Bye Debt

Digit: A review

Digit is a free micro-savings text-based company that uses algorithms to monitor your spending patterns to help you save only what you can afford—automatically and smartly. It’s also now available in the Apple Store.

Guest Reviewer—
Hi, I’m Bee, and here’s the skinny on me. Not a fox. Not normally frugal. Both Vee and Cee have seen what I can bring home from a TJ Maxx or the outlet malls or the piles of Fossil

IMG_7809
(From left to right) Cee, Bee, & Vee

bags I have snuggled. My debt is pretty simple – credit cards and a small car loan. No mortgages, no student loans (thank goodness), no blood money debts to drug cartels (whew!). But I recently relocated to New York City to start my career in publishing. New York City living plus working in publishing doesn’t equal easy savings opportunities. Enter Digit. I signed up, started with transferring $5, and in 3 months I had saved $400!

Rating on Apple Store: 4+, 393 reviews
Bee’s Frugal Fox Rating: 4.9

Pros—

  • It’s easy – From sign up, to set up, to daily interactions—this is Digit’s best feature, it’s seamlessness. If you have time to text that cutie you met at the farmer’s market, you have time to text Digit.
  • It does the work for you – If you don’t have the wherewithal to habitually save, Digit monitors your linked account and saves what you won’t notice in your daily spending habits every couple of days.
  • It allows you to save more – On top of the automatic savings, you can also tell Digit to save more money than the automatic transfers it makes per its formula. This is how I got to $400 in 3 months, but actively saying no to Starbucks and saving $20 for the week.
  • It checks in on you – Like clockwork, Digit checks in with you every morning about the balance in your linked bank account, the balance of your Digit savings account, and recent transactions or changes in your linked bank account balance. Sometimes they send funny gifs too. Apparently, you can modify the amount of notices you get to every day to every week, so you aren’t bombarded.
  • It rewards you – Once you sign in, you get a reference code which you can share with friends to get them to sign up, and viola you get $5! Also, every 3 months Digit pays you a little bonus (0.05% return of your cash), based on your average Digit balance over the last 3 months which allows you to rake in anywhere from 5 cents to $100! Woot. You can even check up on your rewards by texting “plus”.
  • It’s separate from your bank account – I’ve found it hard for me to save money in the past, since my checking and savings account are with the same bank. And it’s so ridiculously easy to just log into the bank app and move money around like a video game. While Digit is just as easy (to transfer funds in and out), it’s an extra degree of separation which for me has certainly paid off.

Cons—

  • It’s baby-steps – This was a hard one to pinhole. Because on one hand, for me, it’s a pro, since saving towards a down payment is intimidating (and besides, I’m going to be renting in NYC for a loooooonnngggg time). But on the other hand, it’s a con, ‘cause with the help of Digit, I’ve been able to save a lot of money without thinking about it and now I’m ready for bigger fish… which makes me sad, since I feel like I should move on to a more structured savings plan perhaps.
  • It checks in on you – Like your mother, unwavering and sometimes mockingly waving that minute account balance in your face the day before payday.
  • It takes your interest – Digit makes its money on the interest on your money it stashes away for you in their accounts. While your standard personal checking / savings account interest rates are laughable, this is still something to consider when trying to save. Every penny helps after all.
  • It’s simple – Sometimes too simple. Their market is essentially the tech-savvy, but the way they describe their formula is vague… Not that I would be able to understand a walkthrough on their algorithm anyhow, but it would be nice to know it’s structure and how it applied to my account, since the Digit savings transfers seem sporadic and small.

Because we are all attached to our phones anyways…

“Digit believes anyone can start saving regardless of income,” says CEO, Ethan Bloch. “While everyone understands the importance of saving, it’s hard to get started. Digit’s goal is to make saving as easy, stress-free, and automatic as possible. Digit fits into the lifestyles of people who grew up on the web and look to technology — like Uber, Instacart, and Venmo — they trust tech and use it daily to simplify their lives.”

Cost(s)—

  • Digit is a free service – no hidden costs. Like not even gum under the table hidden costs!
  • If you use the texting method – standard text messaging rates do apply. But what is this 1999 and long distance phone call charges? Rude.

For me, Digit is all about getting started. I don’t want to ever have more than $500 in my Digit account, since that’s interest I’m losing on my own money. But the degree of separation really helps me in the meantime, while I work on my relationship to my finances and spending habits.

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