One of the most talked about online savings accounts is SmartyPig, a bank designed to help customers reach their savings goals. SmartyPig offers competitive yields, and an interesting system aimed at making it difficult for depositors to get their money before their savings goals are reached. Savings account are fee-free.
With SmartyPig, depositors specify a goal, and then put money in an account to save toward the goal. If you want to withdraw money before your goal is reached, you have to empty the entire account; there are no partial withdrawals. One of the most attractive practices of SmartyPig is that you can receive a bonus if you decide to withdraw your money in the form of a gift card from one of SmartyPig’s retail partners. The 10% bonus means that you get an extra $10 for every $100 in your account. SmartyPig also offers a cash rewards prepaid debit card that offers upto 10% cash back that can be kept on your card are put into the SmartyPig goal.
SmartyPig’s savings accounts are held at BBVA Compass. The switch was made in August 2010, after SmartyPig decided that West Bank was no longer able to support the volume of depositors. Because the accounts are held at BBVA Compass, they are FDIC-insured.
They have a very wacky and confusing system of "savings goals." It appears designed to lock you in to them, and make you jump through a bunch of hoops in order to get the promised rates. I became very frustrated with this scheme and cancelled my account.
I have never had a problem with SmartyPig and have had an account there for about 3 years, I have saved and used the money to pay off 2 cars and put a down payment on a house. I have the money automatically withdrawn and forget that it's there until I need it - I like that I can't get to it immediately. It takes 1-2 days to withdraw your money but I don't consider this "Jumping through hoops" it's just the way it is (and it's not a secret). You aren't locked into anything you just can't cash out partial amounts- there is a way around, you can create a new goal and split your funds if you only want to withdraw a portion (this may be jumping through hoops but it keeps me from withdrawing on a whim). You don't have to do anything to get the promised rate (there is a limit though, the interest rate drops once you reach $50K in your account so just keep it below that and you are fine- and I felt like this was all disclosed up front, I wasn't surprised by anything) The interest rate can't be beat. I have never cashed out money into retailer gift cards but it's a unique option (and bonus money) if you were going to buy something from one of the partners anyways.
System is strange, ACH transfers take forever, and the "culture" of the bank is clearly oriented towards a certain kind of customer. Rates are decent but equal to those offered elsewhere.
Also, you have to click on a cartoon frog to make your deposits.
I've been using Smartypig for over 18 months now and I love them! I love being able to set up individual goals. I try to always keep a small "emergency fund," and then also set up ahead of time for birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc. The interest rate is very competitive, it's completely free, and it's actually FUN! I've never been a good saver (still struggle!), but Smartypig helps a lot. I take money in and out all the time and I've never had a problem. There is sometimes up to a 2-wk wait after deposit to be able to turn around and withdraw, but that has been good for us b/c we aren't as likely to spend what's in there. When we do move money back into our BBT Checking account (more than we should!), it's always been very fast, within 24-48 hours. I just love this bank/website and I recommend it to everyone!
The Texas Ratio is an indicator of how much capital a bank has available compared to the total value of loans considered at risk. As of March 31, 2014 SmartyPig had $458.27 million in non-current loans and owned real-estate with $12.2 billion in equity and loan loss allowances on hand to cover it. This gives SmartyPig a Texas Ratio of 3.76% which is excellent. Any bank with a Texas Ratio near or greater than 100% is considered at risk.
The Texas Ratio for SmartyPig decreased dramatically from 6.97% as of March 31, 2013 to 3.76% as of March 31, 2014, resulting in a positive change of 46.07%.This indicates that the balance sheet and financial strength for SmartyPig has improved dramatically in recent periods.
In the past year, SmartyPig has increased its total deposits by $4.71 billion, resulting in 8.96% growth for the year. A strong track record of growth is an indicator of consumer confidence and the bank's ability to strengthen its balance sheet. The growth SmartyPig has shown is excellent.
Both FDIC and NCUA consider capitalization levels of banks and credit unions to be of high importance. Higher capitalization allows for a greater buffer when cover loans that may fail in the future. SmartyPig has $74.64 billion in assets with $12.2 billion in equity, resulting in a capitalization level of 16.34%, which is excellent.
|FDIC Certificate #||19048|
|Assets and Liabilities|
|Equity Capital||$11.49 billion|
|Loan Loss Allowance||$707.67 million|
|Unbacked Noncurrent Loans||$436.29 million|
|Real Estate Owned||$21.98 million|
|Historic Data - March 2013|
|Equity Capital||$11.02 billion|
|Loan Loss Allowance||$786.02 million|
|Unbacked Noncurrent Loans||$436.29 million|
|Real Estate Owned||$45.94 million|
|Profit Margin - Quarterly|
|Net Interest Margin||3.13%|
|Return on Assets||0.57%|
|Return on Equity||3.65%|
|Interest Income||$566.67 million|
SmartyPig is an Internet only bank and does not have branch locations. Its headquarters is located at 15 South 20th Street - Birmingham, AL 35233