With so many amazing money saving apps on the market right now, Americans are spoilt for choice when it comes to looking for new ways of saving money. There are literally hundreds of finance apps out there, so how do you know which iPhone and Android applications are best for you and your goals?
From intelligent software designed to supercharge your investment account or help you track your credit card bills, to savings apps and web browser widgets that keep a close eye on the best shopping deals, there really is an app for everything these days. The trick is knowing what products you’re looking for and what applications can help someone in your unique situation.
If you’re looking for innovative ways to keep track of your spending and better achieve your financial goals, look no further. Here’s a rundown of the best smartphone app products to help Americans save money.
Why Use Money Saving Apps? What Are the Benefits?
Applications can help both hardcore savers and average Americans in a variety of ways. Having the latest technology at your fingertips can help you manage your checking account, savings account and multiple other bank accounts on the move, for example.
But the benefits are often much broader than simply being able to open an account on your iPhone. Money-tracking apps can help you achieve automatic savings to the nearest dollar at the grocery store, for example, by pin-pointing the cheapest products and the best deals. Other apps will stash money aside every time you spend, or help you change your bank, credit card, or investment portfolio to a new service provider when a savings bonus or closely monitored opportunity becomes available.
The best money saving apps should be thought of as tools that help us access, spend and save our money in simpler, smarter and easier ways. Regardless of your financial goals, there will always be tech products out there that can help you achieve them.
Our Best Money Saving Apps for 2021
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and review A Penny Saved’s best money saving apps for 2021. To keep things nice and simple, we’ve split our favourite apps that help you save money into the following categories:
- Apps for round-up saving
- Apps for investment
- Apps for shopping
- Apps for saving and earning interest
- Apps for tracking
Apps for Round-Up Saving
Round-up saving apps help you save big money by raking in automated savings every time you spend on your credit or debit card. These apps simply “round-up” transactions to the nearest dollar, then re-invest the difference for you.
1. Chime Savings
Since 2013, online bank Chime has been helping savers manage their accounts on the move using their smartphones. Their innovative app rounds up all your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically adds savings to your account. What’s more, customers can sign up completely free!
Chime: Unique features:
- Earn interest of 0.5% APY on your total Chime balance
- Enjoy automatic savings on paycheck transfers and debit card round-ups
- No minimum balance or monthly charge is required to get started
Chime: Mindful tips:
- Opening a joint account with your partner is not permitted
- You’ll need a Chime checking account in order to register for the app
- Funds can only be transferred via your Chime bank account
Chime: Deposit to open account
Chime: Subscription fee
Ever tried out micro-investing? Acorns turns all your annoying spare change into fully-customized investment accounts, by rounding-up and multiplying spare change from everyday transactions. Saving money on the move has never been simpler – but you will need to pay a monthly charge to benefit.
Acorns: Unique features:
- Three separate plans available offering micro-investing, retirement savings and a bonus checking account
- Earn a $10 savings bonus on your first investment, and further bonuses every time you shop at Acorns’ partner brands
- Investment goals, risk tolerance and other portfolio preferences are fully customizable
Acorns: Mindful tips:
- Tax loss harvesting, available with other investment money apps, isn’t available
- Savings are invested in pre-diversified ETF portfolios only
- Customers can’t pick out specific stocks and bonds for their portfolio
Acorns: Deposit to open account
Acorns: Subscription fee
- $1 to $3 depending on preferred plan
Whether you want to save money on big-ticket transactions only, or every single time you buy groceries, Qapital lets you fully customize your saving experience. Choose your own financial goals and let the savings from that next rounded-up dollar creep in as and when you want – but expect to pay a bit more if you need additional features.
Qapital: Unique features:
- Create your own savings goals and fully customize your mobile app experience
- Set spending limits and rules to reap extra rewards whenever you spend less
- Enjoy a 30-day free trial
Qapital: Mindful tips:
- Low interest rate of 0.1%
- Service fees go up on a sliding scale based on the features you choose
- Customer service options are limited (no telephone hotline)
Qapital: Deposit to open account
Qapital: Subscription fee
- $3 to $12 depending on desired features
Apps for Investment
There are hundreds of great apps out there for spending and saving, but did you know that money saving apps can help with investments, too? Here are some of our favourite apps that help customers get more out of stocks, bonds and investment portfolios, minimizing the usual hard work and effort.
4. Stash Invest
If you’re a newbie to the stock market, Stash is probably the app for you. Use its AI to assess your level, then go invest in pre-selected portfolios based on your risk tolerance, or roam completely free and put your money in ETFs that match your unique interests – all for just a few dollars a month.
Stash: Unique features:
- Three plan types available offering investment accounts, retirement accounts and more
- Excellent automation and round-up features
- Get a free checking account with fast-tracked direct deposits
Stash: Mindful tips:
- Instantaneous trades are not available
- No support for cryptocurrencies or mutual funds
- No free plan or free trial available, and $5 minimum deposit required
Stash: Deposit to open account
Stash: Subscription fee
- $1 to $9 depending on preferred plan
Are you looking for a stock and options trading app for more experienced investors? If so, Robinhood could be a perfect fit. Expect zero commissions on trading, a pitch-perfect free plan that offers more tools than you might expect, and superb functionality on iPhone and Android versions.
Robinhood: Unique features:
- Excellent free version available packed with great features
- No minimum account balance required
- No trading fees or commissions charged on stocks, options and funds
Robinhood: Mindful tips:
- Bonds and mutual funds not available for investment
- $5 monthly fee charged to customers who want to borrow cash to buy stocks
- Investment information displayed isn’t always comprehensive
Robinhood: Deposit to open account
Robinhood: Subscription fee
- $0 to $5 depending on preferred plan
6. SoFi Invest
Whether you want to access a fee-free robo advisor daily, or you’re just looking for a way to swap stocks without paying a commission, SoFi Invest is an excellent tool to have at your disposal. You’ll get no fees on trades or transfers, unhindered access to no-end of SoFi perks and top advisors are always “on call” whenever you need them.
SoFi: Unique features:
- Costs only $1 to get started today
- Free trading, transfers, commissions and custodians after registering
- Tailored, advisor-led assistance included, as well as excellent membership perks
SoFi: Mindful tips:
- No mutual funds, bonds, forex or futures available
- Tax loss harvesting isn’t offered
- Customer service not available on weekends
SoFi: Deposit to open account
SoFi: Subscription fee
Apps for Shopping
We appreciate not all readers will be interested in money saving apps geared towards stock market investors – but what about those everyday savings apps that help you save money when shopping online? Let’s take a look at our favourite apps for saving quick cash on everyday products and purchases.
More than 35 million customers use Ibotta every single day to claim money back on purchases made via hundreds of partner retailers and brands. Unlike other money saving apps, Ibotta credits users via e-wallets like PayPal and Venmo, instead of issuing reward points. This makes spending and saving super-easy, without the hard work of having to rack up and convert banking app points into real-world savings.
Ibotta: Unique features:
- Easy to use mobile app and browser extension help you save in-person and online
- Ibotta partners include frequently used stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Walgreens, Target and more
- $5 referral bonus up for grabs when recommending Ibotta to a friend
Ibotta: Mindful tips:
- Savings might seem limited depending on how much you use the app
- You’ll need to upload receipts when using Ibotta in-store
- Discounts might encourage you to spend extra money on products you wouldn’t normally buy
Ibotta: Deposit to open account
Ibotta: Subscription fee
Shoppers who want their next dollar to go that little bit further can save approximately $126 per year using Honey. This app is made up of a series of money saving tools, such as a promo code search for shopping online and a price history checker helping customers keep track of price fluctuations affecting products they’re interested in.
Honey: Unique features:
- Completely free to use – just download their simple browser extension
- Packed full of great customizable features and alerts
- Searches for and automatically applies shopping coupons
Honey: Mindful tips:
- Users have reported problems with iPhone and Android apps
- The coupons you need might not always be available
- Outdated or expired offers aren’t always removed from the system
Honey: Deposit to open account
Honey: Subscription fee
Powered by Capital One, this is a money saving app that functions a little differently. Instead of offering up-front discounts, Paribus monitors users’ receipts, emails and purchase dates to reclaim partial cash refunds for items that have dropped in price since they were purchased. These refunds go directly into your checking account.
Paribus: Unique features:
- 100% free to use
- Innovative apps scan your emails and automatically refund price differences
- Paribus contacts merchants to seek refunds on your behalf, meaning no hard work
Paribus: Mindful tips:
- Paribus makes its money through advertisements – so expect a lot of ads
- You’ll have to grant Paribus access to your email address
- A credit card is required to register
Paribus: Deposit to open account
Paribus: Subscription fee
10. Capital One Shopping
Another helpful tool offered by the Capital One group, this app works as a more traditional browser extension or mobile app that compares prices and hunts for coupons. You’ll have to allow for some tracking of your personal data, but all will be rewarded with big savings.
Capital One: Unique features:
- Completely free
- Easy to use
- Consistently gets good reviews online
Capital One: Mindful tips:
- You’ll need to allow the company to track your personal data and email address
- Mobile app versions can be glitchy
Capital One: Deposit to open account
Capital One: Subscription fee
Apps for Saving and Earning Interest
All savers know that securing the best interest rate is a sure-fire way to help you save faster and more efficiently. But it’s also wise to use the latest apps to help you keep your spending in check and benefit from the best rates and round-ups currently available.
One of the best ways to supercharge your savings is to combine regular round-ups with high interest savings accounts – and that’s exactly what Simple does. With this app, you can create your own goals, pursue them at your own pace and use a high yield account earning up to 1.2% to help your savings go the extra mile.
Simple: Unique features:
- Create and keep track of your own fully-customizable savings goals
- Enjoy a great high yield interest rate of up to 1.2%
- Set “Safe-to-Spend” filters to prevent overspending
Simple: Mindful tips:
- Customers can’t get a standalone savings account
- Budgeting features can feel a bit limited
- External bank accounts can’t be linked
Simple: Deposit to open account
Simple: Subscription fee
YNAB has a tried-and-tested reputation in the sector on account of its proven, zero-based budgeting concepts, free apps for college students and amazing bonus features. Standard savers will have to pay a premium to take advantage of the app – but it certainly pays off.
YNAB: Unique features:
- Free 34-day trial for new customers – and free all-round for students
- Superb zero-based budgeting concept helps you track every penny
- YNAB offers customers weekly online workshops
YNAB: Mindful tips:
- The app is a tad on the expensive side
- Users sometimes complain about functionality
YNAB: Deposit to open account
YNAB: Subscription fee
- $11.99 per month (or $84 per annum)
13. Clarity Money
Powered by banking giant Goldman Sachs, Clarity Money offers savers a superb spend-tracking and budgeting service with a solid rep. It’s fully compatible with iPhone, Android and all major devices – and consistently gets great reviews from users. That said, the service comes at a price…
Clarity Money: Unique features:
- Automatically creates budgeting goals and tracks your spending
- Negotiates bills on your behalf
- Allows you to cancel subscriptions at the drop of a hat
Clarity Money: Mindful tips:
- You’ll need to pay 33% of your savings each time Clarity negotiates a bill successfully
- No savings account or checking account included
- You must link a separate, US-based third-party account
Clarity Money: Deposit to open account
Clarity Money: Subscription fee
- 33% of your savings (whenever bills are negotiated)
14. Peak Money
Keep a closer eye on your savings goals with a 100% free iPhone app that helps you visualize savings targets and create automatic round-ups that just keep on giving. Build your own plan from the ground-up and enjoy a 0.5% annual return, distributed every quarter.
Peak Money: Unique features:
- Earn more money the more you save
- Sleek and super-straightforward app design
- Color-coded filters help you reach self-tailored savings goals
Peak Money: Mindful tips:
- Funky and youthful design isn’t for everyone
- Not available for Android
- Some users have reported glitches and lag
Peak Money: Deposit to open account
Peak Money: Subscription fee
If you want a simpler savings option, Digit could be a perfect match. This idiot-proof app uses algorithms to track your income and spending patterns and automatically drops any spare change into an FDIC insured account on your behalf. You also get a 0.1% savings bonus every 90 days.
Digit: Unique features:
- 0.1% annualized savings bonus offers an extra boost
- 30-day free trial and FDIC insured account included
- Seriously easy to use
Digit: Mindful tips:
- The daily amount Digit transfers can’t be controlled
- You’ll need to start paying $5 per month after the trial
Digit: Deposit to open account
Digit: Subscription fee
- $5 per month (after 30-day free trial)
Backed by big-name industry giant John Hancock, Twine’s automated savings software is aimed at couples who want to set joint goals. You get two kinds of accounts to help you reach your targets – but while the cash savings account is free, Twine’s invested savings option requires a $5 deposit and a monthly fee.
Twine: Unique features:
- One of the few apps out there aimed squarely at joint-savers
- Excellent customization options
- Diverse sets of ETFs available to investors
Twine: Mindful tips:
- Annual fee of 0.06% of invested assets charged monthly for the invested savings account
Twine: Deposit to open account
- $5 (for invested savings option)
Twine: Subscription fee
- Free or 0.06% of invested assets, depending on desired package
Pair together fee-free online banking and high yield online savings with this easy-as-pie finance app. You’ll have to jump through a few hoops to qualify for the best rates, but those who do can expect a solid annual percentage yield, no monthly fees and plenty of other perks.
Varo: Unique features:
- No monthly fee requirements
- Impressive APY and good automatic savings tools
- Customers are eligible for a $100 instant cash loan
Varo: Mindful tips:
- Savers must meet certain eligibility requirements
- Fees may be incurred for cash deposits
Varo: Deposit to open account
Varo: Subscription fee
Apps for Tracking
Not everyone needs multiple accounts or an app-based piggy bank that pays out interest or round-up bonuses. Some people just want to track their spending and personal finance, pure and simple. Let’s examine the best apps available for this purpose.
Dating back to 2006, Mint has established quite a name for itself over the years, helping some 20 million people to monitor all of their finances in one place. With Mint, you can track bills, spending patterns, budgets and more – and set up handy alerts to keep your personal finance in tip-top condition.
Mint: Unique features:
- Superb, easy to use software
- Set up personalized alerts and enjoy comprehensive budgeting tools
- Get regular TransUnion credit score updates as part of the package
Mint: Mindful tips:
- Mint makes money from ads – so expect to see plenty of them
- Some modern alternatives offer more features
Mint: Deposit to open account
Mint: Subscription fee
19. Personal Capital
Personal Capital offers the full spectrum of tracking tools – including budgeting and savings planners, an investment check-up tool and much more. Smart analytics let you track everything from retirement savings to the potential cost expectations of having kids or moving house.
Personal Capital: Unique features:
- Hard-to-beat tracking tools covering all aspects of personal finance
- Intelligent “Fee Analyzer” keeps close tabs on your investment accounts
- All tools are 100% free to use
Personal Capital: Mindful tips:
- Some might find the in-depth tracking tools hard to understand
- Wealth management services can be expensive if you choose to upgrade
Personal Capital: Deposit to open account
Personal Capital: Subscription fee
- $0 (for tracking tools only; charges apply to wealth advice)
20. Pocket Guard
Pocket Guard’s inexpensive budgeting software is a real goldmine for anyone who wants to keep a watchful eye on their everyday budgeting. You can track cash transactions, bills and spending, or put your budget on autopilot using intelligent algorithms guaranteed to help you save.
Pocket Guard: Unique features:
- The basic app is 100% free
- Spending limit alerts are easy to set-up and use
- Cash transaction tracker is very effective
Pocket Guard: Mindful tips:
- The basic app has limited features
- Upgrading to Pocket Guard Plus costs $3.99 per month
Pocket Guard: Deposit to open account
Pocket Guard: Subscription fee
- $0 to $3.99 per month (or $34.99 per annum)
A Penny Saved has been asked to review these apps and may get some commission from affiliate links. The accuracy of information is correct at the time of writing, however, we’d advise readers to please refer to each app’s individual website for the latest terms and conditions.
Whether you want to try your hand at micro-investing with Acorns, work towards joint financial goals with your partner using Twine, or simply pin down a great savings app to help you get money back on past or current shopping transactions, there really is a mobile banking app out there for everyone.
All of the amazing money saving apps reviewed above can help you save big time – but deciding which app best suits you will always be a personal decision. Try out these finance apps for yourself to find out what works for you. Better yet, subscribe to A Penny Saved today for the latest personal finance and wealth news