article and information!
It keeps getting addicting, believe me! Hit me back when you hit $300, and then $3,000 :)
How long do you wait before transferring from your Digit to an investmnet account?
It sounds cool in that I suppose it it hides the $$$ that you might otherwise spend, but wouldn’t you rather invest it?
Yes – In the long run I do want my $$ invested as much as possible. I’m kinda enjoying watching the balance grow so much, but I will be moving it all over at some point. Maybe once a year? I like things in big chunks, but that’s not always the most financially smart ;) So I’d advise doing it whatever makes the most sense to you and your goals.
Do I need to give up my social security number to.sign up?
I don’t recall giving mine to sign up?
You could always go through the process and then stop if they ask for it at some point. They don’t on the initial screen (I just checked). Or you could tweet (@hellodigit) or email them directly and ask: email@example.com
Hey J do you know if this is available in Canada yet? I’m Jealous and trying to be patient, but the suspense is killing me.
Here’s to killin’ it in the Savings Department in 2016!!
It is not, I’m sorry :(
I know they’d love to be but so far no go.
(you should still save your ass off though in 2016 while you wait! ;))
Is it because of regulation? Does Canadian law prohibit interest earning on customer accounts?
I’m not sure of the reason to be honest.
There is no way I am giving out my bank’s password to digit. Isn’t there any other way of connecting the bank using oAuth2 or other mechanism where I can revoke permissions anytime and not give you my password.
They do have tons of security around logins and authentication, but not sure exactly of the types or whether they use oAuth2. Good question to ask them if you’re interested in testing them out.
Their email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, great article! I signed up! I would like to network with the technology team if possible to find out what type of resources they are utilizing (for example is this written in asp.net, Java programming etc.) Thanks & Regards
Oh man, no idea!
Here’s their twitter if you want to hit ’em up and ask: @HelloDigit
i want this sooo bad lol.. but I live in Canada, when will you be coming to Canada or do you know of another service just like you (digit) that is offered here in Canada if so pleaseee let me know
I hope they get out there soon cuz you’re not the only one wanting to use them up north! :) Don’t know of any similar services up there, but I have been coming across https://www.wealthsimple.com/ a lot lately that’s Canada-based.. More for investing though than savings (although the 2nd part of the equation after saving IS doing something smart w/ the money! :))
Hey J. Money! Long time reader/lurker, first time commenting.
I love your blog btw. I just wanted to say thank you for bringing Digit to my attention last year. I’ve had Digit for over 6 months and currently have it set-up with two cards (two separate phone numbers). I’ll be happy when they make it so I can just have everything under one account. Anyway! I’ve saved a good chunk of change with it so far and I couldn’t be happier! So, I wanted to personally thank you because this is money I wouldn’t have saved on my own otherwise. Also, I haven’t had any issues in terms of privacy with password theft or account activity. I’ve had it for almost a year and no issues. Oh yeah! Congrats with the sale of your home! :)
Rock on! So glad to hear it, Toni!
I’m still loving (and using them) myself after over a year now. They’re def. onto something big over there :) And more things to come too they tell me!
Alright, man. Just signed up and used your referral code because my god, I need to start saving. I want to do something more focused, but I also figured the brainless route might work for me as well. Security stuff makes me a bit nervous, but to be honest – banks and retailers are messing it up enough on their own, so… I’m probably just fine.
Let me know how much you save over time, friend!
This was hands down the worst decision I’ve made to date in 2016. Immediately caused me to overdraft my account within 3 weeks of using the service and contrary to their promise to refund any fee incurred as a result of using their service — they don’t. Huge waste of time & money – don’t download it!!!
yikes – sorry to hear! happy to pass your info over to them to get fixed/re-imbursed? they’re usually pretty good about that stuff :(
I would love to use a tool like this, but its not compatible with my credit union.
Yeah, not compatible with all of them but they are adding new ones when they’re able to over time. Hopefully they get to yours!
Thanks for posting about Digit!! I signed up for Digit as part of my 2016 “new year’s resolutions” and I’m loving it! I’ve gotten some of my other friends hooked on it as well.
I also have an account with Acorns, but unfortunately I’m having to close it (the funds held conflict with my taxable account and tax harvesting in Betterment….:-) ). However, I was loving Acorns’ ’round up’ feature with regards to charges on credit cards. I would love to see a similar “round up” feature put into place on Digit–any plans to add that into the works some time in the future?
I couldn’t find a place to make this comment on Digit itself, and I know you’re associated with them, so thought I’d leave this comment on your blog instead. :-)
Hey! Great idea indeed!
Can’t do that yet but I’ll pass it over to them for sure :) In the meantime you can always just manually push more $$ over by texting them every now and then which will give you the same effect, just not automatically. or even just seeing how much on avg you were investing with Acorns and then doing it once a month w/ digit? Not as fun though for sure…
will pass it their way! glad you’re liking so far!
I signed up for Digit several months ago and love it! I’m working in Japan and had trouble signing up with my Japanese cell phone number. They were quick to respond to my emails and helped me get set up. So far, I’ve saved over $1,200 without trying and didn’t even feel it! Even though I know I can withdraw money at any time, it’s easier for me to leave it in there since it’s separate from my normal checking and savings account with Navy Federal. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have the ability to build up an emergency fund. Oh, and I’m able to see my Digit balance in Mint just fine! I had no problem connecting the accounts.
Wowww – very cool! I agree it’s much easier to save separating it out like that for sure. Hard to be tempted and good for motivation since it can only GO UP if you’re not pulling from it left and right :) Congrats!
Well, this little robot is officially bad ass. Thanks so much for sharing the info, and giving us your honest feedback – without it, I doubt I would have taken the leap and signed up, but I am super glad I did!
Awww yay!! Glad you found it helpful!
NICE SUPER WOW Thanks so much for sharing the info,Mint just fine! I had no problem connecting the accounts.
Any plans to release Digit in Canada? As a mortgage agent this could be very useful to recommend to my clients.
I’m hoping its on its way in the future, but no word yet!
love digit, and up until very recently, it was my only form of active savings into an accessible savings account (have a 401k, IRA, etc). My question for you is – how would you suggest someone account for digit within a tight budget? I’m currently super focused on controlling my spending and paying down credit cards (proud to say i dont have much further to go!). I wish there was a way I could tell digit to only take out a maximum amount a month?
Great question indeed!
I know you can set a limit for when to tell Digit NOT to take money based on your checking account balance (for example, if you like having $1,000 in padding or need to so you don’t get fees from your account, you can set it up so Digit will stop touching it once your balance hits that amount), but not sure about a max amount *per month*.
I’ll run it past them and see what they say :)
The answer might just be to stop using Digit and set up automatic xfers every month so you can control 100% of what you’re saving. They’re pretty much set up to save *as much as they can* for you right now, haha…
Can Digit be plugged into Personal Capital? It would be nice to have it up there with all my other accounts!
Great question! I’m actually not sure, but if it doesn’t I’m willing to bet it will at some point in the future as Digit continues to blow up. If you can group transactions in Personal Capital you could find the Digit ones in the mean time and see if that helps? They all get pulled from your checking account which you’d have linked to PC, though it would come across as a negative # than positive. Poke around and let us know what you find out? :)
I signed up with digit on 1/1/16 and they cannot connect to my bank (ESL Federal Credit Union). They connected the first time but can never get it to reconnect to start my savings! :( I know you said you are on their BOD, anything you can do to get the process going? They said in June “As mentioned, this is something we’re actively working on as we’ve come across a few banks recently that are experiencing similar issues. We’re working with our data provider to get this fixed, but we don’t have an official timeframe just yet, but it’s definitely a very high priority.” Thank you!
Oh man, I don’t have any pull on that stuff, but I do know it’s in their best interest to get as many banks connected for people as possible, so I’m sure they’re really on it :)
I love Digit! Though I’m currently not on a budget that allows me to save a great deal of money per paycheck, Digit seamlessly and discretely takes money from my checking account (amounts and time intervals vary) and puts it into savings. It’s a very streamlined app; incredibly easy to use.
As mentioned, I don’t use this as a long-term savings plan, but it is perfect for saving up for one-off occasions. It’s nice to check and see a little pile of money waiting for me when planning an oh-so-rare vacation or an emergency comes up.
Exactly! A nice little boost to keep you motivated and humming along nicely.
Glad you’re finding it helpful so far :)
Your application has helped me focus on my money… I’m more confident than ever
Glad you found it helpful, man!
I found this app review earlier this summer. I think it’s about time I comment and thank you for pointing me to Digit! I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to my finances, but using this app has given me the confidence to at least start. I’ve save almost $3,000 in seven months! I think that’s more than I’ve EVER had in savings.
So so beautiful – well done :) People seem to be pretty upset w/ the new $2.99/mo fees lately, but I keep saying that if it gets you to save THOUSANDS over time it’s worth it? What would you rather have, $2.99 every month or thousands of dollars? haha… So I’m really glad it’s working well for you – thanks for letting me know :)
I’ve never come across a service like Digit before. I’ve used maybe something a little similar called Pocketbook that is useful for Australians to control spending but it doesn’t transfer money to a savings account.
Yeah, it’s that *xferring* automatically part that’s the game changer! You literally don’t have to do a thing and it’ll just continue pushing a few dollars over for you :) (Though unfortunately only in the U.S.)