One interesting service that SmartyPig provides is gift cards. I just came across this service which may come in handy if you're trying to think of a graduation gift for a family member. Here's how SmartyPig describes its gift cards:
They can be given to both current SmartyPig account holders and individuals to whom you would like to Give the Gift of Savings so they, too, can create SmartyPig accounts, become responsible savers and reach their savings goals. SmartyPig gift cards can only be used to start a SmartyPig goal or fund an existing one.
For many of us who are dedicated savers, SmartyPig's goal setting requirements may be more of a hassle than a benefit. However, for the majority of people who spend their lives in credit card debt, the savings and goal-setting approach that is part of SmartyPig could be beneficial if it can deter people from going down the road of credit card debt. I like how this could help a new graduate start off in this right direction.
Recent SmartyPig News
For those of us who are dedicated savers, you may be interested in SmartyPig because it has the highest interest rate of any nationwide savings account. It's currently 2.15% APY (as of 5/31/10) for a balance up to $50K. It's important that the total balance of your goals is under $50K. If it goes above $50K, the entire balance earns only 0.50%. This new SmartyPig rate tier just became effective on May 19th.
Another change we should soon be seeing at SmartyPig is a new bank that will be the holder of SmartyPig deposits. It's important to note that SmartyPig is not a bank. It works with a FDIC-insured bank which actually holds the deposits. Currently, this bank is Iowa-based West Bank. However, West Bank has announced that SmartyPig has grown too big and they are looking to transfer SmartyPig deposits to another bank in the second quarter.
For more information on SmartyPig, please see my SmartyPig review in which I review issues like FDIC coverage and transfer speeds.