- by Ben Carter
Digit is Your Checking Account's Personal Assistant
Last month I took a brief, three-day vacation to Puerto Rico. It was an incredible trip my fiancé convinced me was worth paying for mainly because we're no longer the individuals people are referring to when they acknowledge the "young people" in the room. We're getting older and so a trip to places we've not been before is rising on our priority list.
In the days leading up to the trip, I noticed my "expendable" funds were much lower than I would like for a trip anywhere other than down the street for a cup of coffee. I have a chronic case of "broke-itch" where, when funds are low, I begin to exhibit symptoms similar to that of an asthmatic or person with anxiety issues; trouble breathing, sweating, shifty eyes, rapid or racing thoughts, etc.
My day-job pays on an odd schedule, not in line with bills falling on the 1st or 15th of-the-month, so it requires a bit of planning to make sure everyone I owe money gets paid on time. In January, I made a large payment related to our upcoming wedding and so was beginning to clinch my purse very tightly.
Despite this, we arrived in Puerto Rico excited and ready to sit on the beach and soak up sun and culture. We ate possibly the best food we've ever eaten at many of the Puerto Rican restaurants and it was an all around good time. However, by the second day of the trip, I noticed I only had $35 in my checking account. This was beyond emergency status for me.
I began having visions of spending the rest of the vacation sitting in the hotel room watching marathons of "Shark Tank" to avoid spending more money. I was also considering pitching "Rey de Hamburgesas" as a romantic dinner for the evening.
Before I had the chance to suggest Puerto Rico's Burger King as a viable option for dinner, I got an unexpected text message. The message essentially gave me the recap of recent activity that had occurred on my checking account and told me I'd finally been paid. My account was no longer at the emergency level of $35.
The text came from a new service I've been using called Digit.
What is Digit?
Digit is a company (and app-like product) that connects with your checking account to save money for you. It's not an application on your phone. It's a service you sign up for that connects to your checking account via an online patch-through. After the connection is made, Digit proceeds to analyze your spending in order to save small amounts of money it doesn't think you will miss.
Most of us can do better with saving money, but unless we make scheduled withdrawals to alternative accounts or spend exactly to our written budgets, it can be difficult to gauge how much MORE could be saved for a new car, dental procedure or ill-advised trip to Puerto Rico... Digit more or less takes the work out of small amounts of saving, making it an automated process you don't have to think about.
You communicate with Digit via text messages. For example, texting "Save more" to Digit will prompt the program to become more aggressive in how much it saves each time it transfers money from your checking to your Digit account, pulling larger amounts of money from your account than before.
What's Great About Digit
Even more than an automated savings program, what I’ve found most valuable about Digit has been that it's become somewhat of a secondary eye for everything that I do with my primary checking account. It tells me (completely unprompted) when payments have cleared, a check has been deposited or what it has saved over the last several days. You can ask about your current checking balance via text (bye bye to signing into my BofA app) and if you want money moved back into your primary checking account, you can ask it to do so. It will move the money back in one business day.
I liken Digit to what it probably was like for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to realize moving to Beverly Hills, California meant he'd have a butler named Geoffrey.
How Digit Can Be Even Better Than A Bank
There is one item that’s somewhat disappointing that has nothing to do with the service itself.
In speaking with Digit’s founder, I learned Digit is saving an incredible amount of money for its users. Currently, Digit keeps the interest it earns on users’ money to run their business. Though understandable for a small company in the early stages of existence, Digit will do well to share the interest earned with the people’s whose money they are using to turn a profit.
Everyone knows the interest rates offered at most American banks on simple savings accounts suck. They charge you more to keep your account open now days than they pay you back in interest for keeping your money with them. If Digit can offer incentives for holding money with them, by paying back interest to the service’s users, it would greatly increase Digit’s value and my ability to take more trips to Puerto Rico.
If you want to learn more about Digit, click here. If you’re interested in signing up for Digit, click here.
This is a Manage Your Damn Money product review. MYDM encourages readers to conduct a thorough investigation of products reviewed before signing up with or purchasing product and do so at their own risk. MYDM reserves the right to collect compensation for product reviews.