Social savings sites developed almost a decade ago as a means for students, homeowners and other individuals to obtain financial goals for various needs or desires including college, home improvement or vacations. Similar to online savings accounts, various sites contain different features that assist in building a financial resource. All of the sites allow designated persons the option of contributing towards a goal.
The concept of Upromise was introduced nearly a decade ago in the hopes of making a college education affordable to anyone. By combining a savings plan with purchase rewards, individuals build finances for college. Clients sign up for an Upromise account, connected to a high yield Sallie Mae savings account or 529 plan. Users enlist the assistance of family, extended family and friends to achieve financial goals by sending invitations.
In addition to any monetary contributions, all participants have the opportunity of adding money to the account by purchasing goods and services through thousands of partnering hotels, manufacturers and retailers. Various percentage rates accompany purchases and are awarded back to the Upromise account. Make online purchases by entering Upromise and continuing onto any retailer website. Purchases typically yield anywhere from 1% to 25% of the product price. Participating restaurants offer up to 8% yields and grocery and drugstore items net anywhere from 1% to 3%.
The Upromise website lists thousands of retailers, restaurants and individual product manufacturers. Partnering businesses include well known popular shopping locations including Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart. Products consist of items used by the majority of households. Choose from name brand clothing, cosmetics, books, magazines and various food items.
Amounts enter the account via credit card purchases, or by manually entering or clicking codes. Upromise requires no minimum monthly balance, incurs no monthly fees and in addition, the company contributes 10% of the annual balance to the account as an added bonus. Individuals use the money to invest in a college savings plan, pay student loans, or receive a check to pay for expenses.
SmartyPig savings accounts are FIDC insured and enable clients to save and use money for any purpose desired. Save for an upcoming wedding or other event, luxury items or vacation destinations. A minimum of $250 opens an account. However, there are no fees to join, no monthly maintenance fees and no penalties for early withdrawal. After establishing an account, clients determine the amount of the saving goal. Accounts accrue 1.75% interest annually.
Clients make contributions by designating regular transfers from existing accounts or intermittently per choice. Transform the account into a shared savings by allowing specific persons to view goals and make contributions. Family, extended family and friends receive notification of the program and of the intended goal when an account owner links with Facebook or Twitter. Clients may also create widgets providing a shout out to over 20 social networking sites, or email a link. Anyone desiring to do so may contribute to the savings account.
Clients determine when to withdraw and the amount of withdrawals. Money can be transferred back into another existing account for a small fee. Users also have the option of using monies for various retail gift cards which offer various percentage rate bonuses called cash boosts. Cash boosts may be applied to a designated gift card or added to the savings account. Account holders can use all of the money on one or several cards or designate a specific amount. Partnering retailers include American Airlines, Amazon, Best Buy, Gap, and Lowe’s. Clients also have the option of obtaining a MasterCard debit card.
The accounts conveniently provide 24 hour access, 7 days a week to clients and contributors. All accounts are federally insured and privacy protected. By combining the traditional aspects of a savings account with social networking and purchasing power, users not only set goals, but accomplish them more easily with the support of others. Family and friends help prepare for a new arrival. Grandparents can create college funds.