April 2017 update: Digit now charges $2.99 a month after a 100-day free trial period.
If you can’t seem to get any savings done, there’s a new app that could help you.
Digit is a new free service that basically promises to use artificial intelligence to pluck extra money from your checking account and stash it away in an FDIC-insured savings account.
How Digit works
When you sign up with the service, it will automatically learn your spending patterns so it can know when you have some spare funds. Every 2 or 3 days, Digit will then transfer between $5 and $50 from your checking account to your Digit savings account.
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But here’s the rub: The savings account Digit gives you will not pay any interest on your money. Digit gets to keep any interest they earn on the money, which is how they fund this free service.
Earning no interest doesn’t matter right now because what we get paid on savings is so low. But as interest rates rise, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to you to have your money earning nothing just so you can let technology help you build the savings habit. (Digit does say they’ll have a way for you to earn some interest in the future, but it’s too early to comment on specifics.)
And in case you’re worrying about Digit taking money you can’t really spare, the company believes so much in the artificial intelligence it uses that they will pay any overdraft fees you incur if they’re ever wrong.
When it comes time that you want to withdraw some of the money you’ve saved, you just send Digit a text message that says ‘withdraw.’ The service will then send the money back to your checking account by the next business day. You’re allowed unlimited transfers with no minimums and no fees.