Ever hear the phrase "pay yourself first?" It stems from humans' tendency to spend the money that's at their disposal - and make savings a distant afterthought.
Qapital knows that, if you leave the act of saving a manual exercise, it tends to not happen. So, the app automates the process through savings rules triggered by everyday actions. It comes with three tiers: the Basic membership for $3/month, the Complete membership for $6/month and the Master membership for $12/month.
Like most personal financial management (PFM) apps, Qapital uses Plaid to link external accounts needed for retrieving balances and funding your savings contributions. Simply tap on the "Connect your bank" button on the "Connected Accounts" screen, search for your bank and enter the same username and password credentials you use to log into its app. Unfortunately, credit card accounts cannot be linked.
SET UP SAVINGS AUTOMATION
The process starts by creating a savings goal and then attaching a specific purpose to it, such as paying down credit card debt or saving up for a wedding. You can specify the target amount to save, add a custom picture and even announce it to friends on social channels.
To begin contributing to a goal, you'll specify one or more rules for when and how much the app will transfer money in. These rules include the now-common, round-up of card purchases as well as scheduled deposits, which also includes allocating a portion of your paycheck to a savings goal. However, since only bank accounts may be linked, round-ups through Qapital may only be applied to spending made with a debit card, which is frustrating if you do most of your spending with a credit card. Also, interestingly enough, there does not seem to be a "smart savings"-type rule similar to that of Digit or Albert, where the app determines an optimal amount of funds that can be stashed away at a given point in time.
However, the real magic of Qapital comes with its extensive set of event-based savings rules. Some of those unique to the app include:
Save after accomplishing daily fitness activities on Fitbit or Strava
Save when you spend on a guilty pleasure (in a category like Fast Food or at a merchant like McDonald's)
Save an additional dollar for each new week in the year (e.g., $52 saved during the final week of the year)
Save by speaking a phrase to Google Assistant or Alexa
Save when you post on Facebook or like a video on YouTube
Save when you take an Uber
Save when you make a sale on Square
Save when the S&P 500 index drops by a percentage
In addition to this creative set of event-based savings rules, another great benefit of the app is the option to invest the money you've saved. Like Stash and Acorns, saved funds can be invested in diversified capital markets portfolios, which Qapital tailors to your unique investing objectives and risk tolerance.
One nice aspect of Qapital's app is the visual nature of goal tracking. Upon logging into the app, you'll be met with a home screen that quickly illustrates the progress you've made toward each of your savings goals. I find that the mere presence of a custom picture next to each goal helps reinforce my dedication to achieving it.
Finally, Qapital allows you to tackle savings goals collaboratively by adding a family member or significant other to joint goals inside the app. To do this, you'll navigate to the profile screen and tap on the "Dream Team" button. From there, you'll be able to set permissions around which goals and linked accounts your counterpart will be able to view once they've joined your savings coalition.
NOTE: This review was based on Version 2.191.0 of the Qapital iOS mobile app