The best money saving apps can help you save money, regardless of your starting point. These easy-to-use money apps require only a checking account and smartphone. Each app has its own style and strategies to help you save. But at their core, they’re designed to inspire you to get into the rhythm of saving without overthinking it.
Keep in mind, you will need to share your bank data with these money saving apps (unless, of course, it’s also your bank), so review the terms and conditions. Also, make sure your checking account has a balance buffer greater than a few bucks. You don’t want to risk an accidental overdraft.
Best money saving apps
- Digit: Best for optimizing savings decisions
- Qapital: Best for those who are motivated by visuals
- Long Game: Best for a game-like experience
- Chime: Best for effortless savings
- Current: Best for young adults seeking a banking alternative
- Acorns: Best for novice investors
- Mint: Best for financial newcomers
- Qoins: Best for those with debt
Digit is an automated savings app that analyzes what goes in and out of your checking account. Then, it periodically moves funds from checking to savings in amounts its algorithms believe are safe to save.
Digit is a good option for those who identify as spenders, not savers, and like outsourcing decisions.
After a free 30-day trial, Digit charges subscribers $5 a month. For that fee, you’ll get the auto-savings feature as well as the ability to use the app to pay down credit card debt and establish savings goals. You can earn a 0.1 percent percent annual savings bonus that Digit pays every three months, a perk that can help offset some of the subscription fee.
If Digit determines you can’t spare any money, it won’t withdraw anything until you’re in a safer position to save. If Digit accidentally causes an overdraft, it will refund up to two instances. You can also opt in for overdraft prevention.
To move money back into your checking account, it will take one to three business days. If you need the funds right away, you can pay 99 cents to have the money sent back into your checking account within 30 minutes.
Your money is held at FDIC-insured banks, so you are protected up to $250,000.
- Best for: Outsourcing savings decisions.
- Cost: Free for 30 days, then $5 per month.
Qapital also aims to help you effortlessly save small amounts of money but with a twist: It lets users set up savings rules. For instance, you could set up a guilty pleasure rule so the app stashes money into your savings every time you buy takeout. Like some investment apps, Qapital can also round up your change on purchases and apply that money to your savings. If you use a debit card to buy a $4.50 latte, for example, the app withdraws 50 cents from your checking and moves it to your savings. You can also set a rule to make the roundups larger.
The app is often applauded for its visual goals-based approach. You can attach photos to your goals so that the portal serves as a digital vision board for your money.
To use the app, you have a number of options: You can link an existing checking account or you can sign up for a Qapital debit card. You can also use Qapital to make investments in an ETF portfolio for your longer-term goals. What products you get depends on the plan you pay for.
- Best for: those who are motivated by visualizing their goals.
- Cost: The basic plan starts at $3 per month with additional tiered plans. You can get a 30-day free trial.
3. Long Game
Long Game tries to redirect some of the cash people spend on lottery tickets into savings. On the app, users who put money into savings get a chance to win extra money. It’s called prize-linked savings, and the more you save, the more chances you have to play games and win more cash. The account is FDIC-insured, and you’re not playing with your principal, or the money you’ve deposited into Long Game. The app also pays 0.1 percent interest on your balance.
You can also set up a rule on the app to save money on payday.
If you like the thrill of a lottery and want savings to feel fun, you might want to try this app.
- Best for: A game-like experience.
- Cost: Free.
The digital-only brand Chime has won over millions of customers since launching in 2014. It offers bank accounts that include several auto-savings features.
If you send your direct deposit to your Chime account, you can also establish a rule for Chime to move a percentage of your paycheck into your savings. A round-up option is also available to boost savings.
Like other challenger banks, Chime doesn’t hold your bank deposits — it is not technically a bank. Its partner, The Bancorp Bank, holds your deposits. You will also earn some interest on your savings.
- Best for: Those who want their bank app to save their spare change.
- Cost: Free banking app.
Current is another newer digital brand that offers a variety of financial health tools through a mobile banking app. If you’re a customer, you can set up savings goals (or “pods” as Current calls them) to automatically sweep money aside for your chosen goal, like a rainy day fund or a vacation. You can also move money directly into your savings pod.
- Best for: Young adults seeking a banking alternative.
- Cost: Free basic checking account.
If you already have some emergency savings and want to take on some risk, you might want to invest. Acorns is one of the more popular apps that puts your spare change into an investment account.
Once you link a debit or credit card to the fintech app, Acorns will round up your purchases to the next dollar and invest that spare change into a diversified investment portfolio based on your goals. You can also set up a recurring transfer into Acorns.
- Best for: Novice investors.
- Cost: Starts at $1 per month for Acorns Invest.
Mint organizes and monitors your accounts, all in one place. You can connect all of your different bank and credit card accounts, in addition to any loans and investments you may have.
With Mint’s program, you can see a complete financial portrait, giving you the bigger picture of your finances so you know how best to manage them. You can also set up special notifications so you never miss a bill and regularly monitor any subscriptions you may have. You can even receive a notification if any of your regular subscriptions increase in cost.
With the ability to create custom budgets, you can track and improve overall spending and debt. It’s also free, making its money from partners instead.
- Best for: Financial newcomers.
- Cost: Free.
Qoins claims it has helped its customers pay off loans two to seven years earlier, with an average of $3,200 saved in interest. With Qoins, you set a financial goal when you sign up so you know exactly how much to put aside each month. After that, Qoins helps you make little transfers throughout the month that go toward your total debt. Because the transfers are smaller, it leaves less of a footprint on your daily banking, since you are not transferring large chunks of cash every time you make a deposit.
Even if you do not have debt, Qoins is great for helping you build your savings. It can help you pay off loans faster and improve your credit score with minimal effort.
- Best for: Those who have debt.
- Cost: $2.99-$4.99 per month.
Are money saving apps safe?
Fintech companies take multiple security measures to protect your data. The safety of an app will vary by company. So, review the terms and conditions to see if you’re comfortable with the ways in which the company is handling your financial data.
Why you should use a money saving app
If you tend to spend before you save, these apps can help you adjust your behavior patterns. They’re also a great option if you’re just starting to build your savings. Rather than requesting a big lump sum like some traditional savings accounts do, these apps regularly move small amounts of money into your savings so the task requires less effort.
Once you’ve built up some savings, you might want to consider moving your money into a high-yield savings account. While yields have been dropping in the current economic environment, you can still earn a higher rate if you park your savings at certain banks. You won’t get rich, but online banks tend to offer savers a higher return. If you don’t need to access your savings for a certain amount of time, you can also consider parking your money in a certificate of deposit.