Money and Budgeting App Reviews 2016-2017: Digit
Many people have a system for building up financial reserves. Some deposit a set amount of each paycheck or at month's end into a savings account. Others have their checks deposited into savings, leaving only the amount needed for bills and entertainment transferred into checking. Not surprising in this age of technology, there is also a high tech iteration of the classic piggy bank: The Digit app is an easy, hassle-free way to add to your savings every few days.
This free app analyzes your income and spending pattern in your checking account and finds ways to take a few dollars (usually $5 to $50) out every couple of days. The money is transferred to an FDIC-insured Digit savings account and is available for your use at any time. Send Digit a text on how much you want and the money is electronically sent to your checking account the next business day.
What I Liked
The Google-backed app is very easy to use. It's free with no recurring fees. Another cool aspect is that money is automatically moved from your checking to the Digit savings account. It doesn't rely on human emotion or human interaction. Its algorithms determine how much you can save. All transactions are recorded on your monthly bank statements for easy monitoring and checkbook balancing. The app interacts with the user by using fun and witty dialogue like: â€œHello, Rod. Fun Fact: 71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks are saying.â€ (As a father of three millennials myself, Digit App, you nailed that one.)
Hmmm, Not So Much
Typing in all of our personal banking information and hitting â€œsubmitâ€ was daunting and I ruminated for several seconds before doing so. Digit claims it does not store any banking login information and that all personal information is “anonymized, encrypted and securely stored,” but there's still that thought in the back of your mind that someone has access to your bank accounts. Money held in Digit is kept safe the same way a typical bank savings account is: via federal deposit insurance, up to a balance of $250,000.
What Others are Saying
Reviews so far have been generally positive. The negatives cluster around worries relating to security, which is a hurdle all “fintech” apps have to overcome in some way. One reviewer on Business Insider wondered if her personal spending patterns will be tracked and marketed downstream. Another commenter on a budgeting blog was more positive: â€œ[This]…could be a great service for people who just refuse to save or lack the discipline to save.”
Most people, especially younger professionals, single people and newlyweds because the app will automatically start or enhance their savings techniques. Families can benefit when saving for big-ticket items such as vacations and appliances.
Not Good For…
It may not be an option for people who are skittish about divulging financial information to non-bank financial startups. Also, one word for people who are in debt. It's important to save, especially given so much debt comes from not having adequate emergency savings, but it's more important to pay off debt because of the interest first. If you are drowning in debt, there might be other, better financial strategies and apps to try first.
The app is free and compatible with both iPhone and Android devices.
7 out of 10
About this series:
Welcome to a new weekly series where we test drive savings and budgeting apps so you can quickly find the tool that works for you. Want to join us by sharing an unbiased review or by adding your thoughts to an existing one? To share your first-person experience, email firstname.lastname@example.org.