At a time of year when many consumers find themselves sliding deeper into debt, SmartyPig today announced cash boosts of up to 12% when shoppers save for splurges using SmartyPig's online piggy bank.
In addition to doubling the maximum cash boost, the new program added category-leading retailers such as Barnes & Noble Booksellers, GameStop and The Gap to SmartyPig's partner roster.
"The holidays can put a financial strain on anybody, and using credit cards for purchases only adds to the debt hangover," said Bob Weinschenk, CEO of SmartyPig, citing the Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll which found that six percent of Americans - some 13.5 million consumers - continue to carry debt from last winter's holiday season. "At SmartyPig we encourage people to plan their spending by automating their savings and help them focus on goals. We reward them with one of the top interest rates in the country and the option to invite friends and family to contribute to their goals. On top of that, they can get a cash boost of up to 12% when they meet a savings goal and choose to shop with one of the retailers in our program."
According to Weinschenk, saving for the holidays currently ranks among the top 10 most popular savings goals among SmartyPig customers.
Like a modern, high-tech piggy bank, SmartyPig allows its customers to create specific savings goals and determine a saving schedule. SmartyPig automates regular deposits from a customer's existing checking or savings account into their FDIC insured SmartyPig account, and tracks their progress while offering one of the most competitive interest rates in the country, 2.01% (APY). Equipped with social networking features, SmartyPig also gives savers the option of involving friends and family in the process via services like Facebook and Twitter, so that they can check in on saving progress and even contribute toward goals like honeymoons, graduation trips or family reunions.
Until now, SmartyPig customers who reached a savings goal were offered three choices: transfer the savings plus interest back to an existing checking or savings account, receive it on a SmartyPig MasterCardR debitt card (which can be used anywhere MasterCardR is accepted) or opt to put it on a gift card from a name brand retailer. SmartyPig's new redemption program offers more flexibility, allowing consumers to parse out their savings among those options, splitting their money as they see fit. An intuitive interface allows savers to explore their choices and dynamically calculate how each choice impacts their bottom line. Retail partners are handpicked based on their relevance to common savings goals and their ability to best service the needs of SmartyPig's customers. For a complete list of SmartyPig partners visit smartypig.com/about/best-in-class
Finally, and most importantly, SmartyPig has doubled the maximum cash boost it offers through best-in-class retailers. Now, when customers meet their savings goal they can realize up to 12% in cash boosts paid to them by SmartyPig on retail gift cards whose products and services directly relate to their savings goals. So, an individual who wants to make a minimum initial deposit of $25 and put away $300 a month over twelve months for a new living room set will deposit $3,625 and earn approximately $25 in interest over the course of that year, bringing the goal balance to $3,650. But, for example, if she opts to take her savings out on a Macy's gift card, SmartyPig will give her a cash boost of 12% (nearly $440) on a Macy's retail gift card, bringing her goal plus interest plus boost to $4,090- some $465 more than the $3,625 she had put away.