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Round-Up Apps—Our Top Picks


Use Round-Ups to Invest
FinTech Savings Account
High-Yield Savings Account
3.6
4.0
4.1
Personal: $3/mo. Personal Plus: $5/mo. Premium: $9/mo.
Free. (No monthly fees.)
Free (no monthly fees).
Use Round-Ups to Invest
3.6
Personal: $3/mo. Personal Plus: $5/mo. Premium: $9/mo.
FinTech Savings Account
4.0
Free. (No monthly fees.)
High-Yield Savings Account

Best Round-Up Apps

1. Acorns (Best for Using Round-Ups to Invest)


acorns signup new2

  • Function(s): Saving, spending, investing
  • Available: Sign up here

Acorns is an investing app geared toward minors, young adults, and millennials, that pioneered round-up capabilities. Acorns’ Round-Ups feature rounds up purchases made on linked debit and credit cards to the nearest dollar, investing the difference on your behalf. On average, Acorns users invest over $30 each month from Round-Ups.

With Acorns, once your Round-Ups reach at least $5, they can be swept into your Acorns Invest account. You can choose to round up manually, deciding which transactions will be invested, or use Automatic Round-Ups to simplify the process. And if you have Automatic Round-Ups selected, these Real-Time Round-Ups will be invested as soon as your transaction clears.

Want to save faster? Take advantage of Round-Ups Multiplier, which lets you choose to multiply the amount that would normally be rounded up by 2x, 3x, or 10x. You can turn Multiplier on and off whenever you want.

Not sure what to do if the transaction is an even dollar amount? (Say, $1.00 or $2.00.) Whole-Dollar Round-Ups let you select how much to round up whenever this happens.

The Acorns investment account itself is an automated platform that uses pre-built portfolios of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to keep investors exposed to stocks and bonds—ideal for younger, less experienced investors, as well as people who just want to keep things simple. Learn more or sign up today.

 

2. SoFi Checking and Savings Account (Up to $300 in Free Cash)


sofi checking savings signup new

The SoFi Checking and Savings Account sounds like your run-of-the-mill bank account, but it’s more: It’s also a high-yield savings account that earns 10 times the national average percentage yield (APY) and more than the average high-yield account. Better still, it boosts your ability to save right off the bat by rewarding you with $50 to $250 upon sign-up.

Sofi Checking and Savings covers all of the basics: No monthly account fees, no minimum balances, and website and mobile app access. But it also has several perks that match or top the competition. Features include:

  • Early paycheck reception when you sign up for direct deposit
  • FDIC insurance of up to $2 million (vs. $250,000 for most bank accounts)
  • Up to 15% cash back when you spend with local retailers
  • No-fee overdraft coverage up to $50
  • Round-ups on debit card purchases, which are deposited into your savings “Vault”

And right now, you can get a head-start on your savings with qualifying direct deposits. You’ll receive $50 in bonus cash if $1,000.00 to $4,999.99 is sent to your bank account within a 25-day period, starting from when you receive the first direct deposit. That number jumps to $250 when you receive $5,000 or more. The higher cash bonus requires you to hit an admittedly high threshold, but the $50 is a reasonable bonus for a much more manageable threshold.

Want to get started on your cash bonus? Sign up with SoFi today.

 

3. Current Bank (High-Powered Banking App)


Current signup new

Current provides a wide range of banking services, as well as financial tools and other perks that set it apart from traditional accounts.

Among Current’s most popular features are Savings Pods. Each Current account comes with three Savings Pods, which are like digital envelope savings plans, or like having multiple savings accounts. Most people have more than one savings goal—and Savings Pods allow you to choose how much you want to allocate toward each goal.

Current’s Round-Ups feature allows you to send digital “change” into the Savings Pod of your choice. But note that you can’t use Round-Ups for multiple Savings Pods—the feature can only be enabled for one Pod at a time.

Current offers a high APY on the first $2,000 in each of your three Savings Pods, though the APY on additional balances is close to the national average for all (not just high-yield) savings accounts. Other features include no fees for overdrafts under $200, faster paydays with direct deposit, and points that you can redeem for cash back in your account.

 

Best Round-Up Apps


Round-up apps are the modern-day coin jar.

For younger readers who aren’t as familiar: Tossing spare coins into a jar used to be one of the most popular forms of saving. It stopped your pockets from jingling, you didn’t miss the money, and once the jar was full, you could exchange all of the money at the bank or a coin machine.

Assuming you weren’t living paycheck to paycheck, this was “fun” money you could spend however you wanted—you might head out to a restaurant or pick up a new pair of shoes.

Paying with cash is becoming less common by the year, however, as people increasingly use more convenient methods: credit cards, debit cards, and money apps. Plastic and digital spending are in … and jingling pockets are out.

But that doesn’t mean “spare change” is gone completely—it, like spending, has simply evolved, becoming the “round-up.”

What Are Round-Ups?


Round-ups-coins

With round-ups, your purchase prices are rounded up to the nearest dollar.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because you see it all the time at grocery stores and other retailers. The cashier will ask you if you’d like to round up your total, say, to donate to a charity.

But this kind of roundup involves a financial app rounding up your purchase, with the “spare change” put into a savings account or invested for you.

How Do Round-Ups Work?


Let’s say you’re heading to work, and you decide to grab breakfast. You get a coffee and a sandwich, and it sets you back $9.69. You go to pay with a normal debit or credit card or money app, you pay the $9.69, and the transaction is over.

However, now let’s say you have a card or app with a round-up feature. Instead, your card is charged for $10, then the extra 31 cents is added to a spillover fund like a savings account or investing account. And this happens with every purchase you make with the card or app—a seamless process that makes saving automatic.

But which app does it the best?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


questions and answers large

Do savings app round-up plans work?

Absolutely. A round-up app works in the background to set aside more money than you typically would. Every purchase you make suddenly becomes a new opportunity to save money.

But let’s be clear: If you have lofty savings goals—say, a child’s college fund or your retirement—you need to save and invest more substantial amounts than what a round-up program can provide. That said, some savings apps will also let you send over regular payments from a savings account or checking account, so you can augment your savings that way.

Are round-up apps safe?

Round-up apps aren’t inherently safe or unsafe. Features matter.

For one, you want to make sure that your savings are FDIC-insured. And all of the round-up apps listed above offer FDIC insurance up to $250,000 on savings. If your app has an investing component, you’ll also want to ensure there’s insurance on that—Stash Invest, for instance, offers $500,000 worth of insurance on investments through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (DIPC). Just note that insurance only protects investments from an institutional failure—not from losses if your investments simply lose value.

Past that, you’ll want to make sure your round-up app has other types of security, such as account verification, identity protection, encryption, etc.

Are round-up savings apps worth it?

If you want a way to incrementally save without having to think about it, round-up savings apps are excellent tools that are worth the time and energy. They automatically transfer money to your savings with each transaction, letting your savings slowly build up over time. They’re especially useful if they can double as standard banking and investment accounts.

Do be mindful of fees, however. If you’re paying a few dollars a month for an app and only end up saving a few dollars per month, you’re still where you started before. So make sure if you’re paying for a round-up savings account, that your savings progress—and the app’s other features—are worth the cost.

Why should I use round-up apps?

We can think of several good reasons to use round-up apps, including (but not limited to):

  • They’re easy to use. Setup is typically simple, and saving is even easier. Just make your regular purchase, and money will trickle into your savings account without you lifting another finger.
  • Little amounts add up. Several of the round-up apps we’ve talked about claim that their users can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year. Yes, 30 cents here and 45 cents here doesn’t seem like much. But add those amounts up across dozens of transactions each month, and you’re generating real savings.
  • They keep you focused on your goals. Round-up apps typically center around financial goals. That’s good! Vaguely saving can be difficult for people. But when you start to see real, tangible progress toward a stated goal, that can act as motivation to keep up what you’re doing and even find other ways to save.

Put simply: Round-up apps are easy to use and can help you reach savings goals more quickly than you’d think.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.